Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wine reviews from A-Z - 2006-2007

AUSTRALIA
- Lehmann 2002 Barossa Grenache (Barossa Valley)

CHILE
- 120 Merlot 2005, (Santa Rita)
- Winemaker Porta Reserva 2005, Pinot Noir (Bio Bio Valley)

FRANCE
- Beaune- Cent- Vignes, Premier cru 2004 (Château de Meurseault, Burgundy)
- Charlemagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve, brut (Champagne)
- Château Gravas 2003 (Sauternes)
- Château Haut-Claverie 2001 (Sauternes)
- Château La Rose Figeac 1986 (Pomerol)
- Fortant Merlot 2004 (Languedoc)
- Gremillet Brut Cuvée des Dames (Champagne)
- Jacquesson Cuvée no. 731 (Champagne)
- Moulin de Laussac 2006 (Bordeaux)
- Nicolas Feuillatte One Four Rosé (Champagne)
- Wine Brothers Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Languedoc-Rousillion)

GERMANY:
- P.J.Valckenberg Madonna Liebfraumilch (Rhineland-Palatinate)

ITALY
- Barolo Niwasco Bersano 2003 (Piedmont)
- Corte Giara, Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2004 (Veneto)
- Di Majo Norante Terra Degli Osci Sangiovese 2004 (Molise)
- Doppio Passo Salento Primitivo (Puglia)
- Il Castello Gancia Chardonnay, Brut
- la Lepre Dolcetto Diano d'alba 2005 (Piemonte)
- NEW: Masi Campofiorin Vendemmia 2004 (Veneto)
- Melini Chianti Borghi d'Elsa 2003 (Tuscany)
- Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico 2005 (Veneto)
- Villa le Querce Rosso Piceno 2004 (Marche)


PORTUGAL
- Via Latina Loureiro 2006 (Minho)

SOUTH AFRICA
- Allesverloren Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Swartland)
- Allesverloren Shiraz 2005 (Swartland)
- Allesverloren Touriga Nacional 2005 (Swartland)
- Delheim Merlot Simonsberg 2004 (Western Cape)
- Durbanhills Merlot 2005 (Western Cape)
- Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Western Cape)
- Fleur du Cap, Pinotage 2005 (Western Cape)
- Lammershoek Tinta Barocca Barrique 2003 (Swartland)
- Nederburg Western Cape Baronne Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2005 (Western Cape)
- Pongrácz Method Cap Classique Non-Vintage (Western Cape)
- Porcupine Ridge Merlot 2004 (Western Cape)

SPAIN
- Berberana Viña Alarde Tempranillo 2004 (Rioja)
- Beronia Crianza 2004 (Rioja)
- Cuvée Christer Berens Monastrell 2004 (Murcia)
- Durius Tempranillo 2003/2004 (Castilla Y Léon)
- Faustino I Gran Reserva 1996 (Rioja)
- Marques de Monistrol Reserva Rosé, Brut (Penedès)
- Montecillo Crianza 2002 ((Rioja)
- Trampal Pardina 2005 (Extremadura)

SWITZERLAND
- Les Moulins Fendant du Valais 2006 (Valais)

URUGUAY
- Catamayor Tannat-Merlot 2004 (Canelones)

USA
- Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah, Limited Release 2004 (Livermore Valley, California)
- Edmeades Mendecino County Zinfandel 2005 (Mendecino, California)
- Rosenblum Cellars, California Zinfandel Vintners Cuvee XXVIII (Alameda California)
- Ravenswood Vintners Blend, Merlot 2003 (Sonoma, California)
- Ravenswood Vintners Blend, Zinfandel 2003 (Sonoma California)

Rosenblum Cellars, California Zinfandel Vintners Cuvee XXVIII

The zinfandel is a grape much in use in the wineproducing regions of California, used to produce rich fruity wines.

The California Zinfandel Vintners Cuvee XXVII, is much lighter and less complex wine than the Ravenswood merlot, with a very fruity and spicy character. The tastes of raspberry and cherries will match food as chicken, pasta, or just enjoyed by itself. It would, however, not be my first choice. I would rather get more emotional over a glass of Ravenswood.

Visit the official Rosenblum Cellar website

Ravenswood Vintners Blend, Merlot 2003

I have already reviewed the Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2003 and the Merlot confirms Ravenswood as an experienced professional wine producer.

I love the merlot grape, and Ravenswood has produced a wonderful full bodied wine from it. Aromas of French oak and plums, and an interesting finish with hints of tobacco and vanilla. This definetely the wine to accompany red meat and game. It may be stored up to five years, so if you have a few bottles, you are adviced to drink it by the end of 2008

See the official Ravenswood Winery website


Eating at Spud's - great food at a nice price

The Food: BBBB

This was the guest of honour, Cape Cod Chicken ($9,99), a stuffed chicken breast, with a generous amount of cranberry (a Cape Cod native) sauce topping, served with mashed potatoes and even more cranberry sauce. A generous portion, and it tasted great. And what to drink, a pint of beer ofcourse!!

Eating at Spud's - great food at a nice price

Peter and Ann decided to treat me to a dinner at Spud's, in Rowley, south of Newburyport. Rowley is one of the charming old New England towns, scattered by the coastline north of Boston.

Overall Score: BBBB- (3,6 points)
Spud's would not be the place to eat, if you want to enjoy fine dining and wines in a romantic setting. If you, however, lower your expectations, it is not a bad place to eat. My review is based on that. But If I could choose again, I would have eaten at a place with more character.


