Sultry and Bold: The Story of the Cellared Tintara 2003 Shiraz

Can you say no? I can't.

My parents have received quite a few bottles of wine as gifts, but since they rarely drink alcohol many of these have been sitting around for years and years. A few days ago I realized that some of them must now be magnificently cellared reds and decided to go exploring in their alcohol cabinet. The one I decided to pick was the Tintara 2003 Shiraz of McLaren Vale.

McLaren Vale is a wine region in South Australia that is well known for their Shiraz. According to Wikipedia, McLaren Vale boasts 3,218 hectares of Shiraz vines and their wines are know for their “ripeness, elegance, structure, power and complexity”. After that I knew I was getting myself in a pretty awesome situation.

So now the wine. This is a full-bodied wine with an alcohol content of 14.5%. I have never tasted anything quite like this in my life. The first thing I noticed is the dryness. You can taste the bold accents of pepper and oak, which is a result of the 18 months that it spent maturing in American and French oak. There is no hint of sweetness and the flavor is POWERFUL. The aroma is slighty fruity but the taste is less so. I had to take some time to come back to reality, because this wine left me completely speechess! In other words, it was love at first taste.

Unfortunately I do not know what the 2003 costs or if it is still available for purchase. However the 2007 seems to cost around ~$15 so I would definitely be interested to see what a younger Tintara Shiraz tastes like. However if you happen to get your hands on one of these gems, you won’t regret the opportunity to be seduced by this magnificent Shiraz!

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Falkner Winery of Temecula

An impromptu wine tasting trip is the perfect way to spend a long weekend, and that is exactly what I decided to do on President’s Day.

Temecula is about a two hour trek from where I live, and most of the tastings are around $10 on average. While doing my research I came upon the Falkner Winery website, and they offer 4 free tastings for two if you sign up for their newsletter! Yelp reviews also said that the place is beautiful and the wines are amazing, which made the decision quite easy.

Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the inviting appearance of the entrance. Something about the warm sunshine embracing the ivy covered columns was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately most of the vineyards were empty since it is winter and all the grapes were already harvested, but I can only imagine how beautiful the rest of the view would be around fall.

I had a wonderful time tasting their wines, which are all excellent. My two favorites were the 2006 Amante Super Tuscan and the “Hot Lips”. The 2006 Amante Super Tuscan is a medium-bodied red wine blend of 60% Sangiovese with 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc. The Hot Lips is a Falkner special mulled wine which was served nice and warm. Delicious!

So if you find yourself bored and in need of some wine, I would definitely recommend taking a trip out to Temecula to Falkner Winery. You wont regret it!

 

 

Smoked Salmon and Brie Cheese Bites

A Match Made in Heaven

Do you love salmon? Do you love Brie? Then this appetizer is for you!

I decided to go fancy tonight in honor of Valentines Day (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Singles Awareness Day”), and made this delicious treat! It is actually very simple to make, and the salmon and brie complement each other wonderfully.

You will need 4 ingredients:

– Smoked Salmon

– Brie Cheese

– A Baguette

– Fresh Parsley to garnish

Your Ingredients

First take your baguette (I bought the seeded baguette from Trader Joe’s) and cut it into thin slices. Then toast them gently in your toaster until they are crisp. Then take your block of brie (my personal favorite is the “Supreme” from France which you can also find at Trader Joe’s) and slice it into approximate 1cm slices so that they are rectangular and fit right on your baguette slices. Slice the smoked salmon so that it is about 1 inch wide.

Take a slice of baguette and place a piece of brie on it. Then wrap the pieces of salmon, so that it slightly resembles a curled ribbon and artistically place on top of the brie. Add a sprig of parsley for garnish.

Voila! You now have a fancy appetizer.

The Finished Product

Mmmmm!

Enjoy!

Nectar of the Gods: Stella Rosa Orange Moscato

Sweet, Bubbly, and Amazing!

I am not usually a fan of sweet alcoholic drinks, but the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato has earned a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago I visited the San Antonio Winery, located in the heart of Los Angeles, with a couple of friends. We went on the tour and afterwards they gave us free wine tastings! Usually they only give samples of 3 wines from a select menu, but the nice man who was helping us out gave us several additional samples which were off the menu, one of which was the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato.

This fruity, sparkling wine is a product of Italy and is made from Muscat grapes, which are harvested around the world and known for having a sweet, floral aroma. The alcohol content is a very low 6%, which explains why I can barely taste the alcohol and only deliciousness! One unique characteristic is the slightly thicker consistency which vaguely reminded me of honey. The combination of the light carbonation and the fruity, orange flavors make for a wonderful celebration drink.

Today my family and I were celebrating my sister’s visit from college, and the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato was the perfect choice for a festive evening! We also enjoyed the sparkling wine with some Sprinkles cupcakes, which were a truly delightful, drool-worthy combo.

Strawberry, Salted Carmel, and Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkles!

So next time you have a special occasion to celebrate, you might want to pick up a few of these bottles. They are around $15 each, which is very reasonable for what you’re getting. If you aren’t near the San Antonio Winery you can check out your nearest location at stellarosawines.com. Enjoy!

Mud House Swan 2008 Pinot Noir

You would be crazy to walk away from this one

I was told by a fellow blogger that the Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand is amazing and I immediately started searching to see if I could get my hands on a bottle.

I finally found one that sounded interesting on the K&L wine merchants website. It wasn’t exactly the description of the wine or the pretty label that won me over either. One reviewer (Melissa Smith) commented, “Everything is in harmony with this wine. Except the price, buy this one by the case before they realize it tastes like a Pinot several times this amount. ”

Whoa.

That quote was all I needed. I ran to the closest K&L wine merchants, which happened to be their Hollywood store, because the website indicated that there were only a few bottles left at this location. As I ran in I breathlessly asked,

“DoyoustillhavetheMudHouse2008CentralOtagopinotnoir???”

I must have looked like a crazy person. Or a dedicated wine snob (awesome!). Thankfully they still had some in stock.

As I sighed a big sigh of relief I picked up a few and joyfully bounded over to the cashier to pay a very modest $10.99 apiece.

So to the important part: If I had to sum up the taste in one word, I would say elegant, because of the very clean taste. However that is DEFINITELY not to be confused with bland! This Pinot Noir is very unique, and you can taste the fruit but it isn’t exactly “fruity”. It is almost a tiny bit salty but leaves your tongue before your brain can really process all the wonderful flavors that are swimming around on your palate. It will leave you wanting more and even after many sips I was left puzzled, yet very intrigued.

So my conclusion is, I can’t describe this wonderfully complex flavor in its full glory. You will just have to buy it and see for yourself. Here is the link if you are wise enough to grab it before they run out: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1083815

Gimme Sum Of That! Adventures in Dim Sum

As an indecisive person, I sometimes look at a menu and wish I could order a little bit of everything. Although I usually do not have the luxury of ordering everything I would like, Dim Sum allows me to do just that!

For those of you unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it is Chinese cuisine that comes in small, appetizer-sized portions, and the food is pushed around and served in carts. I do not speak Chinese, but fortunately pointing and nodding vigorously are enough to get some nommies on the table.

Today I had the opportunity to eat at the  New Capital Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel. At $1.80 a plate, it was an amazing deal! If you aren’t convinced yet, hopefully these pictures of my lunch will put your salivary glands to work:

Dim Sum Cart

Jasmine Tea

Chinese Broccoli in Soy Sauce

Fried Wontons

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai

Shrimp Har Gow

Yummy!

Like what you see? Here is the contact information so you can try it too!

New Capital Seafood Restaurant
140 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-1899
 

Do it. You know you want to.

The Cutie Appeal (or should I say a-peel?)

Most people who know me well have come to an understanding that I have an incurable obsession with all things cute. Today I came across the tiniest clementine which subsequently resulted in a squeal of delight.

Simply Adorbs

Not only was this microcitrus adorable, but it was also very sweet and amazingly delicious. Yes, I truly believe that it tasted better because it was cute. I have decided to call this abnormal, likely psychological effect: the cutie appeal.

A few weeks ago I decided to make tiny red velvet cupcakes with an amazing recipe I found on allrecipies.com.

Needless to say, the cuteness made all the difference.

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Another visual for size reference:

Cupcake vs. Jinnee

So next time you have the opportunity, go mini! You might be surprised by what your taste buds tell you.

***For those of you who might have been concerned, Jinnee was not given a mini cupcake but a mini milk bone for her modeling efforts.