Wine for your next Celebration!

Nothing is more annoying than getting in the shower the day after Halloween to scrub your face clean of the leftover zombie blood that still stains your skin and find that your husband used up all the soap and didn’t replace it. FYI shampoo does not remove zombie blood from skin. Thank goodness for make-up.

What does the first day of November mean to you? The start of the holiday season, maybe? To me, today is the first day of the great race against time to complete my various projects before Thanksgiving. I work best with a deadline. I’ve counted the weekends and confidently made lists. I am focused.

But…

In the back of my head, I can hear the faint whisper of that tiny dictator. ‘What a stunning impact newly painted front doors would make.’

Really? What is wrong with him? I have to finish the kitchen AND the guest room! The multiple lists are long plus I will have to perform the tedious chore of removing the protective layer of dust from all the rarely touched surfaces around the house. Most of the downstairs rooms don’t even have baseboards yet, why on earth would I even consider painting the front doors. Does that tiny dictator that lives in my head even know that I have a job? Maybe he wants to bring on the ever looming nervous breakdown so I will finally eat breakfast on a regular basis – breakfast that includes happy pills in a paper cup and is served from a cart that is wheeled into the room. Actually, that kinda sounds nice.

I did watch a YouTube video on the proper procedure to painting front doors so I’m basically an expert now.

Challenge accepted! I will finish all of these projects before Thanksgiving and I will bake fabulous holiday desserts. Then I will take a nap.

We tasted two unconventional wines this week that will go perfectly with holiday desserts and they’ll make fun gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. Make sure you read to the end to find them.

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backyard bar

Thanks to Joe and Misty S. for hosting our remote Front Porch Wine Tasting at their beautiful backyard bar – You guys definitely added some class!

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4 wines pic

Lunatic White Blend ~ Three Rivers Chardonnay ~ Fetzer Shiraz ~ Whiplash Red Blend

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14319-000_1

2011 Lunatic White Wine Blend $5.99 elsewhere $14.99

California

The label reads: ‘True genius often borders on lunacy. Visit lunavinyards.com to find out what makes this crazy good blend so insanely delicious.’

I’m pretty sure that whoever wrote that is calling me a genius 😉

As you can see from the picture above, the color of this white blend is very light. Misty and I both thought it tasted light and delicate as well. Arvin tasted peaches and apricot and Larry noted the fruitiness. Steve agreed. Larry said the fruit he tasted was grapefruit. Steve agreed. Lol. Steve also said that he tasted grapes and without missing a beat, Kathy said, “it does have grapes, we don’t know how many, but they’re in there.” Terry commented that we’re all feeling a little luny. Becky mentioned that it was kind of sweet and Scott said its got a little twang to it.

On-line review: The aromas are floral and real delicate, but on tasting there are citrus flavors on the front of the palate and apricot on the back. The tannins are very mild and delicately active – a nice crisp wine, perfect for summer….or for a hot hotel room.  Whichever works…the hotel room, in this scenario.  Hurry up summer! The Lunatic was so delicious I ended up ordering a case through one of my friends who owns a wine bar in Seattle…thank goodness for friends in high places.

Winemaker’s notes: Intensely aromatic, densely flavored, muscular but supple, graceful and delicate. This wine is full of contradictions and charming mysteries. It is a trifecta of Albarino, Malvasia Bianca and Chardonnay; each providing a balancing force in the blend. The Albarino is delicate in aroma, like a white peach, but full flavored. The Malvasia Bianca is almost overwhelming with jasmine flower and apricot nectar aromas, yet brisk and clean to taste. The Chardonnay is a ripe pear in both flavor and aroma, filling your mouth with warm, succulent flavor. But, the wine is much more than the sum of its parts… insanely good!

Blend: 38% Albarino, 34% Malvasia Bianca, and 28% Chardonnay

Arvin hit the nail on the head with the fruit he tasted!

