Feast Your Eyeballs on THIS!

My dear pal Curly is a woman of requests.  Last month she made me disclose the world’s worst candy.  Now she wants to take a peek inside my fridge.  I almost shudder to think what she’ll be asking of me next..  BUT since we’re pals..

myfridge

TAAA-DAAAAAHHH!  OoOoohhhhh..Isn’t he handsome.. YES he IS!  Before you get too jealous, though, I must confess.  This is not MY fridge.  No.  It belongs to my landlord.  But I pretend it’s mine.  PS: If you want to store the contents of your lunch in MY fridge, you must ask first.

Let’s take a look inside..

myfridge2

myfridge3

As you can see, my landlord has quite a nice fridge. My husband & I like to stock it with fresh local produce and less local, but still altogether terrific, alcohol.  Since we are no longer in West Philly, and I am no longer hosting a CSA on my front porch, we have now joined a new CSA here in Maine.  It is GREAT.  Except for the beets.  Which are beautiful, but taste like BEETS.  YIKES!  I just noticed that *Smiling Hill* milk on the bottom shelf is no longer blue.  What do I mean – BLUE milk?  WELL. Up here in Maine, they sell Blue Milk.  It’s called BLUEBERRY MILK!  and it is unbelievably delicious.  It normally looks like THIS (many thanks to Joe Shlabotnik):

blueberry_milk

And is a delightful purple-blue. But now that my blueberry milk has turned a pallid WHITE I am thinking that’s not too good.   From the photo, it also appears to be separating.  Oh my.  Note to self: remove blue white blueberry milk. PS: remember to turn head while pouring out.  PPS: Now that there is space; buy more wine.

Here is my landlord’s freezer.

fridge4

fridge5

YES, we do like ice cream!  In fact, we LOVE it!!  Except that spangly stars n’ stripes kind, which I can’t get my kids to eat.  They do like those frozen fish sticks, though.  YOU TOO??  Well.. I’ll ask, but I’m not sure they’ll share.  You can always come over for some stars n’ stripes ice cream, though.  Or a nice glass of milk.

mmmmilk

MMMMmmmmm-MMm.

See you soon!

Wine Challenge 2008 – Third Quarter Summary

Hard to believe another 3 months has passed me by, but here we are again.  Focusing on my most favoritest of subjects. WINE.

I will be honest w/ you.  The past 3 months – POOF! into the ether.  This summer just went by waaay too fast.  I spent many of its balmy nights blissed out of my mind, sitting on a beach, by a campfire, YES pretty much anywhere, enjoying an adult juice box or two.  The past two weeks alone I’ve been drunker than a skunk on a blind-inducing bender. And YES it has been fun.

Unfortunately, in my revelry, my wine diary got tossed to the wind like yesterday’s bikini.  Well, technically it was placed behind that old photo on top of the bookcase – but you catch my drift.  This quarter I sampled many, many wines. Unfortunately, this quarter I made far fewer recordings in my illustrious diary than ever.  Wine is always easy, but being disciplined when you’re with wine is a little bit harder.

This quarter I sampled recorded 19 new wines.  The ante was upped slightly these past 3 months, in that many of the wines I tried would normally sell for MORE THAN $10.  This might perhaps account for some of my less-than-disciplined approach.  Drinking *better than hooch* does that to you. But then again, so does hooch.

Out of the 19 wines surveyed:

12 rated A or B.  A or B = Gooood.

7 rated C or LESS.  C or Less means NEVER AGAIN. NOT EVEN IF YOU PAID ME.

Christy’s Top Five of the Summer (in no particular order):

Castle Rock
2007 Pinot Noir
CALIFORNIA
13.8% alc/vol, 750 ml

A deliciously light & lovely red.  Notes of cherry, ripe red berries and spice.  Medium body w/ a lingering finish.  Low acidity.  YUMMY! Highly recommended.

