Sunday, November 29, 2009

moving up!

Hey everybody, just wanted to let you know that in approximately 12 hours, this blog will be host to its own domain name:! Hopefully this will lead to a fully independent Web site in the future, but for now it's just gonna link to this one. I don't have the software yet to make my own and I didn't want to pay a monthly subscription fee to have some hosting site do it for me. Making baby steps, people! One day at a time. I'll let you know when it's fully operational.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

what i did for thanksgiving

Pretty self-explanatory, right? After recuperating for a couple days from the wine, the food and, yes, the turkey (I temporarily broke from my vegetarian streak to try some of Julien's mom's delicious turkey), I'm back to relatively normal. First, I do want to show off my most recent delicacy that I created for the night ... a root vegetable stew presented inside of a baked pumpkin!

I found the recipe on NPR and it worked out perfectly, although I did make a couple of small changes to it. Mainly, I boiled the canned chickpeas for 30 minutes before adding them to the recipe and I added green beans and basil to the finished product. Needless to say, my stew was a big hit. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking to make a nice impression (and presentation!) for their next dinner party.

  I tried some excellent wines that night, including a 2007 Jermann Chardonnay from Venezia Giulia (tasted remarkably of bananas with some mineral notes), 2006 Lucia Chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands (a full bodied Chardonnay with an excellent bouquet of tropical fruit with a hint of butter), 2007 Wrath Syrah from Santa Lucia Highlands (a heavy but smooth Syrah, went great with the turkey and stuffing) and finally, the big guns, 2001 Zenato Amarone from Della Valpolicella. This wine, which clocked in at a whopping 16% alcohol, tasted like the harmonious middle between a Cab and a Port. It was smooth and sweet, which Julien's dad said was very characteristic of this wine. It tasted fantastic with the hazelnut and chocolate cake that Julien's sister brought.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. What wines did you all try? Let me know!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

blog award!

The sweetheart over at My Life is Purple nominated me for my first-ever blog award! I feel so happy and warm and fuzzy right now. Definitely makes up for the week of long school hours and stupid malfunctioning cell phones. Here are the rules:

List 10 things that make you happy
Try and do at least one of them today
Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day
Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you


1. Of course, the obvious: wine! Wine (and writing about wine) makes me happy because it's something I love and it's something I know.
2. Walking in the rain with an umbrella. You feel invincible ... take that, Mother Nature!
3. Waking up to my boyfriend spooning me. It's the ultimate romantic gesture, and I love how he can sleep while holding me.
4. Finding something awesome and cheap at a thrift store. I get this odd feeling of accomplishment when I find a bargain deal that's totally worth it, like a Buffalo New York sweater for $14 or Italian skinny jeans for $10. I also once found New York and Co riding boots for $2. True story!
5. Hearing someone compliment the drinks I make when I bartend at work. Someone once told me that I make the best margaritas in the whole restaurant, and it totally made my day.
6. Dare I say it? Yes I do. Sex. Sex makes me happy.
7. Reading someone's comments on my blog :).
8. Shopping at the grocery store. For some reason I've always associated shopping at the grocery store with being a mature, independent adult. Knowing that I can buy (and eat!) whatever I want.
9. Sitting on the beach and watching the waves crash on rocks.
10. Life.

Now here comes the best part, passing the award on to others! So here we go, ten bloggers that brighten my day!
1. The darling and hilarious wine blogger Shana over at Funny By Accident.
2. The insightful and informative wine blogger Ms. Drinkwell over at Ms. Drinkwell.
3. The cute and cuddly wine blogger ZinfanGirl at The World Is My Vineyard.
4. The fashion-forward Josephine over at Aubergine.
5. The way-too-adorable (and bilingual!) cutiepie over at Faux Naif.
6. The 'Trader Joe's Guy' over at Jason's Wine Blog.
7. The self-proclaimed Wannabe Wino.
8. The hilarious and adorable Washington girl Stevie at Allow Myself to Introduce ... Myself.
9. The fabulous, hilarious and sophisticated wine bloggers at Young Winos of LA.
10. The no-longer-writing-in-English (but still fashion awesome!) chica at Helmi Otsalla.

