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…..you know the kind….thick, homemade with lots of chocolate chips.  And, I drank the rest of his chocolate milk……with the cookie.

courtesy of Foodiefortwo.wordpress.com

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 /www.ste-michelle.com/terroir/columbiaValley

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 Concertboom.com

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…..watch 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!

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!

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 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


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…


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!