2008 Carmenere

Another Reininger. Another great sip. From the Seven Hills Vineyard, this 100% Carmenere was delicious with grilled tri-tip and mashed potatoes. The fruit and pepper combined with the char on the steak equals a whole lot of yum.

I was left wondering if this is my first 100% Carmenere?

Justin Vajgert, Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

Like a steamy Danielle Steele novel, our Carmenere is bound to make your heart race. Aromas of forbidden stewed fruits, fresh, decadent strawberries, and spicy black pepper pique your interest as you then delve deeper into the big, ripe, blackberry, rich black cherry, and peppercorn on your tongue. Swoon over the incredibly smooth mouthfeel as the flavors coat your tongue and coax you into ecstasy.

Maybe I should read a Danielle Steele novel next. Then I can compare his notes to my thoughts. Hmmm…..not likely.

Date Night @ the Book Bindery

Another place on my list to cross off…but wait, I want to go again. Put the Book Bindery back on my list, please!

We started the evening with a different kind of “starter”. Sipping a flight of wine from the “wine next door”. And, we choose a bottle to enjoy with our meal. Then we moved into the glass encased room. Feels like summer is coming as the sun goes down during our dining adventure. And then we tasted a few more bottles from the wine next door – and switched our pairing for the night to a 2009 Syrah.

Now for the actual starter course:

Mine: Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Apple-Pear, Mizuna

His: Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine, Cocoa Nib Financier, Pickled Turnips, Cherries, Truffle-Madeira Gelée

On of the most amazing presentations. Nothing short of a work of art. 


Mine: Grilled Mishima Ranch “Flavor Curve”, Marble Potatoes, Creamed Nettles, Tempura Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms, Sauce Périgourdine

I ate nettles! No stinging, just y-y-yum!

His: Anderson Ranch Lamb Rack, Crispy Panisse, Artichokes, Roasted Tomato, Garlic-Lamb Jus


Mine: Chocolate Cake, Whisky Caramel, Candied Walnuts, Banana Ice Cream

Dessert…chocolate is always my first choice.

The Location:

The Book Bindery | 198 Nickerson Street | Seattle, WA | 206.283.2665  | Website

First Official Teen Birthday Party

It came in the mail last week. Her first invitation to an official teen birthday. Yes, her first classmate is turning 13. And she got invited. Oh, did we mention it’s a boy? Not to worry, this boy is like a brother. Oh, yes, but are his friends?

She processes:

  • First reaction – I’m not going. I might be the only girl.
  • Suggestion – before you make a decisions, ask him if invited other girls.
  • Day 2 reaction – one of the other girls informed her that a total of four girls were invited.

I process: Good thing it is a laser tag party, but it doesn’t seem like the parties when some of the boys in my class turned 13. I have memories of an awkward barn dance as my first boy/girl party. Or in a basement watching Miami Vice (dancing before and after, of course).

She processes:

  • Day 3 reaction – she calls and RSVPs. Without me telling her. Just takes ca of business like she has been doing this for years. Eleven one day, twenty one the next.
  • Day 4 reaction – yikes! What do we get a 13 year old boy?
  • Mom saves the day – gift card for iTunes or Amazon? Everyone has an iPod or a Kindle right? We don’t live in the most wired part of the USA.
  • Day 5 – what do I wear? I know what you are thinking..but she is concerned about the black light in the game showing the stitching on her clothes. She wants to score more points than anyone else…especially one boy who has been telling her all week he is going to kill her.

Is it time for this party yet?

The day finally arrives. The hour finally arrives. The outfit has nothing that will glow. The hair is pulled back so it wont get in her face. The birthday card is in hand. Let’s go!

We pick you another girl on our way. And when we pull around the corner, we can see a group of boys throwing the football in the front yard. The girls barely let me stop before jumping out. On of the boys yells “Bailie’s here. Let’s get this party started” Not one look back or thank you from the girls as I drive quickly away. I guess I’m officially 100% not cool anymore.

And the recap post party: Laser tag rocked. She didn’t kill the boy that taunted her – they were on the same team. And the other group they played against – a group of summer swim friends. Which cemented how cool it is to have activities outside of school.

Friday Night Feast

After a long week of work, there is nothing better than arriving home to a delicious dinner. Well, maybe a glass of wine to enjoy while the finishes touch are “finished”.

So first, the wine. The first bottle opened from my very first wine club shipment. 2008 Le Cuvier Pinot Noir.

Time out for the winemaker notes:

Smoky black tea infused with flowering raspberry, stirred and spilled upon a Cardinal’s robe that was lifted during a wild night in a Chines opium den, grunting earthy leather – and one wonders how he got home – sage and roses sprinkled about, lovely, luscious and as wicked as an abundantly ripe morello cherry dripping black currant sauce about to burst on your tooth. Mustard greens are there, too, in a lovely balance of earth and fruit.

Back to the meal:

Tonight’s feast combined three of my favorite ingredients salmon, risotto and asparagus.

  • The perfectly crispy skin on the flaky copper river salmon blended with the creaminess…
  • of combination of the risotto and morel mushrooms
  • topped with the smokiness of the grilled asparagus
  • equals a whole lotta yum!

And the only finger I had to lift was the ones that lifted my fork full of food into my mouth (or my glass for another sip).

She is Obsessed.

Yes. I can’t think of any other word for it. Obsessed is the best way to describe it. However, I can’t figure out if she is obsessed with six-pack abs or William Levy.

Case in point. Today at school, the “boys” were talking about marrying Victoria Secret models. {{ Didn’t ask how she got in the middle of that. }} She let them know they better get to work on their sixth pack if they expect to get the time of day. And, the conversation turned on her. She used William Levy as the example of the kind of man that Victoria Secret models look for. “He is hot and sexy with his abs.”

Of course, she is {{for the first time}} an avid watcher of “Dancing with the Stars”. Thanks to William Levy. I also think she has quadrupled her knowledge of Cuba. And, I now know she has good taste. {{Not so sure my Mom and I would have thought the same men were hot when I was 11.}}

2010 Shameless Hussy Viognier

A Christmas gift, the Shameless Hussy seemed like the appropriate bottle for a sunny, warm Mother’s Day dinner.

From Hard Row to Hoe, based in Chelan, with grapes from the Columbia Valley, this delicious white showcases all of the floral and stone fruit flavors for which Viognier is so well loved. Great with a light, lemony asparagus and chicken pasta dish.

Even better than my description is the gift wrapped brown paper bag, signed with Rudy’s hand written note: The wine was in jeopardy (long story) during the wine making process and went on to become our most decorated wine. Off dry to slightly sweet. Smooth and totally appropriate as an apertif.

Even more fun — the cork has it’s own story. It says “Rowboat Taxi Service. Serving Lucerne & Point Lovely est’d 1930. Hourly departures, friendly service. The background. First time I have seen a cork with a story!

Lemon Roasted Chicken

Bright lemon, thyme flavors. Very juicy meat. Can be eaten straight up or chopped on top of a green salad. I do leave off the bacon as I didn’t have any in the house. So skipped the gravy step too. Some day I will finish the recipe and update the post as needed.


  • 1 (5 to 6-pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 lemons
  • 3 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets (I buy a fresh chicken at the butcher without). Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers (again, my butcher already removes) and pat the outside dry. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, reserving enough thyme to garnish the chicken dish, 1 lemon, halved, and 2 halves of the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Cut 2 of the lemons in quarters and scatter the quarters and remaining garlic around the chicken. Lay the bacon slices over the chicken to cover (skipped by me due to no bacon in the house).

Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Remove the bacon slices from the top of the chicken and set aside. Continue roasting the chicken for an additional 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy (again, skipped this). Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine and chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Slice the chicken on a platter. Garnish the chicken platter with the bacon slices, roasted garlic, reserved thyme and 1 lemon, sliced. Serve with the gravy.

I have to admit that this one is so good, so easy, and makes leftovers, so this is already the second time I have made it! Thank you Ina, again – almost as good as the caramels!

Tzatziki Sauce

A few days ago my favorite butcher shop had a row of lamb burgers, pre-made into patties, seasoned with Greek flavors. Sounded like the beginning of a new meal to try!

So we combined the lamb burgers with pita bread, olive tampanad and hummus. Slathered the burgers with Tzatziki sauce, thinly sliced onion, tomatoes and cucumbers. Serve with a good beer (we choose a Firestone Walker). What a great meal…definitely worth repeating.

Tzatziki sauce recipe
(found a magazine picked up on our last Walla Walla wine trip)

1 500 ml of Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, grated in the big holes of a box grater and squeezed in a paper towel to remove extra moisture
Juice of one fresh lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 tbl chopped fresh dill
1 tbl chopped fresh mint, optional
1 tbl olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Mix in bowl. Taste, add more lemon or salt as needed. Drizzle the surface with olive oil. Enjoy!