Happy Halloween! Beware the Clemenstein!

What could be better for Halloween than a blend of clementines and Frankenstein? Introducing…the Clemenstein! At least Frankenstein is blended into the name…..not into the drink <insert evil laugh>. The reference seemed appropriate as it’s a little bit margarita, a little bit tequila sunrise, a little bit clementine, (and a little bit mad scientist).

The drink consists of a blend of 2 ounces of reposado tequila (I used my trusty bottle of 1800), 1 1/2 ounces fresh squeezed clementine juice, 1 ounce of triple sec, and a 1/2 ounce grenadine. Oh….and I can’t forget…a chunk of dry ice to create the jaw dropping, eerie smoke effect! The dry ice prevents you from having to stir, as the violent bubbling reaction will mix up your drink for you….turning it almost blood red  <insert evil laugh>. Garnish with a twist of clementine….skin  <insert evil laugh>, serve and have a safe and happy Halloween!

**Be careful not to touch (or consume!) the dry ice…it will burn you. Use a straw to help prevent accidentally swallowing some. More info here.

The clemenstein!

Double Rainbow Sangria

Why, you ask? Why is this post called “double rainbow” sangria? It’s just due to my wish to occasionally include pop culture references in my posts. Even somewhat dated pop culture references. But really, doesn’t the garnish on the glasses kind of remind you of a double rainbow? It wasn’t originally intentional; just fortuitous garnish karma.

So this is what we did with the Salmon Run Chardonnay that was left over from our tasting get-together. Throw some fruit, whole cloves, a splash of creme de cacao, and 3-4 oz. of brandy in with the wine….let it sit in the fridge for a day or so….and it really kicks it up a notch. Along with the blend of citrus fruits, I think apples are the key fruit addition. The raspberries were overpowered by the rest, but added a nice touch of color (and they tasted great when the sangria was gone).

This was splendid, but the same as with red wine (see our fruity, spicy, dangerously smooth version), there are many variations you could use to make white sangria. Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share while we have a sip…..cheers!

Salmon Run Sextet

We recently held a small gathering to taste 6 different Salmon Run white wines. Okay, it was really small – just us and Chef Mark. And six bottles of wine. Yup, we had a good time!

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe……which to pick first? They all look so appealing!

Wanting to start with the driest, we first sampled the Pinot Grigio. This wine’s light straw color – almost clear – would lead you to believe that it was less flavorful than it actually was. Its aroma, with a touch of citrus, was sweeter than its flavor. On the palate, it blended a bit of grapefruit with strong notes of apple, peach, and apricot.

The Chardonnay was very straw-like, both in color and flavor. It had a scent of apple, with a flavor hinting at sour apple and artichoke. Reading this over, it sounds horrible…but it wasn’t. It was good, just not our favorite of the bunch.

The Chardonnay/Riesling blend had us intrigued. It had the sweetest scent of the bunch, with an abundance of honey and peach, as well as a hint of grapefruit. The taste was slightly creamy and sweet to start, followed by a touch of cedar, and a crisp, dry finish. We liked it.

The Rkatsiteli’s scent was a blend of fruit and asparagus, which may not sound like a good start, but this wine ended up being our unanimous favorite. The taste was of peach and apple with a bit of orange creaminess. It was a good blend of flavors that led to a “delightfully crisp finish.” This quote is actually in our tasting notes, but we can’t really remember who said it…

The Gewürztraminer had a touch of pear to start, a bit of creaminess, and a nice spice to finish. It was our second favorite of the bunch. Okay, so our notes got a little thin near the end…

The next night, we were lucky enough to have some Gewurzt left to pair nicely with our grilled swordfish and mango salsa.

We saved the Riesling for last, thinking it would be the sweetest. It was, but not overly so. It had a nice blend of peach, grapefruit, melon, and lemon. We think. My handwriting was a bit hard to read by this point.

Mysteriously, all the corks ended up next to the Riesling bottle….

Cheers to Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars to a wonderful collection of Finger Lakes white wine!

Splendidly spectacular skirt steak

It takes every ounce of my being to chew slower.  Slow….down….absorb….flavor. Do you ever try to do that when something tastes really delicious? I bet you’ll have a hard time with this splendid combo. If I were to tell you that a skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle, please don’t let it creep you out. And if it did creep you out, pretend I didn’t tell you. You should definitely try this….seared on the grill in what seemed like no more than a minute due to it’s thinness….to medium-rare. Cover it with a little guacamole, and serve with a nice red wine. The steak was super tender, delicate and extremely flavorful.

Skirt steak draped in guacamole. This was delicious.

The 2010 red from Pesquie Terrasses brought a stunning 94 points (Wine Advocate) of Rhone Valley Grenache (70%) and Syrah (30%) to the table for less than $15. We picked up a nose of pepper, spice and plenty of red fruit. On the palate was pepper, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, anise, and spice that all lingered nicely. “We need to buy more of this,” Heather said.  It was a perfect match for the delicate steak, and the creaminess of the guacamole really blended everything together…with the jalepeno kicking up the spice in the wine. Try to chew slower…I dare you. Cheers!

2010 Chateau Pesquie Terrasses from the Rhone valley. 94 points from Wine Advocate.