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TRW-Chard

2009 Three Rivers Winery Chardonnay $6.99 elsewhere $15.99

Columbia Valley. Walla Walla, WA

Arvin says this Chardonnay has swagger! Moses tasted walnuts and Steve said it was little heavier. I thought it looked and tasted buttery. Joe S. liked it with chilled red grapes in his glass.

On-line review: “Pale straw. Orange blossom and dusty stone on the nose. Sweet, pliant and nicely balanced, with orange and nectarine flavors framed by a slight phenolic edge. This essentially supple chardonnay finishes spicy and nicely dry.”
88 Points International Wine Cellar

Winemaker’s notes: The long, temperate growing season coupled with partial rather than full malolactic fermentation yielded a Chardonnay of great richness and structure. The nose is scented with green apples, pears and a dash of vanilla. The palate is full and creamy with pears and pineapples. This is a beautifully balanced wine that complements a wide range of foods including roasted chicken, pan seared halibut, crab cakes and pasta in a creamy sauce.

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2010 Fetzer Anthony’s Hill Shiraz $4.99 elsewhere $9.99

California

Shiraz (or Syrah) is one of my favorite types of wine. This one had great color and I would choose it as an everyday-after-work-wine. Arvin smelled the aroma of apples and liked the pairing of chocolate with this wine. But, Becky thought it was too weak (she might be a wine-o, lol). Joe S said it tastes like a real wine – like my wife’s driving us home wine. Misty said good thing we don’t have far to go!

On-line review: The Fetzer vineyards Shiraz unoaked radiates with a dense, Garnet-red color. The aromas is characterized by intensely fragrant wild berries, wood and Oriental spices. On the palate the Fetzer vineyards Shiraz is unoaked tight, well structured game on the tongue and Finish with a thrilling sweet-acid soft round and exotic spicy.

The original review was in German (I think German)

Awards:

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: 2010 silver

San Francisco International Wine Competition: Silver for 2010

The label reads: Explore. I think of Shiraz as a grown-up Merlot. It’s familiar and different at the same time, a fearless choice when you’re ready for something new. From the deep purple colour to aromas of white pepper, plum, blackberry and licorice, you get a sense of adventure. Our Shiraz (others call it Syrah) is medium-bodied, with a lingering finish that is very satisfying. It’s a wine well worth exploring.

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whiplash

2009 Whiplash Redemption $3.99 elsewhere $13.99

California

Arvin and Larry agreed that this wine was smoother than the Shiraz and it had a dry-ness to it. Scott said it tasted better than it’s aroma would suggest. Becky liked the way this red blend started and even more when she paired it with chocolate. She said it brought out the fruitiness. She tasted a smoky flavor with cherries and coffee. Steve tried it with a smoky Gouda cheese and really liked the pairing. He also said chocolate brought out the fruitiness.

On-line review: Big fruit and firm tannins, blackberries and black cherry. Tart, tannic finish. If a wine ever called out for a bacon cheeseburger, it would be this one. Great casual Wednesday wine after getting home from work.

The label reads: Inspired by the timeless artistry of an intricately woven whip, Whiplash Wines are hand-crafted with balance & structure. Redemption is a dynamic blend of Syrah, Barbera & Zinfandel, with bright cherry aromas intertwined with flavors of succulent huckleberries, currants & spice, creating a wine of distinction & complexity. Want more? Check out www.whiplashwines.com

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chocolate shop wine   almond roca wine

Chocolate Shop ~ The Chocolate Lover’s Wine $7.99  ~~~  Brown & Haley’s Almond Roca Cream Wine $7.99

Misty loved the Almond Roca Cream wine immediately. She called it a Celebration Wine. Arvin agreed that this is a Holiday Wine.

Tasting notes: Inviting aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate entwine and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder. Nuances of red wine and residual sugar linger on the smooth finish.

