We’re back, baby!

It’s amazing how a series of small unfortunate events can change everything.

This past winter the cable on my garage door came off the wheel thing. And, just like that, life as I know it changed. The door wouldn’t close. Steve & the boys eventually forced it closed and stuck a screwdriver in it to secure it. My stuff was in prison, but at least the door was closed. Crisis averted?

nope.

It was just the beginning.

In addition to all my treasures that I  store/hoard in the garage, my daughter had recently moved and had been using a portion of the garage for storage. Her stuff was blocking all access to the corner that needed repair. My stuff was blocking her stuff. There were two nice little pathways, one to my tools and one to take the trash out.

Well now. I needed to open the door to move the stuff out of the way to fix the door! Now what? I considered just completely sealing off the garage, never to be spoken of again. Just write it off as a complete loss. Seemed like the only rational move. C’est la vie!

During this same time, the rains came. Rain like we haven’t seen in years. The Front Porch was soaked. The seat cushions should’ve been stored in the garage, but it was sealed off. What a mess.

I couldn’t work in the garage. I couldn’t work outside. No projects. No wine tasting. It was a dreary winter.

Side-bar: I spent my free time acquiring some great new junque and (kind of) redecorated a couple corners.

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metal & wood shelf for antiques – vintage lunch pails

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Handmade pottery for succulents

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metal & wood shelf corner with giant light & vintage pails for plants

But, Good News! Me and the Girl were eventually able to first clear out my stuff through the house, then her stuff and repair the garage door. It goes up and down again just like the rich folk.

Then, the sun came out (cue the angels singing) and I got the Front Porch all cleaned up and ready for our first wine tasting in months.

We’re back, baby!

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Projection Chard ~ Pra Vinera Reserve ~ Pythian Rock Cab ~ Benison Zin

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2015 Projection Chardonnay     $4.99

Ukiah, California

Elsewhere $12.99

Misty found this Chardonnay to be light and citrusy. Steve added fruity. Joe S. commented that he liked it. Larry noticed a fragrance of pear and also tasted citrus. Arvin called it smooth & fruity and Connie thought it was spicy, like salsa.

4.1/5 Stars from Vivino.com: Med oak nice around chard I enjoyed this wine very much. Love the clean, crisp taste. No butter! It did have more fruitful flavor as it warmed

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2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Chardonnay      $5.99

Napa, California

Elsewhere $21.99

This Napa Chardonnay struck me as floral at first taste. Misty thought it was sweet with a lingering mouth feel. Connie gave really high praise – she said it is three steps away from Rombauer (her absolute favorite). Steve called it buttery and smooth and Larry tasted oak and said it was like slow wet kisses that last all night long. What the heck?

3.8/5 Stars from Vivino.com:

Fruity, slightly oaky, refreshing. Got it at a steal at grocery outlet. Very good value, will buy again if I see it. Smooth and buttery. Dry, vanilla notes. Great Smooth rich body with hints of Earth tones. Good anytime . Pretty good, mild flavor and no strong alcohol taste. Impressive for the price

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2013 Pythian Rock Cabernet Sauvignon      $5.99

Sebastopol, California

Elsewhere $24.99

Larry thought he tasted licorice, not sure… Misty liked this Cab as an evening wine to have with desert, liked how it paired with chocolate. Larry agreed with the pairing. Terry said she liked it a lot and Kerri agreed. Arvin said it was just strong enough.

88 Points from CellarTracker.com: Cabernet elements all represented and we’ll balanced, but without the depth or singularity of the next level up price point. A bit thin but a fine general cab that deserves more attention than it has received. Modest floral inflection, suggests oak without insisting, and backs off a slightly sour but reliable aftertaste

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2013 Benison Zinfandel     $5.99

Lodi, California

Elsewhere $19.99

I took note of the long legs, they were apparent even though I was drinking out of a vintage glass that was etched and colored. Arvin agreed, he also found it dry and he liked it. Larry noticed the definite Zin grape taste. Steve simply said, ‘spice’. Terri said it was sweet and gave her that warm tingling feeling that she is famous for.

Tasting notes: A classy package with a whole lot of wine in it! Dark, blackberry and spice fruit, almost jammy, but not over the top. A super buy!

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 🙂

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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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Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ~ 2013 Costiera White Blend ~ Graymont Chardonnay

Valley of the Moon Orbitor ~ Woodwork Red Blend

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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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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

 

 

Getting ready for Summer

So, here we are again. The hot summer months are on the way. What else can we do but seek out the shade and drink our chilled summer wines around the pool until Fall finally gets here.

I actually started a backyard makeover five years ago and never really got to the finish line.

