Tasting Notes: 2001 Spann Vineyards MoZin

I searched for a bottle of MoZin after reading the reviews at Vinography & Winewaves. It wasn't the actual tasting notes that made me want a bottle, but their methods of making wine. Straight up old school.

Peter & Betsy Spann make their wines in the traditional old-world style by hand picking, hand de-stemming & treading the grapes by foot. True artisans. Having these romantic visions in my head of the wine maker stomping the grapes in a big wooden vat, built up my expectations, but I didn't know what to expect because I don't have much experience with small production wines.

Well, It delivered & I am sorry to say the bottle I bought was the last one in the store. It was more than the wine though. It was the setting in which we enjoyed it & the company. We enjoyed this bottle on one of our end-of-the week picnics, that have become a Friday tradition for us. The weather was perfect, Roxi, our dog, was having a ball and La & I just chilled out in the sun while the stress slowly melted away from our souls. Our toast that evening: "To this moment & to the next moment."

The MoZin is a blend of 84% Zinfandel, 12% Mourvedre & 4% Alicante Bouschet. It was a very rustic wine. The grass & occasional dog hair in our glass only added to the rustic-ness of the wine. The nose was full of meaty, coffee, smokey, berry scents that I have come to know & love in a good zin. I even picked up on a hint of barnyard in the melange of olfactory hues. The palate was full of action. Espresso, dried cherries & raspberries, smoked meat & cocoa all made an appearance. Gracefully, I might add. The tannins appeared in a long crescendo, lasting through the lengthy finish.

If you see MoZin or any other Spann Vineyards wines, give them a shot. The MoZin was definitely worth the $19.


2003 Three Thieves Zinfandel

Weekend of Zin Cont...

Finally the conclusion to the Weekend of Zin. I know...I am such a tease. I bet you just sat there clicking refresh until now....I am kidding.

On to the Vino.

This bottle was $9 for a liter....yes, a liter & in a jug none the less. Do you want to know what I call the extra 250 ml?

We both liked this zin but not as much as others we have tried, such as the Ridge (of course), even the Bogle (call it floozie appeal) & a few others. But it was still good. It doesn't stir up romantic feelings or have a complex palate, that you can scrutinize for hours, but what it does have, is a nice little handle that invokes memories of reading Snuffy Smith in the funny pages. For what it is (cheap, good, quaffable), it is a winner.

This is a great cookout wine, especially when there are lots of guests. I can see going though lots of this this summer, as cookout's are a regular occurrence at our house & at our friend's places.

I also have to mention the Three Thieves website. It is frikkin hilarious. These guys are anarchists at heart, with a great sense of humor & that is why I love them.

You must check out the The True Hollywood Story video too, it is a riot.


2004 Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

We picked up this bottle last weekend to go with our Pacific Northwest themed dinner. We started, of course by pulling the cork on this bad boy & enjoyed a glass while preparing our dinner, starting with our parsnip bisque then finishing up with some cedar plank roasted wild salmon & maple glaze & sauteed asparagus.

Things don't always go according to plan...especially when I am in charge (I only pretend to be in charge...just ask La). We got the Siduri to enjoy with our salmon but after tasting the maple glaze, we had to reevaluate. The maple glaze had much of the same flavor profile of the Siduri. The spicy ginger, the soy sauce & the maple together mimicked the palate of the Siduri to the point that both were just blah. Luckily we had the bisque rapidly finishing up. One taste of the creamy, velvety concoction, I knew this is what the Siduri needed to be enjoyed with. It was like the Yin & Yang. Perfect harmony. Two as one. The creamy, earthy, sweetness of the parsnips, tarragon & butter played with all of the spicy, big, rich flavors of the Siduri.

We ended up having a cheap Merlot with the salmon...Mirrasou, if I can remember correctly. Whatever it was it was a much better match than the Siduri. But, don't get me wrong....I loved the Siduri & hope to try more...once my wallet gets a little thicker (Siduris retail for $20-$55).

Recipe: Memphis Style Smoked BBQ

Last summer I honed my recipe for smoked dry ribs (I have never been a fan of wet ribs & dry seems to be the local specialty). This year I wanted to tackle smoked shoulder. My first try turned out to be a resounding success.

I made the rub a few a days in advance & 1 day before smoking it, I rubbed most of the rub all over the hog & then I threw it in the fridge for 24 hours. I also sliced some garlic & cut tiny holes in the roast, in which I crammed all the garlic. This was a 3 day operation, but could easily be done in 2. You may think this is a long time but is a labor of love.

I pulled the pig out of the fridge right before I started the fire ( I used a mix of hardwood...oak, hickory, maple, whatever was in the firewood pile), so that it would be room temperature when I put it in the smoker. I smoked it for 5.5 hours around 200-275°, all while basting with a vinegar mixture every hour. An internal temp of 170° is well done, when I pulled it off it registered 150°...Perfect, if you ask me. After it has cooled pull the meat into bite sized shreds & pile it up on a bun, cover with a healthy dose of cole slaw & drench with a hot BBQ sauce & there you have it, a taste of Memphis that will melt in your mouth.

