Road Trip!

The Front Porch Wine Tasters hit the road this past week for a long weekend in the mountains. I was really looking forward to taking time to relax with friends & family.

We had a blast!

     

But…

I’m grateful that I survived the trip up the mountain. Steve gets a little distracted by lakes and streams that are alongside the road. He lets the car get a kinda sweevy as he looks too long while deciding if… “Yep! There’s fish in there!” at Every. Body. of water we pass.

He also gets irritated by me:

  1. Reminding him that he is driving
  2. Clutching the door handle/bracing for impact
  3. Telling him I don’t want a close up view of the water from the car as it falls off the road

Needless to say, he was excited to be going fishing.

We all had a great time fishing, hiking and playing all kinds of games and, as always,  we had a lot of laughs.

Some of us may have even sang and/or danced (there is video).

    

Boys will be Boys (great wine glass balancing skills!)

    

Full Contact Croquet

 

So, on Winesday, we gathered on the Front Porch to debrief while we tasted some new wines that Steve has brought in just in time for Father’s Day!

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Hillersden Sauv Blanc ~ Anthony Koster Chard

Chillhouse Zin ~ Parlay Red Blend ~ Old Mill Petite Sirah

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2014 Hillersden Sauvignon Blanc

Marlmorough, New Zeland

$3.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $14.99 elsewhere

Kerri tasted fruity undertones, she doesn’t usually care for a Sauvignon Blanc but she liked this one. She seemed surprised at herself as she said again that she liked it. Becky thought in the glass it looked more like a chardonnay, she tasted tobacco. Joe agreed. Scott called it nice, not sweet and Steve found it fruity. Larry thought it was good right out of the bottle as he downed the last drop. Keepin it classy.

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Clean @ crisp with a bit of fruit. I loved it. Easy drinking and a great summer wine. I was able to find it way under retail (probably @ Grocery Outlet) and might get a case

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2016 Anthony Koster Family Estates Chardonnay

Sonoma Ca

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $18.99 elsewhere

On first taste, Connie said: “mmmmm, ew la la”. Larry said it was creamy. Becky thought it was more like a sauvignon blanc, and she tasted guava. She also tasted oak and said it was really good. Joe tasted peach or apricot, he couldn’t decide at first. After a couple sips he confirmed, peach. Scott found this Chardonnay to be smoky.

no on-line reviews found 😦  ~ this’ll be the first 🙂

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2010 Parlay the Bookmaker Red Blend

Central Coast, Ca

$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $19.99 elsewhere

Take a gamble on the blend, it always pays off! I heard Terry quietly say, “Oh! This is REALLY good, tastes like grape juice.” (I think she didn’t want me to hear). Kerri commented on the great aroma and Connie agreed with Terry – Tastes like mature grape juice. Becky tasted tobacco and Joe said he liked the dryness. Rudy agreed and Scott named this his favorite of the night.

88.4 points from Cellartracker.com: Mellow with dried fruit and earth flavors. For the price ($21 for me), it is a nice Wednesday night wine. I wouldn’t crack it open for special occasions but this would be really good with some BBQ ribs or grilled meats.

From the bottle: Rich aromas and sumptuous flavors of boysenberry & ripe black cherry form the backbone of this delicious wine made from premiere grapes grown at a combination of central coast vineyards in California.

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2012 Peachy Canyon Chill House Zinfandel

Paso Robles

~ Silver Medal Winner ~

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $17.99 elsewhere

Kerri started us out with this Paso Zin, she tasted cherries. Connie said this wine was like having dessert. Terry agreed, she found it sweet. Connie added that this Chill House Zin really lights a fire, (she would have said her fire, but didn’t think she should) Smokin’ Hot Chill House. Becky thought it smelled like an old vine zin and Joe agreed. She added that she tasted Cuban cigar. She said she likes this one a lot, it stays with you – lingers. She said, “Let it sit on your tongue and it starts to tingle”. Yeah baby!

88 points from Tastings.com: Deep purple color. Mild aromas of baked berries, cocoa, and pickling spices with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, breezy dried berries and raisins, chocolate orange peels, and nuts finish with chewy tannins and light oak. A nice and easy, everyday zin.

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2014 The Old Mill Petite Sirah – Classic Nightfall Series

Amador County, Ca

$6.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $ elsewhere

Right off the bat, I knew I would like this one! Joe agreed from his first sniff. He said, “Oh man that is really good – what is it (referring to the aroma) it is deep… Becky thought this Petite Syrah would pair nicely with a rack of lamb. Joe added that the description on the label is spot on and he commented on the ‘nice stems’. Rudy tasted oak and fruit. Kerri smelled pipe tobacco and Becky agreed. Joe tasted licorice. Becky closed with, “this is really good”.

From the bottle: When Nightfall comes at The Old Mill, take the time to unwind and pour yourself a glass of this bold Petite Sirah. The rich, oak accented dark fruit flavors and aromas create intense color and soft structure.

Golf for Gals

Is there such a thing as spending too much time with your spouse?

For YEARS Steve has been trying to get me to take golf lessons. Now, just for a point of reference, I should explain that we are always together. We live together (obviously) and we work together. Most men would enjoy some time to themselves on the golf course. I have enjoyed his golf time as the best time to start DIY projects as he is not around to object. You remember my dog house/bar project.

So, as it turns out, him AND his golf buddies (all Front Porch Wine Tasters, of course) thought it was a good idea for us wives to take lessons. Well, we finally did it this week.

Five of us signed up for lessons. Check out these lovely ladies:

golf 1

From left to right, Terry, Kerri & Carol

not pictured: Misty (who has lessons a different day due to work) Boo. And me ‘cause I’m taking the pic 🙂

Our first lesson was all about putting. Great. I really suck at miniature golf. So bad that I have actually picked up my ball and threw it into that freakin windmill and I still didn’t make it. Miniature golf is all putting. Sigh.

The instructor was pretty good though. She gave us some great tips and I even made a couple long(ish) puts.

The girls and I decided we’d have to practice during the week. That was fun, but I had to borrow Steve’s putter. Afterward, he decided to get me my own. In the shop at the course they had a real cute set of ladies clubs. Used, so they were a good price. Steve checked out the driver and said they weren’t for me. Why? Who knows.

