Wino Wednesday

So I'm a slacker...what can I say.  I've tasted lots of wines lately and have a wonderful array of Wino Wednesday's to share.  This particular wine was from, you guessed it, Trader Joes.  I heard about this wine through a co-worker, who tasted it and said it was a nice Spanish Wine.  When she went back to TJ's and bought another $3.99 bottle, the guy at the register asked her how she know about this wine.  She said she tried it and liked it.  Apparently this is one of those underground goodies and it's a pretty good wine being sold and TJ's for next to nothing. 

Panilonco "Chief of Lions"
D O Colchagua Valley, Chille
2010 Reserve
Tasting Notes:  Blackberries and smokey oak
Color:  Deep purple, like a combination of crush blackberries and blueberries.
What I ate with this:  Cheese, bread first time.  Second time Spaghetti with homemade meatballs, salad and garlic bread.  Was perfect combination.

For $3.99 this is a steal and was noted on an underground wine newsletter.  Go now, while it lasts.

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Wino Wednesday

I know your saying finally or maybe your saying anything.  But I'm back to my regularly scheduled or not posting.

This week I have a guest blogger.  Dr. Subs straight from England with a nice European wine.  Enjoy his lovely take on this ancient beverage.

Baron de Barbon
Seleccion Especial
Cosecha 2009

What the bottle says: Baron de Barbon is made purely from Rioja's noble grape, Tempranillo, harvested by hand to ensure the highest quality. The fruit was traditionally vinified, then twenty percent aged in barrel (sic) for further complexity. It has a deep cherry-red colour, with aromas of ripe blackberries, strawberries, cloves and a hint of vanilla. The palate is smooth and rounded, with concentrated spicy black fruit flavours and a subtle touch of mocha on the finish.
First smell: blackcurrants, vanilla
Second smell: dark summer fruits, nutmeg
First taste: blackberries, cherries

Observations: a wonderfully deep plum coloured with a well constructed, rather forward nose of dark summer fruits, and more subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla. Crisp acidity with medium tannins and a beautifully balanced flavour with notes of strawberries and chocolate and a peppery finish with hints of fennel. A fruity wine, but balanced with a smooth creaminess, making it a lovely daily drinker. But would also benefit from being kept for 2-3 years and developing some more complexity.

After a difficult evening dissecting the aesthetic benefits of glulam columns and aluminium profile sheeting my comrade and I were in urgent need of some sort of refreshingly fermented beverage. After rummaging amongst the dusty bottles in the under stairs cupboard, we communed with Messr. Barbon and allowed his dark potion to deliver us as though on wings of eagles to the clouds of misty paradise high above the plains of sobriety. Banzai!
Thanks Dr. Subs, love this and can't wait to find this nector in the States.
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Firsty Friday - Day 2 London

This day we got up at 8am after our waking up at 4:00am and making ourselves stay in bed.  It rained just about the whole day, I was prepared hat and thick wool coat.  Gwen and I shared an umbrella and we made our way around the whole city this morning in the rain.  Out and about at 9:15am and off to breakfast at Giraffe.  I forget that bacon here isn't like our American version, it's not the streaky bacon we're used to, it's more like Canadian bacon.  Simple meal but perfect, and all I wanted was tea, I usually have coffee in the morning, but I'm in England so I wanted tea and Earl Grey it was.

Then despite the rain, oh my oh my, lots of shopping, Harrod's, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Top Shop and anywhere else we could find.  After much shopping we headed back to our hotel to drop off our new purchases and head out again for some pints and more shopping to find SB and proper scarf.  After all that walking we decided our tired feet had had enough so we headed home where we decided to have a Firsty Friday instead of a Wino Wednesday.

This week the wine was provided by our friends Ieuan and Gwen, who we are with and actually picnicking in their hotel room, while listening to lounge music courtesy of SB. Wine picture to come as I'm trying to update my blog from a PC and it won't convert my pictures vertically to share with you.  I'll come back and update when I get on a mac.  On with the story, we ran to a posh grocery store, Waitross, for some snacks. Stilton cheese with cranberries, and a sharp creamy bleu cheese, Carr's crackers, grapes, blackberries, kalamata olives, and green olives stuffed with peppers.  SB had beer, of course, called "Old Crafty Hen."

