This is the final Pinot Noir we had last week. It was the cheapest & my least favorite.
The nose was dominated by blackberries with a hint of cherry, with a little woodsy almost piney hint. On the palate it was a little more subtle than the nose lead me to believe with hints of cherries & that woodsy-piney undertone that was in the nose. The finish was long lasting with a tad bit of acidity. I was really unimpressed with this Pinot though. It was OK right after I opened the bottle but after it got some O2, it started morphing into a very unruly wine. It had a tart, bitter bite, I can only describe as cranberries or grapefruit even & it got worse as time went on, adding an angry biting finish. I guess you get what you pay for with Pinot Noir. I give this one a 2 of 5.

You might have noticed that I have taken to rating my wines. This is just so I can keep up with the ones I really like versus the ones that are just BLAH. My scale is constantly evolving so this will change prpbably & I may incorporate half points as well.

5=The frikkin' bomb!
4=Pretty damn good.
2=OK but not very memorable

Hahn Estates 2004 Pinot Noir

Last week was the week of Pinot Noir. After I tried the Erath Pinot Noir, I had to have more Pinot. The Hahn was really good although I liked the Erath better, I gave them both a 4 out of 5 (the Erath might be a 4.5, but then if I give it 4.5 I might as well use a 10 point scale & I am gonna stick to 5 points). The Hahn's nose was thick, with candied cherries & almost spicy. On the palate it follows the nose with a deeper cherry, with a hint of cedar. The finish is long & drawn out. This Pinot has backbone.

I was sad to see the last glass poured & I even dreamed about Pinot Noir that night.

I recommend it to anyone who likes big, ripe, fruit forward Pinot Noir.


Playing now: A little French techno....

....courtesy of DAFT PUNK. Bass is good.


Italy & France's top wine status slipping?

Italy & France both consume more wine per capita than the U.S., but the U.S. is slowly gaining on our Old World buddies across the pond. more on this here.

The Greying of America or people getting older is said to part of the reason. Baby Boomers are drinking more wine & spending more money on wine & twenty-somethings are starting to buy more wine & buying better wine. But first & foremost I think it is strange they even say "The Greying of America". The media uses this term a lot, talking about people getting older. The media treats it like it is an epidemic beyond Bird Flu proportions. It is not some kind of disease or phenomenon that is out of this world. It happens to EVERYONE....EVERYWHERE....and it has since, well, the birth of time. Now dont get me started on some metaphysical discussion about time & the birth of time & can there even be a birth of time? And what about wormholes & unified string theory? Where do we begin? Hold on my glass is empty....Be right back.

Much better.
Where was I?

Oh yeah. Americans drinking more wine. So why are aging Americans buying more wine? Obviously our tastes mature as we get older & we know what we like & don't like more & more as we get older & development more specific tastes. With wine, you have an almost infinite number of possibilities of what you want your glass of wine to taste like (or so it seems to this budding oenophile). Say you want something bright, crisp & grab a Pinot Grigio. But maybe you feel like a seductive, brooding, baked cherry-bomb, so you grab a Pinot Noir for your after work unwind session. Then you have the variances between vintages too, so the same varietal, same vineyard, same producer may be different year to year& probably will be.

You don't get the same options or depth with other beverages. Milk is always milk. You want a Soda? Coke is gonna always taste like Coke, no matter if was mostly cloudy for half the summer with torrential rains in September or a picture perfect postcard summer. If you are not a coke drinker, then there are only a few other options.

I have definitely grown to love wine more & more as I have gotten older. I think one of the reasons why, is...I no longer pound drink after drink. With wine I want to take my time & enjoy every last drop to the fullest & scrutinize every detail.

Whatever it is, it is not due to a stupid movie about a middle-aged, border-lined alcoholic, loser.

How much is too much?

When tasting?
I am not talking about getting drunk.
I went to a tasting this week that offered 40+ wines. I tasted 22 (+/-2 or 3) & at one point in the night my palate....hell, all of my senses (well i could still see & feel...a little :D)....were TOAST.

I had a small plate of food, mostly cheese & olives halfway through the night & I still feel like my palate just died at one point. It seems to me (i have only been to 3 tastings, so bear with me) that 22 wines is way too many in a 2 hour period. I started light & progressed from there (no whites though) but still I had issues.

