Ready for Thanksgiving!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I was Samantha Stevens. How great it would be to just twitch my nose and finish my DIY projects. If you’ve been following along, you know that I had a long list to complete in a short amount of time: painting the kitchen cabinets, the guest room and the guest bathroom. Yes, I know the bathroom wasn’t originally on the list – but, in my infinite wisdom, I started that one while completing the rest. It did bump the painting of the front doors though… for now.

kitchen before and after     bathroom before and after

Newly painted kitchen cabinets with new hardware and cultured marble bathroom counter (w/flat iron burn) painted to look like granite

guest room

Retro guest room – hard to get a pic of the whole thing, you can’t even see the most-amazing-thrift-store-find-ever, the purple egg chair!

I was fortunate enough to have all my kids get themselves on restriction! They all pitched in on my project list in exchange for an early release. Turns out, the youngest is a BOSS at baseboard miters. They are perfect! His prize will be to finish the entire house in new baseboards. Don’t tell him, I want it to be a surprise. Surprises are fun. 🙂

So, I’m ready for Thanksgiving. Let’s have some wine!

five wines

Terrapura Chard ~ EOS Chard ~ Concannon Cab ~ Cate Cab ~ Homestead Sangiovese

We paired these wines with a fancy selection of cheese!

goat cheese

I didn’t think I was a fan of goat cheese. It sounds like it should be kinda disgusting. I like to think of myself as adventurous, so we gave them a try. I cannot believe I waited 40 years to try it! They were the perfect compliment to wine tasting. I especially liked the Blueberry Vanilla, it tasted like dessert. Definitely not disgusting. Also, pictured are Garlic & Herb, 4 Peppers and Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil (not pictured: Cranberry Cinnamon). The price in those other stores is $4.39 for 4oz, but who would pay that when you can get it at Grocery Outlet for just $1.99? I will be serving these at Thanksgiving.

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Terrapura chardonnay

2011 Terrapura Chardonnay – Central Valley, Chili – $3.99

Elsewhere price $8.99

Larry says it was very light in color but, it’s got a bite. It’s a wine that’s down to earth. Brian said he liked this one and Becky thought it was earthy. Arvin said it was good and called it a blue collar wine. Terry noticed that everyone was enjoying it and Connie liked how it paired with the blueberry vanilla cheese.

The label reads: Terrapura represents the Balance Spiral, symbolic representation of the earth, that exists in perfect harmony with all the other elements from nature: climate and hand labor.

On-line review: An amazing value Chardonnay (at $10.99)! Big, rich, well-balanced and priced well below the recommended retail price – snap up Terrapura Chardonnay for a Wright Find from Chile!

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eos_chardonnay_1

2009 EOS Estate Chardonnay – Central Coast, California – $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky liked this Chardonnay right away and Steve tasted a hint of vanilla. Larry tasted grapefruit or pineapple and Brian said this one had more tannins, it was drier than the first Chardonnay.

The label reads: At EOS our approach to winemaking is traditional and natural; our methods are decidedly low tech. We allow the soils and climates of each vineyard site to be clearly heard in our wines. EOS Chardonnay is fresh, lush and refined with pear, citrus peel, pineapple and vanilla. (dang! Steve & Larry are getting good at this)

On-line review: This Chardonnay is ultra-fresh and approachable with aromas of red apples, lemon custard, pineapple and melon. Toasty oak fills in the palate and adds depth and character to the wine. While there is plenty of richness…

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Concannon

2008 Chateau Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon – San Francisco Bay – $6.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

Connie started right off by noticing the wonderful bouquet, she said it was very smooth and Arvin liked that it was full-bodied. Brian said this Cab was a winner with him, it had long legs but not too much tannins. Larry commented that it goes well with dark chocolate, he really liked it (Red again, Larry? Wow) and he can really taste the dark cherry. Terry agreed, she said it finishes well with the cherry taste.

The label reads: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, rich with black cherry and vanilla-oak flavors. Subtle spice and just a hint of chocolate mingle in the smooth finish. Enjoy with your favorite cut of beef or cheese.

On-line review: 84 Points. Aromas of sweet cherries, red licorice and rose petals, a little bit of pepper. Medium-bodied and tangy acid, lots of bright cherry and raspberry with notes of caramelized sugar, red licorice and soft toast. A fun, easy-drinking style.

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Cate Cab

2012 Cate Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley, Ca. – $8.99

Elsewhere prize $19.99

Terry found the aroma to be intoxicating before she even had a sip. Brian noticed that it had short legs and thought it would go well with a grilled steak. Arvin liked this one, he said it was dryer and he tasted black berries and enjoyed the finish. Larry and Steve both tasted tobacco, they collectively decided that it would be great with a cigar after a great big steak and loaded baked potato.

The label reads: Fragrant cassis, black cherry and cocoa notes tantalize the nose while the mid-palate is jam-packed with fleshy ripe tannins, blackberry, dark chocolate and tobacco flavors. The finish is well balanced integrating the ripe fruit with its plush tannins ending with subtle hints of caramelized almonds.

On-line review: Can you believe in this day and age that there is absolutely zero information on this wine? Nada, zip, zilch. Not even on the winery. No pictures, nothing, until this blog of course! My internet search gave me everything from cat wine to Cate Blanchett. Crazy.

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sangiovese

2010 Homestead 1897 Sangiovese – Napa Valley, Ca – $3.99

Elsewhere price $14.00

This wine was recommended to us by a regular wine customer. He taught Steve all about Sangiovese, including how to pronounce it. Steve worked Sangiovese into every sentence he possibly could after that, lol. He also learned that this is the prominent grape in Chianti. Chianti is usually a very dry red wine, but this Sangiovese was quite fruity. Terry and Cici both tasted peaches and Becky tasted elderflower. Terry also said it made her feel warm. Warm=happiness.

The label reads: In the boom of Napa Valley’s mining era 1897, Ed Haus homesteaded a small vineyard and ranch in the far north eastern corner of Napa Valley. Homestead 1897 is made with the same care and attention to detail as the first wines handcrafted during the turn of the century.

91 points from Cellar Tracker

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We had a ‘Remarkable’ time!

Every time I hear the word Remarkable, I think of the Little Rascals. Do you remember them? When I was a kid, I watched them (re-runs of course!) every Saturday morning. One episode, Spanky was babysitting a bunch of babies. Now, Spanky looks like a baby himself in this episode, but he has exceptional story telling skills! He is telling the babies a bed time story so they will take a nap and one of the babies keeps commenting, ‘Remarkable’ all through the story. Babies watching babies, remarkable. I don’t know who in their right mind would allow their baby to be supervised by The Little Rascals, that is really remarkable. As I remember, one of the babies ended up inside a big bird cage to contain him – he was a wanderer. Sure, inappropriate today – but back then – it was effective. If you have 4 minutes, watch a clip from the original Remarkable episode here.

That totally had nothing to do with wine, but may provide some insight as to how my mind wanders like an unsupervised toddler.

We tasted four wines this week on the Front Porch. (which had a tiny make-over to accommodate more people)

5 wine pic  6 wine pic

2008 Hangtime Chardonnay from the Central Coast, 2009 Fernz Chardonnay from New Zealand, 2008 Remarkable Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County and 2008 Monkey Business from the North Coast. (from right to left) Check our Facebook page for the ‘Giveaway’ tab to Enter to Win one bottle of each of these wines! Also, you can try the Bandana White blend and the Totally Random Sweet Red wines from previous posts this weekend at the Manteca Pumpkin Fair (Oct 5 & 6, 2013).

8 wine pic

Hangtime Chardonnay $3.99 (elsewhere price $11.99)

3 wine pic First up, Hangtime Chardonnay had a buttery color and was slightly oaky. Terry thought that it started strong but after a few sips it goes down easy. Larry said it was not as lightly colored as some we have tried lately and Joe said it was smooth…like Larry. Lisa said let it breath for a few minutes, it was misleading at first. The Red Hat Ladies liked it but were really looking forward to the red wines (guests of Kitty, who thought the coffee was perfectly strong – just the way she likes it). Cellar Tracker gave it 86 points. (the wine, not the coffee)

The label reads: ‘At Hangtime Cellars, we source Chardonnay from the cool, windswept California Coast AVA where grapes spend a long time hanging on the vine – you’ll find the exact number of days printed on our label. These lengthy “hangtimes” allow grapes to ripen slowly, developing exquisite fruit character perfectly balanced by crisp acidity. Sit back with your friends, open up a bottle, and enjoy a little well-deserved hangtime of your own!’

Fernz Chardonnay $3.99 (elsewhere price $11.99)

4 wine pic I immediately liked the fruity smell of the Fernz Chardonnay. It was lighter in color and both Larry and I thought it had a distinct citrus taste. Joe said it was a little too tart for him (which is funny because he won a free bottle the next day, lol) The Red Hat Ladies wanted to remember this one so they could come into the store to get it – even though it wasn’t red. Tasting.com gave this wine 84 points and it won the Bronze Medal in the World Wine Championship! I like to search out info about all the wines we taste, and I came across a video of the winemakers tasting this wine on YouTube – check out their reaction to livestock crashing the party!

The label reads: ‘The Silver Fern is a national emblem of New Zealand which conveys a sense of inspiration, purity and pride. We strive to provide these same characteristics in our wine by using only sustainable winemaking practices, thus protecting the natural environment. It is our priority to provide you with the taste of pure New Zealand in every drop. Please enjoy with family & friends and take pleasure in the flavor of New Zealand!’

Remarkable Pinot Noir $5.99 (elsewhere price $19.99)

2 wine pic As we passed this Remarkable Pinot Noir around the Front Porch, Lisa noticed the bottom of the bottle and said she loved the ‘belly button’ on the bottle. She thought the wine was ‘Yummy!’ It coated her mouth and felt creamy and had a nice round flavor. She planned on getting a case the next day (her husband did come in and get it for her :-)). Terry said it was refreshing and it would be a crowd pleaser, especially for the holidays. Misty thought it was a remarkable price and would make a great holiday gift.

The label reads: ‘Aromas of maraschino cherry, rhubarb and cream yield into complex smoky notes, and layers of soft tannins.’

Monkey Business Merlot $7.99 (elsewhere price $12.99)

1 wine pic Perfect for the coming Fall months! Monkey Business Merlot brings a lot of fruit and a rich flavor. It is deep red and smells slightly floral. I thought it was smooth and dry. Larry said it started sweet, then becomes dry. It made Terry feel very warm (but, it was the fourth wine she tasted and she was sitting pretty close to Larry, so it could’ve been either of those things).

The label reads: Monkey business is located in the heart of Wine Country in Healdsburg. We bottle and blend small lots of the finest hand-crafted wine form California. Enjoy this wine by itself or with your favorite cuisine.’

ale tasting I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t get any of Steve’s wisdom on any of these wines. He was present on the Front Porch… however, he was a rebel this week – he was having A Little Sumpin’ Ale. He said it might be considered bitter if you compare it to beers like Coors Light or Bud. He thought it tasted kind of like evergreen – like if you were on Naked and Afraid and you made a tea out of pine needles to stay alive – but with a kick. You are a kick, Steve!