Waterbrook Mélange Blanc 2010

It’s that time of year where I tend to drink more white wine than I do the red stuff. Although, my real passion for drinking wine is in the deep garnet coloring of the delectable juice we know as “Wine”. The Waterbrook Mélange Columbia Valley 2010 vintage from Walla Walla, Washington is a surprising, wonderful concoction of 39% Riesling, 18% Pinot Gris, 14% Gewürztraminer, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Viognier with an ABV of 11.8%. Don’t let the mere ABV percentage fool you, as this was packed with a variety of aromas and flavors.

Have you ever picked fresh peaches where you still have the twig and one leaf still attached to the peach? That kind of fresh peach aroma as you put it in the basket with a handful of other picked peaches is the kind of aroma that first hits you when you drop the “ol snozzola” into the opening of the wine glass. At first I thought “Is that it?” – well let that aroma savor for a bit. Then repeat the process of letting the aromas open in the wine glass, and uh, I would recommend using a Riedel or similar type wine vessel to open all the possible smells.

After you get the peach orchard smell, I found melon, honey, apricots, floral notes, fresh cut hay and lemongrass as additional aromas to the already present peach. The fresh cut hay and lemongrass were subtle yet letting you know its presence was real.  The flavors were a delightful blend of pear, apricot, peach and melon with sweet notes of honey. This clean, crisp white wine found the back palate with slight sweet vanilla notes. Although I wished this lingered longer than it did.

We served this well chilled with a baby spinach salad with bacon bits (from the fry pan, not from a jar – so pick your poison), thin apple slices (we used a Fuji apple but whatever suits your fancy & palate will suffice) topped with a mildly sweet salad dressing (recipe follows) and topped with chopped walnuts. For a meat protein topping, we used pan fried skinless chicken breasts sliced about an 1/8″ by 3″ (approx.) in a sage & onion infused olive oil (about a Tbsp) until cooked thoroughly. Just a note: the first glass of wine went down way too quickly but was an excellent complement to the meal. The second glass of wine sans the meal didn’t go as quickly but fear the bottle will not last through the evening hours on the deck. Not bad for a $13.99 bottle of wine. I don’t like spending a lot of money on white wines (there are a few though) and this was well worth the price we paid.

Salad Dressing:

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup shallots, minced

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and pour over the baby spinach, 1/4″ sliced bacon pieces, apples, strawberries (although the recipe didn’t call for this, we decided to add them) & walnuts. One thing of note – the above recipe is very vinegary, so my wife added more honey to sweeten it and that was more flavorful, so you’ll have to experiment a bit before pouring over the salad.

 

 

Vhy A Duck?

Those famous words from Chico Marx in one of their many zany movies brings to mind of a story that occurred during the summer of 2009.

It was a Saturday in late summer when the early morning produced a slight fog and out on the edge of the lawn closest to the road was a figure that was unfamiliar to my wife and I. We watched it for several minutes to see if it moved. Although our eyes may have seen the object move it was only an illusion. There really couldn’t be an object of that size on our lawn coupled with the fog made the object a bit eerie. Too early in the morning (we’re early risers) for an eerie silhouette to be lurking in the yard and the java hadn’t quite kicked in yet, so you could imagine our hesitancy to scare off the object. Heck, and what would the neighbors think?

Only after we garnered enough courage to tackle the beast, we diligently but carefully embarked on our quest to capture whatever it was on our front lawn. We have found many a wild animal in our front lawn over the past years – the proverbial deer (although not considered a “wild” animal in the sense of the word, but they do wreak havoc on your flower beds), raccoons, ‘possum, skunks, foxes (several of them at a time), and a fisher cat (now, these are pretty mean). So, you could understand our apprehension approaching the object on our lawn.

Well, wouldn’t you know that the object on the lawn was the result of some high school prank in the form of a ceramic duck about 2 1/2 feet tall. We figured the guilty party would eventually claim the harmless duck shortly, but after a few days no one claimed the duck and seeing as we grew found of it we decided to have it protect a small but important part of the flower bed. To my knowledge the pesty deer steer clear of that part of the flower bed, or so we think.

Okay, here are some wines to enjoy.

Cline Cellars 2009 Sonoma Coast Viognier. This wine opened with orange zest and honeysuckle on the nose with profound flavors of peach and apricot on the palate. $19.99, 88 rating. I did not pair this with food but rather put it in the food. This white wine was used instead of water to cover a pork tenderloin with onion and slow cooked for about 6-7 hours on the low setting. It makes the pork just flake apart and you still have the white flavor too.

Sharpe Hill 2004 St. Croix. This red wine produced aromas of raspberry, wild cherry, leather, and clove. On the palate a delectable concoction of cherry hard candy, mint chocolate, and pepper lead into a wonderful boysenberry finish. $17.99, 90 rating.

Montgras 2007 Quatro. A delectable blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Malbec (30%), Carmenere (25%), and Syrah (15%). This wine had a deep garnet color with black cherry, cigar, and clove aromas. Red raspberry and red cherry flavors with a subtle mocha finish. $14.99, 87 rating.

Both red wines pair well with pork tenderloins and onions slow cooked with white wine (see white wine above), baked potatoes, green bean and carrots.

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

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The 14th of February

Most of you know what today is and unless you live under a rock – Happy Valentine’s Day to all. Hope any plans you have for the evening are all you expected. But the real reason I’m sending this off isn’t about Valentine’s Day but about things you are passionate about. And those of you that really know me know that I love wine. I love to read about wine, talk about wine, smell wine, drink wine, visit wineries to drink and smell their wines, just about anything to do with wine is what I love to do.

Anyway, I’ve babbled enough and I want to let you know of a few other wine blogs I have come across that may whet your appetite for the delectable grape. They’re not professional but they could be.

The first one is called Pull That Cork where you can get wine reviews that are distinct and from the heart. You can even put in your “two cents” worth with your own comments. Based in California where there are a plethora of vineyards to choose from you receive great reviews on wines, some of which I haven’t even tried yet. Nancy & Peter make  “views on wine more fun”.

Next, is Swirl, Sip, Snark. This site gives you a no-holds barred review of Virginia wines where they give good and bad reviews of wines they taste. They profess that their site is “sort of a cross between a serious wine blog and a vaudeville act” and they live up to it.

And the last one I like is Wine Peeps. This wine blog is comprehensive and their passion focuses on Washington State wines. This site has a wealth of information. I check there often to see if I’ve missed anything.

If you’re on the Wit Is Out homepage you can access these wine blogs on the “Wit” Links. Don’t forget to subscribe to them as they’re really good. Have a great Valentine’s Day.

Oh, I almost forgot. Let’s review a couple of wines for this evening’s festivities.

Cline Cellars 2008 Los Carneros Viognier. Peach and apricot aromas with a hint of honey immediately hit the nose. Apricot, apricot, and apricot on the palate. Either my palate was “off” or this was all I got. $19.99, 84 rating. Had this with a spicy hot vegetarian chili that my wife made (actually I added a bunch – remember my definition of bunch? of hot sauce to the chili) and it was pretty good.

St Francis 2006 Behler Sonoma County Merlot. Black cherry, clove, tar, and bacon aromas with black currant and mocha flavors hit the palate with a hint of blueberry and boysenberry. Had this as a stand-alone wine. $22, 88 rating.