2008 Eola Hills Pinot Noir: Emilie and Greg liked it, Victoria not so much

may 31, 2010: we had a lot of cilantro left over from when greg made hotpot a week or so ago. so victoria marinated chicken breasts with a recipe calling for cilantro, lemon juice/zest, garlic, saffron and more via http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127092887&sc=fb&cc=fp (the recipe is toward the end, and she grilled it instead of baked it.) she paired this with steamed carrots and red creamer potatoes, and some carmelized onions (3 yellow onions plus salt, black pepper and a dash of sugar really do reduce.) the recipe can be found via http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Caramelizing-Onions-Step-by-Step/Detail.aspx.

victoria decided to pair this chicken dish with an oregon pinot, since sauvignon blancs are generally too risky given greg's antipathy toward grapefruit. greg and emilie liked this pinot since they like acidity. greg and victoria got a nose of strawberry, and the flavor was somewhat woody. victoria thought this wine smoothed out and became gentler towards the very end, after it had been open for a while. emilie and greg would both get this wine again. also, emilie and victoria noticed that this was a lighter-colored pinot noir than others we've had. 13.6 percent alcohol. winetree.

by the way, this 2008 eola hills is apparently the best-selling pinot noir in the portland, ore., metropolitan area. it was about $18 at winetree.

2008 Thorn-Clarke Terra-Barossa Shiraz: Smooth, jammy, thick.

may 26, 2010: victoria got home from the office a bit earlier today, so greg popped some andouille on the grill and we opened this australian that he bought at big red liquors in bloomington earlier this year. we both thought it was very smooth and definitely jammy, while victoria thought it was almost syrupy. we both got a blackberry flavor. 14.5 alcohol.


2006 Durigutti Malbec: Easy to drink.

greg bought this mendoza, argentinian, at winetree. he liked it, saying the nose was fruity. victoria also liked it, though it had the roughness of a typical malbec. it wasn't as fruity as the gascon malbec. 14.5 percent alcohol. this bottle had sediment.


2009 Indaba Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp, fruity, not much grapefruit.

may 22, 2010: victoria prepared a baked goat cheese salad with mustard vinaigrette, so we wanted to pair it with a white sauvignon blanc (our wine pairing book advised new world creations would work best with goat cheese. but the main reason was greg needed a white wine to make the gravy for his venison dish.) so nancy and i stopped by winetree on our way back from the farmers market and the antique stores. tim, one of the wine guys, asked another of the employees there for a rec for a no-grapefruit sauvignon blanc. (he knows more about reds than whites.) so we were advised to get this south african, which worked out pretty well on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far. nancy in particular is more of a white wine person than a red wine person, so she liked it. but greg said fred didn't like it too much because it had a grapefruit flavor. 13.5 alcohol. less than $10.

1998 Chateauneuf du Pape E. Guigal: Greg liked it.

may 22, 2010: greg prepared venison steaks (he shot the button buck himself) in creamy brie sauce. this recipe worked out well, but the gravy (made with a south african sauvignon blanc) was the best part. greg really enjoyed this paired with the venison. he said it was a subtle match. victoria just isn't sold on this vintage. alan had given greg this as a gift for his birthday, and greg was overjoyed at his generosity. but victoria thought it was a little too acidic for her, without much full flavor. 13.5 percent alcohol. gifts.

2010 Grabner Winery Plum Port: Very, very good.

may 22, 2010: nancy and fred came to visit us for the weekend, bringing with them this plum port that fred fortified with peach brandy. it was delicious! it was definitely an after-dinner drink, sweet, but not so sweet that it cloyed the taste buds. fred said the alcohol level is probably in the 20-percent range. greg said this was his only bottle that he made. victoria said that if this port were sold in a store, she would buy it. gifts.

2008 Gascon Malbec: Good value, nice flavor and texture.

we opened this mendoza argentinian after a fun dinner with just the two of us. we've always liked gascon malbec, and this 2008 was also good: fruity, smoother than your typical malbec, definitely easy to drink. we'd get it again. 13.9 percent alcohol. big red liquors.

