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

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The Quest for the Best Paint Color in the History of Paint Colors

I’ve learned that the best time to make big changes or start huge projects is while Steve is golfing. Let me give you an example. Years ago, in our previous house, I thought it’d be cool to build a bar for the game-room. A seven foot long bar. I planned it in my head each night instead of sleeping until I had to build it just so I could get some rest. I made the mistake of telling King-Veto my plans. He said, ‘Do Not Build a Bar’. Then he left for his early tee time with his brother Chris.

Like the submissive wife that I am…. I went to the garage and started building. By the time they got home, it was mostly complete except for the bar top. They found me in the garage. Steve said, ‘what are you doing?’ It wasn’t an angry ‘what do you think you’re doing’, it was like he didn’t remember the bar/no bar controversy at all and was actually curious about what I was doing. So I said I was building a giant dog house. This was acceptable to him. A bar height, seven foot long dog house.

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(the only picture I could find of my first bar)

In his defense, we did have a giant mastiff that would actually require a house of this size. He wasn’t fooled for long, but while he was Chris sure enjoyed it.

So, in my quest to find the perfect paint color I had to paint the walls gray-camo.

camo wall 1     camo wall 2

I was worried that it would tip Ol’ King-Veto off about the start of a big painting job. But, when he returned from golf he didn’t even notice! He just came in and threw his keys down on the mantle.

camo wall with mantle

This mantle with the swatches painted right there!

The next day, when Larry & Terry came over to give me their opinions, he claimed he did notice. (unlikely). What he did notice was the egg-shell finish. I claimed that it was flat, he only likes flat paint. I don’t know if he’s on to me yet…

To be continued on the perfect paint color. I’m looking for a grayish color with a blue or green undertone. Not too much blue or green, not too light so it looks like dirty white and not too dark either. It’s an imaginary color that exists only in perfect light on HGTV. Impossible to duplicate in reality so far.

I need a couple days to contemplate the colors, some times you just have to drink things through. Let’s have some wine!

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three wines blog

Dream Walking Chard ~ Algorithm Red ~ Four Star Cab

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dream walking chardonnay

2010 Dream Walking California Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry got the first taste of this St. Helena California Chardonnay, she gave it a thumbs up! Kerri commented that she didn’t taste any oak and liked the floral bouquet. Arvin said, ‘not too bad for a white.’ We all agreed that the wasabi chips paired nicely with this crisp Chardonnay.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: Dream Walking is a nuanced, medium-bodied Chardonnay that is broad on the palate. In the glass, the wine is clear and bright with notes of marzipan, meyer lemon, chamomile, and pineapple. Dream Walking finishes with focus and will pair well with ceviche, simple grilled fish, or a spicy vegetable dahl

On-line review from WineWithLisa:  For those of you who are tired of heavily oaked and buttery Chardonnays, your dream has come true! Cultivate Wines gives us a virtually un-oaked Chardonnay -Dream Walking- with the freshness and crisp acidity of meyer lemon and hints of pineapple,banana and green apple. Cooler growing conditions in the Mendocino and Santa Rita Hills subregions of California and fermentation without the use of heavy oak allows the freshness and fruitiness of this Chardonnay blend to stand front and center. Raise your wine glass to your nose,close your eyes and and inhale the subtle aromas of lemon peel,floral jasmine and fragrant almonds.

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algorithm red

2012 Algorithm California Red Blend $4.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

***Silver Medal, Best Buy – BTI World Value Wine Competition, 2013***

Kerri started us off with this California Red Blend, she took a sip and tasted Red Velvet Cake! Rudy said it was excellent with the fresh raspberries, it really brings out the cherry flavor. Arvin tasted vanilla and Scott called it, ‘kinda nice’. Steve tasted black cherry and plum. He added that when paired with dark chocolate, it completely changed the taste. Rudy agreed, but preferred it with the berries.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: The Algorithm Red Blend possesses a network of dark cherries and plums, interlaced with rich notes of chocolate and vanilla. Mature tannins create a silky backbone that is linked together with ripe, concentrated fruit flavors. Enjoy young to fully appreciate its abundant fruitiness.

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four star cab

2013 Four Star Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Larry thought this Napa Cab was more mellow than a traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, kinda like a red blend. Kerri liked the spicy & dry tampernero and liked the pairing with salted caramel brownies. Steve agreed with the dryness, he says he appreciates a dry wine.

4.0 stars from Vivino on-line reviewer: I thought it was a great value at $10 at Grocery Outlet. Full body with a nice hearty finish

86 points from Cellartracker on-line reviewer: Nice fruit forward. Opened up well in 30 minutes (in the interest of full disclosure, the next reviewer did not like this cab. He gave it 80 points and did not finish the bottle, he poured it out. I guess he didn’t get it a Grocery Outlet where he could’ve returned it if he didn’t like it. bummer for him)

It’s good to have goals

I only recently realized, after I heard Steve make yet another comment about making the Senior Pro Tour, that he has been secretly training for it for the past 20 years. Helllow, Sugar Daddy! I’m not sure he realizes how close he already is to being old enough (50)…. (how to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour) but, I digress. Good ol’ Steve is on a slow steady pace (maybe more slow than steady) of improving his game to the level of providing us (me) with the lifestyle I would like to become accustomed to. It’s good to have goals.

golfing

Steve & his buddies

His secret? He does better with the right combo of perspective and alcohol. Relaxing buzz, he calls it. From what I can gather from his golfing buddies, they may all kinda suck. (find the fix for what ails your game) Settle down, settle down. I meant compared to pros of course. But, I’m pretty sure if you have to four put on even one hole you’re not gonna make the Senior Tour let alone become the Sugar Daddy you aspire to be.

Funny-Golf-25

Lining up the put

He does love the game. When he thinks he’s got time to sneak away from work to hit the course – it’s like it changes his whole outlook on the day. He’s almost giddy. So who am I to dash his hopes? What do I know anyway? Maybe a 96 will be good enough for the tour.

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aaaaa wine pairings

My goal this week- easy food pairings that work. Much more easily attainable.

aaaaa line up

Mission Ines Sauv Blanc ~ Leto Old Vine Chard ~ JanKris Syrah ~ Nova Vita Old Vine Zin

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aaaaa 1

2013 Mission Ines Sauvignon Blanc $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Right off the bat, I liked this refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. It reminded me of my first wine tasting experience, check it out here: MantecaGroceryOutlet, and it paired easily with the summer sausage. Arvin said it was a bit citrusy, which he liked. Steve agreed, he found it mild and refreshing as well. Terry liked it and Larry thought it tasted buttery with a hint of pear.

4 out of 5 stars from on-line reviewer at Vivino.com: Surprised at the mild sweetness! I don’t remember what I spent on this, but knowing where I got it, I know I didn’t spent more than 5.99 most likely, and certainly not more than 8.99, and am quite impressed for the price. I’m not usually a huge fan of non-sweet whites, but this had excellent balance….

