Are you ready for the Holidays? part 2

Did you know that the Industrial Revolution inspired the Thanksgiving Holiday we all know and love today?

Fun fact: in 1846, a Philadelphia magazine editor named Sarah Hale thought that the Industrial Revolution would be the decline of western civilization eroding the American way of life. She wanted a holiday that would celebrate home, heart and wholesome family values. So, she spent the next 17 years writing letters to every person with any kind of authority until, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a national holiday to be held on the third Thursday of November. source ~ Sarah Hale legacy

I may or may not agree with Sarah about the Industrial Revolution, but I salute her for the resulting holiday that is centered around family and of course food and wine!  She was, however, not able to stop the Industrial revolution. It is still alive and well – kinda – in a throwback decorating kind of way, called Steam punk or what I like to call ‘Vintage Industrial’.

Steam punk decor

I love adding some off-beat stuff into my decorating. Vintage Industrial/Steam punk lamps don’t come cheap. Unless of course you salvage the parts and make them yourself 🙂 What self-respecting hoarder would not rescue every bit of heavy rusty metal parts that they happen to come across to make lamps?

Here’s some pretty great ones from Etsy:

etsy lamp 1 etsy lamp 2 etsy lamp 3

Can you see the price tags on them? I figure I’ve saved a small fortune by making my own. Money I will endlessly sink into an old German rust-bucket that I love dearly. Cousin Gary is like a V-Dub magician. I get daily text updates of the progress; that end of the year deadline is actually possible thanks to his magic.

Here’s some from around the house (notice, no price tag):

steampunk lamp 2   steampunk lamp   steam punk shelf

And, what you’ve all been waiting for…. New floor lamps anchored by 61 Volkswagen Bug brake drums:

brake drum lamp 1 brake drum lamp 3

The doubt I have to put up with. Oh, Steve of little faith. His question may have sounded innocent enough, ‘what are you going to do with them’. But, I don’t think so. I’m sure it was a carefully worded challenge that if not responded to properly, would result in my precious brake drums being pitched into the dumpster. The success of a response to a comment like this also hinges on the correct don’t-mess-with-me tone of voice. The tone that says I am taking that rusty junque home with me and you will thank me for it before I’m done. lol

Yeah – they are Amazing. The Tiny Dictator is so pleased with himself.

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 all four wines 2

I’m ready to Feast! Let’s pick the best Thanksgiving wines:

Raviva Chardonnay

2012 Raviva Chardonnay Napa $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Steve thought this Chardonnay was nice and fruity. Terry almost agreed, she found it to be smooth and fruity. Arvin tasted pear. Connie said it was very good and Larry agreed.

From the label: Our move to California in the late 1990’s was a light packing job: we brought with us just a couple of dollars and a pocketful of intentions. As the years have gone on, little by little, vine by vine, we’ve rediscovered ourselves as winemakers. Raviva is our tribute to the comforts we leave behind for the sake of transformation.

 

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all four wines

2013 Spectacle Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

I usually cannot identify any aroma, until this Chardonnay. I immediately smelled vanilla. I took me a couple of trys to find the right word though. Larry said it was buttery and Connie said it was so unique and delicious, unlike any Chardonnay she’d had before.

From the label: Like the many exciting colors of a kaleidoscope, Spectacle Wines offer a compelling splash of aromas and flavors that unfold on the palate with each sip. Spectacle Chardonnay offers up subtle aromas of ripe grapefruit and freshly sliced Golden Delicious apples. Elegant flavors of soft vanilla and ripe melon join on the palate over a toasty oak finish.

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cottes de sonoma pinot noir

2013 Cotos de Sonoma Pinot Noir Sonoma County $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Pinot Noir, the go-to red wine for turkey pairing on Thanksgiving. Terry commented that this was good tasting – cherryish – light. Larry agreed, saying it was very good with a mild body. I found it to be much lighter than I’d expected. It went well with the turkey and I think it would be easily drinkable for guests that may not be regular wine drinkers.