Winemaker’s notes: Sweetening the tongues for centuries, chocolate and red wine has been the most reliable pairing in history. Chocolate Shop takes this pairing to the next level, marrying chocolate flavor with red wine to create a sumptuous drink. We start with a proprietary red blend of the finest vinifera varietals, add a touch of oak and a kiss of sweetness to create the perfect fruit-driven foil for the rich dark chocolate which unfolds in silken layers across the palate. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Terry loved the Chocolate Shop wine, she thought it was delicious. And, it was less sweet when paired with chocolate. Arvin thought it tasted like chocolate covered cherries and Becky said it smelled like cherry port.

Winemaker’s notes: In this cream-based wine, natural almond and toffee flavors marry with delicate cocoa notes, just like the flavors found in ALMOND ROCA® Buttercrunch toffee. ALMOND ROCA® Cream is crafted to be enjoyed over ice, as a traditional wine, or mixed with coffee. The 750ml bottles retail for $14.99 and contain 14% alcohol. The formula and flavor profile were co-created by Brown & Haley and Chocolate Shop Winemaker Hal Landvoigt. Precept Wine markets Almond ROCA® Cream.

Both are definitely Special Occasion wines. Stayed tuned to see how my Holiday race against time turns out!

Check out this link for some scrumptious ways to serve Almond Roca Cream Wine

The Meaning of Life

Friendship-Quotes-4

This blog is written in memory of Frank Malorzo, my good-friend’s best-friend. You will be impossible to forget.

What is friendship? Simply put, it’s just connecting with others, humans are very social. We feel each other’s pain and celebrate each other’s joy. Friends inspire us to be more interesting, have more fun and to be all around better people. They also inspire shenanigans. Like Lucy and Ethel. Whether you are a ‘Lucy’ or an ‘Ethal’, having fun, being silly, and yes, participating in shenanigans with our friends is what makes our potentially mundane daily lives worth it.

1amwords_shenanigans

Do you remember Lucy and Ethel singing about friendship? They were mad at each other for wearing the same dress during their performance and, well here, you check it out:

That’s the song I hear as I’m typing this blog. I don’t know why I tend to think of black & white television shows when I reflect on anything and everything. I guess I relate to them. Don’t we all? Life lessons – learned through situational comedy.

It’s not how we connect to friends thats important though- it may be texting during football, dancing in the sand at a beach party once a year, or spending an hour or two each week tasting wine on the Front Porch – it’s only important that we connect. Touching each other’s lives for the better, making memories – good and bad – living life & having fun.

I just stumbled on the Meaning of life! You-Are-Welcome. Tell your kids.

Our friends at home took over Front Porch Wine Tasting this week. Steve and I went to meet up with all the friends we’ve made since being a part of Grocery Outlet. Mostly other store owners, and a lot of corporate friends too. We appreciate everyone who joined Joe & Becky on their Back Porch to help us all choose the right weekend wines. Thank You!

friendship wines

Lot 205 Chardonnay ~ Roblar O Pescador ~ Harlow Ridge Cab ~ Independent Producers Merlot

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lot 205 chard

100% California 2012 Lot 205 Chardonnay $3.99 elsewhere $11.99

Chris says this Chardonnay is very smooth and sweet tasting. Bob and Misty both found it to be citrusy and Becky thought she tasted pear. The label offered no ‘clues’ as to what to expect except: Lush, Vibrant & Aromatic… Think Grilled Seafood or Chicken.

On-line review: “I was pleasantly surprised by this wine, because it was a nicely balanced, creamy Chardonnay without aggressive oak flavors. It was pale straw in color, and had aromas of butter, cream, and apples. These aromas carried through into the flavors and there was a citrusy, creamy aftertaste that was pleasant and not at all artificial. This wine would be great with grilled chicken with lemon, fried chicken, or grilled halibut. But don’t underestimate the appeals of a white wine like this served with some simply munchies and an ice bucket on a Sunday afternoon.”

