It’s hotter than blazes outside, so what better way treat yourself than with a cocktail and a tasty starter. Check out these Peach Daiquiris with Grilled Corn, Jalepeno & Queso Fresco Cheese Spread from Foodie for Two!

Foodie for Two

Two highly anticipated crops are finally available from the local Colorado farmers – sweet corn on the cob from Olathe and juicy, super sweet peaches from Palisade. Sure, you can enjoy both the traditional way – the corn grilled or boiled and slathered with butter, and the peach halved and eaten over the sink so the sun-ripened, sweet juices can run down your chin. But my quest here was to create something different that still made your taste buds zing. How about some Peach Daiquiris to enjoy with a delicious Corn, Jalapeno & Queso Fresco Cheese spread? The Daiquiri is super simple to make with the usual suspects: ice, fruit, sugar and rum – I like the flavor of dark rum but light works just as well. And the cheese spread offers up something refreshing and different with grilled fresh corn, buttery queso fresco cheese and spicy jalapeño.

For those who…

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White Socks, Chicken Noodle Soup and Rocking the Olympics

I’ve been sick for the last couple of days and my diet has been ginger tea and saltine crackers to quell my nausea.  If I didn’t feel so light-headed I might actually get some things done around here.  For some reason homemade Chicken Noodle Soup seems to be the cure for whatever is ailing me.   Soup in the summer?  Yes!  If you aren’t under the weather and want to try this, turn down the A/C.  As for me, I have thick white socks on….

For the Chicken Noodle Soup, I use fresh veggies: onion, garlic, celery and carrots.  After sauteing, I add chicken stock not broth.  Stock is much richer in flavor and adds more body.  To that, I add shredded rotisserie chicken (you could use fresh cooked) and let it simmer away.  Towards the end, I add frozen Reems egg noodles.  This causes the soup to thicken up a bit so add more liquid if necessary (water is fine at this point) and don’t forget to salt & pepper after each addition and taste for flavor.  Serve with a crusty garlic bread.  I get mine from my favorite grocery store – you know the kind, dense white bread with huge cloves of whole garlic in it.  To up the yum factor I lightly toast it and use it to dip in my soup….Food Heaven….I’ve been known to top the soup with fresh grated parmesan for more amazing flavor.

So now I find my self on the couch with my favorite soft pillow, mindlessly watching Olympic events that hold no interest for me. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a channel that you could customize and it would show a constant stream of all your favorites.  My line up would look something like this:

Ladies Gymnastics
Mens Gymnastics

That’s it…..

We taped the opening ceremonies and watched it last night – aahh, the magic of DVR.  Because of the time difference between London and the U.S. I guess it doesn’t really matter when I watch it, I’m already behind.  I live in my own happy little bubble and for the most part I find this works well for me 😉

To continue the Carly Rae Jepson video craze that  me and The Food and Wine Hedonist and are single-handedly fueling, here is a cute lipdub of the U.S. Swim Team doing Call Me Maybe.  They look like they are having some fun before the enormous pressure of competing in the Olympic Games.  Also, be sure to check out FWH post on the Milli Vanilli lipdub it’s one my favs and it offers some nice eye candy!

I noticed this link says it’s blocked, but when you click on “Watch on You Tube” it takes you there!

Back to the ceremonies…. I enjoyed the story told of the past, present and future U.K. but what I loved most was the light show and the MUSIC!!  As I’ve heard others say this did seem like the rock-and-roll Olympics.  Great Britain does have a sense humor and they have the ability to laugh at the many mishaps made along their timeline of history.  They also have amazing musical talent that hails from their shores!  For a complete list of the ceremony music, check it out here.

The orchestrator of this theatrical and musical spectacular is Danny Boyle.  You’ve heard of Slum Dog Millionaire and Trainspotting right?  Well, that’s him…I think he did an amazing job pulling all of this together.  I mean, he got the Queen to play herself in this video short.  That must have been years in the negotiating!  So, for those of you who missed it – the Queen Mum and Daniel Craig aka James Bond, parachute from a helicopter to the Olympic stadium.  I loved it and it shows you that yes, the Queen does have a sense of humor!  As you watch this, be on the lookout for her adorable Welsh Corgi’s.

