Vintage 2008 The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay: Eh. And oddly kind of bubbly

july 31, 2010: emilie prepared a banana cream pie, which was an ellie krieger recipe. it was delicious! everything emilie made was homemade except for the graham cracker crust. we paired it with this adelaide d'arenberg sticky chardonnay, which was unimpressive. it was also slightly bubbly, which was unexpected. 13 percent alcohol. winetree.

2007 Kunde Estate Sonoma Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Mild, some citrus

july 31, 2010: alright. the time came for the second course, only this ended up being a mild disaster. the oven-roasted asparagus via http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/101/Roasted-Asparagus-Spears and the butternut squash (from our own garden)  risotto via http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/favorite-butternut-squash-risotto turned out very well. as for the scallops (via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/seared-scallops-recipe/index.html) ... those were another story. suffice it to say that a well-intentioned argument ensued between emilie and sean regarding the possibility that soap suds would get into the scallops; either that, or these scallops from the schnucks in newburgh just weren't that good. either way, victoria declared she wasn't going to eat them (which was in the best interest of all of us), so we ate a primarily vegetarian meal tonight (except for emilie's banana pudding pie, which was delicious). we paired the entrees with this kunde estate, which was mild and didn't really stand out on its own. it was kind of a wall-flower sauvignon blanc -- not bad, but not necessarily distinctive, either. 13.8 percent alcohol. winetree.

Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne: Mild.

july 31, 2010: this was (one of) emilie's celebratory dinners. she found out on friday that she passed her national board exam for occupational therapy! so in honor of this huge accomplishment, emile, sean and victoria opened up this piper-heidsieck. after toasts, we paired it with sliced french loaf and tuna and olive oil (note: not the best combination, but lesson learned.) 12 percent alcohol. alan's cellar.


2007 Cline Sonoma County Syrah: Light, slightly rough, easy to drink

july 29, 2010: we had a really good cline pinot gris experience a couple of weeks ago. so when victoria stopped by schnucks to pick up some dinner for tonight, she decided to get this sonoma county cline -- partly because it was so inexpensive (just under $9), and partly because it was a syrah (and after a summer of whites, she missed reds).

this californian is rough like a malbec. fresh out of the bottle, it started out a bit acidic. victoria paired it with some boneless pork chops she doused with garlic salt and lemon pepper, then grilled, and steamed broccoli. for a while, this syrah seemed smoother and almost sweet against the salt of the seasoning, and about 10 minutes off the pork chops, it remainded smooth in texture. farther away from the meal, the roughness returned. there's some cherry and plum to the nose. 13.5 percent alcohol.


2008 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige: Lemon, crisp, slight acidity.

july 25, 2010: we had emilie over for a dinner of cold butternut squash soup and grilled chicken pesto sandwiches with roasted red, yellow and orange peppers. here's the soup recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/butternut-squash-soup-recipe/index.html

greg and emilie think the soup could be better with homemade croutons covered with butter and cheese, since the saltiness in the cheese would enhance the sweetness of the butternut squash. these squash are from our garden; we didn't intend to have a vegetable garden this year since we had redone our back yard, but these squash just turned up (and we are very happy about that!)

the grilled chicken pesto sandwiches turned out well, though. victoria first crisped olive-oil drizzled slices of french rustic loaf in the oven at 325 degrees for about 7 minutes. then she spread each piece of bread with a pesto-mayonnaise mixture, added some salad tossed with olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper, piled on the pesto chicken (homemade) and then added slices of homemade roasted peppers. she topped that with some more salad, then added the final piece of bread. they were a big hit :)

this pinot grigio wasn't exactly remarkable, but it was crisp and lemony and light, which was a good fit for this meal (this being one of those hot, indiana summers, after all). $21.99 at schnucks (on sale from about $24.99). 12 percent alcohol. greg and victoria had had this wine (a 2007) in st. louis last year at oceana bistro as part of our wedding anniversary weekend.


2009 Adelsheim Auxerrois: Aromatic nose with hints of peach, light on flavor, better unchilled.

july 23, 2010: we bought this ribbon springs vineyard adelsheim at winetree for about $22. victoria had been looking for an adelsheim pinot noir for a year, but we had pretty much given up the search after fruitless visits to big red liquors and other wine stores. this auxerrois, similar to a chardonnay, reminded us instead of a watered-down sauvignon blanc. it really is lightly flavored, almost forgettable. the nose is the most memorable thing about this oregon, ribbon ridge, speciman. 13.5 percent alcohol.

july 24: second night for this and, room temperature, it's easy to drink. the nose is still there, fruity and light and pleasant, but the flavor remains mild. we were expecting something more spectacular from adelsheim, considering it for some reason was not able to be sold in indiana for some time. still, this wine is smooth, not acidic, not bad. just don't think we'd pay that price to get this particular wine again.