Here’s the only before picture I have

before

So, right there along the fence on the left side is where we removed the alien trees. We added brick first, then let is sit for a few years until the fence looked like it was gonna fall down.

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So, we added new posts

after 1

Posts that looked like they should be a pergola…

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Yeah, so the fence is fixed and I have a nice shady place to drink wine all summer.

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Hopefully, I’ll finish the rest of the yard soon.

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Let’s get started!

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Field Notes Chardonnay ~ Bixby Creek Bridge Chardonnay

Pile Driver Red Blend/Cab ~ Querceto Chianti

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2012 Field Notes Chardonnay – Sonoma County

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

Joe S. started us off and declared this ‘a good one’. Steve agreed. My first sip wasn’t chilled enough, but after it was I really liked it. Misty and Rudy both agreed, definitely serve this Chardonnay super chilled it’s a real nice summer wine.

From the bottle: Luscious honey and crisp apple notes.

Tasting notes: This Chablis-style Chardonnay enters the palate with the elegant ease of Meyer lemon, crisp green apple and ripe stone fruit flavors that gracefully extend into a refreshing and zesty finish.

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2014 Bixby Creek Chardonnay – Napa

Elsewhere Price   ~    $24.99    ~   Our Price $6.99    ~    You Save 72%!

Larry like the aroma and Kerri thought it was sweet at first, then she tasted citrus. Scott said it grows on you (remember, he doesn’t care for white wines) Connie said she like this chardonnay, then added: it makes you feel like you’re on top of a grassy knoll under the sunset and brings visions of a young strong handsome man…   Yeah, she liked it.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Nice moderate chard; better at temps just below room temp. Modest and pleasant malolactic butter, nice hint of vanilla on the nose. Slight oak. Buttery chard with green Apple and pear on the finish. Decent wine for Napa valley under 12 bucks

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2013 Pile Driver Red Blend – Paso Robles

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $3.99    ~    You Save 71%!

2014 San Francisco Chronicle Silver Metal Winner

Before you read this review, you should know this will likely be sold out before you can get down here to the store to get some. It was just that good. There are a few of the Pile Driver Cabernet bottles left, but you would have to hurry to get one of those too. Terri found this red blend to be smoooooth and Misty thought it was a good one (she doesn’t usually like reds) Kerri tasted plum, and thought this was great combined with blackberries and dark chocolate. I was listening as some of these guys were trying to decide what they tasted – Scott: Smokey? Larry: Tobacco? Steve: Licorice? Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding. They decided on Licorice.

Tasting notes: A bold, no-nonsense Red Blend with intense flavors of blackberries, jammy fruit and coffee bean with oak overtones. Rich yet approachable with robust tannins.

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chianti

2014 Querceto Chianti

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $4.99    ~    You Save 64%!

Arvin’s favorite, Chianti. He called this wine ‘The taste of Italy’. He noted that there were flavors of smoked wood but added that he doesn’t smoke wood often. Scott said that’s because it’s hard to roll. Becky asked for farver beans. We are a classy bunch. Terri brought us back; she liked how it paired with the strong parmesan cheese. Steve liked his first taste, but by the time he got to a second glass he decided that he could drink this all day long.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Medium garnet colour. On the nose plums, raspberries and spices. On the palate medium bodied with chewy tannins and a moderate finish.

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting!

Here’s your chance to meet some of the Front Porch Wine Tasters!

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting Sign

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting

Free Admission ~ Live Music

$10 tasting includes your choice of Craft Beer or Wine Tasting, snacks & raffle ticket

Friday, April 1st, 5pm – 9pm

Near the gazebo in Library Park, downtown Manteca

Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Wine

Never is a wine choice more important than when you are bringing it to Thanksgiving Dinner with new people, like future In-Laws or even new friends & co-workers. Or worse, serving a wine at your first try at cooking Thanksgiving for your In-Laws. It’s like you’re on stage screaming, ‘Please judge me on the bottle of wine I brought.”  Or, maybe you’ve just struggled over the years with finding wines that are just ok with turkey – and now you’re ready for something better.

That’s why people Google wine reviews and that’s why I’ve been drinking my way through the wine department one bottle at a time. Just for you. Your welcome.

So, based on all the information on the internet, I can deduce that ALOT of people have trouble pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. I weeded through all the information available on the subject so you don’t have to, here is the simplified info that’ll help you get compliments on your wine choice this year:

 

What Wine Goes With Turkey?

Courtesy: Thumbs Up Wine Food Pairing

To help ease the stress of the holiday, here are some recommendations for wines that will make you the toast of the table:

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2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay – Oaky – $7.99 ($24.99 elsewhere)

2013 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay – UnOaked – $4.99 ($16.99 elsewhere)

  • Chardonnay is always a safe bet. A fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, go for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy. ~source

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Rocks! Stepping Stone North Coast Blends

2012 Red Blend – $3.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

2013 White Blend – $3.99 ($17.99 elsewhere)

  • Blended Reds – These are blended to take the best qualities of different grapes and make them compatible with a variety of foods. You will generally find Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Shiraz in the blend. ~source
  • White Blends – These often pair well with a number of dishes, and can please those who like both sweet and dry wines. ~source

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2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($18.99 elsewhere)

2013 Passages Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($19.99 elsewhere)

  • Pinot Noir – The Go-To red wine for the perfectly roasted turkey. Pinot Noir is the darling choice for poultry as a light red wine. Since the US just had 2 awesome vintages in a row (2012–2013), you’ll luck out on value Pinot Noir this year. ~source

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2012 Abbeycourt Cotes-Du-Rhone Reserve – France – $5.99 ($13.99 elsewhere)

  • Rhone – If you’re having smoked turkey, choose this bolder red. The smoked turkey flavors are rich and somewhat sweet. You’ll need a stronger wine to hold up to it. The combination of 3 varieties, –Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre,– make up the blend. Because of the mishmash of varieties, you’ll taste both red and black fruit flavors and find a range of medium to full-bodied flavor. These wines are a perfect match for a rich piece of meat because of their complexity. And yet, they are still light enough for poultry. ~source

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2011 Gusher Zinfandel – Lodi – $3.99 ($12.99 elsewhere)

2013 Cline Zinfandel – California – $3.99 ($9.99 elsewhere)

  • Zinfandel – This is the classic turkey pairing wine for 2 reasons: for one, it’s a variety with a long history in America and two, the flavors of raspberry and sweet tobacco are an ideal match for rich darker or smoked turkey meat. It also will do great alongside a honeybaked ham. Zinfandel tends to be much more fruit-forward which is why is does well with sweet meat. The best Zinfandels generally hail from these 5 regions: Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Barbara and the Sierra Foothills. ~source

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2010 Gergenti Sangiovese – Sicily, Italy – $9.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

  • Sangiovese – Love bone-dry savory wines? From Tuscany and Umbria, Sangiovese-based wines have notes of tomato, cherry and leather along with an earthy note of terra-cotta. Expect tingling acidity and moderately high tannin that will compliment homemade gravy like a dream. The original Sangiovese wines were very rarely aged in oak which means they’ll be anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, they are a savory wine lover’s dream. The 2010 vintage was awesome for Sangiovese. ~ source

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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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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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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

Steveisms

Steve is a funny guy. Not always on purpose. He quotes a lot of his favorite lines from T.V. shows, which is usually only funny to me & him, and misquotes/mixes up metaphors like Ricky Ricardo.

Steve: “We have to get all our ducks on the same page”

Steve: “Don’t burn your bridges at both ends”

Steve: “We could stand here and talk until the cows turn blue”

Ricky: Lucy, you remember the old saying “Birds of a feather smell the same”? Lucy: You mean, “A rose by any other name flocks together.”

Hard to tell Steve from Ricky, am I right?

Here’s some good Ricky Ricardo clips

I had to start jottin’ down some of his wisdom it was so good. No, really I have a file in my phone labeled ‘Steveisms’. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. Here are some of my favorites:

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise from a golf cart. Pain in the ass hitting into it cause you can’t see your ball, but it’s beautiful. You’re in for a real treat.

Remind me to never order a tuna sandwich in an airport. The best tuna sandwich I’ve had was at the Manteca Golf Course. Albacore, sweet pickles, soft bread and the perfect amount of mayo.

You know it’s all this working that’s keeping me from the Senior Tour.

I like Funyuns in my salad. They’re better than croutons plus you can easily loop them on your fork.

No coincidence that all his wisdom is inspired by either food or golf. His favorite things. If you ever eat or golf with Steve, I would like to encourage you to be on the alert for Steveisms. You can share them with me for the future entertainment of us all. If you have not yet met him, stop by the wine department & say hello 🙂

In honor of Steve’s love for food – Shabby Chic food and wine pairings:

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~ Six Degrees Rose’ ~ Washington Hills Riesling ~

~ Cathedral Creek Chardonnay ~ Tractor Guy Pinot Noir ~ Caminetto Primitivo ~

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2013 Six Degrees Rose’ Wine Napa $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Our ‘shabby’ food pairing for this ‘Chic’ Award Winning Rose’ was imitation crab with butter. Larry found it pleasant, he said it was like a summer wine-ade. Like lemonade but from grapes instead of lemons. Terry called it Hip & Trendy, she thought it tasted like a Sangria but fruity. Bob found it refreshing and Arvin agreed. Misty said it was light and refreshing, it’ll cool you off 6 degrees during the summer ;-P

