Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wine Notebook: Chateau St. Michelle 2008 Riesling

Warning: I am NOT a wine expert. I am not even close. But I like wine. A lot. It's a "language" I share with my stepdad. We watch "Sideways" and laugh like little wine snobs at the "I'm not fu*&ing drinking Merlot!" part. Paul Giamatti is our patron saint.

I was getting my hair did last week and my stylist "Corky" (not making this up) and I were talking wine. She shamed me with all her facts and the lingo she knew, but the part I took away from the conversation (aside from a FAAABULOUS new hair cut) is the "wine notebook." For her, it's a small journal she writes in when she finds a wine she likes, so she can remember it later.

I buy 2-3 different bottles of wine per month, and I never write them down, so I never remember what I've tried. My method of choosing? Labels. I find the funny, scary, weird, colorful, dark label that catches my eye and if it's one of the varietals I like (Red: Shiraz, Pinot Noir, or Zinfandel; White: Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Gewurtzamiener) I grab it. Oh, and price...I don't go much above $15/bottle. I'm cheap, what can I say??

Anyway, since I have forbidden myself from buying ONE MORE journal (of the paper persuasion), I am taking it to the blog. Not saying I can keep it up all that much, but with the amount of wine I'm putting back, I should keep track somehow. And who knows, maybe some of my pals on here will throw some suggestions my way. Worth a shot....

So, my first shot? A rated "Good Buy" from Wine Spectator that P and I have been drinking for months and months because he won't do red wine (*sigh*) and this one hit a sweet spot with him. And, c''s cheap (price wise.) Normally, about $10...on sale, I can nab it for $6.75. Yes!

Chateau St. Michelle 2008 Riesling

Here is what the vineyard has to say about their own wine:

Tasting Notes

“Our Columbia Valley Riesling is a mélange of Riesling from throughout
Washington’s Columbia Valley. We craft it to be a refreshing, off-dry
Riesling vintage after vintage. The wine delivers sweet lime and peach
character with subtle mineral notes. This is our “every day Riesling”
that is a pleasure to drink and easy to match with a variety of foods.”


A “perfect” ripening season • with full crop yields, and restrained sugar levels
led to outstanding wines from Washington state’s Columbia Valley in 2008.
• Delayed slightly by cool spring weather and a moderate summer, harvest
began 10 days later than normal.
• Hot weather in August provided ideal ripening conditions for grapes across
all varietals and harvest was quickly ramped up in order to obtain fruit at the
optimum ripeness.


• Columbia Valley vineyards lie in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains
and receive just 6-8 inches of rainfall annually.
• Warm, sunny days and cool evening temperatures create ideal conditions
for intense aroma and flavor development in the ripening grapes.
• Sandy soils with low fertility and low water-holding capacity enable
precise control of vine growth.
• A northerly latitude gives the Columbia Valley roughly two more hours
of sunlight daily during the peak-growing season than California,
increasing the region’s ability to ripen fruit.


• Riesling grapes were harvested starting on September 22th at the peak
of flavor.
• Fermentation temperatures were maintained at 50-55 degrees F to
preserve Riesling’s fresh and fruity character, using an assortment of
yeasts for added complexity.

Food Pairing

Foods fresh fruit, crab,
mild cheeses, chicken
Herbs chervil, coriander seeds,
dill, parsley

An "official" review:

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2008 Riesling Columbia Valley
"87 points - “Good Value” Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine - September 1, 2009 "

"When it comes to Riesling, Chateau Ste. Michelle is a producer that clearly knows how, and even this, its least expensive effort, is a precise, brightly balanced wine with a keen sense of fruit. Its integral acids take the edge off its slight sweetness and make it a good choice for quaffing with the likes of fresh crab or scallops in a light cream sauce or with lightly smoked trout. Good value."

See, I don't really speak Wine yet, but I thought that was a ton of good information. And I love that wine. Love, love, love it! Oh, and what the hell does "quaffing" mean, anyway?? Sounds kinda dirty...just sayin'.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Domestic Bliss...or How to At Least Fake it Once in a While

Neatnik Nancy?

Never, ever me. I've always been a proud Messy Megan (just ask my mom!) With kids, though, I'm learning that it gets gross quickly, so there isn't really an option to be a slob if you want to avoid moldy food in the kitchen or crunchy t-shirts under the bed.

There are days that I'm amazed at the amount of chaos our tiny little house can produce. I'm almost certain that when P and I go to sleep (turn our backs, bend over to pick up the baby, use the bathroom, tie our shoe), angry little pygmies sneak into our apartment and trash the place.

I think ALPs (angry little pygmies) leave coffee rings on our counters, deposit six mis-matched Boy Wonder socks in different rooms in the house, hang spit-up rags from the backs of couches, dump the cute little baskets I use to stow toys upended on the floor, they overfill our trash so pieces are constantly falling into the dog's dish. Nasty little pygmies. Let's not get started on what they do with paper products...I swear goats come through once a day and chew up mail and leave it on the computer desk for us.

Most of the time, we deal with it as we go, the best we can. But sometimes, I manage to blow a gasket and freak out...spending an hour in "psycho mode" doing the most random acts of cleaning that don't do much to put a dent in the mess, but make me feel better. (Perfect example: I'll spend an hour reorganizing the pots and pans cabinet. There's still a four-foot tall dirty clothes-and-legos beast creeping out of Boy Wonder's room, but at least we can open a cabinet door without a landslide of lids and strainers. So there.)

Luckily, Real Simple recently broke down how to fake a clean house. Obviously really cleaning the house is always a better option, but if people are on their way over and you're looking at a messy place, (or if your blood pressure is rising, your sense of humor is disappearing and you just want to fool yourselves for an evening) desperate measures are taken.

Among my favorite suggestions are:

• Reserve one side of sofa cushions to be shown to guests. Before company arrives, flip over the cushions to reveal good-as-new fabric. When guests are gone, flip them back.

• When the dishwasher is full and the sink is overflowing, stow dirty dishes and silverware in a stockpot and pull them out later to be cleaned.

• Glide a sticky lint roller over the bath mat to pick up hair.

• Rid the sofa of pet hair by wetting the fingertips of rubber gloves and gliding your hand over the sofa. The hair will stick to the rubber.

• Temporarily hide wayward Post-it notes and to-do lists underneath the keyboard.

Some to add:

• Wrangle all papers, magazines, clippings and to do lists that are sitting on the dining room table and stick them anywhere, especially their own bag/drawer/cabinet. Promise yourself you will deal with them later.

• Pull out half the jackets/sweaters/coats/bags from the landing strip (the first thing people see when they come in) and dump them in a closet. Also promise yourself that these will be dealt with soon.

• Leave and walk back through the front door, deal with the first mess people would see.

• Shine the faucets with a damp washcloth, if the faucets are clean, the whole bathroom looks


Burn it. The whole damn place. Start over, and this time, with less stuff. Just sayin'...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Take a load off, Fannie...

I suppose I might have hit the limit on blog-filling “Quotes of the Day” and might actually have to post a real, live, “this-is-an-update-from-she-herself” entry and be done with it. No cute links. No fancy puppy pictures. (Ok, maybe, but totally at the end.)

It was a really long, eventful summer and the best way I can sum it up from my end is: we survived it.

The custody trial for Boy Wonder was decided in our favor. That was awesome and it's great to finally let it go and BREATHE for once.

We scrambled and got him registered for kindergarten and a few weeks ago he embarked on a brand new adventure at the school down the road. He loves it, though we do have to deal with the occasional “bad report” day for him not listening, or talking during quiet time, or launching a buddy off the top of a slide because said buddy got in his way during a raucous game of tag. But hey, could happen to anyone, right? He starts basketball next week and we're thrilled about it. Not so much about yours truly attempting to coach 10 kindergartners (herding cats, anyone?) but any chance to see my Boy Wonder with a sweatband and tube socks is a definite plus.

Boo is growing into his own…a drooling, screeching, half crawling, half butt-dragging, mobile little dynamo. At seven months, he’s amazing. And damn demanding. Do you ever look at your kids mid-tantrum and wonder “who the hell are you, and why are you in my house?” I do. But that’s just me. It’s a tightrope, learning to balance your energy and attention between two very different boys. One wants to impress you all the time and leans on you for positive, encouraging feedback…and TIME, while the other needs to be nurtured, bounced, changed, fed and leans on you for constant, focused attention…and TIME. I’m pretty sure it’s a question for the ages and parents long before us have struggled with answering, but let me be the next to say “holy sh&*, this is tough work.” I never truly understood until Boo started to move out of that “content to be in a swing for hours on end” stage into the “holy crap, I’m bored out of my mind, don’t leave me alone in this living room for ONE SECOND, I don't care if you need to do dishes, get back in here, NOW!” Some days I look at him and wonder if there’s a little Stewie Griffin brewing in there. I kid, I kid.

P also started school. Doing great…again, struggling with the demands of being “the man” at all hours of the day and getting his homework/studying/living done.

We’ll figure it out eventually and then we’ll make millions teaching everyone else how to do it, I’m sure.

As far as the writing goes, don’t ask. OK OK OK, I kid. I haven’t heard anything from that manu that I sent in July 7. We’ll see, right? There’s a couple more contests I’m looking to enter next month if I can ever clear the baby food and legos off the table long enough to sit down and map something out.

Someday I’ll make my millions writing about heaving bosoms and fierce alpha males, but first I need to learn to tame the baby dragons currently living at my house.

And there, gentle readers, in a nutshell, is where my mind has been since August. It’s been a mess. Next time, I’ll send a postcard and keep you better updated...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Humor is just another defense against the universe."

(Mel Brooks)