Quick, Call Me A Cab…

The holidays are kind of blue for a lot of people what with making jolly and getting Christmas gifts for everyone in the family plus a myriad of friends and neighbors. Many become melancholy and stress that the holiday season is in full bloom. While others survive just to get by and yet others are full of the festive spirit (no pun intended). Well, the Christmas holidays are some of my favorite times during the year. I have so many memories of past Christmases.

I remember one year in particular when good Old Saint Nick brought me a replica red Farm-All tractor. I think this was prior to my Zorro days and I couldn’t wait to get this work horse tractor to the full test of its capabilities. Have I failed to mention that I thought demolition derby was real cool too? Well, what do you get when you combine a Farm-All tractor painted candy apple red and demolition derby? You’re about to find out.

After breakfast and opening all the other toys Santa left (what were those other toys by the way?). I finally got the tractor out on the front porch and looked down at the twelve steps I had to carry this. So, I travel back into the house to get Dad to carry my candy apple red Farm-All tractor down the steps so I can peruse the driveway in my new wheels. That wasn’t happening as when I got to the living room, Dear Old Dad, was sound asleep. And you know Mom wouldn’t be able to carry such a heavy piece of equipment. Heck, no this was farmer’s work. Moms cooked and smelled nice but they didn’t know anything about machinery.

You remember I mentioned demolition derby…and the twelve steps on the front porch… and Dad was sleeping…and Mom was cooking and smelling pretty. Yeah, you guessed it. Me and the candy apple red Farm-All tractor went flying down the stairs and did the demolition derby stroll and roll. Do you also remember when doctors made house calls? Well, when the doctor arrived he suggested we take a trip to the emergency room. All I remember about that Christmas was the psychological and physical scars but it sure was a beautiful candy apple red Farm-All tractor I’ll never forget. What is your favorite Christmas story?

Anyway, getting back to the reason I started this post was about cabs……

Quick, call me a cab…those famous words around the holidays for a number of good reasons. Such as – from getting from one store to another in the big city…and you need a cab. Or you have visited one too many wineries…and you need a cab. Or your car just broke down…and you need a cab. Or you’ve missed the last bus out of the station…and you need a cab. Or maybe you’re just Merlot’d out…and you need a cab.

Here are three cabs for your enjoyment!

St. Francis 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of fresh rhubarb & cherry awaken your senses in preparation of the delectable flavors about to slide over your tongue and a multitude of taste buds. Cassis & pomegranate delicately dance to complement the aromas you just found. Finally, a pleasant smooth finish climaxes the total experience. This wine was paired with a turkey pot pie with Romaine salad. Then for dessert we had warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. This was sooooooo good! $16.99 and an 88 rating.

Rodney Strong 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackberry, cocoa, and black currant aromas led perfectly into black cherry and cassis flavors with good tannins. $16.99, 89 rating. I had this stand alone but venture to say it would go well with a vast array of grilled meats such as a pork roast, beef tenderloins, a porterhouse steak, venison burgers or a great beef stew. Garlic mashed potatoes with a hint of horseradish or baked potatoes, green beans, sweet peas with pearl onions or garlic asparagus. Gee, I’m starting to get hungry! What’s for dessert?

Hahn Estates 2001 Santa Lucia Highlands Cabernet Franc. This wine decanted for thirty or so minutes developed intense aromas of blackberries and clove. Upon tasting this wine I experienced black cherry, cherry hard candy, pepper, and mocha on the palate. These aromas and tastes finally succumbed to a long chocolate finish. If you find this wine buy all they have and don’t forget to give me one of the bottles. I’ve had several bottles in my wine cellar for a number of years and that was my last bottle. $15.99 and a 91 rating. Please tell me you have a bottle of this hidden in your cellar! I’d certainly call a cab to get to your place.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends….

Screw Tops Anyone?

Most of you know my thoughts on screw top wines. Yes, I believe in the cork and I believe the wine experience isn’t complete without first examining the bottle, perusing the label for any hints of what to expect in the bottle you’re holding. Once you cut the foil off the bottle your senses begin to come alive with anticipation of that great bottle of wine. Your schnozzola perks up with eagerness to greet those enormous aromas you’re about to experience. The millions of taste buds start to orchestrate a concerto on your tongue in great expectations of the fruits of the vine to soon flow over them. Your brain is beginning to tell you that this is a chance in a lifetime and you’re here to be a part of it. You begin to wonder if you chose the best bottle of wine ever and you’re the one that discovered it.

Next you determine which cork screw you should use. Should I use the quick and easy rabbit uncorking the wine in 2.2 seconds flat, or should you use the screw pull where nothing much can go wrong, or the Capitano cork screw with your Last name embossed on the handle with your own personal wine cellar or your trusted waiter’s cork screw? Maybe you’re inclined to play it safe with the French Coutale two-stage cork screw or you’re going to take the challenge with the two-prong Ah-So wine opener.

Whatever cork screw you desire to use is utterly shattered when all you have to do is unscrew the bottle top. Now, where is the wine ambiance in that? Yes, I know the wineries are having trouble obtaining cork and we are supposed to embrace the screw top, after all some of the most prestigious wineries are utilizing the screw top, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Anyway, here’s to screw tops?/$#@&?!

Argento 2008 Mendoza Malbec. Upon pouring your first glass of wine, the color is a deep, dark purple and the first aroma to waft through your nose is blackberry fruit with a hint of clove and smoked bacon. On the palate you’ll discover mixed dark berries ending with a delicate fig sandwich cookie. I paired this with a Romaine salad with shaved carrots and ripe tomatoes from the farmer’s market topped with tuna salad with chopped celery and onion. Actually, both the wine and the food complemented each other. Both were very simple and enjoyable. $8.99 and an 85 rating. Not bad for a screw top.

Okay screw top #2…

CK Mondavi 2008 Wildcreek Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep, deep red color produced black currant and blackberry aromas with hints of vanilla bean. Black cherry flavor with an oaky, mixed fruit finish. Paired this with lasagna, plain and simple. This wine is part of the Peter Mondavi family wines and their CK series are reasonably priced and provide a good value for the buck. This one won’t disappoint. $6.99 gave way to an 83 rating.

And screw top #3…

Cardinal Zin 2006 Beastly Old Vines Zinfandel. The nose exhibited plum, raisins, and hints of leather and smoky tobacco leading to blackberries, plum and spice flavors with a peppery finish. You guessed it, had this with another pizza. If I don’t have a beer with pizza then I really like the taste of a Zinfandel. $18.00 and an 85 rating.

There you have it, three screw top wine reviews. What do you think? Is the cork dead? Or do you still yearn for the wine cork ritual?

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends….