Merisi * Pinot Gris * 2016

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Our home consists of two working parents, a three-year-old, and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs. Making it through a typical week is a well-orchestrated routine, consisting of normal and usual habits, and the occasional exception to the standard plan. This week I made a day trip to Des Moines for work, which consisted of a long fourteen hour day. Rather than settle into the typical dinner routine we planned to invite our neighbor over to try a bottle of Pinot Gris we’ve never had before.

The best thing about this wine: so savory it must be shared
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $24.99
Pairs well with: neighbors, conversation, and dinner
If you like light and dry white wines, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://www.merisiwines.com

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Merisi * Pinot Gris * 2016

Dreaming Tree * Pinot Noir * 2015

IMG_1454Often, after work, I want to make as few decisions as I can, and I prefer to put the least amount of effort into the rest of my day. Dreaming Tree Pinot Noir is reliable in situations like these, when I’m feeling extra lazy.

The best thing about this wine:
Available at: Hy-Vee
By the bottle: $13.99
Pairs well with: any quick meal after work
If you like an easy option for pairing without much thought, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: https://www.dreamingtreewines.com

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Dreaming Tree * Pinot Noir * 2015

Forefront * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2011

FullSizeRenderThis weekend our lack of food options hit the tipping point. We no longer could stretch not going to the grocery store by pairing random options of whatever food was remaining together and still call it a meal. A lonely bag of baby carrots had survived, and I had decided they would be delicious on the grill for dinner. But simply eating grilled carrots wasn’t going to sustain our Saturday night appetites. At the grocery store grabbing a few grilling items to pair with the carrots, I made my way to the wine section in hopes of finding something new and pleasing. I set my sights on a 2011 Forefront Cabernet Sauvignon and with a quick scan of the label using the Vivno app, I had decided to give it a try.

The best thing about this wine: complex and unique flavors
Available at: Hy-Vee
By the bottle: $9.99
Pairs well with: Beef sirloin (and–of course–carrots)
If you like flavorful Cabernets, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://www.forefrontwines.com 

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Forefront * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2011

Gnarly Head * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

The intense heat of July in Nebraska has been paired with equally intense levels of work and competing priorities for me. Due to what seems as my increasing lack of time, this review is going to be brief and to the point. When I don’t have much time to be adventurous or browse for a new wine, I have a few go-to reliable picks. Gnarly Head’s Cabernet Sauvignon is one, and it fit nicely with the intensity of the past week.

The best thing about this wine: excellent value; drinkable
Available at: Hy-Vee
By the bottle: $9.99
Pairs well with: just about anything
If you like full-bodied, inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://www.gnarlyhead.com
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Gnarly Head * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

Sean Minor Point North * Pinot Noir * 2014

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My goal heading into this weekend was to have a burst of productivity. On the to-do list was: reading for a project I’m participating in at work, a backlog of papers needing graded for a course I’m teaching, and several half-initiated projects around the house. My motivations and ambitions were strong. The Japanese Beetle bombed those goals.

I woke up early Saturday morning, brewed coffee, and sat on the porch with my book. A couple of hours later and completely engrossed in the content, I heard faint “pinging” noises hitting the siding on my house. I looked up to see swarms of beetles raining down from the Linden tree and landing on my reading paradise. An impromptu Google search yielded information about Japanese Beetles and their destructiveness–they eat everything. I quickly began to connect the beetle invasion with my completely eaten rose bushes and withering leaves on my Linden tree.

Book closed, I sprung into action. More research, driving around Omaha, and working in the yard engrossed in a beetle battle, Saturday evening arrived quickly. I had not attempted even one of my original goals. Instead, I had purchased enough Japanese Beetle traps, set them up, and sprayed Neem oil on what was left of the rest of the plants in my yard in hopes of saving them from the ravenous creatures.

Feeling defeated, late at night, I opened a bottle of one of my favorite Oregon Pinot Noirs. It accompanied me to my upstairs office as I tried to re-motivate myself and grade some papers.

The best thing about this wine: A myriad of pairing options
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $21.99
Pairs well with: cheese plate, poultry, and/or Asian food
If you like Oregon Pinot Noir, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: https://www.seanminorwines.com

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Sean Minor Point North * Pinot Noir * 2014

Hess Select * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

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After a long week I simply want to settle in with friends to share a meal and a few drinks, in hopes the camaraderie and conversation creates closure so I can begin the next week anew again.

I brought the Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon to a Friday neighborhood grill out with friends. Flank steaks were cooked directly on the coals. It was a pairing to be remembered, which was perfect because my work week was one needing to be forgotten.

The best thing about this wine: classic Cabernet flavor
Available at: Wohlner’s Neighborhood Grocery & Deli
By the bottle: $16.99
Pairs well with: steak
If you like deep and dry Cabernet Sauvignon, try this wine.
Winery Web Page: http://www.hesscollection.com

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Hess Select * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

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