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Tag: Chardonnay (page 1 of 2)

GUEST POST: 2017 Wines on a Budget

Budget Wines 2017

This guest post comes from Annabelle, who writes for Wunderlabel. She’s sharing her tips on finding the best bang for your buck when it comes to 2017 wines. (This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on a link and making a purchase helps to support what I do here at Wining Wife®.

Do you tend to drink a little more wine through the winter? I know I do. I have to keep an eye on my budget with all the meals to prepare. This includes my wine budget. I enjoy really nice wines, especially the ones that are gifted to me. But, I do need to plan for when my wallet feels slimmer. 

I look for good deals on wines that oenophiles and merchants report will be trending in 2017. I try to get my hands on a few bottles while the prices are still decent. Let’s take a look at some of the predictably good wine values you can stock up on for next year.

Hearty Red Wines

Cool winter nights are a perfect time to sink into the couch by the fire with a glass of rich, deep flavored wine. I am thinking chocolate and berries. Zinfandel is a wine that pairs well with comforting meals and desserts.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel is a bold, berry forward wine that has been aged in oak for one year. It is produced in Sonoma County, California. The 2008 and 2014 varieties are both available now. The 2008 can be found for around $10.00, while the 2014 is a couple of dollars more.

Dry, Fruity White Wine

In spring the air is damp and the grass is starting to grow. Everything smells a little fresher this time of year. I get that antsy feeling of wanting to be outside without a coat on. But, we aren’t quite there. This is the time of year you want to start bringing out the white wines that pair well with lighter meals that have plenty of spring vegetables. Chardonnay is what comes to mind.

Alamos Chardonnay, from Argentina, has crisp citrus notes and a buttery vanilla finish. The 2015 is available for $9.00 to $10.00 per bottle. It goes well with fish, chicken, and most vegetables. 

Dry Rosé Wine

I am a fan of dry pink wines in the summer that are blends of white and red grapes. They have enough body to hold up to barbecue fare, and are also fine for an afternoon backyard get-together with friends accompanied by a large bowl of fresh fruit. My favorites are from the south of France.

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé is a complex wine from the Provence region of France. It has the flavors of summer berries and melons, and the lavender that is grown all over the region. It is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsaut and Cabernet grapes. The 2015 sells for between $11.00 and $12.00.

Medium Bodied Red Wine

As autumn approaches we see varieties of winter squashes, heirloom tomatoes, and plenty of apples at the farmers markets. This is a great time for platters of cheese, fruit, aged meats, and vegetables. It is also when you might be inclined to fill the house with the smell of spiced baked goods. This calls for a lighter red wine to share with friends. Pinot Noirs are perfect for this time of year.

HobNob Pinot Noir is a French variety that has softer tannins than some of the others. It smells faintly of violets and tastes of cherries laced with spices. It plays well with fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The 2013 can be found for between $9.00 and $11.00.

December is a good time of year to look for holiday wine specials. Many merchants are willing to offer case discounts, even if the case includes a mix of wine varieties. You just need to ask. Stock up and enjoy.


Author Bio: Annabelle is a wine collector and appreciates handmade crafts. Apart from that she loves to write. In fact, she writes for Wunderlabel’s Italian site and their US website.

A Tale of Two Chardonnays: Catena and Dreaming Tree

Which Chardonnay paired better with the fish tacos?

Which Chardonnay paired better with the fish tacos?

Not every meal calls for a voluptuous red to accompany it. In fact, there are many meals that are better accompanied by a white. When pairing food, it’s good to think about the flavors you are working with. Recently, we decided to try pairing two different Chardonnay wines: The Dreaming Tree 2013 Central Coast Chardonnay and Catena 2010 Chardonnay, Mendoza Argentina.  I paired them with fish tacos with homemade flour tortillas. You can find the flour tortilla recipe here. If you persuade me, I will write up the recipe for the fish tacos and share it in a later post. They were absolutely delicious!

The Dreaming Tree 2013 Central Coast Chardonnay ($15.99

 I’ve really enjoyed The Dreaming Tree’s 2009 Crush ($16.99 in the past when we’ve had it out at restaurants. When we saw that they had a Chardonnay, I was excited to give it a try. For the uninitiated, The Dreaming Tree is a collaboration between Dave Matthews (yes the Dave Matthews) and Steve Reeder. The wines are usually under $20, and they are easy to find. When I don’t see something I recognize among the options available to me, I order a glass or pick up a bottle. They’re also good wines for those who aren’t necessarily “wine people” but who have moved beyond box wine and wines like Gallo and Yellow Tail. 

The wine itself is a lovely straw color when poured. Dreaming Tree’s Chardonnay smelled of honey and citrus. When tasting, it had notes of pears, apples, and nectarines – without being overly fruity. There was a hint of oak on the end, and it was lighter than many chardonnays, but not as light as say a Sauv Blanc or Pinot Grigio. It was definitely a young white wine, and that quality stood out against the Catena. It went well enough with the fish tacos to be the kind of wine you can pull out on a whim during the week and enjoy with dinner.

Catena 2010 Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina ($20

The Catena family has been producing wines since 1902. That’s a lot of time for them to perfect the vineyards they have in Mendoza, Argentina. This Chardonnay had been in our cellar for a little while, and the smooth body of it reflected that. The grapes for this wine were grown in the family vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo and Tupungato – at altitudes of 3,000-4000 feet. While the wine is smooth, you get a hint of the mineral quality from the mountains reflected on the palate. It’s the perfect amount of oak to give it a nice body, without overpowering the wine. Like the Dreaming Tree, there were notes of apples and pears as well as citrus in this wine, but it also had vanilla. Because I’d battered the fish in a sparkling wine mixture, it was the better pairing of the two.

Have you tried either of these wines? What were your thoughts on them? I enjoyed both. 

*The links in this post are affiliate links. Should you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive compensation. Purchasing from my links helps to support my family and keep this blog running. However, the two wines discussed in this post were from my personal collection; the links are for your reference should you decide you would like  a convenient way of purchasing either or both.*


California Delicious Wine Basket Review

California Delicious Gourmet Gift Baskets

Napa Valley Gourmet Red Wine Basket by California Delicious

Napa Valley Gourmet Red Wine Basket by California Delicious

*I was provided with a wine basket from California Delicious in exchange for an honest review. There may be affiliate links in this post. Should you click on one and make a purchase, you will be supporting this blog and I will receive monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.*

Recently, I was approached and asked whether I would be interested in writing a review on the wine and baskets produced at California Delicious. I chose to try the Napa Valley Red Wine Gourmet Gift Basket. When it arrived, I was very pleased with the packaging. As you can see to the right, it’s very aesthetically pleasing, and nicely arranged. The picture really doesn’t do it justice. There were little decorative grape bunches in the basket (I have plans for those), and the bow was really festive. It makes a really nice impression right from the get-go.

Upon opening the basket, we found two bottles of wine (a Pinot Noir and a Zinfandel), cheese spread, pretzels, spicy honey mustard, bruschetta, and Ghirardelli chocolates. We decided that we would try the wines with meals that followed snacking on the other items.

Now, it’s important to note, we do not generally eat processed foods in our house (in fact, I’ve even been on a candy-making kick after donating some homemade candy to our church bazaar recently.) We tried the cheese and bruchetta and the pretzels and hot sweet mustard. They are about what you would expect from a gift basket – the real highlight was the collection of Ghirardelli squares.

The wines were both decently good. The 2012 Regalo Valley Ranch Artist Series Pinot Noir had a musty and aromatic nose. We paired it with my spaghetti (1lb ground beef, 2 pounds tomatoes, 1 onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, a splash of red wine, and basil added at the end). It paired nicely, and it was an easy-drinking wine. It was very versatile as a light red wine. The flavor was light, very cherry. It was on the fruitier end of Pinot Noir wines, and it had a vanilla and berry finish. You could also pick up balsamic notes with a little bit of pepper. It’s a great wine for those who don’t drink a lot of wine or who don’t like heavy wines.

The Regalo Valley Ranch 2011 Artist Series Zinfandel was a light Zin. It was all grapes and berries, it was smoother and had more of a coffee flavor than some of the big cigar box Zins we’ve liked in the past. It had notes of vanilla and hazelnut as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. It was easy drinking, with very little heat on the back end. We paired it with a simple steak with a bleu cheese crust and baked potato, and it paired well that way.

The basket would make a very lovely gift for a friend or family member with a special event or celebration. The mild wines make it a nice gift for those who aren’t necessarily “wine aficionados,” but they have just enough complexity to appeal to those who are. The snacks are fun, and the chocolate – who doesn’t like chocolate?

