2007 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel: Good, but rough against this meatloaf.

nov. 30, 2009: victoria made a classic meatloaf using a "joy of cooking" recipe. it worked out well, especially because of the roughly chopped onions and the heavily seasoned breadcrumbs (and she used about 1/9 cup of dried parsley, seeing as how we no longer had the fresh variety). we'll make this recipe again. against this sonoma, californian, however, the meatloaf was smooth while the wine was slightly rough. we just had an exquisite blend of a zin/cab at madeline's a week ago friday (the orin swift prisoner), however, so compared to that, this cline is a bit uncivilized. still. it was a good food night on a cold and slightly damp day. 14.5 percent alcohol. $13.49 at big red liquors (with 10-percent mixed case discount).


2008 Grabner Winery Gewurztraminer: Good.

nov. 29, 2009: greg brought back this indiana winery vintage that his father made. greg thought this particular bottle was different from the one he had in bloomington. victoria thought it had a honey nose, with a good punchy flavor. it also had some slight lemon leanings. we had it with this recipe: http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1639,148180-237203,00.html that worked out pretty well, especially since we melted saga classic blue cheese and rosenborg castello noble blue in the pan on top of the chicken. greg thinks this german variety was about 12 percent alcohol. a gift from his parents.


Banana smoothie: Decent. No wine this time.

nov. 27, 2009: victoria made this smoothie recipe after she ran a 5K in henderson thanksgiving morning. we had two bananas that were starting to show some brown spots and wanted to use them up before they went totally bad. the recipe was relatively decent; she used two bananas instead of one and put an extra half teaspoon of vanilla extract in the mix. it wasn't as sweet as she had hoped for, but that's okay; it was still a refreshing treat on this thanksgiving morning. http://housewares.about.com/gi/rating/reviews.htm?bvv=-2&bvid=5c13LhO000IU&u=%2fod%2frecipes%2fr%2fsprsimplsmoothi%2ehtm&t=Super%20Simple%20Banana%20Smoothie%20Recipe


2002 Orin Swift Prisoner: Soft, gentle, berry-filled and exquisite.

nov. 20, 2009: this was victoria's birthday weekend, and to celebrate we went out for dinner at madeleine's in evansville. we weren't sure what to order, or what wine to select, even though we had glanced at the menu/wine list previously via http://madeleinesfusion.com/menu/wine.html (which is supposed to change weekly, but doesn't really). in the end, we chose the foie gras and the crab cakes as starters, blue cheese wedge salad and goat cheese/pecans salad, then the venison and the rack of lamb. to match our entrees, we wanted to get a zinfandel. on a whim, we chose the 2002 prisoner from napa valley. from the start it was delicious. we both thought it really shone by itself, though of the two entrees, it was best paired with the lamb. at the restaurant it was $50 for the bottle. on http://www.snooth.com/, it was $20. we'd like to get this again, though according to snooth, it is out of stock. understandably so.


Glazed strawberries: Excellent! No wine this time.

nov. 15, 2009: victoria made glazed strawberries by boiling sugar, corn syrup and water to 300 degrees (the hard-crack stage). this has been a long-time goal of hers. she was concerned initially because heating sugar that hot can cause serious burns, but there weren't any problems. plus, it was easy to clean the candy thermometer and the non-stick pot by just soaking them in cold water. the only problem with this recipe is that we were supposed to eat them within 1-2 hours of making them, and since we only have one working stovetop burner big enough to accomodate that particular pan, it was kind of culinary traffic jam. http://candy.about.com/od/fruitcandy/r/glazed_sberries.htm.
following with the fruit theme, victoria later made blackberry-glazed pork medallions. there was one major difference between this recipe and what actually happened. while the pork loins were well flavored, the ones she used were thicker than the recipe called for and she now thinks she should have cooked them at a lower temperature for more time. we'd make it again, with some adjustments, via http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/561/Blackberry-Glazed-Pork-Medalli94809.shtml no photos available, unfortunately.


