Wine for your next Celebration!

Nothing is more annoying than getting in the shower the day after Halloween to scrub your face clean of the leftover zombie blood that still stains your skin and find that your husband used up all the soap and didn’t replace it. FYI shampoo does not remove zombie blood from skin. Thank goodness for make-up.

What does the first day of November mean to you? The start of the holiday season, maybe? To me, today is the first day of the great race against time to complete my various projects before Thanksgiving. I work best with a deadline. I’ve counted the weekends and confidently made lists. I am focused.

But…

In the back of my head, I can hear the faint whisper of that tiny dictator. ‘What a stunning impact newly painted front doors would make.’

Really? What is wrong with him? I have to finish the kitchen AND the guest room! The multiple lists are long plus I will have to perform the tedious chore of removing the protective layer of dust from all the rarely touched surfaces around the house. Most of the downstairs rooms don’t even have baseboards yet, why on earth would I even consider painting the front doors. Does that tiny dictator that lives in my head even know that I have a job? Maybe he wants to bring on the ever looming nervous breakdown so I will finally eat breakfast on a regular basis – breakfast that includes happy pills in a paper cup and is served from a cart that is wheeled into the room. Actually, that kinda sounds nice.

I did watch a YouTube video on the proper procedure to painting front doors so I’m basically an expert now.

Challenge accepted! I will finish all of these projects before Thanksgiving and I will bake fabulous holiday desserts. Then I will take a nap.

We tasted two unconventional wines this week that will go perfectly with holiday desserts and they’ll make fun gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. Make sure you read to the end to find them.

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backyard bar

Thanks to Joe and Misty S. for hosting our remote Front Porch Wine Tasting at their beautiful backyard bar – You guys definitely added some class!

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4 wines pic

Lunatic White Blend ~ Three Rivers Chardonnay ~ Fetzer Shiraz ~ Whiplash Red Blend

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2011 Lunatic White Wine Blend $5.99 elsewhere $14.99

California

The label reads: ‘True genius often borders on lunacy. Visit lunavinyards.com to find out what makes this crazy good blend so insanely delicious.’

I’m pretty sure that whoever wrote that is calling me a genius 😉

As you can see from the picture above, the color of this white blend is very light. Misty and I both thought it tasted light and delicate as well. Arvin tasted peaches and apricot and Larry noted the fruitiness. Steve agreed. Larry said the fruit he tasted was grapefruit. Steve agreed. Lol. Steve also said that he tasted grapes and without missing a beat, Kathy said, “it does have grapes, we don’t know how many, but they’re in there.” Terry commented that we’re all feeling a little luny. Becky mentioned that it was kind of sweet and Scott said its got a little twang to it.

On-line review: The aromas are floral and real delicate, but on tasting there are citrus flavors on the front of the palate and apricot on the back. The tannins are very mild and delicately active – a nice crisp wine, perfect for summer….or for a hot hotel room.  Whichever works…the hotel room, in this scenario.  Hurry up summer! The Lunatic was so delicious I ended up ordering a case through one of my friends who owns a wine bar in Seattle…thank goodness for friends in high places.

Winemaker’s notes: Intensely aromatic, densely flavored, muscular but supple, graceful and delicate. This wine is full of contradictions and charming mysteries. It is a trifecta of Albarino, Malvasia Bianca and Chardonnay; each providing a balancing force in the blend. The Albarino is delicate in aroma, like a white peach, but full flavored. The Malvasia Bianca is almost overwhelming with jasmine flower and apricot nectar aromas, yet brisk and clean to taste. The Chardonnay is a ripe pear in both flavor and aroma, filling your mouth with warm, succulent flavor. But, the wine is much more than the sum of its parts… insanely good!

Blend: 38% Albarino, 34% Malvasia Bianca, and 28% Chardonnay

Arvin hit the nail on the head with the fruit he tasted!

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TRW-Chard

2009 Three Rivers Winery Chardonnay $6.99 elsewhere $15.99

Columbia Valley. Walla Walla, WA

Arvin says this Chardonnay has swagger! Moses tasted walnuts and Steve said it was little heavier. I thought it looked and tasted buttery. Joe S. liked it with chilled red grapes in his glass.

On-line review: “Pale straw. Orange blossom and dusty stone on the nose. Sweet, pliant and nicely balanced, with orange and nectarine flavors framed by a slight phenolic edge. This essentially supple chardonnay finishes spicy and nicely dry.”
88 Points International Wine Cellar

Winemaker’s notes: The long, temperate growing season coupled with partial rather than full malolactic fermentation yielded a Chardonnay of great richness and structure. The nose is scented with green apples, pears and a dash of vanilla. The palate is full and creamy with pears and pineapples. This is a beautifully balanced wine that complements a wide range of foods including roasted chicken, pan seared halibut, crab cakes and pasta in a creamy sauce.

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2010 Fetzer Anthony’s Hill Shiraz $4.99 elsewhere $9.99

California

Shiraz (or Syrah) is one of my favorite types of wine. This one had great color and I would choose it as an everyday-after-work-wine. Arvin smelled the aroma of apples and liked the pairing of chocolate with this wine. But, Becky thought it was too weak (she might be a wine-o, lol). Joe S said it tastes like a real wine – like my wife’s driving us home wine. Misty said good thing we don’t have far to go!

On-line review: The Fetzer vineyards Shiraz unoaked radiates with a dense, Garnet-red color. The aromas is characterized by intensely fragrant wild berries, wood and Oriental spices. On the palate the Fetzer vineyards Shiraz is unoaked tight, well structured game on the tongue and Finish with a thrilling sweet-acid soft round and exotic spicy.

The original review was in German (I think German)

Awards:

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: 2010 silver

San Francisco International Wine Competition: Silver for 2010

The label reads: Explore. I think of Shiraz as a grown-up Merlot. It’s familiar and different at the same time, a fearless choice when you’re ready for something new. From the deep purple colour to aromas of white pepper, plum, blackberry and licorice, you get a sense of adventure. Our Shiraz (others call it Syrah) is medium-bodied, with a lingering finish that is very satisfying. It’s a wine well worth exploring.

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whiplash

2009 Whiplash Redemption $3.99 elsewhere $13.99

California

Arvin and Larry agreed that this wine was smoother than the Shiraz and it had a dry-ness to it. Scott said it tasted better than it’s aroma would suggest. Becky liked the way this red blend started and even more when she paired it with chocolate. She said it brought out the fruitiness. She tasted a smoky flavor with cherries and coffee. Steve tried it with a smoky Gouda cheese and really liked the pairing. He also said chocolate brought out the fruitiness.

On-line review: Big fruit and firm tannins, blackberries and black cherry. Tart, tannic finish. If a wine ever called out for a bacon cheeseburger, it would be this one. Great casual Wednesday wine after getting home from work.

The label reads: Inspired by the timeless artistry of an intricately woven whip, Whiplash Wines are hand-crafted with balance & structure. Redemption is a dynamic blend of Syrah, Barbera & Zinfandel, with bright cherry aromas intertwined with flavors of succulent huckleberries, currants & spice, creating a wine of distinction & complexity. Want more? Check out www.whiplashwines.com

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chocolate shop wine   almond roca wine

Chocolate Shop ~ The Chocolate Lover’s Wine $7.99  ~~~  Brown & Haley’s Almond Roca Cream Wine $7.99

Misty loved the Almond Roca Cream wine immediately. She called it a Celebration Wine. Arvin agreed that this is a Holiday Wine.

Tasting notes: Inviting aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate entwine and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder. Nuances of red wine and residual sugar linger on the smooth finish.

Winemaker’s notes: Sweetening the tongues for centuries, chocolate and red wine has been the most reliable pairing in history. Chocolate Shop takes this pairing to the next level, marrying chocolate flavor with red wine to create a sumptuous drink. We start with a proprietary red blend of the finest vinifera varietals, add a touch of oak and a kiss of sweetness to create the perfect fruit-driven foil for the rich dark chocolate which unfolds in silken layers across the palate. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Terry loved the Chocolate Shop wine, she thought it was delicious. And, it was less sweet when paired with chocolate. Arvin thought it tasted like chocolate covered cherries and Becky said it smelled like cherry port.

Winemaker’s notes: In this cream-based wine, natural almond and toffee flavors marry with delicate cocoa notes, just like the flavors found in ALMOND ROCA® Buttercrunch toffee. ALMOND ROCA® Cream is crafted to be enjoyed over ice, as a traditional wine, or mixed with coffee. The 750ml bottles retail for $14.99 and contain 14% alcohol. The formula and flavor profile were co-created by Brown & Haley and Chocolate Shop Winemaker Hal Landvoigt. Precept Wine markets Almond ROCA® Cream.

Both are definitely Special Occasion wines. Stayed tuned to see how my Holiday race against time turns out!

Check out this link for some scrumptious ways to serve Almond Roca Cream Wine

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Explosive Finish

So, for the last couple of weekends, Steve and I have been travelling. But, through the invention of technology and the widespread availability of Wi-Fi, I was able to continue sending out email blasts (sign up here) and posting Bargains on Facebook to completely fool you into thinking we were at work. We spent a long weekend in Palm Springs visiting family and we went to Green Bay, WI to watch football for our anniversary. Yes, we are Packer Backers. And, before all you Niner fans decide to hate us, just remember that without us you would’ve started the season 0-3. You’re welcome. (Congrats on last night’s win over the Rams!)

