Shatter, My Love Story of a French Red Wine

Shatter is a Grenache from Maury in the Roussillon region of France and is the love child of Dave Phinney (Orin Swift – The Prisoner) and Joel Gott (Joel Gott Wines) and is imported by Trinchero Family Estates.

These grapes are grown in a slate like rocky soil called black schist that is nutrient poor but retains heat well, allowing the grapes to reach full maturity while experiencing cool nights.

Strong winds and hot days cause shatter in the grape clusters, naturally thinning the fruit from the vines, producing intensely concentrated flavors.

Here is a video of Dave & Joel sharing how this venture came to be:

I loved this wine upon first sip.  I found it quite intense in color and flavor with dark berry and cherry leading to soft tannins and a luscious lingering finish.  The longer this sat in the glass the more time it had to reveal its complexity and boldness.  French wine made by  California winemakers….A match made in heaven.  Delicious – Buy some!

Once I heard of the Dave-Joel-Trinchero connection I knew why I loved it!  You’ve heard of 6 degrees of separation….well I have somewhat of a 3 degrees of separation story about these guys so here it is.

A couple of years ago I attended a small trade tasting featuring Joel Gott wines and Joel himself was there.  As this was a rather small event pretty much everyone got (Gott – haha) one on one time to pick his brain.  As I was gushing about my love of St. Helena, California and Taylor’s Refresher which is now called Gott’s Roadside (his family owned burger joint), Joel was giving me dining recommendations for our next visit.

I was fat fingering them into my phone as fast as I could and screwing it up royally.  I became quite flustered and broke out into a sweat.  Joel being the lovely human being he is, took pity on me and offered to put them into my phone.  JOEL TOUCHED MY PHONE – HE TYPED INTO MY PHONE!!  It may not seem like a big deal to you guys but I was beside myself!!  I did manage to act cool about it – until Hubby and I got in the car and THAT WAS ALL I TALKED ABOUT.  I am not one to be star struck but I am definitely Wine Struck.  I eat, breathe, and DRINK wine.  Any event that showcases a winemaker – I’m there!  Call me a Wine Groupie, Wino, Lush – I don’t care – I just love everything there is about wine.  Walking through a vineyard and visiting the vines and touching the grapes speaks to me in a way I just can’t explain.  It’s in my blood and part of my soul…..

So now, Dave Phinney…

The last time in the Napa/Sonoma area we stayed at  a lovely B&B in Calistoga called Chateau De Vie.   It boasts amazing breakfasts, lovely rooms, gracious hosts Peter and Philip and charming grounds with a 2 acre vineyard.

View from our room of Chateau De Vie Vineyards

During our stay we were offered a glass of the A-Ma-Zing Chateau De Vie Cab.  The nose was reminiscent of something I’ve had before but couldn’t place and the taste was oh so familiar.  It was then mentioned that their good friend Dave offered to help them out with the grapes from the 2 acre vineyard.  Dave……Dave Phinney.  That’s when the light bulb went off.  Orin Swift – The Prisoner (which is a Zinfandel blend) that, to this day, I still can’t get enough of.

Now, Trinchero Wines….

At a trade tasting we tried four of the upper end wines Trinchero offers and winemaker Mario Monticelli, was in attendance to share his expertise with us.  Again, I was Wine Struck.  This was a small event as well, so I was able to monopolize Mario until Hubby gave me the stink eye.  It probably worked against me that Mario has an Italian accent because I just wanted to hear him speak……anything…..it didn’t really matter – as along as it sounded Italian….I was mesmerized.

So there you have it, my brush with wine celebrities and my love Grenache and the Trinchero wines.

Cheers to you and drink good wine!

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Music Monday with Muse ~ Supermassive Black Hole and a bit of Linkin Park

It’s Monday and time again for Music Monday’s.  Today is really kicking my butt, so I searched for a song that could convey what I feel pent-up inside of me….

Yes,  I am a Twilight fan…..I have no shame in saying that.  I’ve read the entire series and watched the 1st three movies.  Ok, who wouldn’t want a boyfriend that sparkles like diamonds when the sun is cast upon him, AND has super un-human powers to carry you on his back while racing up a mountain and then jump from tree top to tree top?  It could be a bit more exciting than zip-lining don’t you think?

I happen to be fascinated by space and the concept of a black hole, which leads me to the concept of Forever.  Once you’ve been converted to Vampire you live FOREVER….just think of all you could accomplish in that amount of time.  I think I could go around and around with that one….

I do think this song fits perfectly into the above baseball scene.  As for Muse, they know how to speak to me via bass guitar and drums.

To back up just a bit, Saturday, I worked at my favorite Fry’s Signature Store and afterwards indulged in a glass of Pinot Noir called Cherry Pie.  With a big hit of dark Bing cherries this complex Pinot opens up with some time in the glass and is definitely enhanced by food.

