Posts tagged Wine
Posts tagged Wine
April 22, 2012. Jerome, AZ. Caduceus Cellars Tasting Room.
When I first saw the description for the movie Blood Into Wine, I was skeptical. I thought it would be good for a laugh. Oh, how wrong I was. Not only do I have incredible respect for Maynard for leaping in with both feet to viticultural pioneering, but also for his amazing wines.
Those of you who know me will know my penchant for reds. Recently, I have found a new appreciation for whites and an absolute and downright attraction to Rosé’s. There is something about the subtle seduction of a well rounded rosé as it blooms in your mouth…warming you on a very visceral level. I can imagine my fingers digging into the earth, standing in the middle of desert ruins feeling the breeze wash over me and staring up at the beautiful clouds in the azure sky.
Caduceus Cellars tasting room is located directly in the middle of this fantasy. Simple, understated and quite lovely. A pine bar was the primary feature of the room, with several fixtures holding wines from both Merkin and Caduceus. A large selection of t-shirts, sweatshirts and kids clothes lines the wall opposite the bar, along with recycled bottles re-purposed to drinking glasses, cheese trays and lanterns which not only make cool chock keys but also help to reduce the winery’s carbon footprint while keeping consistent marketing.
Now, the tasting. You can choose the Merkin flight of 5 wines or the Caduceus flight of 4. Merkin is the lower end line of wines, what you will find at Whole Foods. Caduceus is Maynard’s signature line and you can only buy it online or at the tasting room in Jerome. I chose the Caduceus flight. We’re here, I’m going all in!
These wines did not disappoint - as different in personality as women and just as seductive. My favorites were the Caduceus Lei Li, a Rosé which tasted like summer in a bottle and the Premier Paso 2010, a dark, rich, velvety and full bodied red with lots of depth and a good tannin structure.
After our tasting we spent another good 30 minutes just poking around the shop, chatting with other customers and generally having a great time. Along with my 2 bottles of wine, I ended up taking home one of the recycled wine bottles that was made into a tumbler.
A completely amazing trip. I can’t wait to go back!
Simple Truths: A Girl, A Wallet, A budget.
In a perfect world, we’d have all the money we ever needed. Sadly, it is not a perfect world, so there are some truths that must be faced. Times are tight and we are all looking for ways to cut down on extraneous spending. Most people start with cutting down on eating out, but many times that’s not enough. That’s when your at home menu starts to suffer. But you don’t need to eat ramen to save money.
Tonights truth is cooking on a budget. In order to put wholesome, tasty and appealing food on the table night after night, I follow a few simple steps. First things first: let’s talk about stocking up.
1. Stock the fridge: This is a short list of items I try to always have on hand.
Luxury Item: Heavy Cream
2. Stock the Pantry: Non-perishable items you should always have on hand. With these tools, you have the base for almost any meal.
Pasta (whatever kind is popular in your household.)
Tomato Sauce (We’re talking the 365 Whole Foods brand plain, nothing added Tomato Sauce.)
All Purpose Flour
Luxury Item: GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Having items like this on hand means only having to pick up fresh items like tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs and meats for the meals you plan to cook.
Tonight, I made Merrill Stubbs’ Weeknight Ragu from, you guessed it, Food52.com. This is a huge batch of yummy meat sauce perfect for many meals this week. We have enough left over to find this in many reincarnations throughout the week. You can find the full recipe on Food52.com, but here’s a recipe recap, just for you:
1 1/2 Lbs Ground Turkey
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 28oz cans whole stewed tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 small yellow onion, diced
Fresh Thyme and Rosemary sprigs, whole Fresh Sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy bottom saucepan, brown the turkey in the olive oil on medium high. Reduce heat to medium, Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one to two additional minutes. Add the red wine and cook until wine is reduced by half. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, crushing them by hand as they go in. Add your herbs, stir and partially cover for at least 30 minutes. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will be.
I served it on top of angel hair pasta with a side of cheesy garlic bread. As far as budgets go, this is a great dish, since it can be stretched into many meals. That $12 for your organic ground turkey ends up being about $2.40 per meal, AND you barely have to spend any time in the kitchen for the rest of the week. Total bonus.
Tomorrow night, part two of cooking on a budget - Menu Planning: A Useful Weapon in your Arsenal.
Caretaker Pinot Noir 2009 - Mommy Needs a Drink: Caretaker 2009 Pinot Noir.