But, I digress. This post is about wine not football.

Let me regroup.

Since we’ve been away from home, not only has my DIY projects been on hold, (I like to have multiple major projects going on simultaneously – even at the risk of Steve’s sanity – that’s a whole other blog that has yet to be written) but, obviously there’s been no time for regular household cleaning. So, I headed home early to put the house in order. As orderly as it can be without any kitchen cupboard doors. It’s a work in progress…

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This week we heard a rumor that there were A LOT of people coming to the Front Porch to taste wine, so I had to do something about the kitchen dust (from sanding the cabinets) that covered everything in the entire house. When I say everything – I mean I own a ridiculous amount of wonderfully useless, but treasured, items and they all had to be dusted. Dusting is such a tediously stupid chore. Every week it has to be done again, even if you didn’t sand your kitchen cabinets without covering everything in plastic.

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Also, somehow the flowerbed in my front yard became neglected. The flowers are all gone and the grass has taken it over! Weeds are fairly easy to pull, but grass? Not so much. No time to fix that just yet. I cleverly disguised the problem with pumpkins and scarecrows. It seems as though I grew the grass 12” tall on purpose to accent my Fall decorations. Brilliant.

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Whew! Done. I’m ready for wine tasting.

First up, Riondo Pianello Soave $3.99. Sounds so Italian! blog 11

The color was incredibly light and the aroma was so – I don’t even know how to describe it – so delicious! Terry thought it had a very pleasant bouquet – understated. Kerri said it was not too over-powering, very mellow. Arvin said it was fruity and Larry also thought it was mellow. The Red Hat Ladies (new to the Front Porch this week) said it would good with fruit like crisp apples.

The label reads: ‘Excelsea, the new style Soave. Generous floral nose; elegant, zippy, apricot and pear palate, zesty acidity and lingering mineral finish. Delicious with classic Italian and Asian dishes.

Of course, we indulged! 48 piece Asian Appetizers $9.99 with Jamaican Style Jerk sauce 99¢.blog 9

Wine #2, 2011 Stonefly Vineyards Chardonnay $4.99 – elsewhere price $19.99! blog 6

On-line description: ‘Russian River Valley Chardonnay is renowned for acidity and lean, Burgundian style. StoneFly’s Chard follows suit, with apple, pear, and toast aromas trumping candied-citrus-peel aftertaste. The wine is light-bodied (an advantage to the balance—the softness is a foil to bright acidity) but offers enough to be a serious food-pairing white. The creamy lees contact and French oak regime come through with each taste. Drink now.’  ~source

We paired this wine with chilled green grapes, perfect. Larry and Terry both tasted apricots and said it was heartier than the first wine. Larry said it was more prominent, Terry didn’t agree with that, lol. Kerri said it had a delightfully fruity flavor without being too sweet. And, not overpowering like typical Chardonnay. Connie had a second glass and as she poured what was left in the bottle she announced, “I like this one!” Becky said it is dry with a touch of sweetness and would be good with chicken noodle soup this Fall.

Next up, Totally Random Sweet Red Wine $3.99. blog 8

Sometimes choosing a wine by its label is just the right thing to do.

Of course I liked this blend! I always love a blend, we all know that. The Red Hat ladies both liked it, not too sweet with a nice round flavor. Arvin said it was peppery – in a good way. Larry, who always prefers white wine, said it was not oakey. Just sweet enough, and he likes it!

To check out the tasting notes, click here. The label reads: ‘When a quiet night at home becomes a dance party, or a dinner with friends starts at dusk and ends at sunrise – life is giving you its best when you least expect it. So prepare for the unexpected. Be. Live. Think. Totally Random.’

Last, but not least, Roudon Smith Winery 2007 Syrah $5.99 – elsewhere price $16.99! blog 5

This was my favorite of the night.

We paired it with Premium White Cheddar $2.99, Hard Salami $5.99 and Toasteds $4.99blog 7

Larry says this one is oakey. Steve said it starts to mellow out when allowed to breathe. Whoa! Where did that come from Steve? You sound like you know what you’re doing… Rudy commented that it would be great with a nice big slab of red meat – Yeah. Steve seconds that. Becky thought it was smokey with a bite and should go with a rack of lamb and winter vegetables. Joe liked the smoothness and said there is not much to at first but has an explosive finish (who doesn’t like an explosive finish?). Definitely dry.

‘The wine is done in a Rhone style and shows layers of fruit with a herbaceous finish.  The wine has little oak influence, again very similar to what you would find from the Rhone, since most was aged in neutral American oak.  It is a delightful bottle of wine to be enjoyed over the next year or two.’ – source

Wow! Great comments this week, thanks to all for joining me on the Front Porch.