Collin's BBQ Rub

1 tbs. Paprika
2 tbs. Light brown sugar
1.5 tsp. Hot Hungarian paprika
.5 tsp. Grnd. sage
.5 tsp. Grnd. coriander
.5 tsp. Onion powder
.5 tsp. Grnd. ginger
.5 tsp. Grnd. mustard
.5 tsp. Mustard seed
.5 tsp. Coriander seed
Cracked black pepper to taste
1.5 tsp. Salt
.5 tsp. Garlic salt
.5 tsp. White pepper

Combine all spices in a sealable container & then shake the hell out of it.

Vinager baste

2 cups cider vinegar.
2 tbs. light brown sugar
cracked black pepper
your favorite hot sauce to taste (we used Siracha)
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
1 tsp. Coriander seeds

Boil for 3-4 minutes of med-high heat. Let cool & baste away.

The rub can be used on anything...popcorn, fish, chicken, french fries, burgers, chops, shrimp, corn, veggies....ANYTHING. Iit would even make a knuckle sandwich tasted good.



Stroking right along....

What I was doing at 6am.....

Smoking some swine. I couldn't find a Zig-Zag big enough, so I threw it in Sir-smokes-a-lot. It is a friend's birthday today & my brother's Monday, so this afternoon, we are going over to Kimberly (b-day girl),Tony's & Beckham's for dinner & we are bringing this chunk of pork (the Boston butt). It is going to be the main attraction on the dinner table tonight. Stay tuned & be ready for more BBQ pics & pics of the drunken debauchery that ensues.


Recipe: Parsnip Bisque

This recipe is easy & quick and that is not the best part....It tastes splendid. In fact I think it may be some the best bisque I have ever tried. This recipe is a keeper. In fact, it was so good we made it again the next night.

We got the inspiration from the Abstract Gourmet after trying his recipe for pureed parsnips. The puree turned out fantastic & led us down the road of parsnip exploration.
Parsnip Bisque

1 small onion, chopped
3/4 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 medium boiling potato, peeled and chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Some tarragon
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground white pepper
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup water
Garnish: sautéed pistaschios.

Cook onion, parsnips, potato, tarragon and thyme sprigs in 1 teaspoon butter in a 3-quart saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until just beginning to brown on bottom of pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper and add broth and water. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs.

Puree soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and transfer to a bowl. Return soup to saucepan with salt and white pepper to taste and keep warm.

Sauté pistaschios in remaining 1 teaspoons butter in a small nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Bon Appetit!



Recipe: Afghani Zaqi's Tiramisu

We made this Sunday & boy, was it an exercise in patience. It had to sit in the fridge for 8 excruciating hours. Needless to say, there were few thumb holes mysteriously poked into it before the 8 hours were up. I had no idea the seconds ticked by so slowly.

Why is it called Afghani Zaqi's (formerly Iraqi Zaqi) Tiramisu? Because Zach, my cousin in Afghanistan (doing IT not killing anybody), sent the recipe to me. We changed a couple of things. First, in a double boiler, we cooked the egg & sugar mixture for about 8 minutes, while stirring with a wisk. Also, instead of whipping egg whites we whipped whipping cream & folded it into the egg & sugar mixture.

This photo of sloppy seconds...well, more like sloppy 11ths, is dedicated to Afghani Zaqi...who is somewhere deep in the sandbox, eating shit.

When you get home bro', you know we will throw down & feast. Stay safe.

Recipe (as written by Zach)

8 eggs separated
Mascarpone cheese
Vanilla extract
Cocoa powder

  • beat egg yolks with enough sugar so that it is not crunchy…1/2 cup…until mix is light golden like a queer eye pastel sweater yellow….2-4 minutes…

  • in that effeminate kitchenaid*….whip egg whites until very stiff peaks…

  • add yolk mix to mascarpone cheese….(mascarpone comes in tubs like cream cheese the little ones-I use 3) mix well.

  • Add vanilla until it is somewhat more than subtle and less than obvious.. you have the pods.. that would be cool…

  • with a rubber spatula, fold egg whites in to cheese…gently….

  • add 1 shot kalahua* to 2 cups coffee*.
    quickly soak (they disintegrate) lady fingers in coffee…lay in bottom of glass 2’’ deep 8 x 11 baking dish.

  • when you have a full covered layer, cover with mascarpone mix….fill all the crevices…use approx ½ cheese mix
    lather, rinse, repeat 7 and 8..on top of the first layer.

  • lightly dust with cocoa powder
    saran wrap and keep in fridge for minimum 6 hrs…8 to 12 is preferable.

  • while resisting temptation to eat it early and not share it at all…write a book, solve the economic crises, and develop cold fusion, and other equally Herculean tasks…

  • *our Kitchenaid is pink.
    ** we used Tia Maria & espresso.


    Great Wines & Spirits Italian wine tasting

    What: Great Wines & Spirits Italian wine tasting. They will be pouring a variety of new and vintage Italian wines including this week's Wine Spectator 'Wine of the Week' selection.

    When: This Saturday March 25 1-3 p.m.

