2008 Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: TOO MUCH GRAPEFRUIT!!!

jan. 24, 2011: i opened this after we finished the a to z chard. greg immediately noticed the grapefruit, which i didn't get at first. the second night (tonight), i paired a glass of this new zealand speciman with the leftover chicken and pasta from last night, and i think it's too grapefruity for me. that's usually greg's complaint about new zealand sauvignon blanc, but with this tohu, i'm in total agreement. i think if we had goat cheese to pair with it, it would be better. we're not finishing this. 13 percent alcohol. sahara mart. $14.49.

2008 A to Z Oregon Chardonnay: Crisp, clean with some lemon

jan. 24, 2010: alright, chardonnay: i know i've said some things, some things i may regret. like those times when you were served blindly at weddings. or when people drank you easily, uncritically, at awards ceremonies. that's when i smirked: you're not meant to be buttery! or, if i want vanilla, i'll eat ice cream!

but you, unoaked 2008 a to z: you are what chardonnay should be ... crisp and clean with inklings of lemon. you stand there in your proud oregon bottle. and after years of searching, we're so glad to say: we like you. finally.

i paired this winetree purchase (recommended by ron) with a breaded chicken breast recipe that i baked in the oven with provolone and parmesan. i used chicken rub that we'd bought at the sahara mart and lots of dried oregano in the bread crumb recipe and then baked it for about 35 minutes at 325. i followed, more or less, this recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/baked-garlic-parmesan-chicken/Detail.aspx  i also prepared pesto from scratch to combine with rigatoni.

1986 Chateau Cos d'Estournel Saint-Estephe: Maybe this needs more time?

jan. 23, 2011: after we finished the joseph phelps, my dad served us this saint-estephe frenchman. he said he's tried one of these bottles every couple of years, but so far -- despite the reviews from others he's found on google -- he's not been very impressed. greg didn't like this as much as the joseph phelps, but i thought the flavors were hard to distinguish. my dad had brined duck breast for dinner, so i think my taste buds were overwhelmed by those flavors. 12.5 percent alcohol.

1986 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: A bit of brown sugar to the nose

jan. 23, 2010: we got back from indy and bloomington and arrived at my parents' house to two twirling dogs (one big, the other little) who almost tripped us and pushed us backwards onto my car. so ashby and shelby were glad to have us home, and almost instantaneously, my dad rewarded us with glasses of this napa valley eisele vineyard from st. helena, california. i don't know how to describe this wine, other than to say that, inexplicably, the nose made me think of brown sugar. the texture was soft, with minor tannins. 13.4 percent alcohol.


2007 Reid-Lockhart Carneros Chardonnay: Mixed opinion

jan. 16, 2011: my parents invited us over for lunch today, and my dad prepared a wonderful brined chicken that he marinated in salt water and then cooked sous vide. he also shaved three white truffles that he purchased at vecchio's italian market in newburgh on top of wide egg noodles. this was a very tasty meal.

also, as an appetizer, my mom prepared gravlax with her traditional mustard-dill recipe. this was very good, as usual, though from what i understand, she used a different mustard. my dad opened a 2007 carneros reid-lockhart chardonnay, which greg liked but i thought wasn't very distinctive. it was acidic with some green apple qualities, not too buttery, yes, but it wasn't that impressive. but then again, i'm generally not a chardonnay aficionado. 14.7 percent alcohol.

2003 Clos Floridene Graves Bordeaux: Earthy, dirty

jan. 16, 2011: we bought eight frozen quail at aihua asian grocery store, which now has a new location, on sunday. i decided i would use this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-quail-185122 and it turned out very well. i was struggling a bit to make sure the quail had reached the necessary 170-degree temperature without making it too tough. but the flavors in this marinade/gravy were quite good, and i think we'll make this again.

researching what to pair with this frenchman was almost more fun than preparing the recipe. we had a 2007 robert mondavi pinot noir solaire that could have worked with this meal. but i wanted to try something new, so we opened up a 2003 clos floridene graves bordeaux, which we decanted for about 45 minutes.

greg said the nose was earthy and that it smelled like brown/black dirt. it had overtones of sweetness. the first flavor was bitter and the texture was dry, but it had a hint of sugar. towards the end of the bottle, it was definitely sweeter, more like cherries or some other type of sweet fruit, with minor bitterness toward the end.  i thought the nose was earthy and dirty -- not exactly barnyard, but definitely masculine. at first, the texture was soft and gentle. this wine revealed itself more toward the end, becoming smoother with some tannic qualities. it's one of the better wines my father has given to us. 13 percent alcohol. gifts.

2008 Patch Block Merlot: Inexpensive relaxation

jan. 14, 2011: we didn't expect this georges duboeuf french wine to be decent. at $6.99, it was definitely a second-bottle speciman, but even this merlot is better than some higher priced versions of the same. i think it's a softer red, thrusting with flavor, with textures strewn every which way. greg said it has a good nose, is slightly tannic, with some sweet and fruity qualities that end with bitterness. a "fantastic merlot for only $7, highly recommended." 13 percent alcohol. winetree.