Man, did he regret not getting the cheap set. He took me to a fancy golf store and we checked out all the putters. There were so many different kinds. I picked one that felt right, plus it was super cute. Steve tried to suggest others, but I’d already found my putter.

golf 4

I love the matte copperyness of it

The next lesson is chipping, so we thought we’d get a chipper too (probably not what it’s called). The salesman showed us a few, but I thought it should match the putter. So I picked it out. Bonus, it was on clearance! At the register, I asked if they had any coupons and I’m pretty sure I heard the guy roll his eyes, but hey, this girl loves a bargain.

golf 5

Turns out though, I have expensive taste. Steve told me on the way home that I choose the most expensive brand. I asked him, “why didn’t you tell me?” He said he tried.

He just might regret this after all.

golf 2

UPDATE: I won’t be getting any more new clubs, I’m gonna use Steve’s old hand-me-down irons & woods

Cheers!

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golf 11

~ Figueira White Wine ~ Chateau Julien Chardonnay ~

~ Chateau Julien Merlot ~ Obscured Red ~

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golf 7

2014 Barao De Figueira White Wine, Portugal

Elsewhere price $7.99 Our ~ Price $3.99 ~ You Save 50%!

This slightly sweet white blend felt kinda sparkly to me. Arvin declared it a good wine and Ethan thought his wife Barbara would like it. Larry liked the taste but didn’t care for the bubbliness, Scott agreed. Terri thought the effervescence was a nice surprise.

3/5 stars from Vivino.com: Great value white wine, typical of a Portuguese white, peach fruit, citrus aroma with tart green leaf acidity, has an element of Muscat on the palate too, but without any of the associated cloying sweetness. I’d buy this again for an afternoon of savoury light bites on the terrace reading the Sunday papers.

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golf 6

1014 Chateau Julien Chardonnay, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $10.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 55%!

Terri found this chardonnay very smooth. Arvin added, ‘silky’. Steve thought it tasted vanilla-y. Larry didn’t immediately speak up, but after a couple tastes said it’s growing on him.

Tasting notes from WineLibrary.com: Aromas of white peach, pear and lemony citrus are complemented with notes of toasted vanilla on the palate

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golf 10

2014 Chateau Julien Merlot, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $14.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 67%!

Larry commented that this merlot has a pretty good tobacco aroma, and he liked the fruity taste. Scott said he really liked this, not too dry – soft but not sweet. I found it to be very light. I noticed that Larry and Scott both had a second glass, Scott said it was his favorite of the night. It is ready to drink now.

Tasting notes from UltimateWineShop.com: Forward fruit aromas of ripe plum, cherry and soft raspberry balance mild tannins and a hint of cedar. A full bodied palate with complexity through the finish.

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golf 8

2014 ObscuRed Dark Red Wine Blend, Napa

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $3.99 ~ You Save 77%!

Arvin thought this dry, full bodied dark red blend tasted like dark chocolate, Ethan agreed. I tasted black cherries, it was a very smooth drinkable blend. Arvin had a second glass and said, “I like this chocolate wine’.

4/5 stars from Vivino.com: A surprisingly good red blend from napa, good flavor and drinkability

 

Memorial Day – Celebrate * Honor * Remember

The other day, I happened to be scrolling through Facebook and I saw the first Memorial Day post in my news feed this year. I thought I’d share it with you today courtesy of my cousin Tracy 🙂

Memorial-Day-2016-1024x567

Just a reminder that Memorial Day is not about BBQ’s, a day off work or parties.

It is to remember those that have fallen to protect those rights to have that BBQ, that day off of work or that party!!! I will remember and never forget their sacrifice!!

I love this reminder to just simply remember our fallen soldiers especially during our BBQ’s and parties. Most of us can’t even fathom the sacrifice that they and their families have made for all Americans. I believe they appreciate the fact that we all choose to celebrate our Freedom, each in our own way, in their name.

The “Gone but Not Forgotten” Memorial Day event at Woodward Park right here in Manteca is the place to be this weekend! If you haven’t been yet, Go. You have to experience this event. Check out it out here: Not Forgotten

“Not Forgotten” is an annual event that takes place every Memorial Day Weekend in Manteca, California. The purpose of the event is to honor all who have served our country in the military, to remember our fallen heroes and their families, to raise awareness in our community and remind our citizens that freedom is not free.

God Bless America!

I plan on going to the Not Forgotten weekend and we’ll probably BBQ at some point during the weekend as well. My flag will out on the house, and I hope to gather with some good friends. Of course, good friends deserve good wines…..

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memorial day 6

Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ~ 2013 Costiera White Blend ~ Graymont Chardonnay

Valley of the Moon Orbitor ~ Woodwork Red Blend

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memorial day wine 3

2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc

Elsewhere price $11.99 ~ Our Price $2.99 ~ You Save 75%!

I actually had never tried this variety of wine, and I still cannot pronounce it :-/ But, I don’t need to be able to say the name to enjoy it (thank goodness cause I really liked it) Arvin thought it was a nice summer wine and it paired nicely with the spicy shrimp guac that we had. Joe R said it was a little tart, and Steve agreed – tart like a Granny Smith apple. He added that this is a good one. Joe S called it nice, and said it had a little bite to it. Terri and Misty both liked this lighter wine and Ethan called it smooth.

Winemaker’s Notes

A powerful nose of guava, lime zest and ripe pear braced by honeysuckle and orange blossoms. A juicy palate with opulent passion-fruit, following through from the nose and finishing off with tart grapefruit characteristics. The refreshing acidity is perfectly counteracted by a creamy mid palate and subtle oak-derived spice. The 2011 vintage is a more fruit-driven style that is fresher and drier comparing to the 2010 vintage. A delightfully accessible wine that is mouth-wateringly moreish.

Partner with shellfish, grilled tuna, grilled sardines, lemon and herb roast chicken, or vegetable stews

88 points from WineEnthusiat.com: “Young and fresh, this Chenin shows the stuffing to hold for another couple of years thanks to firm, tight acidity and a solid fruit core of pear, melon, guava and lime rind. The mouthfeel is round, but the palate isn’t heavy. An attractive hint of sweet spice unfolds on the finish.”

