September Wine Friday: Grenache

2009 sept wine 3 - low

I swear that it was only by accident (or good minds think alike) that I selected the Grenache wine theme just 1 day before the San Jose Mercury News printed an article featuring Grenache as a great wine for the Summer to Fall transition.  Honestly, this is exactly what I was thinking!  I love Grenache, such a versatile wine, especially if it is dark and extracted because it hits me just right!  I especially liked the 2006 Las Rocas.
2009 sept wine bottles - low

Here is the wine lineup (from left to right) and results:

2007 Las Rocas Garnacha
2006 Las Rocas Garnacha*
2007 Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press (French Grenache Blend)
2006 McDowell Grenache Noir
2007 Altovinum Evodia Old Vine Garnacha

And of course we paired our Grenache with some great seasonal food below:
2009 sept wine figs1 - low
Fresh Figs with Balsamic Reduction Sauce
2009 sept wine risotto - low
Four Cheese Risotto
2009 sept wine salad - low
Spinach and Arugula Salad with Warm Mushrooms, Olives, and Panchetta
2009 sept wine duck2 - low
Pan Seared Duck Breast
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


April Wine Friday: $15 Challenge with Home made Pizza

Well you did it again!  The outstanding support from all
our clients, friends, and partners continues to amaze and touch us
deeply.  Of course we owe a special thanks to Chef Gil and Chef Candy for making
over 20 custom gourmet pizzas with everything from anchovies to spinach!

As for the wine challenge, well I have to give credit
where credit is due — leave it up to the 2 French guys to bring the
first and second place wines.  With 8 votes, the 2007 Ancien Pinot Noir
and with 7 votes the 2006 CanBlau Mazuelo-Syrah-Granache blend from
Spain dominated a field of 18 wines.  Surprising enough, my own entry
of a 91 point Shiraz from Australia had only 2 votes — wonder what
that says about me?!  We hope everyone had as much fun as we did and we
look forward to seeing you again next month.


Here is the wine lineup (from left to right) and results:

2005 Viano Vineyards Zinfandel – 1 vote
2006 Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz – 2 votes
2004 Castelmavre Corbieres – no votes
2006 CanBlau Red Blend – 7 votes
2004 Rodney Strong Merlot – 7 votes
2005 Roudon Smith Claret – 3 votes
2005 Tintara Granache – no votes
2006 Da Vinci Chianti – 4 votes
2007 Dona Paula Malbec – 1 vote
2005 Edna Valley Merlot – 2 votes
2006 Rare Earth Cabernet Sauvignon – 3 votes
2003 Santa De Maria Cabernet Sauvignon – 3 votes
2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – 2 votes
2007 Ancien Pinot Noir – 8 votes
2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay – 4 votes
2007 Mirassou Pinot Noir – no votes
2006 Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon – 4 votes
2005 Dancing Bull Chardonnay – 1 vote



March Wine Friday: Ribs and Zinfandel


From Left:
2005 OZV — Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel
2006 Bogle — Old Vine Zinfandel
2007 Angels Creek — Lodi Zinfandel
2002 Laurent's Palo Alto Reserve
2006 Pescorosso Primitivo
2007 Barefoot — Lodi Zinfandel
2006 Query — Napa Zinfandel
2006 Kenwood — Sonoma Zinfandel
2006 Storybook — Mayacamas Range Zinfandel
2005 Boeger — El Dorado Zinfandel

that was a whole lot of Zin!  I think my favorite was the OZV actually,
it had a really good weight to it but kept the fruit-forward bang that
makes it a Zin.  Did everyone notice the difference between the
American Zinfandel and the Italian Primitivo?  I would characterize it
as more earthy and less fruity.  I hope everyone loved the ribs as
well, the Tequila Lime recipe was a big favorite — I suggest you give
it a try next time! 

Food Pairing:

Since we are doing two different ribs with one oven, we use 275 F to slow cook them together for 5 or 6 hours. The results were good – the meat felt out the bone and still juicy and tender.

1. Soy Sauce–Marinated Ribs (Hawaii Style)

2. Tequila and Lime Baby Back Ribs with a Guava and Ginger Glaze.

Pasta with Artichokes, Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Peas. Download Pasta Recipe
This dish was great but it take a lot of efforts to go the artichokes.  Make sure you buy larger size of artichokes to make it worth it.

4. Asparagus with Citrus and Oregano. You have to try this one.  It's so easy and tasty that you won't believe how easy it is to make.

5. Rhubarb Plum Tart With Orange Glaze. Since it's not Rhubarb's season yet, we use Plum to replace it. The taste still great.

February Wine Friday: Anywhere But Here — Non-California U.S. Wines

So it turned out that finding “out of state” wine
was a challenge for everyone.  Of course the majority of wines were
from Oregon and Washington who are making some good Pinot Noir for
sure.  But I have to say how I was really impressed with the New York
Finger-Lakes Riesling.  I guess I need to apologize for the
Pennsylvania red wine that basically tasted like Martinelli grape juice
— who knew?!

The food was great as always and we must have had 30 people this month!  Thanks for the great time and see you again next month.
Feb 09 Wine-5
From left to right:
2004 Columbia Crest Merlot – Washington
2005 Red Diamond merlot – Washington
2006 Hedge Red Mountain – Washington
2006 Gruet Chardonnay – New Mexico
2007 A to Z Pinot – Oregon
2004 Harvest Red – Pennsylvania
2005 Chateau Ste Michelle Cabrent Sauvignon – Washington
1996 Silver Lake Cabernet Merlot – Washington
2006 Washington Hill Cabrenet Sauvignon – Washington
2005 Chateau Ste Michelle Melot – Washington
2006 Papillon Pinot Noir – Oregon
2004 Sakonnet Red – New England
2006 Hermann J. Wiemer – New York
2007 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling – Washington
2007 King Estate Pinot Gris – Oregon
2006 Sokol Blosser White – Oregon

Food Pairing:
1. Triple-Fennel Salad with Pink Grapefruit and Black Olives.
Feb 09 Wine-3

2. Pulled Pork and Goat Cheese Quesadillas (which require for Braised Pork Shanks, but we substitute with Pork Butt).
Feb 09 Wine-2

3. Porcini Mushroom Tart (I scan the recipe to a jpg file View this photo).
Feb 09 Wine-1

4. Shrimp Saganaki.
Feb 09 Wine-4

5. Whole Roasted Chicken Infused with Tangerines and Rosemary with a Tangerine Glaze. Forgot to take a photo and the food is gone.