The Saturday Night Supper Club was cancelled this week due to illness. Our daughter (she’s 3) has been spiking a fever of 103 and having other unpleasant things happen all day that had us running to the doctor and focusing all of our attention on our little lady.
So when she finally fell asleep at 8:30 tonight, Mommy needed a drink. We picked up a bottle of Caretaker Pinot Noir 2009 at Trader Joe’s when we were there yesterday, so I thought, why not? Let’s crack that puppy open and see what she’s got!
A little background: Caretaker is comprised of sustainably farmed Pinot Noir clones from the Santa Maria Valley.
I once had an employee of the Burbank BevMo tell me that if you wanted a cheap Pinot Noir, your be better off with a Cabernet and a slap in the face. Granted, I may not be in the most forgiving of moods, but I’d have to agree with him. This Pinot Noir is full of flat cherry flavor and not much else. Very flabby and big bold acidity, this wine presents almost no nose, mostly comprised of wet fur and red fruit. Uninspired leaning towards a hooker tripping in platform stilettos on Rodeo Drive. With this bottle of caretaker you’re guaranteed to get the cheap wine and slap in the face all in one bottle. No extra steps needed.
Trader Joe’s, $9.99/bottle. Skip it unless you’re desperate. - Shared using Memorable Wines for iPhone/iPod touch - http://www.memorableapps.com
The Lost Sonnet Meritage 2007 - We picked up this nice red while at Trader Joe’s tonight. This red blend is made up of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc.
Dry notes of toasty oak, chocolate and a subtle nutty hint of coffee on the nose. Cranberry, cherry and red berries on the palate with a dry spicy finish. This red has strong tannins and a bold palate. It reminds me of a holiday mulled wine, with a beautiful dark garnet color. Definitely grabbing another bottle of this next time we hit up Trader Joe’s. - Shared using Memorable Wines for iPhone/iPod touch - http://www.memorableapps.com
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Tonight we celebrated by breaking in our new propane grill with a grilled Greenland Halibut ceviche. Now, we live in an aparment building, and you all know the rules when it comes to gas grills and buildings you don’t own: keep the grill AWAY from the building! As we live on the second floor, this meant a lot of stair running from the kitchen to the grill downstairs. So celebrating Cinco de Mayo gave me quite a workout!
Since this was my second time making this, I altered the recipe a bit and coated the awesome Halibut from Dry Dock Fish Co. in Panko breadcrumbs, for a little crunch. For spices, I used some fresh cilantro and scallions with a light dusting of cayenne pepper and some of Hepps awesome chipotle smoked salt. That spicy smoke flavor really brings out the other spices. But all that yummy spice makes one thirsty.
I wanted something refreshing, so I cracked open a chilled bottle of Vigilance Sauvignon Blanc 2010 to go with the ceviche and dropped some frozen strawberries, fresh from Underwood Farms at the Sherman Oaks Farmers Market, into each glass to keep it cool and bring out the nice strawberry I was smelling on the nose. A very nice, crisp wine, Vigilance has another winner in my book. Loads of strawberry, peaches and citrus with a nice dry finish. Pick up a bottle at your local BevMo for around $14.99 a bottle. Once chilled, enjoy on the porch on a nice cool evening, and if you’re feeling a little daring, try that strawberry trick.
Saturday Night: Date Night
The Saturday Night Supper Club takes a week off.
This week, instead of our traditional Saturday Night Supper Club, we decided to drop our munchkin off with Grandma and Grandpa and head out for a date night. Since we had already had a busy day, we wanted to kick it in the Valley and have a nice chill evening. So where did we head? The Boulevard, of course. Ventura Boulevard, that is.
On a hot evening, nothing sounds better to us than some wine and cheese. We opted for a simple meal instead of going to a fancy sit down restaurant. So we headed over to the Artisan Cheese Gallery for a cheese plate. They have several options you can choose from. We ended up going with the 3 cheese premium plate for $19.95. Usually they just ask you what KIND of cheeses you like and pick some for you, but we’ve been going there for a while, and it was quiet, so they let us do some cheese tasting and pick our own cheeses. We ended up choosing the 3 year old Comte (France), Challerhocker (Switzerland) and the Tome de Bordeaux (France).