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long barn red wine

2013 Long Barn Napa Red Wine $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Not only did we all agree that the picture on the label was great and would look nice on a Thanksgiving table, but so was this red blend. Arvin liked the aroma. He said he was treating it like a vitamin B, holding it under his tongue to enjoy longer. Terry said it tingled her nose – which is always a trait of a good solid red. Connie exclaimed, “oh my goodness, that’s good”. She added that it had a sweet bouquet and was also very unique. Arvin had just been smelling it, and after finally tasting it he labeled it DAMN GOOD!

From the label: We make wine in a simple building. It humbles us to reflect on its age, being built in a time when the valley’s dairy cows and prune trees were more well-known than its grapes. With this reminder, we give thanks for all that we have.. and make wines with all that we are.

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Ready for the Holidays? part 1

You remember a while back I gave you a teaser about a ’61 Baja that I thought I would restore by the end of the year? The one my dad dropped off conveniently disassembled one cold rainy night filled with rusty parts where the people are supposed to fit? Yeah, that one. Okay, it might not have been raining that night, but it certainly was pouring when me & the boys pushed it onto Arvin’s trailer to deliver it to my cousin who I tricked into helping kindly offered to help.

Bug on trailer

The end of the year seemed like a nice far away deadline. It sure came fast though. I know, I know this must be a giant let-down or at least disappointing to the group of people that thought I could do anything. A group that is made up of just me. But, in my defense, as I started going through the pile of old parts, I knew it was hopeless.

bug parts

Pretty sure there is enough parts to build 2 ½ bugs. I didn’t even know where to start.

weed covered bug

It had been waiting for me for so long the weeds almost consumed it! Cousin Gary was my only hope. He sorted the pile in a matter of minutes. Easily identifying what was salvageable and what was ‘trash’.

That’s when the tiny dictator showed up. Did you know of his fascination with making lamps out of rusty metal parts? Well he was practically throwing a fit watching the ‘trash’ getting nonchalantly tossed into the dumpster.

I had to intervene.

Just as Steve was about to throw the brake drums in – I stopped him. The tiny dictator inside my head was celebrating like never before. Dancing a jig and high-fiving himself. Steve not so much.

“You’re going to do what?”

I’M GOING TO MAKE LAMPS OUT OF THOSE BRAKE DRUMS.

They are heavy & rusty, everything I love in trash lamp parts. Steve just shook his head and surrendered them to me.

As for the lamp? Here’s a preview:

brake drum lamp 2

To be continued…

 

Let’s talk about wine.

We had a wine tasting frenzy during the 20% OFF Wine Sale! I hope you stocked up for the Holidays. If you didn’t, it’s not too late – Steve says if you buy a case or more of wine the 20th through the end of November (2014) he’ll give you 10% OFF! Just mention Steve and this blog for your discount 🙂

 

Here’s some great ones:

Reatta Chardonnay

2010 Reata Chardonnay Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Arvin found this Chardonnay to be crisp and dry. Connie called it smooth. Terry thought it had a nice aroma and Steve said it was light. Scott commented that he really liked it.

Winemaker notes: This chardonnay is incredibly well balanced. Aromas of caramel creme Brule and a touch of coconut complement the light oak profile. Bright tropical fruit aromas complement the rich and vibrant flavors of green apple and crisp citrus fruits in our Carneros Chardonnay. This wine has a lengthy finish with a breadth of flavor. This wine is ideal for any special occasion for new wine drinkers or wine connoisseurs. You can enjoy this wine at a nice dinner at home or serve it at a cocktail party. Choose from simple poached salmon with a buttery sauce or chicken and pork with a cream-based sauce to bring out the complementary flavors in this wine.