Awards & Accolades:

87 POINTS | BEST BUY BTI Tastings.com World Wine Championships, November 2014 WINE OF THE WEEK Dan Berger, Napa Valley Register, July 4, 2014 DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL Jerry D. Mead’s New World International Wine Competition 2014 BEST OF CLASS | GOLD MEDAL Orange County Fair Wine Competition 2014 GOLD MEDAL San Diego International Wine Competition 2014

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2011 Washington Hills Riesling $5.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

I knew this sweet Riesling would call for a spicy food pairing. We went with some spicy chili lime chips. Bob found it very sweet, but said the spice really counteracts the sweetness. Terry and I both agreed. Arvin called it fruity and Larry tasted pear juice.

 

Winemaker’s Notes: A fragrant, pretty nose filled with floral, nectarine and clover honey notes. A sweet, tantalizing palate of navel oranges and peaches lead to lingering rich fruit and sweetness on the finish

 

90 Points from Wine Enthusiast – “With 7% residual sugar and 11% alcohol, this is a Riesling to enjoy with spicy noodle dishes. Sweetness notwithstanding, it’s a substantial wine with grip and definition. Melon and peach flavors roll smoothly into notes of caramel and honey. This is rich and delicious. Best Buy.”

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2012 Cathedral Creek Chardonnay California $3.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Popcorn and Chardonnay! Who knew? Terry called this California Chardonnay nice and smooth. Arvin said it was great with popcorn and we all agreed!

I could not find any info on this wine on-line at all, so here’s some Popcorn & Chardonnay pairing info instead:

The Pairing: Years ago Andrea Immer, wine diva, was munching on a typical student’s lunch of microwave popcorn when her mentor gave her a glass of Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay. “In that one sip, I got it: buttery Chardonnay (at last I knew what “buttery” wine meant!)”

The Popcorn: Choose your favorite popcorn – if the corn is buttery, the chardonnay’s butteriness will shine through; unbuttered popcorn will bring out the wine’s toasty flavors.  Side note: toasty sparkling wine/Champagne works similarly flavor-wise, but adds another dimension – bubbly texture – ooh!

The Wine: Select a bold, New World-style (fruit forward) chardonnay that has been stored in oak barrels – chardonnays from Washington, California and Australia are good bets. Lindemans Bin 65, the wine used in this experiment, is a vivid Australian Chardonnay with creamy, tropical fruit and a long, soft oak finish for around seven bucks. Throw in a two-dollar DVD rental and a “special friend.”  Now that’s cheap and easy… the pairing – not your date.

source – http://convivial.org/popcorn-chardonnay/

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2010 Tractor Guy Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast $6.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Soft Brie and berry jam paired nicely with the Tractor Guy Pinot. Connie said the aroma was great, but she was picturing a shirtless farmer. Arvin agreed, just with the nice bouquet part. Bob announced that he liked this wine. Terry and Misty agreed. Connie thought it pair well with lighter summer meals like fish and chicken. Misty decided this is her favorite.

4.0 out of 5.0 Stars from Vivino on-line reviewer R.Hobart: Very nice aromas black currant red cherry notes slight Burgundian smoky mid palate smooth lush cherry cola finish. Air this wine 60 minutes it becomes outstanding. Bought mine at grocery outlet!!!!!!!! Great price…………investigate it For yourself !!!!!!

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2013 Caminetto Primitivo Salento Italy $7.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Of course we paired this Italian wine with Pizza 🙂 We let it breath for about an hour before we tried it. Arvin identified this red as a wine you can enjoy just smelling it. Connie found it full-bodied and called it ‘Top of the Mark’. She thought it would pair well with steak and pork. Bob said it was bold and had a pleasant finish. Even Chardonnay Larry liked it. This was definitely my favorite.

89 Points from CellarTracker: Faint nose of cherries, plums, and spices. Gains traction in the glass, showing an affable sweetness and a humble complexity. Flaunts lots of red and black berry fruit, a tasty middle spice, and a pleasing finish. This is really good. Give it air.

3.5 Stars from Vivino.com: Arguably more well known by its alter-ego Zinfandel, Primitivo is a huge, ripe Italian grape which is the pride of the Apulia region in the south of Italy. Primitivo is a delightfully brash wine that’s very dark, very juicy and very high in alcohol

TASTING NOTES offers lush aromas of currants, licorice, pepper and spices with a medium body, soft tannins and firm structure.

PAIRS WITH pairs perfectly with sharp cheeses and spicy salami. Also with pancetta, tomato sauce or roasted meat.