Wine, No Matter the Weather

Wine, No Matter the Weather

There is snow on the mountains in Aspen, Colorado – and here in my neck of southern California, the temps are expected to hit in the triple digits (because the weather people prefer to say “triple digits” than “the hundreds”). So what to drink?

Here are two wines that are eminently drinkable, no matter the temperature outside.

Fat Cat MerlotFat Cat Merlot, 2012 Napa, California  Alcohol 12.5% by Volume; $6.99 on sale at Vons. 95 POINTS | GOLD MEDAL California State Fair Wine Competition 2012

On the Label: “At Fat Cat Cellers, we’re into wines that hit all the right notes, right now. Take our mellow Merlot. The deep ruby red color is prelude to a rich cherry and berry melody, accompanied by mild tannins and oak that close on a palate-pleasing, silky smooth chord. It’s a ballad in a glass. A-dee-dot, a-dew-dot, a skittley-dot-mer-lot. You dig?”

My Take: The color is good in the glass, and the taste works when the temps drop outside. The low alcohol content, however, also make it a good summer night, burgers on the barbecue-type wine as well. Or just sipping while you watch the bats come out at dusk, or while counting snowflakes as they hit the deck.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ and at this price, it’s easy to share with friends for an end-of-summer barbecue or a damn-winter’s-here-early party around the fire.

Beringer Simply Sophisticated Chardonnay  California, 2013   Alcohol 13% by beringerVolume; regularly $6.99 at Vons, on sale for $4.99

On the Label: “This carefully crafted wine has subtle aromas of peach, apricot and golden delicious apples. It is balanced, juicy and layered with ripe flavors. If you enjoy our Chardonnay, make sure to try our Pinot Grigio. Serve chilled. Please visit us at

My Take: This is Beringer’s low cost alternative to their Founder’s Reserve selection, which runs $10 to $15 more per bottle. Frankly, this is an excellent Chardonnay for the price and the Beringer name brings a certain comfort when buying an inexpensive wine. You know you’re going to enjoy the product. This wine would work wonderfully with the chowders and soups that come along with winter, and works just as well when grilling fish on the barbecue. (I have barbecue on the brain. Does it show?)

My Rating ~ Drinkable ~ And a good value, to boot. I’ve also tried their Pinot Grigio, and enjoy it just as much.

So whatever type of weather is out there, there’s a wine for that! May your October be one of peace, prosperity, and pumpkins.

Oh – and two weeks from today, CHRISTMAS STAR releases, my new holiday short story from Boroughs Publishing Group! Yeah, I’m a tad excited…*bouncety*


My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!”

Thanks so much for stopping by. Now that it’s autumn, the blog is getting up to speed again. If you like what you read, please go on and click on that “subscribe” button, up there on the right hand side. I’d love to get to know you, too, so let me know if you have a favorite wine that I should try!

Talking White Wines

Talking White Wines

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10. Please note, however, that the prices I quote are what I paid at my local store; your pricing will probably differ.


I’ve got empty wine bottles all over my desk; I guess it’s time to get cracking on a couple more blog posts! So today, I’m focusing on the whites I’ve had. The temperatures here in Southern California have been going up – then they dropped a bit, but as usual in September, they’re headed back up. So here are some whites to cool you off when the temperatures outside soar.

Kenwood Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc 2009  Sonoma County, 13.5% alcohol by volume. Check out their website .  $10.00; on sale at Vons for $8.99.

On the Label: “Sauvignon Blanc continues to be Kenwood’s most popular wine. This refreshing wine is superb as an aperitif and excellent with seafood, pasta and poultry dishes.”

My take: I totally agree.  This is a refreshing, crisp and tasty wine that won’t break your pocket book. We had it with a roasted chicken (I’ve GOT to tell that story!), broccoli and rice and it was fabulous. I have a long-standing affection for the Kenwood label, and was thrilled to find one within my price range. On their website, Kenwood is promoting their 2010 Sauvignon Blanc which apparently comes with a screw-top. The wine I had was a 2009, and had a cork.

My Rating: ~ Very, very drinkable ~ I should stock up on a few bottles.

~ Now my roasted chicken story. I’d purchased a nice, fat, fresh chicken for roasting the next day, quite forgetting that I was a working girl. That next afternoon, as the clock crept toward five, then five thirty, I totally regretted not being able to walk my son through prepping the chicken over the phone.

So when I got home that night, I dragged my first born into the kitchen. “I need you to be able to roast a chicken. Consider it good training for when you’re on your own,” I said. “Take the chicken out of the package. Then take out all the giblets. Now rinse the chicken really well.”

He did all that, with a slightly distracted look on his face. Earlier, I’d wrestled with dug out a roasting pan. “Now, plop the chicken into the pan. Good. You don’t want a pan too big, or it’ll dry the chicken out too fast. Here,” and I thrust two lemons into his hands. “Cut these in half, and stick them into the cavity. Oh, wash your hands. And the lemons.” He did, still not saying much, and stuck them into the cavity.

“Now what?” He leaned against the counter, looming over me, all long, curly hair and reddish goatee, looking like a poet who belonged wandering the Pacific Northwest.

“Now separate the skin from the breast, like this.” I showed him how to create that pocket between the skin and the meat. He did the other side. “Now, stick as much dried tarragon as you can, spreading it out, under each side of the breast.” It took some doing, but he got it done.

“Sprinkle the whole thing with salt and pepper. Add two cups of chicken stock to the pan, put it into a 350 degree oven, and let it roast for two to two and a half hours. Baste every 2o minutes if you remember to; that’ll help keep the chicken nice and moist. If we had more time, I’d say keep the temp at 300 degrees and roast for three to three and a half hours, but we don’t have that kind of time.”

The chicken in the oven, I dismissed my kitchen help, poured myself a glass of the Kenwood and relaxed, knowing dinner was all but done. We ate by 8:30, not bad timing for our family, and the chicken turned out, according to my husband, “surprisingly good”. The best part? Now my eldest son knows how to roast a chicken, for the next time I’m running late and there’s a whole hen in the fridge.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2008 Sonoma County alcohol 13.8% by volume $13.99 regular price $9.99 on sale at Vons

On the Label: “Our 2008 Sonoma County chardonnay displays lemon and apple aromas with hints of toasty oak, pear and pineapple. It was grown in cooler areas of Sonoma COunty, where Rod Strong was among the first to plant chardonnay in the gravelly soils just twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Rodney Strong Vineyards is deeply committed to being Green. We are the first carbon neutral winery in Sonoma County, we practice sustainable and fish friendly farming and use soalr power to produce our wine. To learn more, please visit . Place matters.”

My take: I really enjoyed this wine. It’s another winery I am fond of, having visited there in the 1980s. This Chardonnay has a nice balance of fruit and oak – not heavy on the oak, but definitely adding flavor there. You can’t go wrong with a Rodney Strong product, in my opinion. This is a wine I’d buy even if it weren’t on sale, especially if I were having a special dinner or a celebration.

My Rating: ~ Very, very drinkable ~

Okay, one more…

Beringer Pinot Grigio, 2009 California Collection alcohol 13.0% by volume. Visit their website. $6.49; on sale for $3.99 at Vons.

On the Label: “This carefully crafted wine has bright aromas of tropical fruit drenched by the California sun. It is lively and refreshing. If you enjoy our Pinot Grigio, make sure to try our Chardonnay. Serve chilled.”

My take: Fabulous sipping wine. At $4 a bottle, it beats the pants off a lot of other, more expensive Pinot Grigios. It doesn’t need food to make it sing, but it also complements food quite nicely. This is almost the perfect summer sipping-by-the-pool wine. Even at its regular price, it’s a terrific deal.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Pick up a few bottles of this before the price goes up!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depends entirely upon the weather, if I got enough sleep, how many proposals I retyped that day, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Go and buy it now, lol!