Happy 2nd Birthday to Penny Lane!

Penny Lane 2 yeards old

Penny Lane 2 yeards old

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy 2013 – Peas on Earth

It’s New Year’s Day and the Black-Eyed Peas are on!  I make mine the same way I make Red Beans and Rice but you can make them however you wish – just be sure you eat  your peas today.  You do know about the tradition of eating Black Eyed-Peas on New Year’s Day, don’t you?

Recipe:

  • 2 Medium Onions – diced
  • 2 Green Peppers – diced
  • 5 Ribs of Celery – diced
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3-6 Cloves of Garlic – smushed
  • 1 Pound of Sausage – whatever kind you wish
  • 2-4 Smoked Ham Hocks
  • 1 Pound of Black-Eyed Peas – soaked overnight and rinsed
  • Olive Oil – just enough to coat the pot in the beginning
  • 5-8 Cups of Water – added at various times
  • Rice (optional)
  • Pepper, Cajun Seasoning, Cayenne Pepper, Salt – all to your taste

Start with a big pot.  (I always underestimate just how much room all of this takes.)  Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and put in the chopped sausage so it can render.  You don’t need much oil, just enough so the sausage doesn’t stick before it starts to cook.  After a couple of minutes, add the green pepper, celery, onion and garlic.  Let all of this cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until things start to soften up a bit.  Then add the bay leaves and the ham hocks.  Top it all off with the peas and then add enough water to cover it all.  You’ll add  more soon.

Pot-o-Peas

Pot-o-Peas

Now, make yourself a mimosa, enjoy some football and let this cook for about 3 hours; add water and stir as you go.  After an hour or so you can take out the hocks, cut off the meat and add that back to the pot.  Or you can leave the hocks in and whole, not much difference either way.

Serve them with or without rice and get ready to enjoy a year of prosperity!

Cricket is looking ahead to a great New Year…

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

We wish the same for you…Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Happy New Year!

It’s almost 2013…and I think it’s about time that I get back to the blog. So many changes, so little time to track them all. That’s part of the reason I’ve put off updating this; I didn’t know where to start.  The longer I waited, the bigger the task got.  Procrastination is a beast.  You’d think I would have learned that by now; I’ve had years of practice.  But I finally got my act together and am happy to announce …Canines and Cabernet is on its way back !  The Woodinville Wineries page is being updated (it was REALLY out of date) and simplified; I hope to have it posted in a couple of weeks.  I also plan to eventually include info on: Seattle Urban Wineries, Whidbey Island Wineries and maybe even Olympic Peninsula Wineries.  But Woodinville is still the focus and where I spend most of my time “researching.”

Aside from changes to the blog, there have been a lot of changes with me as well.   The highlights…I have a job I enjoy, a new dog that likes going to the wineries as much as dad and I do (you can see her on the ‘About Canines and Cabernet’ tab) and a great new house that I moved into less than a month ago. Unpacking, getting set up in the new place and relaunching Canines and Cabernet are a few of my top goals for the month. All of this will no doubt require drinking some great wine along the way.

Life is good – cheers!

Cheers!

Happy New Year from me and The Doodles!

First Woodinville Trip of 2011

Being unemployed has really affected my contribution to the Woodinville wine community, and not in a good way!  It was good to get up there again but hard not to go on a major shopping spree.  I say it all the time…there are some FANTASTIC wines in Woodinville!  It’s been about a month but here is a brief recap…

J Bookwalter -  Terrific case sale on the Subplot 24!  This is a wonderful blend and is on sale for $144 a case.  This is a great price for a great wine.  We were also lucky enough to do a vertical tasting of the Protagonist wines from the past few vintages.  Delicious.

Otis Kenyon -  This is one of the newer tasting rooms in Woodinville and I have a feeling it’s going to really take off.  The wines are ripe and juicy, the tasting room staff is wonderful and there is a fantastic slice of history and story that goes with the winery.  Stop by, you’ll have a great time.