my weapon is a wine key

I'm sorry I haven't written all week. I just decided to lay it low for a little while and disconnect from the world after all the events from Saturday. By the way, last Saturday was fun, except for a few key things. My phone decided to up and crash on me right after I posted that last post. Like, completely die. It had full battery, full bars, full everything and still it decided to completely die. Which meant all the pictures I had taken before were lost, and I couldn't take any more for the rest of the day. So I'm sorry, no pics from the wine tasting.
Afterwards, since I didn't have my phone, I couldn't call my boyfriend to pick me up. I called him a few times on my manager's phone, but he didn't answer. Deciding I couldn't wait, I decided to walk home. 12 blocks. I realize I probably should've waited, but it was one of those impatient "hell with the world" kind of things. Then I went to the Apple store, got my phone fixed and here we are. Not to mention the 7-page paper I had to write in 2 days. I wasn't really up for wine writing after all of that.
But alas, here we are. Luckily I have all my notes from the wine tasting in a cute little black book that I got for free from this company called Andy Boy that sells vinaigrettes and such. So I'm gonna go ahead and detail some of the wines I tasted (by the way, SWAG is awesome, I got so much free stuff, including 3 new wine glasses!). Here we go!

~ The first one was a 2008 Bernardus Sauvignon Blanc. The color was light and had more of a yellow tint to it. The nose had strong characteristics of banana, along with lime/lemon rind and heavy mineral notes. The mouth was sharp and acidic, with heavy minerals, bitter herbs and lime. The banana wasn't so much in the mouth as it was in the nose, which was surprising. Overall, I thought it was okay. Not Bernardus's strongest, but still drinkable.

~ I also tried a 2007 Mission Trail Sauvignon Blanc (I was kind of in a white wine fix that day, though I did try a few reds for variety). This wine smelled and tasted like cat pee with a little bit of pineapple. Yes, I know that's a distinguishing characteristic, but nothing else? Just cat pee? No thanks. I gave this one a Meh.

~ The next one was probably one of my favorite whites of the day. It was a 2008 Loredone Pinot Grigio. It was blended with 2% Muscato, and you could really tell if you were really looking for it. Though characterized as a dry P.G., I thought it had some sweet notes that were actually quite enjoyable. The nose had hints of mineral and limestone, and the mouth was drier with a hint of pear. Overall, I thought this wine was fun and easy to dry. Definite :).

~ The next white was a 2008 Marin's Vineyard Viogner. It had a sweet floral nose and had flavors of hyacinth and some light herbal notes ... but the finish was rather bitter. Kind of ruined the experience of the wine for me. I thought it was okay, but it would've been a lot better without the bitter finish.

~ The next one was fun. It was a non-vintage McIntyre 'L'homme qui ris' Sparkling Wine from Santa Lucia Highlands. In case you don't know, 'l'homme qui ris' means' The man who laughs' (which would've explained the clown on the label). This was a blend of 60% Pinot Noir grapes and 40% Chardonnay grapes, and it was a really fun sparkling to drink. It started off tart and finished with a little custard. I thought it was great and gave it a :) on my review.

~ The first red I tried was a 2007 J. Lohr Pinot Noir. I think this was the only :( I gave that day, because this wine was way too berry heavy. It had a warm smoky nose, but the flavor was way too strong of berries and, like, nothing else. Did not enjoy this wine, I'm sorry to say.

~ Next I tried the 2007 Otter Cove Syrah - this was a pre-release, and won't be out for a couple of months. The owner, Richard Oh, is an acquaintance and facebook-friend of mine as we often see each other at these shindigs (usually if I'm there, he's there, as he's a very motivated guy). The nose had hints of white pepper and cinnamon. You could smell the alcohol on the nose, which was a little alarming. The mouth had flavors of berry, chocolate and a little white pepper as well. Luckily when you tasted it the alcohol wasn't as noticeable. Overall, I thought this wine was all right. I much prefer his Oh Pinot Noir.

