As we round out the last day of the first month of the new year, I think to myself, wow, I drank some pretty good wine so far. If that’s any indication of how 2016 is going to go, I’m a happy camper.
Last night we entertained a few friends, cooked some food and, of course, drank some wine. While Husband does do the cooking in our house, someone has to get him the ingredients, and that’s where I come in. Usually, my trips to the grocery store are calm if not enjoyable. My favorite store is down the road, the employees know my name, and they always have what I need. Well apparently there was a run on rosemary and olives yesterday because I came up empty handed. I wouldn’t have been concerned, except that we had already planned the dinner menu, which consisted of lemon, rosemary and olive chicken. Drat. I figured I’d go to the next grocery store just a hop, skip and a jump down the road and pick up what I needed. Well, lemme just tell you, this was a whole different experience from what I’m used to. From the second I pulled into the parking lot, I couldn’t wait to leave. The store was full of people, the lines were long and there was STILL no rosemary! Thankfully an employee checked in the back and found some random rosemary kebab sticks, so after filling up on olives at the olive bar, I was able to continue on my journey.
Upon my reentry into the world of calm, I immediately declared that it was wine time. Our first bottle was the lovely 2013 Pomp + Power Syrah by Earthshaker Wines, a branch of 90+ Cellars. This was made from 100% California Syrah grapes grown in Knights Valley, the warmest of the AVAs within Sonoma County. Fairly light, a bit of deep fruit, with a good silky mouth feel. Perfect for de-stressing pre-appetizers. It drank well on its own without food, and at $15.99 a bottle, you can’t go wrong. I’m a sucker for pretty purple labels too.
As we waited for our last dinner guest to arrive, we broke open the next bottle and tore into the loaf of bread. There’s nothing better than Greek olive oil, fresh bread and cheddar cheese. The 2013 Cutruzzola Vineyards Pinot Noir we opened was a knockout. There was serious Wow Factor here. Not what I was expecting at all. Surprisingly there was nothing on the nose. Literally nothing, but when I took the first sip I was taken aback. This was not a light and forgettable Pinot. It was smooth, luscious and full of raspberries, with a hint of sweetness on the edge. And when I say smooth, I mean it was super smooth. Like, velvety smooth. This hails from a small vineyard in Cambria, California, a seaside town mid-way between San Francisco and LA on the Central Coast. The winery produces just two varietals on seven acres of vines, Pinot Noir and Riesling. I just read on their website that they expect this bottle will improve with age, but it was stellar right now, so go ahead and place your order before it sells out!
At long last, our final dinner guest arrived, so we moved to the dining room and settled in for the main course. We chose a recipe out of the At Blanchard’s Table, A Trip to the Beach cookbook in honor of our upcoming trip to Anguilla. Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Olives and Rosemary. Per usual, Husband outdid himself. This was to die for. No knives needed because the chicken, which had been simmering for hours, cut with a fork. The extra trip for the rosemary and olives was well worth it; the flavors melded together into a culinary masterpiece, which gently rested on a bed of simple yet rich mashed potatoes.
We had decanted the 2013 Francesco Cirelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo during our bread gorging, appetizer course, so it had a chance to open up. These grapes are grown by Francesco Cirelli on his organic farm in Abruzzo where he grows garlic and barley, makes olive oil, wine and pasta, and tops it off with free range geese. You can even stay at his bed and breakfast and enjoy the inner workings first hand. Does life get better? The wine itself was full bodied and on the drier side, the tannins were definitely at work. A bit heartier than the Pinot, it paired perfectly with the Anguillan feast.
I had a Riesling chilling to pair with our dessert, but once I got the hiccups, I transitioned to Sleepy Time Tea, and our guests went home. Cheers to the end of a great dinner on a great day in a great month!
 Say that three times fast.
 And chop the garlic and wash the dishes. #souschef
 Three cheers for Price Chopper! Someone make me an ambassador!
 Where I was immediately cut off from a parking spot by a pair of geriatrics. Was that mean? I feel bad, but it’s true.
 Granted, it was Saturday afternoon, and apparently everyone needs to go to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon.
 Where, against my better judgment got into one of those self-check lines, behind a woman with way too many items for the self-check, and ended up having to go find a human line because the blinking light went on not even halfway through all of her items. I almost put my stuff down and left. #patienceisavirtue
 She runs on Wright Time, which is about 20-40 minutes after everyone else is already there.
 Sometimes I wonder if we waste our time cooking when there’s so much bread and cheese in the world. #keepitsimple
 Imported by our dear friend who claims he works for some global company, but in reality is really a CIA operative. #statesecrets
 No literally, I took my first sip and said, “Wow!
 Cambria is the Latin name for Wales, so basically this wine came from Wales, which means the Price of Wales has had it, so clearly Will and Kate love it. #SixDegreesofKevinBacon
 Countdown is on. 40 days until paradise.
 It looked much prettier while it was simmering then it did once it was on our plate, so I’ll spare you ugly food photos.
 Added to the bucket list.
 Which was homemade store-bought chocolate cheesecake.
EarthShaker Pomp and Power Syrah
Cutruzzola Vineyards Pinot Noir
Francesco Cirelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo