Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: July 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Chocolate Souffles

Individual Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

Chocolate soufflés are a real treat. When you find a great recipe, it’s like finding heaven on earth. Chocolate souffles pair quite well with ports and wines on the darker, sweeter spectrum. However, you can also pair a good chocolate soufflé with a dark roast coffee – if you’re feeling bold!

The recipe I used was courtesy of cooking light. I modified it a bit to make enough for three, rather than two people – since in addition to serving this delectable desert to Wining Husband, it also was served to the teenage boy of the house. According to the picture to the right, I definitely need to invest in a flour sifter (hint hint ;))

While we enjoyed espresso with this desert, Grant Eddie’s Port or Sandeman Founders’ Reserve Port would be great.

Here’s the recipe:

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • 9 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Coat four ramekins (6-oz size) with cooking spray, and sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  3. Combine 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. You will want to cook for about 2 minutes and stir until the mixture is smooth. Next, spoon the mixture in a medium bowl and cool for about 5 minutes. Stir the vanilla in.
  4. Separate egg whites from egg yolks, and reserve egg yolks for another use. Place whites into medium bowl; beat at high speed until soft peaks form. You’ll want to add remaining 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time until you see stiff peaks. It’s important that you don’t overblend. Gently stir 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. After mixing, fold remainder of mixture into chocolate mixture.
  5. Spoon the resulting mixture into ramekins. Tap dishes a few times in order to level the mixture in the dishes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle soufflés with powdered sugar (here’s where that flour sifter comes in handy), and serve dishes immediately.

What do you like to pair with your desserts?

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Young Girls and Too Much Sex

 

 

 

Paper doll with clothes

Paper doll with clothes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Our culture is encouraging kids to grow up entirely too fast. We already know about the effects media has on body image. When inundated with images of emaciated women, girls often want to emulate what they see. One might expect this sort of behavior and desire from a pre-teen or teenager. However, a recent study shows that girls as young as six want to be perceived as “sexy.”  In a recent blog entry at Huffington Post, a study concerning the sexualization of young girls was discussed. In the study, it was found that:

 

 

 

Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest.

 

Now, to me, six seems awfully young for kids to be thinking about needing to be sexy or attractive to others. The study was conducted in the following manner:

 

 

 

Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., used paper dolls to assess self-sexualization in 6- to 9-year-old girls. Sixty girls were shown two dolls, one dressed in tight and revealing “sexy” clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up, loose outfit.

Using a different set of dolls for each question, the researchers then asked each girl to choose the doll that: looked like herself, looked how she wanted to look, was the popular girl in school, she wanted to play with.

Across-the-board, girls chose the “sexy” doll most often. The results were significant in two categories: 68 percent of the girls said the doll looked how she wanted to look, and 72 percent said she was more popular than the non-sexy doll.

 

There’s lots of speculation about why the girls chose the “sexy” doll. Some believe that it’s because they associated “sexy” with popular. I have a few questions, however, about the study before I can make any judgments.

 

 

 

  1. How did the researchers define “sexy?”
  2. What were the dolls actually wearing in terms of garments?
  3. Did the researchers impose any bias themselves toward the sexy dolls through facial gesture or voice intonation?

 

Bratz Lil Angelz

Bratz Lil Angelz (Photo credit: dog.happy.art)

 

My guess is that 3 was accounted for during the research process, but the question still has to be considered. My thoughts are that part of the reason that children are identifying the sexy dolls isn’t just about popularity, but about identifying the doll with a more mature/grown up image. By that same token, however, what’s happening to all of the dolls? Dora the Explorer, My Little Pony, even Rainbow Brite have all been made over to be more “sexy.” In addition to cartoons taking a bend toward this trend, children’s programming and clothing has become much more risqué in the last 20 years. Is it any surprise, then, since American culture is dripping in forbidden sexuality, that our children will identify themselves as wanting to appear sexual? It’s a disturbing trend, and it is contributing to the nationwide trend of growing up too fast. In a world where toddlers have cell phones and first graders want to be seen as sexy, how do we protect our future generation from rushing into adulthood?

 

 

 

What do you think about these trends? Post your thoughts in the comments section.

 

 

 

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Creekside’s Grilling Wines Tasting

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting (Photo credit: cheesy42)

This weeks tasting focused on wines that pair well with grilled foods. The cheese plate featured the added bonus of grilled marinated sausage. It was definitely a very fun tasting at Creekside Cellars.