    Where: SALSA restaurant. 6150 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN

    How much: FREE


    Happy Vernal Equinox!

    Today is the first day of Spring. The daffodils are in bloom, green blossoms & buds are where's my lamb to slaughter, my vino to imbibe, while I dance around naked & bang on my drum?

    I really love this time of year & not just because you can balance an egg on its end (does that really work?)or have an excuse for hedonistic Pagan rituals (do you really need an excuse?). Santa Barbara Wine Guy has a nice pic of a budding grape vine on his blog that I simply love. To think that each of those shoots is the new beginning of another memorable bottle of wine amazes me. I would love to see everyday of the journey.

    I hope your vernal equinox is the best one yet & full of great wine & good times.


    Buster's Spanish wine tasting

    This Saturday we went to a Spanish wine tasting at the Tower Room, 33 floors at the top of the Clark Tower, in East Memphis. The place was really cool & one of the swankiest joints in Memphis. the walls are giant windows offering panoramic views of Memphis. You can see downtown, you can see the river & yes, you can see lovely Arkansas & probably Mississippi too. But we weren't there for the views, although they added a lot to the experience. We were there for the vino, all from Spain.

    I enjoyed most everything we tasted, but one bottle stood out from the rest. It was 2001 Sierra Cantabria Crianza. This wine is from the Rioja region & is 100% Tempranillo. It required further tasting, so we picked up a bottle at Buster's on the way home with a nice 15% discount from the tasting. We also picked up a Siduri Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley (more on that later).

    Here is what I jotted down during during the tasting.

    2003 Eguren Protocolo Tinto-no notes.
    2003 Capcanes Mas Donis Barrisca- Garnacha & syrah. La didn't like.
    2003 Sierra De Siles Tempranillo- La's pick. enigmatic, spicy, baking spice.
    2004 Wrongo Dongo- Spanish Mourvedre. Ok, so-so.
    2003 Rene Barbier- good but not the best. Maple syrup.
    2001 Sierra Cantabria Crianza- My fav. coffee on the nose. Very full & rich.
    2004 Campos Reales- 30 year old vines. good & full, firm tanins.
    2004 Eguren Protocolo Rose'- good. dry & fruity.
    2003 Nekeas Vega Sindoa-Viura70%/Chardonay30%- good, creamie, slightly dry.
    2003 Pazo De Senoran Albarino- crisp & clean.
    2004 Maarques de Caceres Bianco- mumble mumble. fruity, heavier than the rest my fav white.
    Egura Viudas Brut Reserva- nice, a little off dry & nutty.

    It was great time & there were photo ops everywhere, although I took none of the actual tasting, I got a lot of good views & random shots. Enjoy.




    The Tower.


    The big bottles.


    Weekend Cat Blogging & Weekend Dog Blogging

    There is a 2-for-1 special on cuteness this morning, as this posts covers both Weekend Dog Blogging & Weekend Cat Blogging. The pic is crummy, I know. There was just no way I could disturb these two by turning on the lights. Smokie (the grey behemoth) loves his sister, Roxi...sometimes.


    Tasting notes: 2004 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel

    The Weekend of Zin cont...

    Bold, assertive, attention grabbing, are all words I would use to describe this wine. While these can all be considered good qualities, this wine also boasted a lack of personality like it was something to be proud of. Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel is like the loud, drunk chick that seems to be at every bar late at night on the weekends. You know the one...she is all over the place, hanging off of a different guy every 15 minutes, dancing on the bar, spilling Zima on your moccasins, annoying most everyone except for the dumb-asses who want to take her home for a meaningless but pleasurable shag in the sack. I am not saying you can't enjoy this Zin, you just have to be in the right frame of mind. Don't expect to have a deep, meaningful, glass that you can ponder for days. Think instant gratification. It is loud with ripe fruit, spicy & then overcome by clinging, stalker-like, big tannins that hang out longer than you feel comfortable with.

    You may like it but it was a one night stand for me.

    Around the World

    This map shows See-Sip-Taste-Hear's last 100 hits. When I first started this blog, I thought that the only readers we would have would be a handful of friends & family members. I have been shocked, amazed, giddy, impressed,, wait, that was the bottle of see the diversity of the people reading our posts & looking at our photos.

    The Inter-web has really made the world a smaller place...& that to me is a wonderful thing. I love everything. The people I meet, the food I eat, the wine I drink, the places I travel to, the music I listen to, etc... I guess this stems from the fact that I grew up in McWASP-erville deep near the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, where everyone was the same & the only diversity was whether someone went to a Baptist church, Presbyterian church or god forbid one of those buck-wild Methodist churches. Thankfully we always lived in a college town where there was usually a scosh of culture. I only wish we had the internet back then.

    Hopefully the map will have every continent covered at some point.


    Mustard Greens

    We love Mustard Greens. To make some bad-ass Mustard Greens: rinse, dry & chop them (a salad spinner is awesome for this), then sautee some shallots in about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until tender, then add greens & cook until wilted & tender & finally add some S&P & red pepper flakes. Serve & impress your friends.