California Delicious has a lot of different gourmet gift baskets that range in pricing. Some of the other baskets of interest include:

Champagne Gift Basket

The Giant All-Star Gift Basket ($59.99) – Do you know someone who is still celebrating the San Francisco Giants’ recent World Series win? This is the perfect gift basket for them.  It includes Giants-themed peanuts and Giants-labeled Mumm Sparkling Brut.

Noah's Ark Newborn Baby Gift Basket

Mickey Mouse Basket of Baby Boy SurprisesMinnie Mouse Basket of Baby Girl Surprisesand Noah’s Ark Baby Gift Basket (all $99.99 each) – These adorable baskets make great little gifts for the new arrival among your friends or family members. I have to say, they are pretty awesome. I’m loving the little stuffed animals in the Noah’s Ark basket.

Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Gift Set

For Thanksgiving, if you can’t be with family or friends, you can let them know you are thinking of them. The Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic ($29.99) gift set would be a nice gesture for the gourmet in your life. The Classic Chardonnay Wine and Cheeseboard ($39.99) includes a gift the recipient can keep using (I didn’t mention this before, but I kept the basket – it makes a nice place to keep fruits from our CSA available for snacking). I also think the Fall Pumpkin Spice Serenity Spa ($59.99) is a great idea. How many people do you know love the PSL?

In all, I enjoy gift baskets. I received one when I graduated from my Master’s degree program many years ago, and I savored every moment.  It stood out as a gift for years, because it was pretty, I got to try some new products, and it felt like I was being spoiled.

Scallop and Bacon Fettuccine Alfredo

Scallop and bacon fettuccine alfredo

Scallop and bacon fettuccine Alfredo

Sometimes, you’re at the store and you see something on sale that you haven’t really worked with before, and your husband says “YUM!” You grab up the scallops, and you think, “Now what can I make with this?”

Sometimes, you’ve also recently had wine that was amazing – Fontanella’s Chardonnay, and you think, now what could that go with? Ah, yes some sort of creamy Alfredo – with bacon.

Because, folks, if any wine I’ve tasted has wanted bacon, it’s Fontanella’s Chardonnay. It’s creamy, a little smokey, and has a bit of paprika and spice to it. Perfect for pairing with bacon.

So, I decided, I needed to make fettuccine Alfredo.

I started out by frying up 3 strips of bacon. Now, when you do bacon, in my opinion, it’s best to throw it into the stainless steel pan unadulterated. Don’t add oil to your bacon! Do you hear me? It produces its own oil as it cooks, and believe me, that’s plenty to keep it from sticking to the pan. Plus, um, who needs more fat with their bacon?

Not me.

Once the bacon is done, I take it out and put it on a paper-towel lined plate to soak up the grease and set it aside. I then drained off most of the fat, reserving about 2 tablespoons worth. Then, I added 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it melted, I added the scallops, about 1 teaspoon of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each of paprika, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes. I cooked the scallops until they were done and browned on each side, removed them to the same paper-towel lined plate added the zest of one lemon and juice from that lemon. I then set them aside to keep warm while I began working on the roux.

I added 3 tablespoons of flour to the pan and mixed it into the butter that was there until it was a light brown. Then, I added 1 onion, chopped up to the pan. Once the onion was looking translucent, I added 3 large cloves of garlic (had they been smaller, I’d have used 6 or 7 but these guys were HUGE), minced. I let that cook and added about 1 teaspoon of oregano to the pan, and let all that cook together for about a minute. Then, I added 3/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan, and let it boil down. I added 1 cup of cream, 1/2 cup of whole milk, and 1/4 cup of packed chopped parsley. I also re-added the scallops and the bacon, which was now chopped. I did not add parmesan to the sauce. I brought the whole thing to just below a boil, reduced the temperature, and let it do its think simmering while the fettuccine noodles cooked. When they were done, I reserved about 1 cup of pasta water, drained the noodles, and then added the reserved water to the sauce.

Simply serve the sauce over the pasta, garnish with parmesan (a good amount!) and parsley, and enjoy…with the wine.

It was an excellent pairing.

Wine Review List: A Southern Hemisphere Sampler

The wine notes included in this post are from prior to the closing of Creekside Cellars*, the establishment responsible for putting together the list of wines I will discuss. There were two wines we did not order in the tasting: Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Marlborough, New Zealand) and d’Arenberg “Hermet Crab” 68% Viogner and 32% Marsanne from McLaren Vale, Australia.  We’d had both of them previously and have them in our cellar. They come highly recommended.

