Cabernet Sauvignon

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65% Sonoma County, 35% Napa County = a little vacation for my palate. If you’re a long-time reader, you know that we try to visit Napa and Sonoma twice a year. Travel recaps can mostly be found here.

This year, due to visiting new places and traveling for weddings and the Chicago Marathon, we have no trips to Sonoma planned, and while I am a little sad about this, I know that a little piece of me can visit through old photos, great memories, and of course wine. This is one of the reasons I love wine; pouring a glass and breathing it in can transport you back to a place in time that’s warm and sunny and gorgeous.


Ghost Pines Cab Sauv

This Ghost Pines wine will forever make me think of colder climate memories; I enjoyed it recently at a dinner at my sister’s house, Sunday night in winter with the family all around. My mom made an incredible roast prime rib with coconut shrimp, baked potatoes, kale Caesar, and other veggie sides.

The wine is rich and spicy with jammy blackberry and cocoa notes to balance it out. It was great with the roast meat, complementing the slight saltiness of the marinade perfectly, but it would also be great with a warm berry pie. It drank nicely long into the night, its long and lovely finish the perfect winter warmer.

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Tags: Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, Sonoma, Travel, wine, wine and food pairing, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday

Chateau Montelena 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon


Our quick trip to Portland, Maine this weekend included a late dinner at the much-loved Fore Street, a restaurant I hadn’t visited since a trip to Portland too many years ago. After getting settled in our home for the night,  we made it to Fore Street right before the kitchen closed, and those choosing the wine did an excellent job picking a bottle of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Montelena. I love the wine from Montelena, I love their winery and tasting room, and of course, I love the movie Bottle Shock so I was more than a little excited when this ended up in my glass.

Right at home in the candlelit glow and rustic wood of Fore Street, this wine is big, smooth,  and inviting,  Well developed tannins aren’t overpowering and are balanced by bright, berry sweetness that paired well with my pork belly entree and great company. Chateau Montelena makes classic, luxurious wines that are special-occasion worthy, but they’re also perfect for nights with great food and lots of laughs, those little moments that make life worth living.

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Tags: Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, Napa wine, wine, wine of the week

Chateau Tanunda wine

Happy Wine Wednesday! I am behind on blogging in general but especially on recaps of all of the wine tastings I have been participating in over the past month. The UPS man must have raised an eyebrow once or twice as he delivered box after box of wine to our house! All in the name of blog research!

I recently joined TasteLive for a tasting with Chateau Tanunda Estate, wines from the Barossa Valley. One of the most fun things about this virtual tasting was that winemaker Stuart Bourne joined us live from Chateau Tanunda, answering questions, sharing our tasting notes, talking about food pairings, and being really fun and funny with a great Australian accent.

Château Tanunda was introduced into the United States in 2010 and has since become one of the most acclaimed Australian wineries in the market, ranking at #4 in Wine Spectator’s top 100 outstanding value wines for 2011 and listed in Wine Advocate as one of Australia’s top 20 producers.

  • These wines are a GREAT value. Price points on the wines we tasted are all under $20
  • Chateau Tanunda makes wines that are elegant but also big and a lot of fun. I haven’t been to Australia (dying to go!), but when I drink Australian wine I think of it going with all sorts of different types of great food, sunshine, and fun people. This tasting was just a preview of that spirit.

We tasted the following Chateau Tanunda wines:

Grand Barossa Riesling 2010 ~ $16 – This Riesling is definitely one of my new favorite white wines. It is a luscious, lime-laden wine with some nice body and a long, juicy finish. I can definitely see it going perfectly with my tropical Island Time Shrimp Salad.

Grand Barossa Shiraz 2010 ~ $18 – While I love the Syrah grape, I tend to associate Shiraz with lower end Australian brands and usually pass it by. I am glad I got to taste this Shiraz, however. High-quality, hand-selected grapes make for a wine bursting with flavor but also nicely balanced. Notes of pepper, spice, earth, and dark berries make it a perfect match for espresso steak tips.

Grand Barossa Cabernet 2010 ~ $18 – Talk about great value; a Cab with this many layers for $18 is a complete steal. This wine is rich and velvety with flavors of cocoa and spice, ripe black cherries, with a hint of herb and spice. I would park a bottle next to the grill and a plate of Summer Steak Stacks or cozy up with a bottle of this, some family and friends, and a slow cooked roast. It’s a fantastic winter wine made for pairing and sharing!


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Tags: Australian wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, riesling, Shiraz, TasteLive, wine, wine tasting

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