~ Next, out of pure curiosity, I tired the 2006 Chateau Julien Black Nova, a blend of 60% Zinfandel and 40% Syrah. It clocked in at a whopping 15.9% alcohol, yikes! The nose had hints of sweet peppers and black fruit, and the mouth was dry, with bell peppers and a floral/acidic finish. You could really taste the alcohol on this wine, which kind of ruined it for me. Sad to say, because the wine did had some interesting flavors to it. It was okay.

~ The next red was the 2004 Bernardus Marinus. I loved the 2002 (bought a couple before they sold out a few months ago) and wanted to see how the 2004 measured up. Not so much. The nose had strong notes of currant and coffee, with some blackberry and spice. The mouth tasted strongly of black pepper and blackberry with a tannic finish. It tasted rather young, which was surprising, since it was a 2004. It was okay.

~ Next I tried two reds from Pierre Ranch. The first was a 2006 Tempranillo, which had flavors of sharp red cherries. He had just opened the bottle and it was pretty obvious, as the nose had hints of barnyard (what?). He told me it needed to open a bit and I totally agreed. Next I tried the 2005 Vinho Doce Port. Let me just put it this way: TOO MUCH BLACK LICORICE! Oh my gosh this was way too strong of black licorice. If that's your thing, more power to you, but I can't stand black licorice. Gave this a :(.

~ Having to get the taste of that Port out of my mouth, I finished the day with a 2007 Scheid Grenache, which was a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The nose had hints of cream and caramel, with noticeable alcohol as well as black cherry and vanilla. The mouth tasted strongly of black berry, vanilla and had a sweet/acidic finish. This wine was all right, but was a little too fruity and sweet.

So ... TA DA! Those were the wines I tasted. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did (well, some of them anyway). Much like with anywhere else in the wine producing world, you're gonna find only a few pieces of gold in the river. Everything else is just gonna be a bunch of rocks. Not that rocks are bad ... they're just not gold :). Hope you're having a fantastic day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm here at the annual Monterey Great Wine Escape Finals. Lots of wine and food everywhere! Will continue to update with pics and wines.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 14, 2009

will work for wine

Me at work today for the Monterey wine escape weekend. Some photographers from wine mags and blogs took photos of me, inspiring an impromptu photo session with 3 or more phoographers having me pose and shooting me like a model! Was exciting. I'll try and find one of the pics.
Tomorrow I get to go to the finals at the Clement hotel. Should be exciting. Will post for sure!!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 12, 2009

atw - vines are old, wine is new

Last night I had the pleasure of trying a pretty exciting wine. One of those wines that are good to the last drop ... yum yum yum tasty. I tried it during a game of Balderdash on Julien's parents' boat, and it was fantastic. What was the wine, you ask?

Well, it was the Atteca Old Vines Garnacha 2007. At $15.99 a pop, you wouldn't immediately expect this wine to be such a knockout - but alas, it was. It clocks in at a whopping 14.5% alcohol by volume, so again, you wouldn't immediately expect this wine to be such a knockout - but again, it was. It's a Spanish red from the city of Calatayud in Spain, in the province of Zaragoze in Aragon. Sounds so exotic, doesn't it?
Anyway, so the color on this wine was dark. I mean, really really really dark. Full purple and deep burgundy, which was quite interesting. The first thing that hit me when smelling this wine was burnt popcorn. In other words, a lot of smoke and butter. There were also hints of blueberry, tobacco and chocolate.
The mouth - oh my gosh the mouth on this thing. It's so smooth and luscious, with just the slightest hint of acidity. It had quite a bit of blueberry, with some jammy berry fruit and pretty noticeable smoke and oak. Something I especially loved about this wine was the finish. For some inexplicable reason (which is often the case with wine, of course!) the wine finished with a sort of cleansing eucalyptus/menthol. It seemed to open my throat and refresh my senses as it lingered on my palate. Extraordinary! I was really pleased to have tried this wine - it was sublime. I'd recommend it for anybody looking for a great tasting, but affordable, Spanish red to try. You'll probably have to find it online, though. I don't know if it's offered in any major stores. If you find out it is, let me know! I'll have to go pick a couple of bottles up for myself!
Certified grade AWESOME.