Courtesy of Vintagepoint.com

For Father’s Day I got Hubby a rotisserie attachment for his new grill.  We decided to use it yesterday to cook our first whole bird on the grill.  I purchased an all natural hormone free chicken and I’m telling you – it does make a difference!  It was juicy and so full of flavor I can’t believe we waited so long to try this.

But, I’ve got ahead of myself.  As an appetizer we had Peach, Prosciutto & Ricotta Crostini.  Ah-Maz-Ing!!  After trying many brands of prosciutto we’ve found Boars Head or San Daniele to be the best.

Courtesy of bonappetit.com

After dinner, was a dessert of  Grilled Fresh Figs with Ice Cream and Honey.

Courtesy of finecooking.com

I used organic Black Mission figs from Whole Foods, fresh thyme and mint from our herb garden and Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato.  You have to try this!!!  In Arizona we have a small window of fresh figs (about 6 weeks) so I like to try as many of these recipes as I can.

In case you thought this post was about food and not music as I originally started out with, here is another favorite song of mine by Linkin Park with lots of drums, guitar and screaming angst called Bleed It Out….Crank.Those.Speakers.Up!!!

So,what did you do this past weekend ?  Did you try any new foods or wine?

Until next time, Cheers to you…..Cheryl

Thank you Missy….

For the love of iPhone!

I love my iPhone!  You could even call me an Apple fanatic, but for cryin’ out loud, Give Me A Break!

Not Literally!

This is what happened last Thursday when my sweet baby kissed the tile floor.

I.Was.Devastated!

I tried to talk myself into using it like that until my contract was up NEXT MAY, but are you kidding me??  I couldn’t read text messages, couldn’t see my pictures and frankly it looks a bit white trash.  So, off I went to the Apple Store to accept my punishment.  I thought I would have to buy a new phone but, as it turns out it you can buy a replacement phone for less than a new one.  But, what happened next hardly ever happens (or so I’m told).  Somehow my last backup in the Cloud was corrupted in the download to the new phone.

I won’t bore you with all the mundane details but today – 7 days and 2 new phones later – I am now complete…..

I have to say Kudos to the all the smart, techno savy Apple employees who helped me through this entire ordeal.  During my 4 visits to the Apple store and 3 phone calls to technical support, they exhibited superior customer service skills.  In fact, I think they should get a medal for dealing with a slightly hysterical me!!

I did have some help getting through all of this, so let me introduce you to some of my friends…

Mionetto Proseco Brut D.O.C.

The Mionetto Proseco Brut D.O.C. is a delicious sparkling from Northern Italy.  My first sip exhibited small bubbles that danced across my tongue.  The bubbles are produced using the Charmat method which uses stainless steel tanks and yeast to produce a natural secondary fermentation. It has a nice light almond, hazelnut taste on the palate.  Most of the reviews read Golden Apple and  the tech sheet reads Very Dry but I did not find this to be the case at all.  In fact, I found it light in body and well-balanced. We enjoyed ours with appetizers  but it would also work well in a Bellini or with dessert.  Since I like discovering the details behind whatever it is I’m enjoying, here’s a link on Proseco.

Next up, 2010 Sojourn Gaps Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir.  They have been making  boutique artisan Pinot Noir since 2004 and this single vineyard Pinot since 2007.  The fruit is from Sonoma Coast and is grown in rocky soil which imparts a bit of minerality but that just lends to the fabulousness of this wine.  It is deep in color and the blueberry aroma is intoxicating.  On first sip, I got the impression of a big Pinot.  The dark Bing cherry fruit followed with some spice and then led to a long lingering finish that just wowed me!  This is a complex Pinot that had me begging for more. …. it reminded me of Meiomi Pinot Noir,  but on steroids.  The winemaker suggest paring this with prime rib however, we had this with a vegetarian dish that was tossed in a walnut/mustard vinaigrette and it was wonderful!

Here’s a video from the winemaker describing this fabulous juice.  I love how he calls this a Pinot Noir for Cab lovers…..That’s me!

Yeah baby, this is a sexy Pinot…..

Finally, we have a 2007 Maldonado Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.  I love the story on this one…Lupe Maldonado moved from a small town in Mexico to work the vineyards in California.  He spent over 30 years at Newton as the vineyard manager and now he and his son Hugo, a who has a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, have partnered on their own 10 acre project.  Lupe lives in the midst of the vines they planted and is still involved  farming and overseeing the project.  I understand there is a secret garden on the property across the creek that marks the vineyard border…..

This limited production Cab comes from a property on Spring Mountain. We decanted it for several hours and the beauty of it did not disappoint.  It is full-bodied with well-rounded tannins.  The red currant, cedar and dark cherry came across on the tongue beautifully with a touch of minerality.  We enjoyed this with grilled steak, sautéed mushrooms and grilled veggies.  Loved It!  I would chill this slightly, maybe 10 minutes, before decanting or serving to enhance the overall experience.  That tidbit came from 2 different wine experts so I think it’s worth heeding.

So, the  take away from this post would be:

If you really want to protect your iPhone, get an Otter Box

AND

Alway drink good wine!

Until next time, Cheers to you!

Don’t Stop Lovin Me

We just returned from a fabulous Father’s Day weekend and this is what met us…

Seriously??

Even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 20 this year, it has full on arrived where I live… in fact it was 102 degrees at 9 a.m. this morning.  Tell me again why I live here?

The upside is, our fabulous weekend yielded an amazing monsoon storm…

Tucson Monsoon

along with some great mexican food and the opportunity to meet our Nephew’s fiancé Jodi…

Eric and Jodi

So, in the spirit of distraction, and the fact that it’s Monday, it’s time again for Music That Moves Me.  Since there was so much I loved about this weekend I find this song Don’t Stop Lovin Me a perfect fit. It is performed by a duo called Pomplamoose.  I had never heard of them until another one of my favorite bloggers, Michael, at Inspired By Charm posted this on his Facebook page.

If you like this song, you can download it for free until July 1st….so what are you waiting for?

Pomplamoose is a California indie duo centered around musicians Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn.  According to Wikipedia the name of the band is derived from the French word pamplemousse meaning grapefruit.  Pomplamoose is an English-spelling approximation of the French pronunciation. What I like about them is that they make music because they want to And they are having fun.  I’m all for having fun, in fact when any opportunity presents itself to me, the first question I ask myself is “Will this be fun??”.  Here is another song by them that I thought was funny….

Not to be forgotten is the wine tie in.  While in Tucson for our Father’s Day Fun  we enjoyed the 2009 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet.

At just under $25 this wine is a great deal.  The first sip had us saying, “This is delicious, buy more!!”  The wine experts say this Sonoma Valley Cab should be making Napa Valley a bit nervous.  It’s luscious and balanced, with a smooth and soft mouthfeel but enough tannins to grab your attention. The finish is fruit filled and dry with just a touch of unsweetened chocolate.

That about sums up what we thought….Cheers to you!

Cheryl

Happy Father’s Day to Dad’s Everywhere!

I fully intended to have a much different post than this one but I’m gonna go with the flow here.

We are staying at a resort in Tucson, Arizona called the Westward Look.  I’ve know of it since attending school here in the late 70’s, however, it was originally a hacienda-style family home-built in 1912.  It boast views of the Sonoran Desert to the South and almost backs up to the Santa Catalina Mountains to the North.  Breathtaking……

11 years later we are back for a Fathers Day weekend that my husband has planned since last year.  He is golfing with his father, brother and nephews and  I, in search of coffee, stumbled upon the most enchanting grounds I can ever remember.  So I am sharing with you the overwhelming Love and Beauty I see around me….

The resort itself enchanting…..more details in another post.  For now, I give you pictures of this beautiful resort in the area I grew up in.

 **Note: I used Camera+ for the filters on the photos, but it only enhances their beauty and in no way makes them any less real.

Tucson June Monsoon

Humming Bird Garden

Quail running from me

View of the Santa Catalina mountains

My Guy……

My heart is so full of love for all the Dads/men in my life I feel like it will burst!

Hubby’s Bloody Mary at brunch

Happy Fathers Day….

Drive By

I posted Music That Moves Me on my other “Lady Blog” but I think it’s more appropriate here so I will be moving it over.

This week’s song is a little ditty that has me bouncing around the living room every time it comes on…..thank God no can see me!  But for those who CAN see me as I’m driving down the road, I’m in my happy place, don’t bother me.   So, since I can’t get this song out of my head, I’m sharing it with you – don’t cha love that!

This is not a drive by

Just a shy guy looking for a two ply

Hefty bag to hold my love

Ok, he had me at Just a shy guy,  Then he proclaims looking for a two ply Hefty bag, to hold my love, 

A Hefty bag, that’s a whole lot of love….

As we get into the video we see he has commitment issues.  Note to guys – don’t leave in the middle of the night – it pisses us off, so much so, that it’s likely we won’t talk to you again – EVER.  I don’t care how many muscle cars you drive up with, I would not melt like that chick in the video.  But….this is fantasy video land and they sing a catchy tune in fact, I think I hear Hallmark Channel calling!

I do have to say, I love the scenes driving through the streets of San Fran and the al fresco wine dinner at the vineyard….the grape stomping brings back memories of Hubby stomping grapes in Southern Az but that’s another story for another post.

