Merisi * Petite Sirah * 2014

I like to move fast. Today, while giving my teacher mentee a tour of the building, my fitbit clocked it as exercise. I found myself apologizing several times for how fast I speak, though she didn’t mind, and was even matching my pace! I moved with a purpose quickly through the rest of my day as well. In fact, I didn’t really stop moving until I poured myself a glass of wine. I took a sip of the Merisi Petite Sarah and realized that this was one part of my day I wouldn’t be able to rush.

The best thing about this wine: rich flavors that develop with decanting
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $35
Pairs well with: a nice steak
Winery Web Page: www.merisiwines.com

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Merisi * Petite Sirah * 2014

Old Soul * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2014 *

Louie came into my life in the spring of 2005. He was a Mini Schnauzer mix. White. The person I got him from gave me strict orders not to “humanize” him. I assured the man I understood a dog’s place in the home. He told me to crate him, not to give human food, train him to be alone for periods of time, and to teach him boundaries. I went home right away and was confident that I knew what I was doing. By night four, after many hours of no sleep and high-pitched crying and midnight snacks of bagels and peanut butter, I grabbed Louie and put him in bed with me and there he stayed happy and quiet night after night for 13 years.

The best thing about this wine: Smooth, easy drinking and pairs with or without food
Available at: Corkscrew Wine and Cheese
By the bottle: $20
Pairs well with: pasta, friends and memories
Winery Web Page: 
https://shoporw.vintegrate.com/old-soul

Check out Heather’s review of the Old Soul Pinot Noir here

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Old Soul * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2014 *

Merisi Glen Oaks Vineyard * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

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One of the first lessons I got when I started tasting wine—as opposed to, you know, drinking wine—was that there were no wrong answers. Just because the wine list said you should taste black cherry and cardamom doesn’t mean you will. Sometimes I even find those notes to be a hindrance to testing my own palate, so I generally ignore them, taste the wine myself, and then check to see if I was in the same ballpark. Even if you don’t use the notes, though, what they can do is remind us of the thought that someone else put into what’s in that glass. Every element of the winemaking process results in changes to the flavor profile of that wine, so it makes sense to know what’s influencing the wines you drink.

The best thing about this wine: Smooth, easy drinking, and good with food
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $35
Pairs well with: chicken, beef
Winery Web Page: www.merisiwines.com

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Merisi Glen Oaks Vineyard * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

Barnard Griffin* Syrah * 2015

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As the summer is flying by and my 4 year old is getting ready to start her first year of school next month, it hit me how fast time is going! It seems like yesterday she was born and now I am out buying school clothes for her. After a day of shopping and tears filling my eyes, I went home to cook. Cooking is my relaxing, stress free “mom” time.

The best thing about this wine: Full bodied, jammy
Available at: Vino Mas
By the bottle: $18.99
Pairs well with: Taco pizza, smoked pork or chicken.
Winery Web Page: http://www.barnardgriffin.com/

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Barnard Griffin* Syrah * 2015

Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay * Tamber Bey * 2015


I find that I get older, maintaining my friendships becomes a task to which I have to devote some effort. Where our lives once revolved around happy hours and meeting at the bars, it becomes increasingly hard to make those work when my friends are wrangling kids and I am busy heading to bed at 9 pm! Last week, amidst a long week of classes, I had a friend over to cook one of those meal delivery services. It turned out to be a great way to fit in weekday get-together, as well as an opportunity to bust out a bottle I have been hanging onto for a fun occasion: Tamber Bey’s 2015 Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay.

The best thing about this wine: surprising flavors in a chardonnay
Available at: Omaha Wine Company
By the Bottle: $38
Pairs well with: a lighter meal, a group with varied tastes
Winery website:
www.tamberbey.com

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Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay * Tamber Bey * 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

WILLIAM WRIGHT * PINOT NOIR * 2014

In preparation for teaching my first cooking class, I decided I would do a trial run for my family. I bought everything I needed to make an Ultimate BBQ Chicken Pizza (including ingredients to make the pizza dough and bbq sauce from scratch!). In addition, I bought a bottle of Pinot Noir to pair with it.

The best thing about this wine: Dry yet fruity
Available at: Aldi
By the bottle: $10.99
Pairs well with: BBQ Chicken Pizza
Winery Web Page: http://www.scheidwinery.com/

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WILLIAM WRIGHT * PINOT NOIR * 2014