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aaaaa 2

2012 Old Vine Leto Chardonnay $5.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Steve noticed the light color and commented that he found this Old Vine Chardonnay to be dry. Arvin called it ‘Buttery’ and Terry thought it had a punch to it. Its buttery-ness contributed nicely to the Cranberry Apple Spice cheese on Butter crisp crackers, which also took the punch out. Larry agreed with the label, on the ‘grilled pineapple’ after tasted, he liked it.

88 points. Expert review from Virginian Boone on WineEnthusiast.com: The vines behind this wine were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, qualifying them as old in the Napa Valley. Winemaker Lisa Warner uses native yeast as well as one from Montrachet to craft this muted, nutty Chardonnay. Richly textured it is otherwise awash in high-toned citrus, both lemon and pineapple

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aaaaa 3

2013 Jankris Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Arvin immediately commented that he liked it. He called it corky (?) and said it tastes perfect, Scott agreed with a ‘very nice’. Larry liked the aroma and said he tasted black currant. Steve thought this Syrah made his mouth feel like it does when you bite into a great steak. (Happy). Terry agreed, saying this would pair great with a good piece of steak. I liked the sweet aroma and dry berry-ness, it melts in your mouth. Larry added that this wine is mellowed out when combined with chocolate.

Wine info 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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aaaaa 4

2013 Nova Vita Old Vine Zinfandel $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Terry started us off with this Old Vine Zin, she said, “It’s got a very strong….” I guess she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, lol. Arvin found it peppery; he said it kinda grabs you. Steve thought it would add a spicy zest to a great steak. I agree, but it also paired nicely with the creamy Gouda cheese. Scott commented on the long legs and added that he liked it, it’s not to sharp.

Wine info from Vivino.com: While California Zinfandel can be produced in various styles, ranging from light to full-bodied, they all exhibit a certain fruit forwardness that is frequently described as “jammy”. It is also known for licorice, spicy and peppery notes. Zinfandel has gotten a bad rap from the abundant jugs of cheap, pink “white zin” lining the bottom shelves of many grocery store chains. However, this grape variety produces quality red wines that are food-friendly, versatile and delicious.

Romantic Valentine’s Day Wines

Sometimes we just need to go against the mainstream. Go our own way, cut a new path. When the rest of the country was watching the Super Bowl, the Front Porch Wine Tasters were making a stand for each of our perspective football teams (who were also watching the game that day). The struggle is real.

FREEBIE Alert!

Be sure to scroll all the way down for Valentine’s Day FREEBIE! info

I present to you: The Anti-Super Bowl party.

wine tasters bountiful table  photo 1

The food was bountiful, the wine poured freely into royal cups

wine tasters connie dies 2

and tragedy was narrowly averted!

We choose a random theme (Game of Thrones), the Front Porch Wine Tasters went all-out dressing up. I am still impressed with the creativity of these wine tasters!

photo 3 wine tasters carol with white walkers wine tasters rudy and kerri wine tasters arvin and connie

photo 1 photo 4 photo 4

everybody tried on my wig 🙂

photo 1 photo 2

I thought it would be a good time to choose some Valentine’s day wines. However, it was quite difficult to take proper wine tasting notes on all of the wines as the tasters mingled with each other, had their caricatures drawn and watched the court jester juggling and doing magic tricks.

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Plus, we had A LOT of wine!

photo 1

Whites

photo 4

Reds

Here’s what I got, Enjoy!

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 photo 3

2012 Bel Arbor Bella White Blend $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Scott announced, ‘this one is good’ and Terry agreed. Larry couldn’t quite identify the fruit he tasted – maybe apple. Kerri liked this white blend, she found it very floral. Becky said it was nice and sweet and Connie tasted spicy pear.

From the label: Sociable and spirited, with just a trace of whimsy, Bel Arbor wines entertain the palate and complement the mood. Take Bella White, bringing the crisp flavor of apple, peach and pear to the table. It loves whatever you’re eating but can happily stand on its own.

86.3 points from Cellartracker.com: A great wine for the price. Crisp, straw color with a hint of pear and apple 88 points. Very nice. Consistent, easy-drinking, well rounded, crowd pleaser 86 points. Smells and tastes of pears, light tropical fruits, spring flowers and melons. Pleasing texture. Nothing not to like 86 points.

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 photo 2

2012 Two Amigos Albarino $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Kerri thought this is a great spring wine and would pair well with a big salad. She prefers three amigos, but will settle for two. Becky found it to be crisp and citrusy. Larry enjoyed drinking his through a straw. Terry agreed ;-p

photo 2

From the label: Two friends, one path. The story of a journey. 2amigos.com   Ours is a natural wine meant to be drunk young, one to three years, when the fresh aromas of white peach, apricot, citrus and jasmine still prevail with a dry, lively, fruit and mineral finish with a firm acidity.

“2-AMIGOS“ is a perfect afternoon or after work wine. Accompanied by young white cheese it will bring out tremendous flavours. With fish, raw or cooked sea food it will outshine any other white wine. “2-AMIGOS” is a delightful wine meant to be drunk “cold” but it will also accompany any white meat dishes thanks to its firm acidity.

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 photo 1

2013 Myka Cellars Mitzi Chardonnay $8.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Connie started us off with this Santa Cruz Mountains Chard, saying it was very nice, full body – love it! Joe added ‘sexy body’. Terry didn’t really care for it, but Kerri called it mellow and added that she liked it a lot.

From the label: As a micro-winery, we create artisan, terroir driven wines from sustainable grapes in the heart of the Monterey Bay. We employ a hands off approach using natural fermentation and gentle handling to let the grapes shine. 100% Clone 4 Chardonnay. Enjoy Mitzi with white fish, creamy soft cheese and roasted chicken.

4.3 stars of 5 from Vivino.com: Nice sharp dryness, no oak is a plus

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photo 4

2010 Manifesto Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

Terry liked this un-oaked Chardonnay, she found it sweeter than oak barrel aged wine. Caroline usually prefers an oaky Chard but reported that this is a good Chardonnay.

From the label: Great wine is made in the vineyard. Great wine doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Great wine should complement your meal, not overpower it. That’s our Monifesto!

On-line review: It has a wildly complex, floral nose of ripe pear, freshly squeezed key limes, fennel, orange zest, gardenia and a touch of salinity. Broad, bright flavors of pear, key lime, quince, green apple, and a hint of licorice coat the palate. It finishes long and lean, with secondary flavors of Bosc pear, tequila-laced orange zest and wonderful food-marrying acidity

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photo 3

2011 Mc Williams Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Larry immediately liked the smooth aroma. Caroline did not taste any oak, but liked the summery citrus taste.

