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.


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!



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…



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.


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.



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


Zombie Zin


For the last few years my family has become interested in – no, obsessed with zombies.

zombie steve     zombie kids     zombie me

We gather together to watch Walking Dead every week. Our house is known as the ‘Zombie House’ among trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. We even have endless discussions on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. I know many people must be thinking –Crazy- But, have you considered WHAT IF!?!

Maybe, just maybe you should be prepared too. I apologize for this slap-in-the-face reality check for those of you that may not have picked up on the possibility that I may be a tiny bit nuts. In my defense, people that are kinda nuts make the most interesting of friends.

If you’re local to the Manteca area, the Bass Pro shop may be a safe refuge. All the camping gear and weapons on the second floor at your disposal with only elevators and one staircase accessing it. Once you stock pile some food and block the staircase you should be safe – after all, zombies lack the intelligence to use the elevator. (sidebar: if you work at PG&E, please set the main electrical control switch to stay on, even without payment, at the first sign of zombies. Thank you.) However, many people will probably think Bass Pro is the place to go and the food will run out quickly, so have a back-up destination planned.

The internet is great resource to get your plan together. Here is great video on the first steps you should take:

But, in reality, (yes, I get the irony) you could just add The Zombie Survival Guide (get it here on Amazon) to your earthquake preparedness kit (and maybe a couple weapons) and nobody will notice and think you’re crazy. I recommend including wine in that kit as well, as I predict booze will become a top commodity in the zombie apocalypse. After a long day of zombie hunting we all need to be able to wind down and relax a little. Tip: Don’t forget the can opener and the cork-screw!

Wine choice in a post-apocalyptic world: Zombie Zin! $7.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet

zombie zin 2      zombie zin

I actually sought out this wine for the novelty value alone. I was extremely excited to find that the wine was way better than I expected! The Front Porch goers agreed.

Caroline (our resident wine-snob) immediately said it was very good after the first sip. She said it was smooth and the color was clear & not cloudy. I quote, “one of the best Zins I’ve had in a long time.” She tasted blackberry & cherry and again said this is really good. Terry also seemed surprised at how good it was. She commented, ‘Oh! It’s really good and it smells really good!’ Arvin said it was bloody nice, he thought he noticed a peppery-ness to it, but he wasn’t sure if that came from the spicy meatball he just ate. Larry thought his mummy would really like it ;-p  Becky said it starts fruity, like cool-aid, and Steve agreed. Joe said the flavor raises the dead. He also noted that he tasted strong Bing cherries and reported that it tasted woody –oak not cedar. So, cheesy wisecracks aside, we finished ALL the Zombie Zin and most of us plan on getting more. Our first shipment was only 4 cases and it’s going fast, but I hear we have another 12 cases coming.

Meet some of the Front Porch Wine Tasting tasters:

zombie wine tasters 1

top: Larry & Terry bottom: Arvin & Connie

   zombie wine tasters 3

Joe R, Becky & Caroline

Courtesy of Walking Dead’s ‘Dead Yourself’ app. You can download the app to ‘dead’ yourself here

Cellar Tracker gave it 87.5 points.

On-line review: Really enjoyable zin. Nose is full of berry and spice. Jammy, like a mouth full of fruit; black cherry, plum, blueberry. Almost a creamy finish with some pepper poking through. Rich, but very pleasant, with a nice long finish. I would definitely buy again, even at a higher price.

The label reads: As survivors of the apocalypse we have found refuge, hidden away from the world that was and from those who refuse to die. We pass the time making wine dreaming of better days gone by. The Zombie Zinfandel is blood-red in color. The aromas evoke visions of ripe blackberries and cedar coffins. The flavors meld together as an oozy mass of dark, ripe and horridly rich fruit with a layer of black pepper and spice. If you dare venture out and want to find us, look for the clues at Be smart and stay alive.

Click this link to enter to win your own Zombie Apocalypse essentials kit including: Zombie Survival Guide book, Zombie Zin and cork-screw.