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memorial day wine 2

2013 Costiera Russian River Valley White Blend

Elsewhere price $22.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 70%!

I took note of the very light color of this Russian River Valley White wine. Arvin said it has a little tingle – like a sangiovase. Steve noticed it’s long legs and fruitiness. Joe R agreed with Arvin that it was like a red – stronger than you’d expect a white to be – and he agreed with Steve on the fruitiness. I didn’t get notes from the other tasters on this Chardonnay as the Front Porch was pretty lively, so I missed some comments :-/

Winemaker’s Notes

Enticing aromas and flavors of pears, stone fruit and citrus Rich texture and complexity on the palate balanced by crisp acidity and clean finish. 83% Pinot Grigio, 17% Vermentino

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memorial day wine 4

2013 Limited Reserve Graymont Estate Napa Chardonnay

Elsewhere price $19.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 65%!

This is the type of Chardonnay that I really enjoy! Steve called it buttery and sweet, definitely buttery though I didn’t really find it sweet. Arvin and Kerri were trying to identify the aroma, they decided on tobacco (but that could’ve been Ethan and his pipe). Joe R thought it had a buttery aroma and he said it ‘stays up a little longer’ (turns out that means, long legs). Larry said, Whoa! It clears your sinuses – great before bed wine to keep you from snoring.

I spent way longer than I should’ve searching the interweb for any info on this wine. I have nothing to show for it but this link to the GraymontWinery.

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memorial day wine 5

2011 Valley of the Moon Orbitor Sonoma County Red Blend

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 71%!

Misty called this red blend a good one! Arvin thought it paired nicely with Misty’s chocolate birthday cake (Happy Birthday Misty!) This was the winner of the night for Joe R. He complimented the aroma, he loves the smell of a good red wine. He called it ‘heavy’, adding: it’s a strong blend of all the good red wines (Zinfandel 49%, Petite Sirah 39%, Syrah 12%). It’s ready to drink now.

Surprisingly, only a 82.8 points from CellarTracker.com the reviews seem like they are from a completely different bottle of wine! But, the newest review is a year old. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t ready then.

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memorial day wine 1

2013 Woodwork Central Coast Red Blend

Elsewhere price $15.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 69%!

Arvin was afraid this Central Coast Red might have some sawdust flavors, but he was wrong. Terri and I both found it to be smooth. Joe R called it super dry – solid wood – the dryness sucks the juice from your gums. He thought it would be great with BBQ but he would lay it down for a couple years. Ethan said it smoothes out as you go, especially if you add an ice cube. Joe didn’t want to sit by Ethan after that, lol.

From the bottle: Influence: toffee, mocha, clove notes – Expression: Blackberry, plum, black current notes.

4.1/5 stars from Vivino.com: Toffee and mocha are evident but blackberry and plum come through as well. Smooth and tasty

 

 

FOUND: The Perfect Paint Color! (Part 2)

After 150 trips to Home depot for gray paint, painting splotches all over the walls (see Part 1 here), mixing different grays together and with random left-over paints from my collection in the garage then painting more splotches on the walls, I found the perfect paint color.

gray blog paint color

Thank goodness it was not one of my custom mixed colors. I would’ve never been able to duplicate the exact recipe of absurdly measured colors for the guy at Home Depot anyway. Unless he is used to measuring paint by counting One Mississippi, Two Mississippi as he slowly pours one paint into another.

The perfect paint color was already painted in my game room. It was the base color that my daughter painted under the ‘brick’ wall. It only appears as grout, but it’s perfect. Porpoise in an eggshell finish. BTW, King-Veto loves the eggshell finish.

brake drum lamp 3

Side note: I’m sure my daughter just strolled right into the paint department and grabbed the first gray without any thought or planning at all. Because the universe takes pleasure in watching me over-think the insignificant details of my five-year-flip.

gray blog livingroom wall 2 gray blog fireplace

Cement floors stained, new baseboards painted and installed, new paint on walls & trim, fireplace whitewashed and walnut installed above mantel – all done.

Living room complete. CHECK!

Ahhhhhh, a finished room. I don’t even know how to live like this.

gray blog stairs gray blog stairs 2

Not to worry. I still have to paint the rest of the place and finish those darn stairs.

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Here’s this weeks wine picks:

wine pics 2

Ca’ Bella White Blend ~ Redwood Empire Chard ~ Sunset Oak Syrah ~ Sticky Beak Toscana

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gray blog 4 wine

2010 Ca’ Bella White Blend $3.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerri noted the floral aroma and said this Pinot Grigio/Fiona blend is light and crisp. Terry commented that she liked it a lot. Larry agreed, saying: Ummm, that is good. He added that he tasted pear and found it refreshing, Joe also thought it was pear-ish and nice. Becky thought it was a tiny bit sweet. Scott said it paired nicely with the spicy guacamole.

From the label: “Va piano” in Italin means to “proceed calmly”.  At Lago di Merlo we have blended the best of the northern part of Italy with some of the best from the south to create “Pi-ano”. The Pinot Grigio contributed to the earthy steeliness of this wine while the Fiano gives it the lush stone fruit character that is so supple. It is the only blend of its kind that we know of. Please enjoy the diversity of these two great Italian grapes in the same bottle. Salute!

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gray blog 3 wine

2012 Redwood Empire Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Steve liked this North Coast Chardonnay right away. He called it full-bodied and he thought he tasted citrus. Kerri agreed, she tasted mandarin and added that it had nice legs. Larry found it to be refreshing and Terry said it was spicy. Becky liked the fruity aroma, she tasted kiwi or grapefruit.

Tasting notes from Vivino.com: Honeysuckle and pear on the nose. Buttery mouthfeel with a hint of honey and vanilla and a touch of pear. Medium length finish that is warming

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gray blog 1 wine

2012 Sunset Oak Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

This Sonoma County Syrah has a beautiful plum color. Larry like the aroma and it’s smoothness. He said it had legs all the way up to it’s bum (I cleaned that up for ya!),  he also liked how it paired with chocolate. Scott called it grapey (lol) and Becky tasted plum with an oak finish. Kerry agreed on the plum and called it velvety as well. Joe thought it was nice and mild with a tang to it.