Covey Run -  We’ve been Covey Run fans for years but decided to pass on tasting today.  They have two tasting menus (one for $5 and one for $10) and each was about half white and half red.  The tasting fee is only refundable if you join the wine club.  We weren’t interested in joining anymore clubs or in drinking any whites today so we passed all together. 

Zerba Cellars -  When we decided to skip Covey Run, we went to Zerba Cellars instead.  Boy was that a great stop!  I haven’t been there since their grand opening weekend (roughly a year ago maybe?) and had forgotten just how good their wines are.  We were also lucky enough to meet Shawn Chandler in the tasting room.  He knew tons of information about each wine, was as nice as he could be and agreed to open a Cabernet Franc for us, even though it wasn’t technically on the line up for the day.  That was one of our favorite wines of the day – and that says a lot because there were a lot of good wines.

Pomum Cellars -  This is one of those wineries that isn’t open on a regular basis.  They open for appointments and for releases and every now and then we get lucky and go by on a day when their sign is out.  This was one of those lucky days!

Efeste -  This winery has been getting a lot of good press recently, and with good reason.  They only had a few to taste because all the good press has led to big sales and there just wasn’t much juice to go around.  The barrel room was pretty full though, so more will be on the way in no time!

Red Sky -  We’ve gone to Red Sky for years and I think I’ve always loved the Sunrise blend the best.  This trip was no exception.  Like a lot of places, all the wines are great – but there is something about Sunrise that really appeals to me.

Pondera -  We happened to be there on a day when they were hosting an event in the barrel room.  I believe it was a vertical and barrel tasting but I can’t swear to that because we hadn’t prepaid or made reservations to attend.  I can tell you that we were welcomed in to do their standard tasting and made to feel right at home. 

Cheers to another great day in Woodinville!

Happy Birthday Cricket

Cricket is now three years old…but when will she actually “grow up?” 

She still has to be locked up in a crate when I leave the house.  Much to her delight, I was recently laid off andBirthday Girl no longer have to go to work and lock her up on a daily basis.  I’m hoping that by the time I go back to work, I will have done some training with her and be able to leave her alone and free again…but that can be very destructive and very expensive. 

Things aren’t all bad; there are some very endearing things about her puppy-like behavior.  For example, I’ve never had a dog that throws its toys around and chases after them with such delight.  She’s also one of those dogs that just takes off and runs laps around the house for no obvious reason.  She burps.  She snores, often.  She sleeps upside down and fully stretched out, as if she hasn’t a care in the world.  Yep – there are a lot of cute things about Cricket, even if she can’t be trusted.

First Day of Spring!

 The first day of spring is a great reason to visit wineries, isn’t it?  I’m sure there is some sort of wine-themed celebration linked to it; I need to Google that.  On to the wineries!

