Smoking Loon * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

Smooking Loon 2015

Sometimes you simply go with what you know.

Smoking Loon takes me back to college, many years ago, when I began developing an affinity for wine. To this day it’s a wine I can rely on when I want an inexpensive bottle at home for a casual drink or with dinner. While some may scoff at the $7.99 price tag and the fact each vintage can come from a different region around the world, I’m satisfied with this wine in a way those favorite childhood food dishes can still satisfy one long into adulthood.

The 2015 is a South American Cabernet. Full-bodied, well-balanced, and extremely fruit forward, this wine contains vibrant flavors. Dark blackberry, oak, vanilla, and spice marinate into an earthy finish. We had this one evening for dinner with a roast made in the slow cooker. It would also pair well with a grilled steak.

The best thing about this wine: Inexpensive
Available at: Hy-Vee
By the bottle: $7.99
Pairs well with: grilled steak, or slow cooked roast
Winery Web Page: http://smokingloon.com

The entire point of drinking wine is finding something you enjoy. For me, Smoking Loon is just that: a wine I love. Because it’s inexpensive. It’s unique (and maybe a little loony). It’s reputation is respectable for only $8.00. It requires no excuse, at least not from me.

Cheers to being “loony”,

TODD

Smoking Loon * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

STE Chapelle * Chateau Series Soft Red * 2012

Idaho? Snake River Valley?

These were the thoughts running through my head as I was browsing the pre-chilled wines at Wohlner’s. I was on a last minute mission to purchase a few bottles of wine for an outdoor dinner party after work on Friday. My wife requested I pick up at least one chilled, “easier-drinking” wine since it was one of the first real warm days this year. She suggested a Rosé.

Full discloser here in this review: I’m not a wine expert. I enjoy drinking wines and consider myself the casual wine drinker. But this day, I felt a little more pressure than normal in making a selection. The dinner party hosts knew I was blogging for Omaha Wine Review and thought I should be the one to bring the wine. I was unable to find a Rosé I felt confident purchasing.
I kept looking. Time was ticking. The STE Chapelle Soft Red seemed intriguing. I knew nothing about Idaho wines or the Snake River Valley. Feeling the mounting pressure to make a good decision, paired with my impending tardiness, I risked it.

Well no Rosé. What the heck, go bold or go home!

I snatched the bottle, hoping for the best.

The best thing about this wine: Sweet and flavorful for easy summer drinking
Available at: Wohlner’s Neighborhood Grocery and Deli
By the bottle: $9.99
Paired well with: guacamole
If you like Moscato or other sweet wines, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://stechapelle.com

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STE Chapelle * Chateau Series Soft Red * 2012

La Posta Pizzella * Malbec * 2016

My daughter turned three years old Monday. Three years of life is a short time lived, yet I’m continually amazed how a mere handful of years can shape, change, and grow a child. She is now able to have an opinion on a variety of things, and we let her choose where she would like to eat for dinner. She landed on Lead Belly at Midtown Crossing, which made me extremely proud of her youthful wisdom. The reality is we are frequent patrons because Lead Belly provides a nice menu variety, from entree dishes to sandwiches and burgers. I’ve never looked at the wine menu before, usually relying on the excellent source of local beers and well-prepared mixed drinks. For the birthday celebration, I took my first try at the wine list.

The best thing about this wine: smooth for a Malbec
Available at:   Lead Belly
By the bottle: $36, by the glass: $9.00
Pairs well with: chicken, pork
I
f you like Malbec, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://www.lapostavineyards.com

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La Posta Pizzella * Malbec * 2016

Don & Sons * Pinot Noir * 2011

After an uniquely stressful work week, dinner was the time for me to be decisive. I’m predicting the upcoming week will most certainly be the “part two” continuation, so I thought I’d practice my quick decision-making skills knowing they would be necessary for another round of meetings ahead, some where indecisive players would be present.  I did a quick browse of the menu at J. Coco, and landed on the 2011 Don & Sons Pinot Noir.

The best thing about this wine: balanced
Available at:  J. Coco
By the bottle: $46.00
By the glass: $12.00
Pairs well with: Cedar Plank Salmon
Winery Web Page: http://www.donandsons.com

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Don & Sons * Pinot Noir * 2011

Pali Wine Co. Huntington * Pinot Noir * 2014

My wife, daughter, and I spent the weekend away from home. We were in Schuyler, NE for a confirmation and dance recital. It’s always enjoyable to have several days with extended family, but heading back to Omaha Sunday afternoon created feelings and thoughts around how we would prioritize our minimal weekend time remaining before Monday would soon be upon us. We unanimously decided on takeout from Three Happiness Chinese, and I made a quick stop at Wohlner’s for a bottle of wine on my way to pick up the food.

I decided on a bottle of 2014 Huntington Pinot Noir. I knew the Pali Wine Company wouldn’t let me down.

Available at: Wohlner’s Neighborhood Grocery & Deli
By the bottle: $21.49
Pairs well with: cheese plate or appetizers
Try this wine i
f you like: a reliable, easy-drinking Pinot Noir.
Winery Web Page: http://www.paliwineco.com

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Pali Wine Co. Huntington * Pinot Noir * 2014

Chain Gang Pitch Black * Red Blend * 2016

I’ve always been partial to a great breakfast. Whether I’m cooking at home or checking out a cafe or local dive, my spirits lift with a great morning or mid-day meal. Sunday we met at Pitch in Dundee for brunch. The food here is always delicious and I quickly decided on VIP Smoked Mac and Cheese, bypassing the breakfast menu options. Typically my drink of choice for Sunday brunch would be a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or sparkling wine, but I ordered a glass of Chain Gang’s Pitch Black Red Blend. 

The best thing about this wine: smooth and silky
Available at: Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria
By the bottle:  $20.00 / By the glass: $9.00
Pairs well with: beef, lamb, sausage
Winery Web Page: http://www.dcflyntmw.com/chain-gang-vineyards

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Chain Gang Pitch Black * Red Blend * 2016

Concannon * Petite Sirah * 2014

I have always operated in life with a plan or goal in mind that must be accomplished. Whether I’m at work, or designing a landscaping project in my yard, I research, think through the multiple steps, anticipate every complication I can muster, and then execute. Call this motivated, efficient, strategic, or simply neurotic, I’m at my best when I have a great plan. Despite my organization, life often disrupts my best planning. I welcome these opportunities to deviate into impromptu mode. Sometimes the best situations arrive from simply operating in the moment. A Petite Sirah recently presented itself after several foiled, well-thought out ideas.

 The best thing about this wine: Full of contradictions! Medium-bodied blueberry and blackberry flavors but soft touch. Prominent yet perfectly manageable light tannins.
Available at:  Greek Islands Restaurant
By the bottle:  $25.00
Pairs well with: Dolmathes, rice, topped with creamy egg lemon sauce; side salad with olives and feta cheese
Winery Web Page: http://www.concannonvineyard.com

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Concannon * Petite Sirah * 2014