Point Break Red Blend

  • Producer: Longboard Vineyards
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $27 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Inky dark purple in color. Smells a bit like a Cabernet with some pine and wood notes. Flavors on black cherry, blueberry, spice and pepper with some herbs. Finish is nice with definite coco notes. Drinks like a zin.
  • Conclusions: This is my kind of wine. easy to drink, complex but not so much going on that you feel like you need to study the wine. Bob liked it a little less than I did, but it was a great sipping wine.
  • Notes: This wine was great the day we opened it, but it was incredible the second day. It opened to a really fruity, beautiful red and lost some of the wood notes that I’m not always crazy about. (Yes, I know there are people who like the tree bark and forest floor taste, but I’m not one of them.) We are definitely getting more of this next time we order wine from the winery.

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Well, Hello There

It has been a few weeks since I’ve posted not for any dire reason, but I just got busy and decided to prioritize work and things at home to updating the site. One of the nice things about doing this just for the fun of it is that I can take some time off from posting when needed and I feel no guilt.

So a general update: The furry creatures are doing well. (I think they all are … I’m a little worried about Tigger, but Bob keeps telling me he is fine so I’m hoping it is just the time of year that has me on edge.) The kittens are just about a year and a half, but they still play like they are babies. The couches are not going to survive this set of kitties, but it is nice to see them used as an obstacle course, a hideout and a lunching pad on a regular basis. Who knew couches were so versatile? Arthas is also doing well. He rarely cares if the kitties play near him, and every now and then tries to join in, which is amusing and slightly heart stopping given that he is five times their size.

img_20180923_142010I’m still knitting, surprisingly. It is something that is fairly relaxing and gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is also way cheaper than wine and something I can do Sunday mornings unlike my wine hobby. For the most part I stick to one project at a time, but given that I’m going to start a blanket for the spare room soon, I may need some smaller projects to do here and there while working on that. I need to look around at some of the charities again and find out which ones I can send scarfs to and which ones accept blankets or squares to make blankets. I did make Bob a scarf – yes, the Florida boy who has no interest in cold weather has his own scarf. It turned out pretty darn nice if I do say so myself.

Wine. I do love wine and I’ve been enjoying just enjoying a glass here and there instead of constantly taking notes and trying to discern flavors. Don’t get me wrong, I still like doing that too, but it is nice to just have the glass. With the weather so weird lately (we have the doors open and I’m tempted to put on shorts today) we’ve had an eclectic mix of wines. Some of them I will have individual posts about, but I’m considering revamping how I write them. My palate is not able to pick up some of those subtle flavors and I honestly have no idea what others taste like even though they are in tons of descriptions (cassis I’m looking at you).

img_20181016_170445Cooking has not been very interesting lately, although I did make a rather nice Thanksgiving Day dinner, but that gets it’s own post. I love the new job, but with the hour plus commute each way, I am not getting very creative in the kitchen. Either I’m too tired to read and comprehend a recipe, too tired to get creative or just not up to thinking that hard after a long day, but cooking has become a little more routine around here. It’s not a bad thing, and we still eat fairly well, but it just isn’t original. Although I will say, I am pretty happy with the 3 bean enchiladas that I came up with from the 3 bean chili.

Posts may be a little sparse in the next few weeks – I have some projects that I’m finishing up at work over the next few weeks and they are going to take a pretty good amount of time and energy. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and can enjoy the season over the next month or so. Happy holidays!

 

Antiquum Farm, Pinot Noir – 2016

  • Basic info: Antiquum Farm “Juel” Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $40
  • Look: Inky. Dark Purple/plum in color.
  • Smell: fresh tobacco, red berries, grape jam and leather.
  • Taste: Cherry, blackberry and a little tart. Notes of pepper, spice and jam with a velvety texture. Coco and pepper on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Amazing. Completely blown away by this one.
  • Other notes: We opened this bottle one night when I didn’t care that it was mid-90s in October as I just really wanted a red wine. I figured Pinot Noir is a lighter red wine and would be fine. We had this bottle for a little while and we just decided to open it. I was a little worried when I smelled the wine, but holy cow the taste! I added this one to my (very short) list of wines that were completely exceptional and just about perfect – the 95 plus wines if I was into giving numbers. This one was complex, fruity without being sweet, and was one of the best wines I think I’ve had. Yes, it is on the expensive side, but I have to say – worth every penny.
  • From the bottle: “Antiquum Farm’s high elevation, thin soil site is a place of anomaly. Perhaps an oddity. This site is capable of consistently producing a balance of extremes between luxuriously ripe fruit and high-toned rippling acidity. Our farming preserves the unique attributes of this site. No off-farm fertilizers are used. native cover crops are encouraged and graze year round with a menagerie of livestock. Exhaustive measures of meticulous hand labor embody our love of farming. These old world methods create one of the region’s most unique and intensely personal wines. This is more than a way of growing wine. This is a way of life.”  14.3% alcohol by volume.