    They are so good & full of the musty-mustard-spiciness you know & love.


    Buster's Spanish wine tasting

    Buster's Liquors & Wines is hosting a free...yes, free tasting of 12 value Spanish wines. This is going to be at the Tower Room. I have never been, but it sounds really swanky. It is on the top floor of the Clark Tower, 33 stories above beautiful East I am being sarcastic...But it does sound like a cool joint. We will probably attend, so stay tuned...

    When: Saturday, March 18, 1:00pm-4:00pm
    Where:5100 Poplar top of the Clark Tower, Memphis, TN
    How much: Free
    What: Tasting of 12 value Spanish wines.

    Tasting notes: 2003 Ridge Three Valleys

    The Weekend of Zin

    Last weekend we had 3 different Zinfandels. 2003 Ridge Three Valleys, 2004 Old Vine Zinfandel & last but not least (definitely not least, coming in a 1 litre jug) Three Thieves Zinfandel. I will start with the Ridge. It came recommended by Narlus over at Good looking out. This was an indulgence for us, as this bottle cost $20...and was worth every damn penny.

    We had this on a weekend during a cookout with friends. It was a perfect match with the herbed pork tenderloin, Thai chicken wings & the BBQ wings. This wine was inense, full of ripe berries, burnt coffee & cocoa. The heady aromas were reminiscent of incense...Ganesha stick #36. Absolutely wonderful. In the mouth it was bold, rich, marauding, full of cocoa, coffee, meat, all wrapped with a death-defying berry, stranglehold. The finish clinged to every part of my mouth, massaging its way down, reluctant to be forgotten. Nothing to worry about.

    This was one of those wines that made an impression on me. I want more...everday. I will definitely being trying more Ridge wines.

    I will post the rest of the Zin round-up soon


    3 bargain Pinot Noirs to avoid.

    2003 Estrella Piont Noir-Tastes like a melted red Flav-R-Ice & it gave me killer heartburn after the first sip. No thanks.

    2004 Trinity Oaks- They have the slogan "The Food Wine" trade marked (literally) & you better have this with food & preferably something that will mask the flavors. This bottle is 750ml of cherry Jolly Rancher. I suggest some 12-Hab-Jerked Chicken or Lamb Vindaloo....or another trip to the wine store.

    2004 Twin Fin Pinot Noir- This was the best of the worst. It actually had some depth compared to the other two. There was still a candy cherry overtone but there was also some cedar & tannins. I would get this again, only if I was buying wine for people that don't drink wine.

    Upcoming Memphis wine events

    This is from the Commercial Appeal.

  • Lolo's Table, 128 Monroe, is celebrating its first anniversary with a three-course wine dinner at 7 p.m. March 21; $50 plus tax and tip. Reservations: 522-9449.

  • Selections from Kobrand's vast portfolio will be featured during a wine dinner at 7 p.m. March 22 at Napa Cafe, 5101 Sanderlin; $65. Reservations: 901-683-0441.

  • Chao Praya, 3588 Ridgeway, is celebrating its third anniversary at 6 p.m. March 21 with a three-course wine dinner, with selections chosen by Robert Dean from United Liquors; $40. Entertainment will include a Thai dancer. Reservations: 901-366-7827.

  • E. Guigal wines, selected by John Adams of Star Distributing, will be served at a four-course dinner at 7 p.m. March 23 at Paulette's, 2110 Madison; $49.95. Reservations: 901-726-5128.

  • Bangkok Alley, 830 N. Germantown Parkway, Cordova, is serving a four-course wine dinner at 7 p.m. March 21; $40 plus tax and tip. Reservations: 901-753-7250.
  • Tuesday

    2004 Bogle Petite Sirah

    My notebook is full of wines I want to write about but I am skipping ahead to a bottle we finished off last night. 2004 Bogle (not so petite) Petite Sirah is Booty House for your taste buds. For those who don't know what Booty House is, here is a pretty good definition from ...

    Booty House is a very interesting mixture of rap and house music. Lately it seems to be at a stage of rapid growth and popularity. Almost every club will have a booty house DJ. Trust me you will know booty house when you hear it. It is characterized by the repetition of sexually laden phrases such as:
    Let me hit it from the back
    Bounce them titties, shake that ass

    At first Booty house seems pointless and stupid, but it can be quite catchy. You just have to enjoy the pure blatant, simplistic nature of a good booty bounce every once in a while.

    The last sentence sums this wine up. This is a a loud fruity, full...a simple pleasure wine. It is spicy with a bouncy finish. This wine has junk in the trunk. Fo' Shizzle.

    For more Booty House check out DJ FUNK. (not work friendly & R rated...don't say I didn't warn you)


    Curves rock my world. On a woman. A wine bottle. While driving fast on them & riding my bike down the curves of hills, around curves of trails. An arch in an old gothic building. There is just something aesthetically soul grabbing about curves & it won't let go.


