Castello di Corbara, Orvieto – 2014

  • Basic info:Castello di Corbara, Oriveto Classico Superiore, Italy – 2014
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $14 (local wine store)
  • Look: Golden yellow in color with good legs.
  • Smell: Lemon, merengue
  • Taste: Clean, crisp with a little bit of red grapefruit. Some spice that I can’t identify. Bob got lots of citrus with a lot of tartness and some peach pit flavor.)
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine more than Bob did. He thought it was a bit too citrus tasting and a little too tart. I thought the crispness of the citrus worked for a summer sipping wine.
  • Other notes: This is definitely a summer wine and not one that I think I would want at other times of the year, and I’m not sure how often I would drink it since I’m not a huge grapefruit fan, but I did like this one.
  • From the bottle: “Straw yellow color, mature fruits of peach and apricot with a floral background and it’s well balanced acidity reflect the terroir of the Orvieto region.” 13% alcohol by volume.

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Monte Bernardi, Chianti – 2014

  • Basic info:Monte Bernardi Retromarcia Chianti Classico (Sangiovese) – 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $19 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Garnet, medium legs, slightly translucent
  • Smell: wine (seriously, I could not discern anything specific and neither could Bob)
  • Taste: Smooth, slightly thin, but well structured. Some hints of cherry initially with strawberry at the very back-end with a little bit of tartness.
  • Conclusions: I loved this wine! I like Chianti in general, but this was something pretty special. I was tempted to just keep drinking it, but I stopped at two glasses so I could savor it more the next day. This was such a good chianti that Bob liked it (Bob doesn’t like chianti and tends to cringe when I pick one up) and that is unusual.
  • Other notes: This is apparently an organic wine, which I don’t usually place a ton of emphasis on, but I really do wonder if the flavor of the grapes comes through more than it might in a traditionally farmed vineyard. I may have to find more of this one as it really hit all the right notes for me, and if Bob is willing to drink it (two days in a row as a matter of fact) than it might be worth a space or two in the wine fridge.
  • From the bottle: The bottle is in Italian, so I have to go with the notes Chamber Street sent with the wine. “A fantastic Sangiovese, aged for about two years in neutral barrels. Nice earth, subtle leathery tannin and a long mineral finish make this Chianti Classico a great paring with any fall or winter feast.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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Wine, but something a little different

I like to think that when I decide to learn about something, I go in all the way. Some may call this obsessive (ok, even people who love me call this obsessive) but it works for me. It is why I do well in school, and why I’m good at my job. But I knew wine had to be a little different. I’m not going for a sommelier certification and I need to be careful how much I drink so I could do a lot of research, be super organized, try a lot of different varieties, but the actual drinking had to stay to one or two glasses a day.

IMG_20170610_172749Thankfully I also have friends that like to drink wine and are game to try new things. The other night we had Kate and Leta over and we did a little exploring of French wines with the help of a site I found by a podcast I listen to (long story). Weekly Tasting (no, I’m not getting multiple bottles every week) offers different packs of wine each week. You get the wine (4 bottles), pairing suggestions (with recipes), wine notes and access to a tasting video. IMG_20170610_174653We thought it would be fun to see how our sense of taste and smell compared to what the professionals said, and we tried a few new wines along the way. We had a blast. The one white was a particular hit – a muscadet that was salty and had some great lemon-lime notes. We paired everything with cheese, cause, well, it was cheese box week, and we made it a little end of the school year celebration.

IMG_20170507_195955I’ve also gotten very organized in my wine storage. It takes a little upfront work whenever I get a new bottle, but it helps. Yes, it is a spreadsheet. A color coded spreadsheet so I know where I go the wine from, but there is no longer the mystery of what is in the wine fridge or where a particular bottle is. IMG_20170507_132540For the wine fridge in the kitchen, we went low tech but the miracle of the white board has made my wine life so much easier. It is kind of like my meal list – it takes the guess work out of what to have each night.

I’m still taking notes on each wine, and refining what I do and do not like in a glass of wine. I’ve found that I’m a little more adventurous with my wine than I was before, and that makes me happy. If I go to a restaurant and there is a wine varietal that I don’t know, I’m more likely to try it. I may ask a little bit about it – make sure it isn’t a super big earthy wine that I just won’t like at all – but I venture beyond pinot noir and zinfandel. I can add wine regions to my list of places I want to travel and go beyond cities with lots of deep history. (Not that I will ever stop traveling to old cities with deep history.) I am enjoying my little adventure and feel like I’m learning a little something along the way. Since that was the whole point of this experiment, I’m calling it a success. No need to order pizza. 🙂

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12 e mezzo, Rosato del Salento, no vintage