To go with our cheese choices, we picked the Tolosa 2007 Pinot Noir ($14.95 for 1/2 bottle). It had red fruit and oak on the nose, a light palate with hints of pepper and green herbs and smooth tannins on the finish. Overall a very nice, light choice that went well with all three cheeses. How were the cheeses? Spectacular. My favorite was the 3 year old Comte. It had a sharp, tangy flavor that went on and on. Made from raw cows milk, this cheese has large granulated crystals that add a little crunch to this mildly crumbly cheese. Overall, a bold, dominating cheese, not for the weak.
The second cheese, the Challerhocker, had a creamy mouth feel, nutty smooth flavor and just a hint of earthiness. The earthiness is understandable as the name Challerhocker means “sitting in the cellar.” This thermalized cows milk cheese is aged for approximately 10 months in a cellar.
Our third cheese choice of the evening, the Tome de Bordeaux, was also the only goat cheese we chose. This unique cheese is coated in herbs: rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, red tapered cayenne peppers, savory, and black and white peppercorns, to be specific. This infuses the cheese with a unique flavor, giving each slice off the wheel its own unique personality.
So we snacked on our sliced baguette, cheeses, dried fruit, nuts and membrillo while chatting with everyone there. It is a nice, relaxed atmosphere in the late afternoon, early evening on a Saturday. Most people are off getting ready to go clubbing or heading out to dinner. After we finished, we decided we loved the cheeses enough to pick some up on the way out. By far the 3 year old Comte was the winner of the big price tags, coming in at a whopping $65 per pound. We definitely got a SMALL piece of that. So, $43 later, we walked out with our 3 cheeses.
Our next stop of the evening, and the last that involves food or wine, was Flask Fine Wines, also on Ventura Boulevard. This is my favorite wine shop in the valley. They have a great selection, knowledgable staff and a wide range of prices. When asked, they readily poured us tastings of everything they had open, mostly Cabernet Sauvignons. My husband was in the mood for French wine that night, and Ray and Christopher were full of great advice. We ended up choosing 4 wines:
1. 1999 Chateau de Bellevue, made up primarily of Merlot and Cabernet Franc ($23.99)
2. 2004 Chateau Jander, made up primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon ($25.50)
3. 2000 Chateau Sainte-Colombe, primarily made up of Merlot and Cabernet Franc ($26.50)
4. 2010 La Grande Cote, a Rose blend made up of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache grapes ($23.99
Of the four, we have since opened the bottle of Rose. A nice, dry Rose, it had a pretty nose of fresh spring fruit, green herbs and flowers. Smooth mouth feel, with a strong floating citrus finish. This makes me think of a Tuscan sunset and a fresh spring risotto. Very nice, especially for a warm evening. Serve chilled.
A perfect evening down on the Boulevard. A beautiful day, delicious cheeses and fantastic wine. What more could a girl ask for on Date Night?
Barefoot Pinot Grigio Champagne, non-vintage.
This is really not what I think of as a true Champagne. The most common varietals used in the making of champagne are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both of which produce very different flavors from the Pinot Grigio Barefoot has used here.
That being said, this particular bottle drinks like a very simple Pinot Grigio, but of course, bubbly. Peach and lemon on the nose, with the lemon flavors strengthening on the palate and a strong, crisp, dry finish.
This bottle has been sitting in the fridge for a while, so it was nicely chilled, making for a refreshing drink on a warm evening.
If you’re looking for something to enjoy on a hot summer day but don’t want to spend a bundle, this Pinot Grigio Champagne from Barefoot will do the trick for only $6.99 a bottle (at BevMo). Having something like this on hand in the fridge is a must for those impromptu, and not so impromptu, summer get-togethers.
Tribunal 2009 Sonoma County Red Blend.
As you know, this week, the Saturday Night Supper Club has taken the show on the road.
This week I didn’t cook, but I visited a new Trader Joe’s in Peoria, AZ. We are out here on the outskirts of Phoenix for a long weekend visiting my cousin, her husband and two boys. To my surprise I found the hustle buy I had been looking for in California that sold out within a week in January, never to be seen again. Tribunal 2009 Red Blend from Sonoma County.
So there I am in the middle of Trader Joe’s with my husband, 3 year old daughter and my 7 year old nephew, in the wine section, flipping out over the huge display of Tribunal innocently sitting there like it was not anything unusual. Wohoo!
I was very exited to finally taste this much hyped wine, reported to be a clone of Orin Swift’s Prisoner, retailing at $9.99 - and how did if taste?