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middle sister wicked white

Middle Sister Wicked White California $2.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

Kerri noticed this white blend had a fruity aroma, very subtle. Not bad, she said, and added that she tasted melon. Arvin called it an after dinner white. Caroline tasted pear and lime and said it was an easy drinking wine. Joe added, for easy drinkers, so if you wanna be easy…

Winemakers notes: 36% Chardonnay, 32% Chenin Blanc, 21% Gewurztraminer, 11% Other White. 100% California fruit with 23% from cool climate Monterey.

Long, cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel tanks turned fresh, juicy grapes into bright, aromatic wine. Smells like…melon, pear, tangerine, rose petals, lychee, lemon zest. Tastes like…the same fruit flavors that you smell – explode in your mouth. After a second or two, lush melon and sweet pear melt on your tongue. A lingering note of minerals finishes the sip. Yummy with…Seafood, salads, vegetables, light meats, fresh cheeses.

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good daughter

2010 Good Daughter Chardonnay Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Kerri got the first taste of this Chardonnay and immediately commented – Buttery! Caroline couldn’t wait to taste it, she likes a buttery Chardonnay and this one didn’t disappoint, she loved it. Arvin said it’s got legs and he went on to explain what that means, but I wasn’t able to jot it down, so you can read more here: What are wine legs?

Winemakers notes: Good Daughter Chardonnay has aromas and flavors of juicy apples, pears, and pineapple. There is also a touch of cream and toasty oak on the finish of this elegant and easy to love wine. Yummy with roasted chicken, corn salad, salmon with mango salsa.

Good Daughter wines are made using gently farmed grapes from cool-climate California coastal vineyards. They pledge to support sustainable vineyard practices, environmental stewardship and building prosperous farming communities. A portion of the sale of each bottle of the wine goes to sponsor these principles. Take care of your mother. She’ll take care of you.

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Jankris crossfire

 

2011 Jankris Crossfire $4.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Larry said this red has a nice nose and legs like J-Lo. Terry liked how it just slides right down your throat, smooth. Steve found it to be on the sweet side and good with berries. Connie commented, “Sooo Sweet!” Arvin says, “When Connie likes a red I gotta stock up!” He also said this would pair nicely with Thanksgiving turkey, but you can enjoy this red just by smelling it.

Winemaker notes: Truly the “world’s blend” A Merlot base followed by smatterings of Cab, Tempranillo, Petit Syrah, Syrah, and Grenache. Young enough to age well in your cellar, yet old enough to enjoy now. So many things going on your mouth that you will marvel at the feel and the sensory overload your taste buds will succumb to. A little drier than Riatta and a little more sophisticated.

This wine illustrates the harmony of a traditional Bordeaux style blend enhanced by ripe Spanish varietals.  Each variety imparts an individual personality while remaining in perfect balance.

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 laurier merlot

2011 Laurier Merlot Alexander Valley $6.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Terry said this Merlot tickled her nose. Larry tasted sweet cigar and Steve agreed – cherries and tobacco. Arvin found it to be good with chocolate. Steve tried some chocolate with it and exclaimed, “The chocolate does something great to this one!”

Winemakers notes: Brick red ruby color. Bold aromas of blackberry, black cherry, dried plum, and smoked brisket with a silky, dry medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium length, cherry, boysenberry, blackberry, and vanilla finish with soft tannins and light oak. A touch of smoky cherrywood on the nose opens into soft, berry-filled flavors that are effortless to enjoy on their own or with picnic fare in the backyard.

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 beuna vista

2010 Buena Vista Merlot Carneros $5.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Joe started us off with a “Wow! That’s good”. Scott called it a mild red, fruity. Kerri tasted berry tones, said it made her feel emersed in berries, this is really good. Arvin said this wine is for sniffing, slightly dry and very drinkable.

Critical Acclaim: 89 Points from Wine Spectator“Elegant and balanced, with toasted red currant aromas and lively cherry, tomato leaf and spice flavors that finish soft, showing ripe tannins.”