    Tasting notes: 2004 Rodney Strong Pinot Noir

    This was one of our splurge bottles, that sounds funny after reading posts here, as this bottle was only $20. Some of those guys drink my salary in a weekend, over there on Robert Parker's forums. Even though these guys sound like some of the most pretentious, wine snobs on the planet, I am still drawn to their discussions. I love hearing about rare bottles & I love reading the notes too....and the pissing contests aren't bad to watch either.

    This bottle you can most definitely find at any respectable (or not) wine shop, is not rare in any shape or form & is dirt cheap in the grand scheme of things. 2004 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

    I smell & taste the trails in the fall we ride our mountain bikes on, in the middle of November. The fruit is not far behind, soon taking the lead, cherries & raspberries. Lots of the campfire too with some toasty oak & a nice graham cracker hint with some spice...'smores, maybe? but with no chocolate. Vanilla lingers all night with more spicy oak.*

    *I am abandoning my 'wrap sheet' style of wine is not really my style & personally I feel spitting out flavors onto my keyboard is more like writing copy for a damn piece of junk mail than my one of my passions. Thank you & that is all.

    A good weekend.

    The only one I can account for is the tall green one.
    It was a 2003 Ridge Three Valley Zin. Tasting notes will be up soon. Also a 2004 Erath Pinot Gris was enjoyed. More on that later, also.


    Photo essay: 1st Official Picnic of 2006.

    2001 Schmitt Söhne Riesling Auslese

    The goods. Hard salami & herbed brie with crostinnis.

    We also had olives & pickled veggies, fresh apples & strawberries & salt & pepper potato chips.

    How to picnic in three easy steps.

    Now repeat & take a nap in the sun if necessary.

    Weekend Herb Blogging: Thyme

    This week I have had lot of time ( more puns, they are too easy & not & I have learned about all of these cool themed blog days in the Blogosphere. Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by Kalyn's Kitchen who has a great looking blog on her love for delicious food with a commitment to healthy lower glycemic eating.

    This pic was taken on a white cutting board with natural light coming from the kitchen window. It just reminds me, it is almost time to start some seeds for our garden. Last year we had our first garden & it was a blast. We had 20 tomato plants, habaneros, pablanos, jalepenos, serranos, cayennes, yard beans, garlic, arugala & tons of other herbs. The only thing better than growing your own veggies, is eating them.


    Weekend Cat Blogging: Booski-diddle

    She was so warm sleeping by the heat dish this winter. Right now she is so warm sleeping in the springtime sun. have the life of a cat!

    Restaurant review: LoLo's Table

    My lunch out with Paul on Fridays has turned into a regular soiree. Each Friday we go out to eat somewhere new, usually downtown. We have hit up quite a few establishments, some good, some bad & some great. I should have started reviewing these restaurants months ago.

    This Friday we went to LoLo's Table downtown. We saw this place a few weeks ago while on the way to McEwan's & I have been wanting to check it out ever since. Laura is on Spring Break, so she went with us (usually she is at work or school).

    LoLo's has been open about a year & has been voted ‘Best New Restaurant’. I think this is from Memphis Magazine. The cuisine is dubbed low-country European. It is a small but cozy place with lots of exposed brick walls & paintings by local artists hanging everywhere with the obligatory Elvis portrait (this IS Memphis, remember). This provided a nice atmosphere for lunch & even for a nice dinner before a night out on the town. I will have to complain about the music selection. You should never let the wait-staff (I am speculating here) put on their choice of music without consulting with management (which was the owner in the case). The volume was fine but the selection of Emo (short for emotional) rock made me want to hang myself from the rafters. The joint was packed with business people, movers & shakers & other people just like us, out enjoying a casual lunch. We went in the middle of lunch rush & the service was quick, courteous & far from overbearing.

    The menu had a lot to offer & it all looked good. There was a 'crawfish BLT'
    that Paul got that looked great. It had fried mud bug tails, fried green tomatoes & bacon, along with other dressings. It may be a little much for lunch though. Continuing with the bacon on a sandwich theme, there was also a 'BL-Tuna', that looked good too. Laura got a Salmon Salad that was awesome, but I will have to let her comment on that. I had a Dijon Meat-loaf with red wine wild mushroom jus (are portabellas really wild mushrooms?) & Green Olive Mashed Potatoes. It was all good but the potatoes could have used a little more olives. It was hard to tell there were any green olives in them at all. The potatoes were left with the skin on & as far as I am concerned, that is the way to go with mashed potatoes. The meat-loaf was good but not great (Laura's is better of course). It was the jus that stole the show, although I was expecting something other than Portabella's, maybe oyster or morrels, shiitake would have been good too. The meat-loaf was a touch dry but it was loaded with capers that added a nice accent & touch of moisture. I was very satisfied with my lunch as I think Paul & Laura were too. We will go back for sure.

    We will also go back for their wine & wine events. LoLo's Table hosts wine dinners every 3rd Tuesday of each month featuring wines from Italy, France, Spain and South Africa. Every Wednesday night is "Wine Wednesday," offering featured wines at $12 per bottle all night. There wine-list was nice too with some wines that you don't usually see on menu's here. I had a fabulous glass of Marsanay Latour Villages Bourgogne Rouge & Laura had a crisp & fruity South African Steen.