Another favorite moment of mine was David Beckham driving a speedboat down the Thames…Again, nice eye-candy!  But more importantly he was transporting the Olympic flame and one of the teenage athletes who would later help light the Olympic torch.

Even the music for the Parade of Nations was stellar!  They started with one of my favorites, Galvanize by the Chemical Brothers seen below.

I noticed that Greece entered the stadium first.  That’s because the original Olympic Games held in 776 BC, took place in Greece. These games are commonly called the “Ancient Olympics”.  Because of that, Greece is honored by being the first country to enter the stadium during opening and closing ceremonies.

Enough of this!  Since I feel too crappy to slurp wine I’m going to slurp some yummy Chicken Noodle Soup!  For the record Hubby actually made it – I supervised from my spot on the couch with my favorite soft pillow…..

Until next time cheers to you!

Enough With The Haboobs, Give Me A Viognier And Some Collective Soul!

It’s July in Arizona and that means we have “Weather”.  Things like rain and wind – strong wind…and dust storms.  This is big news for us because it’s usually Hot, Dry and, well….Hot.

In Phoenix,the arrival of a summer dust storm is often called a Haboob.  As in, there is a Haboob rolling in from Casa Grande.  We even make the national news from time to time.

Courtesy of ABC 15 news

I lived in Tucson for  25 years and we never had these.  I’m guessing it’s because Tucson is surrounded by mountains on all four sides of the city.  Phoenix is a bit more spread out and the “mountains” don’t form the same pattern.

Did you just detect a bit of mountain snobbery there?  Why, yes you did!  I freely admit it and am not ashamed to say that for me, in Arizona, there is nothing like Mt. Lemmon.  It was there I experienced many a ditch day from the boredom of my high school years.  It was there I took my children to escape the oppressive heat of the brutal Arizona summers.  Most importantly, it was there I introduced my daughters to the man, that less than a year later, I would marry.  It is one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona to gaze upon as the sun is setting.  The mountain range turns a dusty purple and you can see such depth and dimension in all the hidden canyons and rock formations.

I include this on my wine blog Why?  Well, because I love weather.  I love the clouds, the sky, the stars, and magnificent rain storms…..I should have been a Meteorologist.  In fact, in 5th grade that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.  And because I can’t stop pulling out my iPhone, snapping pictures and filtering them through Camera+, I feel compelled to share the beauty I find with you.

The Wine…

If I was drinking wine during a summer monsoon storm it would be a Viognier (Vee-own-yay).  I first tried this floral, fruity white wine at Trefethen Vineyards on a wine country trip about 4 years ago and fell in love with it.  I find it delicate in aroma, but it definitely  has enough body to stand up  to Thai or Chinese food, as well as heartier fish and chicken dishes.  You don’t hear much about this Amazing varietal but if you get a chance to taste – do so!  Darioush is another favorite Viognier of mine.  We purchased several bottles last year when visiting the Napa Valley area. We made an unexpected (but most enjoyed!) stop at this Persian style winery on our way back to San Francisco.

The Music…

So, the music I would be listening to during this storm would be an instrumental ditty called Pretty Donna by Collective Soul.  They are one of my all time favorite groups!  Did I mention I LOVE Collective Soul?  Yes I did and Yes I do!!

One last note – today was my Grandson’s last day with me and I couldn’t believe what he asked for…..his chocolate chip cookie…..the one from Sunday, well over a week ago…..the one that I ate just after he left for a several day visit to my Mom’s house.  I had to do some serious distracting on that one!  Check out my earlier blog post about his cookie here.

I leave you with a picture of my silly greyhound Crystal paying homage to the Sleep Gods….She loved having my grandson around.  He, however, wasn’t so sure about her.  I suppose it can be intimidating have a dog stare you eye to eye when you are standing.

Yes, She really sleeps this way!