Mind you, this did not keep me from tasting more, I just couldn't scrutinize the nose & flavor profiles, like I wanted.

How many wines is it feasible to taste & not have your palate wrecked? Is there a magic number? Should I have had some coffee? Mineral water?

I also have notes from Zach & Laura, that I will post when I have a moment.

This weekend we picked up a another Pinot Noir, this one from Napa Valley, another Penfold's, a Cab-Shiraz blend that I can't remember the name of (once the coffee kicks in I will go take a look). Also we picked up our weekday quaffer a Little Penguin Shiraz. More on that later.


Six rules for enjoying wines more

From the Boston Globe...

Rule No. 1: Find a good local wine shop and be loyal to it.

Rule No. 2: Taste comparatively and often.

Rule No. 3: Learn to write a tasting note.

Rule No. 4: Move up to case buying.

Rule No. 5: Read a good book.

Rule No. 6: You never get anywhere drinking mineral water.
(if someone can explain this one I would appreciate it. I am in the dark.)

I am really fond of #2 & I would really like to initiate #4 but right now it is not feasible ($$$ wise & storage wise) but one day soon...oh yes.

Article here.

*my Flickr! bandwidth has exceeded it's limit this month & I am waiting for my Pro account to be activated, so when that happens I will have to catch up with my photos & tasting notes. This last week was the week of Pinot. We tried 3 different Pinot Noirs all under $20's , so STAY TUNED!


Spanish wine tasting hosted by Joe's

The evening was awesome. The wines were great. The company was great. The food....well, we weren't really there for the food & good thing because there were no Tapas as advertised. We were expecting chorizo, fried smelt, grilled sardines, calamari, prawns, well you get the idea....there was nothing of the sort. But the cheese & olives were good. The "Paella" (note the quotes) was the only thing Spanish that I recall. I used "quotes" because it was not Paella more like Rice-a-Roni or a Lipton rice packet & I didn't see any shrimp but the iodine-tinged-cheap-as-hell-sea-bug smell & flavor took over. I know I sound critical but I take food seriously. But as I said earlier...we were there for the Vino.

Here are my notes. I tried more than I have notes for, these are just the notables.

Casa Silva Reserva Shiraz 2003 Colchaqua Valley, Chile - 4 of 5 - jammy, big & bacon-ie, plum & blackberries. Very nice. What I have come to expect from a good Shiraz.

Casa Silva Reserva Carmenre 2004 Colchaqua Valley, Chile - 4 of 5 - spicey plums. green notes. charred bell pepper that lingers.

Monticello Crianza 2000 Rioja Alta, Spain - 2 of 5 damp dirt, musky, red berry. well balanced. it didnt really stand out.

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Colchaqua Valley, Chile - 3 of 5 - deep black cherry with vanilla.

MontGras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Colchaqua Valley, Chile - 4 of 5 - deep tobacco & black cherry...anise tinged finish.

Zolo Malbec 2003 Mendoza, Argentina - 3 of 5 - nice, easy going, jammy. This spent 10 months in oak (French & American) but was very well balanced.

Torres Sangre de Toro 2003 Catalunya D.O., Spain - 2 of 5 - black fruit & licorice.

Melipal Malbec 2003 Mendoza, Argentina - 5 of 5 - my favorite of the nigth. Very concentrated blackberry, hints of cedar chips, BIG Malbec. bordeline meaty. You can sink your teeth into this one. Most $$$ of the night @ $24.99 ( a splurge for us). It was great but I am not sure if I would buy a bottle.

Finca El Portilla Malbec 2004 Mendoza, Argentina - 1 of 5 - so, so.

Castillo de Monseran Grenacha 2003 Cariena, Spain - 4 of 5 - very specific fruit flavors but I couldn't put my finger on it. Very impressive. light mouth feel, great acidity & balance with the fruit. A great Wednesday night wine. ($8.99!!)

Marquesde Riscal Reserva 2000 Rioja, Spain - 3 of 5 - dirty, tobacco-y, tempranillo-y. very good varietal charecter.

Borsao 2004 Campo de Borja Spain - no rating - bright, light, acidic with grapefruit hints, almost un-ripe blackberries.

Bodegas Castano Hecula 2003 Yecla, Spain - no rating- black berries & licorice with a lice lingering finish.

Vina Rey "70 Barricas" Tempranillo 2003 Madrid, Spain - 3 of 5 - a fruity Tempranillo with hint of damp basement on the nose.

Vina Rey Crianza Tempranillo 2002 Madrid, Spain - 3 of 5 - red berries, spice with a nice hint of vanilla in the finish. more concentrated than the "70 Barricas".

Altos de Nunez Mencia 2002 Bierzo D.O., Spain - 4 of 5 - this one was a fantastic, rustic old world wine. petting zoo, Funk (my notes have this in BIG all caps) & berries on the nose. all this is backed up on the palate with a nice drawn out finish. My notes also say 'GET THIS!!!'.

more on this soon...


2004 Erath Pinot Noir

I went to Joe's yesterday to get tickets to the wine tasting on Thursday (if they had a website I would link to it) & ended up picking up a bottle of 2004 Erath Pinot Noir. Lately when I go to the wine store (either Buster's or Joe's) I usually have a list of wines I am looking for or one specific bottle I am after. But this time I was just shopping, looking for something to catch my eye. I, of course, being the Francophile I am, hit up the French wine rack to drool over the Bordeaux & bottles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape...all out of my price range of course. The Cotes du Rhone's were all wines I have tried & I felt like something new, so I slowly browsed my way to the rack of Pinot Noir & this bottle catches my eye. It fit my budget & I have been wanting to try a Pinot from Oregon, so done deal.

I just poured my first glass about an hour ago & I have to say I am now infatuated with Pinot & more specifically thisErath Pinot Noir.I am going to have to try some more Pinots to compare this one too.

Here are my initial impressions....
Having drank nothing but Syrah & Shiraz for the last few weeks I instantly noticed how light this was in the glass. I could actually see all the way through the deep ruby hues. The nose was very impressive & concentrated. I could smell this wine before I even put my nose in my glass. Upon closer inspection, I could pick up on a lot of cherry with a hint of raspberry. It almost reminded me of some Framboise La had a few weeks ago. There was also something I couldn't pinpoint, but it was very distinctive. My first sip was very nice. This is the best wine I have tasted in a while. It is a cherry explosion on the palate with a very nice finish. I could taste something I wanted to say was spicy, but it was more than that...there was an almost medicinal flavor....Sucrets. It has a nice undertone of cherry Sucrets....and that is a good thing in my eyes. I love cherry Sucrets & when I was a kid & I was sick, or not, I would eat them like candy. I think that is why I love this wine so much.

Now here is the real kicker. I would love to have another bottle of this, hell, a case if I could find one & the price was I was checking out they told me "not to like it too much" & the reason was a very good one. It was their last bottle & they wouldn't get anymore for a long time. I dont know what "a long time" is but I sure as hell hope it is a week or two & not until they release next years wine.

So, if you want a very elegant Pinot with hints of cherry Sucrets get a bottle, if you can find one & if you see some & don't get a bottle let me know where I can find one.


Brussel Sprouts rock my world.

I got a recipe from Kathy, my aunt, that is really good...nah, scratch that it frikkin' ROCKS! I have only had Brussel Sprouts once & that was a long time ago & I was a little kid, so I don't remember anything except not liking them (typical kid, huh?). Things change. We saw some in Easy Way (our local vegetable market) & felt like we should give them a try. I dont know if it is Brussel Sprout season but they looked fantastic. So, on to the recipe. Cut them in half long ways & then slice the halves thinly the opposite direction, shredding them. Then, in a sautee' pan heat some Olive Oil & cook the shredded Brussels with S&P. When they are done, pour in a little Balsamic Vinegar & toss. The best Brussel Sprouts ever! It is so simple & so good....& good for you.



2000 Domaine Paradelle Crozes Hermitage

I opened it yesterday & I immediately poured a small taste. I wasn't as deep & dark in the glass as the other syrah/shiraz/letscallthewholethingoff's I have had & the nose was very different almost musky/funky but kinda leathery. This did not turn me off, but intrigued me. My first sip I instantly thought "better luck next time", it was thin & really fell flat....but I couldn't keep my nose out of the glass. I still cant verbalize exactly what I smelled but it was very familiar. I am sure my wife thought I was insane....well, more insane than usual, as I was obsessing over this. Mind you this is all right after the bottle was opened.