From the label: The McWilliam family has been at the forefront of Australian winemaking since 1877. Drawing on six generations of winemaking experience, McWilliam’s has created a classic Australian Chardonnay. McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate wines have been crafted using premium grapes from some of South Eastern Australia’s most renowned wine regions. This wine has a golden hue, with melon and tropical fruit aromas. The use of oak has added complexity and subtle vanilla overtones, ending with a long, crisp finish. The perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon or roasted chicken.

88 points from Palate Press: This very moderately priced Aussie Chardonnay walks the line between round buttery wines slathered in oak and linear bright wines from stainless steel. Crisp, with soft edges and vanilla that stays in the background, judicious use of the wood does great service to good fruit. Red apple flavors give way to peach, with just a touch of pie crust in the background. The price makes a good wine a great bargain. Buy it by the case and enjoy it year round. Drink with fried chicken. Recommended.

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2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky tasted apples, peaches and pears. Kerri labeled it ‘Gooood’

From the label: Passing through the valley as harvest winds down, the vines reflect the sunset of the season. The fruit: collected; crushed. The joyful colors of fall now grow. Although work remains, we find the time to catch our breath, come together, and share the Red Autumn.

On-line review from Front Porch Wine Tasting last August! (we’re famous, lol)

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2012 Lost Angel Mischief Red $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry started us off with a ‘Oh! This is good!’ I found this Sonoma California red blend to be nicely fruity. Caroline called it easy drinking. She thought it would be a great table wine, one that many people would like.

From the label: Lost Angel’s wines are for people who appreciate bold, edgy and iconoclastic. They are as different and exciting as you’d like to be. As the old saying goes, if you only live once, make it count. If you live more than once, then who the hell cares? The name says it all. Maybe we shouldn’t have done it, but it was a lot of fun and we’re glad we did. Fruit forward flavors of black cherries, dried plums and sultanas.

3.5 of 5 from Snooth.com: This is a fantastic full body red with lots of flavor. They have it at the market for $7.00. This does not taste like a low cost wine. May be one of the best deals I have found. Has that nice finish and elegant taste. Highly recommend for you to give this a try.

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photo 4

2009 Swami Pinot Noir $5.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Terry commented on the nice color. Caroline called it a dark cherry color and found the wine very nice, ‘I like it!’ Becky commented that this pino was very soft, but had some body. It paired well with smoked turkey legs. (Later, I paired this with pot roast as well, perfect!)

From the label: A California native, Inspired by the land, sun and sea, Swami Pinot Noir is exotic and earthy. Fruit forward and approachable.

86.8 points from Cellertracker.com: Hanging strong. Tasting very characteristically PN now … earthy, ripe nose, powerful “tang”, a somewhat smoky finish 88 points

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 photo 3

2011 Orbiter Pinot Noir $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Terry first commented on the pleasing aroma, then added ‘Oh! Good’ after her first sip. Kerry thought it had a great smell as well and thought it tasted peppery. Joe S found it to be smooth, almost as smooth as Larry, and planned on buying some before its gone.

Vinted and bottled by Orbiter, Glen Ellen California

On-line review from Garyswine.com: Jam packed with red and black raspberries along with sweet cherries. Medium bodied with a nice velvety texture lasting into a long finish. A great value Pinot Noir!

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2012 Buonocore Syrah Lodi $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Joe called this syrah ‘The blood of Dragons!’ and he noticed the strong tannins. Becky said it was delicious on the nose. Arvin said it had a smooth palate, he tasted raspberries and he liked the smooth finish.

From the label: Vincent Buonocore, son in a family famed for generations in the wine & food business in Italy, immigrated to the U.S. in 1910 & settled in NYC. Established in America, the Buonocore Family expanded their Italian products to include California wines. In 1934 Vincent established the first winery in the state of Connecticut. Every year he traveled the state of California in search of fine wines & premium grapes to be produced, blended & bottled under the Buonocore label. With his sons & their sons, they established wineries in California extending the family tradition in wine to 6 generations.

From the winemaker: Brewing coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, fig and a hint of fresh blueberry is how I would describe this (as) approachable and well balanced syrah

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 photo 1

2010 Val Moon Zinfandel $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry liked this Sonoma County Zin right away. She thought it would pair well with a nice steak w/garlic butter. Becky found it spicy and wanted to pair it with a Rib Eye and garlic mashed potatoes. I thought it was perfectly dry, and I’m always game for a good Rib Eye! Steve thought he would pair it with Aussie Fries. SMH

Produced and bottled by Val Moon, Glen Ellen – Sonoma County California

3.3 of 5 stars from Vivino.com

FREEBIE Alert!

carved magic candle

Remember, no matter what you serve at your Valentine’s Day dinner, everybody looks better by candle light. Go to the Manteca Grocery Outlet Facebook page (winner will announced Friday, Feb 13th, 2015) for a chance to win a Carved Magic Candle to light up your romantic table!

wine tasters s & d wine tasters relaxing

Cleaning out your closet can change your whole life

Closet cleaning is usually something we do in the Spring. Why? Who knows! But, the rule-breaking rebel that I am, I thought I would give my closet a good make-over now, in the Fall. If you’ve ever made this decision, why did you not warn the rest of us how big this job is!?! Sure, the closet looks messy and unorganized. But, I had NO IDEA that when you remove this stuff from the closet and stack it as nicely as humanly possible it actually doubles in size. At least double. Maybe more like quadruples.

11111 closet 2

Apparently a messy closet is revealing: “A messy closet might mean that you are a bit too much nostalgic. You hold onto clothes that you can no longer wear; yet you refuse to get rid of them. You hold onto clothes and other items because they remind you of special occasions and the people you were with. Clean out your closet and let go of the past so you will have room for new adventures in your life.” Source

How messy are you? Test your cleaning personality!

The plan was: Paint, re-configure the hanging bars and add some cabinets or shelves to store stuff. Painting seemed like the logical first step. But, wait… what about the floor? If I leave the old carpet in there, when I get around to doing the bedroom floor I would have to take all the stuff out of the closet again. No thanks.

So cleaning out my closet turned into serious, long-term decision that could affect property value. I wasn’t mentally prepared for this. I had to re-group. Luckily it was Wednesday, or as Larry likes to call it – Winesday. Wine is a pretty important part of any decision making process, but even more so for major decisions like closet flooring.

I’m relieved to say that it worked, the closet got bamboo flooring, new paint & baseboards and the cabinets are permanent. Not quite done in this picture, but well on its way…

11111 closet

Having such an organized closet makes me feel like I’ve really got my life together.

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11111 wine

Two Tone Farm Chard ~ Hess Select Chard ~ Wilson Daniels Pinot Noir ~ Hart & McGarry Cab

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11111 wine 1     11111 wine 2

2011 Two Tone Farm Chardonnay, Napa – Ca. $3.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

From Beringer according to Vinography.com: “Two-Tone Farm is a new venture by Beringer that seems specifically targeted at, well, me. To be exact, me about 8 years ago: a young, urban, single professional interested in music, nightlife, decent food, fun with friends, and, oh yeah, drinking decent wine that I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for… All of this would be just an interesting marketing anecdote, and might not even merit mentioning here at Vinography if the wines weren’t actually decent.”