Enjoy your week and Cheers to you!

Praying to the Monsoon Gods and Drinking a Yummy Red Blend

Do you know what I’ve been doing?  Praying to the Monsoon Gods for rain.  For today – not tomorrow.  Tomorrow is The Party……The pool party we’ve been talking about and planning for almost 6 weeks now.  It’s my grandson’s last Sunday with us and we’ve invited friends and family over and it’s sure to be some crazy fun but it can’t rain tomorrow!  Here in Arizona rain is spotty and unpredictable at best but, when it does rain it usually pours!

It looks like in the hour or so I’ve been writing the Gods have been listening….not only do we have a storm, but it looks like a Haboob has joined us as well.

So as usual, I leave most everything to the last-minute, grocery shopping included.  Well, today I was in for a treat….there was a cooking demo along wine tasting and the chef was featuring Francis Ford Coppola Wines and I sampled the Rosso.

The 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Rosso is labeled as a California Red.  When I see that  I’m not sure what to think….but this one surprised me.

The breakdown is 33% Zinfandel, 26% Syrah, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petite Sirah.  The nose is very Zin-like and a bit jammy.  I could really taste the Zin in this one – just a slight bit peppery, with some jammy-ness from the Syrah and the Cab gave it some body.  I definitely got plum and cherries with a light to medium body mouthfeel and a short clean finish.

When I returned home to unload my groceries of course I did what any faithful wine lover would do – I popped this baby open!  How else could I give an accurate description? I tried it without food – more cherry and lighter in body and then, with food, which gave it more berry notes and that classic Zinfandel profile -spicy with a bit of richness. YUM!

An interesting note, just before tasting this at the grocery store, I had mint chewing gum  in my mouth (of course I spit it out, what do you take me for?).  The wine tasted much deeper and richer, which leads me to believe this would stand up to something like meatballs.  It just so happens the Coppola website has a recipe for Mama Coppola’s Meatballs.  Try them, I’m sure they are fabulous!

The best part was the price….It was on sale for $8.99 with a $2 off coupon for purchasing meat along with it.  When I got to the register the coupon scanned for $3 bringing my total cost to $5.99.  Damn, I should have bought Two!  I just read online that Trader Joe’s also carries this yummy wine in my area for $7.99 – Check It Out!

Did I mention I am a Super Procrastinator and I would rather write than clean.  My house is nowhere near ready for our guests, yet here I sit writing and drinking wine so that I may share my love with you.  That’s why my site is called My Love Affair With The Vine….

Not to be forgotten is the music.  Here’s is a fun, upbeat, catchy tune that I first heard from the Food and Wine Hedonist.  Now I can’t get it out of my head so I’m passing it along to you….Your Welcome!

Happy Saturday and Cheers to you!

In Memory of lives lost in Aurora, Colorado


I don’t want to end this post on a sad note but I do want to acknowledge the movie theater tragedy in Aurora, Colorado….my heart goes out to all of those affected by this horrific event.

Welcome To The Chateau….Would You Like A Cookie?

My Grandson, who is 5 years old (5 1/2 as he tells it!) has been visiting without his parents for a couple of weeks now. After 2 days with him I have to say I don’t know how they do it.  There is roughly a 45 year age difference between us and to say our energy levels are different is putting mildly.  He’s up at the crack of dawn – I’m not.  Once up, he’s ready for breakfast and the playground….Me – don’t even look at me until I’ve had my first cup of coffee.  And please, don’t ask any questions until I’ve been up for at least an hour or so.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, I feel a little guilty.  My mother picked him up for a several day visit at her house and I was grateful. I walked about my now quiet house, surveying the damage when my gaze settled upon a something on the kitchen counter.  I’m hoping what I did next doesn’t actually disappoint you…..

I ate his cookie – the one I had saved for him as a treat… know the kind….thick, homemade with lots of chocolate chips.  And, I drank the rest of his chocolate milk……with the cookie.

courtesy of

It wasn’t until I looked down at the few remaining crumbs in my lap that I realized what I’d done. Those slurping noises……they were coming from me as I coaxed the remaining drops of chocolate milk from the glass.  The chocolate milk that was supposed to be his.