2009 Montes Pinot Noir: Corked

jan. 14, 2011: greg had bought some pork loins at schnucks recently, and i decided i would roast them in the oven covered with crushed up garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. here's the recipe, and it was quite good. we'll make it again. http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/roasted-pork-loin/Detail.aspx

unfortunately, this casablanca valley chilean pinot turned out to be corked. too bad, as this light red would have gone well with the pork, i think. we got this bottle at big red liquors. 14 percent alcohol.


2005 Lapis Luna Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon: Tobacco, blackberry

jan. 13, 2011: this is my second lapis luna since november 2010. then, we had the shoup vineyard, and without realizing the difference, i bought the lodi appellation tonight at winetree for $13.99. immediately the flavor is much sweeter than other cabs we've had. it's got a smoky tobacco nose, but once you take a sip, the flavor turns to syrupy blackberry. this californian is also easy to drink, and at 14.2 percent alcohol, it's nothing to sneeze at. i don't know why this particular cab is sweeter and less earthy than other cabs we've had, but it's got enough sugar to remind me of a red zinfandel. i'd definitely try this one again. it was also a good choice to close a rough work night that ends with a friday off.


2009 Columbia Winery Cellarmaster's Riesling: Honey flavors, might be too sweet

jan. 9. 2011: these rieslings have such low amounts of alcohol that we don't feel guilty opening up another one, which we did while watching "the other guys" on netflix. this columbia valley, washingtonian, had 10 percent alcohol, and while it was smooth and easy to drink, we both agreed that it was too sweet. i thought it definitely had strong honey overtones. i'm not sure we'd get it again. winetree.

2007 Graff Riesling Kabinett: Apple flavor, crisp, very enjoyable

jan. 9, 2011: it had been a while since i had made vietnamese bun cha, which are ground pork patties with garlic chives, fish sauce, a homemade caramel sauce, and onions. we decided to pair it with this mosel valley german riesling, and the combination was wonderful. the sweetness of the riesling was a perfect match against the spicy tangyness of the bun cha. 8 percent alcohol. winetree.

also, i made this recipe, but since i cut the new potatoes up into smaller quarters, it only took about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. here it is http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/rosemary-roasted-potatoes-recipe/index.html and it turned out pretty well.


2008 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend: Slightly sweet, good

jan. 8, 2010: greg and i opened this up on this, a saturday night, after i got back from work and he was watching the fateful colts game. it was also, coincidentally, an exceedingly bad day in terms of politics in tucson, ariz., so opening this washingtonion while discussing the day's events was therapeutic.

we both liked this blend of merlot and red zin. it was recommended by ron at winetree, who also tipped us off to the 14 hands hot to trot white blend from washington state, which is also very flavorful. this red blend has some sweetness, which we think comes from the zin. it reminded both of us of the apothic red blend of merlot, syrah and red zin. the 14 hands has 13.5 percent alcohol, and we'd definitely get it again. (but if i had to choose between the 14 hands red blend and the white blend, i'd definitely go with the white. also, i'd choose the apothic red over this 14 hands red blend. shhhh. don't tell greg.)


2009 Oliver Winery Gewurtzraminer: Crisp sweetness, with some lemon

jan. 7, 2011: for the first time, i decided to prepare a curried chicken recipe with onions and peas. it can be found here: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/easy-chicken-curry/Detail.aspx (i ended up using one of the tweaked recipes.) it turned out pretty well, though greg thought it could have had more curry (i only put in three tablespoons, versus the 1/3 cup that was in the original recipe). i actually liked it, especially once it was mixed with some chutney, as the sweetness was a good pairing with the curry.

speaking of sweetness, we decided to open an oliver winery gewurtzraminer that brian and jennifer fribley had given us for christmas. this hoosier was smooth and had a crispness to it that made it very refreshing matched with the red pepper flakes i'd added to the curried chicken. this 12.2 percent is worth getting again.

2006 Gravity Hills Central Coast The Sherpa Zinfandel: Decent

this was one of tim's recommendations at winetree. i think this central coast californian might do well to be cellared for a while. it had the earthy quality of a typical zin, but there was something rather rigid about it ... like it needed to relax a bit. 14.2 percent alcohol.

2007 Willamette Valley Adelsheim Pinot Noir: Not as good as expected

dec. 30, 2010: we paired this oregonian with baked salmon that i marinated in brown sugar and soy sauce for a couple hours. i'd really been looking forward to trying this. adelsheim's been on my mind for a while after reading about it a couple of years ago, but it was only when we were up in bloomington a couple of weeks ago that we found it at big red liquors for $31.99.

greg didn't like it at first, saying it was too bitter and sour, and it didn't have much of a nose. he said the longer it was open, the weaker the flavor got, and after a while he said it was like watered-down wine. i agreed that it was acidic and slightly sour at first, but i think it smoothed out, becoming slightly creamy and light, with some black cherry flavor. i think the 2007 mondavi solaire is better at $14.99 at winetree. 12.8 percent alcohol.