Winemakers notes: Deep purple in color, the 2010 Carneros Merlot is exploding with aromas of ripe plum, cranberry and freshly baked rhubarb pie. The palate showcases flavors of juicy cherry, black pepper and allspice wrapped up in a soft mouthfeel perfectly balanced with well-integrated tannins. This complex and satisfying wine ends with a long, spicy finish.

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old vine zin

2011 Reserve Lot 11 Old Vine Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley $7.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerri started with an, “mmmm, I like it” Arvin tasted blended berries and licorice. Joe thought it was aged in metal and called it spicy. He thought it would pair well with Prime Rib at Christmas.

2014 San Francisco Chronicle Siver Award Winner!

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.

 

 

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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14319-000_1

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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image_2329526_full

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

Do you prefer ZING! or Dirty?

Zing=White     Dirty=Red     (I’m not sure what you thought, lol. Read on, to be enlightened)

My #3 favorite thing is Front Porch Wine Tasting. #3??? You may ask. Drinking wine for free on the Front Porch with friends every week comes in at #3? How can that be?

Well, the tiny dictator that lives in my head is obsessive about list making and he says it’s #3. If you have a tiny dictator in your head, then you know he must be listened to. If you try to ignore him, he won’t let you sleep at night.

#2 on the list is text messages from Larry. His typos and auto corrections are at a level hilariousness that cannot be described by the written word without outing me as easily entertained. It has endless entertainment value for me. My current #1 favorite thing (it’s an ever-evolving list) is when a small child – like 2 or 3 years old – puts something – like a quarter – in the tiny pocket of his tiny jeans with his tiny hands.

Is there anything cuter? No. No, there is not.

a wine pic 4

Back to that tiny dictator. Not only is he obsessive about making lists, he also is very enthusiastic about encouraging me to take on seemingly ridiculous projects/tasks/endeavors. He says things like, “Of course you should cover an entire wall in the guest room with random leftover wood from the pile in the garage. That would be AMAZING!”

a wine pic 3

Then, before that was even finished he was all, “Your kitchen cabinets would look great painted white. I bet you could sand, prime and paint them all in one weekend.” Did I mention that the tiny dictator has no concept of time? He also enjoys shopping at second-hand stores, e-bay and Craigslist for objects that can be spray painted, refurbished or hoarded. And, it was his idea to write a wine blog, It’ll be fun he said. Thanks! tiny dictator, you were right. You are always right 🙂 Read to the end of this blog for a link to Enter to Win FREE Wine!

a wine pic 1

 Secret Wine ~ Wine with ZING! ~ Spectacular Wine ~ Dirty Wine (good dirty)

a wine pic 2

*****

 a wine pic 6 2009 Lake Girl Sauvignon Blanc $3.99 

North Coast/Sonoma County     Elsewhere price $12.99

Light in color with a fresh, clean taste. Terry liked the lightness of the fruity aroma and Larry noticed the pear in his first sip. Connie said she really liked this one, it was a delightful surprise. Joe thought it had a sweet beginning but that the finish was lacking something. Becky said it was clean & crisp and Arvin tasted crispy Asian pears.

I really couldn’t find much in my internet search for this wine. Weird. The all-knowing internet dropped the ball on this one. The winery must be fairly new or small. Their website is under construction, but they do have a Facebook page. And that is all. Bummer this wine is such a secret cause it’s really good!

The label reads: ‘Listening to the lapping of the waves against the shore and seeing the moon reflected on the water, I’m transported to the moment of my first kiss. I know I’m home when I’m at the lake. Forever Lake Girl.’

*****

a wine pic 5 2012 Mosiac Chardonnay $7.99

Alexander Valley Sonoma County     Elsewhere price $14.99

Larry immediately liked the bold fragrance and Terry said it’s got a real Zing to it! Like, ZING! Steve wasn’t sure if he liked it at first, but after the second sip he decided that he really did like it. He said he tasted something sharp in it…. Terry said, Yeah! That’s the ZING! Arvin tasted apple, Granny smith to be exact. Becky thought it tasted like candy. You know, that bag you get with the twizzlers & nerds and it smells so good when you open it. Joe was like, “No, she’s wrong. It smells like…CELERY. Lol, just kidding. More like vanilla water and it would be good with a caramel apple”. Connie said she’ll take a dozen bottles of this one.

