Friday, August 26, 2016

The Troll Cookbook

It's been a while since I reviewed a cookbook, mostly because I haven't been going out of my way to find new ones and, unfortunately, many seem somewhat cookie cutter. Too many rely on beautiful images and unusual ingredients, making them visually stunning but not particularly motivating. The Troll Cookbook has a simple charm that belies the depth of information in this book.

The Troll Cookbook

While I'm not a huge fan of the troll theme (it can become cloying, much like any fantastical theme), I like how the authors use the trolls as examples of a simpler time of cooking. With a focus on self-reliance, creativity, and sharing with friends and family, this is as much a book about cooking as it is with a reconnection with things we've lost as a society.

Besides cooking and baking recipes, the book looks at foraging, preserving, pickling, and the benefits of the use of open flame. There are stories, "history," and more content that elevates this beyond an everyday resource. Divided into seasonal chapters, this is a book you'll put down but return to over time, discovering new ideas each time.

*This book was provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Casillero del Diablo is one of our favorite daily wines - stored in hell, made in heaven. We're big fans of their wines, always tasty and not too expensive ($12 SRP for the Reserve Collection, though we usually get it for even less than that). Their varietals are sure to go with the food we pair it with, without fail. The wines got their name when Don Melchor de Concha y Toro wanted to scare off those who might try to steal his wines - he started a rumor that a devil protected his cellar and a legend was born.

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Wines

Tasting Notes:
Chardonnay 2015: fermented in stainless steel tanks; aged in French oak barrels; musky floral, pear and subtle citrus aromas; green melon, subtle banana, and tart citrus flavors; creamy mouthfeel with nice acidic backbone; twist-off closure.
Malbec 2014: grown in riverbench soils; aged in oak barrels; black cherry nose, with black cherry, vanilla, and black pepper on the palate; cork closure.
Carmenere 2014: grown in riverbench and benchland associated soils; aged in oak barrels; dark cherry, smoke, and tart red berry aromas; dark fruit, cocoa, and tart red berry flavors; medium mouthfeel into an acidic finish; cork closure.
Wines provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Domaine du Théron Cahors Cuvée Prestige 2011

Domaine du Théron Cahors Cuvée Prestige 2011

Tasting Notes:
100% 29 year old Malbec planted at a density of 4,500 vines per hectare; maceration for 22 days in stainless-steel; aged for 13 months in new oak; dark berries, anise, coffee and green plant aromas; fruit takes a back seat to dusty tannins in the mouth; cork closure; SRP $18.
This is a very austere Malbec, vinified in what I perceive to be classic French style - I prefer the more fruit forward and rounder Malbecs from Argentina, but if you prefer your wines drier, this is a must taste to see if it suits your palate.

Wine provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Miracle Valley Vineyard 2014 Merlot

On a recent trip to the East Coast, my wife visited relatives who live on a horse farm in the Northwest of Virginia. Across the way lies Miracle Valley Vineyard and she brought home a bottle of their 2014 Merlot. I'll admit, I wasn't a fan of the name or the label, so the bottle languished for a few weeks before we got around to tasting it.

Miracle Valley Vineyard 2014 Merlot

Miracle Valley Vineyard is veteran owned winery nestled on Little Cobbler Mountain. Originally a cattle ranch, then affected by events during the Civil War, this historic property was purchased by the current owners in 2004, and Miracle Valley was born. From photos on their website and on the web, it appears to be a beautiful setting.

Tasting Notes:
Aged in Hungarian Oak; red cherry, rhubarb, and cassis aromas; cherry, dark fruit, and green herb flavors; 200 Cases Normally Produced; cork closure.
This wine was a real surprise - we were not expecting a Merlot this flavorful and balanced from Virginia. First impressions notwithstanding, if all their wines are this high quality, I would happily drink them all the time.

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