Latest Posts

My Little Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly.  While this traditionally has been a holiday I’ve shrugged off, my husband loves to go all out and give me roses and chocolates.  On one occasion, I got a teddy bear and the flowers.  Last year he gave me custom jewelry with his and my son’s birthstones.

Needless to say, he’s changed my attitude about Valentine’s Day.  I wholeheartedly admit I love flowers and candy.  To be given those things from him makes them even more special.

img_3421Usually I cook him his favorite meal for this holiday.  This year, I decided to do something different.

My husband is Cuban.  There is very little that he loves more than a pastelito.  We live walking distance to Porto’s Cuban Bakery, which has all sorts of Cuban and Cuban-inspired treats.  We used to go there all the time.  It’s cheap.  It’s delicious.  The food is fresh.  The coffee is strong.  The lines are…long.  Oh…that’s right.  It usually takes a minimum of an hour to get in and out of Porto’s, even if the items have been ordered ahead.

Regardless, I wanted to make him something.

Guava pastries are not difficult.  They are basically puff pastry, guava paste, and the optional cream cheese.  While they are always delicious, mine have not always been pretty.  In fact, it seems like no matter how hard I try, they always turn out pretty ugly.  For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make him something beautiful.img_3431

I decided to make my husband a Cuban-inspired guava macaron with a guava paste center and guava/cream cheese frosting around the edge.  Macarons are ALWAYS pretty, right?

I experimented with this macaron during the holidays.  I wanted to gift them to his family and close friends.  However, the humidity and constant rainfall in Atlanta this last December made it so the shells cracked and wouldn’t form correctly.  They tasted great, but weren’t the right texture.  They were the perfect pink color img_3432with a dusting of sparkly rose gold.  Yet, the finished result looked sad.

I was so disappointed.  I tried twice.  I failed twice.  Finally, I gave up.  They got devoured anyway.

I hadn’t made a macaron since then, so I was trepidatious – especially since desert dry Los Angeles has been wet.

I took a breath and started to sift…

Happily, they came together!  My husband was so excited, he couldn’t wait until Valentine’s Day to eat them.  That’s fine with me.

 

BASIC MACARON SHELL (Click here for the recipe)

GUAVA/CREAM CHEESE FILLING

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Match the macaron shells into pairs and lay them out to fill.
  2. Place the cream cheese into a bowl for a stand mixer.
  3. Cut the guava paste into slices and place in a small pot.
  4. Add a splash of water to the guava paste. Heat on medium until most of the paste has broken down into syrup.  Keep stirring until there are no lumps.  Then let it cool slightly.
  5. Pour half of the guava syrup into the bowl with the cream cheese and begin to blend with the whip attachment.
  6. While the cream cheese is blending, place the remaining guava syrup into a piping bag and pipe a small circle in the middle of the macaron shell.
  7. Add the confectioner’s sugar to the cream cheese and blend together until completely combined.
  8. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag.
  9. Pipe the cream cheese around the guava paste, leaving some space on the edges for it to spread.
  10. Top it with the matched shell and move on to the next one.
  11. Refrigerate macarons to keep fresh.

 

The Cure for the Holiday Hangover

It’s January.  Most of us are trying to eat better and work out more.  However, it’s generally cold in the mornings and we’re all feeling a little sluggish from the holidays.

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

January may be the time of resolution keeping, but it is also the time of the Holiday Hangover.  For that, I like nothing more than a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

My husband and I have been grinding coffee and brewing it up in our Italian espresso maker.  Add a touch of Splenda and some 2% steamed milk, we have the beginning of a productive day.  It’s our slice of morning heaven.

However, do you know what makes it even better?  A little treat.

That’s right – a treat.  An itty-bitty, something yummy is the perfect way to start the day – even if it isn’t on our diet.  That’s where the Coffee Cookie comes in!

I drink alcohol from time to time, as you may have guessed from the title of my blog.  On

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

one boozy night, I had a hankering for some cookies.  It was around 2am, and we all know nothing good for us happens at that time.  That cookie craving I had wasn’t just a desire, it was a necessity.  Not only did cookies sound amazing, I knew we needed to have them to head off that morning hangover.

