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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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).

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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!