**This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling, 53% Chardonnay & 43% Pinot Noir, South Africa – $16 – This wine was good. We gave it a star. The wine had notes of vanilla and almonds, and it was very smooth. This would be a great sparkling for pairing with appetizers.

Concha Y Toro 2011 Chardonnay, Limari Valley, Chile – $20 – We liked this wine a good bit; we gave it a star and an exclamation point. It had a curry like spice to it, like turmeric, ginger, and spice. The wine was very full bodied and creamy. It was heavy on the tongue. It had lime and oak notes, and it paired well with creamy flavors.

Staete Landt 2009 “Paladin” Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand – $27 – We also gave this wine a star and an exclamation point. It was light, similar to the Hickman Family Vineyards Grenache we enjoy, with flavors of spice, cloves, tannins, and plums. In all it was a decent, easy-drinking wine.

Urban Uco 2011 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina – $14 – This wine was a decent value. For under $15 you could have a reasonably good Malbec. It is more understated than Antigal Uno. It had flavors of plums, oil, red pepper flakes, and blackberries. It would pair wonderfully with my tacos or with this stuffed pablanos recipe from Cookie and Kate.

Thorn Clarke 2010 “Shotfire” Shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia – $22 – Out of all the wines we tried, this was our favorite, earning a star and two exclamation points. It had hints of chocolate and paprika, but it also had a caramel and tobacco finish. I can highly recommend this wine to readers who would like something that doesn’t cost too much for their cellar. I strongly suspect it will age well.

Santa Carolina 2009 “Reserva de Familia” Carmenere, Valle del Rapel, Chile – $28 – This wine had a very sweet, like candy, nose and was very fresh smelling. On the tasting, however, it was surprisingly very dry. It was tobacco, spice, oil, and must. It was nice, we gave it a star.

Mulderbosch “Faithful Hound” 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 13% Petite Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc and Malbec, Stellenbosch, South Africa – $25 – This wine was…weird. It could be good so long as it was paired with strong, peppery flavors. However, on its own, it was must, rubber, and tasted like it was sweetened with sugar. We gave it no stars.

Have you tried any of these wines? What thoughts did you have about them? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.



Helpful Tips For Choosing The Best Napa Valley White Wine

English: A 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Ro...

English: A 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Robert Mondavi Winery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve decided that I will accept guest posts for this blog, especially while I’m pregnant, in order to provide you with fresh wine news. Here is another post from Chuck Withers over at Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog.


When it comes to Napa Valley wines in general, there isn’t a high likelihood of selecting a bad wine. With quality soils, climate, and wineries, Napa Valley regularly produces some of the world’s finest wines. With Napa Valley as your location of choice, you can be confident of getting good quality wines.


There might be, however, some choices that might work better under different situations. White wines, for example, tend to be more conducive to certain meals than red wines. Even in the case of white wines, however, the decision can seem slightly overwhelming.


Whether you are selecting wines for yourself, or for a special group of people, here are some tips to help you choose the right Napa Valley white wine.


Setting The Mood


With their elegance and glamorous quality, particular wines can have a distinct effect, adding to the mood in nearly any event. As you consider which white wines to serve at a specific event, it can be a very good idea to have some sort of an atmosphere in mind. What type of a mood would you like to create?


If your goal is to create a sophisticated atmosphere of elegance or grace, Chardonnay may be a good option. Commonly noted as the most popular of white wines, Chardonnay can greatly enhance an elegant occasion. With crowd-pleasing flavors ranging from nutty to tropical, Chardonnay can be the perfect addition to any wedding party or stylish dinner. If Chardonnay is your choice, make sure to serve it chilled, but not too cold. Before serving, you may want to pull the bottle out of the refrigerator for a few minutes to let it warm up a bit.


If you are looking for something slightly more exciting, perhaps for a big party, you may want to consider providing multiple types of Napa Valley white wines. You may even want to consider using wine-tasting as part of your event. Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris can be great options for these types of events.


As you consider the desired mood for your particular special event, you can be well prepared to find the perfect wines to serve.


Planning Wine For A Specific Meal


Another major factor to help in your selection is the type of meal you will be serving. While some Napa Valley white wines may be versatile enough to go well with a variety of meals, there are some that go best with particular dishes.  When there is a specific menu in mind for an event, it may be a good idea to plan your wines to match.