3.5 stars out of 5 from Vivino.com: Californian Syrah certainly isn’t a wine for the meek. This bold, spicy wine typically has heaps of raspberry, black fruit and heady levels of alcohol.

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gray blog 2 wine

2011 Sticky Beak Toscana $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerry called this Toscana spicy and would like to try it with a good rib eye steak. Terry said it tickles your nose and Becky really liked it. She added, ‘mmmmmm’. Then whispered, ‘It’s like an explosion in your mouth’. Scott said it was very nice and Joe liked the dryness. We all agreed that it was good with brownie bites.

4.5 stars out of 5 from Vivino.com: “Really good wine for the money, great acid that pairs well with food, Italian of course, but also roasted lamb would be great.”

Tasting notes from the Wine Maker: Wonderful lifted red fruit and light herbs on the nose, with a good palate and tight clean acidity. Tart cherry typical of Tuscan Sangiovese melds seamlessly with luscious Merlot and a hint of spice from the Syrah. Drinks beautifully now, and will only get better with a little bit of age

That’s why we can’t have nice things, Happy Mother’s Day!

So, it turns out that we just can’t have nice things. I plant a nice flower bed but it doesn’t stay nice. It needs attention. Someone to water it and weed it. I fix things and more things need fixin. I decorate the house, everything in its place, then people move stuff or disturb the dust revealing the required maintenance. It used to be easier. When my kids were little, they did all the household chores. Now they’re grown and I might have to hire a guy; clearly I didn’t have enough kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they all grew up and everything. But come on! I didn’t realize the free household labor I had until it was gone. I love who they are as adults, biting sarcasm and all. It doesn’t matter how other people may see them, they’re happy and so am I.

Here’s a random eighties reference (with a twist), see if you recognize it:

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did WAS wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is

… a DIYer…

…and a wannabe golfer…

…and a hippie…

…and a hipster…

…and a gamer…

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Tarr Pitt.

 

It might’ve been nice if they grew up to be a pool man, a maid and a gardener. Just sayin.

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2015 Mother’s Day Family Portrait

Let’s Celebrate Motherhood with some Wine!

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 three whites

Savida Sangria ~ Taproot Chardonnay ~ Bushranger Chardonnay

three reds

Benessere Sangiovese ~ William Hardy Shiraz ~ Taproot Cabernet Sauvignon

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 Savida-Sangria-4-White-600x900

Savida White Tangerine Peach Sangria California $3.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

I thought we’d try something different to start this week off, Summery Sangria. Terry noticed an apricot aroma in the bouquet. She found this wine blend pleasant, but sweet. Scott thought the sweetness paired well with the two spicy cheeses we had, Spicy Gouda and Salsa Jack. Joe R called it a desert wine, 50% fruity and 50% sweet. Steve thought it was an enjoyable summer wine. I think this is a good starter wine. You know, when you’re trying to ease someone into the wine experience. Serve very cold.

From the winemaker: California varietal wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio give a crisp base and are blended with real Tangerine, Peach, Lemon and Lime. No sugar added and real fruit gives complex flavor and clean balanced sweetness.

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bushranger chardonnay 2 bushranger vineyard

2010 Bushranger Chardonnay Australia $3.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Larry liked this Aussie Chardonnay right away, he noticed an oak aroma. Scott agreed, he said he likes the bush, it’s got a little tang to it! SMH, I wasn’t gonna use that comment but it was true. I noticed a citrusy tang. This Cellartracker reviewer agreed: Fresh straw yellow. Lemon tang, a bit of wet stone, and warm caramel nose. Medium to full bodied, somewhat viscous, grapefruit, slightly bitter almonds, and a fairly long slightly sour finish. Kind of austere with just a touch of oak

86 points from Cellartracker.com

 

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taproot chardonnay

2012 Taproot Chardonnay Central Coast $3.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Arvin commented that this California Chardonnay was spicy, good spicy. Connie said it’s good, kinda tart like a green apple. Terry agreed, she liked the clean finish on this one.

WORLD WINE CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARD: Gold Medal

91 points from Tastings.com: Aromas of lemon yogurt and pineapple tart with a silky, fruity-yet-dry medium body and a tangy, pineapple-mango vanilla custard finish. An unassuming, yet very pleasant and precisely made chardonnay

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taproot cabernet sauvignon

2011 Taproot Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast $4.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Becky started us off, she said this Cab had a nice aroma. She liked it, saying it’s almost peppery – but maybe bell peppery. Terry like the boldness and Ethan said, ‘put me down for a case’. I thought it was very smooth. Arvin tried to hoard this Cab at his end of the Front Porch.

Longbeach Grand Cru 2013 BEST IN CLASS

Tasting notes from the winemaker: Deep ruby in color, our Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of ripe, dark fruits and warm, toasty oak.

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william hardy shiraz

2012 William Hardy Shiraz Australia $3.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Scott commented on the dark color, he liked the spicy-sharp finish. Terry tasted red berries and liked how it paired with the dark chocolate. Becky tasted tobacco and vanilla oak.

90 points from Wine.com

Winemaker’s Notes: This full bodied Shiraz has intense dark fruit flavors balanced with spicy oak, smooth tannins and a long silky finish. The perfect accompaniment to lamb shanks and roast meats.

87 points from Cellartracker.com: Attractive aromas of dark berry fruit and cocoa, then rich sweet dark berries leading to a spicy note and smooth good finish.

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 benessere red truck benessere sangiovase 2 Benessere vineyard napa

2009 Benessere Sangiovese Napa $6.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Terry called this Napa Sangiovese smooooooth, she liked the berries at the end. Joe R said it bites you back. Larry thought it was mild and he tasted currant, he commented on the beautiful legs. Steve said, “I like it! Write that down.” Let this one breath.

