Pinot Blanc Reserve

  • Producer: Gustave Lorentz
  • Location: Alsace, France
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: $15 retail, ($11 on sale from Weekly Tasting)
  • Tasting notes: Light to medium yellow in color. Nose is very light – difficult to find many aromas, but as the wine warms a little some floral notes and lemon curd begin to come through with a tiny bit of fresh apple. The wine is clean and round on the palate with notes of melon, apple, nectarine and white grape. Acidity is nice – not strong, but present. Finish is clean with a decent length. The apple and a little pear come through on the finish.
  • Conclusions: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this wine as I’m not terribly familiar with Pinot Blanc, but it’s good. Refreshing in the “good summer sipper” category of wines, this isn’t something I’m going to hold for a super special occasion, but I’m happy drinking it. This paired well with an Asian dish, and with quinoa tacos and was also pretty good alone. 12.5% ABV
  • imageNotes: When Bob and I went to Sonoma we wanted to focus on Zinfandels, but also look for good whites. We succeeded in finding zin’s that we really loved (you should be seeing some of those posts in the coming months) but we didn’t focus on whites, so when I saw Weekly Tasting was doing an inventory clearance sale, I decided to get a case of whites – things I could drink all summer and not feel the need to ration. I didn’t intend to get the Pinot Blanc, but they sent it instead of a Riesling, which I was totally okay with (seriously, for $11 I’m honestly not going to quibble). I did want to let them know so it wouldn’t impact their inventory or potentially another customer, but they offered to send the Riesling anyway and asked me to keep the Pinot Blanc. This was absolutely unnecessary, but I mention it because this isn’t the first time they have gone out of their way to make something right (the first time it was totally a FedEx issue, but they fixed it for me after I could not get anywhere with FedEx). Good wine, decent prices and fantastic customer service.

Lemon Icebox Pie

Bob is a big pie fan. He likes pie way more than cake or cookies or other desserts and it is what he wants me to bake if I give him an open choice. His favorite pie is his mom’s lemon icebox pie. This isn’t a pie I’m familiar with and one I’ve never made, so when he brought me a few cookbooks from his mom’s house, I looked through them and found a recipe for a lemon icebox pie and decided to try it.

img_20190617_092321The original recipe I found was different than most pie recipes I am familiar with, but it did remind me a little of a key lime pie. It is a condensed milk based pie with a cookie crust and a sweet meringue on top. I did balk at the original 6 tablespoons of sugar in the meringue and altered that part of the recipe (I just couldn’t bring myself to do 6 tablespoons of sugar) including using coconut sugar in the meringue instead of regular granulated sugar.


  • Nilla wafers (about 2/3 of a box)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar

Pre-head oven to 325. Melt butter. Crush vanilla wafers to make about 1 3/4 – 2 cups wafer crumbs. Butter a pie pan, including the sides. Mix wafer crumbs and melted butter and press into the pie pan. Line the sides of the pan with whole Nilla Wafers.

In a medium bowl, mix condensed milk and egg yolks. Add zest of two lemons and juice of three lemons to the milk mixture and combine well. Pour into prepared pie pan.

In a large, clean bowl beat egg white until stiff peaks begin to form. Add sugar, slowly, to desired sweetness (I think 1.5 tablespoons would be best, but since the original recipe called for 6, I just halved that to see how it would go). Cover pie filling with meringue, covering the pie completely (you could leave the whole wafers uncovered, but cover the filling completely).

Bake pie in 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The meringue should be lightly browned and the filling is set.

The Y Series Chardonnay

  • Producer: Yalumba Family Winemakers
  • Location: South Australia
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $12
  • Tasting notes: Pale to medium yellow in color. Tropical fruits – pineapple and papaya on the nose. Relatively round mouthfeel but enough acidity to prevent the oily consistency chardonnay can sometimes have. Subtle flavors of peach, apricot, pineapple and lemon are present, but the flavors do not linger.
  • Conclusions: Not bad at all. Chardonnay is not my go-to white wine, but I was intrigued by the bottle at Whole Foods (don’t judge, they had an actual good sale on a few things I use frequently and picking up wine there saved me a trip elsewhere) and decided to try it. It is actually a pretty good wine and one I’m not minding indulging in on a Tuesday evening. 13% ABV
  • Notes: I picked this up as we waited for some of our wine from Sonoma to arrive. Most of what we bought won’t be here until the fall because the temperature are just too high to safely ship, but we did one mixed case with temperature control, so we should have that by the time this posts. I also decided to go for a few whites from Whole Foods because, while I had every intention of trying to focus more on white wine out in California, we ended up loving more reds and picking up many more reds than whites. Next time we go out I’m going to try to seek out producers who specialize in whites if I can.

Sonoma Day 7 – Heading Home

There are people who can go on vacation for weeks, sometimes months, at a time and never be ready to leave. I’m not like that. Over the years I’ve figured out that 5 to 6 days is best for me to be away, and anything longer than a week I just get cranky. I miss my furry creatures, I want my bed and my own kitchen. I want to be able to cook and I like just knowing which restaurants I can go to without scouring menus first.