We started off with the whites, and skipped the sparkling. The first white was the 2011 Terranoble Sauvignon Blanc from Chile ($10). This wine had notes of grapefruit and granny smith apples. It was young, green, and good – but not amazing. My suspicion is that in a few years, this wine will develop further and come to maturity.

The 2009 Naia Verdejo from Spain ($15) was next. This was a very nice wine. It would go very well with a grilled peach dish or with an appetizer of chips and mango salsa. There was a tiny bit of oak on the taste, but it also had apricot and nectarine hints. I thought it would pair nicely with a desert I make involving broiled peaches and mascarpone cheese. For this, half peaches and remove pits. Sprinkle nutmeg and allspice over the fruit, and put a dollop of maple syrup in each half. Finally, spoon some marscapone cheese in and put peaches under the broiler for 5-8 minutes. Enjoy while still warm.

Unidentified glass of rose wine

Unidentified glass of rose wine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2010 Catena Chardonay from Mendoza, Argentina ($19) was pretty good. It was strong with a smokey oak flavor done well with hints of cream and artichokes.

Next up was the rosé, Bastianich’s Rosato di Refosco from Friulani, Italy. Until the experiences both of tasting Bertagna’s rosé and of the wine trail rosé wines, we would forgo this pink wine choice. Like many are now realizing, there are merits to a good rosé. This one had hints of parsley, it was pretty decent.

We then moved onto the reds. First up was the 2009 Moniz Family Pinot Noir from Sonoma, California ($20). This was a very nice wine. It paired well with gouda and bleu cheese, and it was very balanced. The wine itself had notes of plums, basil, and sage.

tasty boom boom

tasty boom boom (Photo credit: sara_mc)

The 2009 D’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” 42% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 25% Mourvedre ($13) was up next. This wine had a lemon lime and blueberry flavor. It wasn’t our favorite, but it wasn’t bad either. The 2010 Charles Smith Wines “Boom Boom” Syrah from Washington State ($19) was phenomenal. This wine was light yet peppery. It had hints of oregano, white pepper, marjoram, and berries. It had a floral perfume nose and was quite creamy. It would make an amazing pairing with chicken.

The final wine we tasted was the 2010 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles ($18). This wine had the wonderful smokey cigar box/tobacco notes that I’ve come to love in wines. It also had hints of espresso and blackberries.

What are your favorite flavors to taste in wines? Post your answers in the comments.

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Odyssey Winery and Vineyards

Odyssey Vineyards and Winery

Odyssey Winery and Vineyards held an event featuring wine tasting and jazz music from the Eric Peter Trio. This winery is a hidden jewel located in Chico, California. At the event, there were five wines available for tasting.  All grapes were grown at the Odyssey estate.

The 2008 French Colombard was up first. This wine was light and easy drinking – it was very nice. It had hints of celery and cardamon.

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was very good. Had we not recently purchased bottles of Cabernet, we might have brought this one home. It was oaky and smokey with hints of vanilla, blackberry, cloves, and tobacco.

The 2008 Blush Grenache was very very nice. This was a sweet rosé – it was like orange marmalade on sourdough toast. This was followed by the Late Harvest Symphony. This was very sour and would make a great pairing with a key lime pie or a berry cheesecake. It would be absolutely amazing with creamy deserts. The Zorba Port rounded out the tasting. It was very dark and heavy, and needs to be paired with something dark. This desert wine showed hints of dark chocolate and cherries.

Have you tried an Odyssey wine? What did you think?

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Achieving Balance – Can it be Done?

 

Old two pan balance

Old two pan balance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are lots of people out there who are concerned with maintaining a balanced lifestyle. The question that is often asked is whether or not balance is something that individuals are able to achieve all the time. While we’re often told to have balance in our lives, there are times when balance cannot be had – such as when a new baby arrives or after a move or during the process of starting a business. What then, are some ways that balance can be achieved?

I try to be mindful of what’s going on and how much time I spend in any given area of my life. I color-code my appointments and obligations so that with a glance at my calendar, I can see whether there is any significant area of my life I’m neglecting. Many times, however, I just have to acknowledge that there won’t be balance.

What do you think? Is it possible to have a totally balanced life? If so, what do you do in order to achieve balance?

Menu Planning with Pinterest

English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had a lot of friends ask me about what I do to plan menus. I figured I would make a blog post to help those out who want to know how The Wining Husband and I go about planning out our menus for the week. Before getting into the details, let me discuss a little bit about the considerations that go into planning a week’s worth of meals.

We are members of a local CSA – each week we receive veggies and fruits from GRUB. When we pick up the veggies, we then are able to start planning our menu.

We also like to spend as little as possible on groceries while maintaining a healthy diet. This means that we won’t sacrifice health for cost. We will start out at Grocery Outlet for canned and dry goods (and sometimes wine, as they do have some finds among their shelves!) We then head to SaveMart, and finally for specialty foods, we will go to Raley’s. It helps to know what is on sale where. For instance, SaveMart often has a 5 meats for $25 deal. When this is going on, we’ll stock up on tilapia, chicken breasts, pork chops, etc.

We also like to experiment with new foods and new recipes. For instance, we recently found a good deal on both calamari and shark fillets at SaveMart. Since we try to incorporate fish into our diets two times a week, we snatched them up. This also means that I subscribe to a lot (and I do mean A LOT!) of food and cooking blogs. When I see something I like, I will pin it to my Pinterest account.

  • Fish two times a week
  • Vegetarian at least once a week
  • Use as much of what we have on hand as possible
  • If chicken, pork, or beef is on the menu for dinner, fish or vegetarian must be on the menu for the following evening
  • The meal plan must consist of a balance of known recipes and new recipes

Following those rules, we look to see what we have on hand. We’ll fill in some of the slots with things that we like that we’ve made in the past and staple recipes.  When filling in slots, we also look at our week’s calendar to see what events are going on. For a busy day, it will be unlikely that either one of us will want to put together an intricate meal. Instead, that night will be something easy like a chef salad or fish, rice, and steamed veggies. I will search my Pinterest account for relevant recipes that we want to try. When I select a recipe, I will tag it “Monday – Dinner” so that it’s easy to bring up in the search later.

curry butternut squash soup with fresh bread &...

curry butternut squash soup with fresh bread & baked pumpkin seeds (Photo credit: valkyrieh116)

A sample week might look like this:

  • Sunday: Falafel Pitas with Grape Yogurt Salad
  • Monday: Chicken Swedish Meatballs and steamed summer squash
  • Tuesday: White Fish Cooked in White Wine with Rice, Mushrooms, and Wax Beans
  • Wednesday: Pork Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and Salad
  • Thursday: Lemon Caper Calamari and Garlic Summer Squash
  • Friday: Chicken Tacos
  • Saturday: Curry Butternut Squash Soup and French Bread with Side Salad

What tools do you use to plan out your menus? Post your tips in the comments!

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Fondue and Wine

Howard Stark: “Fondue is just cheese and bread, my friend.” (Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011)

Cheese fondue

Cheese fondue (Photo credit: stoicviking)

Fondue may be cheese and bread, but it’s anything but ordinary. Anyone who has enjoyed the experience of having fondue will tell you that it’s quite the treat – and it’s a lot of fun to bring out this retro recipe at parties.  Fondue naturally pairs with white wines – especially Sauvignon Blanc wines. However, don’t overlook a nice mildly oaked chardonnay to accompany this treat.

Traditionally, fondue is made with Swiss and Gruyére cheeses and served with bread cubes. It is also  wonderful (at least we think so) with some blanched veggies like asparagus, carrots, and snow peas.

The recipe we use is modified from the one appearing in Wine Bites: Simple Morsels That Pair Perfectly with Wine by Barbara Scott-Goodman. This book has many fabulous recipes including one for buttermilk onion rings. Here’s our version of the fondue recipe:

Cheese Fondue:

Ingredients:

2 Cloves garlic – one cut in half crosswise

1 cup dry white wine (we have used La Ferme Julien, available at Trader Joe’s for under $10)

1/2 lb Gruyére cheese, shredded or cubed

1/2 lb Swiss cheese, shredded or cubed (we’ve torn up the pre-sliced cheese as well with success)

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp brandy or cognac

1 lemon, squeezed

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Veggies and bread for dipping

Directions:

Start by rubbing the inside of a heavy pot with the garlic you cut in half. Next, mince the garlic and add the wine to the pot. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat to combine the flavors of the garlic and the wine.

Add the cheeses to the pot slowly, making sure to constantly stir the cheeses until they are just melted and creamy. You do not want to bring them to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the next six ingredients until they are well blended. Stir the mixture into the fondue and bring the fondue to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. This will take 5-10 minutes.

Finally, transfer the cheese sauce to a fondue pot over a flame (if you have one) or serve from the pot itself. Using fondue forks or skewers, dip veggies and bread into the fondue. Enjoy!

What sorts of accompaniments do you enjoy with your fondue? What wine have you paired with fondue? We paired with the 2010 Morgan Chardonnay with some success. Share your experiences in the comments.

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Tour de France – in Wine at Creekside Cellars

The Wining Husband and myself have made a habit of visiting Creekside Cellars once a week. Not only are their wine selections always excellent, but their cheese plate is quite the treat. This week’s selection had a French Wine theme.

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are the notes on the reds:

Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille” Sparkling Pinot Muenier from Savoie ($20) – this one was a party in a glass. It was a beautiful sparkling rosé color. It was a lot of fun, and we decided that this would be the perfect wine for toasting the New Year at our annual New Year’s Eve party.

2009 Clos La Coutale 80% Malbec 20% Merlot blend from Cahors in Southwest France ($16) – This wine was definitely a summer red. It was fruity, light, and easy drinking. It was reasonably good, but it couldn’t compete with some of the other great wines we’ve had.

2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Cabernet Franc from Chinon and Loire Valley ($22) – This wine reminded me of a “barn” wine we had when visiting the Purple Wine Bar and Cafe in Seattle. I was not a fan of this wine, for that reason, but I could tell this was a well-crafted wine.

2010 Ermitage “Tour de Pierres” Syrah 50%, Grenache 40%, and Mourvedre 10% red blend from Pic St. Loupe, Languedoc ($17) – This wine was light, sour, and good. It was interesting, because on the nose, we both got grapefruit. This one is worth checking out for an evening dinner with garlic fries and grilled chicken sandwiches.

2007 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf~du~Pape from Southern Rhone ($46) – This wine was spectacular. It had that lovely cigar box flavor that my husband and I both really enjoy. It was fruity and balanced.

What are some of your favorite French Wines? Have you had any of these? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

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North Sierra Wine Trail Day 2 – Lucero, Grant Eddie, Renaissance, Clos Saron, and Bangor Ranch

Today’s trek on the North Sierra Wine Trail involved stops at five vineyards, plus revisiting Hickman Family Farms. We started at Lucero and wrapped our way around Oregon House before heading back through Bangor and Oroville on our way home.

Lucero

At Lucero, the Cabernets were the stars of the show.

Lucero Vineyards and Winery can be found all the way out in Dobbins, California. The real winners of the tasting at this vineyard were the Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We tasted ten of their wines, starting with their 2009 Chardonnay. This wine was very fruit forward and dry, it was almost reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. Next, they poured their rosé for us. This was created from their Merlot grapes. This wine was nutty and had hints of citrus – especially grapefruit and lemon/lime. Then came the Merlot. The first Merlot was the 2006, and it was peppery, and had some spice and weight to it. We noted hints of paprika in the tasting. The 2006 Reserve had a tight, aromatic nose, and gave off hints of blackberries in the tasting. IT was sweeter than the first. The Paulina 2008 was a mix of 55% Cabernet Sauv. and 45% Merlot. This had a tight nose and was very smooth.

This cab was absolutely amazing, and it stole the scene from cabs we tasted the rest of the day.

We tried five different Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The first was the 2002, it was the first cab they made. It was smokey and sour but light. The 2003 was definitely worth it. We brought two bottles of it home with us. It was much stronger and very smokey and cloves were noted. There also was a hint of vanilla. Note that this wine has a lot of sediment in it. The 2004 had a fruity nose. It was a mix of raspberries and bold pepper. If you enjoy steaks marinated in spice, this would make a good pairing for you. The 2006 was another scene-stealer. It was easy drinking, toned-down, and smooth. Paprika came forward a lot in this wine. The 2008 was very young, and after it develops for a while, the flavors may be better. We found it sour and bitter on tasting. Grant EddieTo get to Grant Eddie’s tasting (and the Renaissance Tasting) one had to go into a large estate decorated with gold figures. The lavishness of the estate added to the tasting experience. The tasting room was absolutely filled to the hilt – and for good reason! While the two wineries did their tasting together, I will discuss our experience of each separately.

