"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Halloween Weekend To Remember: The Kids' Smiles; Great Wines; and The Company of Friends

This past weekend was Halloween.  The kids had a blast trick or treating around our neighborhood.  It is amazing how many children were running around trick or treating.  The grown-ups also had a fun weekend.

Day 1 - Halloween Night
On Halloween night, our friends Evelyn and Rene (and their daughter) came over for dinner before we all went out trick or treating.  They brought over this absolutely amazing bottle of wine that they had picked up from Napa during a recent visit.  It is the Decoy blend (2007).  When Rene showed me the bottle, the first thing I said was I loved the label.  Then, he and Evelyn described the wine to us, and their recent tasting at the winery (Duckhorn).  All I can say is: I wanted to pack up a bag right there and head to Napa for the night.  Well, I can dream, right?  I could not go to Napa that night.  But, we had a great time enjoying the bottle of wine with pizza, while watching "Babe" before going trick or treating.

This wine is a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot grapes.  It is produced by Duckhorn Winery in Napa Valley, CA (http://www.duckhorn.com).  The aromas of this wine reminded me of ripened raspberries and freshly baked cherry pies with a hint of spices on the nose. The wine was so smooth to drink.  It had flavors of fresh cranberry, cherry, and raspberry, with a hint of coffee and chocolate, and traces of white pepper on the tongue.  It had supple tannins, and a very long and enticing finish on the palate.  This wine would be a perfect wine to drink with a holiday meal.  Evelyn and Rene: Again, thank you for an absolutely amazing bottle of wine, and even better company!  Let's go to Napa soon for another wine tasting trip.

Day 2 - Day After Halloween
On Sunday (day after Halloween), we had a guest over for dinner (Michael) and he brought us a delicious bottle of Malbec from Argentina.  It was Tierra Brisa Malbec (2007).  This wine was really good.  I love Malbecs, and the Argentinians really know how to make a good Malbec.  And, Michael: You really knew how to pick a great bottle of Malbec.

This particular vintage was full-bodied, smooth and elegant.  It had deep red color, aromas of fresh ripe cherries and some spice (like cloves).  It contained flavors of black currant, some raspberries, and a hint of spice.

For dinner that night, we started out with some roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese Tapenade that I made.  Then, for entree, we had Lamb Shank braised for 4 hours in a medley of carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chicken broth, served with whole grain spaghetti.  I don't have a good picture of the complete dish, but I'll be sure to update this entry next time I make it.

 For dessert, Rene made this amazing "dessert pannini" made out of pound cake, nuttella, and fresh strawberries pressed until the pound cake is slightly crispy.  Rene said this recipe was inspired by Giada De Laurentiis (from the Food Network show Everyday Italian).  That was delicious.  Thanks Rene!

Overall, the weekend was absolutely amazing: Great fun with the kids and enjoyable time with friends. My perfect weekend -:)

Until next time . . . Cheers!


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