I dont have a decanter yet, but have been hitting up the antique mall & rummage shops religiously. So I poured a & glass let it sit. Dinner time finally rolls around (hour later) & I start antagonizing this wine again ( I am really compulsive, so when i said La thinks I am insane....she really does & she might be on to something). The first wiff it seems like a different wine, I pick up on an almost cured-meat smell, kinda meaty/smoky/salty, not much fruit at all just a hint. But there was more than a hint of fruit on the palate, but just a little. The meatiness was the star on the palate. There were other flavors dancing around too that i cant really verbalize (a fruit/s, some spice & that musky scent). This wine kept evolving too each glass different nuisances would appear. The finish was nice & long lasting. I had it with leftover Shepherd's pie (with lamb) & it was a perfect match.

This wine had great bang for the buck & has me eager to step up my game & try a Hermitage, but I would be content drinking this for now.

Best part is....La was in the mood for beer, so I got 1/2 a bottle left.

Want to know more about Bordeaux?

Here is a great article from Super Market Guru by Dennis Manuel about Bordeaux. You may know I have been intrigued with France for the past year or so & there is a ton of good info in there. Article here. He has some other good articles in his archives too, so check them out.


Finally the WEEKEND IS HERE!

Well, I made it. The work week is over. I make it sound like it was a horrible 5 days, but it wasn't. Our local wine shop, Joe's, is hosting a tasting of South American & Spanish wines next week. I will definitely post my notes. I can't wait, I feel like a kid looking forward to a school holiday. Be sure & check back next week.

This week our mid-week quaffer was a cheap magnum of Jindalee Shiraz ($9.99). We used a little in our Coq au Vin (along with a Languedoc Pinot Noir that can only be described as sucking ass) & drank the rest with our Shepherd's Pie the next night. It was excellent & I highly recomend it...the Jindalee & the Shepherd's Pie. I know it's a frikkin' Emeril recipe again! OK. I confess. I like Big E, & have even eaten at NOLA twice but I cant stand his show "Emeril LIVE!". Why does he have to be so over the top? "Essence of Emeril" is a great show & even on "LIVE!" he cooks some good stuff, there is just too much personality on "LIVE!". BAM!!! See what I mean?

This weekends score is an Austrailian Shiraz (or Syrah if you are in France) & a Crozes Hermitage. I have only tried the Shiraz. It is Penfold's Koonuga Hill '03 Shiraz. I am having a hard time verbalizing how this one tastes & smells. Initially I tasted Vanilla & Cinnamon & not much fruit. The finish is nice & smooth but not very long. After opening up a little, the fruit & a little tartness comes out. I can't really decide on a specific fruit flavor, but I like it. La's first impression was bacon. I couldn't put my finger on it until she said that & that was one of the flavors I could taste but couldn't articulate. I highly recommend this one & it is a great buy at $7.99 a bottle.

The Hermitage is sitting in the kitchen waiting to be opened, so I will post notes on it soon, as I am dying to try it.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!



Good Pod-casts

I am finally using my i-pod for audio. It has more or less been my personal mini-hard drive with the occasional jam session with Del the Funky Homosapien. "No Need For Alarm" is one of the best albums ever. Yes, I called it an album. Even though I have no tangible record of actually having this CD in my posession, I will still say album even though if you could see ol' Del right now, he would be a bunch of 1's & 0's flying around in some kind of cool Matrix pattern, well maybe not, but that would be bitchin'. point is, I have been listening to a lot of pod-casts lately. I really like these blokes from Down Unda' on The Oz Wine Show. They are both full of some great knowledge & know a ton about Australian wine, as well as wine from around the globe. This last episode now has me begging La for a new set of stemware.

The next podcast I want to share is the Wine Geek, Wine for Newbies. His topics are a little more basic but it is still interesting none the less.

So check them out & if you have any podcasts that are interesting, let me know & will post the link.

picture note: this was a photo taken last month & touched up with Photoshop. I know it's old, but I have almost used all of my Flickr! band width. I guess it is time to upgrade to a Pro account.


1st day of school....