So, I made cookies.

Only, in my drunken haze, I forgot part of the recipe and put in way too much flour and cinnamon.  When I realized my error, I thought the cookies would all be ruined.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Instead, the Coffee Cookie was born!

This cookie is denser than your average cookie and it’s not as sweet.  It is truly the perfect pairing for a nice hot cup of java.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Add Ins: (You can customize your cookie with any of these or add in your favorite cookie additions)

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin (bake for a couple minutes longer)
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried blueberries
  • ½ cup shaved coconut

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Blend the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until completely combined
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon
  5. Add the flour mixture one spoonful at a time into the butter mixture until all of the ingredients are combined
  6. Stir in any add-ins
  7. Spoon the dough onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on a wire cooling rack

Bangladeshi Chicken Curry

Many years ago, in a time that seems more like a dream than reality, I lived in London for a spell.  It was a fantastic time of my life.  I had attended a summer session at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, home to such great actors as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Alan Rickman, and Sir Richard Attenborough.

That summer fueled a desire in me to really hit the pavements as an actor.  Having lived in Los Angeles my whole life, London called to me for a change of venue.  I was young.  I was eager.  I was a starving actor – literally.

Luckily, I became familiar with an area called Portobello Road, in Notting Hill.  Yes, the same Notting Hill as the movie, which showed the street on the weekends, when it became a bustling outdoor flea/antique market. The Portobello Road I knew, was the place to get good quality kosher meats and fresh-from-the-farm vegetables for cheap.

img_3070I discovered this area when a Bangladeshi actor friend helped me rent a small room at Bangladesh Center.  It was close to a Tube Station and was just a stone’s throw away from the market.  The room was about $20 per week.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the lodging in such a great locale.  I hung out with the other tenants and was immersed in their culture.  It was there that I learned how to make curry.  It was a hearty meal that could last for days, stretch the dollar (or the pound, as the case was), and satisfy a rumbling tummy.

Over the years, I’ve altered the recipe a bit and have made it my own.  This is so easy to do with curry, since we never measured ingredients and changed it up, based on what fresh vegetables were available at the time.  I always used chicken for my img_3067curry, but any protein should be fine.  In London, I purchased drumsticks because they were inexpensive and flavorful.  I would dump them into the stew with the skin and bone.  Now I usually buy breast or thigh meat and cube it to make it easier to eat.

This has become one of my favorite comfort dishes.  Not only does it remind me of my London days, but it is tasty and filling.  It is a lovely choice for a cold day.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1-2 fresh Indian green chilis, diced (optional – you can usually find these in an Indian market)
  • 2 pounds chicken
  • 1 onion, sliced in long pieces
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped in small pieces (you want the broccoli to practically melt into the sauce)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 4 eggs, boiled

Directions:

  1. Place all the spices, chilis and oil into a pot and mix into a paste.
  2. Cook on medium heat until it starts to sizzle and you can feel the spices in your nose and the back of your throat.
  3. Add in chicken and stir until coated and the outside is seared.
  4. Add in onions and stir until they start to become glassy.
  5. Add in tomato, broccoli, and potatoes, stir until coated.
  6. Pour in the water until it just covers everything in the pot. Bring it to a boil.
    1. For fast curry, keep it boiling for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Do not cover it.  Simmer until it reduces down to half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.
    2. If you have time to develop the flavors, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, uncover the pot and return the curry to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to half, stirring occasionally.
  7. While the curry is being made, boil the eggs in a separate pot.  Turn off heat, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Deshell the eggs and put them in with the curry.  I like to make small slits in the eggs so the sauce can get inside.
  8. Serve with rice.

Macarons – Those Temperamental Little B!+(#es

French macarons have been a long-time favorite dessert of mine.  I love the colors, flavors, and that slightly chewy, tender cookie with a fragile crust.  I heard they could be fussy, so I never tried to make them.  Instead, I left them to the French pastry experts.

That is, until I caught a video on making macarons.  It looked so easy!  What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, a lot of things.