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Roasted Vegetable Risotto

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – risotto is not that hard. It does take time, but it you are okay without perfection, risotto is a great dish to make. It is my go-to dish when I’m tired and can’t think straight, but don’t want to go out for dinner. It can be made with whatever you have on hand and is a very filling meal. I love risotto and think more people should make it.

This version was better than I thought it would be. I had extra vegetables in the fridge from earlier in the week and had a long, tiring day at work. So … roast the vegetables in the oven, grate some cheese and make a risotto.

Recipe:

  • 1/2 large yellow squash (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 handful asparagus (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup aboro rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pat butter (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup shredded pecorino or other hard grating cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine (totally optional)

Heat the oven to about 375 degrees. (Ovens vary, so some may need to be at 400 and other 350 – just use whatever temperature you generally roast vegetables at). Set vegetable stock/broth to simmer in a pot on the stove.

Cut vegetables to about 1 inch pieces. Coat in a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 12-15 minutes, tossing half way through. Vegetables should be roasted, but not burnt. Remove from oven.

While the vegetables roast, dice the onion and garlic. Heat a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add aboro rice. Toss rice to coat with the onion and oil then let toast for a about two minutes, stirring frequently. If using wine, add here and stir until it is absorbed/evaporated. Add one cup of broth and mix. Let simmer over medium heat until absorbed. When the rice/pan is dry, add more broth and stir. Continue adding broth, 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until rice is fully cooked – about 25-30 minutes. Before the last of the broth is fully absorbed, add the roasted vegetables and mix well.

Once the last of the broth (you may not use all of it) is absorbed, remove from heat and add butter and half the cheese. Mix well. Squeeze the lemon over the pan of risotto and mix again. Add a little more cheese and mix. Plate and top with a little cheese.

 

Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner – 2017

  • Basic info: Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner, Weinviertel, Germany – 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $15 (Total Wine)
  • Look: very pale yellow.
  • Smell: Lemon and apples
  • Taste: Green apple and lemon dominate the first sip. Slate, some saline and white peach in the middle with a great lemon zest finish.
  • Conclusions: This wine was better than expected. It was really enjoyable to sip in the evening and went pretty well with dinner. It sounds super acidic and while there is a good amount of acid in the glass, it is balanced and just a nice sipping wine.
  • Other notes: I picked up this bottle almost entirely for the label. It was a varietal I like and a really cute label, so sure – I’ll try it. I was very pleasantly surprised by it and will definitely pick up another or bottle or two when I want a crisp white wine.
  • From the bottle: “The Weinveirtel is famous for its spicy-fruit Gruner Veltliner. The soil around Roschitz consists largely of loess and granite bedrock and provides a distinctive Gruner Veltliner. It smells like fresh pear, yellow fruit and herbal spice with a peppery feel.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Three Bean Chili

Whole Foods had canned beans on sale the other week and I stocked up. I figured it’s October and we should be getting chili weather soon. It’s not to be. We are still in the upper 80s and low 90s half way through the month. I finally decided I didn’t care that the weather is still saying summer – I want chili.

img_20181014_090920So … clean out the fridge and the cabinet and let’s see what we come up with. Three cans of beans, 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes, some vegetable broth, spices, a needs to be cooked now yellow pepper and half a red onion. That’s it. At the end – shredded cheddar cheese that I picked up a while back for tacos and you have a meal. I was a little surprised at how well this turned out – and it was even better as enchiladas later in the week. (I forgot to take a picture of that though.)

Recipe:

  • 1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can white bean (pick your variety)
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1 pepper (I had yellow on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated/shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Peel and dice the onion. Dice the pepper. Drain and rinse the beans – set aside.

Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan that can be covered. When hot, add onion and pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Onion should be translucent and peppers should be softer, but not mushy.

Add spices and toss to coat. Cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then add tomatoes and half the vegetable stock. Mix, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add beans and mix well. Add the rest of the broth. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Uncover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Check and adjust seasonings.

 

 

Barbanera, White Blend – 2015

  • Basic info: Collezione Famiglla Barbanera, “Pian Oro” White blend – Tuscany, Italy, 2015
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $15 (local wine store)
  • Look: pale yellow straw
  • Smell: lemon, honey, pear, cut grass, peach
  • Taste: Soft lemon – not sweet but round and not really tart – apricot, white grape, honey. Lemon candy and peach on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Nice wine. Easy to drink.
  • Other notes: I picked up this bottle because I wanted to try something different and it looked pretty good. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it was a nice wine to have for a few days. It wasn’t my favorite with dinner, but by itself it was good. Given that it is October, I was really hoping for some cooler weather and a good red right about now, but summer is hanging on an 90 plus degree days with high humidity kind of call for white wine.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes.

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