...for La, so I am cooking. It will be coq au vin. I've done this before but I can't find the recipe I used, so I might just read the ones on-line & in our cookbooks, then just shoot from the hip. Meals like this are great, I had everything I needed here, except the chicken. So that was all I needed to get, wait...shrooms, i forgot, i thought we were out, so I got some. We weren't out. Shoulda' known. My point is..besides what we already had & what I thought we didn't have, I spent 8 bucks on dinner for two. Plus leftovers for another 3 meals for the both of us. What a deal! And at the risk of sounding will be better than going out to eat at a restaurant.

I can't very well post without uploading a pic, so here is a collage of Downtown Memphis I threw together.


more pictures....

I know we have been back for a month, but I just now got our pics on my machine & uploaded to the inter-web.
Here they are.

Just outside our hotel room.

@ Miss Sonia's.

Patties are a Jamaican specialty. Mine was curried lobster. La had curried goat. Served with luke warm Red Stripe & Jerk sauce in an old Rum bottle. Miss Sonia's is the coolest place to eat. She has a kitchen on the side of the highway with a huge covered area with dozens of tables. There is a fridge full of Red Stripe & Ting, you just help yourself. She was very nice & makes the best patties on the island. You must go there if you are ever in Negril.

Swimming the caves under the Pirate Bar at the cliffs in Negril.

ACKEE: Jamaican breakfast fruit. Scrambled like eggs with saltfish. soooooo good. I am craving some now with a big mug of Blue Mountain coffee.

No Photoshop....I promise.

Sunday picture flood!!

Head to higher ground!
But only if there is Wi-Fi!!!

Seems fitting to start with some coffee. This in out French press. It is some Peruvian La Florida (fair trade, shade grown, hand picked, certified organic like all of the beans we get). We roasted this batch last Thursday, about a pound, & we are already almost out. I know what I will be doing tomorrow afternoon. ;)

Sparkling Italian Red from La's "celebratory, I quit the food service industry for good" dinner. She we will be working in her field now (anthropology) for a professor in a cool office Downtown. Hot stuff.
The bubbly was hot stuff too. Think crisp, rose petals & raspberries. Nice.

Jamaican souvenir. Appleton Estate Extra. Aged 12 years. The best rum I have ever tried.

Not another Malbec form Mendoza!!! Yes, it is. Am I predictable or what? I feel like I may like this one the best. I really need to taste them all at once....not all at once, but in the same evening, side by side. I picked up on the usuall Malbec flavors in this bottle, plums, jammy purple-ness, but this one had a much longer softer finish with hints of flat Dr. Pepper. I dont know if the Reserva is worth the cheese so I might hold out on trying it until the tasting we are going to in a couple weeks (more on that later). Oh yeah, that weird shadow is my BIG HEAD. ITS FRIKKIN' 'UGE! A TOTAL ECLIPSE!

I will post more in a bit. I am trying to import our Jamaica pictures from La's laptop, so stay tuned.


Tasting notes: 2004 Trapiche Malbec Mendoza

The nose is plummy & definitely fruit forward. It backs it up on the palate too. Very jammy but kinda smokey with supple tannins. The finish lasts until you are ready for another sip.

Much better than the Trapiche Oak cask we tried a couple weeks ago.

We had the bottle with roast beef & gravy, roast garlic mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli & it really didn't stand up to the beef & gravy. It was great on its own (& probably with something lighter) but I was wanting something more to go with this hearty meal.

At $8.99 a bottle this gets my broke-as-a-joke seal of approval.

We also opened a bottle of 2004 Alamos Las Hormigas Malbec....notes along with a pic will be up soon.

I ate at a new place (new to me, anyways) called McEwans on Monroe with Paul on Friday. It was raining & was about 38 degrees but we still ventured out on our own two feet in search of good eats. This has kind become regular Friday thing for us. Here are the places we have tried Downtown so far, The Arcade, Dyer's (home of the ancient grease), Bigfoot Lodge & yesterday's stop. We also stopped by The Tobacco Bowl & looked around. It is a very cool place. I will try & take some pictures next I go there. There are so many photo opportunities there I feel like I missed out on not having my camera with me.


Not much time to post tonight...

We are in the middle of cooking dinner & did Yoga earlier, so I am gonna park it on the couch after dinner is on. We are having pot roast with mashed potatoes & broccoli. Talk about comfort food. We have a 2004 Trapiche Malbec (not the oak cask like last time). It will be excellent or at least it is starting to smell excellent. The other night La made eggplant parmesan that ruled the Universe & beyond & we polished off our daily quaffer with it, La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux.