87.6 points from Cellartracker.com

90 points from Cellartracker reviewer: Thought this was quite good and a great QPR. Cherries on the nose and palate. Medium body with medium tannins and finish. Drinking very well. A nice “Italian” from California. Only one more bottle remaining; wish I purchased more

Food & Wine Pairing Challenge:

Mexican Food. Generally you’d think beer or a margarita or even a shot of tequila when you’re having Mexican Food. So, the challenge was to find wines that compliment the spiciness of the food. All of the Front Porch Wine Tasters ordered food from the Manteca Police Dept K-9 Unit fund-raiser that was conveniently scheduled on Winesday.

k9 duty to serve

Read more on the Manteca Police K-9 Unit

I read that sweeter wines pair well with spicy, but I also wanted a Spanish Red. Turns out there are all kinds of Spanish wines! It was really hard to choose just one.   So let’s see how I did:

4 wines mexican food

Middle Sister Rose’ ~ Little Rascal’s Sauv Blanc ~ Feeding Frenzy White ~ Antano Rioja

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middle sister rose

Middle Sister Blushing Beauty Rose’ $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Terry started us off with the California Rose’, she called it Rosey and Sweet and liked how it went with the spice of the food. Steve found it Fruity and Sweet and thought it paired well with the carnitas. Joe R liked the bouquet and Arvin thought it was more of a desert wine. Larry said it was very mild, I agreed, it was delicate.

On-line review from WineSisterhood.com: What is better than a beautiful pink wine with fruity flavors of cherry and strawberry. Not much! It’s definitely time to get some friends together and drink pink! Try this beauty with grilled hot dogs, white-sauce pizza and picnic foods.

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little rascals sauv blanc

2012 Little Rascal’s Sauvignon Blanc $2.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Connie found this sustainably grown Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc spicy. Larry agreed, he said it’s got a bite to it. Terry thought it was pretty good, she tasted grapefruit. Steve commented that it was very spicy and he may be tasting pear…

81 Points from WineEnthusiat.com

On-line review from CheapWineSnobs: Although not a complicated wine, I think Stymie would approve for a first meeting wine. It is very flowery and has a little citrus. It is a little heavier than most (Sauvignon Blancs). One might even guess it to be a Chardonnay. My pal, Stymie and I will give this one a strong 2.5

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feeding frenzy white blend

Feeding Frenzy White Table Wine $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Feeding Frenzy wines have been a favorite on the Front Porch in the past, and this California White Blend was no exception. Arvin immediately commented, ‘I like this one!’ Steve said, ‘Best one yet. It becomes one with your mouth.’ To which Terry replied, ‘Whoa, that’s deep.’

Again, I could not find much about Feeding Frenzy wines on-line, but Front Porch Wine Tasting came up in the Google search!

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Antano spanish red

Reseva 2008 Antaño Rioja $5.99     ***Limited Supply***

Elsewhere price $14.99

***Berliner Wein Gold Trophy Winner 2012***

***Concours Mondial Silver Medal Winner 2012***

I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish, let me translate this wine for you: 2008 Antano Red Reserve. Your welcome. ‘Muh Bueno!’ came from Arvin, he added that he noticed tobacco in the bouquet and tasted oak. Connie thought it had a nice bouquet and very long legs. Joe said it was a little dirty, like wine cellar dirt (what!?!), Misty agreed but said more like Spanish dirt. Becky said it had an earthy aroma (oh, that’s what they meant) and she thought it tasted very bold, she liked the pairing with the creaminess of the guacamole.

84.8 points from Cellartracker.com  

Tasting notes via WinesFromSpain: Red currants and black cherries are prevalent, but there’s a little white mushroom note underneath it, so typical of traditionalist Rioja. Tart red cherries are in the nose too, and come to the fore in the mouth; it gives a fresh, crushed red fruits crunchiness to the wine. Fascinatingly, the mouth immediately gets darker and richer, black cherries and even more black plums dominate the finish, along with sawdust and vanilla. Stylish and almost lengthy. Drink soon or in the next several years.

Let’s be good to ourselves

Everyone loves presents, amiright? But why wait for someone to notice that you deserve a gift…

Reward yourself instead.

I used to buy myself flowers every week. I don’t know why I stopped doing that. I kept them on the counter in my bathroom, the mirror made it seem as though there were twice as many.  Try not smiling when you see that first thing in the morning.

So, I was jonesin yesterday for a pick-me-up. I figured retail therapy was in order. Turns out I ran into a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless just in case she was shopping on the downlow) who was there for the same reason. I got a great new purse, she got a couple pairs of sandals and we both left smiling.

Next time you find yourself in the same sitch, check this list for a quick smile:

  1. Take a field trip ~ to a museum or weird roadside attraction
  2. Retail therapy ~ I like to pretend that I have a $25 or $50 gift card so it doesn’t turn into an out-of-control addiction
  3. Buy yourself flowers ~ They are cheaper than you think (unless its Valentine’s Day)
  4. See a movie in the middle of the day ~ Yeah
  5. Have some wine!

Let’s be good to ourselves!

 

 wine line up

Kimmel Chard ~ LeBaron Ranch Chard ~ Snoqualmie Red ~ Grandfather Zin

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 kimmel chard

2012 Kimmel Chardonnay Mendocino County $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

GOLD
San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition
2014
               

Terry started us off with this Chardonnay, she wasn’t sure she liked the bouquet. Larry said it’s got a ‘ting’ to it and called it thought provoking, he liked it paired with the Organic Four Cheese Pizza. Steve agreed that it had a strong aroma, but he liked the buttery-ness. Becky liked it paired with the Turkey Pepper Jack Deli Spirals. Connie tasted oak and called it ‘kinda wild’. She thought this would be a good wine to bathe in!

From the winemaker: Classic unoaked style – crisp, fresh, full-flavored …
a delicious imprint of Mendocino fruit.
The grapes were whole-cluster pressed and then cold-fermented to dryness in stainless tanks. The fermented juice was left on the lees until just prior to bottling to create a wonderfully fresh, crisp, and fruit-forward wine

Here’s the food pairings they were referring to:

wine snacks

wine pizza wine spirals

Bold Pizza $7.99 for a two pack & Nancy’s Deli Spirals $4.99 60 count

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le baron chard

2013 Le Baron Hop Station Chardonnay Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Arvin and Scott both found this Chardonnay to be on the sweet side, but smooth. Larry said it had a bite to it. Joe R thought it was fruity, peach to be exact. Connie liked the light aroma and said it right up her alley, she loved it.