2006 Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: Greg liked it, Victoria was undecided.

may 21, 2010: greg grilled up some andouille sausages that victoria had bought at the newburgh butcher shop on thursday. we weren't certain what to pair with it, since we usually do australian shiraz. but we had purchased this dry red italian at sam's club a couple months prior, and http://winecask.blogspot.com/2010/02/cantina-zaccagnini-montepulciano.html had billed it as fruity. so we thought, why not? as for the results, greg liked it. it had some slight tannins but was also fruity. but victoria said her immediate impression was that it was a bit tightly closed in flavor, though it opened up as the night wore on. it was easy to drink, and held up well against the spicy andouille. less than $20. 13 percent alcohol.

2006 Lengs & Cooter The Victor Shiraz: Too sweet and syrupy.

may 15, 2010: victoria popped this open after greg had prepared hot pot, a massive meal of beef slices, bok choy, noodles and chicken broth. needless to say, there is lots of salt in this dish. so when victoria opened this mclaren vale shiraz, she was a little worried that all that salt would affect the flavor of this belair, south australian. that said, victoria thought it was too sweet, with a smoothness that was almost too much like syrup. greg had it a few days later when it had turned to vinegar. we purchased this at varsity liquors. it was under $20. 14.5 percent alcohol. wouldn't get it again.

2004 de Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume: Greg likes this better chilled.

this was the last of a couple bottles greg had purchased at big red liquors in bloomington, and we paired it with ocean perch we bought at schnucks and marinated in some soyaki sauce aaron hacker brought us from trader joe's. the seasoning was good, but this particular ocean perch, while inexpensive, was not that good; it actually smelled fishy before we marinated it and put it on the grill.

as for this loire valley white from nievre, france, greg really prefers this chilled. but victoria liked it, since honey and lemon flavors (which were most evident at room temperature) are really appealing to her. greg had bought this at a discount at big red; one of the wine guys there said it would soon go bad, but it didn't for us.

2005 Christian Moueix Medoc: Eh.

may 23, 2010: we were waiting to try this, having heard good things about medoc from a trusted source. but this particular bottle, purchased at varsity liquors, was not that impressive. we decanted this. victoria thought it had a coffee and berry nose, and was very tannic, with slight acidity/bitterness. greg said the nose was fruity, but the flavor was light and didn't have much there. he thought it was also somewhat sour. this was a blend of cabernet sauvignon (50 percent), merlot (30), cabernet franc (15) and petit verdot (5). it was bottled by jean-pierre moueix vineyards in gironde, france.

we paired it with grilled chicken breasts that we marinated in some leftover beefstock, fresh thyme, green onions, sea salt, fresh sage, fresh rosemary, white onions and canola oil. we let that marinate for about 45 minutes, and we steamed some carrots. we also had some leftover mashed turnips with bacon that we had made the night before, and miniature summer squash we had purchased at the first-annual farmers market in downtown evansville (seasoned with a south african sauvignon blanc, rosemary, thyme, garlic salt and crushed garlic). the chicken was tender and moist, though lightly flavored. we could have added more salt to the mix, and possibly marinated it for longer than 45 minutes.


2008 Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel: Tight, young, fruity.

may 10, 2010: we paired this with grilled steaks with garlic salt and chicago-style seasoning, carrots, asparagus and red creamer potatoes. this napa, calif., was young, spinning yarns of alcohol off its cool, cool head. so we decanted: 20 minutes and the steak was mostly gone. then the orin came out, all fruity and strongly proportioned. this was a 15.5 percent alcohol speciman, so it's a serious one. good thing this evening was filled with laughs. purchased from winetree, blessed with dennis' "oh yeah, it's good" recommendation.

greg likes this zinfandel, but he said it's best to buy a bottle and sit on it for a while. so we'll buy two and take it to alan's for a basement treatment that will last a couple years or three. sounds good. this wine could stand to mature while we do the same. two years and counting, starting tomorrow :)

2007 MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir: Very fruity, a bit acidic.

may 9, 2010: emilie arrived back home from visiting sean in ottawa just in time for a meal of grilled tuna via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/tuscan-style-grilled-tuna-steaks-recipe/index.html. also, we had it with grilled salmon via http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grilled-Salmon-I/Detail.aspx. both turned out well. next time, we might want to grill the tuna for less than 4 minutes each side since it was a bit dry. this was victoria's first time working with raw tuna steaks, and she noticed right away before seasoning it that tuna is a less fatty fish than salmon. but overall, the flavors for both were very good. we also had steamed carrots and asparagus.

we paired these two fish with this californian, which we chilled. when it was first opened, victoria thought it seemed immediately pinched. the nose was fruity, but the acidity in the wine limited the flavor, truncating its expression. as the wine warmed up, it became more flavorful, and a good amount of the acidity wore off, giving it more personality. this was a pretty flavorful pinot for less than $20. 13.5 percent alcohol. purchased at schnucks.


2007 Terra Andina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon: Good, easy to drink

may 7, 2010: greg grilled up some hamburgers he bought at schnucks (he got ones prepared with portabella mushrooms and jalapenos), and we decided to pair this with one of dennis' recommendations from winetree. this chilean concoction was quite good; it had somewhat of a berry flavor, and it also reminded us a bit of a malbec in terms of texture (it was a bit rough, but that was a good thing). 13.5 percent alcohol. about $12.


2007 Paragon Vineyard Edna Valley Tangent Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp, slight pineapple nose

may 5, 2010: greg prepared a delicious grilled chicken seasoned with garlic salt, and steamed carrots with dill. this was the perfect pairing with this crisp california sauvignon blanc from winetree, which was only about $12. it wasn't the most flavorful of sauvignon blanc we've had (that was greg's first reaction), but victoria thought it was a good value summer wine if you are looking for something easy to drink during the warmer months. the label on this wine says it's a blend of styles from the loire valley, new zealand's marlborough region, and coastal california. it definitely didn't have the floral aromas of a new zealand s.b. 13.5 percent alcohol.


2005 Lautaret Saint-Joseph Syrah: Aromatic nose, tannic.

may 2, 2010: we paired this french 100 percent syrah with grilled chicken seasoned with garlic salt and italian seasoning, spinach and butter potatoes. this eric and joel durand speciman had a plum nose, with a slight dirtiness to its flavor. greg thought it was a bit acidic at the end of it because it started out chilled, but the nose opened up as it warmed up. the tannins were really pronounced. 13 percent alcohol. big red liquors.

2006 Monte Antico Toscana: More flavorful one day after opening, but easy to drink.

may 1-2, 2010: this was a recommendation from one of the guys at winetree. victoria paired it with pasta with butter and cheese, which did a good job of toppling the tannins in this wine. but, this italian wasn't that flavorful. this particular variety was a first for victoria, since it was a mixture of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. it was from the "select tuscan hillside vineyard" of italy, bottled in pisa. the next day, greg and victoria thought this wine opened up some more and was more buttery, with minor tannins. it had somewhat of a plum flavor. 12.5 percent alcohol.


2008 Molly Dooker The Boxer Shiraz Sarah and Sparky Marquis: Split opinion.

april 30, 2010: we paired this south australian, mclaren vale, shiraz with grilled chorizo and grilled sheboygan brats from the newburgh butcher shop. victoria had purchased it that afternoon at the winetree, where the owner said this batch of molly dookers were made with better quality grapes than in previous years. that's because it wasn't a good growing year for shiraz grapes, so instead of putting these grapes into the higher priced molly dookers, the vintners put them in this level of molly dookers (the highest price md's are priced at more than $100, and they aren't sold in indiana, apparently.)

victoria loved this wine! first of all, at 16 percent alcohol this was a high octane wine, definitely something that will make sure you stay home and finish it that night. she said it was jammy, chewy, with a good balance of tannins and acidity. the chorizo we had it with was a good match for this powerful wine. whenever possible, she tries to match brats with australian shiraz because of the spicy aspect of each pairing.

greg, on the other hand, did not like this wine at all when it was cold. he said it was so acidic it turned his stomach, and the nose had vapors of alcohol. he said the wine became more jammy as it warmed up, but he still wouldn't get this wine again.