Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taking a Break for the Holidays!

I'm taking a break from blogging during the holidays. We wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year 2015.

Happy Birthday Natalie, 
the Christmas Eve baby!
We love you!

Happy Birthday Bryan,
the Christmas Day baby!
We love you!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wine Dinner Series at the Dallas Country Club #Inglenook1879

Although I have blogged about Francis Ford Coppola's wine before, and the entire history of the estate and the restoration back to its original name, Inglenook, I still believe it's worth reviewing if one has the time. I won't go into it here though. I want to spend time sharing the wonderful Inglenook wines I had at the dinner with my hubby and friend, Ted O'Connor.

The reception began with two wines:

 2012 Blancaneaux ($65), a white Rhone-style blend of estate grown Rousanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. Absolutely wonderful with this tray of delicious fruits, cheeses, crackers, and nuts.

The second wine was a Cask Cabernet 2010 ($75), reportedly one of the best cabernets ever made at Inglenook.
We then moved into the ballroom, found our table, met the ladies that were assigned to our table, and began a dinner to remember. I would love to bore you with the details of what we ate, but I'm embarrassed to say. I'll just show you the menu!

 Philippe Bascaules, whose previous job was running a little place called Chateau Margaux for twenty years, was hired as Inglenook's Estate Director. He was present this evening and spoke to us about the estate and the wines.

Here's what we had:
2011 RC Reserve Syrah ($62) with flavors of rich and red fruits to Mexican chocolate-amazing!

2009 Rubicon Estate ($250-that's right!) I can't even described how fabulous this wine is.

Last was a 2012 Edizione Pennino Zinfandel ($50) which is a tribute to Coppola's maternal grandfather. When the estate was purchased, it was suggested that he remove the Zinfandel vines, but because they have an Italian origin, he insisted they remain. Good thing, it was fantastic!

Thank you, Aaron Benson, for putting this together, and hopefully we can visit your favorite winery someday soon!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Birthday Surprise at The Mansion on Turtle Creek #SaunterWines #RWTurtleCreek

November is almost over and we are all on to the next big holiday, the most important one of the year. This past month was a fast one, with Cullum's 16th birthday, my birthday, substituting ten days in three weeks, visiting Erica, Bryan and Brady and his new baby brother, Beau, in Albuquerque, escaping to Santa Fe with Don, and having the flu, not to mention Thanksgiving and some Christmas shopping online and in stores. 

I wanted to share a great wine that neither of us have ever had before (as with all the wines I share are new to us). Don surprised me on the night of my birthday and took me to the Mansion on Turtle Creek for dinner. It is such a beautiful place, like no other in Dallas.

We sat by the fireplace and there weren't many other couples in this room on a Monday night. Other rooms were being used for private events though.

We had an unbelievable dining experience and the food was amazing. The wine we chose was a 2010 Swagger Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) by Saunter Wines in Napa, CA. The name comes from the noun swagger meaning confidence, pride, or arrogant strut. Saunter Wines claims this is their expression of the pride they have in their work, in every decision, and every implementation. It's what makes them different and sets them apart from average to exceptional. This wine is exactly that. Extremely delicious!

My hubby and me! 

My beautiful Dr. Delphinium roses that lasted nearly two weeks!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Spirit of the Times-Zeitgeist #Gemmarestaurant


Dining at Gemma is one of the most gratifying experiences on Henderson Avenue in Dallas, and I would dare to say my favorite as of lately! Both times we've dined outside on the patio in the cool breezes of fall and it has been delightful. 
We met Allison this weekend (the wife of the husband-wife team that opened the restaurant 10 months ago). Stephen and Allison moved here from California where they had worked at one of Napa's ton destination restaurants, PRESS. Stephen was the executive chef and she was the general manager. They both decided it was time to open their own restaurant and move closer to family here in Dallas.

We are very glad they did! When we mention the name Gemma, everyone raves about it, so it's not just us! They have monthly wine dinners either on Monday or Tuesday nights when they are regularly closed.

Allison came to our table to greet us which gave Don a chance to ask her to recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon that she thought was fabulous. Here's what she suggested:

2011 Zeitgeist Cabernet Sauvignon ($70) Napa Valley. The name means spirit of the times, coined by the German Romanticists to describe the cultural, ethical, and spiritual mood of an era. The wine embodies the spirit of the vintage and the collaboration of the husband and wife winemakers. Velvet like dark fruits and unsweetened cocoa and cassis with smoke. Smooth sailing on the finish.

It was delicious and the food, as always, was fabulous. This restaurant will never disappoint me! I love the interior, exterior, the food, wine, and the friendly wait-staff! Good job team!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#RexsSeafood Salmon Creek and Domaine Paul Buisse

We've had two wonderful white wines lately while dining at Rex's Seafood, one of our favorite local seafood restaurants/markets. It's convenient, close, easy to get in and out with complimentary valet, and the food never disappoints. 

2012 Salmon Creek Chardonnay Reserve ($6), Napa Valley. This Chardonnay is abundant with fruit and creamy flavors and is soft on the palette.

This next wine was another choice for the evening. Usually Don will order white at this restaurant to pair with the seafood. Sweet thing! He orders something different from me so I can decide which one I like the best and he'll drink the other. In this case, they were both great!

The wine pictured above is especially good with soft goat cheeses, salads, and shellfish, along with seafoods.
2012 Domaine Paul Buisse Touraine Sauvignon Blanc ($13)


Thursday, November 6, 2014

#kamenwines and Tenuta Di Renieri Chanti Classico at

I wanted to share two great wines that we have had recently. One was at our favorite place to dine-DCC and the other was with my friends that own La Bichette on Hillcrest across from SMU. Such a cute place for a blowout and makeup when you are going out on the town or just for fun!
Check it out below!

So one weekend, Don was gone to ABQ for a fraternity weekend. Marsha and Tammy, the mother-daughter owners asked me to come by and watch what goes on during a busy Saturday (Highland Park ISD homecoming!). I ended up helping out for eight hours. It was fun meeting so many people! 

The night before, we ate dinner at Amore' Italian Restaurant. Tammy and I had eggplant parmesan and Marsha and Neil had grilled salmon. It was so delicious paired with this wine.

2009 Tenuta Di Renieri Chianti Classico Riserva ($25)

The other great wine Don and I had was on half-price bottle night at the DCC. We ate on the patio enjoying the cool breeze of September (really)! Here's the wine that Aaron Benson suggested for us that evening.

 2008 Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon ($80) from Sonoma Valley. This is one fine wine! And after doing a little research, it turns out that Robert Kamen is a Hollywood screenwriter (for over 20 years). Movies like Taken, the Karate Kids series, the Transporter series, The Fifth Element just to name a few. 

Click on the link above to read about this wine. You will be drooling before you finish the tasting notes. I highly recommend this wine for a special occasion. It is worth every penny!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frank Family Vineyards Wine Dinner at DCC! #FrankFamilyWine

Don and I found this treasure of wine in 2012, the summer he proposed to me in Sonoma. We had ventured over the mountains to Napa and just stopped at anything that looked inviting. Frank Family Vineyards was one of the tasting rooms we stopped that day. We were very pleased that we did! All their wines are fabulous!

So Don surprised me and made reservations for a Tuesday night in September. I was so excited knowing that we would have a fabulous night of fun, food, wine, and togetherness (even though I had to teach school the next day)!

Here we are outside their tasting room in Napa.

Inside the tasting room by an unusual barrel of sorts!

Here's our menu for the evening! The chef out-shined himself this night!

These are the wines at the 6:30 reception.

During the dinner, we had the following wines! I have provided links to each so that you can read about the ones you are interested in buying. Let me tell you there wasn't one bottle I wouldn't buy. 

Zinfandel Port, Napa Valley NV 

The entire evening was wonderful. We sat by one couple that had traveled all over the world tasting wine. They were full of stories about their travels.

Thank you Aaron Benson for planning this wonderful evening and thank you honey for taking us to an amazing wine dinner!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Snoqualmie Wine-Washington! #snoqualmiewine

My sweet husband and I have been dining from EatZi's (bringing it home) lately and with that a new bottle of wine has become a favorite of mine. He still prefers Cabernets, but is open to enjoying a Chardonnay with me. EatZi's has quite the selection of wines in their market. We're always eager to try something new and different.

Notice the photo above! If you go to their website, you will see that it is designed to look like cut paper, which I know one paper man really loves. For you paper lovers out there, check it out! It's quite unique!

Snoqualmie is a small city (population of around 12,500) near the center of Washington, about thirty minutes from Seattle! Of course, the name is a Native American tribe from the Pacific Northwest. The Snoqualmie Tribe, the People of the Moon, was one of the largest in the Puget Sound region in 1855. Notice the moons on the bottle.

2012 Snoqualmie Chardonnay ($10) from the Columbia Valley. This wine was crafted with no oak and has aromas of pear and apple with clean fruit flavors on the palate. What a bargain for an average price of $10. You will not be disappointed buying this Chardonnay!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Another Other White-Chenin Blanc and Viognier

Domaine des Baumard 2009 Clos duPapillon Chenin Blanc ($38)

Don and I dine at the club about once a week and of course Aaron, our friendly sommelier, always heads for our table to suggest the latest wine he wants us to try. He always gets it right! Everytime!

Shaped like a butterfly (papillon), this small vineyard is one of the best known in Savennieres, Loire Valley, France. The wine is very rich and ripe with apricot and pear flavors and an elegant texture. I didn't link to their website. It's written in French.

Darioush Signature 2012 Napa Valley Viognier ($47)

Another white we had recently at the club was this lovely Viognier. Don was excited to see Aaron bring this bottle to the table. I believe this is the very first time for me to taste anything by Darioush. Check out their website. It is quite impressive and I hope we visit this place someday soon. Taken from another website this wine has "aromas of honeysuckle, jasmine and citrus fruit, introducing a vibrant and succulent mouthfeel of juicy peach and cantaloupe balanced by the bright acidity of Fuji apple and lemon zest. The 2012 Viognier finishes with lingering notes of dried apricot, nutmeg and vanilla bean."

Thank you Aaron! You did it again!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two Reds to Love!

Arnot and Roberts

The last two times Don and I have dined at the DCC we've asked Aaron for a great wine recommendation for our evening dinner. He suggested both of the wines that I will share with you from two different dinners.

The first dinner we were there, Aaron suggested a Cabernet Sauvignon because he knows Don LOVES a big, bold CAB. 

2010 Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Santa Cruz Mountains ($80), bottled in Healdsburg, California fit the bill. And by the way it was half-price bottle night, which is always a plus for anyone! Arnot-Roberts' website doesn't offer this wine, so we were pretty lucky to get it.

 The front of the label is super boring, so I took a picture of the back, which is much more informative. "Opaque ruby, expansive, heady aromas of candied red and dark berries, pipe tobacco, potpourri and licorice, with a spicy nuance that gains strength with air. Stains the palate with sweet cherry-cola, cassis and floral pastille flavors supported by juicy acidity. The spicy quality comes back strong on a finish that features velvety tannins and a refreshingly bitter cherry pit quality."

Another night we dined at the DCC, Aaron wanted us to try something a little different from Don's usual BIG CAB. So, he brought us an Oregon Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills. We tried it and bought the entire bottle. It was amazingly delicious.

2010 Domaine Drouhin Laurene Pinot Noir, Drouhin Family Estates ($72). Before I looked at the back of the label, I told Don that this wine had a French feel to it. Then I turned to the back of the bottle and it said "French Soul-Oregon Soil". 
 The history of the Drouhin family runs deep in the French tradition of winemaking.

"The 2010 Laurène is a very pure expression of this estate, with clear notes of cherry, black cherry and red fruits. On the palate, one finds great depth and freshness, traits more commonly used to describe Burgundy, but very present here. The finish is long and graceful, and you'll love the harmony, balance and complexity. Though enjoyable now, this is very much a vin de garde - a wine to hold for the long term. Expect that you will be able to cellar the 2010 Laurène for the next 10 years, but 15 years wouldn't be a surprise at all.”

Another must for lovers of Pinot Noir!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sharing Chardonnays!

The last two times Don and I have been to Rex's Seafood on Lovers Lane, we've tasted a new Chardonnay. The restaurant always features two or three new wines we've never heard of. So of course, I want to try them. Here's what we had recently!

2012 Gavilan Chardonnay ($17) from the oldest vineyard in Monterrey County, bottled in Sonoma, CA. It has a citrus-pineapple aroma, combined with luscious pear flavors, crisp acidity and a long, elegant finish. Very nice!

2012 Neil Ellis Sincerely Chardonnay ($12) from the Republic of South Africa. If you're a fan of no oak, then Sincerely is for you. It's wonderfully clean and crisp with plenty of lemon and lime citrus and green apple. It has a good length of flavor in the finish.

Enjoy these Chardonnays soon!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chateau Pibran Pauillac Bordeaux Wine-Another Great Wine! @MercatBistro

It was my turn to choose where we ate this past weekend. I had been wanting to try this little contemporary French bistro in Uptown Dallas minutes from the apartment. I called Open Table and made a reservation the day before for a romantic corner at 7:30pm.
We arrived in the much needed shower of rain, parked and ran in under the umbrellas the valet had given us. As we entered, I knew right away we were going to love this place. The maitre' d greeted us and gave us a choice of three different places to sit. We both chose the same one. I told Don the maitre'd sure looked familiar, so I asked him where he worked before Mercat Bistro. He said he knew us from the Dallas Country Club. Such a sweet guy! 

This is the view from where we were seated at the back by a garden wall of beautiful green English ivy. We ordered fried marcona almonds and marinated olives along with a bottle of French Bordeaux as appetizers.

2010 Chateau Pibran ($41) from the Pauillac region, possibly the most famous of all the Bordeaux wine producing appellations.

As it began to open up, we fell in love with it. Crimson in color, tightly wound at first, but opens up to a very elegant wine with white pepper, spices, red and dark fruit with sweet tannins. A big dry, but lovely! Pair that with an awesome warm goat cheese and arugula salad,

Cote de Boeuf for two,

and last, but not least, dessert!

Tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and portiferoles! So with that we ordered two glasses of another Bordeaux (house wine) that was just as magnificent as the other.

2009 Chateau Lestage-Chevillon ($18) 

Everything on the web is in French, so not much I can tell you about this wine except it was an excellent Bordeaux. 

Check out this French bistro when you're in Uptown, or go there on purpose! You will not be disappointed with either breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Bon Appetit!