2006 Domaine de Couron Merlot: Greg likes it, Victoria has more of an 'eh' reaction

nov. 9, 2009: we had this vin de pays des coteaux de l'ardeche with grilled chicken prepared with a recipe via http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herb-Fryer-Chicken/Detail.aspx, steamed red potatoes and broccoli. greg said he really likes this wine and that he would definitely get it again. he likes its gentle flavor. but victoria was not as impressed. she said the nose improved as it warmed up, and toward the end of the meal the scent approximated crayons. but she said the flavor was somewhat bland -- almost like eating paper -- though she could feel the tannins and taste a minor amount of acidity. she doesn't seem to like merlots that much so far; greg, however, really likes them. this grilled chicken recipe was very good, by the way. it was light and fresh and we'd make it again, definitely. also, we started the meal with cheese and bread, and the two types of blue cheese (castello and saga) stood out as being very good paired with the wine. (dessert tonight were poires helene, which is a recipe victoria found in "the joy of cooking." basically, it's homemade poached pears on a bed of vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce. didn't go with the wine, but it was perfect with the cognac we had, and in the chocolate sauce the cognac was tablespooned into.) 14.5 percent alcohol. $9.99 with 5 percent mixed-case discount at friar tuck beverage in st. louis.


2008 Angeline Pinot Noir: More acidic than Victoria remembers.

nov. 8, 2009: we had this californian from santa rosa with a new salmon recipe at http://www.sippitysup.com/searedsalmon, steamed red potatoes and arugala with olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. this recipe was very subtly flavored; greg thinks we may need to add more chili pepper to the marinade next time, and to really push it within the depths of the salmon filet before we grill it. still, it was good, what victoria calls a light, easy meal. the angeline was, victoria says, a little acidic, with a pinched cherry flavor, but still a manageable pinot. we first had this at a restaurant in clayton, mo., during our anniversary weekend, and we picked up a bottle at friar tuck liquors in st. louis the next day. greg thinks the nose is very fruity, it has a little tannin scent (he can always spot this), the flavor is cherry, slightly sweet, it is a 2 on the 1-5 tannin scale (with 5 being so tannic it's undrinkable). greg said he could drink another bottle of this. we also had this pinot with two types of blue cheese: blue castello, and saga. in both cases, the cheese made the angeline seem sweeter. 13.2 percent alcohol. $11.99 with 5 percent mixed-case discount at friar tuck.

2006 Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Cotes du Rhone: Very good.

nov. 7, 2009: we had this rhone valley vineyards selection with grilled seasoned chicken, carrots and asparagus. we both really liked it. we started off with some saga blue cheese, manchego, gouda, brittany butter and bread. it went very well with those. overall, victoria thought the wine was slightly sweet with mild tannins, but it didn't have much of a nose. greg agreed that it was a little sweet. he said it tastes like cherries and has that tannic smell he's accustomed to. this wine is 70 percent grenache and 30 percent syrah. 14 percent alcohol. $13.99 with 10 percent case discount at big red liquors.


1986 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Excellent!

nov. 1, 2009: victoria had this napa valley cab with her parents at their house along with lamb, mashed potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, onions and squash. this wine was exquisite. victoria thought it was almost like candy, it was so good. the bouquet was fruity and sweet, almost like some ports she's had, but the mouthfeel was gentle and light. the flavor was cherry and somewhat chocolate. alan said he had opened the bottle at 4:20 p.m. and it tasted somewhat acidic, so he put it in the decanter. "There was some sediment but not much which was in the shape of rather long, rectangular crystals," alan said. "We started drinking it around 6PM. It was astonishingly good, worth the 95 points mentioned in the link below, and had developed into the pleasing tertiary characteristics of a nicely matured wine. To me the bouquet was most intense when there were just a few drops left at the bottom of the glass -- not sure of the biochemistry involved to cause this. Again, as I understand the word "bouquet" as it applies to wine, bouquet forms after the long complex process of maturing. Before that, what one smells is called 'nose.'" more information is available here: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=902189. $149 according to k and l wines.