Tesoro Della Regina – Prosecco, NV

  • Basic info: Tesoro Della Regina, Prosecco, Italy, No Vintage
  • Type: White bubbly – Prosecco
  • Price estimate: $5 – split bottle from Total Wine
  • Look: Very pale yellow, almost clear in color with fine bubbles
  • Smell: yeast, apple and a little candied pineapple
  • Taste: Crisp, bubbly, tart. green apple and pear with a little sweet note on the back end.
  • Conclusions: I really liked this one. It had just a touch of sweetness to offset the tartness, but it wasn’t a sweet wine at all. It was lovely to drink by itself, but it would also make a great mimosa.
  • Other notes: I picked this up on a whim at Total wine. I’ve had wine from this producer before and I’ve generally liked them, so when I saw the small bottle, I decided to go for it. I intended to hold off on any sparkling wines until I could do a full comparison – Champaign, American sparkling, Cava, Prosecco and Lambrusco – but am having a hard time finding the Lambrusco. Now that the weather is cooler, I might try the old internet order for this, but for now, I’ll go with this bottle. It was the perfect size to celebrate something (passing my state exam in this case) on a weekday. IMG_20170927_190925.jpg

Domaine Guy Mousset – Red Blend, 2015

  • Basic info: Domaine Guy Mousset “Cotes du Rhone” Red Blend, France, 2015.
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $13 (Total Wine)
  • Look: Very dark red, almost black plum. Minimal legs
  • Smell: Grape jelly and a little wood on the nose.
  • Taste: Bob and I disagreed on what this one tasted like. He got minerality, plum, black cherry and current with a dark, almost earthy end. I got the black cherry, but I had blackberry with only a tiny bit of mineral and cranberry.
  • Conclusions: We both really liked this wine even though it tasted totally different to each of us. It was a little on the thin side, but that made for a nice sipping wine. It was super smooth and very enjoyable.
  • Other notes: I wanted to get the rose from this producer, but Total Wine was out of it. I never remember the name so I was that annoying person who just kept saying I will know it when I see the label. Somehow the guy at Total Wine took this as a challenge, found this bottle and asked if I was looking for the rose version. I was. He found me a substitute (since they were out) and said the red is just as good, if you like red wine. I do like red wine, so I decided to try it and I am very glad I did. It isn’t a special wine, but a great every day red.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 13% alcohol by volume.

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Charisse – Picpoul, 2016

  • Basic info: Charisse, Picpoul de Pinet, France – Picpoul, 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $17 (Weekly Tasting)
  • Look: Pale yellow with medium legs.
  • Smell: honeysuckle, citrus and lemon
  • Taste: Crisp and clean with some lemon. This one was hard to describe other than clean. Medium finish and tart.
  • Conclusions: Great drinking wine. Could not identify a lot of what the wine tasted like, but it was really enjoyable.
  • Other notes: I was curious about this wine and I really did enjoy it. It was light and crips and very clean tasting, but there was some complexity there.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Weekly Tasting, “Straw color with green apple, pear and an herb butter note, this is a wine with personality!” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Winzer Krems – Gruner Veltliner, 2016

  • Basic info: Winzer Krems, “Kremser Sandgrum” Gruner Veltliner – Austria, 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $13 (Total Wine)
  • Look: Very pale yellow, almost clear. Some legs, but not when cold.
  • Smell: Herbs and citrus
  • Taste: Slight effervescence with lemon the predominate flavor. Some other citrus is present, but not overpowering. Slight sour note on the short finish.
  • Conclusions: Not bad. Not as good as the PFAFFL.
  • Other notes: I was super excited about this wine, but the bottle disappointed just a little. The sour note and short finish made the wine less enjoyable than I had anticipated and part of that is simply because the first bottle of this varietal I had was so outstanding.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Total Wine, Savory notes of crushed chervil and yeast join lively, almost fizzing notes of lemon zest. This is ultrafresh, light-footed and very toned. Juicy, ripe acidity animates you to drink this almost as a thirst-quencher. This will work on a hot, sunny evening.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Pets and Other Things

I am not 25 any more. I can’t function on three hours of sleep for days on end and still have a spring in my step. Stress wears me down more than it use to and I’m counting the weeks until I finish grad school and can focus on just one thing at a time again.

