Buehler Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013

It is dungeness crab season, and I can’t go into my supermarket without spotting these delicious crabs in at the fish counter.

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I gave in, picked out a meaty looking crab, and went to get a bottle of Chardonnay.   Buehler is a great producer and I love their cabernet, so lets give the Chardonnay a try!

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Swirl, sniff, lots of pineapple and sweet lemon on the nose.   Definitely a touch of creamy vanilla as well.   Fresh fruit with a hint of caramel on the mouthfeel and finish.   Very nice juicy pear notes.   This is a delicious Russian River Chardonnay at a great value!


Home Run


2010 Chinon Domaine de Beausejour

I very rarely consume a wine that is made up of 100 percent Cabernet Franc.   They aren’t the easiest wines to find.   Imagine my excitement when I found this bottle from the Loire Valley!

I had some super ripe raspberries as a snack today, and when I smelled this wine it took me back to that snack.   Juicy, ripe raspberry clearly dominates the palate, but there is a hint of white pepper as well.   Not a heavy mouthfeel, but this is a cabernet franc so that is to be expected.   This is not a tannin-heavy wine, but it has great backbone.   The finish definitely has some spice and acidity.

This wine would be excellent with some cheese, cured meat and freshly baked bread.

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2012 Poppy Pinot Noir Monterey County

Because I need more Pinots under $20 in my life…  don’t we all?

Pie spice, cherry, strawberry, dirt (yup) and thyme on the nose – OK, so this smells like a savory cherry pie.   Medium bodied, with succulent cherry on the finish.   Lots of red fruit but not a fruit bomb.   Maybe a bit of a chchchchcherry bomb, but tart cherry, not sweet cherry.   I like the little bit of zest as well as earthy spice on this wine.   Light, bright, and delicious.

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$14.99/bottle at Whole Foods

Heirloom tomato & grilled corn salsa, and the wine that loves it

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go camping with a group of wonderful people.    I wanted to make a good impression, so I brought some homemade salsa (OK, and lots of wine).   It was a hit, and so I have decided to post my recipe.   Take advantage of the amazing summer corn and tomatoes right now… because unfortunately summer won’t last forever.   Sad, sad…   now I need a glass of wine.

Heirloom tomato & grilled corn salsa

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3 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 ears of sweet white corn
1 poblano pepper
1 cup red onion, diced
3/4 cup diced cilantro
1 lime – juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon smoked sea salt

Preheat grill. Shuck corn completely, rub with olive oil and paprika. Grill corn until browned and slightly charred in spots – about 20 minutes, turning every 4 minutes. Grill poblano pepper until skin blisters, about 10 minutes. Once corn has cooled to room temperature, cut kernels off cob. Once poblano pepper has cooled to room temperature, peel off the skin and dice. Mix corn kernels, poblano pepper, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime and sea salt. Strain salsa in fine mesh strainer before putting into jars/containers. Serve with tortilla chips, or grilled fish.

Now for the wine!

I thought this salsa paired really well with Round Pond’s 2013 Rosato di Nebbiolo.   It is a delicious, light, crisp rose.   A friend of mine (Ashley , I’m looking at you) will not drink rose but actually purchased a bottle of this wine when we went to the winery.   Style – dry.   Color – very light pinkish/orange.   Flavors – ripe strawberries, apple, grapefruit and melon.   Perfect bite on the finish.    This is an awesome wine to pair with salads… and salsa!

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$24/bottle (Yes it is over $20.   Yes, it is worth every penny)


Grand Slam!

Zoodle Pad Thai, and the wine that loves it

My parents got me some kitchen utensils as a birthday gift, including a vegetable spiralizer aka zoodle maker!   http://www.crateandbarrel.com/spirelli-spiral-slicer/s187764

I consume enough carbohydrates in the form of wine, and I do love pasta but try to avoid excessive carbs in the form of food.   I also really enjoy veggies, especially while so many are in season in the summer.   Pad Thai is my ultimate weakness, so I decided to try to make zoodle “Pad Thai”.   Recipe and wine pairing below:

Pad Thai Sauce

1 tablespoons tamarind paste, mixed with 1/2 cup of warm water (which makes tamarind juice)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup palm sugar

Mix together all sauce ingredients in saucepan, cook over low heat for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Zoodle Pad Thai

2 carrots
4 small zucchini
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 eggs
1 small red chili, seeded and diced – optional (or you can use 1 tablespoon red curry paste)
1 cup sliced green onion – just the green part
4 cups bean sprouts
2 cups crushed peanuts
Pad Thai Sauce
1 lime

Using a spiralizer, twist carrots and zucchini into “zoodles”

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In a wok or large frying pan, saute garlic and shallots in vegetable oil on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until garlic/shallots start to brown. Raise heat to high, add eggs, scramble until eggs start to brown. Add red chili or red curry (add more if you like it spicy!), zoodles, green onion, bean sprouts, peanuts and 1 cup of pad thai sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes.   Serve with lime wedges.

