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Tag Archives: wine

June 14, 2011 – Bar Z Winery

I was back in Amarillo, Texas for business and had the good fortune to attend a catered group dinner at the Bar Z Winery just outside of town.  I’d never imangined that I’d be having dinner at a winery in Amarillo, TX.  Just goes to show that life really is like a box of chocolates.

I had the opportunity to taste and drink two worthy wines.  The first was their 2005 Sangiovese.  Made from grapes grown about 100 miles south of Amarillo this wine had almost a creamy flavor to it.  It took a while for it to open up in my glass, but once it did it was a very nice, slightly fruity take on the Italian classic.  It made a very good partner with our dinner (more on that in a moment).

The second wine I had was the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.  A decent enough wine, but it didn’t have the fruit and tannin punch that I would expect in a Cabernet.  This wine probably needs a couple of more years to truly reach it’s potential (or as Robert Parker would say, it is in an ungenerous phase). 

Typically, I don’t discuss wines (or beer or cocktails for that matter) that I didn’t drink.  However, the exception here is the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon at Bar Z.  My associate Brian had the opportunity to taste the 2005 right from the barrel with the owner (how I missed that is beyond me).  He reported that it was excellent, with a very good blend of tannin and fruit. 

View from the patio

Now, about that dinner.  The featured entrees were grilled whole beef tenderloin that was simply seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic.  It was excellent, very tender and a great complement to the wine.  The second entree, and the real star in my mind, was the grill seared ahi tuna that had been salted, peppered and marinated in a teriyaki based marinade.  It was fantastic, melt in my mouth good.

So, if you happen to find yourself in Amarillo, check out Bar Z – you won’t be disappointed!

May 22, 2011 – The Twilight Lounge

 Before I became the near cocktail snob that I am now, I was a near wine snob.  I know, it seems hard to believe, but its true.  In fact, at one point my wine “closet” was overflowing with over 400 bottles.  Even now, the Twilight Lounge wine cellar (I know, that sounds so funny, but it is so true) has a couple of hundred bottles of various vintages and varietals from around the world. 

So, with that explanation I’ll launch into my first wine review on these hallowed pages.  Several weeks ago I decided that Sunday dinner would be a partial whole beef tenderloin on the grill.  Accompaning the steak would be grilled asparagus (marinated with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, cracked pepper and crushed garlic) and baby bella mushrooms, also grilled (after a brushing of olive oil, salt and pepper).  Well, a meal like this calls for a solid red wine to go with it.  As I perused the Napa section of the wine cellar I hit upon the Seavey Merlot.  This was my last bottle.  I had originally purchased a half case of the ’98, a marketing ploy by the Seavey Vineyard to allow me to get, what at that time, was my standard purchase of a case of their wonderful Cabernet along with 2 magnums of Cabernet from ’97.  I’ve never been a big Merlot fan, but I do have to admit that the Seavey Merlot was always good.

So how did this bottle fare after nearly 13 years since the harvest?  In a word, fabulously!  The color was still a deep purple with just a tiny hint of brick red around the edges.  On the nose it was almost fruity with hints of darker flavors such as chocolate and nuts and a bit of leather.  A bit of age had crept into the nose, but this wine was still near its peak if not at it.  Sipping it was outstanding, with a great balance between the tannins and fruit.  It was bold, clean and stood up as the perfect compliment to my grilled beef and vegetables. 

Alas, this was my last Seavey Merlot.  I still have one bottle of ’94 Seavey Cabernet, which will be the subject of a future post…stay tuned!

Now that I’ve finished my year long journey, I’m ready to move into the next phase with this blog.  And what, you ask, is that?  Well, pretty simple actually.  I”m going to expand the scope beyond a cocktail a day to include, among other things, booze, beer and wine reviews, bar and restaurant reviews, updates on trends in the cocktail scene and even the occasional musical review.  So, if you have a particular bar or lounge you think I should try, or a favorite spirit or cocktail, then let me know – I’ll be happy to give it a whirl!

Stay tunded!

Day 343, Cocktail 347

Well, after Sunday’s lame wine and soda cocktail, I decided I could improve on the effort and went back to drawing board.  I still had half a bottle of the Rex-Goliath to get through and Gwen won’t be drinking it any time soon…so I figured I should try to amp up this puppy.

I contemplated what to use and decided on gin.  I specifically used the Beefeater because I wanted a strong, London Dry gin to be able to hold its own against the strong flavor of the wine.  And in honor of the now nearly empty bottle of Rex-Goliath I named by drink the Crazy Rooster.

  Crazy Rooster

  • 1 oz Beefeater gin
  • 5 oz red wine
  • lemon lime soda

Combine the gin and wine in a collins glass with ice.  Top with the lemon lime soda and stir.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This amped up version of the Red Wine Cooler adds a bit of an alcoholic punch while cutting down on the sweetness of the wine.  The gin is there and actually compliments the wine and soda nicely. 


Day 342, Cocktail 346

Ok, I admit it.  Yesterday was about the laziest cocktail day I’ve had in past year.  I spent a good chunk of the afternoon working on a braised beef brisket dinner, which wasn’t the original plan.  The original plan was to BBQ the brisket in the smoker.  But a late start Sunday morning (thanks to Jenny and NID) and a crappy weather forecast (it rained and hailed all day) forced me to plan B.  Oh, yeah, I didn’t have a plan B!

A quick search on yielded a braised brisket with root vegetables recipe that looked good, although a bit winterish, considering it’s now April.  But I wasn’t in any position to fight it, so that’s what I went with.  Five hours later I had a terrific dinner for the family…and no cocktail!

Typically, with a dinner like this I would have just opened a hearty red wine and not worried about it.  Then I remembered that I still had a bottle of Rex-Goliath Cabernet that would probably turn to vinegar before Gwen would drink it.  We’ve had a bunch of value priced red wines over the years, but for some reason Gwen just didn’t like this one.  So I pulled the Ultimate Bar Book off the shelf, found the wine section and viola, my cocktail of the day!

  Red Wine Cooler

  • 6 oz chilled red wine
  • 4 oz lemon lime soda

Fill a collins glass with ice and add the wine.  Top with the lemon lime soda and garnish with a lemon wedge or slice if desired.

Yes, I admit it, this is lame!  But, I accomplished three objectives.  First, I used up a bottle of wine that would have been undrunk otherwise.  Second, I had my red wine with dinner.  Third, I got in Sunday’s cocktail and the opportunity to share it with you fine folks.  Not bad if I say so myself – a true triple threat!