Wondered into this cafe a few minutes before closing time on a spring Sunday, and immediately ordered a hot chocolate to warm myself up. The clean and well-lit cafe interior was almost empty. I was tired and didn’t spend a lot of time looking over the offerings, so when my mug arrived, i was very surprised: it contained warm milk, and a spoon that had solid chocolate on it. The idea is that you stir the milk with the spoon, and the chocolate dissolves, creating your “hot chocolate” beverage. I found it warm and nourishing, but a bit too sweet for my tastes, but that is likely my own fault — i should have picked the appropriate spoon flavor (they have about 50). Overall, an interesting twist on the usual hot chocolate, and a pleasant cafe in which to partake of it.
This wine has flower and apricot fruit aromas and is pale-yellow in color. The palate has peach and mineral notes, and smooth mouthfeel. Personally, i would have liked more acidity and less minerality, but overall a light refreshing summer white wine.
Several years ago, a friend brought me a bottle from Scotland, at my request for a “smoky Scotch whisky”. Made in a small community on the remote Isle of Jura in the Hebrides, it was, as promised, smoky and peaty, with warm spices on the nose, yellow-golden color, and peaty and slightly sweet, rich taste. Very enjoyable.
Had this bottle for about 3 years, and opened it in July to accompany an informal dinner. Nice fruity nose (red currants and cherries), deep red-purple color, and the palate had lots of fruit and soft tannins. Easy-drinking and crowd-pleasing, and a good accompaniment to the meal. Not super-complex and without the fine balance of other Oregon Pinots — but for under $20 that i paid for it, a good buy and a wine that your guests will enjoy.
On a recent trip to Portugal, I bought this at a small corner store in Lisbon, selling lots of salt cod and fish in tins (of course) in addition to several shelves of wine.
Dark-caramel in color, this fortified wine was sweet, but not exceedingly so. Although simple, it had good structure, and the alcohol wasn’t overpowering. A good wine for sipping on a terrace overlooking the Lisbon rooftops.
I paid E4.55 for the 0.5l bottle. For the money, I thought it was a nice product (especially since, at 17% alcohol by volume, it’s hard to drink too much in one sitting).
Looking back over my blog posts, I realized that I hadn’t published a review of Ransom’s 2006 Pinot Noir. I had drunk many bottles of it over the years, and was down to only 2 last night.
Just like with the WillaKenzie Kiana 2006 , I was concerned that I had kept the Ransom a bit too long and that it was starting to decline (especially since reviews of the 2006 Selection recommended keeping it till 2013, or no longer than 10 years).
I needn’t have worried. The wine started out a bit “closed”, but opened up after 5 minutes in the glasses. Notes of berries, lots of acidity (which I like) and tannins, a bit of earthiness, multi-layered and lingering taste — this was one to savor. For around $36, it was great!
I still have 1 bottle left. It will wait till next year (after last night’s tasting, I know it will keep just fine for 1 more year) — and I will decant it before pouring.
All of this makes me very excited for the 2012s that I got several bottles of! (Here, and the price of around $23 / bottles seems an absolute steal for what I expect this wine to be).
This was one of the last of the 2006 Oregon Pinot Noirs that I had. I thought it would be ready to drink, and that, after 9 years, further cellaring won’t help matters. (A quick search online brought up various sources, including the winery, recommending that this vintage be drunk through 2014, or cellared for up to 10 years — so I was already at the far end of those guidelines).
Yes, the wine was ready. Berries on the nose, a warm, almost-sweet taste, with notes of cherry, smooth finish. Overall very similar to a French wine (the back of the bottle talks about the winery’s use of “traditional Burgundian practices”). It went well with salmon, the main course.
I think I paid around $38 for this one about 5-6 years ago. And the wine was very good. But it lost out in comparison to the 2006 Ransom Temperance Hill that we also had — I wished that, for the same money, I bought another bottle of the Ransom instead. But, as Ransom wines are hard-to-find, the WillaKenzie is a good stand-by.
I got this bottle at Trader Joe’s while the weather was still hot out; I thought it would go great with fruit or cheese while sitting outside in the evening. It’s been sitting in my fridge since then, and I didn’t get to opening it till November.
I was eating left-overs a bit heavy on mac-n-cheese, and I thought that a glass of something sparkling would help cut through the fat (and celebrate the end of the week). The wine was nice and easy-drinking (it is low-alcohol, 5.5% by volume)– apricot and peach notes, cute little bubbles in the glass to put you in a festive mood, light-yellow in color.
It went well with my left-overs on Friday. The following night, I brought out the rest of the bottle at my Pre-Thanksgiving party, when one of the guests commented that a sweet wine would go well with a pumpkin-quinoa-apple salad. Once again, it played a great supporting role to the food.
For the price (under $10, as I seem to remember), this is a nice, cheery, crowd-pleasing moscato. I’ll be buying more of it in the future.
Walking past the storefront on Columbus Street on Sunday night, when they were closed, their windows caught my eye — advertising their hand-made truffles and proclaiming them one of the top 7 or 10 chocolatiers in the US, depending on teh source. I wanted to come back when they were open, and try the goods. So at 10 am Monday morning, i was at their door.
They had a sign outside proclaiming “free truffle with coffee”. There were 2 metal tables with chairs outside.
Inside the space is small, containing the counter and some space to sit. The truffles themselves were arranged in the display box: about 10 varieties of “normal” truffles (dark chocolate, cognac, champagne, lavande, mango, etc); and the same number of varieties of vegan / soy truffles. (Their website says they have 21 varieties total). Each was in a bowl. The truffles themselves are not the perfectly-formed machine-made types — they are slightly misshapen and on the smallish side. You get 20 for $14 (or $1 /each if bought separately), so i picked almost all the different types. You also get a free sample (so really, you get 21 for $14, or 67c each). For m sample, i got dark chocolate. it was rich and a little bitter. And actually the perfect bite-size to finish a meal.
Later on, I tried the other flavors — particularly enjoyed the Earl Grey and the spicy one. My only complaint is that, since the truffles are on the small side, some flavors are not very distinct (because there isn’t that much filling on the inside). Still, a nice tasty small chocolate treat. Am looking forward to sampling the rest of my 20!
Someone brought a bottle of the Portuguese Vihno Rose (rose wine) Espiral to a party at my house some time ago, and i finally got around to opening it. The wine is easy-drinking and light. The nose is fruity — apples or plums? Good acidity. It goes well with most food — i had it with a spicy Thai dish. One stereotypically thinks of roses in the summer, but this one went well even in the cold and wet spring weather.
I think it is sold at Trader Joe’s and is around $6-8 / bottle. For that money, this is a solid choice for everyday drinking.