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Roblar

Santa Ynez Valley 2010 Roblar O Pescador $3.99 elsewhere $8.99

Click here for Roblar Winery Pairing Cuisine recipes

Becky has been trying to get me to taste this wine since we started Front Porch Wine Tasting! and I missed it… :-/ She really liked it but couldn’t remember the name, she called it fish wine because of picture on the label. Christine said this white blend is light, an enjoyable summer wine. Bob likes it dry and found it to be light and airy. Joe S. commented that, “it doesn’t taste like fish at all.” Whew! That fish pic on the label confused me too Joe, what a relief. Larry thought it had a sharp taste and Thelma said it was fruity with a hint of peach. Dan wanted to make sure we knew there were no peach pits :-p

I could not find any on-line reviews except for the wine-snob that harshly (in my opinion) reviews Grocery Outlet wines and is sometimes hard to understand if you happen to be regular people. But, this particular review is pretty funny. He clearly does not like it at first, but it becomes ‘drinkable’ to him in the end.

The label reads: Roblar Winery is committee to producing the highest quality varietals that best reflect the viticultural diversity of Santa Ynez Valley. Our logo is a symbol of our winery, our vineyards, and the meaning of our name: strength. Strength you can count on for quality and value.

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harlow ridge

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Harlow Ridge
Lodi
2011 CABERNET SAUVIGNON

SILVER MEDAL
Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition 2013
Pacific Rim International Wine Competition 2013
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Lodi 2011 Harlow Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon $4.99 elsewhere $9.99

The label reads: When Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in regions where summer days are warm and nights are cool, the wine is full-bodied and vibrant with varietal and fruit complexities. Meticulous cellar practices promote these attributes while imparting a pleasant, long finish on the palate. The enjoyment in composing this wine can only be enhanced when gracing your table with family and friends!

Local Lodi Wine! So, what did the Porch think? Bob says the 6th glass of wine is always good. Misty thought it was a good nightcap wine. And Dan, my new favorite Dan, said, “just a couple of sips and my cough went away. Is there a grape flavored Nyquil?” Yes. Yes, there is Dan. It is not good. But, wine flavored Nyquil, Now that’s what I’m talking about! (This must’ve been the last wine that was tasted, judging not only by the comments but the notes are kinda harder to read than the rest) Somebody said warming is the word that describes this Cab and two other people agreed that it had staying power with a little heat in the front. Well worth the price – it does Lodi proud.

 Wine Maker notes: “The striking appeal of this wine is the complexity of fruit and spice characters. Black cherry with hints of black olive and plum greet the palate. The wine continues with lingering notes of vanilla, cedar, and nutmeg.”

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independent producers

 Washington State 2011 Independent Producers Merlot $7.99 elsewhere $14.99

On-line review: Post modern northern latitude west coast style. Soft with some angularity, focused acid, somewhat wildly intoxicating, and picked early for greater vintage precision, yet medium high PH for smoothness. Coffee, pencil lead, anise, and earth. A vineyard focused place of origin wine.

Did you read that? ‘Wildly intoxicating’ Yes, please! I checked the notes Joe took twice, nobody tasted pencil lead or earth. Terry liked the intoxicating smooth scent. Larry thought the aroma reminded him of black cherry and Misty’s chocolate cake intensifies the flavor of the wine. Joe noticed a strong smokiness and wrote in the notes that everyone really liked it. Bob commented that it had a Merlot aftertaste with a little bite. He enjoyed the bouquet, even though while swishing it around in his mouth, he got it into his nasel cavity 😦 Ah, poor Bob.

What would we do without our friends? Well, we wouldn’t have any wine reviews for this weekend and we wouldn’t have discovered the meaning of life either. So, if you haven’t already found your ‘Lucy/Ethel’ (or ‘Oscar/Felix’, as the case may be) go out into your community, get involved in something, and find them. You don’t know what you’re missing!