Wine Maker’s notes: Fresh honeysuckle, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, citrus, rose petal, kiwi and red delicious apple aromas fill the nose. Green apple, fig and lemon citrus flavors are surrounded by a full-bodied mouth with a clean, crisp acidity and mineral tones.

Tasting notes: Appealing for its purity of fruit, focusing on ripe pear, nectarine, peach and honey. Complex, leaving a mildly oaked, nicely fruited aftertaste.

Misty found this Napa Chardonnay to be light and fruity, Terry agreed. Larry thought it tasted a little oaky. Joe liked it, he commented that he would buy this wine (over beer, Joe?) Ethan thought his wife would really like it because it was fruity, he didn’t really taste oak. Arvin said it was nice, he tasted apple. Steve also liked it and tasted apple.

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11111 hess     hess chardonnay

2011 Hess Select Chardonnay, Napa – Monterey County. $2.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

2014 Silver Award Winner

 from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

From the label: Brisk afternoon breezes from Monterey Bay cross the coastal mountains and roll into the vineyards in the Salinas Valley, home of our Hess Select Chardonnay. Lazy days and cool nights allow fruit to layer tropical and citrus flavors of pineapple, mango, lemon zest and lime. This fresh and pleasing Chardonnay is a perfect partner for garden fresh salads, chicken and seafood. www.hesscollection.com

Reviews from Cellertracker.com: 88 points. Green straw color, offering jack fruit, melon, apples, and apple blossom aromas. Nice citrus cut on the palate. Tensile, balanced, and very refreshing. Good California Chardonnay, nice freshness and crispness; good fruit (pineapple, pear), with nice oak and a nice finish.

Terry thought this Chardonnay had more body than the first one. Misty commented that she liked it, and that she tasted pineapple and pear. Steve must’ve been eaves-dropping because he also tasted pineapple and pear. Ethan tasted apple. Arvin agreed, and added that it had a nice after taste that lingered. So you can enjoy it longer.

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11111 wilson     11111 wine 3

2010 Wilson Daniels Pinot Noir, Central Coast. $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

From the label: Great wines. Close friends. Memorable meals. These were the shared passions of wine industry-mavericks Jack Daniels and the late Win Wilson. Together they traveled the world’s wine regions, seeking out the best wine from each. This wine, made from grapes grown in California’s flourishing Central Coast, carries on that legacy of discovering the best and sharing good times with every glass. www.wilsondanielswine.com

Reviews from Cellartracker.com: Spicy. Hints of blackberry and raspberry. 87 points.

With pork chops, roast vegetables, left-over mashed potatoes/gravy, and cranberry sauce.
Nice light cherry.
Good, albeit light, nose.
Soft, medium/light weight wine. We agree with Richard that there is a touch of cranberry in this, more savory than overtly fruity.
Worked well with the pork, less so with the potatoes. 86 points

Arvin was surprised to find this Pinot Dry. He said he likes a dry wine. The rest of the comments kinda read like a comic book, (I apologize in advance):

Steve: Tastes like Cherry

Arvin: I haven’t tasted that in a while

Ethan (slaps himself in the face) I won’t comment on that!

Arvin: Dry-cherry

Me: like a spinster?

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11111 hart     11111 wine 4

2011 Hart & McGarry Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, Ca. $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

2014 Silver Award Winner

 from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

From the label: In 1851, after two years in the California goldfields, two young men took their hard earning to a new town in Northern California and established the first general store there – Hart & McGarry. They were the very first wine merchants in the area, and today, we honor their efforts by selecting wines from the same region. This California North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas & flavors of succulent black cherries , raspberries with medium tannins & a supple finish. This wine pairs well with grilled steak, beef stew & Coq au Vin. One of the great pairings is Cabernet Sauvignon with a rich chocolate tort.

Review from Vivino.com: “Solid consistent label. Medium-bodied wine that is not too dry or tannic. Nice everyday or second bottle” “Surprising! Medium tannins make this bold fruit wine smooth and soft.”

Larry started us off with a ‘Not bad!’ Terry liked this California Cab, she said it was good and totally different than the first red. Arvin added that it was ‘Dang’ Good, just oaky enough! I really enjoyed it paired with chocolate 🙂

Bogus surrender = Secret resistance?

I think I finally broke Steve. His spirit I mean. Gone are the huffy breaths when he has to zig-zag through the boxes of decorations and carnival games that litter the entryway as I take hoarding supplies for the next upcoming event to a whole new level. No more do I get the scowling-face questions ‘what’s all this?’ As a matter of fact, I think he’s become quite accustomed to his laundry being kept in a stack on the chair rather than on hangers. Long ago, he came to terms with the fact that I think –as long as there’s no party at the house coming up – dusting is for suckers. But, this is whole new level of complacency.

He actually helped me unload my car in the parking lot of Home Depot in order to fit sheets of plywood in, then repack it all in and around the plywood. He had to ride with his seat pulled all the way forward and a box of something-or-other on his lap and his only comment? ‘You travel like a homeless person’. But, not a word of complaint when I left the driveway covered in sawdust, he just came behind me with the leaf blower. Apparently, as long as he can access his golf clubs and fantasy football app, he’s content.

I kinda miss the contention, I never thought he’d surrender. but….

Perhaps he is not broken.

Perhaps he is on to me and is trying some misguided attempt at reverse psychology.

Time to step it up. Game on Steve – game on.

There are only 8 more weekends until Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I thought Fall would never get here. Last year it was like summer lasted all the way to Spring. I felt a chill in the air this morning and that was all the inspiration needed to start thinking about Fall centerpieces and finishing household DIY projects before the Holiday parties! My goal? Finally finish re-finishing the stairs and baseboards. I wonder how Steve would like to have a stair or two missing as I work. Taking the stairs two at time is good exercise, right? Or, maybe I block the stairs entirely and have the family use a ladder to get to their bedrooms. This is gonna be fun.

But, first – start saving your wine bottles! Here’s some easy Fall centerpieces if you’re hosting and gift ideas if you’re not, it’s time to get crafty…

000 wine 1 000 wine 2 000 wine 000 wine 3

000 wine 5 000 wine 4

I LOVE these! They’re made with kitchen towels!!! Click here for a how-to: OnSuttonPlace.com

I started my bottle collection this week with these:

 aaa wine

Masterpiece Chardonnay ~ Stama Chardonnay ~ Michel-Schlumberger Red ~ Three Oaks Cab

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aaa wine 3

2012 Masterpiece Chardonnay Alexander Valley $7.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Larry noticed the citrusy aroma and Terry commented that is was creamy. Kerri said she liked it, it’s very light. Arvin agreed that is was light and added fruity. Steve said, ‘is good’, like a caveman.

