Cold? Reach for a Red Wine!

Cold? Reach for a Red Wine!

Whether you’re dealing with snow, or sleet, hail, or Arctic rainstorms, red wine is the ticket. Toss some spices in it, put it on the stove and heat gently – and you’ve got mulled wine. Recipes here. photo of a large cauldron of mulled wine over a fire.

If you prefer your wine unspiced, but you want it to warm you up from the inside, take a nice big red – a Zinfandel, Syrah, or Cabernet – and put it with a bowl of chili, or a hearty minestrone soup. Pasta, or steak and potatoes also work to bring your internal body temp up. If you’re calorie counting, go with a clear broth – a chicken or vegetable-based soup, with an Asian flair. I like adding sliced ginger to my clear soups – gives a kick of heat, and the red wine works with the heat nicely.

So today, here are two Syrahs, purchased at Vons during their amazing 30% off sale (and I say that totally tongue-in-cheek), and a French red blend that I’m still remembering happily.

label for Alexander Vineyards Syrah 2008Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah 2008  Sonoma County, CA, Wetzel Family Estate Regularly $16.70; on sale for $10.99    Alcohol 14% by Volume

On the Label: “This 2008 Estate Syrah shows the value of having an experienced winemaker with a deft hand for knowing how to best compliment what the vineyard delivers. Intense work in the vineyard, particularly necessary to get the best from this varietal, yielded lush fruit. In the tradition of the great wines of the Rhone, Wiinemaker Kevin Hall then blended in a good dose of old vine Grenache, adding some breadth to the wine, and a small amount of Viognier to soften the tannins and brighten the aromas.

“This wine exhibits and expressive nose of black cherries and violets and flavors of blackberry jam, strawberry and vanilla. Uncork a bottle to serve with a hearty beef stew and discover why our historic family-owned winery on the homestead of pioneer Cyrus Alexander continues to be recognized for producing superb estate wines that are superbly priced.”

My Take: I had been wanting to try an Alexander Valley wine for awhile, but it was too expensive – usually much closer to the $20 mark than the $10 mark. So finding it at $10.99 seemed like a good deal.

It was better than a good deal. This was a delicious wine, full in the mouth, nice and juicy and complex. The age on it added depth that I am sorely missing in all the 2010 wines I’ve been tasting lately. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any more of the 2008, otherwise I’d have bought some more!

My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable ~  Why didn’t this get the  “Slut” label? I’m not sure, but my notes say VVD so there you go!

Qupe Syrah 2009 Central Coast, California Alcohol 13.5% by Volume;  Regularly label for the 2009 Qupe Syrah$16.99 at Vons, on sale for $11.89

On the Label:  Qupe. Syrah. Central Coast. (and no, I’m not kidding! LOVE it!).

My Take: This was a lush wine. Not as quite as deep as the Alexander, it did have more of a spiciness to it, which I personally love. It smelled nice and juicy but the fruit didn’t hit you in the face – it was much more subdued than that.  If you can find it on sale, definitely give it a try.

My Rating:  ~ Very Drinkable ~ 

photo of Bon Midi Red Wine

thanks to for the photo!

Bon Midi RED 2010  South of France Pays d’Herault  55% Merlot, 45% Grenache Alcohol 12% by Volume Regularly priced at $3.99 at Fresh & Easy

On the Label: “Producing some of France’s finest modern wines, the Midi region has everything French winegrowers need to make great wines. This is Cezanne country, the land of great artists and great wines, where the landscape is covered with sunflowers, rows of lavender and lush vineyards.

“A rich, full bodied red with blackcurrant fruit, chocolate and pepper aromas. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy  on its own, or with barbecued meat dishes or spicy pasta. Made from Merlot and Grenache grapes grown in the premium vineyards across the Midi region. Enjoy now or store carefully for up to 2 years after purchase.”

My Take: I loved this wine. We had Bison burgers at home, and this wine was the perfect accompaniment. It also reminded me of driving in the Netherlands and stopping at a gas station – we picked up two bottles of French wine for about $3 a piece, and they were some of the best wines we had all trip.

This is a wine to share. To keep around on the off chance you’ll have company, or to open when nothing else seems quite right. It’s a warm, ready, willing and easy wine to drink right now, no matter what the weather, and considering its a 2010, that shocked me.

My Rating: ~Very Good ~ Excellent Price~ Run, don’t walk, and stock up on some of this. You never know when I’ll be dropping by!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, 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! Demon HUNT coming soon!

My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, Very Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!

Sweet Vacation Time – Firefly Ridge Syrah

Sweet Vacation Time – Firefly Ridge Syrah

Hi, y’all. I’m on vacation. And I’m tasting wines. Lots of them. All under $10 – okay, I lied. I’m taking some winery wines with me, so not all of them are under $10, but a whole lot of them are.

We’re going camping – yep, even Ms. Broken Leg here. Up to Mammoth Mountain. As a matter of fact, when this gets posted, I’ll be headed home. Sigh…hate to leave the place…

But when I come back, I’ll have lots to talk about and lots of wine to share. And if I get a chance (read: internet connection) to update you, I will, I swear. In the meantime, there are books to write, chipmunks to blast with the super soaker 5000, and wine to sip by the fire.

Not to mention, getting myself lost in the night sky. There are so many stars visible up at that altitude that it fills me with wonder. And tonight the Perseid meteor shower should hit.

Update: Because of the nefarious hackers who cyber-raped me yesterday, I’ve got an update on a wine for you.

Firefly Ridge Syrah 2008 Central Coast (Livermore and Ripon) Alcohol 13.5% by volume.  $9.99 on sale at Vons.

On the Label: “Our wines are a symbolic tribute to the mysterious and romantic firefly. The firefly’s brilliant luminescence is reflected in each vintage of Firefly Ridge wines.

“Firefly Ridge Syrah is a smooth red wine with exotic aromas and flavors of blackberry, spice and pepper. Velvety tannins, a hint of smoke and long, spicy finish make this an ideal pairing to grilled steaks or hearty pastas. This Syrah is delicious now or can be put down for up to 5 years to develop additional complexity.

My take: Definitely smooth. It goes well with campfire smoke, the sounds of a guitar, and sons squabbling good-naturedly as they play horseshoes.  This bottle, however, was destined for great things.

I took a glass to the hubby to sip between songs. His eyes lit up, however, and he proceeded to transfer all the wine from the bottle to a plastic water bottle. The neck fit his finger – he was eyeing it as a potential slide for his cigar box guitar, as he’d left all his own slides at home.

(To break the neck of a wine bottle: douse approximately 7 inches of twine in lighter fluid. Wrap twine tightly around neck of bottle, tie off. Light the twine on fire, and twist bottle to make sure all the twine is burned and the bottle heated. When the flame goes out, dunk bottle into bucket of cold water for up to 2 minutes. If it cracks, good for you! If not, the bottle won.)

The bottle broke, instead of the neck coming off smoothly; and so we drank the wine in homage to the lost bottle. Being in plastic did nothing to mar the wonderful flavor. We had it with chicken-apple sausages, roasted potatoes with onion, and green beans.

My Rating: ~Very Drinkable~

So, summer’s almost over and I’m finally getting a vacation. If you want more of me today, head on over to Flirty Author Bitches and see my post, also hitting today. You’ll find out just why my family hates chipmunks.

Peace out people, and remember – drink responsibly!

~  Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? Head on over to Crescent Moon Press and pick up your copy today! ~