4 out of 5 on snooth.com: Very good…I got a hint of dill on the finish…

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 snoq wine

2012 Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Blend Columbia Valley $3.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

I immediately loved the chocolatey aroma! Connie agreed, saying it had a heavenly bouquet. She added that it would be great with dessert, so smooth. Terry commented that she could sip on this all night. Arvin thought he’d like it with a turkey sandwich at lunch. Larry liked it as well and Joe R called it a good solid quality red wine that lives up to its aroma. I actually had to get a couple more bottles for myself later 🙂

Review from GreatNorthwestWine.com: The nose features a beautiful presentation of black cherry, ripe raspberry, smoky dark chocolate and tobacco leaf. What follows is a smooth drink of dark plum, blackberry and chocolate-covered black cherry, backed by a great finish of raspberry and cranberry.

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grandfather zin

2013 Grandfather Clock Zinfandel Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Steve loved this Zin, he detected a tinge of spice. He added that it was great with chocolate. Larry agreed, he liked the bouquet and found it very smooth. It made Terry tingly as she sipped. Becky tasted a smoky tobacco flavor and Connie said it was a beautifully tasting bouquet. Everybody had a second round. Steve was raving about it like it was beer. Terry said, “Yum!” and Larry said, “Do I actually have to say a red is my favorite?”

No online reviews yet, you’re just gonna havta take our word on it and give a try.

It’s not done, until it’s Over-Done!

 

I used to be Clark Griswold. None of my plants would freeze during the winter because of the heat generated from my Christmas lights. Not only did they dance to traditional AND rock-n-roll Christmas carols, but you could possibly see them from space. It was glorious.

It involved careful extension cord maze planning discussions between my daughter & me (editors note: nobody speaks in proper grammar, Karissa), electric bills that rivaled the mortgage payment and friendly inspections by the Fire Marshall. It usually ended in frustration as some cord or fuse would fail.

Inside, you would find a 9 foot tall tree right out of a department store surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents. Lighted garland in every doorway, ornaments hanging from the ceiling and small ‘themed’ trees throughout the house. Yes, it was ridiculous. And, I did most of the decorating myself. Which I realized was stupid.

In my old age I have learned to allow my husband and boys to help through subtle guilt trips. Don’t judge, it makes them feel good to make me happy. Who am I to deny them of this happiness? There may not be as many lights as before but they go up so much easier! I don’t even have to go outside.

Okay, my video wouldn’t load. Ours is just like this. (not really)

I still may or may not have multiple trees, excessive garland and ornaments around the house BUT I do not do it all by myself. My boys were much more easily tricked willing to help than I had expected.

three trees

My best Christmas advice? Plastic wrap your fully decorated tree when it’s time to put it away! I saw it on Pinterest last year, so I tried it with my Candy Themed Tree. It unwrapped perfectly decorated and dust-free!

wrapped tree

Yeah, it does need more ornaments…

Needless to say, I had plenty of Wine-Time this year!

wine snacks

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Slow Dancer Chard ~ Laroche Chard ~ 2 Cocky Sisters Red ~ Vintage Ranch Cab

 wine times 4

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Slow dancer chardonnay

(I forgot to edit this pic)

2010 Slow Dancer Chardonnay Sonoma County $6.99

Elsewhere price $ 16.99

Larry noticed the apricot aroma and Terry commented that this Chardonnay was very good and finishes sweet. Connie liked it as well, adding that it had a spicy kick to it. Scott didn’t care for it at first (he prefers wines that are not sweet), but he said he warmed up to it and Steve tasted peaches and pears. Arvin thought it would make a peachy keen after dinner wine.

Tasting notes from 1000Corks.com: From the Alexander Valley region of Sonoma County. This warmer area produces a richer style, with apple pear and pineapple notes with slight butterscotch and toast

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 laroche chardonnay

2010 Laroche Chardonnay France $10.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

This Chardonnay was a hit. Arvin found it to be dry and peppery. Terry gave it a thumbs-up and Larry called it dramatic. I didn’t get Steve’s comment, but I’m sure he tasted pear.

89 points from The Wine Advocate:  “The qualities of the year come through beautifully in the 2010 Chablis Saint Martin. Layers of silky, polished fruit flow with gorgeous length and persistence. The 2010 is another overachiever among the entry-level wines of this great Chablis vintage.”

89 points from International Wine Cellar: “Pale, bright yellow. Dusty stone, lemon drop and wild herbs on the nose. At once rich and penetrating, with strong acidity and mineral spine intensifying the flavors of grapefruit, lemon drop and wild herbs. Classic steely Chablis with very good grip. A superb village wine, especially if subsequent bottlings are as strong as this.”

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 2 cocky sisters red wine

2 Cocky Sisters Red Wine Paso Robles $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

I knew with this crowd, the label alone would be a big hit. I’m happy to say the wine was pretty good too! Arvin said it was smooth and really good, he called it velvety. Terry agreed that it was very smooth. Steve questioned his first taste, he said it was peppery. I guess he was surprised that it was pear. Connie confirmed for him, peppery. Arvin added that it was silky with a hint of tobacco. Scott joined us a little late, but tried to get the last taste…

wine o scott

4 out of 5 from Wineexpress.com: All estate grown grapes are used for this lush red blend with a quirky name. It’s 28% Syrah, 23% Mourvedre, 23% Counoise, 15% Grenache, 5% Rousanne and 5% Viognier. The combination sounds wild but the wine is supple and inviting. Ripe blackberry, cherry and cassis flavors along with a zesty, spicy note on supple tannins and a hint of sweetness on the finish. Don’t worry about pairings because it drinks beautifully on its own. Wine Enthusiast Magazine said “For an inexpensive wine, this is a pretty good investment. The alcohol is high, but it’s in keeping with the cherry, berry, currant, dark chocolate and spice richness, giving a fat, glycerol oiliness to the fruit. Easy to like this soft, dry, heady wine.”

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 vintage ranch cab

2013 Vintage Ranch Cabernet California $4.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

He did make it just in time for this Cab. He called it nice & smooth. Connie and Larry agreed. Terry said it rolls right down your throat. Steve noticed it had long legs and Arvin liked the oaky finish.

From the label: Vintage Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon opens with rich aromas of black currant. On the palate, deep round flavors of black cherry emerge over espresso, dark chocolate and toasty oak, with just a hint of vanilla on a long, lingering finish.