    With a salad, entree & 2 glasses of wine we got out under $40 & that is with a 20% tip.

    One thing that assured me we were going to have a quality dinning experience, was that the owner was there. He was seating people, bussing tables, running food & beverages & making sure his customers were happy. I love seeing this. You can tell running this restaurant is his passion.

    Keeping with my 5 point scale I give LoLo's table a 4/5.


    Tasting notes: CMS by Hedges Cellars

    This harmonious blend hails from the Columbia Valley in Washington & is made up of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 3% Syrah & 2% Cabernet Franc. For only $11 this wine is Top Drawer, note the capital T & D. This wine was rich yet easy to drink alone or with food. Complex but well balanced. It certainly could have passed for a much pricier bottle of wine.

    nose: black fruits, leather, tiny hints of meat at first & a slightly minty-herbaceousness.

    palate: Rich, harmonious, black currants, blackberries. Nicely balanced acidity leading into some tasty supple tannins. It had a little bit of a rustic, funky quality in the background hiding with some pepper & smoke. The vanilla laden finish is long & sweet.

    This would make excellent steak night wine. Just be sure & get two bottles.


    Joe's Wine & Liquors Italian Wine Tasting, Memphis, TN

    I saw this on . We have been to two of Joe's Wines & Liquors tastings & they have both rocked. I can't wait to go taste some Italian wines.

    Joe's Wine & Liquors Italian Wine Tasting

    Date: Apr 06, 2006 (Thu)

    Phone: 901-725-4252

    Time: 6:00-8:00 pm Thursday


    The Vine /Italian wines
    1819 Madison Ave.
    Memphis, TN 38104


    The magic of Miles

    I don't like to play the favorites game because it is so hard to choose a favorite musician of a genre. I am going to make an exception for Miles Davis. He is my favorite jazz artist, trumpet player, musician, hell, he is my favorite person to touch an instrument, let alone spit the notes that stream out of his consciousness through his trumpet. For all I know they are not his notes & he is channeling an extra terrestrial communication through his instrument. He can't be human. He is not...he is super-human. If you dont know what I am talking about, go get "Kind of Blue" sit down, put it on, turn it up & you won't hear me say this often but wine is optional (though recommended) . You dont need it. Miles & crew are wine for the ears. Intoxicating. Soul stirring. Unbelievable. "Kind of Blue" is a first take masterpiece. What that means is most of (if not all, I will have to do more research) the album was recorded on the first second tries. No do-overs. Improvisational chemistry. The stellar line-up includes John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. These guys have to be musically telepathic or wizards or BOTH. If this album is not in your collection, it should be.

    Our first Wine Blogging Wednesday

    WBW #19
    My Wine Blogging Wednesday cherry is popped! YEAH BABY! (sorry, I am writing this early so the coffee is kicking). For those who don't know about the phenomenom of WBW, check it out here.
    Basically it is just a themed Blog day where Wine Bloggers all post on the same subject matter on a Wednesday, hence the name. This weeks theme is "When in Rôhne."

    As many of you know I accidentaly purchased a magnum of Rose' a few weeks ago. I thought I was getting one of our favorite house reds La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux Rouge. I was horrified when I poured it in my glass. It was pink! I thought something went horribly wrong. It took me forever to realize it was Rose'. Hell, I didn't even know La Vieille Ferme even made a Rose'. By this point I was very disgruntled & poured my glass back into the bottle & put it back in the fridge & forgot about it.

    Yesterday we pulled it out of the bowels of the fridge, where it was literally stuck to the back wall of the fridge. I peeled it out, twisted the top off, sniffed...still good, I guess? This time it was much better since we were expecting Rose'. I really dont know how I feel about it, though. I mean, I enjoyed it, it tasted good, it was a refreshing drink we enjoyed while working in the yard & later with a meatloaf sandwich, but it was still Rose'. There wasn't much going on in the nose. Kinda of citrus-y, some hints of cherry & some berries, but a mineral-ie-ness (NEW WORD!) was all over the place. On the palate it was much of the same, but kind of tart. I think I could really enjoy this with a picnic on hot summer day or maybe at a fish fry in the middle of June. I will have to get another bottle (on purpose this time) when the days are sweltering hot. I think this wine will shine then.

    price:$12 (magnum)

    I almost forgot...A big thanks goes out to Jathan of Winexpression for hosting this weeks WBW!


    Me Me Me Me Meat-loaf

    With school, work, and extracurricular projects sapping most of my free time, I am forever in search of simple meals that taste wonderful. My mother is the queen of simple meals and until lately I had avoided cooking meals of convenience from my childhood. My mom was always a busy lady so i figured if it worked for her, it could work for me. But I'd have to do some major tweaking. (My mother has a fear of spice and a fondness for "just add water or milk" type side dishes). I started out with pork chops and burgers, adding my own inspiration and changing things to suit my taste. Since dipping into these recipes from my past, Collin and I have had some great meals many of which have been posted in the blog.

    Last night we decided to go for meat-loaf. Meat-loaf is another favorite quick-meal of my mother and something I have shied away from because of not so fond memories from my childhood (ground beef, ketchup, mushrooms and thats about it. Ack.) Last night we were staring into a freezer, whose contents have become quite monotonous, trying to decide what to do for dinner. We had some ground turkey, and inspiration stuck.

    [Begin wistful, overly philosophic, day dreamy ramble] It is a beautiful thing when you become one with your kitchen and ingredients, when inspiration strikes and you can only keep coming up with ways to make the meal you are preparing more and more perfect. Anyway, thats what happened last night at least. Every ingredient used was something we had just lying around. Not a cookbook was cracked for ideas on preparation or sides. The entire meal came from our inner recipe calculators which become more fine tuned every-time we are in the kitchen. [/and end wistful ramble]

    Anyway, the meat-loaf was superb, and Collin made a morrel/shalot risotto that went beautifully with everything.

    1/4 cup onion diced
    1/4 cup zucchini diced
    1/4 cup portabella diced
    salt an pepper to taste
    thyme to taste

    1/2 pound ground turkey
    1 egg, well beaten
    1/2 cup bread crumbs
    worcestershire sauce to taste
    1-2 oz. diced brie

    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/4 cup red wine
    1/2 cup canned tomatoes

    -Pre-heat oven to 350* F
    -Sauté first 5 ingredients in olive oil until vegetables are fork tender. Sit aside and let cool.
    -Start all ingredients for sauce in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. simmer until reduced by half.
    -When sauteed vegetables are cooled, mix all ingredients for burgers together. Place in four individual 4 oz soufflé cups that have been sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil. Top with some sauce, but save some for the finished dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
    -When the meat-loaf is done, turn out onto a plate and serve with remaining sauce.

    It also makes for killer leftover sandwiches. Slice and sauté leftover loaf in a little olive oil. Serve on toasted onion roll with mayo, deli mustard, sliced red onion and arugula.

    Ahhhhhhh. Dee-Lish.


    I can deal with this...



    Tasting notes: 2004 Ecco Domani Chianti

    I picked up this bottle of 2004 Ecco Domani Chianti at a new liquor store...well, not new, but one I haven't been too since my days of drinking swill from jugs, well, not literally FROM, well, if the occasion called for it, I would drink it out of the jug, but that is beside the point. Anyway...they had some good prices & some unique bottles mixed in with their cheap stuff & cluttered junk that is everywhere. I can't remember what they were but there was a '94 Pinot from Oregon, a half bottle of Syrah, that looked interesting & a couple of Chateuaneuf du Papes, they are all out of my price range, which explains why I don't know what they are. I mean, why torture yourself? I just thought it was weird how it was all mixed with the cheap stuff, amongst piles of boxes, old displays, 2-wheelers, etc...

    On to the Chianti. I dont know much about Chianti or Italian wine for that matter, so I didn't know what to expect. My expectations weren't high, so I wasn't let down, but I was definitely hoping for something more. It kind of fell flat.

    nose: Blackberry, leather, currants. On day 2 there was some smoke & licorice.

    palate: Black fruit, quickly overcome by acidity, not harsh but dominating. It was thin in the middle with some soft tannins & a simple, abrupt finnish. On day 2 the fruit came out some & the acidity was a little more balanced.

    Brined lamb roast

    Last week we roasted some lamb but tried something new with it...brining. We have brined & roasted chicken many times before & it always turns out juicy & melt in your mouth tender. I read in this thread on the Wine Lover's Community food forum about an experiment with brined lamb vs. un-brined lamb. The brine is supposed to help rid the lamb of the gamey flavor & make it more tender. Most people don't like the 'lamb' taste, I do like it but still wanted to try it out. It worked too. It was so good. Each tasty morsel was so juicy & tender & the lamb taste was ever so faint. We had friends over & drank a bottle of Ch. Greysac & a magnum of Côtes du Ventoux Rouge, it was perfect. We didn't even have leftovers, that is how good it was.

    I kind of winged my brine recipe & made way too much, but here it is...

    3 qts. of Water
    1/4 cup sea salt
    a handful of each of the following...
    black peppercorns
    white pepper
    anise seed
    caraway seed
    a few bay leaves

    Boil for a few minutes, then let it cool & add your roast. Let this sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

    Roast at 350° for about 2 hours with potatoes, carrots & parsnips. Our roast was small so we left it in for about 1.5 hours & it came out perfect.

    For desert Kimberly brought over a loaf of banana nut bread that rocked the party that rocks party. When we get the recipe we will post it. As long as Kimberly says it isn't a secret recipe. ;)

    Give it a try & let me know what you think!



    Tasting notes: 2003 Bogle Merlot

    Trying to break away from our Pinot jag, I decided there is no better way than with a bottle of Merlot. This was an outstanding value at $12. We had half of this bottle one night with our veal paprikash & it went really well with that dish but was great on its own. I had a hard time verbalizing some of the flavors I was tasting, but they were so distinct, it just didn't click though. I poured La a glass & the first words out of her mouth were "pipe tobacco". That was it. Tobacco was all over this Merlot. In the nose, all over the palate & obvious in the finish too.

    nose: Very rich with black fruit, mint, anise & pipe tobacco.

    palate: Mimics the nose. The fruit is intense & big. More tobacco & anise. The tannins are nice but kind of obtuse. The lingering finish was full of anise & tobacco.