So here's the Wine of the week:
Savigny Les-Beaune 2002 (Domaine Camus-Bruchon).
A nice red burgundy wine.
First Smell:  Black Currants, Plums, Cedar Smell
First Taste:  Plums and Oak.  Dry and delicious.
Observations:  A woodsy wine, it was light but rich in flavor. Perfect with all our treats.

What a great way to spend Wino Wednesday or Firsty Friday with our friends and in a foreign country.  Loving England.
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Saturday Turnovers

What do you do on a Saturday when you don't feel very well and your husband asked if we could go to the store and buy puffed pastry dough for the left-over apples.  Seriously just hearing SB say puffed pastry was exciting enough.  So, though I've posted about this before here, I thought I'd share again these lovely little things.  Super delicious and easy to make. I believe he ate 4 of them in one day.

Oh and you'll love this, ironically since I've been posting about wine, only 3 Wino Wednesday's so far, I get to do some research for a work assignment guessed it Wine.  Seriously how great is that.
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Wino Wednesday

I know your all saying the same thing, doesn't she do anything else
other than drink wine?

Yes I do, but lately I haven't had time to blog about it.  I will though.
Two weeks from today I'll be in London and then off to Paris and then back to the countryside of England.
I seriously have waited WAY to long to go, ten years to be exact.
Super excited and in major anticipation.

So here's the wine of the week: 
4 meses en barrica (4 months in oak red wine - Product of Spain)

Provided as gift to one of my co-workers.
She is sharing with the team.
We've been working weekends and late evenings, yes again we deserve this.

First smell: Grapes
Second smell: Raisins
First taste: Smooth, light

Observations: Very light tasting, deep dark cherry color, a young wine, I mean it wasn't heavy and tasted like it could be in the barrel a little longer.

What we ate with it:  Ok I need to be more adventurous in the food area, usually I am.  But today we had, are you ready for this,....bread, cheese....oh and from this little French bakery, in Culver City, called Normandie, some lovely fruit tarts and coconut macaroons.  Must say the cheese had a strong smell and was very nutty.

What the bottle says:  Fruity and fresh wine from Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Aged for 4 months in new American oak barrels.  Deep cherry colour with purplish edge.  Very aromatic that exemplifies blackberries and the bramble patch touches of the land that add complexity and certain notes to the fruit.  Meaty in the mouth, with sweet tannin, certain warm notes and a powerful ripe fruit finish.

Where it was bought, how much it costs: Wine Expo in Santa Monica, CA for $15- $20
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Wino Wednesday

This week I treated our whole work team to a Wino Wednesday. (And no they are not toasting, I had them hold the glasses up so I could get this shot)

Why? Because...
1. We need a break
2. I like to give
3. I wanted to hear what they would say about the wine.

The wine this week is the following:
2009 Pinot Noir
Russian river valley

First smell:  Dark juicy plums
First taste:  Plumy richness, chocolate, cherries
Here are some group observations from us novices:
"earthy" (said with pinky up)

"very drinkable...i'll drink to that"
Where I bought this?  Trader Joes, of course, for $8.99

What we ate with this wine?
French bread, cheese (dubliner sharp chedder, triple cream brie with bleu cheese) dried apricots, almonds, grapes and dried salami, way in the back dark chocolate covered pretzels.  Uh YUM!

What the bottle said?
Deep garnet red with spicy sweet aromas of dark plum, cedar, and anise. Rich, complex flavors of cherry pie, spice, and bittersweet and chocolate finish silky smooth.

Cellared and bottled by our cellars in Healdsburg, California
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First Wino Wednesday

Kona - A wine from New Zealand, Marlbourough Sauvignon Blanc

So I'm a seasonal drinker.  I like white wines in hot weather, well I also like a gin and tonic, but this is a wine post. Sorry all you mid-westerners and east coasters, and British, it's sunny and warm in So. Cal.

Here's my observations
First smell:  apples
First taste:  pears and apples
After eating a bit and letting the wine breath then I tasted white peaches
It was crisp with a little tangy taste.

Here's a wine makers official notes: Marlborough's free-draining, alluvial loams over gravelly subsoils provide ideal growing conditions for our KONO Sauvignon Blanc. With the abundant sunshine, cool nights and a long growing season in this region, this wine is vibrant with intense citrus and gooseberry flavours and notes of capsicum and passionfruit.