Let’s start with this:  If you read my blog or know me in person, you know I am very bad at sticking to the recipe.  I enjoy “cooking with love.”  In other words, I like throwing things together and making something yummy.

The first time I made macarons, I followed the directions of the video I had watched.  These were very tasty, but the video left out a very important step:

Sift, sift, sift.  Then sift again.  If in doubt, sift.

E31C59FB-B4AC-4D3F-B4CA-016881608D2AAs I said, the first macarons I created were delicious.  However, they were grainy.  They were completely the wrong texture.  They were not smooth.  They were not shiny.  They didn’t have that beautiful, easily fractured crust.  Nor did they finish with a slight, chewy bite that dissolves beautifully on the tongue.  These were dense, with a typical cookie texture.  I was disappointed.

I tried the recipe again, this time sifting through once.  They had a better texture the second time, but still lacked the true qualities of that delicate macaron.

I decided to give up.

However, just as I made this decision, my friend Jenn asked if she could pay me to make macarons for a bridal shower she was hosting.  I was so flattered, I accepted.

Then I panicked.

Then I became obsessed.

I had to up my game!

My husband gifted me a book on macarons.  I “poured” over the pages and familiarized myself with the different techniques.  Apparently, I had used the Swiss technique before – the simplest one.  After talking with Jenn about what she wanted and consulting the book, I decided to try out the Italian method, where the sugar is cooked before pouring it into the meringue.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I am about to enlighten you.

In my research I came to understand that the shell of a macaron (the cookie part) is essentially a meringue, with almond flour (or any nut based flour) added to it.  This explains why the shell is so light and fragile.  This is also why it is absolutely essential to sift that flour and powdered sugar before adding it to the meringue.  Any clump, any larger grain, even any slightly unclean bowl, can change the texture of the shell and ruin that shiny, smooth finish.

Seriously.

As if that isn’t bad enough, I also discovered through trial and error that even something as simple as ridges on a baking sheet can change, not only the appearance of the macaron, but also the rise of it.  It can flatten out.

Exhausted yet?  Well, wait for this…

Then, even if you have sifted five times, cooked your sugar, made sure every bowl was pristine, AND used flat baking sheets, the temperature of the kitchen can botch a batch!

Seriously.

I made the mistake of having dinner prepping in the slow cooker one time.  The whole batch was ruined.  Well, not ruined.  Strangely enough, the macarons were the perfect texture three days later.  However, they were initially hard and many were cracked.01EA55AD-6FCE-4F0A-867A-D98DE5F1806E

Finally, I have a few more tips and tricks:

  1. Buy a food scale.  You need to weigh all of your ingredients for macaron shells to come out right (don’t worry about the filling – that is much less of a science and more of an art),
  2. Make sure you have older eggs, preferably bought the week before you’re going to make the macarons, and have them at room temperature before making the meringue,
  3. If you can, use a silicone baking sheet with circles to guide you. That way each shell should be close in size,
  4. Once the shells are piped, slam them hard on the kitchen counter about 10-20 times to get rid of any air bubbles,
  5. Give yourself time! Make the macarons about 2-3 days ahead of when you want them to be consumed.

In the end, the macarons for the bridal shower both looked and tasted great.  Some were not as perfect as I would have liked, but they were close enough.  Jenn loved them, and asked me to make them again for a Holiday Open House she was hosting for her jewelry business, Bella Sparkle.604DFFA4-22B9-4DE0-832C-AB2F64BE1FFE

Since my first time, I have experimented with a variety of flavors, including key lime pie, raspberry/lemon, and s’mores.  Once I got past the unpredictable and moody nature of macarons, I’ve had a great time coming up with different flavors and designs.  I even created a macaron for Jenn’s party with her favorite flavors (crème brulee) and color (turquoise).  I still think the shells are temperamental little b!+(#es, but I also think they’re fun.