Location: BB+
It was relatively easy to find, as it was close to by the main road leading into Rowley, but you need to have a car to get there. Sadly Spud's was located outside this beautiful old town, by a mall. Locationwise, it was hardly a perfect place for a romantic dinner.

Interior: BBB+
The interior of Spud's reminded me of a combination of McDonalds and a good old american diner, wooden tables and leather / plastic benches. No formal table setting, no plates, no forks or knives, and no glasses.

Price: BBBB
Spud's menu was interesting and the prices are very reasonable. Buffalo Chicken with Bleu cheese Alfredo penne for $10,99? Steak tips & Crab Pie for $16,99, sounded mouthwateringly tempting. I wanted to hire more stomach space and taste them all, but sadly I had to choose, and I ordered the Cape Cod chicken at $9,99. And it was worth its price to the last (lacking) penny!

Service: BBBB
Professional service and we did not have to wait long for food or drinks.

Adress: 255 Newburyport Tpke, Rowley, MA 01969-2008
Phone: 1-978-948-7551

Read another review of Spud's on TripAdvisor

Read another review on Insider Pages
Read reviews at Dine.com

The true Boston lager - Sam Adams

Sam Adams is the true Boston lager. I had my first taste of this great brew back in the late 80's and I loved it from the first mouthfull. Since then it has been one my favourite. Not only because it is good, but when I take my first sip of a pint of Sammy I know that I am in Beantown.

This brand is challenged by other breweries, smaller and larger. The later years I have seen a increasing number of varieties. My cousin know my love for beer, and had bought these three fellas, Sam Adams Honey Porter, Brown Ale, and Black Lager for me to enjoy, and I did. Very different and very drinkable. It is very difficult to chhose one for another, but I particularly liked the Black Lager, red ruby coloured, with a distinct malty character and smooth finish. Yum!

Read more on the official Samuel Adams website

Monday, March 19, 2007

120 Merlot 2005, Santa Rita - Chile

I love wines made from the Merlot grapes, and this was absolutely no exception. My cousin had this wine waiting for me, and it was the first of a few bottles of merlots enjoyed the last part of the trip.

120 Merlot 2005, Santa Rita - Chile, is produced at the Santa Rita vineyards, that has produced wines since 1880. This wine is one of a whole range of 120 wines, made from different grap varieties. The name of the wine goes back to the events of the Chilean war of independence in 1814. You can read the fascinating story here.

It was beautifully soft and fruity, with the soft taste of oak, that I love so much. Perfect to red meat, or well temperated by the fire.

Homecooking in Salisbury MA

Friday, March 2nd - The famous cheddar chicken, step by step

Bake until chicken is done (about forty minutes at 350F) and cheese is melted.

I sometimes line the pan with spinach leaves just for fun and add a bit of cream and it is the same, but a bit different. Sauteed mushrooms also make a good topping under the cheese

Nice dish to serve with a salad or mashed potatoes.

And it tastes as good as it looks!!

Homecooking in Salisbury MA

Friday, March 2nd - The famous cheddar chicken, step by step


Roll chicken pieces in bread crumbs. Fry chicken pieces until just brown, but not cooked.

Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Pour oil and garlic over them, pour white wine into bottom of dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Homecooking in Salisbury MA

Friday, March 2nd - The famous cheddar chicken, step by step


My cousin Ann Eastman McDonnell promised to make her Cheddar chicken, and she did. And I took pictures step by step. In addition to the ingredients in the original recipe, she also used black olives in thin slices.

Here you see what you need to make this delicious dish.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into serving sized pieces
4 cloves of garlic smashed or minced
Olive oil for frying
Seasoned bread crumbs...you can season them yourself with Italian seasoning
1 cup of white wine (dry)
2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil and garlic in a frying pan. Do not singe the garlic!

So to step 2.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

On the beach

This is the best beach I know. It is something special to walk such a beach during winter. If this had been July, it would have been packed with people, but during winter the endless long beach, the fresh air and the sound of the breaking waves give you a peace you never find anywhere else.

And the mighty Atlantic Ocean in front of you all the way back to Europe.....

Keep our beaches clean!!

Before you enter the beach there are some rules to remember:


  • No open fires
  • No motorized vehicles
  • No tenting
  • No alcoholic beverages
  • No glass containers
  • No littering
  • No dogs memorial day to labour day
  • No fishing 10 AM to 10 PM
It will cost you $300 to break the rules. Well, I have seen most of these rules broken, but the public beach here is still one of the best kept, and cleanest ones I have seen ever. So the rule must have its effect.

Dividing two states - stateline street

This is stateline street, de facto the border between the states of Massachusetts (left) and New Hampshire (right). Not that it matters much, you cross the street to get to the nearest bar.

But the line is not insignificant, as these two states are different in many ways. There are different levels of taxation, i.e. on sales tax or VAT, as we call it in Europe.

Living on a barrier island

Salisbury Beach and Seabrook Beach

The most beautiful beach I know, is on the barrier island shared by the towns of Seabrook and Salisbury. It is a barrier Island, as it is surrounded by water, on one side by large salt marshes, on the other by the Atlantic Ocean. The island is also divided by two states, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

During winter , this beachside community, is quiet, nearly dormant as the majority of the houses here are summerhomes. During the summer, however, thousands of people escape the cities, bound for these two towns and numerous others along the easterns seabord.

So being here in March is off-off season. Most restaurants, shops, and bars are closed for the season, but then you can enjoy the beach and the sea, without too much interruptions.

The last night on the Irish Riviera

Every good has to come to an end, so also for my stay in Scituate. I took this picture on my last night in Kenneth Road. I do look forward to my return here