  • Efeste - New releases of Sav Blanc, Riesling, Final Final and Big Papa Cab.  All were great, really.  The Sav Blanc was nice and dry and the Riesling was really well balanced and fooled dad and I both as far as how much residual sugar was in it.  I bought a couple bottles - this will be a great summer-sippin’ wine.  The Final Final was great and didn’t seem to need much aging.  The Big Papa was indeed big, in both fruit and tannins.  I would lay it down for a bit to mellow some of the tannins, but not too long as I wouldn’t want to lose that delicious fruit!
  • Guardian - Another release party and another great line up!  The Angel (white blend) was a good as always.  This is one of dad’s favorites.  The Gun Metal (Cab dominant blend) was as great as ever too.  No surprise, but his latest Syrah is also a hit.  The surprise was the new one.  The new kid on the block was The Wanted.  It’s a Cab/Cab Franc blend and it is fantastic!  Not all that surprising I guess – those are my two favorite grapes and Jerry is one of my favorite winemakers.  It would be a surprise if I hadn’t flipped over it.
  • Gard – There are so many wines to choose from here that you really have to go in with a plan or you’ll end up having to crawl out of there!  We decided we wanted to taste a few whites and then I went for the Cabs.  There is a wine and a price range for everyone here.  But really – don’t try to taste them all unless you don’t have any other stops planned.
  • Robert Ramsay – What a great little tasting room this is shaping up to be!  I’ve only been in once before and it was right after they moved in last year; they only had one wine available at the time – their incredible 2005 Syrah.  They still have a tiny bit left…run, do not walk, to get some!  They also have a nice line up of other reds – 07 Mason’s Red (a great Syrah/Mourvedre blend), 07 Mourvedre, 07 Cab (loved this one!) and a 06 Syrah.  The tasting room renovations are amazing and this is certainly a winery to watch!
  • Cuillin Hills - Okay, so it’s always a party when we go here; it’s hard not to have fun in this tasting room…the people, the wine – it’s all great.  There were a couple new wines that were worthy of a party too – my favorite being the new Cab Franc.  The new Rif Raf is great too, but the Cab Franc ‘did it’ for me.
  • Hestia - It hasn’t been that long since we’d stopped in to taste at Hestia and we almost didn’t stop this time but we always like their wines so we decided to make a quick stop.  I am so glad that we did!  They have released a new blend that is fantastic!  The 2007 Meritage (Mostly Cab with a little Cab Franc and Petit Verdot) is delicious.  I don’t know if they’ve done this wine in the past but it was my first introduction to it and I’m hooked!  Their Cab and their Merlot are also very good, which is why you’ll usually find one (or both) in my racks at home.  Now the Meritage is there keeping them company.
  • Isenhower – Another great tasting room and more new wines for me to try!  I loved their new Purple Paintbrush!  I’ve been a fan of their wines for a while and am really glad they’ve opened up a tasting room in Woodinville.
  • Elsom - This new tasting room is right next to Isenhower.  They haven’t been open long but they obviously have good word of mouth because quite a few people were there when we arrived.  We were warmly greeted and soon found out that the person pouring for us was the winemaker, Jody Elsom.  She is as nice as she is talented.  My favorites in the line up were the two Cabs…both were so so good!  The other reds (a Malbec and a Malbec/Cab blend) were also very good, but the cabs rocked!  I think this is another one of those “wineries to watch.” 
  • Caleano - this was such a trip!  We were greeted by the winemaker, Bryan Countryman.  To say he was enthusiastic is an understatement.  His “tasting” was taking place in the same building as Elsom.  He’s kind of located ‘around back’ from the Elsom tasting bar.  Oh, and he had nothing in bottles; we tasted our wines straight from the barrels.  All the wines are tasting great at this point in their development however, the real stand out was the Pinot Noir.  I can’t wait until that’s in the bottle and ready to go home with me.   I believe his first release will be a Gewurztraminer and a Syrah.  I look forward to watching this place grow as well.
  • Dusted Valley – This tasting room is staffed with great people.  As crowded as it gets in there (and it does get crowded) the people are always friendly and willing to talk to you about the wines and answer any and all questions.  They weren’t pouring some of our favorite wines but had great suggestions for us to try in their place.  My favorite is The Stained Tooth Syrah.  I have purchased this one in the past and will continue.  Oh, and did I mention that all their wines are done in screw cap?  I so love this!

Fine Wine & Cigars -  Okay, so this is getting to be a long day, right?  A girl can get tired after a long day, right?  And when said girl is tired it isn’t all that surprising that she can get weak, right?  So really – me dropping a wine glass and having it shatter into a zillion pieces should have been expected, right?  Yikes.  I have actually never done that before – in all my years of wine tasting.  I hope that was a once in a lifetime deal.  So after they cleaned up my mess and gave me another glass, we were set to do some tasting.  There were 4 wineries represented:

  • Pomum - We’ve known and loved them for a while now.  A new red blend is fantastic as is their Shya Red and their Tino, a Tempranillo blend.
  • Laurelhurst -  A great south end winery with excellent wines. 
  • Soos Creek -  New one for us – great Ceil du Cheval blend.
  • Seia -  Another new one for us – great wines and gorgeous labels!

What a great day and what a way to ring in spring!