Wine Wednesday – 2011 Paso Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello, hello!

Wine Wednesday is back!

Although, honestly, it should have been Wine Tuesday last night. I coulda used a glass. Or 4. That storm. Holy. Cow.

Howling winds. Driving rain. Leaky roof. Yeah, all that happened. Only thing missing was Snoopy and his typewriter.

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I’m hopeful that the roof leak was just a fluke and because of the serious winds (we’re talking 30-40 mile an hour gusts AT LEAST) forcing the rain into places it doesn’t belong. It was just one spot (conveniently RIGHT OVER MY BED) and stopped when the rain stopped (AT 1:30 IN THE MORNING!). So, fingers crossed cuz I don’t want to have to go through that every time it rains.

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Anywhooooo, back to wine Wednesday.

I’ve been thinking about bringing Wine Wednesday back ever since the folks from Vegas.com asked me to weigh in with my thoughts on wine during Wine Week.

And, it’s no secret that I heart wine.

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What? Red wine is good for your heart! Don’t judge me.

We came across this Cabernet Sauvignon at the grocery store – Food Lion, to be exact – for about $14. You know, if you live in areas where Food Lions are, they’ve really come a long way! And, their wine selection is pretty decent! And, you’re not breaking the bank on a good bottle of wine.

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We LOVE Paso Robles and its wine. When we lived in California, it was one of our favorite places to go. Lots and lots of really excellent vineyards and wineries without all the pomp and circumstance you might find in Napa (which, don’t get me wrong, is an AMAZING wine region and I love it but sometimes, down to earth and easy going is more fun).

Anyway, Paso Creek was not a winery that we visited so we were both curious. Of course, we were totally sucked in by “bold character derived from stubborn patience.” And they say don’t judge a bottle by its cover. Pshh. Sometimes you HAVE to. Otherwise, you would never try anything new! And we all know it’s the packaging that draws us in. But, you can be successful with it (and avoid the “really pretty bottles but crappy wine” mistake)  if you know a little about wine and wine regions.

Paso does many things quite wonderfully – Rhone style blends, in my opinion. Love me some grenache, syrah, and mouvedre! – and Cabernets rank right up there. A Paso Cab differs from a Napa Cab in the punch. I think Paso Cabs tend to be a little more grounded and earthier with excellent fruit rather than fruit forward (read: jammy) and HUGE (looking at you, Cult Cabs). That’s because of the terrior (earth, etc) and the climate. Paso is definitely warmer so the grapes grow a little differently.

I mean, all grapes grow on vines (duh!) but their flavors are affected by the outside elements – hence growing differently. :)

This wine was really, really tasty. It was more of a subdued Cab (I’d have to read up on the weather during this vintage’s growing season to truly see why) with a beautiful dark cherry color, great flavor, fruit and characteristics.  It did have a little bit of spice (pepper) but wasn’t overwhelming. One sip and I immediately conjured up visions of a backyard barbecue complete with hamburgers, sausages, and plenty of friends and family.

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This wine is incredibly smooth and drinkable – which is nice because at 13.5% alcohol, you’d expect more of a tannic punch (and a headache later – thank goodness THAT didn’t happen!). I’ll definitely be adding a few more of these bottles to our cellar. After all, the sun is shining and the grill is heating up! :)

Talk to me: Have you ever  been wine tasting? Where did you go? Have you been to Paso Robles?

- jennifer

Mango Barbecue Chicken!

Hello, hello!

We just had a MAJOR rain storm blow through here.

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And, apparently, a cold snap is following right behind. Like, the temperature is supposed to drop so far so fast that it might even snow. SNOW! Mind you, it was 82 degrees on Sunday. It was about 70 this morning and it is presently 64 degrees (according to my weather app) so the temp is definitely dropping. Rumor has it that it could be in the 30s tomorrow morning! I’m not prepared for a freeze! Oh, those poor little flowers I just planted!!! :(

Bright side – the pollen has been RIDICULOUS and the rain at least washes it away some. Seriously, the puddles are rimmed in YELLOW!

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Bless you!

And, insert witty segue here…… nope. Got nothing.

So, we grilled a lot this weekend.

Besides grilled cheese – really. cheese on the grill. it was AMAZING! – we threw down some pretty awesome barbecue chicken.

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Mango Barbecue Chicken, to be exact. :)

As in, make your own Mango Barbecue Sauce and slather it on some chicken.

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I found the recipe in my Clean Eating cookbook and the Harris Teeter had mangoes on sale so it was a total no-brainer!

(Side note – I heart Harris Teeter. Especially their produce section.)

Anyway, Mango Barbecue Sauce. It was pretty darned delicious. The only thing I am going to do differently next time is add some heat. And I don’t mean cook over a fire heat – I mean jalapeno pepper or red pepper heat. It definitely could be kicked up a notch.

But, that didn’t stop us from gobbling it all down. (no pun intended! ha!! I crack myself up.)

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Mango Barbecue Chicken
serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 mango, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Sucanat (I used raw honey)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used a whole, cut up fryer we got at the farmer’s market. YUM!)
1 lemon, halved
olive oil cooking spray
freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato, mango, apple cider vinegar, honey (or Sucanat if you actually have that), mustard and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to blender or small food processor and process until smooth. Please note that the sauce will be thick. Pour 1/2 cup barbecue sauce into a bowl to brush on the chicken while grilling and reserve remaining for passing at the table. (Or, put as much barbecue sauce on the chicken as you want which is what we did. We’re not big “pass the bbq sauce” kind of people.)

2. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium.

3. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel and arrange in a single layer on a tray. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over the chicken and then lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn chicken over and repeat.

4. Grill chicken according to what kind of pieces you are grilling (boneless breasts can take 10-15 minutes total depending on how thick they are. bone-in pieces require different cooking times (breasts about 8-10 minutes per side).) Brush with barbecue sauce during last 5 minutes of cooking. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. Good luck with that, by the way. :) If you’re a “sauce on the side” group, while chicken is resting, reheat remaining sauce and serve with the chicken.

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5. Count the days until summer because this recipe will make you think you’re already there. :)

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Talk to me: What’s your favorite flavor barbecue sauce? Do you barbecue only when it’s warm or are you a year-round griller?

We are definitely year-round grillers. We do a turkey on the grill during the holidays and I’ve shoveled my way to the grill before. Nothing stands between a girl and her grilled food! ;)

We prefer a Kansas City style barbecue sauce but this Mango sauce, once I heat it up, will likely become a regular.

- jennifer

The weekend – a story in photographs

Hello, hello!

What a beautiful weekend we had! I hope you were able to enjoy it as much as we did. We spent most of both days outside and loving every minute of it. :)

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I had planned on more than 8 1/2 miles but hey, I stopped and helped a guy PUSH HIS CAR at mile 7 1/2. Figured that counted for at least 3 miles worth of work. :)

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Just supervising some yard work.

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Lunchtime refreshment. Not too shabby!

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Got my Spring planting on!

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Our front patio. We’ll see how this green thumb business goes. *fingers crossed*

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I am queen of Dog-Opoly! Rawr!

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Taking grilled cheese to a whole new level. Om nom nom!

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Happy doggy!

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Yo.

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beef bone > tennis ball

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Mango BBQ Chicken! (recipe tomorrow!!)

 

 

 

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Yummy! I’ll tell you all about it on Wine Wednesday! :)

Talk to me: What did you do this weekend? Were you able to enjoy the weather? Did you grill? Did you remember to apply sunscreen? :)

- jennifer