We are almost 2 full years into a pandemic that has crippled society. There have been lockdowns, restrictions, and loneliness for so many people. If anyone deserves a treat, it’s us. Am I right?
Last Friday, February 18, was National Drink Wine Day. And although it was a long weekend I didn’t get a wine blog out, because it was a fun filled weekend with family and friends. Like every Friday since January came in, we had a storm. A wind storm. Last evening we had a snowstorm. I’m not kidding when I say there’s been a storm every Friday. My nephew Riley’s flight got cancelled so we had a great evening Friday evening together.
And then on Sunday, I got together with an old friend, Shane, and a new friend, his husband Ken.
And boy oh boy, did they bring some great wine to the party. Normally this blog is about great wine at great value. Today we are going to cover a couple of treat wines. Like I said, we all deserve a treat.
The first wine we had that evening was a wine I’ve been dying to try for a few years. Total treat wine!
The Wagner family has been making great wine in Napa Valley for decades. The winery was started in 1906 when Carl Wagner bought land in Napa Valley and today is run by Chuck, Charlie and Jenny Wagner. Generations of great wine-makers. This wine retails for anywhere from $60 to $70 in Canada and it was spectacular. The Wagner family who has the Caymus label, also has Mer Soleil, Connundrum and Emmolo, just to name a few. Josh Wagner, from this Wagner family, has Belle Glos Vineyards and makes great Pinot Noir. This wine is the ultimate food wine. Shane had put out an amazing cheeseboard, and the combination was awesome.
So my friends have an amazing wine collection. And my apologies for the blurry picture, this was the 3rd bottle we opened, after a martini! My mistake was suggesting we open the Italian Ripasso that I bought before this one. This was another spectacular treat. I couldn’t find it anywhere in Nova Scotia, but elsewhere in Canada it sells for about $80 a bottle. Paso Robles in California is putting out extraordinary wine, and this one definitely tops the list. I love how they age this wine in oak. Lots of grapes are aged separately for a minimum of 11 months in a combo of 10% new oak, 25% once used oak and 65% in 2 – 3 times used French oak. Then as a whole, the blended wine is aged an additional 3 months in 75% new and 25% once used French oak. Wow. I’ve never heard that before. This creates a gorgeous complex wine on the palate, and the proof is in the glass.
Before I go, I wanted to share an awesome recipe for Penne pasta. I had made a similar pasta a few weeks back that just didn’t have a lot of flavor. So I decided to make a roux for the sauce and add in more cheese and seasonings. Normally in the Summer, I have lots of fresh herbs, but they are all gone. And because this was a spur of the moment decision, I didn’t run up to the grocery store to buy some herbs. So I will definitely make it again, but adding some fresh basil is necessary, and chives or parsley, I feel, would really add a bit of zest as well. Here’s the recipe I started with, but tweaked along the way. Cook the pasta al dente, and set aside, including the pasta water. That is flavor that can thin your sauce, because it can get thick. Cook the bacon. Then use the bacon drippings to cook chicken and onions. I also marinated my cherry tomatoes in balsamic, salt and basil. They can handle a lot of flavor thrown at them. This recipe doesn’t call for a roux, but after I took out the chicken, I added butter and flour, made a roux, added both cream and chicken broth, and a couple of different types of cheeses, including parmesan, mozzarella and smoked gouda. It was very good, and I’ll definitely make it again. You can add your favorite cheese to make it a little different each time.
On the cheese board last weekend my friend Shane served the best blue cheese I’ve ever had. Blue cheese can be a love or hate thing with many people. And I’ve had some that is over-powering. This was mild and beautiful, and I can’t remember the brand name, but I’ll find out and share it with you. That would even go well in this pasta.
Last night it was back to reality for me and wine. I did enjoy this beauty, a Primitivo made by Tommassi, called Surani Hercules Primitivo. Full-bodied, delicious, and $20 a bottle.
Before I go, I have to share some cuteness.
I was Facetiming with my sister Jackie, and Maggie, who you all know, seems to think she’s 10 lbs. She is a real lap dog, who doesn’t believe in personal space. Can’t wait to see her in March.
That’s it for me for this week. I hope you have a wonderful week, and let’s take a moment and pray for the people in Ukraine.