Let’s start with the nose: French Oak, Vanilla, herbs, minerals, and a hint of red fruit, exploding onto the palate with lots of bold red fruit, awakening each individual taste bud in a rock band of flavor. The finish really rounds out the experience with notes of dry red fruit and subtle nuances of honey and anise.
So what is my suggestion? Grab it IF you see it. Grab multiple bottles and enjoy either with some cheese and crackers or just by itself. I will definitely be picking up some more before we head home.
Delas, Saint-Esprit 2008 Cotes-Du-Rhone
While over at World Market this afternoon, chatting with a nice gal in the wine section (where else would I be?) she suggested this lovely bottle of Cotes-Du-Rhone.
I am much more familiar with the Bordeaux from France, so this was a great opportunity to broaden my wine horizons, yet again. I have to say, this is by far the best red I’ve bought from World Market.
Buying wine from World Market is like buying wine from Trader Joe’s. You have to know what is good and what is not. Research is recommended before you walk in so you make sure you’re not ending up with something completely foul.
But, back to this yummy, jammy Cotes-Du-Rhone. Lots of red raspberries, cherries, green herbs and a hint of oak on the nose. The palate opens up to continue that cherry flavor all the way to the finish, where it is met back up by those herbs and a nice smooth, dry finish. Overall, an immensely drinkable, delicious French Red. This wine goes great with Gruyere, so pick up as many as you dare.
An Apology, Part One…
…this Apology goes out to…
The Saturday Night Supper Club
Ricotta Gnocchi sauteed in butter
Uno Malbec 2008
Genesis Meritage 2007…and…
…Not posting in a timely manner…
Geez, I get an epic fail for posting over the last few days. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Let’s start with: The Saturday Night Supper Club:
Appetizer: Sliced Brown Tomatoes, topped with Basil Olive Oil, Garlic Infused Salt, and fresh mozzorella
Main Course: Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with diced brown tomatoes in olive oil
Dessert: Buttermilk Pudding topped with Farmer’s Market Sage Blossom Honey
I had a blast making the Ricotta Gnocchi from Food52.com. This awesome recipe calls for an entire pound of homemade ricotta. It also calls for over 2 cups of flour, but I found I didn’t even use a half a cup to make the dough come together. I just got down and dirty, got my hands in there and kneaded the heck out of it. The dough came together in no time. This was an awesome recipe and the most successful Gnocchi I have ever made. They were little pillows of deliciousness. Not heavy, like your typical doughy potato Gnocchi, and much more satisfying. I would recommend this recipe to everyone. It was quick and easy to put together.
For dessert, I made Buttermilk Pudding. What is this? Buttermilk Pudding? How does that work? Check out the recipe here. I have a lot of leftover buttermilk from making ricotta last week, and while searching for recipes to use up all the leftover, I discovered this gem of a recipe. Quick and easy to whip up, it chilled in the fridge while I finished off the Ricotta Gnocchi and we ate, while sipping Uno Malbec 2008. An apology to this Malbec, which had an amazing bottle design and was an easy drinking wine, but unfortunately, due to the time lapse, I just don’t remember the finer tasting points of this wine. Looks like I’ll be making a trip to Trader Joe’s in the near future to pick up another bottle and give it the review it deserves.
But what about the buttermilk pudding, you ask? Well, sweet delicious buttery vanilla in a cup would be the what. I can’t believe how fast that pudding was eagerly devoured by everyone. I topped this cup of yumminess with honey I picked up from the NEW Sherman Oaks Farmer’s Market and the folks at Pacifica, pure virgin honey. All of their honey is smooth and delicious. The combination of the sweet buttery pudding with the floral honey was a perfect balance.
After dinner, we cracked open a bottle of Genesis Meritage 2007 to enjoy while watching Torchwood and nibbling on some Gruyere and water crackers. Yet again, I will have to open another bottle of this Genesis Malbec to give it the review it deserves. I do remember that it was a fruit forward red with a hint of sweetness, and it was a hustle buy at Trader Joe’s last week. What’s a hustle buy? A much more expensive with that Trader Joe’s has managed to obtain for an absurdly low price. So, we settled in for some late night viewing of BBC SciFi and enjoyed our yummy wine and cheese. Overall, yet another successful Saturday Night Supper Club.
Next up: The Apology, Part Two - Tuscan Poached Eggs, Blueberry-Lemon Buttermilk Scones, Orin Swift’s Abstract 2009. Tune in soon, for part deux.