Seriously who talks like this.  I have no idea what capsicum is, so I looked it up, and apparently it's like a bell pepper or chili pepper.  Honestly I would equate the tangy taste I noted with a mild bell pepper.

I drank this wine while I ate french bread and brie supreme super creamy cheese, followed by baked wild caught salmon and asparagus for dinner.  This also influenced my choice of a white wine.

I bought this wine at, where else, Trader Joe's.  I paid a wapping $7.99.  Not a bad wine for that cheap.

Next week I will address the whole ideas of box wine, screw top, corks, etc...
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Wino Wednesday

So, starting January 1st, I made an oath to myself that I would not have any alcohol for one month. This was inspired by a Andrew Knowlton, a writer for Bon Appetit.  He says he goes alcohol and meat free every January. So my plan was, alcohol none, meat yes.  While I'm not really a big drinker I am a social one.  I love to have a glass of wine with a good meal, usually only on the weekends.  Occasionally during the week, if there is a work function or the meal just screams for it.

I thought this would be easy.  NOT SO MUCH.  So my plan included SB he said he'd do this with me, only he wasn't sold on the 31 days.  He suggested one week, I didn't think that was much of a challenge.  So he reluctantly agreed.  Did he make it, NOT SO MUCH.  After one week, we went out to dinner to Ye Olde Kings Head.  Nice English pub, he didn't last a minute.  I told him he was "weak" he said that wasn't true that I had to look at it as he made it one "week."  Whatever, I was not to be deterred.

So here's where I remained strong:

1. Company Potluck function -  This happened the first full week in January. Everyone brought a nice french dish to our bosses house, and our lovely host served the best champagne and someone brought a few really good bottles of wine.  How I handled this:  I thought ahead and gave myself a "talking," to remain strong.  So I bought a bottle of Martinelli's Apple Cider, you know the ones in the nice Champagne looking bottle.  My host graciously gave me my own ice bucket to keep it chilled, he filled up my Champagne flute constantly and, voila, no peer pressure as everyone thought I was having a cocktail.  I do have to say it was interesting listening to conversations when your the only one not drinking.

2. Ye Olde Kings Head - I spent so many of my single days here.  Having a nice black & tan pint.  Making fun of my friends for ordering wine in a PUB, who does that, apparently my friend did. I had a Rootbeer, it's all psychological, right?

3. The very next week - We had friends over and I offered them many choices of booze.  The girls wanted to try the Sparkling Mandarin.  Seriously hard, as I have yet to try it.  I made it, they loved it, I drank water, ooooh this was hard.  But I did make Tiramasu, yes I reverted to the 90's favorite dessert.  The ladies fingers were soaked in rum and espresso, I did have some, but technically this is NOT drinking, right? 

4. Drinks after work - An old co-worker wanted to catch-up and share with us her new job endeavor.  So we met at the Alibi room. Thankfully they have a decent food menu of Kogi truck delights.  I reverted to my 7 year old self and ordered Shirley Temples.  Didn't they use to pour in the pink sweet juice from the cherry's.  I only got one cherry.  Come ON people don't you know this is a poor substitution for a Gin & Tonic?

So the month is over, I made it, if you don't count the tiramasu.  Tuesday, February 1, I had my first glass of wine in a month.  A glass of Pinot Grigio.  Was delightful, and I immediately turned red, this never happened in the past, but I guess the detox made me a bit sensitive.

What I learned?  I have more will power than I thought.  It's really about setting your mind to a goal and anticipating the situations that may tempt you and determining alternatives before you get there.

What am I going to do now?  Well a much loved radio station, no longer on the air in L.A., (called Indie 103.1), use to do a segment called "Wino Wednesday."  They'd have a wine maker come in, try wines and talk about it every Wednesday at 8am.  Can you believe that was part of their job, made my morning commute so much more enjoyable.  While I am NO sommelier I am an average Jane.  So I will officially make Wednesday's, "Wino Wednesday."  I will pick a wine and give my very average observations.  I'll tell you where I got it, how much I paid, if I ate anything with it.  I may throw in a few of my co-worker's observations, as they will be willing if unknowing participants in this.  I have one observation for you already.  As CC said: "we're no wine snobs here, so shut up and drink the wine."  That's what we intend to do.
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