 

BASIC MACARON SHELL – Italian Method

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  1. Sift the almond flour 2 times.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar into the almond flour, then combine thoroughly.
  3. Sift the almond flour/powdered sugar 2-3 more times, put aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites at medium speed with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  5. While the egg whites are whipping, cook the sugar with the water in a small pot until it reaches 235 degrees, whisking while it cooks (you do not want this to burn). If you do not have a thermometer, you will know the sugar is ready when it is boiling rapidly for about 5 minutes.  Note:  This process will take much longer than you think it will!
  6. When the sugar reaches 235 degrees, quickly pour it down the side of the bowl with the egg whites while still whipping (the heat of the sugar can cook the eggs if you don’t keep them moving).
  7. Increase the speed of the mixer and whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This will take about 8-10 minutes.  You want to be able to turn the bowl over and not have the meringue move.67CA1389-F6D7-451F-A51B-8036B6873874
  8. Create a well (or a hole) in the middle of the almond flour/sugar. Pour the meringue in the center.D5832821-2274-4C80-84F8-4D72772EF1C2
  9. Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula. Be sure to completely blend the meringue and almond flour and sugar so it’s flowing, but don’t over mix (those shells will crack!).  A124CC4C-9D8F-4120-8C6E-C7044481225D
  10. Add a couple of drops of food coloring and blend through.
  11. Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip. (Tip:  Put the piping bag in a drinking glass – it will be much easier to fill).
  12. Pipe the meringue onto the silicone mat or baking sheet, making small, circles, about 1 inch wide (try to make them uniform – a guided mat or the squares on parchment paper should help you). Cover any extra batter with plastic until you are ready to pipe it.6C933736-DBDE-4705-9B6A-78786D7AE6BB
  13. Firmly tap the baking sheet about 10-20 times to release any air in the batter.
  14. Let the shells sit for 30-60 minutes, until you can lightly touch them without denting the outside.CC1AECBD-3466-45B9-A938-CBAAF872AE63
  15. Heat the oven to 300 degrees, then bake one sheet at a time, for 9 – 12 minutes, depending upon how hot your oven gets. Vent the oven once or twice throughout the baking process.  You want the air to get in there.
  16. Remove the shells and move the silicone mat to a cooling rack. After a few minutes, gently remove the shells from the mat.

 

For the filling, your imagination is your limit!  Just think:  lemon curd, lime curd, caramel, marshmallow, Nutella, chocolate ganache, guava, or even combinations of flavors!  Just enjoy and delight your senses!  Below is a very easy raspberry buttercream recipe.

EASY RASPBERRY BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • ½ cup raspberry jam with seeds

 

Directions:

  1. Blend together the butter, sugar and raspberry jam until completely combined.
    • If you would like it to be thicker, add more sugar.
    • If you would like it to be thinner, add some milk.
  2. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag.
  3. Pair the macaron shells, matching them by closest size and shape.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto one of the shells, leaving some space on the edges for it to spread.47A796BF-C71F-48FF-BCFE-2F00A256BA3A
  5. Top it with the matched shell and move on to the next one.
  6. Refrigerate macarons to keep fresh.
  7. Take a deep breath… YOU ARE DONE! Pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up.  Cheers!DF853D2A-9642-4306-9363-7DF0739B6009

 

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

San Antonio Winery Los Angeles Tasting Room

D9AE92AE-5591-4612-AEEC-1B0ED2242C6CThe San Antonio Winery Tasting Room in Los Angeles has a cornucopia of delicious things. Not only do they have their large portfolio of wines available for tasting and for purchase, but they also have (non-San Antonio Winery) distilled spirits for sale including a few brands of Japanese whiskey. There are gourmet food items and snacks along with wine-themed gifts. The on-premises restaurant, Maddalena, has a stunning “visual menu” of all the entrees that are available. The selection is huge!9CE92B35-6CF8-4635-8E98-B6F484DC9A23

Selection seems to be the predominant theme at the San Antonio Tasting Room. There is even a selection of wine tastings, ranging in price from $5 to $15 for four tastes of wine. The $5 tasting is for the well-known San Antonio brand of sweet to semi-sweet Stella Rosa wines, while the $7 tasting is for the lesser-known and dryer San Simeon and Maddalena brands. The $15 tasting is for the Artisan wines. The guest is able to select the wines they would like to taste.

