Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Climber White and Lemon Garlic Chicken

We enjoyed the Clif Family Winery Climber White wine a few nights ago. This interesting wine is a blend of 4 varietals - 3% Muscat, 12% Pinot Blanc, 81% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Chenin Blanc. This is not an "oak-y" white wine, but instead is very crisp and light. I want to quickly share my tasting notes based on the 5 S's -

See - A lovely light golden color, completely clear.

Swirl - Very slight "legs" or "tears" on the glass. Pretty to swirl in the glass as the smell was released.

Smell - Incredible fruits. Pear, Citrus, Grapefruit. The smell was light and seductive.

Swish - Not too sweet. Very light, almost delicate fruity-ness, not too tart.

Swallow - Excellent. Gently warm on the swallow, with a smooth and deliciously yummy finish!

Now I am sure that this has been written up with all kinds of wonderful quotes, with things about "notes of fresh hay" and "gorgeous fruity medley." You will have to forgive me as I can only tell you what I saw, smelled, and tasted. And my conclusion? Delicious, light, easy on the tounge, not overly sweet, a perfectly lovely summer white wine. I liked it. A lot.

So, after tasting this wine, I think it would go with just about anything from a mexican dish to your favorite cookies. Which is saying something. For our dinner we had Lebanese Garlic-Marinated Chicken on the Grill from the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. I have never had a recipe from this book that I didn't love, and Nancy's writing is a treat to read. We had our chicken with a wonderful salad, fresh bread, and this excellent wine, and it was truly a fabulous summer feast. Recipe follows. Try it, and enjoy!

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat blade of a knife
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chicken breasts are usually sold split in half. Cut each breast half in half again and put them in a bowl.

Chop the garlic coarsely and in a small bowl crush it with the salt, using the back of a spoon, until you have a smooth paste. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, paprika, and pepper. Beat well with a fork and pour the marinade over the chicken pieces. Mix well and turn the pieces to coat them liberally with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook, prepare the grill, leaving plenty of time for it to heat up if you're using charcoal or wood. When the fire is hot enough, place the chicken pieces on the grill and set the grill a good 8 inches from the source of the heat. Use the marinade remaining in the bowl to baste the chicken frequently as it cooks. Grill for 10 minutes or longer on each side, turning each piece once. Test for doneness and serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

P.S. Finishing the bottle the second day? Equally good. And I REALLY like that. :)

A toast to each of you - Friendship's the wine of life. Let's drink of it and to it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wine Woot

Wine Woot is a great web site for getting some great wine deals and learning more about the wines you drink. They put up new deals usually twice a week, and the wines are usually excellent values. They get pretty good prices and ship the wines right to your front door. I have had some great success trying out new (to me) wines with Wine Woot, and the community is great for learning and discussing. The wine makers and others from the winery generally get involved in the discussions as well, so you get some good insight into how the wines are made and the back story is usually pretty interesting.

I recommend you roll on over to Wine Woot and check it out. Tasting notes will be forthcoming on the recent Clif Family Winery Climber White wine, which I enjoyed last night with spicy lemon garlic chicken, along with that recipe. A lovely summery dinner and wine that you will want to try before we get to far into fall!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wines I would drink again

In my kitchen were a number of empty wine bottles that I had collected over the years. I kept these bottles because the wines were yummy and I wanted to be able to remember them when the chance came for a re-purchase.

I would rinse the bottles out when empty and lined the windows with colorful reminders of wonderful wine-ful afternoons and evenings. But this week during my surprise two week hiatus from blogging I noticed that the bottles were looking a bit odd. Dirt and dust was collecting inside the bottles as well as on top of them. They didn't look exactly pretty anymore. And on top of that, I don't remember anything about the drinking of these wines! If they were great, good, heavy, needed decanted, were delicious, needed to rest - nothing.

I took them all down and took pictures of the labels and am sharing them with you here. I am actually going to put the labels in my wine notebook, and when I have a chance to drink these again I will share tasting notes with you. In the mean time I will do some research on these wines and share that with you in the coming weeks - but you should also know that they were good enough to hang on too even while they became dust collectors, and I therefore recommend them.

Tomorrow - a little about Wine Woot.