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Tangent
2006 Pinot Gris
CALIFORNIA
13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale, clear gold w/ hints of fruit in the bouquet. Luscious fruit flavors – melon, citrus, pear, nectarine and honey.  Lovely, crisp clean finish. Round on palate. FULL FLAVORED and delicious.

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Pascual Toso
2006 Merlot
ARGENTINA
14% alc/vol, 750 ml

What a red!  Round and rich w/ a perfect finish.  Low acidity.  Appealingly dry.  TONS of flavor, but not sweet or cloying in any way.  Ripe red berries w/ a hint of ….??  Something.  I just can’t put my finger on.  Not spicy.  Licorice?  Not dramatic or dark enough.  Just a wonderful wine.  See for yourself.

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TOHU
2006 Sauvignon Blanc
NEW ZEALAND
13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

This wine in one word.  EXQUISITE.  Palest wisp of color.  Most distinctly unique flavor of citrus – especially grapefruit.  Crisp w/ very low acidity.  Clean finish.  Absolutely delicious.  One of the best wines I’ve had this year.

***************

Zolo
Torrontes 2007
ARGENTINA
13.8% alc/vol, 750 ml

Clear, palest gold.  Bright fruity bouquet.  Really striking, intense flavors of tropical fruit, pineapple, melon.  Good body.  A tasty young wine.  Yum- YUM.

Wine Challenge 2008: Second Quarter Summary

HELLO WORLD!!! Time once again for………. WINE WINE GLORIOUS WINE!
I know I haven’t been bragging blogging about my drinking lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping my liver on HIGH ALERT, Oh no! It’s soooooooo hard to believe another 3 months has passed Oh So Quickly, but here we are – July. WOW. How’s things w/ you? Yep, me too. So now that’s out of the way, let’s talk turkey. Or in this case, WINE. B/c THAT’s what I like drinking when I am not drinking water, seltzer, the occasional pepsi, beer (of course), and sometimes tea. YEP. WINE. It’s what’s for dinner.

3 months ago, I gave you a glimpse into my newfound calling as wino extraordinaire (a la my 2008 Wine Challenge: First Quarter Summary). That FIRST summary featured some of the best and brightest wines I’d encountered since the first of the year. NOW. I am pleased to share w/ you all (YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!!) the most scrumptiously deliciously delectable wines I have been enjoying all SPRING. YAY!

Last quarter I sampled 34 new wines. During this second quarter, I sampled yet another 34. I AM SO GREAT!

21 rated A or B. A or B = STAMP OF APPROVAL.

13 rated C or lower. C or lower means YOU DRINKIN HOOCH. Sucka.

As a review, all WINE for my 2008 challenge was selected strictly on the basis of PRICE. B/c I am poor discriminating, $10 or less per bottle. This quarter I sampled wines from around the globe: Italy, France, Spain, the US, Argentina, Australia, Chile… and I just have to say. ITALY KNOWS WINE. By far, the Italian reds & whites I have sampled have been the most consistently superior in both taste & value. A good thing to remember when you are scanning unfamiliar labels at the liquor store. BUY THE BOOT!

2nd QUARTER RECOMMENDATIONS (in no particular order):

CORVO
Vendemmia 2006

ITALY
11.5 % alc/vol, 750 mL

Very pale white wine w/ faint bouquet.
Crisp, clean, light. UNBELIEVABLY easy to drink; goes down like water.
A- / B+

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MONTECILLO
2005 Rioja

SPAIN
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Clear golden color, subtle aroma.
Crisp clean taste of fruit – tart apple, pear notes.
Low acidity, very little aftertaste. YUM.
SERVE COLD.
A- / B+

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GABBIANO
2006 Chianti

ITALY
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deep purplish-red color, strong cherry nose and distinctly cherry flavor.
VERY DELICIOUS.
Slightly dry, full bodied, well-balanced.
Would definitely drink again.
A- / B+

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FRESCOBALDI
Remole Toscana Rosso 2006