  • 2011 Rosé – this wine was really nice. It had that cigar box feel to it, and it was very rich. Don’t mistake this wine for a light wine that goes with lighter food, it can handle boldness!
  • 2011 Chardonnay – This was smokey, robust, and oaked.
  • 2009 White Pearl – This wine was spicy and had hints of basil. It was already in our cellar, but we tasted it again anyway – and WOW!
  • 2011 Semillon This wine was lemony with a hint of spice.
  • Both the 2008 and 2009 Grenache wines seemed to be a combination of rubber mallet and spice, however, the 2006 grenache-syrah was very nice. It took the best parts of the grenache and melded it with the best parts of the syrah – the 2007 Syrah was very sweet and had notes of chili powder to it.
  • The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was peppery, sweet, and jammy but in a good way. There were notes of cayenne pepper to this one.
  • The 2010 port was very very nice and honey-like. The Grant Eddie port is a traditional Portuguese-style port.

Renaissance and Grant Eddie’s Tasting Was Here

Renaissance

The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery tasting was also superb. It’s amazing, because this winery has a lot of rumors surrounding its inception. Regardless of the rumors, they make amazing wine. We started with the 2007 Semillon (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc (40%) blend called “Carte D’Or.” This wine was amazing. It was light, peppery, and easy drinking. This is the wine you serve when you grill up some white fish and you want to hang out in the back yard watching the ripples in your pool with a light summer breeze on you. It was amazing.

We then moved on to the 2002 Zinfandel. This wine had hints of nutmeg, pepper, allspice, and bell pepper, and it was also a very nice wine. From there, we moved to the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was at its peak when we tried it. It had notes of plum and blackberry, and it would pair quite nicely with a holiday ham.

The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve left me with a sense of wanting something more. Many individuals tasting the wine really enjoyed it, however, I found it on the bitter side.

Following the reds, we were able to taste two wines that were just amazing – both were late harvest wines. The 1999 Late Harvest Semillon was like a delicious almond croissant. In addition to the hints of almond paste and apricots, the wine had a honey nose, and wasn’t too sweet. It would pair well with flan or crème brûlée.

The last wine was the stunner. This was the 1985 Late Harvest Riesling. That’s right – a 1985 wine. It smelled of whipped cream. On the tasting, it was a nutty amaretto flavor. It was absolutely amazing, and we have a bottle of it in our cellar waiting for the right occasion.

Clos Saron

Clos Saron’s vineyards are mostly Pinot Noir grapes

After leaving Renaissance, we headed for Clos Saron. The vintner has been involved in different aspects of the winemaking business. He allowed us to taste three of the wines offered. While we weren’t taken with the wines offered, we could see that he had a love viticulture.

The 2011 Tickled Pink was a rosé. The wine was quite light and dry and had grapefruit notes. The 2010 Deeper Shade of Blue had a nice nose – almost like a cinnamon roll. It had bell pepper and feta cheese notes on the tasting. The 2007 Heart of Stone was smokey and had hints of blue cheese and parsley. My regret about this vineyard is that we didn’t get to sample what Clos Saron is known for – their Pinot Noir. These were all blends of grapes.

Bangor Ranch

While Bangor Ranch Vineyard didn’t have any releases to share with participants, however, they did have two wines that were made for personal consumption that were phenomenal. The Syrah was amazing. We really look forward to seeing what they do in the future.

If you participated in the North Sierra Wine Trail, what were your impressions? Did you have any wine favorites? Share your experiences in the comments.

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North Sierra Wine Trail Day I – Grey Fox Vineyards and Hickman Family Vineyards

 

The first day of our participation in the North Sierra Wine Trail event was wonderful. We started by visiting Long Creek Winery and Quilici Vineyards. The other two wineries we visited on Saturday were Grey Fox Vineyards and Hickman Family Vineyards. Both of these vintners offered consistently very good wine.

Grey Fox Vineyards – Oroville, CA

Grey Fox Vineyards offered consistently very good wine at a very reasonable price

Stop three on our drive through the North Sierra Wine Trail was at Grey Fox. Their tasting room featured live music and artwork by a local artist. We made our way to the tasting counter, and began the adventure. The Grey Fox wines have no vintage years on them because their vineyard is small. While at Grey Fox, we didn’t encounter a wine we didn’t like. Here’s a rundown of the impressions we had of the wines we tried.

