Machin Breaker, Pinot Noir – 2012

  • Basic info: Machine Breaker “The Innocents” Pinot Noir, Eloa-Amity Hills, Oregon – 2012
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $45
  • Look: Opaque ruby in color turning to rose at the edges
  • Smell: Tiny bit of cherry, some mineralogy and a touch of blackberry
  • Taste: Soft. Slightly sour cherry, some bramble and stone fruit. Medium finish with peach pit and a nice tart taste.
  • Conclusions: This was okay. Both Bob and I liked it, but it didn’t live up to the description or the reviews. I liked the wine just fine, but it wasn’t phenomenal.
  • Other notes: We opened this bottle to celebrate me new job and I kind of wish I had picked a different bottle. It is definitely a well structured wine, but it wasn’t really to my taste. A little too sour and maybe a touch too much wood to be truly enjoyable.
  • From the bottle: I completely forgot to look at the back of the bottle on this one. 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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Israeli Couscous White Bean Salad

In my quest to pack my lunch, and pack things that A) can be eaten in a car, B) do no require a microwave or refrigerator, and C) will fill me up I’ve started eating more beans than I ever had before. I’m still not crazy about the texture of beans, but I’m getting there.

This salad I found in the NY Times Cooking section and have to say, I kind of love it. It holds for a while and has both protein from the feta and beans and grains from the couscous to fill me up. Add in some heirloom tomatoes and basic from the garden and what is not to like. Admittedly I can’t eat this while driving, but it can be eaten in a parking lot and it holds up well with an ice pack in my lunch bag. We had this for dinner one day as is, then I added some celery and yellow pepper to the leftovers to stretch it for lunch for a few days. The only real change I made to the original salad was using cannellini beans instead of pinto and adding a little more garlic (I think 2 large cloves instead of one).

Ca n’Estruc, Xarel-lo – 2017

  • Basic info: Ca N’Estruc, Xarel-lo, Catalunya, Spain – 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $17 (Weekly Tasting)
  • Look: Translucent light yellow
  • Smell: Apricot – I kept sniffing this to see if I could get more out of it, but I just couldn’t
  • Taste: Stone fruit, specifically white peach. Subtle citrus notes that are almost lemon, but not quite. Tiny bit of slate towards the back end of this wine with a medium finish.
  • Conclusions: I was so happy drinking this wine. It had a nice acidity, but it didn’t overpower. It went well with food and just as good as a sipper on the back patio. It was unique – it had a bit of a floral quality but it was subtle. That seemed to be the key word for this wine – subtle. There was a lot going on, but it was all understated and really well done.
  • Other notes: I had never heard of Xarel-lo before and it isn’t something I expect to find on the shelves of my local wine store, but if I do, I’m picking some up. This was great, and perfect for a warm summer day and it went perfect with our cheese plate.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 13.5% alcohol by volume

I Made a Scarf (aka another knitting project)

Surprisingly I’ve kept up with learning to knit. It is one of those things that is relaxing in its repetitiveness and can be done in small chunks of time. Since I’m still adjusting to the drive with the new job, it is really nice to have something to do in the evenings that doesn’t require a ton of brain power but enough concentration to keep me awake.

(I did work on another kitty blanket but it isn’t totally finished yet, so I’ll probably post that one next month.)

I wanted to learn the lace stitch and started with one pattern that was just not working for me. I think I was a little too ambitious with one of the stitches in the pattern and so I took a step back and tried a more basic stitch. I found one I really liked at Give me a purl. I actually found a few stitches I liked, so I’m sure I’ll be going back there soon.

But the scarf! Yes, I actually knitted a scarf. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for a beginner.

I must have started this about 6 times over one weekend. I started getting frustrated because I would mess up around row ten and then have to start over. But I finally decided that I wouldn’t start over, I would just keep going. Originally this was going to be a sample piece, not a whole project, but once I really got started, I decide to just finish it and make myself a scarf. It is a little wider than ideal, but I like it. (And really, I live in Florida, so how often do I need a scarf?)

 

Homemade Margherita Pizza

The ten year old in me sometimes (ok often) likes basic food and one classic kid-friendly food is pizza. You can justify it by saying it contains several food groups including vegetables (tomato sauce), dairy (cheese) and grains (the crust) but really, it isn’t the healthiest of foods. However, you really can’t beat a good pizza.

The best thing about a basic sauce and cheese pizza is that it is fast and takes almost no brainpower – perfect after a long day at work. I cheated on the crust on this and bought the dough at the grocery, and used leftover sauce and cheese. Add a few sun-dried tomatoes and basil from the garden and you have a near perfect pizza.

 

Fattoria La Ripa, Chianti – 2010

  • Basic info: Fattoria La Ripa, Chianti Classico Riserva, Sangiovese (90%) & Canaiolo (10%),Tuscany, Italy (Chianti Classico DOCG) – 2010
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35 (Somm Select)
  • Look: Garnet in color with some orange and brown at the edges
  • Smell: Oak, trees, and a little hot/alcoholic
  • Taste: Cherry, hint of smoke, baking spices. This was a really complex wine, but I had a hard time identifying or naming specific flavors. Dry, red fruit and a little earth in the middle. Pepper on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Both Bob and I really liked this wine. He isn’t a huge Chianti fan, so when he liked it, I knew it was a winner. I think this is my first aged Chianti and while I think I prefer them a little younger, this one was just beautiful.
  • Other notes: I will fully admit, when I saw the edge of this in the glass, I was worried. In my mind (the unsophisticated wine person I am) brown at the edge means not good – oxygenated and less than perfect. This definitely was not the case here – despite the age on this bottle (yes, I know for real wine people 8 years is not old, but for me it is) it was fantastic. I can’t wait to break into the other bottles of this – I may have picked up a few.
  • From the bottle: (From Somm Select tasting notes) ” La Ripa 2010 Riserva is a medium garnet-red moving to pink and brick-red at the rim, with aromas of ripe black cherry, raspberry, red currant, and a hint of blood orange peel mixing with more savory notes of underbrush, turned earth, wood smoke, and dried rose petals. Medium to medium-plus in body, it is exceedingly pretty and energetic on the palate, with fine-grained tannins and well-integrated acidity.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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