Monthly Archives: December 2011

Spier 2009 Pinotage – Western Cape, South Africa

From the label: ‘Winemaking is an art. The signature wines of Spier, distinctive in their individuality and expression, are hallmarked by a strong sense of heritage, dating back to the planting of the first vineyards.’


Pinotage is the signature grape that is grown in South Africa. It’s a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as Hermitage in South Africa thus the name Pinotage). I had never heard of this grape variety until a visit to British Columbia to see friends. Knowing that I am a red wine person particularly one who likes Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon he advised me to try this South African wine that he had.

When I tried it I found the smell to be earthy with dark berries, vanilla and plum essences. The taste was harsh at first but once I allowed it to breathe and aerate for about an hour it mellowed out and I tasted a sweet, vanilla, medium-bodied wine. It had a long finish.

I did have another glass of this wine the next day and it was even more enjoyable due to the extra time it was given to breathe no doubt.

Overall I liked this wine once it aerated a bit. My first taste was harsh. This wine would do well to be aerated at least for an hour before drinking and could probably do well to aerate longer than that in my opinion.

I give this wine a score of 84. Well worth the try if only to broaden your horizons on the different types of grapes out there in the wine world.


Little Roo Merlot – South Eastern Australia

RECIPE: Pearl Barley Soup

Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Estates Chardonnay – Sonoma, CA 2009

RECIPE: Senegalese Stew

I found this recipe for Senegalese Stew in the October 2011 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. I admit to never having heard of it before but the use of couscous and nut butter in a meal was attractive to me.

As usual I made some changes to the recipe. The first one being converting it from a meat recipe to a vegetarian one. That was really simple, I just replaced the ground beef in the recipe with Gardien’s Beefless Tips. You could uses any other meat substitute as well. I know that the people who make Boca Burgers also have a ground beef-type thing as well. I just chose the Beefless Tips because I had a package of them in my freezer and was itching to try them. This recipe was made for it.

The other thing I changed was the use of peanut butter. I am not a big peanut butter fan. I do, however, LOVE almond butter and I personally believe that it’s a lot healthier than peanut butter for numerous reasons but that’s another story. So I replace the peanut butter with almond butter. Everything else I basically left the same as the recipe.

The resulting meal was really rich, hearty and enjoyable. Your taste buds are inundated with tastes of tomato, almond butter, and hot red pepper but none of the flavors overwhelm or compete with each other. They all just get along nicely. I really enjoyed this meal and so did Matt. It will probably be one that I put in the regular meal rotation in our household.

Try it and let me know what you think. If you improve or change anything tell me what you did so I can try it too. 🙂

McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Merlot – South Eastern Australia – 2008

RECIPE: Chocolate Souffle

I think this is about the fourth souffle I’ve done this year. What can I tell you? I’ve got the souffle dishes of all different sizes and I want to perfect my souffle making skills so what’s a woman to do.

When I heard that you could make a chocolate souffle I was all over it. So I did my research on the internet to find the perfect recipe to try. I found this Chocolate Souffle recipe at I was in love. Me, Chocolate, and a nice wine. Again I was in love. 🙂

I found this recipe extremely easy to make. I created it from start to finish in about 30 minutes with a eagerly waiting guest enjoying a nice glass of vino. Once everything was mixed and incorporated I was free to join my guest on the lanai while waiting for the time to beep.

Before the fall...

One thing I did do incorrectly was incorporating the egg whites into the rest of the mixture. If you’ve read my previous souffle posts you’ll know that this is the most important part of making a souffle that rises really well. I didn’t do that with this recipe not because I didn’t know how but because I wasn’t paying attention until it was too late. I was so enamored with the concept of chocolate souffles and enjoying them with my guest that I realized too late that I had just brutally mixed all the ingredients together. My bad!

The resulting souffles were outstandingly delicious but flat. The never rose to the heights that were expected of them but that was my fault. However, like I’ve said in my other souffle posts, even a souffle that turns out bad is still a great tasting souffle and this one was no exception. Coating the inside of the ramekins with Pam spray and sprinkling sugar around the edges gives these chocolate souffles some crunchy sweetness as does the sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. Do make these and let me know what you think. 🙂

Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – Central Coast, CA