While San Antonio Winery no longer grows in Los Angeles, I was eager to taste this historic winery’s crafted wines. I started with a San Simeon Grenache rosé, a lightly colored dry rosé that would be exceptional with food. Then I moved into a crisp Stella Rosa Prosecco, followed by a Riesling that is on the sweeter side. San Antonio Winery’s best known brand is Stella Rosa, which usually boasts sweet to semi-sweet wines. However, I got to try their San Simeon and Maddalena brands which are on the dryer and more robust side. I tried a lush, fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by a deep and intense Petit Sirah. Finally, my tasting ended with a rich blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petit Verdot, and Petit Sirah in one bottle called “Opaque.” It’s the perfect name for this robust wine with a veritable cornucopia of dark varietals.

Overall it was a delightful tasting which proved to me that San Antonio Winery delivers a wine for every palate.

San Antonio Winery – A Los Angeles Landmark in Winemaking

Did you know Los Angeles was once the main wine-producing region in California? The first grapes in the Downtown Los Angeles area were planted in 1833. By 1890, there were vineyards that stretched throughout the majority of the Southern California region, with over 80 wineries in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, Prohibition in 1920 wiped out most of these vineyards, since the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol was prohibited.

San Antonio Winery was only three years old when Prohibition began.  The founder, Santo Cambianica found a way to adapt to the situation.  A loophole in the act allowed the production of sacramental wine. Cambianca, a devout Catholic, was able to stay in business by selling the wine for religious services.

This was a turn of genius and actually established San Antonio Winery as the largest producer of communal wine in the United States. At the time Prohibition began, the winery was producing around 5,000 cases of wine.  By the end of Prohibition in 1933, San Antonio Winery was producing over 20,000 cases of wine.

Centenial WinesAfter over 100 years and four generations of winemaking, the San Antonio Winery has expanded with vineyards in the Napa, Paso Robles, and Monterey areas. Sadly they no longer grow in Los Angeles, but they continue to produce wine in the original location on Lamar Street. Guests can visit and taste at this location in Downtown Los Angeles.

The next post will discuss the wines. Stay Wine Tasting at San Antoniotuned…

One Last Hurrah for Merlot Month

It’s no longer Merlot month, but I did have this tasty treat during that time.

 

🍷2017 Bogle Vineyards Merlot from Napa Valley
This was a good find at Trader Joe’s for under $10 – can you believe it? Under $10 from a 2018 Green Medal Leader Award winner, which honors the vineyard that best demonstrates environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable sustainable practices. Not only that, Bogle is a Certified Sustainable Vineyard and is Green Certified. Hooray for sustainability!!

As for the wine itself, this Merlot has a deep garnet hue, which is almost black. Bright berry notes greet the nose, along with cherry and plum notes on the palate. This is drinkable now, but it’s a little young. I would recommend buying it now and laying it down for a couple of years to develop some more complex flavors.

I paired this wine with a quickly made truffle gnocchi with cremini mushrooms, thyme, olive oil, lemon zest, and garlic. This brought out some beautiful earthy notes along with a creamy mouthfeel.

353C4D4A-E25A-4592-9294-B2A1E492AFBC

Dia de los Muertos – Tequila

“All dressed up with nowhere to go. Walking with a dead man over my shoulder…”

¡Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Today I have KÁH Tequila, which honors Dia de Los Muertos with its sugar skull bottles. Each one represents the different traditions throughout South America. The white skull is Blanco, and is honoring the Bolivian tradition of keeping the skulls of their ancestors. The yellow is Reposado, representing the Peruvian tradition of honoring the Devil to appease him and keep their loved ones safe. The black is Añejo, representing the Nicaraguan tradition of sleeping in the graveyard, next to their family’s graves. It’s all very macabre, but also wonderful. Today is the day to honor the memory of those who has passed.