Monday, November 9, 2009

who am i?

Found this on A Day In the Life, and while this is mainly a wine blog, I can never resist the tempting call of a mini survey. It makes you look at your life from a completely different angle. Plus, they're fun!

I am:

Reading… "American Political Thought: Four-Hundred Years of Ideas and Ideologies" by Sue Davis. Required reading for my Amer Poli Sci class. Interesting stuff, but can be a little droll at times.

Keeping… my socks on in bed. It's getting pretty chilly here at night, and my toes are always the first to feel the effects.

Baking… mini muffins! I plan on making some mini muffins today to try out my new mini muffin pans I got at Goodwill - 4 for $2!

Watching… the newest episode of The Office. Geez, Michael Scott is really an ass.

Trying… to work up enough energy to get out of my bed and actually start doing stuff.

Making… the most out of my blogging experiences, seeing what I can do and how fun I can make it!

Congratulating… both of my sisters, one for recently getting engaged, and the other for finally getting an apartment so she's no longer living with her boyfriend's mom. Ooh, I so could not imagine living with anyone's parents right now. My independence is WAY too valued ;).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

atw - don't pass the pork

I hope you like my first ever video wine blog entry! 
Decided to try something different - let me know what you think.
P.S. sorry about the weird face thing ... I keep trying to change it but stupid Youtube
won't let me.

Basic Wine Info:
Mount Hernon 2006
Yarden Winery
Galilee, Israel
$14, Cost Plus

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

atw - cruising the doons

The next area I wanted to explore for my wine experience is a little closer to home. It's the Santa Cruz mountains, in California (of course), which stretch from Half Moon Bay all the way to the edge of Monterey Bay, where I live! The Santa Cruz mountains are host to over 80 wineries, several of which are smaller boutique vineyards that only produce a few thousand cases per year. The cooler climate, constant fog and ocean breeze serve to produce some excellent wines that aren't too spicy, fruity or warm. Personally, that's exactly how I like 'em. I'm a huge fan of wines that are a little more laid back and don't pack too much of a punch in the first sip.

The wine I tasted from this region is the 2006 Bonny Doon Vineyards Ca' del Solo Sangiovese ($12). It's a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Nero d'Avola, 3% Cinasult and 2% Colorino. The result of this rather eccentric blend is a sweet, jammy wine with a blueberry, red cherry and floral nose with just the slightest scent of roasted walnut. The wine tasted of rich berry fruit, red cherry and a small touch of bell pepper with an acidic finish.
I tried it at a birthday dinner last night with my parents and my older sister with her new fiance! Yep, he finally proposed! About darn time too ;). Anyway, that's why I don't have a picture of the wine bottle. But I have to say ... I do love the whole white-on-white thing that the background's got going on with the pic of this bottle. Anyway, so I tried it with a mushroom and pesto penne with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. I wouldn't say the pairing was the best (the food really called for a Cabernet or Merlot), but it was all right.
Overall, the wine was okay. I've tried other Bonny Doon Vineyards wines that were far better than this one. This one's more of an everyday wine, versus their other higher quality wines. So I wouldn't recommend NOT trying this wine, I just would recommend it not being the only Bonny Doon Vineyards wine that you try. It's good, but it's not great. And there are some Bonny Doon wines that are really, really great. Plus, their Web site is so gosh darn cute! I'd recommend checking it out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

post halloween recovery program

I hope everybody had a nice Halloween! I spent it working mornings at Heller Estate (selling and drinking wine, of course!) and nights at the restaurant all weekend long. My feet are killing me today! Halloween itself was fun. I dressed up as Sultry Buttons from a Homestar Runner cartoon. Not sure if you've heard of it, not many people have. Anyway, they were having a costume contest so I entered. I'll let you know what happens with that.
As far as drinking, mostly had tequila that night. Margaritas and such. Yep ... didn't enjoy the next morning. I'll try to do a wine post tonight, but I can't guarantee it. I have a midterm tomorrow, a paper due which I'm only halfway through and a bunch of other homework due. Plus I work today.