He doesn’t know any of this and I’m not telling him, but it feels good to get it off my chest.  Thanks for listening…

What I did later that day won’t surprise any of you.  I drank wine……

So what was in my glass?

Chateau Ste. Michelle.

These wines have long been a favorite of mine.  The entry-level varietals labeled as Columbia Valley, are consistent year to year in quality and flavor profile and the price is just right, $8-12 a bottle.

On a recent Costco binge shopping trip, I hit the jackpot with the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells.  This tier is a step up from the entry-level Ste. Michelle wines and the grapes are from a collection of warm climate vineyards including the namesake Indian Wells Vineyard.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is the founding winery of Washington state being that Pommerelle Wine Company and the National Wine Company were first formed. They merged in 1954 to become American Wine Growers and in 1967, American Wine Growers began a new line of premium wines called “Ste. Michelle Vintners” under the direction of legendary California winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff.   Additionally, they led the way in obtaining federal recognition of the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington as a unique wine growing region or American Viticulture Area (AVA). So there’s some pretty serious history here!

courtesy of /

One of the things I find interesting about this winery is they have two wine making facilities.  One in Woodinville (North of Seattle) exclusively for the white varietals and one in Patterson, WA (South and East of Seattle) in Columbia Valley closer to the Oregon border.  All of the grapes are sourced from the Columbia Valley AVA and then blended and bottled at the respective sites.

Enough history on to the wines!

This Chardonnay is truly one of my favorites!  When I think Chardonnay, I hold all others to this  flavor profile.  I get a nice round mouthfeel with a bit of tropical fruit and a finish of baking spice.  As the wine warms all of this is enhanced and it does a happy dance in my mouth!

The tasting notes indicate ripe, sweet fruit with caramel and brown sugar notes, fruit forward flavors and plenty of natural acid.  The Wahluke Slope, which is where the majority of the grapes are sourced from, has warm days and cool nights.  This causes the grapes to assert sweet citrus and tropical characteristics and offer good structure,  balance and flavor intensity.

My Costco price was $10.99.

Now this beauty….

For me this is the ultimate wine under $20.  I get lots of berry on the nose and the first sip reveals berry mixed with a bit of vanilla followed by a nice lush mouth-feel.  The finish is Bing cherry that lingers to lusciousness.  Can you tell I love this wine? The tasting notes indicate this is a “warm climate, ripe, jammy New World style of Cabernet Sauvignon, with dark fruit aromas and flavors with hint of vanilla.”  This Cab has 6% Syrah blended in which accounts for the jammy fruit character of the wine.

My Costco price for the 2010 Cabernet was $12.99. Both of these are fabulous prices, so I grabbed several bottles of each!

I recently tasted the 2010 Red Blend which is 60% Merlot, 28% Sryah, 6% Cabernert Sauvignon, 3% Grenache, 2% Malbec, .5% Cinsault and .5% Mouvedre.  I really enjoyed this blend!  It exhibits jammy boysenberry flavors from the Syrah with a luscious backbone from the Merlot. The other varieties add the “spices” that make it YUM!  I hoping my favorite grocery store will soon carry this fabulous blend!

All of these wines are easy drinking, well structured and food friendly.

The take away from this post is that wine and food are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family…For me and hubby, these two people are both….

Two of our favorite people who possibly love Ste. Michelle Wines more than we do…

And not to be forgotten – the music.  For me, this is a song that celebrates all kinds of love….

I’m curious about what my readers enjoy as far as content….Do you like more info and history on the wines (such as this post) or do you prefer just a bit of information with more entertainment value?  I’m trying to find the right balance, so your input is greatly appreciated – Thanks!

Until next time, cheers to you!

Gomez and a Bacon and Eggs Pinot Noir

This little guy is visiting, and when you’re Five, every day runs at a hundred miles an hour!  So my Monday post has become my Friday post…..

Todays group Gomez, is from the UK and they are classified in the Indie/Alternative genre. Each member pretty much has equal contribution to the music with all five members playing an instrument and three singing vocals.  The band released their first album in 1998 with great success in the U.K. and Australia, but it wasn’t until 2004 that they made the U.S. Charts.  I discovered them, once again, through my sister Melissa  (she has fabulous taste!) a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever since.

I had trouble choosing a favorite for this post but ultimately decided on How We Operate.  Mainly because I like the edgy vocals and the liberal use of guitars and banjo….yes, that is a banjo Ben is playing.

Onto the Food…

Hubby and I have been known to enjoy eggs and potatoes for dinner because frankly, sometimes we’re too tired cook a real meal….

Let me clarify – he’s too tired to cook a real meal and I really don’t enjoy cooking. Love to eat, don’t love to cook – if truth be told it’s the mess I don’t want to deal with…..I’d do well with a personal chef and dishwasher on staff.  So, there are some nights we pan fry leftover baked potatoes and create a yummy, cheesy egg dish.

Not being ones to waste wine, we have on occasion, found a bottle of Pinot Noir in the fridge leftover from the night before.  This is how we discovered Pinot Noir pairs well with eggs and potato.

Now the Wine…

Enter La Follette Pinot Noir

I discovered this 2010 North Coast Pinot  at a Far North Scottsdale grocery chain that has a wine cellar and some pretty amazing shelf wines.  The wine steward special ordered this for a customer who later decided they didn’t want it and she sold it to me for $14.99. Not bad, considering it goes for $20 plus shipping from the winery.

So how did it taste?

Glad you asked.

My first first Sniff revealed Bacon.  As did, my second and third Sniff.


My first Sip revealed Bacon….I was beginning to think something was seriously wrong with my senses.  Without telling Hubby what was going on, I presented him my glass for confirmation or denial of my peculiar discovery.

Bacon and Eggs” was his proclamation.

So how can a wine taste like Bacon?

Well, this question prompted me to find out who Greg La Follette is.

Greg’s first love was playing the bagpipes but he soon realized this was not a practical career path so he went on to earn a double BA at California State University at Northridge, in Plant Biology and Chemistry.  Then following a stint as a staff chemist at UCSF, he went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Food Science & Technology from UC Davis.

While working at the student winery at UC Davis, Greg became highly focused on the scientific components that make for mouth feel.  This, I imagine, is how the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir came to taste like bacon…

The descriptors read “A bright entry of red cherry transitions midpalate to charcuterie and cranberry, offering a lovely acid/tannin balance”.  Charcuterie, loosely translated, is Bacon.  I did taste a bit of cherry and cranberry with the acidic/tannic balance, but that was definitely in the background.

Greg went on to Beaulieu Vineyards where he worked  for famed master winemaker André Tchelistcheff.  You can read all about that here.

So here’s the kicker – I don’t like bacon.  I know, most would think I’m crazy but, let’s just say, I recently had a bad experience with bacon and can’t/won’t eat it anymore. But, for those that do like bacon, this Pinot is for you!  Not to mention, Follette is the master of making Pinot Noir!

As a side note, I have Meiomi Pinot Noir in the fridge going on its 4th day and it’s still drinking Fabulous!  It’s rare that wine will last that long in our house but we also have a Rose, a Chard, and Sparkling Wine open.

Choices, it’s all about choices!

Which brings me back to Gomez…..Here’s another favorite.

Have you had a wine that was unusual or didn’t taste as you expected?  Please Share!

Until next time, Cheers to you!  Cheryl

An awesome sculpture at Koltton Fox

The Fourth of July Isn’t Over Yet!

It  felt kind of weird that the 4th of July was on a Wednesday this year.  Yes, I realize it can’t always be on a weekend or close to a weekend but still it felt weird……

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the real reason for this patriotic holiday.  My country (the U.S.A) celebrated its 236th birthday.  Happy Birthday America!!

Since Hubby had to work, it was pretty low-key around our house but I managed to have some fun before and after he got home.