Thank you Terry for bringing your homemade carrot cake, it was delicious! Steve wanted me to know (and apparently the world too) that he loves cake.

Are you ready for the Holidays? part 2

Did you know that the Industrial Revolution inspired the Thanksgiving Holiday we all know and love today?

Fun fact: in 1846, a Philadelphia magazine editor named Sarah Hale thought that the Industrial Revolution would be the decline of western civilization eroding the American way of life. She wanted a holiday that would celebrate home, heart and wholesome family values. So, she spent the next 17 years writing letters to every person with any kind of authority until, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a national holiday to be held on the third Thursday of November. source ~ Sarah Hale legacy

I may or may not agree with Sarah about the Industrial Revolution, but I salute her for the resulting holiday that is centered around family and of course food and wine!  She was, however, not able to stop the Industrial revolution. It is still alive and well – kinda – in a throwback decorating kind of way, called Steam punk or what I like to call ‘Vintage Industrial’.

Steam punk decor

I love adding some off-beat stuff into my decorating. Vintage Industrial/Steam punk lamps don’t come cheap. Unless of course you salvage the parts and make them yourself 🙂 What self-respecting hoarder would not rescue every bit of heavy rusty metal parts that they happen to come across to make lamps?

Here’s some pretty great ones from Etsy:

etsy lamp 1 etsy lamp 2 etsy lamp 3

Can you see the price tags on them? I figure I’ve saved a small fortune by making my own. Money I will endlessly sink into an old German rust-bucket that I love dearly. Cousin Gary is like a V-Dub magician. I get daily text updates of the progress; that end of the year deadline is actually possible thanks to his magic.

Here’s some from around the house (notice, no price tag):

steampunk lamp 2   steampunk lamp   steam punk shelf

And, what you’ve all been waiting for…. New floor lamps anchored by 61 Volkswagen Bug brake drums:

brake drum lamp 1 brake drum lamp 3

The doubt I have to put up with. Oh, Steve of little faith. His question may have sounded innocent enough, ‘what are you going to do with them’. But, I don’t think so. I’m sure it was a carefully worded challenge that if not responded to properly, would result in my precious brake drums being pitched into the dumpster. The success of a response to a comment like this also hinges on the correct don’t-mess-with-me tone of voice. The tone that says I am taking that rusty junque home with me and you will thank me for it before I’m done. lol

Yeah – they are Amazing. The Tiny Dictator is so pleased with himself.

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 all four wines 2

I’m ready to Feast! Let’s pick the best Thanksgiving wines:

Raviva Chardonnay

2012 Raviva Chardonnay Napa $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Steve thought this Chardonnay was nice and fruity. Terry almost agreed, she found it to be smooth and fruity. Arvin tasted pear. Connie said it was very good and Larry agreed.

From the label: Our move to California in the late 1990’s was a light packing job: we brought with us just a couple of dollars and a pocketful of intentions. As the years have gone on, little by little, vine by vine, we’ve rediscovered ourselves as winemakers. Raviva is our tribute to the comforts we leave behind for the sake of transformation.

 

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all four wines

2013 Spectacle Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

I usually cannot identify any aroma, until this Chardonnay. I immediately smelled vanilla. I took me a couple of trys to find the right word though. Larry said it was buttery and Connie said it was so unique and delicious, unlike any Chardonnay she’d had before.

From the label: Like the many exciting colors of a kaleidoscope, Spectacle Wines offer a compelling splash of aromas and flavors that unfold on the palate with each sip. Spectacle Chardonnay offers up subtle aromas of ripe grapefruit and freshly sliced Golden Delicious apples. Elegant flavors of soft vanilla and ripe melon join on the palate over a toasty oak finish.

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cottes de sonoma pinot noir

2013 Cotos de Sonoma Pinot Noir Sonoma County $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Pinot Noir, the go-to red wine for turkey pairing on Thanksgiving. Terry commented that this was good tasting – cherryish – light. Larry agreed, saying it was very good with a mild body. I found it to be much lighter than I’d expected. It went well with the turkey and I think it would be easily drinkable for guests that may not be regular wine drinkers.

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long barn red wine

2013 Long Barn Napa Red Wine $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Not only did we all agree that the picture on the label was great and would look nice on a Thanksgiving table, but so was this red blend. Arvin liked the aroma. He said he was treating it like a vitamin B, holding it under his tongue to enjoy longer. Terry said it tingled her nose – which is always a trait of a good solid red. Connie exclaimed, “oh my goodness, that’s good”. She added that it had a sweet bouquet and was also very unique. Arvin had just been smelling it, and after finally tasting it he labeled it DAMN GOOD!

From the label: We make wine in a simple building. It humbles us to reflect on its age, being built in a time when the valley’s dairy cows and prune trees were more well-known than its grapes. With this reminder, we give thanks for all that we have.. and make wines with all that we are.

Ready for the Holidays? part 1

You remember a while back I gave you a teaser about a ’61 Baja that I thought I would restore by the end of the year? The one my dad dropped off conveniently disassembled one cold rainy night filled with rusty parts where the people are supposed to fit? Yeah, that one. Okay, it might not have been raining that night, but it certainly was pouring when me & the boys pushed it onto Arvin’s trailer to deliver it to my cousin who I tricked into helping kindly offered to help.

Bug on trailer

The end of the year seemed like a nice far away deadline. It sure came fast though. I know, I know this must be a giant let-down or at least disappointing to the group of people that thought I could do anything. A group that is made up of just me. But, in my defense, as I started going through the pile of old parts, I knew it was hopeless.

bug parts

Pretty sure there is enough parts to build 2 ½ bugs. I didn’t even know where to start.

weed covered bug

It had been waiting for me for so long the weeds almost consumed it! Cousin Gary was my only hope. He sorted the pile in a matter of minutes. Easily identifying what was salvageable and what was ‘trash’.

That’s when the tiny dictator showed up. Did you know of his fascination with making lamps out of rusty metal parts? Well he was practically throwing a fit watching the ‘trash’ getting nonchalantly tossed into the dumpster.

I had to intervene.

