December 2, 2009
December 1, 2009
Firefly Ridge, Central Coast 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
I know, another Cabernet... I blame it on my own curiosity. I've already explored the wonderful world of pinot noir and this is just the next step.
This Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful ruby-red color. I get a berry/amaretto aroma after swirling.* It has notes of currant and a light oak taste. It's rather spicy but not overpowering. The problem lies with its strong alcohol taste. I wouldn't say it's terrible but just okay. BUT, there are better cabs for your buck out there.
*Side note: swirling isn't just for wine snobs. It aerates the wine, which means it absorbs oxygen and lets the wine develop it's aroma. It's said that smelling the wine will give you the most information about the wine since your nose can recognize thousands of different smells as opposed to the few flavors our tastebuds can identify. You'd typically open a red wine about an hour before serving to let it breathe, preferably in a designer carafe or decanter.**
**I know everyone will be putting this blood vessel-looking wine carafe on their Christmas lists this year!
November 7, 2009
This is one of my favorite pasta recipes. It's one of Rachael Ray's although, I've adapted it to what I had on hand.
Pasta Puttanesca Adapted from Rachael Ray
2 shallots, chopped (you can use half an onion if that's what you have)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 /2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
20 oil-cured black or Kalamata olives, cracked away from pit and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers
1 medium zuchinni, sliced into rounds or quarter rounds
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce (instead of using tomato sauce from the can, I used about 2 cups of basic basil marinara sauce from TJ's)
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound spaghetti(or whatever pasta you have on hand), cooked to al dente
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, shallots, garlic, and crushed pepper. Saute mixture until shallots and garlic are tender, about 3 minutes. Add olives, capers, zuchinni, tomatoes, tomato sauce, black pepper, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss pasta with the puttanesca sauce and a grate some parm over the top. Delicious!
November 4, 2009
October 26, 2009
Fetzer Vineyards, Valley Oaks 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Hopland, Mendocino County, California)
I'm usually not a Cabernet fan. Most are known for being full bodied and can be a bit too peppery/spicy for my young wine drinking tongue. Upon first pour there's a distinctive vanilla/berry aroma. This cab is very smooth with an amazing burst of juicy black cherry. If you take a second to let it sit in your mouth, you'll also get a subtle vanilla and chocolate flavor. As with most Cabernets, there's a nice but fairly mellow spice and oak taste.
I also love this wine because it's "earth friendly." Fetzer has succeeded in becoming a carbon neutral company. 100% of the energy they use comes from renewable resources(think solar and wind energy). Their vines are also certified free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Snaps for them!
You can pick this wine up at most grocery stores for under $10.
Adapted from Ina Garten
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional...I don't know of any college student who has this just lying around)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan