Friday, October 13, 2006

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy -- and Wine Gems

It's been a while since I've gone five days without a post. The good news is that while I haven't been posting, I've been eating! This week alone featured a fabulous tasting menu at Restaurant Tallent in Bloomington and dinner at Oakley's with a friend who was Guest Chef for the day.

Plus, it's Friday, the 13th and I'm on deadline with another project. I'm staying home and not eating! Maybe I'll do something healthy like yoga and a walk. Standby -- posts, reviews, write-ups, tidbits, and general gossip and punditry all coming your way shortly.

In the meantime, last night was a great time (as usual) with Jim Arnold at the annual Kahn's Diamond in the Rough Sale. While my friend (a more serious wine geek than me) was worried that it might be "more rough than diamond", we think we found a few gems in our price range. Plus with tasting and snacks, it made for a nice fall evening.

Our finds?

Hamilton's Grenache/Shiraz 2001 -- This little easy drinking Australian (McLaren Vale) was beautifully finished and a steal for the price. Perfect for pre-dinner cocktails or opening a bottle on your own. It's OK for keeping and 93 points says Wine Spectator.

Vinum Red Dirt Red 2002 -- This blend of French grapes from El Dorado County, California, was a smooth, complex, and really tasty find. A California Cote du Rhone! Simply fantastic! And as a bonus -- great label!

Lambert Bridge Sonoma Merlot 2001 -- Maybe Merlots are making a comeback or maybe we were just in a sentimental mood. Either way, we tasted quite a few and for the money, this little drinker was the best value. Great nose, big, and still packed a punch. (Others fell flat.) Perfect for opening at home on a winter evening.

Rabbit Ridge Paso Robles Vortex 2002 -- Here was a Rabbit Ridge I'd never seen before and it was a nice surprise. A blend of all California grown cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petite verdot, petite sirah, and syrah, this wine really delivered.

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