How much do you know about tequila?
Basically, it is an alcohol created from the blue agave plant. There are basically four different types of tequila:
🌸Blanco: The purest type, it is usually aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral barrels.
🌼Reposado: Aged between two and twelve months in barrels. This is smoother than Blanco and more complex.
🌹Añejo: Aged one to three years in oak barrels. This is fuller bodied than Blanco and Reposado, with more complex flavors and a smoother finish.
💐Extra Añejo: Aged three years in oak barrels.

image0
.
.
.
.
#diadelosmuertos #sugarskulls #tequila #tequilabottles #tequilaskulls #dramhound #tequilahonor #kahtequila #dayofthedead #honoringthedead #tequilaeducation101 #celebratelife #winelife #winelifestyle #wineblogger #youcansipwithus

Furlani “Joannizza” Pét-Nat

Grown in the alpine city of Trento, Italy, “Joannizza” is created from Joannita, a grape created in 1968 from a cross of Riesling, Seyve-Villard, Rulander, and Gutedel.  This varietal is fungus and disease resistant…and rare. It is only grown in a few places, mostly in Germany and Switzerland. The Furlani family vineyard has 2.5 acres of Joannita.

This vineyard is currently in the hands of Matteo Furlani, a 4th generation winemaker. While the family has always practiced organic farming, Matteo has also introduced some biodynamic techniques. Additionally, wines are fermented with no yeast or sulfur, in cement tanks and small glass jugs with no temperature control. The wines are placed outside in the snow to settle.

This hands-off, small-batch approach is reflected in the wine. With a week of fermentation on the skins of the grape, the secondary fermentation is completed in the bottle with conserved grape must, resulting in lovely and persistent medium-sized bubbles.

The hue is a bright and cheerful lemonade yellow, with strong aromas of yeasty baked bread, unripe apricot, and toasted pecans. The wine is crisp, with flavors of lemon zest, jasmine, and tart pear. It eventually opens up to sweeter tropical fruit notes of papaya and pineapple.

Details:

Furlani “Joannizza” Frizzante

Vino Spumante

100% Joannita

Trento, Italy

11.5% Alcohol

2015 Predator “Six Spot”

A ladybug with six spots symbolizes a bountiful harvest. “Six Spot” is the perfect name for this enticing red blend from Predator Wines, by Rutherford Ranch.  With 48% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel, and 22% Malbec, this wine fills the mouth with delicious flavors of raspberries, blueberries, ripe dark fruits, sugared plums, and mint. It is a cornucopia of luscious, silky flavors with an equally aromatic bouquet of perfumed cassis, red licorice, and juicy blackberries. It is deep, it is rich, it is bodacious!

What’s better than that? Predator Wines is committed to sustainable farming practices, including introducing ladybugs to the Vineyards to keep out harmful pests. They also use reclaimed water (such an important practice in drought-prone California) and solar power. Cheers to that!

Stats:

2016 Predator Wines “Six Spot”

48% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel, 22% Malbec

Lodi, CA, USA

13.5% Alcohol

 

 

 

Left Coast “Cali’s Cuvée” 2016 Estate Pinot Noir

I like surprises.  I enjoy it when something is not quite what I was expecting – especially if it is interesting and thought-provoking.  This is what I experienced with Left Coast’s “Cali’s Cuvée” 2016 Estate Pinot Noir.

It began with the color.  When I poured this Pinot Noir in the glass, it was a deep, rich color of purple, almost black.  The perfumed cassis aroma was intoxicating, and the flavors were unexpected. I tasted roses, violets, boysenberry and rich, dark fruit. It filled my mouth with a luxurious silkiness and left me wanting more.

At $24 for the bottle, this wine is a steal. Grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Left Coast Estate is known for its role in creating sustainability. They explain on their website:

“We take a holistic approach to everything at Left Coast, sustainability being at the core of all we do. We received the largest USDA grant in Oregon in 2008 to go solar, and the vast majority of our estate’s electrical needs are supplied by the ground and roof mounted solar arrays. Our winery and vineyards are LIVE certified, Salmon-Safe, and we were one of just six producers that went to a third-party verification in the initial Carbon Neutral Challenge, originally under the aegis of the Governor’s Office, now folded into LIVE as a Carbon Reduction program.”

LC Pinot Noir tipped