Monday, October 15, 2007

Altesino Rosso Di Altesino 2004

Altesino Rosso Di Altesino, 2004

This red table is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% cabernet/merlot. Altesino is best known as a Tuscan producer of great Brunellos. The color is dark red with a purple rim. The nose shows dark cherry, berry and some earthiness. In the mouth it is medium bodied with delicious dark cherry and spice. There are plenty of tannins here that will completely surround your tongue completing a long, dry finish. This is an elegant high quality wine that will go well with a grilled pork chop with porcini mushrooms. You can find this wine at Seattle Wine Co. for about $13. Excellent!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tapeña Tempranillo, 2006

Tapeña Tempranillo, 2006

This is an easy drinking tempranillo (temp-rah-NEE-yo) from Spain that will pair well with a burger and fries or perfect paella. Light cherry and caramel on the nose and in the mouth there is the taste of cherry mixed with mineral and cranberry. This is a light to medium bodied wine with moderate concentration and light tannins. If you want to enjoy an easy sipping bargain wine from Spain, give Tapeña a chance. You can find this wine for about $8 at QFC, in the Seattle area.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This was a staff favorite at our Oktoberfest party this weekend. Since I cook by "taste" verses actual recipes, I hope this comes out to your liking!

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions (one large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 1/2 pound butternut squash (med/large size)
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream, garnish (optional)

Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise, and discard the seeds. Place squash on baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 75-90 minutes, until fork tender. Allow to cool. (Can be done a day or two ahead and refrigerated until ready.) When cooled or ready, remove squash from skin and set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and sauté until slightly brown. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, ginger, brown sugar and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring constantly, about 2–3 minutes. Add squash, chicken broth and the chopped apple. Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 to 20 minutes.
Puree mixture in a blender or food processor, in batches, and transfer back into soup pot. (I use an emersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot.) Return the pot of soup to the stove over low to medium heat, stir in the half and half and the milk and bring up to "near" simmer temperature (about 190 degrees). Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve now or keep warm until ready.

NOTE: At this point, soup may be refrigerated until ready to serve. To serve, warm over low heat, stirring until hot. Remove from heat and serve in soup bowls, top with a small splash of sour cream.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Querciabella , Mongrana 2005

Querciabella , Mongrana 2005

Made by the revered estate of Querciabella, this is delicious Tuscan blend of 50% Sangiovese and equal parts Cab and Merlot that impress anyone who loves Italian wines. When I first opened the bottle, I noticed it was quite low on aroma and showed a lot of acidity on the tongue. I hoped it would settle down and, after it had a chance to open up for a half-hour, it was really giving off some beautiful aromas of black fruits, spice, earth, and subtle vanilla, and was full, rich, and explosive in the mouth with a lingering, spicy finish. This is a great "food wine" from Tuscany from the acclaimed southern region called Maremma. The Maremma region is the same area that such Iconic Italian wines as Ornellaia and Sassicaia are produced. You can find this wine at Pete's in Bellevue for $14.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sebastiani, Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Sebastiani, Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

One of the fun things about having a wine cellar is buying some nice wines and laying them down to rest for some years. Back in February, 2001 Wine Spectator Magazine rated this wine 90 points with the following review:
Layers of coffee, currant, mineral, black cherry, sage and cedar unfold in this ripe, rich and complex Cabernet, finishing with a long, intricate aftertaste. The price represents a great deal on a wine that's both cellarable and drinkable now. Drink now through 2008. 3,850 cases made.
Last night we opened this 1997 Cab to enjoy with a grilled Flank Steak dinner. We were impressed that this wine still showed a youthful side with great depth and complexity.