  • Basic info: Varvaglione 12 e mezzo Rosato del Salento – Puglia, Italy, no vintage
  • Type: pink/rose
  • Price estimate:$13 (local wine store)
  • Look: Pale orange, almost apricot in color. very few legs.
  • Smell: Peach, apricot and white grape.
  • Taste: There is a bit of effervesce on the first taste, very light and clean. White peach and apricot flavors. Bob got a definite strawberry and some light minerality.
  • Conclusions: This is a great back porch wine. It is light, refreshing and a little different than some pink wines. It has just a little bit of bubbles, but it isn’t a sparkling wine. Perfect for summer.
  • Other notes: We tried this one at one of our local wine store’s Friday night wine tastings and both Bob and I thought it was great. It has a unique color and it drinks like a very light alcohol wine. We had  glass with dinner, then another glass on the back patio a few hours later. It was the perfect wine for sipping.
  • From the bottle: “Elegant, pleasant and slightly sparkling. On the nose fresh fruit meets harmoniously white flower scents while on the palate it shows up with liveliness. ” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Garon, Syrah – 2015

  • Basic info: Garon VDP Syrah, Rhone Valley France, 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $23 (Chamber St. Wines)
  • Look: Dark red in color almost a garnet color. Light legs. Medium alcohol.
  • Smell: Petrol and mineral. (Bob got the mineral, and he agreed with the petrol, but he wasn’t sure about the nose until I said it.)
  • Taste: Relatively smooth, semi-dry with a little mineral taste. Some berry on the finish. Bob got slate and fermented black raspberry.)
  • Conclusions: This was drinkable. For a Syrah it wasn’t bad, but I don’t think this will change my mind about Syrah the way the Chien Blanc changed my mind about white wines in general. It was ok to drink with food, but it really needed the food. The second day it was better. Still not great, but better.
  • Other notes: I wasn’t thrilled with this wine, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was fine and that is better than most Syrahs as far as I’m concerned.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber St. Wines, “This junior Cote-Rotie shows lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and cherry with roast meat and floral note, with cocoa and herbs. The palate has a nice earthy texture with ripe berry fruits, chocolate and mineral flavors.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Carrot Sofrito Enchiladas

I was looking for something different to try and came across this recipe for enchiladas. I was intrigued and thought about trying them, but then got busy with a bunch of things and forgot about them. Fast forward a few week later and I came across it again on another blog and was intrigued. Apparently this recipe was so popular a number of people tried it and posted it. So … I thought I might as well give it a go.

The “no bake” part of this is a little misleading. You don’t bake the enchiladas themselves, but you do have to bake the sofrito for an hour and a half, so I consider that baking the dish. Yes, you could make that ahead of time, but a lot of things can be baked ahead.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about these while making them. They smelled pretty good, but not the really lingering smells of caramelized onions or tons of garlic that I like (yes, if you don’t like onions and garlic, you may want to skip being near my hours most nights when I make dinner). I was also a tiny bit skeptical about combining carrots and tomatoes (not sure why, but I was) so I thought this would be a dish I tried and then forgot about.

IMG_20170603_124821Not so much. These were incredible. The roasting of the carrots and tomato mixture deepened the flavors, heating the corn tortilla made softened the flavor just a little and allowed the other flavors to come through. The filling – oh my the filling. Bright, creamy and fresh. Top it all with a little tomatillo salsa (and, yes, I cheated and bought a jar – I was going to easy – even though I usually make my own) and you have a really delicious meal.

Bob thought these were pretty good too. We both agreed that to be even better, we needed to make them like tacos, so the next two times we ate them (yes, we had enough for three sets of meals for both of us) we put the carrot sofrito and the filling inside the corn tortilla and just topped them with a little tomatillo salsa. Super good, cheap to make and definitely different. I’ll add a “make again” to the plethora of other comments and review out there for these.

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Rocca Felice – Nebbiolo D’Alba, 2014

  • Basic info: Rocca Felice, Nebbiolo D’Alba, Italy, 2014
  • Type: red
  • Price estimate: $17 (at Total Wine)
  • Look: Ruby in color. Transluscent – not a lot of depth to the color. Some legs, probably light to medium alcohol.
  • Smell: Wine. Some spice, but not discernible which to my nose. Bob called a mineral smell.
  • Taste: Mineral. Thin mouth feel but not unpleasant. Dry with some tannin structure. Best guess of taste would be almost ripe plum.
  • Conclusions: I liked this one better the second day. It was fine on the first day, but just ok. I was surprised at how thin the wine was, but it had a lot of character the next day. Definitely benefitted from opening a little. Second day, decided dark cherry hints in the taste and a more defined mineral smell.
  • Other notes: This bottle was a Bob pick. It is not often that he picks wine out, but every now and then he does. One of the other Italian bottles we had recently he also picked, and this one was definitely better. If getting again, decant on the first day and let it come up to room temperature.
  • From the bottle: “Wine made from Nebbiolo grapes. Ruby red color. The bouquet recalls violets and the taste is dry.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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