Here are a few highlights from my Wednesday…

Enjoying a St. Germain Cocktail at Olive & Ivy while lunching with Mom

Michael Kors – I am obssesed….I bought these about a month ago along with white skinnies, but had to visit again just to say hello.  In fact I went to Nordstrom, Macy’s and the actual Michael Kors store to get my fix.  Oh My….

A Dairy Queen banana spilt to whet my pre-fireworks appetite – Delish!

Hanging with this adorable princess and her sister – who by the way helped me devour that ice cream treat

And this…the star of the show!

Hubby has 3 (that’s THREE) days off…in a row!!  So excited – that doesn’t happen often.  We have lots of sun, fun & grilling planned and then next week my Grandson arrives for a 2 week stay.  He starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks so that pretty much means he’s not my little boy anymore.

I hope you had a wonderful 4th and are enjoying your summer!

I want to thank  all the active duty and veteran military that keep our  country safe and preserve the freedoms we enjoy.  I leave you with one of my all-time favorite patriotic songs written by Irving Berlin and performed by Lee Greenwood.  I’ve sung this song every 4th of July since 1984 when it was first released.

I Am proud to be an American and God Bless the U.S.A


Music Mondays ~ Puscifer

It’s Music Monday and today we are hanging out with this guy….

Maynard via

For those that don’t know who this is – meet Maynard James Keenan (from the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and more recently Puscifer).  I’m sure he won’t mind if you call him Maynard, as do his many fans.

Puscifer, is a side project of Maynard’s of which he is the only permanent member and considers the project to be his creative subconscious.  When you enter the website this is what greets you:

Welcome to my Island of misfit Ideas. The space where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes.

and you might also see something like this:

I first heard of Puscifer and Maynard when I was introduced to the wines of Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. ASV is a collaberation between Maynard and Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars.  Maynard also has his own label using grapes from his vineyards called Caduceus Cellars in the old mining town of Jerome, Arizona.

The Music

I’m all about promoting this very dry and mostly beautiful desert I wither live in so here’s one of my Puscifer favorites called Mama Sed… for the bottle crashing to the ground at 2:10 – pretty cool!  Yes, we do have a lot of Saguaros in Arizona, and those are barrel cactus not Peyote you see on the ground sprouting flowers….

Maynard is somewhat of a cult figure with his fans, many of them having followed him since the inception of Tool.  I can’t say I get into his earlier music as it’s a bit hardcore for me but I do find his newer creations to be more mainstream and I love the thought provoking content.  The music and videos of Puscifer cause me to reflect on the definition of creativity and how it relates to music and my perception of the world.

So to give you something a bit different to ponder, here is Man Overboard.   It reminds me a bit of Mad Max meets Stardust.  If you’ve seen the movie, Robert DeNiro plays the sky pirate flying the boat that is fueled by lightning.

Finally, here is Maynard talking about how music can help you move through issues and events in your life and how growing wine has grounded him.  See there’s the connection; he makes music, he grows grapes, he makes wine, I like him…..

I’m also adding The Humbling River, which is the song you hear in the background of the above video.  I love the lilting sound of his voice when he sings:

Nature nurture heaven and home
Sum of all and by them driven
To conquer every mountain shown
But I’ve never crossed the river

This is what’s in our glass today

2009 Arizona Stronghold Site Archive Grenache Pick 3 – lots of berry, white pepper and even strawberry – yumm!  When I hear Grenache I usually think lightweight but this is medium bodied with a smooth finish.  Too bad we were allocated to one per person otherwise, we would have a case of it.  The Site Archives are the higher quality wines from the Wilcox vineyard and are only available online or in the tasting room.  2009 is sold out so we are eagerly awaiting the 2010 release.

So, if you make it to Arizona, be sure to visit the funky towns of Jerome and Old Town Cottonwood for some wine tasting.  But don’t come in the middle of the summer….Yes, it’s a dry heat but still, it’s hot as hell!!

Enough already…..crank that music up, drink some good wine!

Until next time, Cheers to you!