This video, in a sentence, is sweet but cheesy.

Now comes the education part…..what I learned was, this was filmed at Shafer Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley (I WANT TO LIVE THERE!).   Shafer, started out as grape growers and evolved into vintners and are now known for their award-winning wines.

We were gifted with a bottle of 2008 Shafer Relentless a couple of years ago and pulled it out when we had good friends over for dinner one night.  This Syrah/Petite Sirah blend had a deep inky color and lots of berry/black plum characteristics.  I found the fruit to be a bit harsh and the tannins not as soft as I would like so, definitely a food wine such as short ribs or beef.  Everyone else loved it, I however, like more fruit on the finish with the impression of sweet so I gave mine to Hubby.  There was plenty of good juice to go around that night so not to worry, I got my fill!  Would I visit this vineyard? Heck ya!!  It’s in God’s country and they do make amazing wines!

I did discover another blogger – Vinecdote who has done several posts on Train, including one on the video at the Shafer Vineyard.  From her, I discovered Train has released a 2009 Drops of Jupiter Petite Sirah and a 2010 Calling All Angels Chardonnay. I haven’t tried either of these wines but look for the Drops Of Jupiter label in the bedroom scene at 1:29 in the video.

So, because I like to know how things really happen, here’s a behind the scenes on what it took to make this video….

Just in case there is any question – I am over 21…

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget behind every great man is a really great woman!

Having Cocktails With Lady Germain

I have been OBSSESED with St. Germain since first experiencing it as a St. Germain Cocktail at Hanny’s,  in downtown Phoenix last summer.  It is a beautiful floral elixir that enhances anything you mix with it.  Soooo, since it was Sunday, and it was hot and we have a pool, I declared it Pool Day with Lady Germain!

St. Germain is a liqueur made from elderflower blossoms that have been hand harvested in the Alps of France.  The entire crop is harvested in a few weeks and this becomes the supply for the entire year. Because of this, some years may yield more than others which could limit its production.  These blossoms are transported via bicycles to collection stations and from there, to the distillery.  Once the Elderflower has been coaxed to give up its amazing essence a proprietary process is used to create this delicate spirit.

I don’t know what to think about the bicycle story, but I’m sure there were some sort of four-wheeled vehicles involved.  Otherwise, how would this beautiful concoction appear on the shelf at your local store like magic?

Also note, each bottle is individually numbered, reflecting the year the flowers were picked…..pretty cool!

The flavor is a bit elusive for explanation but I’m going to give it a go.  On the nose it’s sweet, almost like nectar with a baking spice finish (vanilla mixed with pear??). On the palette it’s very sweet, much like nectar that coats the tongue.  They claim it has a low sugar content, roughly half that of other liqueurs, but man I’m feeling a buzz from just these few sips!!  I keep thinking pear….again, it’s not an actual taste I’m getting but more of an impression.  It is complemented by pear vodka so maybe that’s my bias.  Because St. Germain is all natural and has no preservatives, it should be consumed within six months after opening for optimum flavor.  Like I need an excuse to finish this lovely libation!

So finally, onto the Lady Germain….My obsessive trolling of Pinterest yielded this beautiful recipe that I’m sharing from YumSugar  which was originally from Imbibe Magazine so here you go:

Lady Germain from yumsugar.com

Lady Germain

This delicious cocktail from New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian was created for the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Dinner at Antoine’s.

3/4 oz. gin
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 strawberry, muddled
1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3 oz. Champagne
Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: flute

Shake first four ingredients and strain into flute. Top with Champagne and serve.

Chris McMillian, Bar UnCommon, New Orleans

**My notes on this recipe:  I used New Amsterdam Gin which has more Juniper flavor than I like.  I would have preferred Bombay Sapphire but I used what was in the booze cabinet!  Also I decreased the gin from 3/4 oz to 1/2 oz and bumped up the St. Germain to 3/4 oz.  So it all worked out and every drop was drunk…

Keep in mind this yummy liquid nectar easily pairs with a variety of spirits and the St. Germain website has many great recipes to try.  At my Fiftieth birthday (yes, that’s 5-0, I still don’t know how the hell that happened!) we served it with pear vodka and a splash of champagne and everybody loved it!  Keeping along those lines,  Happy Birthday to my favorite sister Melissa!!

So, have any of you tried St. Germain?  If so, what’s your favorite cocktail or favorite way to drink it?  If not, what are you waiting for???

Cheers to you! Cheryl

Great flick for a hot summer day!

****Totally unrelated, but I was reading a post from one of favorite bloggers,  and realized I have never seen the musical “The King and I” with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr!!!  So that’s on my To See list this week….