    Tasting notes: 2004 Pepperwood Pinot Noir

    This was one of our weekday bargain bottles & usually we have good luck with our <$10 bottles, but this one was lackluster at best.

    nose: STRONG strawberry aromas like strawberry pie almost & a tiny bit of earth, deep in the background.

    palate: Strawberries are all over the front of the palate, very ripe strawberries I might add with a quick flash of acidity, then nothing. Very little mid palate & then a flash finish. barely noticeable tannins.

    This is the kind of wine I would get if I was having company over that did not like wine.

    It did have a cool white artificial disco cork, though.


    Tasting notes: 2003 Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz

    Another great Shiraz from Down Unda' (why do I have Midnight Oil stuck in my head?). Penfolds produces some great wines at bargain prices. I decanted this for about 30 mins., had a glass & then decanted the rest for about an hour. I noticed a lot of change from my first taste after opening the bottle & after having a glass of the 30 minute decanted wine, but not a lot of change between the 30 min. & 1 hour.

    nose: Blackberry jam with a little bit of spice & pepper in the background. Fairly simple boquet. No meat until it opened up.

    palate: It immediately coats my tongue with rick black fruit. Very juicy. There is some meatiness that eventually dominated the palate. The acidity was there in full support, as well as some nice tannic structure giving this wine lots of back bone. There was some pepper that got spicier from the front of the palate to the back. the finish was long & loaded with pepper.
    $12 (I think this was what I payed, not too much more or less though.)


    Dinner tonight: Hungarian Veal Paprikash

    I love going to the grocery store. I am like a kid in a candy shop, or a bull in a china shop, or *insert your own cliche' here*. Well, I shouldn't be allowed to go alone. I planned on cooking this recipe for Veal Bolognese from Jenise who posts on Wine Lover's Forums. BUT, I got chopped veal steak instead of ground veal. Oh well. Roll with the punches that is what I always say. I hit the web & went to, where I stumbeled across this gem...Hungarian Veal Paprikash. We polished off some Bogle Merlot & had some Ecco Domani Chianti with it (notes soon). We also had some buttered penne with parmesan. It was fantastic. The Merlot was a much better match than the Chianti, but both were good. Here is the recipe.


    3 tablespoons (or more) lard, or 1 tablespoon bacon fat and 2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
    2 cups thinly sliced onions
    1 large shallot, minced
    2 1/2 pounds 1/4-inch-thick veal scallops
    1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes in juice
    1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
    1/2 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika or cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 cup sour cream

    Melt lard in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cover skillet and cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add shallot; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer onions and shallot to small bowl.

    Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add veal scallops to drippings in skillet and sauté until browned, about 1 minute per side, adding more lard as needed and transferring veal to plate after each batch. Return onion mixture to skillet. Add tomatoes with juice, sweet paprika, hot paprika, and marjoram. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Return veal and any accumulated juices to sauce. Simmer 1 minute, turning veal to coat. Using slotted spoon, transfer veal to platter. Mix sour cream into sauce and heat through (do not boil). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over veal and serve.

    Makes 8 servings.


    Tasting notes: 2003 Benton Lane Pinot Noir

    This Pinot hails from the Willamete Valley in Oregon. I have to say I liked this wine but it was one of my least favorite Oregon Pinots. I think the Firesteed has been my favorite so far.

    nose: black plum, blackberries, blueberry muffins & cinnamon.

    palate: blackberry & spice with a bright & snappy acidity. This filled out a lot while I was still drinking it. very nice tannins. a long vanilla finish wraps it all up.

    Burgundy Tasting

    This is from Great Wines & Spirits, here in Memphis. I am not sure if we will be going. $30 is kinda steep for us but to taste Grand Cru's & meet one of Louis Latour's winemakers, it may be worth it. Maybe I should see if I could get a blogger's pass. ;)

    Louis Latour Tasting & pre-sale offering, with Latour's Chablis winemaker Jean-Philippe Archambaud.

    On Wednesday March 8, we will host a tasting of and a pre-order offering of the wines of Louis Latour. You are invited to join us if you have an interest in adding red and white Burgundies, including Chablis, to your collection.

    Reservtions are required. Cost is $30 per person.

    The details are: 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m at The Blue Fish, 2149 Young Avenue in the midtown Cooper-Young district. Format will be a modified 'Saturday Tasting' with a central location for the wines, but with seating.

    Call the store - (901)682.1333 to make TASTING reservations. Space is limited.

    To make dinner reservations at The Blue Fish call 725.0230

    We will have over 20 different wines, including Archambaud's sparkler and Chablis, plus several Grand Crus, to taste and nearly a hundred to order from. The reds will be mostly from the 2003 vintage. The whites will mostly be from the yet to be released 2004's.

    Regards, Gary Burhop owner, Great Wines & Spirits
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