When your meal contains lots of spicy foods or smoked meats, you may want to consider serving Gewürztraminer. This can be a delicious choice, providing a spicy enhancement to your meal. Riesling, which may be either light or medium bodied, may also be a good choice to add to your spicy dishes.


For light meals, containing dishes like chicken or salad, Pinot Blanc or Chenin Blanc may be a great choice.


Confidence In Your Choice


When surrounded by the people you care about, you can have a quality experience no matter which white wines you choose. Don’t be too stressed out about having the perfect choice every time. As you grow in experience, you will become more confident in your selection of wines. With Napa Valley white wines, any choice is a good choice.


Article courtesy of Chuck Withers of the Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog, follow him on Twitter @twoguyswine for more updates on wine, travel and many more international delights.



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Taste the Gold!

A glass of sauvignon blanc wine from unknown o...

A glass of sauvignon blanc wine from unknown origin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This week’s tasting at Creekside Cellars focused on Gold and Double Gold winners from the 2012 California State Fair. We tried all 10 wines this week, and there wasn’t one that we thought was bad out of the lot.


NV Korbel Brut Rosé, California ($14) – We’re not big champagne or sparkling wine drinkers, so it is difficult to be partial when writing about sparkling wine. This one was pretty good as a champagne, and if we were looking for something for a New Years Eve toast, we might consider it.


2011 Estancia Sauvignon Blanc, Pinnacles Ranches, Monterrey County ($17) – This was very nice. The nose was filled with the bouquet of Douglas Fir Trees. The wine had notes of apricots and pluot. It wasn’t too filled with citrus. It also was much warmer than most sauvignon blancs. This is one of those wines you want to try if you’re not sure you enjoy the traditional Sauvignon Blanc that has a lot of citrus in it.


2011 Brassfield Estate Winery “Serenity” White Wine, Blend of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer, High Valley, California ($17) – This wine had notes of Granny Smith or Fuji apples, and strawberries. This wine was very approachable and easy drinking. It would be a great wine to serve at a book club night.


2010 Landmark Vineyards “Overlook” Chardonnay, Sonoma County ($30) – This wine was big and buttery but still light with hints of cloves. It would go very well with an Easter ham, and it is an outstanding choice for those looking for a chardonnay. It was a lovely balance of cream and oak, without being over the top like many of the California chardonnays are.


2010 Forefront (by Pine Ridge) Pinot Noir ($23) – This wine would pair well with anything, and was definitely a wonderful choice for the menu. It had a balance between fruit and tobacco, as well as paprika. It was phenomenal with the salami that was served on the cheese plate.


2010 Red Rock Winery Winemakers’ Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, California ($13) – I was surprised to find out the price of some of the wines on the list this week, and this one was no exception. It was fruity and had notes of blackberries, creme de casis, dark fruit, and sun dried tomatoes. It would pair well with a bold marinara sauce.


Sonoma County Grapes

Sonoma County Grapes (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)


2009 Vino Noceto “Dos Oakies” Sangiovese, Shenandoah Valley, California ($30) – This wine was just beautiful. It had notes of almonds, vanilla, and raspberries. The wine had a heavy, full body and was quite creamy. It would pair well with pizza and would be phenomenal with Mexican food.

2008 Carol Shelton “Karma” Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley ($33) This wine had roses, coffee, and milk chocolate on the nose. It was creamy and had notes of red fruit and black pepper. It was a very good wine, and would cellar very well.

2009 Doe Mill Vineyards Smokey Ridge Red Blend of Zinfandel Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Sierra Foothills, California ($24) – This wine was absolutely amazing, and was the star of the night’s tastings. It would pair perfectly with  filet mignon. It was absolutely amazing and rich and bold.

2009 Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley This wine was full bodied, creamy, and had notes of dark chocolate and espresso It would be lovely paired with creme brulee.



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Creekside Summertime Wines

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes.

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This week’s theme at Creekside was summertime wines. We tasted eight out of nine of the offered wines, and we liked all but one of the wines (and that one was still pretty good. All of the wines were meant to be refreshing and fun – the perfect wines to accompany a late summer barbecue.


2010 Domaine des Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, Loire Valley, France – ($18) – This wine had a hint of apples to it. It was dry like Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider (except for the fact that it was a crisp white wine). This wine would be a great accompaniment to brie and apples as an appetizer. We liked it a good bit.


2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier from Clarksburg, California – ($17) – This wine had a stone fruit nose, and on tasting, we sensed white peaches and pepper. It went very well with the blue cheese from the cheese plate (Roaring Forties Blue). This wine was also very nice.