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One of my favorite white wines to pair with Asian cuisine is a dry or slightly off-dry gewurztraminer.   Hook and Ladder makes an insanely delicious one…   notes of lychee, stonefruit, and meyer lemon.  The ripe and juicy fruit makes it a nice pairing with spicy dishes.

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$18/bottle at Whole Foods – or stop by the winery in Santa Rosa!


Grand Slam!

2012 OZV Old Zin Vines Zinfandel Lodi

Remember Gushers, those fruit snacks that had the ooey goey super fruity center?    Well, if I had a craving for Gushers I would open this Zinfandel instead.   Lots of California Zinfandels are fruit forward, but this one approaches Aussie Shiraz territory.   Massive ripe raspberry, strawberry flesh and a woody chocolate finish.   Now, I did just compare this wine with Aussie Shiraz but please note that this is MUCH softer.   Not much structure/backbone….   There is literally no bite or spice on the back end, just a dollop of juicy fruit fused with creamy chocolately oak.   I would pair this wine with buffalo wings smothered in blue cheese.

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Single for me.   Triple for those of you who love ripe, juicy zins.


2012 The White Knight Pinot Grigio – Lodi

I had a light dinner tonight (Quinoa and vegetables.   Not spiked with bacon.   Did add pecorino romano cheese.)  so I wanted a white wine that was lightweight with nice acidity.   Pinot Grigio usually fits that description.   Pear, and granny smith apple on the nose, with lemon peel and grapefruit on the mouthfeel.   Definitely some nice minerality and balance.   This wine would be great with lighter dishes – grilled fish and salads.   And it was a great match with my veggie quinoa!

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2011 Hey Mambo Sultry Red – California

Gotta love it when a label on a bottle describes a wine… Sultry!   Lets see if this wine lives up to its label.   The blend in this - Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zindandel, Merlot, Tannat (really?), Cab Franc, Alicante (really?!) and Tempranillo.   Wow.   Certainly smells ripe and rich.  Lots of spices and fruit are competing for my nose but getting mostly raspberry and burnt caramel.   On to the first sip…   tastes like berries laced with pepper and baking spices.   Very juicy mouthfeel and finish.   More competing flavors on the finish, but I think this finishes like a zin.   A bit jammy, and slightly spicy.  Definitely sultry and seductive…  a nice blend at a very good price!



$8.99/bottle at K&L Wine Merchants


2008 H&G Priorat Red Blend

Priorat is my favorite wine region in Spain, lots of nice Grenache-based blends from the area.   The H&G is a robust, spicy one with oodles of ripe black cherry and strawberry.   I also tasted a bit of vanilla bean and got some black pepper on the finish.   Slightly earthy, not a fruit bomb.   This would be a very nice food wine (perfect with manchengo cheese!) or great on its own as well.   Highly recommended…. if you can find it!

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$14/bottle at Whole Foods

Home Run

2012 Skouras Anassa – Greece

I am not very familiar with Greek wines, this may be the first one I’ve ever written about!  Which is probably why the primary grape in this blend- moschofilero – was also new to me.    Moschofilero is native to Greece and I can’t really compare it to any other white wine grapes.   There’s also Viognier blended in – 30%.   Very aromatic – lots of peach coming through on the nose and some lemon and floral notes as well.      Mouthfeel is yummy with lots of citrus and a bit of spice.   Great acidity on the finish, I was afraid this would be a bit too sweet because of the stong stonefruit on the nose but that was not the case.

The wine was delicious paired with shrimp tacos, it is a great seafood wine and nice with spicy dishes as well.   I’ll be looking out for moschofilero… would really like to try it on its own without the Viognier (though this blend was quite tasty!).

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On sale for $11.99/bottle at Whole Foods (regularly $15/bottle)