  1. Viognier – NV – The Viognier had a citrus nose and citrus undertones. It was a very easy drinking wine. It’s perfect for summertime. I could see myself lounging outside with a book while drinking a glass of it.
  2. Chardonnay – NV – The Chardonnay had an oak nose to it, so at first I was worried that it would be too much oak. Upon sipping, olive oil undertones came through. We enjoyed it a good bit.
  3. Barbera – NV – The barbera had a smokey nose and a lovely smokey flavor to it. This is the wine you drink when you’ve grilled up some bbq chicken. It was easy-drinking and light-to medium bodied.  
  4. Syrah – NV – This wine had a cigar box aura, and it was also smokey –  there were also hints of bacon and maple in the wine.
  5. Cabernet Sauvignon – NV – Quote from my husband: “Wow, fruit forward done right!!” This had blackberry and vanilla, as well as rosemary and sage. It was very nice. I wrote “WOW!!!!” next to my tasting notes for it.
  6. Port Syrah – NV – We had this paired with hot and spicy chocolate port nuggets. Oh my goodness, this wine was completely amazing. It was very chocolate-y like chocolate syrup with berries.
  7. Cabernet Port – NV – This was also very amazing. Grey Fox definitely does really great with ports.
  8. Zinfandel – NV – This was light! It was a big surprise, because you generally expect zins to be quite robust. It was peppery and spicy and good.
  9. Cabernet Franc – NV –  This had a lot of cherry and spice to it. It was also very nice.

We wound up walking out of the Grey Fox Vineyards having purchased a case of wine, and a membership in their wine club. Their wines were simply amazing, and I strongly suggest getting your hands on some of them – you will absolutely not regret it!

Hickman Family Vineyards

This tasting was a real treat. Not only did we attend their tasting the first day, but we returned on Sunday for a second run-through. I sincerely hope that they do well, because their wines were consistently amazing. They paired each of their wines with a different course of food, which added to the experience. Not to spoil the ending, but we did wind up purchasing several of their wines. It was hard to choose what to take home with us from here. The Hickman family began their vineyard ten years ago, but only opened to the public a year ago in 2011.

  1. The wines at Hickman Family Vineyards consistently stole the show!

    The wines at Hickman Family Vineyards consistently stole the show!

    2009 Pinot Grigio – This was paired with orzo-tomato salad. It was an easy-drinking wine, quite smooth, almond-flavored, and very light. This wine is a great summer drinking wine.

  2. 2010 Petite Syrah Rose – This was the second rose on the tour that I found myself enamored with, it was smokey, sweet, and had orange notes on the nose. It paired nicely with the orange olive oil. This was one of the wines we brought home from here. The neat thing is that they have refills on their Rose and their Chardonnay wines.
  3. 2008 Zinfandel – This was paired with sausage awesomeness. Oh my goodness was this an outstanding wine! This was smooth, robust, peppery, with the hint of bell peppers. We brought this one home with us as well.
  4. 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon -This was deep, clovey, and just amazing. This had spice and it was peppery and it was amazing. It was paired with tri-tip roast.
  5. 2009 Petite Syrah – This one had a honey-jammy but in the very good way vibe going on. There were hints of cloves and vanilla. It was good and sweet – and it was paired with a marinated mushroom that was just divine.
  6. 2006 Desert Sauvignon Port – we had this with chocolate fudge. It was amazing. It was chocolate and raspberry amazingness.
  7. 2009 Chardonnay – This one behaved almost like a sauvignon blanc, except it had some oak – in fact, it was *perfectly* oaked. We went home with this one, and we’re not huge chardonnay fans.
  8. 2008 Mourvedre – This was the first time I had had this wine. I won’t lie to you, we had to take this one home with us. It was absolutely amazing. It was very nice, and I caught hints of cayenne pepper in it.
  9. 2009 Reverse Red – This was a very unique wine. It was 1/2 red and 1/2 pinot grigio skins. It had nutmeg, cloves, cayenne pepper. It was just amazing. While they were billing it as a table wine, I’d be interested to see what this one does as it ages. It is definitely not to be missed!
  10. Barbara – This wine was tart! However, we were told it was supposed to be tart, robust, and paired with something big.

That sums up the first day of our tasting tour. I was absolutely astounded at how amazing these two wineries were – and how consistently good their wines were. It was very difficult to choose what we would bring home with us, but we made our choices, and they were very good. Since Grey Fox is in Oroville, CA and Hickman Family Vineyards are in Bangor, CA, they are pretty close. I’m pretty sure we will be watching what they do for a while.

 

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