Just as Steve was about to throw the brake drums in – I stopped him. The tiny dictator inside my head was celebrating like never before. Dancing a jig and high-fiving himself. Steve not so much.

“You’re going to do what?”

I’M GOING TO MAKE LAMPS OUT OF THOSE BRAKE DRUMS.

They are heavy & rusty, everything I love in trash lamp parts. Steve just shook his head and surrendered them to me.

As for the lamp? Here’s a preview:

brake drum lamp 2

To be continued…

 

Let’s talk about wine.

We had a wine tasting frenzy during the 20% OFF Wine Sale! I hope you stocked up for the Holidays. If you didn’t, it’s not too late – Steve says if you buy a case or more of wine the 20th through the end of November (2014) he’ll give you 10% OFF! Just mention Steve and this blog for your discount 🙂

 

Here’s some great ones:

Reatta Chardonnay

2010 Reata Chardonnay Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Arvin found this Chardonnay to be crisp and dry. Connie called it smooth. Terry thought it had a nice aroma and Steve said it was light. Scott commented that he really liked it.

Winemaker notes: This chardonnay is incredibly well balanced. Aromas of caramel creme Brule and a touch of coconut complement the light oak profile. Bright tropical fruit aromas complement the rich and vibrant flavors of green apple and crisp citrus fruits in our Carneros Chardonnay. This wine has a lengthy finish with a breadth of flavor. This wine is ideal for any special occasion for new wine drinkers or wine connoisseurs. You can enjoy this wine at a nice dinner at home or serve it at a cocktail party. Choose from simple poached salmon with a buttery sauce or chicken and pork with a cream-based sauce to bring out the complementary flavors in this wine.

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middle sister wicked white

Middle Sister Wicked White California $2.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

Kerri noticed this white blend had a fruity aroma, very subtle. Not bad, she said, and added that she tasted melon. Arvin called it an after dinner white. Caroline tasted pear and lime and said it was an easy drinking wine. Joe added, for easy drinkers, so if you wanna be easy…

Winemakers notes: 36% Chardonnay, 32% Chenin Blanc, 21% Gewurztraminer, 11% Other White. 100% California fruit with 23% from cool climate Monterey.

Long, cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel tanks turned fresh, juicy grapes into bright, aromatic wine. Smells like…melon, pear, tangerine, rose petals, lychee, lemon zest. Tastes like…the same fruit flavors that you smell – explode in your mouth. After a second or two, lush melon and sweet pear melt on your tongue. A lingering note of minerals finishes the sip. Yummy with…Seafood, salads, vegetables, light meats, fresh cheeses.

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good daughter

2010 Good Daughter Chardonnay Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Kerri got the first taste of this Chardonnay and immediately commented – Buttery! Caroline couldn’t wait to taste it, she likes a buttery Chardonnay and this one didn’t disappoint, she loved it. Arvin said it’s got legs and he went on to explain what that means, but I wasn’t able to jot it down, so you can read more here: What are wine legs?

Winemakers notes: Good Daughter Chardonnay has aromas and flavors of juicy apples, pears, and pineapple. There is also a touch of cream and toasty oak on the finish of this elegant and easy to love wine. Yummy with roasted chicken, corn salad, salmon with mango salsa.

Good Daughter wines are made using gently farmed grapes from cool-climate California coastal vineyards. They pledge to support sustainable vineyard practices, environmental stewardship and building prosperous farming communities. A portion of the sale of each bottle of the wine goes to sponsor these principles. Take care of your mother. She’ll take care of you.

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Jankris crossfire

 

2011 Jankris Crossfire $4.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Larry said this red has a nice nose and legs like J-Lo. Terry liked how it just slides right down your throat, smooth. Steve found it to be on the sweet side and good with berries. Connie commented, “Sooo Sweet!” Arvin says, “When Connie likes a red I gotta stock up!” He also said this would pair nicely with Thanksgiving turkey, but you can enjoy this red just by smelling it.

Winemaker notes: Truly the “world’s blend” A Merlot base followed by smatterings of Cab, Tempranillo, Petit Syrah, Syrah, and Grenache. Young enough to age well in your cellar, yet old enough to enjoy now. So many things going on your mouth that you will marvel at the feel and the sensory overload your taste buds will succumb to. A little drier than Riatta and a little more sophisticated.

This wine illustrates the harmony of a traditional Bordeaux style blend enhanced by ripe Spanish varietals.  Each variety imparts an individual personality while remaining in perfect balance.

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 laurier merlot

2011 Laurier Merlot Alexander Valley $6.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Terry said this Merlot tickled her nose. Larry tasted sweet cigar and Steve agreed – cherries and tobacco. Arvin found it to be good with chocolate. Steve tried some chocolate with it and exclaimed, “The chocolate does something great to this one!”

Winemakers notes: Brick red ruby color. Bold aromas of blackberry, black cherry, dried plum, and smoked brisket with a silky, dry medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium length, cherry, boysenberry, blackberry, and vanilla finish with soft tannins and light oak. A touch of smoky cherrywood on the nose opens into soft, berry-filled flavors that are effortless to enjoy on their own or with picnic fare in the backyard.

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 beuna vista

2010 Buena Vista Merlot Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Joe started us off with a “Wow! That’s good”. Scott called it a mild red, fruity. Kerri tasted berry tones, said it made her feel emersed in berries, this is really good. Arvin said this wine is for sniffing, slightly dry and very drinkable.

Critical Acclaim: 89 Points from Wine Spectator“Elegant and balanced, with toasted red currant aromas and lively cherry, tomato leaf and spice flavors that finish soft, showing ripe tannins.”

Winemakers notes: Deep purple in color, the 2010 Carneros Merlot is exploding with aromas of ripe plum, cranberry and freshly baked rhubarb pie. The palate showcases flavors of juicy cherry, black pepper and allspice wrapped up in a soft mouthfeel perfectly balanced with well-integrated tannins. This complex and satisfying wine ends with a long, spicy finish.

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old vine zin

2011 Reserve Lot 11 Old Vine Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley $7.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerri started with an, “mmmm, I like it” Arvin tasted blended berries and licorice. Joe thought it was aged in metal and called it spicy. He thought it would pair well with Prime Rib at Christmas.

2014 San Francisco Chronicle Siver Award Winner!