Bob and I knew this semester would be rough – work full time, intern and class. We were prepared for it, but the reality is that I’m just tired. The kitties and Arthas help, but when I worry about the little ones playing around Arthas’s head, or using him as a launching pad for to the couch (I’m looking at you, Alinea) I do wonder about the wisdom of adding two kittens to the house at this time.  But then they curl up with me or I see Tigger playing with them or cleaning them and I know it was the right decision.  … So … cute pet pictures:

I am also behind on taking notes on wine. I have some that I remembered, but others that I just totally forgot. So .. for the wine I’ve had recently that didn’t make an individual post because I lost track of time …

IMG_20170928_182938.jpgThis Pinotage and Shiraz blend was fantastic. I’ve had wines from Spier before and generally liked them, but this was just amazing. Both Bob and I loved it and found it really easy to drink. I’m a fan of Pinotage in general and was surprised at how good this blend was. And for an $8 bottle of wine, I am definitely picking this up again.

The Furmint was ok – not as good as the bottle we had from Weekly Tasting, but not bad. It has some interesting notes and is easy to drink. As the weather gets cool

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er (well, cooler for Florida) I’m sure I will be drinking less and less white, so this was a bit of a last nod to summer.

I’m sure there has been more wine, but I didn’t take pictures of the bottles so I don’t have them to post.

On the food front, it has been Hello Fresh boxes or old stand by meals. Poor Bob has not had any experiments in a while and I miss exploring different combinations. Unfortunately I just don’t have the energy to search for new recipes, shop for all the ingredients and then make a totally new recipe right now. What I have been cooking has been pretty good, but basic:

I will admit the pesto pizza was fantastic – spinach pesto with mozzarella and pecorino cheese.  So good.

Not the most exciting catch-up post ever, but right now I will take it. I am looking forward to January when I can slow down a bit, enjoy the babies more and experiment with food more. I’m looking forward to going to work just for the hours I’m to work and not add many more hours for internships. I’m looking forward to reading something just because I want to read it and not because I’m researching and I’m looking forward to not feeling guilty for taking a morning to myself since there is so much work to do. I am definitely not 25 anymore.

 

Couscous Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that scare home cooks. I learned to not be afraid of risotto after making a baked risotto a few years ago. It came out just fine, and actually pretty good, so I moved on to the regular stove-top version. Despite all of the warnings I heard on various tv food shows over the years, it turns out that risotto really isn’t hard. Yes, it takes time, and yes, you need to watch it, but it isn’t an hour of constant stirring. In all honesty, it is hard to get perfect, but it is also hard to screw up. Risotto, if you are just aiming for a good meal, is easy.

I decided to try something a little different. I love pearled or Israeli couscous – it has texture, structure and can accommodate a ton of different things added to it. Since it is pretty simple to cook, I tried to make it in a risotto style – and it worked. Bob loved this dish and he is not generally a fan of couscous, but the pearled variety is heartier and he apparently likes it. The leftover spinach pesto really brought this dish together and it made a great, filling meal. The only thing I need to do next time is make more of it – I want leftovers and I think it would make a great salad the next day (no microwave needed).

Couscous Risotto:

  • 1 cup pearled couscous
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup spinach pesto
  • 3 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil or butter

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil, then cover and reduce heat just to keep warm. Slice the shallot and split the tomatoes in half.

In a medium pan heat oil (or butter – about 1 tablespoon) until hot then add shallot and tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to break down and the shallot is soft – about 5 minutes. Add the couscous to the pan and cook, stirring to coat, about two minutes. You want the couscous slightly toasted. Season with salt and pepper.

Add about 1/2 of the broth to the pan and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Reduce heat to low and add the rest of the broth. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. If the couscous isn’t cooked through, add about a 1/4 cup of water, stir and cover.

Remove from heat and add cheese. Mix. Add pesto and combine well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (some vegetable broths provide enough flavor so you don’t need any more here). Makes 2 servings.

Winzer Krems – Gruner Veltliner, 2016

  • Basic info: Winzer Krems – Kremser Sandgrube Gruner Veltliner, Austria, 2016.
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $13 (Total Wine)
  • Look: Very pale yellow, almost clear and colorless.
  • Smell: herbs, citrus
  • Taste: Tart. Citrus, lemon with a slight sour note. Little bit of effervescence with a short finish.
  • Conclusions: It was not bad, better than some whites, but not fantastic.
  • Other notes: After having the PFAFFL gruner veltliner a few weeks before, I was super excited to try a different wine of the same grape. This one was nice, but it just lacked that something special the other bottle had. The finish was shorter and there was a slight sour taste that was not in the PFAFFL. I wanted to love this wine, but I just didn’t. It also had a 90 point rating from Wine Enthusiast which I know, logically, mean very little, but I was hoping it would give some direction when picking a new bottle. Sadly, it did not.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Total Wine, “Savory notes of crushed chervil and yeast join lively, almost fizzing notes of lemon zest. This is ultrafresh, light-footed and very toned. Juicy, ripe acidity animates you to drink this almost as a thirst-quencher.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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