Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A (Brief) Moment of Relaxation

Wow. The past couple weeks have been exhausting, and yet quite entertaining at the same time (see previous post).

I’ve made every effort to maintain my usual schedule, but it’s just impossible. My new housemate is running me ragged. If any of you are looking for a new fitness program, I highly recommend getting a puppy. It sure knocked a few pounds off me in a hurry.

I haven’t surrendered every aspect of my life to Mr. Hogan, however. The other night I managed to put a couple steaks on the grill and pop open a lovely bottle of wine.

E brought home two beautiful top sirloin fillets, which I dry-rubbed with my super-secret spice mix and grilled to a lovely medium rare (I’m really getting better with steaks). I sliced the fillets and laid them over a bed of mixed greens with red onion, sweet pepper, sweet tangerine tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and then drizzled the whole plate with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

The warm steak and the cool greens were a wonderful combination, but a challenge for wine pairing. The perfect match turned out to be Daniel Gehrs Syrah Paso Robles 2005. This is a restrained style of syrah, with fresh raspberry and strawberry flavors accented with a touch of spicy cinnamon and herbs. It had enough body to stand up to the steak, but didn’t out-muscle the greens.

I even almost finished the entire meal before I had to chase after a wayward Malinois.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Arrival and Other Excuses

Down the middle drops one more grain of sand
They say that new life makes losing life easier to understand
Words are kind they help ease the mind, I’ll miss my old friend
And though you’ve got to go we’ll keep a piece of your soul
One goes out, one comes in.

Jack Johnson
If I Could

1994 - 2006

April 24, 2007 -

If I don’t write something about wine soon, I’ll have to stop calling this a wine blog. My hope is that my kind readers will forgive a scarcity of posts over the next couple weeks.

Although I had no intention of bringing a puppy into my life right now, a friend had a dog that needed a good home, and I happen to be able to provide one. I’m also lucky enough to have someone in my life to help me raise him.

I’ll spare you my philosophic comparisons of young wine and young dogs. Instead, I’ll just say that I’ll be very busy in the coming weeks, doing the hard work that will pay rewards years from now, when I have a mature, well-balanced, amazing dog.

Hopefully, before long he’ll be sleeping at my feet while I write posts.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

I’ve been treating myself to a summer break from blogging. Here in South Carolina, we’re into the part of summer when slowing your activity level is necessary for survival. One hundred degree days with humidity that wraps you like a hot, wet blanket will slow just about anyone’s pace.

Although the break has been nice, it’s time to get back to work. I even missed Wine Blogging Wednesday #35, and the topic was Spanish bargain wines, a subject which I can drone on about for hours. If you’re so inclined, check out some of my past Spanish posts. This month's WBW is hosted byMichelle and Kevin at My Wine Education.

I have quite a few posts rattling around in my head, and I have a couple posts that are long overdue. I’ll be writing about some of my favorite dining haunts here in hot, sultry Columbia, S.C. With lots of fresh produce on hand, I’ve been working on some new summer dishes I want to share, along with the wines I’ve been enjoying with them.

So, what did I do on my summer vacation from blogging? Well, I slept in, instead of getting up early to write. I enjoyed several great wines without taking notes. As I mentioned above, I did some work in my test kitchen. Summer also brings more outdoor chores, which require a significant chunk of my time.

The rest of the time was spent relaxing in the AC, directly under a ceiling fan. That’s the place to be in July in the Deep South.

Here’s one of the wines that is helping me through the heat:

Bodegas Castaño Rosado Monastrell Yecla 2006

Bodegas Castaño makes an excellent monastrell named Hecula that I’ve enjoyed several years in a row. This is the first I’ve seen of a rosé from them. Monastrell makes for a very full, round rosé with flavors of dark berries and cinnamon with just a touch of herbs. It’s one of the most substantial rosés I’ve ever had.

Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 wrote a great post on another of their wines for WBW #35, and the Wine Doctor has some interesting background on Castaño in this post.