When we first starting looking at this trip we picked the dates and length to be able to pay for the flight with miles. This meant we had a slightly longer vacation than is ideal for us, but decided it was worth it. So this is how we ended up with a day 7 instead of being home.

It did work out rather well, though. We had a fantastic breakfast at the B&B then headed out to the coast and up to Ft. Ross, an old Russian settlement north of where we were staying. The grounds were great, but we actually got to dip our toes in the (very cold) Pacific.

The views, the scenery, the vistas were just stunning, as much driving back on the Pacific Coast Highway as they were on the drive up. I wasn’t in love with the hairpin turns and sheer drops off the side of the road, but Bob was driving and totally enjoying himself.

As we made our way into Sausalito and then San Francisco for the night before a full day of travel home, we were ready to go. California was great, and if it was an easy drive out to Sonoma for us, I’d try to figure out a way to buy a little place off the beaten path. But, Florida is home and just too far for quick trips. We will be back, but maybe just for five days.

Sonoma Day 6 – All Wined Out

I wasn’t sure it could happen, but after all the great wine we had over the last few days, coupled with the scorching heat, I wasn’t up for wine. Temperatures continued to hover around 100, and I just didn’t want to be out in the heat and could not even think about drinking alcohol. Sad, but true.

We did start our day at a winery, but not for the wines. Our B&B hosts told us about a winery with an incredible garden so we decided to drive up north of Healdsburg and see the gardens. They were pretty incredible, but unfortunately half the garden was closed for maintenance. We enjoyed what we could, then headed into Healdsburg.

We wandered around Healdsburg for a little while, stopped into a yarn store (just cause) and took in some of the plaza area, but the lack of shade had us heading out of the town soon than we anticipated.

We did do something a little odd given the temperatures, but we headed to Armstrong Woods to meander through the redwoods. With all the shade, we had lower temperatures so it was a nice outing. I had not been through the redwoods since I went to Humboldt over 20 years ago. These trees were just as beautiful, and we really enjoyed the trails around the creeks and winding through the forest. It was a nice way to end the day.

Sonoma Day 5 – Gone to the Dogs

Part of me wanted to title this “The Dog Days of Sonoma” but I decided to keep the same title format for the trip series. Like almost every time we travel (when it’s not the dead of winter) the Florida heat follows us. This trip was no different as the temperatures soared near 100. Even as a “dry heat” this was too much for us to spend too much time outside, so we decided to fill our day with indoor activities.

Up first was one of the only non-wine things I *really* wanted to do on this trip, the Charles Shultz Museum – aka Snoopy! I swear I partly learned to read because of the Peanuts cartoons, and I loved the Peanuts specials that would air every holiday. We got to immerse ourselves in all thing Peanuts for a few hours, and enjoyed the air conditioning while we were at it.

Not dog related, but put on the agenda for the day for the cellar tour, we visited Korbel for lunch then took the tour after. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the tour so much because it was historically interesting or if it was the coolness of the old caves. Either way, it was a nice way to spend a hot afternoon.

Bob gets all the credit for our last stop of the day. He found Mutt Lynch Winery when we were looking for ideas for the trip. We wanted good zinfandel and a fun experience so we added the tasting room in Windsor to our list. I am so glad we did. Brenda Lynch, the owner/winemaker made us feel right at home as she sat and talked with us while she poured from the tasting selection (and off the list too …. She was just incredible). Her zinfandel and primitivo were amazing, and her rose was truly out of this world. We spent far longer there than intended, but had a great time talking wine and dogs. We are super excited about the case of wine that is coming from here as soon as the weather breaks (say, around October). This is a definite go back to spot for us when we make it out to Sonoma again.

Despite the triple digit temperatures (the car registered 103) it was a great day.

Sonoma Day 4 – My Perfect Day

It is rare that a day work out so well, lives up to the anticipation, and is truly as amazing as it is in one’s mind. But this day, this day was pretty much my day on this trip and it was about as perfect as I could have hoped.

I love gardens: botanical gardens, rose gardens, meditation gardens, etc. You name a garden and I’m going to try to visit when I get there. This day we, on one of the hottest days they have here (our car read 99, the bank sign read 109, either way it was hot) went to Quarryhill – a botanical garden that specializes in rare Asian species of plants. Every plant here is propagated by seed and the gardens are allowed to grow fairly wild. No topiary here. There was lots of shade and a few good breezes to keep the walk mostly comfortable despite the heat.

After the gardens, we headed to Sonoma Square. I was pretty excited (read school girl giddy) to be going to the tasting room for Bedrock Wine Company. This is my go-to winery for a few reasons – Old Vine Zinfandel, consistently good wine, and a mission to save historic vineyards and vines. The history teacher in me wants to preserve these treasures, but if the wine wasn’t good, I wouldn’t drink it no matter the mission. However, the wine is great. It’s amazing and it always makes me happy to pour a glass. Take this level of excitement about the wine, and add going to the historic General Hooker House to taste these wines. Yes, I was super excited and didn’t try to hide it. Kristen, our host, was amazing and seemed to love the wines, the wine maker, and the mission as much as anyone. The whole experience was incredible and I feel so lucky to have been able to do it.

We ended the day with dinner at a restaurant on the Pacific at sunset. The food was fine, but the view was amazing and it was a great way to end such an incredible day. .