Smoked Habanero powder

We grew a ton of Habs this year. So manythat we really didn't know what to do with them all. Our friends didn't want any (wusses!), we used a bunch (we rule!) in many batches of salsa, numerous batches of Jerk & there is even 6, quart sized zip-locks full of frozen habs in our freezer! Besdies all of those, we picked almost 4# of chiles before the first frost & since we didn't have any more room in the freezer we decided to smoke them & boy were they rough on the lungs! Kidding....I am only kidding. After I smoked them & dried them, I ground them up into the deadly powder you see here. This stuff RULES! It is so good & sooooooo HOT! It has the fruity Hab flavor with hickory & mesquite flavor too & did I say it was HOT!!! I hope we can make this stuff last until next year's bumper crop.....yeah right.


My favorite things....

John Coltrane rocks my world with this song ("My Favorite Things"). It almost makes me want to see "The Sound of Music"....for a split second. :)
Last night we popped open some bubbly for a dish I saw Emeril make on Emeril LIVE!. I despise Big E, but he...or his producers/writers/staff/whoever come up with some winners sometimes. Like the Seared Jumbo Scallops with a Champagne-Vanilla Butter Sauce we made last night with a leftover bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Extra Dry, from NYE. It was the bomb. I stopped at Penzey's Spice this weekend & picked up some Moroccan Vanilla Beans & they made the dish. I can still taste the sweet delicate seeds lightly crunching between my teeth. This recipe is going into the vault. We used fresh wild jumbo sea scallops that melted into a buttery remnant of the sea in your mouth. Ohhh sooo good. We ate sauteed asparagus & fresh wheat fettucine (THANKS KATHY!) with S&P, olive oil, & paremesan, too. We couldn't let the rest of the bubbly go to waste so we polished it off with dinner. What a way to end the that redundant or what?

Since this post is called My favorite are some more of mine (besides Coltrane, champagne, sauces made with shallots & butter). My moka pot. Damn I love this thing. I have not enjoyed our fresh roasted beans this much in a while & while it doesn't make proper espresso, it has saved me a ton of money in shots. Right now we have a Peruvian La Florida we roasted fairly dark that makes an awesome cup out of the moka pot.

And of course, my two favorite Ladies. La & Roxi down by the river, but not in a van. :D


Easy like Sunday morning.....

Nothing to do but sort through some pics & take it easy.

On the stereo now....

Bossa Nova.
Sergio Mendes with Wanda de Sah-"So Nice"

This weeks wines

This week we had 2 bottles of red & one one of white & tonight I think we may open a bottle of Bubbly for a Champagne Vanilla Sauce to put on Seared Scallops....recipe via Food Network (even though I hate Emerill. BAM! Kick Ya in da nuts!.....sorry). The first bottle was a Cotes du Rohne. We made a midweek trip to the wine shop with a <$13 budget & this is what we brought home. Lately, I have been sticking with bargain wines from France. Other than being infatuated with the country, culture & food & with us being fairly new to wine, or at least enjoying good wine to the fullest, I figured France was a great place to start sampling wines from. I really liked this... a lot & will consider this to be a staple of the house now. It was soft, fruity & spicy, not in that particular order, more like fruity, soft & spicy. I polished the bottle off the second night after opening it & it tasted a little more subtle the second day, I guess from being aerated 24 hours. I had the last half of the bottle with a pan seared Porter House that was rubbed with olive oil, S&P then cooked 3 minutes on each side in 50/50 olive oil & butter. After the steak was done I put it on a plate & threw some sliced creminis, shallots & a cup of the wine in the pan & let it simmer until it reduced by almost half, I then poured it on the steak & ate it with some sugar snap peas, La sauteed & some mashed potatoes. BEST MIDWEEK DINNER EVER!

Next was our Weekend bottle. A Trapiche 2003 Malbec. I really liked this wine & it was great but it was too oaky for what i wanted. I have come to expect big, robust, plummy, jammy tastes from Malbecs, which are all varietal characteristics of the grape, but this one was very toasty & woodsy. I am not saying this is bad thing & it is even on the label, so I guess I should have expected it. It really shined though when I had a couple of glasses with a BBQ sammich with hot sauce from Central BBQ. The oaky flavor went awesome with the sweet heat of the sauce & fatty meat. BBQ & WINE! Only in Memphis!