November Wine Friday: Red Table Wine

Since we knew there would be so many people tied up with friends or holiday travel we decided to just have a simple “Red Wine” theme this month.  I was very pleased to taste several Bordeaux blends with a lot of character and depth.  As always, the food was fantastic and a very nice reprieve from the Thanksgiving overload.  We hope everyone has a safe and special holiday season and look forward to seeing you again in January!

Here is the food and wine lineup:



-    Old-Fashioned Ham with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze (Chef Candy did her special ham but I don't have her secret recipe; however, this recipe got good reviews)
-    Italian Macaroni and Cheese
-    Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Sweet Cranberries
-    Crab Meat & Celery Deviled Eggs
-    Pumpkin Bread Pudding


2002 Estancia Meritage
2000 Mazzocco Matrix
2005 Murrieta’s Well Meritage

October Wine Friday: The Scariest and Funniest Wine LABEL

This month we tasted wines based purely on the wine
label and wow how much fun was that?!  The Zombie Zin was definitely
the prize winner from the label perspective — look at that label.  But
I thought the best tasting wine went to the Director’s Cut Pinot Noir,
and the label was interesting as well.  We hope everyone enjoyed the
seasonal food theme too.  See you again next month!

Here is the food and wine lineup:Download october_wine_friday_menu.pdf

Mint, Apple, Pomegranate, Persimmons Salad
Cheese Puffs 4
Grilled Mango and Steak
Cornmeal Blini
Squash Ravioli

-Mint, Apple, Pomegranate, Persimmons Salad (From Min Style)
-Gruyere Cheese Puffs (From Food Network)
-Butternut Squash Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce (From The Passionate Palate)
-Gnocchi in a Pumpkin Sauce (From Food Network)
-Grilled Steak and Mango with Lime Dressing, Basil, Mint and Cilantro (From Becky and the Beanstock)
-Cornmeal Blini with Ricotta and Lemon Honey
(From Food Network)


2006 Zombie Zin (The winner of the scariest wine label, from Greg and Louisa)
2006 Gnarly Head Zin
2006 Fish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Jester Shiraz
2005 Cirque de Vin — Cabernet Blend
2006 Coppola Director’s Cut Pinot Noir

September Wine Friday: A Taste Of Chile

This was a great theme and what fun we had with our Chilean Wine.  As I suspected, we had mostly deep red wines like Cabernet and Merlot
But I was very pleased to have 2 different Carmenere that I enjoyed
thoroughly!  My favorite wine for the night was the Marques de Casa
Concha Merlot — smooth flavors of bing cherries with a bite of dark chocolate on the finish.  We hope everyone had a good time and see you again next month!

Here is the food and wine lineup: (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Pan seared steak rolls
   Braised Chicken with Olives and Sweet Peppers
Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes  
Crisp Tomato, Zucchini and Eggplant Bread Gratin

Pan Seared Steak Rolls
Braised Chicken w/Olives & Sweet Peppers
Oven Roasted Plum Tomatoes
Crispy Tomato, Zucchini & Eggplant Bread Gratin
Eggplant Parmesan w/Crispy Bread Crumb Topping

Chiliean Wine

2006 Valdivieso Carmenere
2005 Anakena Carmenere
2005 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot
2005 Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Axel Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Root1 Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Armador Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Palo Alto Reserve Red Blend

For more photos about our Wine Friday, click HERE.

-Mark and Sabrina

[Wine Friday] April – $15 Challenge

This time we brought the house down with 35 people — our biggest turnout yet!  Special thanks to Rick for generously volunteering to make a wonderful display of food to pair with our eclectic wines — it was outstanding.  He also managed to hit our Wine Challenge right on center by also bringing the best wine!  This time we had 2 winners tie for first place, Andy’s “cooking wine” Syrah made the top of the list as well.  Here is the complete lineup:

042508_wine_friday_21) 2005 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon (Tied First Place 7 votes)
2) 2005 Zig Zag Zin Mendocino Zinfandel (3 votes)
3) 2005 Robert Hall Merlot (3 votes)
4) 2003 Luna Di Luna Italian Merlot Cabernet Blend (4 votes)
5) 2006 Pepperwood Grove Syrah (Tied First Place 7 votes)
6) 2002 Ballentine Old Vine Syrah (3 votes)
7) 2005 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon (3 votes)
8) 2005 BV Zinfandel (2 votes)
9) 2007 Pascual Toso Malbec (5 votes)
10) there was no ten (hey, after 9 wines I was confused, give me a break! Did anyone even notice?!)
11) 2005 Gallo Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (1 vote)
12) 2004 Edna Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (2 votes)
13) 2005 Frei Brothers Syrah (no votes)
14) 2003 Fox Brook Chardonnay (no votes)
15) 2004 Mad Dogs Monastrell, Cabernet, Shiraz Blend (1 vote)
16) 2006 Louis Jadot Beaujolais (1 vote)

Thanks again to everyone for joining our $15 Challenge, I hope everyone had a wonderful time.  See you again next month!


For more photos, please click HERE.