Scored 4 out of 5 stars from Vivino , here’s their review: Brilliant gold color with the subtlest of green highlights, this wine has the pretty aromas of caramelized apple, citrus and asian pear. Bright and crisp on the palate with flavors of Granny Smith apple, soft citrus zest, and a whisp of vanilla. A well rounded mouthfeel is reined in by overtones of mineral spice giving the wine great balance and structure.

The label reads: ‘Mosaic Winery is small, family-owned artisan winery in the acclaimed Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. The passion behind the label is the Wilson family and their diverse estate vineyards.’

Winemaker Notes: Vibrant flavors of passion fruit, honey and Key lime lead the way to melon, citrus, and honeysuckle notes in the mouth. This delightfully crisp Chardonnay finishes with tropical fruit, pears and hints of vanilla bean.
Enjoy with an hors d’oeuvre of softened goat cheese topped with fig compote and crackers, or a dinner featuring honey-glazed ham or home-style mac and cheese.

*****

a wine pic 7 2009 Pampano Malbec $3.99

Mendoza, Argentina     Elsewhere price $10.99

Nice dark color, dry with tastes of blackberry. Joe said that this is a spectacular wine! It was oakey with a full bodied aroma and slightly dry. Its dryness attaches to your mouth – which is good because it lasts longer. He said that he and Becky are real fans of 2009 wines, something about the weather that year maybe.

86 points from Wine Enthusiest Magazine  Expert review: Fruity and friendly on the nose, with composure and solid aromas. Feels both plump and dry, with toasty black-fruit flavors accented by peppery spice that turns slightly bitter on the finish. Good and dark overall, with limited follow-through on the finish. ~ Michael Schachner

The label reads: ‘Our wine regions are not determined by their latitude or distance from the coast, but by elevation. At high altitudes, where the air is thin and the water pure comes Pampano Malbec. “Pampano” means a healthy vine root – which is what we seek above all else to give us a balanced crop and fresh, ripe, fruity flavors. Malbec is the emblematic grape of Argentina and this example from the Uco Valley of Mendoza is crammed with bright fruit flavors and makes a perfect partner to our national dish – steak on the grill.’

*****

a wine pic 8 2007 Orsianna Cabernet Sauvignon $8.99

Mendocino County     Elsewhere price $20

Smooth and softly dry, I tasted dark cherries. Steve says this wine improves as it is allowed to sit. Arvin commented that it is peppery and meets expectations. Joe said it tastes rich and full bodied, dirty – the way we all like dirty (WHAT? maybe we don’t all like dirty. and even if we did, we certainly won’t all admit it. Oh, wait. Dirty, like earthy? Oh) – and sometimes a wine does not live up to its fragrance, but this one does!

Expert review from The Wine Spies : The 2007 Orsinna Cabernet Sauvignon is a bright, juicy and delicious Mendocino Cabernet, through and through. If you are used to Cabernet from Napa or Sonoma, then you’ll find this wine to be somewhat brighter, but just as expressive. There are differences, to be sure, and this is one thing that makes this wine so appealing. With balanced, juicy fruit and earthen characteristics, a big nose and a fruity tart finish that ends with a distinct black pepper note. With bright acidity, this is a perfect wine to pair with rich foods, cleansing the palate between bites. Drinking well now, this wine will continue to progress for the next few years. Decant for best results, and enjoy the unique terroir of Mendocino County with this tasty Cabernet.

I would just like to add, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog without all the help from my friends who like to frequent the Front Porch, Thank you! (and that tiny dictator, of course). Visit us on Facebook, to Enter to Win FREE Wine from this blog. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends!