Words and Pictures (2013)

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche portray two teachers at a high school where they strike up a rivalry of their respective passions – art & literature. Owens plays a one-time lit phenom, Jack Marcus, but hasn’t published in a long time. This, along with his alcoholism, may just be his demise and get him fired from the prep school.

Dina Delsanto (Binoche) is an abstract artist debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis and is the new teacher on campus. Jack quickly starts the flirting game by challenging Delsanto to a word game by increasing the number of syllables of words. The flirting then leads to romance but is soon dissolved by Jack’s alcoholic blunder.

Although it appears bleak that Jack and Dina will repair their relationship, the students are engaged in a competition as to whether words are more important than pictures. Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

While watching the movie I enjoyed a red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Sirah produced by Bota Box called RedVolution.

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I know, I know it’s a box wine but for some reason I really enjoyed this with the movie along with some chips & pretzels. I found aromas of plum, blackberry and black cherry. This wine was quite jammy with similar tastes that I found on the nose. And for $19.99 for a 3 Liter box it’s pretty easy on the budget so it gets 7 1/2 wine glasses.

 

 

 

Ghost Pines 2011 Red Blend

I received this as a Christmas gift in 2013 (yeah I know – what took me so long?) and has a delectable blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, Merlot & Sangiovese grape varietals from Sonoma County (56%), Joaquin County (23%) and Napa County (21%) which yielded a deep garnet color with an alcohol by volume of 14.5%.

On the nose were aromas of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry & mulberry. On the palate were a variety of flavors and each time I sipped the wine I got a different combination which was quite a surprise and a fun experience. In addition to the blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry & mulberry flavors I found spice and caramel mixed in with the blackberry combination with nuances of leather, tobacco & pepper – but not always the same.

We paired this with ziti & marinara sauce with Romano & Parmesan cheeses, a side green salad sans Italian bread (which I really missed) and had it on the deck. I’m not sure if the bottle returned to the pantry (where all my opened wines find their resting place) or it was emptied while enjoying it on the deck.

I don’t have a price for you on this wine as it was a gift, but whatever the price, it was worth it – don’t be afraid to bring this to the party and have it be the first one opened.

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

Apothic Rosé 2012

The 2012 vintage of the Apothic Rosé Limited Release California ‘First Cut’ was a mild surprise and one I didn’t expect. But then again, I never know what to expect from a bottle of wine I’ve never tried before.  I picked this up due to the fact I really enjoy the Apothic Red Blend and figured I would like to try this to see how it would compare to other Rosés’ and was pleased with the whole wine experience on this one.

First, this must be chilled to enjoy the complete wine. Second, you can have this with food or have it by itself. I decided to have this with stuffed green peppers & long grain rice. I wasn’t sure how this was going to pair. The sweetness of the wine complemented the roasted pepper with meat filling much better than I anticipated.

The color of the wine was that of raspberry lemonade and per the back label, was a description of its hue “…its vibrant hue from an ancient wine making practice called saignée, which means ‘to bleed’ intense color from the grape’s red skin”. Hmmm, wonder if that equates to raspberry lemonade?? The wine has medium acidity with 13% alcohol by volume and I picked this up for $8.99 ($11 average price from several different wine sites I visited).

Guess you want to know what the aromas and flavors were, huh? On the nose were aromas of apple, strawberry, berry, watermelon, and cherry. This is a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon which produced flavors of strawberry and watermelon and didn’t really have much of a finish to it. There was a dash of sweetness to the wine, more so than in other Rosés’ I’ve had in the past. I’m thinking this would be much more suited to the warmer climates sipping out on the deck on a hot summer night.

 

Kitchen Sink NV Red Table Wine

I couldn’t resist picking up this bottle for the name alone. So, I had not a clue as to what this would bring to the kitchen table – no pun intended, nah I intended that! Anyway, I’m always in the market for new wines and sometimes I strike it rich, and sometimes not.

This was a fairly decent wine with 12.5% ABV and around $18 for a 750 ml bottle. I had every intention of having this with food. It was supposed to be served with grilled chicken and a fresh garden salad but it just didn’t work out that way, hey – it happens!

It started off with really great aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, elderberry, damp forest floor with hints of moss and earth. So, seeing as this is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah I can understand all the great aromas.

On the palate I got blackberry, black raspberry, dark plum, fig, and black currant flavors. The downside to this wine was the flavors, albeit plentiful, lacked any sustainability. That is, the flavors didn’t last long plus with the $18 price tag I was expecting a bit more. So, pick up a bottle and check it out. You may get a much different impression than I did. Maybe we can compare notes.

 

7 Deadly Zins 2007 Lodi Zinfandel

I’ve tried a lot of Zinfandel over the years and every once in a while you come across one that just brightens up your “spirits”. Upon uncorking this wine the color was a deep, dark ruby hue. With a 14.5% ABV a full-bodied old vine zinfandel was just the right wine to pick on a chilly winter weekend while the forecast of getting a few more inches of snow to cover what we already received from Storm Charlotte loomed overhead.

On the nose the 7 Deadly Zins produced aromas of blackberry, black currant, black cherry, earthy notes, cola (yeah, strange but true), and spice. The bouquet was quite pleasing and was a prelude to the flavors I was about to experience. On the palate, raisins, blackberry, spice, walnut, and red currant were the prevalent flavors and the finish was of red raspberries and black pepper. A touch of blueberry finished off this tasting and it lasted for an eternity.

Now the question was what to pair this “zinful” zinfandel with. My initial thoughts were grilled lamb, Filet Mignon, or a Porterhouse steak. Nah, too complicated for a Saturday evening. So, I decided on sauteed onions and Black Angus pastrami on a grinder roll topped with Baby Swiss cheese. It may not sound like much but this was the perfect pairing. The succulent combination of a Spanish onion and the pastrami with the peppery-ness of the zinfandel worked exceptionally well.

The next time you’re in the mood for a pastrami sandwich or an incredible zinfandel, why not combine the two and have an exceptionally paired food and wine experience. When you do, let me know how it was. At $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle this is reasonably priced and won’t break the bank.

Chateau Souverain 2001 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Well, some wine you cellar just right. I bought this bottle quite a few years ago on one of my treks to California when Chateau Souverain was located just off the 101 at Independence. I would visit the winery every chance I could and on my last visit about four or five years ago I was surprised to find a new owner had taken over. Of course, Francis Coppola now resided in the former Chateau Souverain wine rooms so I expect good things out of the new owner.

As I was trying to locate the new location for Chateau Souverain I kept going down dirt roads that just ended and some led to nowhere. Needless to say I was quite disappointed as I always looked forward to visiting their tasting room. And to my knowledge they do not have a tasting room open to the public since they moved.

Anyway, this Zinfandel opened with blackberry, bacon, forest floor, black raspberry, and spice on the nose. Some really nice aromas. On the palate I got wild black raspberry, mocha, and mulberry. Here is it eleven years later and it tastes better than when I first tasted this. The bad news is that was my last bottle of the 2001 vintage. I had this stand alone and the cost back then was $18.99.

 

Cacophony Toad Hollow 2007 Paso Robles Zinfandel

You’ve heard of the Fancy Schmancy Initials Club in a post many moons ago. Well, we have a review from a couple of them. Here are the wine notes from Cousin Carl’s Schnozzola Sanctararium & Sparing Sharon’s personal wine cellar. Check the “Fancy Schmancy Initials Club” post to see how they got their initials.

 

We purchased wine recently from our local Dover, NH state liquor store.  They had a power buy on a 2007 Cacophony Toad Hollow, a Paso Robles Zin.

Here’s our review of the wine:

A long legged toad with hoppy tastes of black cherry & chocolate notes.  Very smooth finish.
Can’t beat a great wine for under $10 with a $20 taste.

We love this wine!

Cousin Carl & Sparing Sharon

P.S.  Maybe someday we’ll review the Rodney Strong one as well.

Back to our wine tonight….  Cheers!

 

I did some checking on the web for this wine and it appears the 2007 vintage is hard to come by. So, if you get the chance I’d pick up a few bottles if I were you. I know I’ll look out for it. I wonder if there is a Dover, NH state liquor store nearby 🙂 BTW, love the reference to the Toad-isms! And the chocolate notes is what sold me.

P.S. I’ll be looking forward to their review of the Rodney Strong.

Les Trois Emme

I was getting to the end of my day for wine tasting and Les Trois Emme was my last stop of the day. Located in Southwestern Massachusetts in the Berkshires, it was quite a drive from where I had to be for the evening but it was worth the stop. I spent about 2 hours and 15 minutes here and it will go down in my top memorably wine experiences.

When I first walked in this is what caught my eye right off the bat.

Disregard the pad and pen off to the right of the table as this wasn’t supposed to “get in” the picture. (Note to self: Pay more attention to where you place the writing instruments). I immediately enjoyed the color scheme of the purple walls and the green doors. The only thing missing is the black ceiling I remember from my college days.

I was greeted by a lady named Mary Jane and she came right up to me and wanted to know if I’d like to do a wine tasting. You know what my answer was. But before we got to the wine we took a walk in the back where they make and bottle the wines. Although I have been to many of the back rooms and they are all quite similar, it amazes me how each winery I visit, add their own charm to the surroundings.  I must have left my camera out in the tasting room area as I do not have any pictures of where the wine is made. (Note to self: pay more attention to where your camera is).

During my conversation with Mary Jane, she commented that the name of the winery was named after her first three granddaughters – Megan, Madison, and Mary Katherine – hence, Les Trois Emme. Mary Jane, with a pleasing voice, began telling me “stories” about a lot of interesting subjects. I was so mesmerized with the “stories” that I forgot to write them down. (Note to self: pay more attention to capturing the “stories” you hear).

Normally you get around five wines for a $6 fee but somewhere along the line it was decided I would get to taste all of their wines and do the food parings as well. I forgot to write down all of the food I paired with which wines (Note to self: pay more attention to food & wine pairings). About this time Mary Jane’s husband, Wayne (he’s the chemist), came in for a quick visit and we also chatted for a spell – no, I didn’t write what we talked about – yeah, I know “Note to self” time.