On-line review: This is a fresh, lively, balanced Chardonnay that is not bogged down by too much oak or malolactic manipulation. It has amazing fruit and texture, clean and bright, with just the right amount of acid! Amazing Value! (Christie Cartwright, Hollywood)

From the Winemaker: This Chardonnay was made in an unoaked style, fermented very cold, which preserves the delicate Chardonnay fruit flavors and highlights the natural acidity, minerality and clean finish. A very small percentage of Viognier was blended with the Chardonnay to add a floral note and complexity.

Without the influence of oak, the fresh pear, citrus and tropical fruit flavors, deft balance and clean, seamless finish of this wine make it a perfect choice to pair with pan seared or grilled seafood and poultry dishes prepared with lighter sauces. It is also an excellent choice with subtly seasoned Asian cuisine.

 

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aaa wine 4

2012 Stama Chardonnay Lodi $3.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry thought this Chardonnay was tart and Larry found it to be dry. Arvin said it was peppery. This was not a favorite on the Front Porch, but it seems to be selling pretty well and check out this accolade:

Gold Medal winner of San Francisco International Wine competition 2013 ~Stama Winery

Tasting notes: This classic chardonnay is pastel yellow with the faintest hue of lime.  It opens with a white flower nose that includes honeysuckle, almond blossom and white clover.  In the mouth there’s a hint of vanilla with a burst of grapefruit, yellow pear, apple and melon, finishing in long butter-creamy notes due to the French oak fermentation. 

 

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aaa wine 1

2012 Michel-Schlumberger Maison Rouge California $4.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Larry started us off and said this is lip smackin! He tasted plum. Arvin thought it paired well with the pizza (Steve was in charge of food this week). Larry added, ‘this is deliciously dry’. Terry asked, ‘Larry said that? He must be drunk’. Lol. I think it’s official, he likes red wine! Terry and Kerri agreed that this red blend is dry and Joe said, ‘Schlumberger is no humberger’. I’m pretty sure that means he liked it.

89.1 Points from Cellartracker.com: Red raspberry aromas and quite herbal (parsley & thyme). The palate largely matches with cool red fruit & herbs. Medium acid tannins/acid. I could see this aging a few years but is drinking perfectly well now

From the label: Maison Rouge, our “house red,” is layered with rich fruit flavors. Always an easy enhancement for casual fare, it’s the perfect wine to enjoy among friends.

 

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aaa wine 2

2012 Three Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky tasted plums and berries, Kerri commented that this Cab is yummy. Arvin agreed, saying, ‘that’s a wine you don’t have to drink – you can just smell it and enjoy it.’ He did drink it though, he said it’s oaky and it slides right down your throat. Terry thought it would pair well with chocolate and Larry thought it tasted like berry pie.

I couldn’t find any on-line reviews on this Cab, but I did find this: 2014 Silver Medal Award winner The Seattle Food & Wine Experience

From the label: The North Coast growing season was slightly cooler than normal with few heat spikes throughout the Summer. These moderate conditions favored color, flavor and tannin development, producing grapes with exceptional complexity and concentrated flavors.

For the Love of Strangers

Do you ever get really busy? I mean really, really busy with work & home & life. I’ve been so dang busy. Football season is finally here, I thought It’d be fun to re-do my gameroom before it started. Yeah. Sooo much fun. Now, I hesitate to show you pictures of my Packer obsession as I know Packer’s Fans are really not my audience here. Though, I’m sure you can appreciate commitment to your team and even the warm hospitality if you’re not a football fan.

4 gameroom 5

4 gameroom 2 4 gameroom 3 4 gameroom 1 4 gameroom 4

Rediculous to have this your in your house? Perhaps. Em, but I don’t think so. Can you feel the warmth of the neighborhood pub where everybody knows your name? Well, I’m bad with names, but you get it. Many a game will be watched here – by 49er’s fans, a couple Stealer’s fans and we don’t discriminate, even Raider’s fans are welcome if they’re on their best behavior (you know who you are – Caroline). The food is good, we serve Leinenkugels and cheese curds , and the company is even better. It’s more than just football. It’s about hospitality.

Hospitality, noun

  1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers
  2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way

The word ‘hospitality’ in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means ‘love’ and the second word means ‘strangers.’ It’s a word that means love of strangers. ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Even those who don’t care much about football, can enjoy themselves here on gameday. However, this is our second favorite place to watch football. Second only to Lambeau Field, where the hosipitality among strangers is unique and must be experienced – put it on your bucket list. You can read an un-biased perspective on what game day in Green Bay is like by clicking here. Here’s my favorite quote from the article: ‘Next door to Brett Favre’s Steakhouse, a warehouse-size merchandise outlet called the Jersey Store offers the mind-bending sight of a man clad in a Favre jersey buying a Favre jersey. One, presumably, for laundry day.’

Here’s some great wine picks from the Front Porch – two weeks worth again – enjoy them with friends!

4 wines 1     4 wines 2

Clayhouse Sauv Blanc ~ Hidden Cellars Chard ~ Bay Leaf Pinot ~ Victor Old Vine Zin

Hawk Crest Chard ~ Roblar Chard ~ Oak and Vine Pinot ~ Stonehedge Merlot

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4 clayhouse sauv blanc     4 brie and jam pic

2011 Clayhouse Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Arvin noticed this Sauv Blanc had a nice aroma. Kerri thought it tasted very fruity – good on a hot day. Scott commented that it was not too sweet and asked the crowd if we all thought it would be good at a wedding. Terry said it would please a lot of people 🙂 We paired this Sauv Blanc with raspberry jam ($1.99 in our natural/organic section) and brie ($2.99 in our deli case).

87 points from Cellartracker.com

From the winemaker: Made in a refreshing aperitif style, Clayhouse Sauvignon Blanc exhibits a bouquet of starfruit, green pear, honeydew melon and grapefruit, with a hint of grass. There’s a touch of minerality that enhances the floral notes contributed by the Musque clone, and the wine finishes with a creamy mouthfeel (from sur lie fermentation and aging) and mouthwatering acidity.

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 4 hidden cellars chardonnay     4 meatballs pic

2012 Hidden Cellars Chardonnay Mendocino County $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

I thought this California Chardonnay was very light. Larry said he tasted butter, and Steve said, mmmmm buttery. What? They agreed, how weird. Connie said this was an excellent Chardonnay and Kerri agreed. Terry said she liked both the white wines tonight. We paired this Chardonnay with all natural teriyaki & Pineapple meatballs ($3.99 in the deli case).

4/5 stars on Vivino.com

87 points from Cellartracker.com

Apple and pear nose. Buttery start on tongue, turns to lemon-apple green apple tart. refreshing. Good appetizer for fish or chicken.

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 4 hawk crest chardonnay     nacho bites

2008 Hawk Crest Chardonnay Monterey $.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

We paired this wine with spicy nachos ($3.99 in the freezer), it was a great compliment. Terry commented that this was a pleasant Chardonnay, a little sweet, but not too much. Steve thought he noticed a floral aroma, and surprise, Larry agreed.

81.6 points from Cellartracker.com

Winemakers notes: This wine opens with soft aromas of white peach and lemon alongside subtle notes of jasmine and oak spice. Styled after a Macon Village Chardonnay, the wine has a rich silky mouthfeel, medium body, and finishes with bright acidity laced with minerality. Open a bottle with a lightly dressed Shrimp Louie and a chunk of sourdough bread.

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 4 roblar chardonnay

2012 Roblar Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry thought the aroma was like a citrus tree. She found it fruity and said it finished with a slight tartness. Arvin called it lemony – not a bad chardonnay. Larry tasted grapefruit and pear, and wait for it ….. Steve agreed.

91 points from Cellartracker.com

WineEnthusiast.com: A citrus-inflected, vanilla-leaning nuttiness consumes the aromas of this offering, which makes for a very pleasant sipping experience. There is good acidity, with apple, lemon and a bit of tropically, including nicely rounded fruit in the midpalate. A dazzling zest continues to the finish as well.

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4 bay leaf pinot

2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir California $5.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Steve commented (for real) that he liked the oaky aroma, Scott agreed. Arvin also noticed the oaky oakyness, he said, ‘this is the kind of wine I can hold in my mouth and enjoy for 5 minutes. Larry said it had nice legs and Kerri agreed. She noticed blackberry current in the aroma and said that this pinot goes down like velvet and tastes of plum with a pepper bite at the end.

The only tasting notes I could find on-line is from one of my favorite wine snobs, you can read it here

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4 oak and vine pinot      4 snacks pic

2011 Oak & Vine Pinot Noir California $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Larry started us off and said he tasted black cherry and plum. Steve thought this Pinot had an aroma of licorice, Larry added – Anise. Yeah, that is the same thing. We snacked on some treats from our new line of nuts, dried fruits and snack rack that you can find by our fresh produce department.

Tasting notes from Wine Wire: Along with the dark color, aromas strawberry cedar, and crème fraiche meet the wine drinker. Focused tannins and a long finish are complemented by flavors of black cherries, lychee and pomegranate. Oak aging adds hints of vanilla, nuances of toast and a soft, smoky finish.

 4 nut rack 2 4 nut rack 1

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4 stonehedge merlot

2012 Stonehedge Reserve Merlot Napa $10.99

Elsewhere price $39.99

This one got everyone commenting at once! It was hard to keep up… Terry said her nose wriggled and it made her shoulders raise with a shrudder (like she just got a warm hug) ‘it’s good’, she said. Steve said it’s got legs and is very moist & smooth, Arvin agreed. Larry said it was a bit sweet, Arvin agreed. This would pair very nicely with Devil’s Food Cake. Arvin added that this Merlot had long sexy legs and had a lot of sugar from the fruit, almost a dessert wine. So great with berries & chocolate.

From the Winemaker: The Napa Valley Merlot starts with aromas of black cherries and plums followed by tobacco and vanilla. It is very strong in mid pallet and finishes with notes of ripe strawberries and a hint of toasty oak. This is a strong but elegant wine that can be enjoyed now, and also laid down for long cellar aging that will highlight the fine attributes of this wine.

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4 victor old vine zin

Victor Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi $5.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Becky said this zin was like a flavor explosion in her mouth. Steve found it dry and Kerri tasted cherry. Becky added that it had long lingering flavor with a peppery finish. Everybody was happy.

On-line review: Our Old Vine Zinfandel is rich with brooding complexity – supple tannins frame the dark raspberry, blackberry, and cherry flavors rounded with brambly spice and hints of mocha, black pepper, and lightly toasted oak

From the winemaker: Victor Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel is crafted from grapes grown on our Lawson vineyard and other selected vineyards with vines aging from 35 to 112 years old. Our Old Vine Zinfandel is rich with brooding complexity—supple tannins frame dark raspberry, blackberry and cherry rounded with brambly spice and hints of mocha, black pepper, and lightly toasted oak. Appellation: Lodi – Blend: 85% Zinfandel , 15% Petite Sirah – Vineyard age: 35 – 102 years old

Reminiscing

I love history. Wait. I don’t mean like reading a giant dusty book then being quizzed on it later… More like as it pertains to culture and way-of-life. It doesn’t matter what era, 40’s – 50’s – 60’s or even older like pioneer days, I like to imagine what it was like to live back then. Getting a T.V. in the 50’s was a major event! Cars, the drive-in and school dances were the things to do. Not being around back then allows me to only consider the best parts of the times and leave everything else out. Like selective memory… without the actual memories. I gather some of my ‘memories’ from T.V. and movies, but my favorite is hearing people that were there tell stories.

Terry’s mom and sister came to join us on the Front Porch for Wine Tasting. Her mom, Leila, told me about how they used to have parties at their house after Terry and her sisters went to bed. Not like every night parties where parents celebrate their kids’ bedtime. It was probably an annual party for a birthday or anniversary or something like that. They had a four piece live Jazz band play right in the house and hired bartenders to serve the guests. Leila said that band played the pictures right off the walls! It’s a wonder that kids could sleep through a party like that. Hm. Yeah, they didn’t. Here’s a snapshot, courtesy of the artist Shag, of how it I picture this party as I listen to the story:

HolmbyHills

Terry and her sisters must’ve been just out of sight at the top of the stairs.

I imagine the whole town was at those parties. Towns were smaller then according to me. Everybody knew everybody. Life was slower, simpler. Going to a party involved getting dressed up & dancing and was probably the talk of the town until the next party. The world may never move at that pace again, but when we take the time to reminisce – I think it slows down just a little.

Have a glass of wine and reminisce with someone today 🙂

Ok, so the following reviews are from TWO wine tastings. I just wanted you to know that we didn’t drink ALL of these wines in the span of two hours. Don’t miss the Award Winning Wines at the bottom of the post!

stack wines

Your Choice $2.99!    Elsewhere price $11.99

Stack Wines are four individual glasses that are each sealed separately so you can have just a glass at a time. For instance, the movie theater seems like the perfect place to enjoy Stackers Wine, you can easily carry one in your purse. Purse wine is my favorite. The ‘glass’ is actually plastic, so no worries around the pool either.

Pinot Grigio:

Bob found this Pinot to have a fruity after taste. He thought it was a great summer wine. Larry also commented on the fruity-ness, Steve tasted apple. Granny Smith apple. Shirley thought it was dry at first taste, she tasted apple as well and said it was light – nice for summer. Caroline, our resident wine snob, said she liked it (I tried to hide the packaging so she wouldn’t judge the wine before she even got a sip). She tasted pear and lime and added that she was surprised that this tasted like it came from one of the wineries that she is a member of. High praise from Caroline!