2011 Chamisal Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay from Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, California – ($17) – This wine was also nice. It had hints of paprika and spice. It was a dry white wine.


2011 Waterbrook Rose of Sangiovese from Columbia Valley, Washington – ($16) – This wine was buttery, lemony, and spicy. It would go well with a sweet and sour type dish. We liked it okay, but thought that Bertagna’s Rose of Sangiovese outshone it.


2007 Monte Antico “Toscana” 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet and 5% Merlot from Tuscany, Italy – ($13) – Even though the composition of this wine only included 5% Merlot, you could taste the fruit forward done right qualities. This wine had the cigar box qualities we love with notes of black pepper. If you love caprese salad (who doesn’t?), this would be a perfect pairing.


2009 Ancient Peaks Merlot from Paso Robles, California – ($16) – This wine was filled with notes of berries and spice. It was very robust and went great with the blue cheese. It’s strongly recommended.


2009 Kingston Family “Lucero” Syrah from Casablanca Valley, Chile – ($18) – This wine as phenomenal. This wine had a mushroom finish to it. It would be a wonderful pairing with a stroganoff. It also had a coffee finish and hints of truffles and cigar box qualities. This wine is on our must-purchase list.


2009 Yalumba “The Scribbler” 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia – ($19) – If you only try one wine from this list, you might want to make it this one. This wine was sour, hazy, and also had a lovely cigar box quality to it. It was spicy, and the finish reminded me of pumpkin pie spice – something I love to sprinkle over fruity summer deserts. It also has some hints of olives to it, and it turned smooth with the creamy cheeses. It was simply wonderful.



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Creekside’s Hazy Days Tasting


Baby Grapes

Baby Grapes (Photo credit: AdamLogan)


This week’s tasting featured some nice wines. The theme was the “Lazy Hazy Days of Summer” – and the wines were nice wines to complement the theme. This week’s tasting featured nine wines, we tasted eight of those wines.


2011 Voss Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley – ($19) – This wine had a hay and Cheerios bouquet on the nose. It had hints of grass as well as raw egg and peach.


Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...

Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than the bluish-gray coloring of Pinot gris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2010 Benton Lane Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon – ($17) – This was a good generic white, it had apricot notes and paired quite well with the Petite Agour cheese (sheep’s milk cheese with a nutty brown butter flavor from the French Pyrenees) that was served.


2009 Sbragia Chardonnay from Dry Creek, Sonoma – ($27) – This chardonnay was a lovely combination of oak butter, and cream. It would pair well with the creamy Swedish meatball dish I make. It also had some subtle hints of cantaloupe during the tasting.


2011 Muga Rose of Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain – ($13) – This rosé was sour with a watermelon nose. It had notes of grapefruit with a bit of kick and spice. It was a bit like a sour Jolly Rancher.

2009 The Dreaming Tree “Crush” Red Blend from the North Coast – ($17) – This wine was very nice and balanced. It had a cigar box feel to it with berry notes. It was sweet with a bit of a bacon fat taste – but in a very good way. This wine also carried notes of pluots – it was very good and very nicely crafted.

2008 St. Amant Tempranillo from Amador County – ($18) – This wine was wow. It’s nose contained hints of the ocean and a forest and cigar box taste. It was just lovely as a wine.

2008 Cooper Vineyard Zinfandel from Amador County – ($26) – This wine was also very nice. It was big, beefy, yet at the same time it was a balanced and well-rounded Zinfandel. There were notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and plums. It would pair very well with beef bourguinon, steak, or beef tacos.

2009 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley – ($38) – This wine was smooth. It had sweat on the nose, but somehow that smelled good. On the tasting there were notes of chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut.

Have you had any of these wines? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.




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Swedish Meatballs and 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Ethos Chardonnay Reserve

Tonight for dinner, I made chicken Swedish meatballs and we paired it with a 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Chardonnay Reserve.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Swedish meatballs recipe came courtesy of Cooking Light. I’ve made it many times before, however, usually instead of the rye bread, I use a garlic bread produced by our local supermarket. This time, I used sourdough bread. While the recipe was still quite delicious, it wasn’t as spectacular as it had been in the past.

Because the sauce is based on light sour cream, the creamy texture of the Chardonnay was lovely. The sauce helped to bring out the buttery qualities of the Chateau Chardonnay. This pairing is highly recommended (and the recipe is even lower in fat than you would think!)

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