We also restocked our house wine. La Vieille Ferme A magnum of white & red. I love magnums. :)


NYE Feast, revisited.

New Year's Eve we had friends over & smoked a Leg of Lamb. This is something I have been wanting to tackle since I got my smoker last year. All we needed was a special occasion. I got half of a leg of lamb at the grocery store a few days before & the day before NYE, I pulled it out of the fridge to prepare it for the long marination process. First I de-boned it & butterflied it. This made me very nervous, as I didn't want to ruin a $40 piece of meat. It was a lot easier than I thought & it turned out perfect. We still have the bone & trimmings in the freezer for stock or a demi-glace. The recipe we used was from the Barbecue Bible & is from South Africa. While I poked wholes in the leg & stuffed garlic (some smoked from earlier in the week) & ginger in it, La prepared the marinade/galze.
The glaze:

1/4 cp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cp. Soy sauce
1/4 cp. firmly packed Brown Sugar
Dijon mustard
Dry mustard
lemon juice
vegetable oil
fresh ginger
Cook in a sauce pan over med-high heat for 3 mins. or until syrupy.

Marinate over night, saving 2/3's for basting.

We smoked it the next day for 5 hours & it tuned out perfect. We had 7 layer dip, guacamole, salsa & chips as it smoked & with dinner we had tri-colored cous-cous, lentil salad & lots of vino.

The wines for the night were a magnum of La Vieille Ferme Cote du Ventoux & my NYE splurge of Chateau Simard 1995 St. Emillion. The Bubbly was an Asti something-or-other & an Austrailan sparkler, to tell you the truth, by that point it is all fuzzy. I was struggling to stay awake at that point!

It was an excellent way to bring in 2006, with good friends, good drink & exceptional food.

Photo from the Holidays

This is a couple of bottles we had with dinner over the holidays. I cant remember what we had either Shepards Pie or Pasta Carbonara, hell, it could have been leftovers. The Barefoot Merlot was used for Mulling. I will have to get the recipe from La, it rocked the party that rocked the party! We ate & drank so much this past Holiday season that I can barely remember it all! BEST HOLIDAY EVER!

(NYE 2006 leg of lamb recipe SOON!)

First post ever!

And BLOG for that matter!

What made you want to start a blog, you say? I guess I just wanted an avenue to discuss what's on my mind about my favorite things, which are wine, food, photography & art, and music from a non-pretentious POV. It will take me a while to figure this whole BLOG thing out but I have been reading lots of Blogs about food, wine, photography & other stuff that interests me in the moments of my boredom in cyberspace. After reading a few of my favs such as,, I felt Blogging on stuff I enjoy would be fun & at least help my writing skills (or lack thereof). PLUS I am sure La (my wife) gets tired of hearing me ramble on about wine & whatever wine knowledge I have learned that day. But this is not strictly about wine. I will post our cullinary adventures, pictures of food, wine & other good shots I deem web-worthy. Other than cooking, drinking wine, taking photos & listening to music, I drink a lot of coffee & roast my own beans, work as a graphic artist, mountain bike, hike, camp, & travel.

So it is time to get this thing rolling....
For dinner last night I had a Stromboli Sandwich with a couple of glasses of Trapiche Malbec 2003.
What is a Stromboli Sandwich, you may ask? Just what it sounds like, a Stromboli, but a Sandwich. It was great too. Just make the meat sauce, ground sirloin, tomato paste, tomato sauce, shallots, garlic, creminis & then put a few slices of Provolone in a hoagie roll, with some Salami, fill with the meat sauce shred some parmesan on top, wrap in foil & put in a pre-heated 350 degree (how do you make the degree symbol, i wonder?) for 15 minutes.

The wine was great. It's color was a deep purple, The nose fruity with a good balance of spice & oak. It was robust off the bat with lots of deep fruit & toasty oak tones. The tannins were very supple & the finish had hints of licorice. We have been experimenting with Malbecs from Mendoza, in the <$12 category & have yet to be dissapointed. The region in Argentina seems to be offering WAY more bang for the buck than most other regions around the globe.

Much more later!
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