ITALY
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Mix of Sangiovese (85%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).
Deep garnet color, no noticeable bouquet.
Very pleasant fruit flavor, bright ripe cherry, faint hint of plum.
Well-balanced, slightly dry. A very yummy, easy-drinking wine.
A- / B+

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JUMILLA
2005 Mad Dogs & Englishmen

SPAIN
14% alc/vol, 750 mL

50% Monastrell / 30% Cabernet / 20% Shiraz
Darkest red color – almost tinged w/ black.
Cherry bouquet.
Fruit flavors: ripe berries, cherries w/ a hint of spice.
Dry & DELICIOUS. This wine left my lips tingling.
Highly recommended.
A-

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SMOKING LOON
2006 Pinot Noir

CALIFORNIA
13.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Ripe berry/cherry flavor – YUMMY!
Ever-so-slightly sweet and dry w/ very little acidity.
I sampled two other wines from SMOKING LOON: 2006 Chardonnay and 2006 Merlot.
SKIP THE CHARDONNAY & MERLOT.
GO FOR THE PINOT.
A- / B+

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FAT CAT
2007 Pinot Noir

CALIFORNIA
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Dark garnet color.
Pronounced cherry flavor. Slight dryness/acidity.
A really nice wine – especially for the price. Fun, fruity & delicious!
A-

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JACOB’S CREEK
2006 Shiraz

AUSTRALIA
13.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deepest darkest garnet color.
Forward fruit flavors – ripe cherry, plum, hint of pepper.
Low acidity. Soft, lingering finish.
A medium-bodied, young, energetic wine! Yummy & zippy.
Recommended.
A- / B+

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BANFI
Col di Sasso 2006

ITALY
13% alc/vol, 750 mL

Combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.
Darkest cherry color.
DELICIOUS! fruit flavors of ripe berries & cherries.
Tingly on the tongue – feels almost effervescent.
Good body. Soft finish w/ no aftertaste.
Excellent wine.
A- / B+

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CAVIT Collection
Pinot Grigio 2007

ITALY
12% alc/vol, 750 mL

Palest gold color.
Light & DELICIOUS!
Flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, peach. MMMmmmm.
Very low acidity & aftertaste.
A fabulous wine at a fabulous price.
RECOMMENDED.
A-

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CECCHI
2006 Bonizio
Sangiovese de Maremma
ITALY
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deliciously light, especially for a red wine.
Dark color, good body & very little acidity.
A lovely, slightly dry red. RECOMMENDED.
A- / B+

DISHWASHER WANTED! Apply within.

Man, I am feeling LAZY. And for such a Go-To kind of gal, it’s weird. Worse yet, I am enjoying it. Yes, I am reveling in my own laziness. I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever scrape myself off my own shoe and GET THINGS DONE. Is it healthy to enjoy loitering so much?? I’m perched in front of the computer like my ass has taken root. What’s up? Normally I’d have blazed a trail to Oregon and back, but MAN all I want to do is just sit here and slack..

Maybe it’s the vertigo. I can only spend so much time inside the rock tumbler before it gets to me. This morning the dizziness was worse. Of course, Yesterday didn’t help much. NO Yesterday our dishwasher decided to bite the big one. Not sure how long these things are supposed to last, but our Whirlpool is just shy of 8. Doesn’t that seem young for a dishwasher? My folks had a dishwasher in their house in New Hope that was ANCIENT. Or maybe it just looked really bad.

I got a *feeling* about the dishwasher several days ago. For some unknown reason I started wondering about it. I don’t know why. It hasn’t been acting up, making odd noises or anything. For some reason, it just popped into my head. It may sound strange, but I get these *feelings* about things every once in a while. Like when I won that boatload of money at the Borgata. If I have some secret power, some form of telepathy or ESP, then it’s news to me. But once.. I was even able to move salt & pepper shakers across the table using just my MIND. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHA!! No, I am JUST JOKING about that last thing!! But wouldn’t that be cool??

Anyway, I got this dishwasher *feeling* several days ago, and then WHADDAYAKNOW the thing’s dead. I came downstairs yesterday and was greeted by a mysterious burning smell. I go into the kitchen, there’s dirty water all over the floor. In the basement there’s water everywhere, having leaked through the ceiling down onto the dryer, into the cedar closet, all over our Christmas decorations, baby stuff, all that crap we’d just stored for a rainy day – what the hell was I thinking?? My husband came home to assess the damage and we both just left everything where it was.

Today the kitchen’s a wreck. Dishwasher baskets on the island filled with half-washed dishes, a sink full of dirty pots, last night’s dinner dishes blocking the microwave. Filthy crap everywhere. And now the power’s off. So I can’t cook. I also can’t use the sink b/c the dishwasher’s been pulled out and disconnected. It’s out on the back porch now, waiting for the garbage men to haul it away tomorrow. So long Whirlpool, thanks for the years of service. Last night in my fatigue I rinsed out the dog’s dish, and watched in horror as water poured onto the floor from the unconnected hose beneath the counter. DUH. Yes, I felt very stupid. But I was too tired to care.

After dinner, we’d driven an hour to the Sears Outlet to look at dishwashers. They have a TON of appliances there, as well as a fabbbbbulous air hockey table at a LOW LOW price of $177. Which we ALL WANT. And they had heaps of dishwashers, but none of them *just right* and none at the price we wanted to pay. Sure, I could take that gorgeous $1500 stainless steel number for half the price, but I still don’t want a HUGE DENT on the front panel. I’m already screaming inside at the top of my lungs. Needless to say, we went home w/out a new washer. Fortunately, however, the Liquor Outlet’s right there next to the Scratch & Dent. So although we returned home appliance-less, we didn’t go home empty handed. And I will take what I can get.

I like the Scratch & Dent place – we got our beautiful stove and fridge there and also our new stacked washer/dryer. All of those look perfect and (so far) work great. But I am branching out. I checked prices online at Lowe’s. I like Lowe’s. It is clean and bright and on the weekends they have lots of cash registers open – with real live employees operating them. This would differ drastically from the Home Depot we frequent. Or should I say, USED TO frequent. This weekend we had our last straw with the Home Depot. We spent almost $300 there on Sunday afternoon, purchasing garden supplies, and had to wait until Sunday evening to check out. While 3 employees meandered around the nursery, laughing and joking around with each other, and one very overworked employee rang up at the register. ALONE. We were PISSSSSSED, as was everyone else in line. If we hadn’t already waited a decade, we would have left. LISTEN UP HOME DEPOT, You are gonna lose the Race of the Home Improvement Box Stores if you don’t shape up. I AM SERIOUS.

This past weekend we did quite a bit of work on the back garden. It isn’t going to win us any prizes, but it looks better than it did. In the evening I brought in an array of bowls and spoons my daughters had been using to dig a trench across the yard. These were of course good kitchen bowls & spoons, and not wanting to throw them in the trash, I stuck them into the dishwasher for a rinse. My bad.

Wine Challenge 2008: First Quarter Summary

It has been a full quarter since undertaking my official 2008 Wine Challenge. Three months of drinking. Nine more to go. AND, YES IT HAS BEEN HARD. Now that April is upon us, it’s time to share some of the plethora of wine knowledge I’ve acquired since the first of the year.

In the past three months, I have sampled a grand total of 34 wines. WOW.

21 rated A or B. A or B = Gooood.

13 rated C or lower. C or lower means pour it straight down the crapper and then hit yourself w/the bottle for wasting $10 on plonk.

For review, my selection criterion was PRICE. I began with the intention of buying wines $15 or under, but (at least this first quarter), I have chosen wines averaging $10 or less. After 34 bottles, you can perhaps understand why. Being a wino is expensive. BUT B/c of all my hard work, YOU need not shell out a fortune for a chichi vintage to impress your friends. I have found some fabulous wines at rock bottom prices. So w/out further ado, my first quarter TOP TEN LIST:

[In no particular order]

Domaine La Hitaire
2006 Les Tours
FRANCE

10.5 % alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale yellow color with a subtle aroma.
Well balanced, with low acidity and very little aftertaste.
Smooth and understated, with hints of citrus, peach and apple.
Makes a great choice for people who don’t normally care for whites like Chardonnay because of their intensity.
Light, crisp and super easy-drinking.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

Chateau La Grange de Grenet
2005 Bordeaux
FRANCE

12.5 % alc/vol, 750 ml

Dark cherry color, bouquet hints of cherry, raspberry and plum.
Well balanced. Good acidity, light clean finish with a subtle aftertaste of oak and ripe berries. All-in-all, a very lovely, highly drinkable wine. AND CHEAP.
Highly recommended!
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

LELIA
Garnacha 2005
Carinena, SPAIN

12.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep plum color with faint fruity aroma.
Subtle taste; berry, fruit and wood notes.
Well-balanced, with very low acidity & very little aftertaste.
Tastes full in mouth, goes down verrry smooth.
Excellent.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Entremonts
Garnacha 2006
SPAIN

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep garnet red color. Lovely ripe cherry/berry flavor. VERY CHERRY.
Very well balanced, low acidity, smooth finish.
A light, easy-drinking wine.
Overall, excellent.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Saumur
2006 Lieu-dit Les Epinats
FRANCE

12.5% alc.vol, 750 ml

Medium golden color with a NOSE Forward bouquet.
Lovely fruit flavors, hints of peach and melon.
A well-balanced wine with very little acidity and NO aftertaste. YUM!!!
Clean, crisp and DELICIOUS.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Saumur
2005 Reserve des Vignerons
FRANCE

13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Deep plum color with a dry, lovely flavor. Hints of ripe berries, plum.
DELICIOUS! Well balanced. Smooth, round, w/ perfect finish. Little to no acidity. No aftertaste.
Wonderful wine – perfect with food or without.
A .

* * * * * * * * * *

Valley of the Moon
2005 Zinfandel
CALIFORNIA

15% alc/vol, 750 ml

Dark garnet color with bouquet of ripe fruit.
Deep cherry flavor. Good body, well balanced.
Sweet & delicious, but not cloying. MMM MMM GOOD!
BUT STRONG, so watch out.
As a side note: This wine gave me strange, vivid dreams.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

Tapena
2006 Tempranillo
SPAIN

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

Beautifully clear red with pronounced cherry aroma.
VERY pleasant taste of ripe red berries and cherries.
Smooth, silky finish. Easy drinking w/ low acidity. Appealingly light.
Absolutely delicious.
A – /B +

* * * * * * * * * *

Staete Landt
2005 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
NEW ZEALAND

14% alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale golden color and Strong aroma of fruit.
TASTES absolutely delicious! INTENSE FRUIT FLAVORS, Hints of citrus (grapefruit) and peach.
Well rounded. Low acidity.
I LOVE THIS ONE.
Highly recommended.
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Pietrafitta
Chianti Colli Senesi 2006
San Gimignano, ITALY

13% alc/vol, 750 ml

One of the best wines yet.
Deep plum color, bouquet of ripe red fruit.
Smooth and appealingly dry, with a soft easy finish. No pronounced fruit flavor or sweetness. Clean, very easy-drinking wine with little aftertaste or acidity.
A lovely wine from an exceptionally lovely village in Tuscany. And at $10 or LESS WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
A –

* * * * * * * * * *

Now that you have been educated in the art of cheap fine wine purchase, please spread the word to all those vineyards out there – worldwide – so that they may begin sending me some of their products to sample. I see people do this all the time on Book Review Blogs – asking for new titles, etc. And I am here to tell you, if you Send It, I Will Drink It. I will not be thwarted! After all, I could stop drinking, BUT I’M NO QUITTER. So if you have a particular vintage or cellar you would like me to critique, send some my way. My palate and my liver will do their very BEST. I promise.