Winemakers notes:

Color: Light straw yellow with flecks of green.
Nose: Delicate with honeydew melon, fresh meadow, and lime peel.
Palate: Grapefruit, key lime, and melon

Chardonnay:

Becky found this Chardonnay buttery and did not taste any oak. Bob commented that it tasted good. Larry and Steve did care for it, but I thought it was nice.

Winemakers notes:

Color: Medium light gold.
Nose: Medium with lemon cream pie, vanilla and toasted almond.
Palate: Lemon peel, apple and pineapple

Cabernet Sauvignon:

Becky enjoyed the aroma of this cab. Terry and Shirley thought it was grapey. Bob noticed the oak. Larry and Steve both (who must read each other’s minds before commenting on wine) said it had legs. Steve wasn’t sure if it was dry… Caroline confirmed for him that it was dry. She added that it was a smooth easy drinking cab; she tasted black cherry and plum.

Winemakers notes:

Color: Medium garnet, perfect clarity.
Nose: Medium/plus with cassis, blueberry, cedar and some black licorice, mint and black pepper.
Palate: Blackberry, cocoa and berry jam

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 four wines

Alondra Chardonnay ~ Anterra Chardonnay and Merlot ~ Marchand Bordeaux

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Alondra

2010 Alondra Chardonnay Middleridge Ranch Vineyard $5.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Larry said this ones got a little zip to it! Steve called it smooth and Ethan thought it had a nice aroma.

89 Points from CellarTracker.com: Medium-bodied, with a subtle flavor profile, full-on creamy from the malo; easily withstands oxidation. Really great paired with honeydew melon and smoked salmon.

From the Winemaker: Penetrating aromas of green apple, lemon custard and subtle tropical fruits of guava and melon. The palate is sleek and detailed, with just enough flesh and mid-palate presence for pinpoint balance with the natural acidity. The fruit gains momentum into an expansive finish, while remaining graceful and elegant

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 Anterra chardonnay

2013 Anterra Chardonnay Italy $4.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Terry got the first taste; she said it was crisp and refreshing. Larry thought this Chardonnay was very light and Steve agreed, of course. Scott said it was not too sweet, which is a compliment from Scott. Jose said he would buy this wine; it was juicy – almost not like wine – smooth and sweet.

Blogger NHWineman review: 89 points, poured a bright polished gold color, and smelled like the misty calm afterglow of a thunderstorm with hints of lilac and lemon.
The medium-plus body was crisp, slightly off dry (the label says dry), clean, had mineral notes with moderately acidic lemon flavors, and finished as it began, but with a touch of the 12% alcohol and ginger.
I loved this sleeper of a white wine, and I’m not the biggest fan of Chardonnay; this is not anything like a Cali Chardonnay (no butter here), but was produced in the Italian “traditional style” closer to a Chablis.

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anterra merlot

2012 Anterra Merlot Italy $4.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Larry gave this Merlot two thumbs up, he tasted berries. And Steve added: blackberries. Scott was turned off by the screw cap. As it turns out, screw caps aren’t just for cheap jugs of wine anymore. Read more here: Cork Versus Screw Cap: Don’t Judge A Wine By How It’s Sealed

3.5 stars from Vivino.com: Black cherries and berries with toasty oak overtones, smooth finish and lush tannins

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bordeaux    bordeaux 2

2011 Chateau Grand Marchand Bordeaux France $7.99

Elsewhere price $27.99

Concours General Agricole Paris Wine Competition 2012 Gold Winner Source

Terry commented that this one was full-bodied and yummy! She added that it just rolls right you’re your little throat. Steve said it was very smooth. Jose said it got looong leeegs.

86 Points from WineEnthusiast.com

On-line review from WineEnthusiast.com: This firm wine has black-currant and red-plum fruit, nicely integrated with the dry core. Ready to drink, although capable of aging a year or two.

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fish eye bottle fish eye

2013 Fish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon Australia $8.99

Elsewhere price $15.99

WORLD WINE CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARD: Silver Medal source

3 liter box = four regular bottles!

Bob noticed that at first sip this cab tasted a little acidy and needs to be aerated, which is kinda tricky since it’s in a box. Caroline agreed, saying she tasted unripe cherries. We let it sit around in the glass after pouring for about 15 minutes then tried it again. I found it to be dry and Terry said it definitely got smoother. Caroline said she didn’t care much for it, but I noticed she refilled her glass. Hm.

From the bottle: “Cherry and blackberry with a hint of pepper on the nose.”

On-line review from Tastings.com: Garnet purple color. Aromas of dried currants, spice, and delicate peppercorn with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a whole nut, tobacco, and sour cherry finish with chewy tannins. A nice relaxed sipper.

 

I need my Mojo back!

I thought I’d gotten pretty good at ignoring Mojo, the tiny dictator in my head. You know the one that politely encourages me to tackle household projects.

I’ve spent some weekends lately just kickin’ it watching movies and as much Netflix as possible. I tried to get myself motivated, but the pull of the couch kept winning out. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t really notice that he was gone at first. I knew something had changed. I even considered the possibility that I was coming down with a cold or something.

Then I got to thinking: Terry got Larry to clean out their shed, tear it down and build a new one.

Terry 3

You remember the free old wood I got to build this table, it came from their old shed. Terry decided to use the RV space on the side of their house to create a Secret Garden Patio.

Terry 4 Terry 5

She got Larry to cut a window out of the side of the house and install French doors leading out into the new patio.

Terry 2

What!?! That has my tiny dictator’s name all over it! I thought at the time that Terry was Larry’s tiny dictator. But, as you can see here she’s pretty handy too!

Terry

They also found the time and energy to re-decorate Terry’s sister’s master bedroom – hmmmm, suspicious.

Terry 6

Terry picked out some of the furniture that had been stored in the shed to decorate the new patio. They painted with over-the-top colors, which I looovve, and planted tiny succulents all around. Terry sewed curtains and Larry installed a retractable shade. It’s decorated with fun & quirky stuff that Terry loves and they created a great space to have a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning or a glass of wine in the evening. It held almost 20 Front Porch Wine Tasters at it’s debut.

When I saw their completed Secret Garden Patio I knew. It was so obvious now: Terry totally kidnapped my Mojo.

Terry 7

Thanks for having us Larry and Terry! Now, please send me my Mojo home. I neeeeed to finish my game-room before football season starts and my stairs are still torn apart.

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Terry 12

Turn 4 White Blend ~ Red Autumn Chard ~ Discoveries Cab Sauv ~ Castro Oaks Cab Sauv

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Terry 8

2010 Bennent Lane Winery Turn 4 White Blend California $3.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Misty thought this white blend was a little tart, but good with salsa. Joe S. said it made him stop and say, “Oh, that’s good”. Scott and Terry liked it but Pat said she didn’t care for it because it was too sweet. But, she added that she’s the type of girl who drinks vodka straight. Neighbors Steve & Dara choose this one as their favorite. Becky said it was crisp and Jose gave it a ‘thumbs up’.

86.3 Points from cellartracker.com

Wine Spectator – Offers appealing pear and fig flavors that are fleshy and round, with a juicy, ripe quality and details of floral and spice notes, especially on the finish. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Drink now. 4,410 cases made.

Wine Enthuisiast – Sweet and forward in pineapple, peach and lime flavors, this is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It has good acidity and a clean, spicy finish.

Tasting Notes – This refreshing California white wine is the perfect partner to our popular Turn 4 Cabernet Sauvignon. With aromatics of honeysuckle, white peaches and a hint of the tropics, this is an incredibly fruit forward and bright wine. On the palate there are rich flavors of mango and ripe peach, balanced by refreshing acidity and a lively clean finish.

 

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Terry 9

2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay California $2.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Steve and Larry liked this Chardonnay right away. Dean agreed, he said it tasted good. Brian commented that it was smooth and refreshing. Terry liked the white blend better, this one got her all flushed. Scott came into the store the next day to get a couple cases for his daughter’s wedding. Steve was able to bring in a second shipment, but at time of this writing – there is only about a case left of the second shipment.

The only on-line review I could find on this Chardonnay was not very favorable. Which just goes to show you that sometimes the wine snobs are wrong lol.

 

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Terry 11

2012 Discoveries Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon California $4.99

Elsewhere $12.00

Pat noticed the oaky aroma from this cab. Steve and Jose found it to be dry. I tried it with dark chocolate which was a perfect pair. Misty said it was strong and it cleared her sinus’. Dara labeled this one as her favorite too, especially for winter. Scott got a case of this for the wedding as well.

87 Points from cellartracker.com

Wine makers notes: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is deep red and violet in color with aromas of tea, cherry and blackcurrent accompained by toasted oak, almond, and a hint of cocoa. On the palate, concentrated fruit flavors give way to smooth, oaky tannins

 

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Terry 10

2011 Castro Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon Sierra Foothills $6.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Joe R. stopped by before his hockey game for a quick sip of wine, he found this one to be oaky. Becky described this one as a ‘burst of berries’ and liked how it stays on your tounge. Bob called this one his favorite and Brian filled his glass! Terry said it was excellent and I thought it tasted like Syrah – which is my favorite. Dean liked it and Jose found it to be smooth and would pair it with red snapper. Misty  and Larry agreed that it was dry, smooth and less fruity than they expected.

4.0 out of 5 stars from Vivino.com

Wine maker notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon is warm and smooth harvested in mid-October at 3000′ elevation near Yosemite National Park. Aged fifteen months in new American Oak. A full bodied Cabernet with excellent balance of fruit, oak, vanilla, berry, and much more. Drink now or hold.

 

 

Pairing Food with Wine

This week, I had a little more time than I usually do when planning for wine tasting. So, I thought we would have specific food pairings with each wine. Sometimes I can get a little lazy and just serve berries and cheese & crackers. You can get all the food pairings at Manteca Grocery Outlet as well (while supplies last), with the exception of Becky’s Blackberry Pepper Jam…

Here’s a link to a basic food and wine pairing chart, check it out if you’d like to have a little more guidance. I don’t know if I’d trust it completely though – it lists chocolate as one of the hard to pair with wine foods. I have never had any trouble pairing chocolate with wine – it seems to go with just about every red that we’ve tried on the Front Porch!

a nice line up of wine

Marco Fiori Sauv Blanc ~ Lander Jenkins Chard ~ Greg Norman Malbec ~ HCV Merlot

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Marco sauv blanc   fresh fruit pairing

2013 Marco Fiori Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley $4.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

4.7 out of 5 on Vivino.com

We let this wine breath for 15 minutes before we tried it and we paired it with a fresh fruit platter. Terry took her first sip of this Sauvignon Blanc while we we’re all still visiting, and interrupted with a, ‘oh, that’s good. I like it a lot.’  Kerri commented that this Napa wine is airy, nice on a summer evening. She said she would pair it with fish or chicken. Larry tasted pear. Scott, who usually stays away from Sauvignon Blanc because it’s too sweet for his taste, said, ‘this, I’ll drink, it’s not too sweet at all. So, to recap: Kerri said it was airy, Larry thought it was pairy and Terri and Scott liked it a lot.

 

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lander jenkins chard   beckys jam and chard

2011 Lander Jenkins Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

2012 New York int’l wine competition awarded this winery Family Owned Winery of the Year

After searching the internet on details of this wine, I found that they have recently changed their label, which may be why we have it. We paired this California Chardonnay with Becky’s homemade Blackberry Pepper Jam with cream cheese on crackers. Dang, that jam is good. Larry felt it had a little bite to it and Terry thought it was buttery. Becky said it’s pretty good and Scott stated that it was strong, but not bitter.

Wine Enthusiast: Rich in apricot, orange and tropical fruits, with buttered toast, honey and creamy lees flavors, this Chardonnay leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s flashy and forward, yet has enough acid and mineral balance to give it interest.  (8/ 2013)

K&L Notes: Lander-Jenkins’ 2011 California Chardonnay boasts the freshness of the cool 2011 vintage, with aromas of lemon cream and Key lime pie that carry over to the round, but fresh palate. Packs a lot for the price.

 

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greg norman malbec   sliders and malbec

2011 Greg Norman Malbec Argentina $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

This Malbec from Argentina also has had a label change. This bottle, even with the old label, was my favorite of the night. We paired it with Chicken Sliders with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Kerri tasted the berries and would pair it with red meat. She said it reminded her of a Pinot Noir. Terry thought it was good, very smooth and I agreed. Scott was talking baseball with the guys, but stopped to say, ‘I like it’.

Winemakers notes: Intense purple red and ruby hues paint the backdrop for this Argentinian adventure bursting with ripe fruit flavors, hints of exotic smoke and vanilla and a long, dreamy sunset-like finish.

“Excellent and enjoyable best describe this black-fruit driven Malbec. Hard to find this quality for the retail price.”           —Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

 

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HCV merlot   salami and merlot

2010 Happy Canyon Vineyards Merlot $6.99

Elsewhere price $22.99

This California Merlot scored 92 points from Cellertracker.com! We paired it with Salame and Cheese on bread rounds. Kerri commented that is was jammy and she definitely tasted dark cherries. Becky said, ‘I love it! It’s like sunshine in my mouth.’ She would pair it with steak or cheesecake. When she paired it with her Blackberry Pepper Jam then took another sip, she said you get a little ‘pizzaz’. I thought it was just dry enough and after about 30 minutes of breathing, it mellows way out. This would go excellent with a nice dark chocolate.

Tasting notes: Happy Canyon Vineyards offers us an aromatically complex Merlot with their 2010 release from the nation’s newest AVA, Happy Canyon! This release is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. The palate offers cocoa and fresh dark cherry fruit with soft tannins supporting the fruit. Reserved oak and a bright acidic structure keep this Merlot food friendly and down-to-earth.