Okay, on to the wines I tasted and yes, I did remember to write my impressions of the wine as I tasted each one:

Kiyo’s Sparkling Wine – $20: This was a semi-sweet sparkler made from the Chenin Blanc grape. I found pear with a hint of apple on the nose with pear and apple on the palate. This was a very nice sparkling wine.

Splash of White – $16: A blend of several white wines from French-American hybrids, this opened with an apricot nose. Megan (not one of the granddaughters, but the wine staff and a radio host) gave me a shrimp cake that had sweet potatoes, cumin, and red bell pepper as the ingredients. This went very well with this wine which had a pear flavor.

Cayuga White – $16: This is one of their medal winners and it was predominately pear and apple aromas and flavors. This was paired with a pot sticker (don’t ask for the ingredients as I didn’t write it down).

Nick Jackson Blush – $16: A blend of 90% Cayuga and 10% Marechal Foch produced pear on the nose with red cherry on the palate with a slight peppery finish.

Julia’s Ruby Red – $18: Red berries on the nose and palate, this was served well chilled and had a bit of sweetness to it. This was paired with a quesadilla.

Shiraz-Cabernet – $18: 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon began with plum and boysenberry on the nose. On the palate I got plum and black cherry with a slight peppery finish.

Old Vine Zinfandel – $25: On the nose were hints of black and red cherry followed by red cherry and raspberry flavors. I liked this one a lot and was probably my favorite of all the wines.

Malbec – $20: I paired the other half of the quesadilla with this. Raspberry on both the nose and palate with a slight mocha finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon – $22: This had black cherry all over it. Although one dimensional it was quite tasty.

Berkshire Red- $18: This blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec produced mostly black berry fruit aromas and flavors.

Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Wine- $16: I got pumpkin rind aroma, like when you’re carving a pumpkin for the Trick or Treaters, but not too overpowering. A subtle pumpkin flavor unlike a pumpkin ale which is way too much pumpkin flavor for me. This was a bit softer. It was paired with a warm pumpkin soup and it went very well. The wine complemented the soup tremendously.

Wizard’s Cranberry Wine – $16: A semi-dry wine infused with cranberry, hence you’ll get cranberry on the nose and palate.

As you can see from the above picture is was fairly light when I first arrived, however when I left, darkness had taken over the whiner-mobile. Their wine is made from the grapes that are located on their three acres in the vineyards as well as six acres from the Finger Lakes Region. They produce just over 2500 cases a year and Mary Jane is the taster and when she says says it’s ready, then it gets bottled. I’m going to take her word for it. (Note to self: take time to revisit Les Trois Emme).

St. Francis Sonoma Valley Zinfandel 2009 Montecillo Vinyards Kaarin’s Terrace

I really enjoy a good Zinfandel and sometimes they are hard to come by. The St. Francis Sonoma Valley 2009 Montecillo Vineyards Kaarin’s Terrace is one of my favorites. It has a good balance with good acidity, and a nice mouth feel. It isn’t a type of wine that stings the back of your palate but more of a smooth texture. I’ve tasted some bad Zinfandels in my travels but this isn’t one of them.

This is the kind of wine you really don’t want to re-cork as once you taste this you’ll probably decide to finish the bottle before the night’s over. Although this wine is pricey at $40 a bottle ($32 a bottle if you’re a wine club member) it’s worth the price of admission. It opens with blackberry, fig, plum, and hints of blueberry on the nose. Plum and blackberry are found on the palate with nuances of vanilla. I had this stand alone but would not hesitate to pair this food – steak, burgers, etc.

Toasted Head 2009 Untamed Red, Barrel Aged

Toasted Head used to be produced by RH Phillips but not sure if that is still the case today. Toasted Head may be under its own nowadays. I tried researching it a bit and didn’t come up with a whole lot of information other than from a staff writer, Melanie Turner at the Sacramento Business Journal that RH Phillips was closing Sept 1, 2009. The Toasted Head brand was to be produced by Mondavi at the Woodbridge region near Lodi.  Not sure if that actually happened as this wine was quite good.

The blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Petit Syrah is a well kept secret as I also tried to research the percentages of each varietal but to no avail. But alas, perseverance paid off and I was able to locate Toasted Head’s wine blog and here I found an article by Todd Ziemann titled “How to fit Untamed Red into a bottle” where I found the percentages of the red blend. It was comprised of 50% Syrah, 27% Zinfandel, 13% Petit Sirah, 9% Tempranillo, and 1% Carignan.

On the nose I got black cherry, black currant, fig, smoke, and bacon notes. On the palate I found black and red cherry, black licorice, spice, and pepper flavors with a nice cocoa finish. I enjoyed this wine stand alone and it was actually better the second night. It is reasonably priced at $9.99. I had originally given this wine 7 1/2 wine glasses but changed it to 8 WG due to the improvement of taste on the second night.