2008 Cline Pinot Gris: Crisp, lightly sweet, good.

this was a surprisingly flavorful wine for victoria, who hasn't had very many good experiences with pinot gris. this sonoma county, calif., bottle was paired with grilled lemon-pepper chicken and grilled red-pepper chicken. it was a good bottle for us, and greg thought he had bought it at schnucks for about $8. 14 percent alcohol (also surprisingly high for a white, in our experience). we chilled it first, and it became sweeter as it warmed to room temperature.

1998 E. Guigal Gigondas: Fruity, a bit heavier than the La Mas des Collines.

july 18, 2010: this frenchman was our second bottle of the evening. it had 13.5 percent alcohol. we had this with what was left of the lamb alan prepared. victoria preferred the La Mas des Collines.


1998 La Mas des Collines Gigondas: Fruity, light, well worth it.

july 18, 2010: victoria and greg had dinner at alan and marie-paule's with emilie as well. alan prepared lamb in the sous-vide with cilantro, garlic and salt (it was delicious!). he also baked fresh figs, but victoria thought that caused them to lose their flavor -- they were almost chalky in texture, too. alan also baked tomatos and olives inside sliced red peppers. victoria made this cheddar polenta recipe that wasn't exactly like one she had prepared before (but that recipe seems to have disappeared). this recipe is also for asparagus, but we left that part out. here it is: http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2009/05/garlic-cheddar-polenta-with-shrimp-and.html

we had this 13.5 percent alcohol specimen first, and it was very fruity and light -- perfect for a hot summer evening. it had flavors of strawberry but no cherry, so no tartness, but it wasn't too sweet, either.


Baba Ganoush with Nancy and Fred's eggplant: Very good! (No wine)

here's the recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/baba-ghanoush-2/Detail.aspx

we recommend adding some salt and not adding as much lemon juice. putting the grilled eggplant in a bowl full of cold water to make it easier to peel off the skin also helped a great deal.

1989 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de Vieux Telegraph: Flavorful.

this is the same night victoria and greg met sean. this particular chateauneuf was very fruity, with strong flavors. victoria thinks it left more of an impression than the 1998 chateauneuf that alan usually gives greg to pair with venison (that wine is very subtle), and this was a rounder, full-flavored wine that had blackberry overtones. 11-14 percent alcohol. alan's cellar. price unknown.

1990 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume: Honey, great with foie gras.

this was the first night greg and victoria met sean, emilie's boyfriend, who is a very nice guy. he was in newburgh to visit emilie, alan and marie-paule for several days, and alan had some foie gras flown in especially for the occasion. this domaine des baumard wasn't exactly a sauternes, but it definitely had the honeyish sweetness and was a good pairing with the rich, decadent goose liver. alan had this baumard in his cellar. unknown price. 14.5 percent alcohol.

2008 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel: An autumn wine, kind of woody, slightly sweet.

july 9 and july 11, 2010: greg poured himself a glass of this on both of these nights (the first night was after a steak). victoria misses these more serious reds, which are both warm and round. this californian is from a reliable vineyard for us, and i think we bought this at sam's. victoria thought it was kind of sweet, with round flavors and a good mix of acidity and tannins. an easy wine to drink, and to like. greg has always been a fan of cline.

2006 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir: Slight strawberry, a little iron, very smooth.

july 11, 2010: emilie came over for a dinner of grilled salmon via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eating-well/honey-soy-broiled-salmon-recipe/index.html and steamed yellow potatoes from fred and nancy's garden. we also had grilled asparagus.

while the salmon recipe wasn't bad, victoria doesn't think it was good enough to make again. we paired this meal with this louis jadot red burgundy, which was pretty smooth. it definitely wasn't an acidic pinot, and right out of the bottle the nose had a hint of strawberry. as it warmed up (this wine has been unopened in our fridge for at least a month), it gave off a slight flavor of iron.

greg and emilie thought it was okay but nothing spectacular.

12.5 percent alcohol. don't remember the price. varsity liquors.

2007 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre: Lemon and green apple. Refreshing, but not worth the price.

victoria bought this at varsity liquors for a little over $30. this was a crisp and refreshing summer wine, with flavors of lemon and green apple. she had bought this knowing that we had had the same wine, same vintage, in october 2009. but then, it was slightly chalky (in a good way), with a lot less citrus to the flavor. victoria thinks it was better younger.

2004 Durigutti Familia: Plum, smooth, serious.

july 9, 2010: tonight was a monumental night in greg's career. without going into more details, we decided to have steak for the occasion: two grilled prime ribs victoria bought at schnucks graced with salt, garlic salt and chicago-style seasoning.

we paired them with this argentinian, which was 85 percent malbec, 5 percent syrah, 4 percent bonarda, 3 percent cabernet franc and 3 percent cabernet sauvignon. even though this was majority malbec, there was no roughness. victoria thought it had flavors of plum and tobacco, with a cherry finish. this wine was substantial and smooth, and it was heavy enough to be well paired against the steak. greg thought this blend was really smooth, with a sweet cherry-plum flavor, very good, spectacular with steak and with no bitterness.

$59.99 at big red liquors. 14.3 percent alcohol.