Archive for August, 2011

This weekend, Matt and I took a day trip to Jerome and Page Springs. Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car when we were walking around Jerome, but I do have some pictures of Page Springs Cellars to share with you!


We learned that rose bushes are planted at the ends of vine rows to signal potential problems such as fungus, pests etc. Roses will catch most diseases before the grape vines, so it’s a good way to find out if there is a problem before it becomes a serious threat to the crops.

Netting is placed over many of the vines to deter birds.

Page Springs does all of their bottling in the back of this semi-truck. Once the process is finished, the equipment is hauled away, making more room for other vineyard activities. You will also see a glimpse of Eric Glomski in this picture. He is the owner/ head wine maker at the vineyard, and was also featured in Blood Into Wine (a movie I would highly recommend if you are interested in the process of wine making.)

Can you believe we found lily pads in Arizona!

Also, here are the wines for the weekly wine post!

For Keeps:

CASTELLO BANFI Brunello di Montalcino 2004

Editor’s Note: Has fabulous aromas of blackberry, black cherry and raspberry. Full-bodied, with wonderfully integrated tannins, fresh mushrooms and milk chocolate. Chewy in the end. We will see if this is better than the 2001 with age. Best after 2010. 45,800 cases made.–JS

93 Points (WS)

BUEHLER Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Estate 2008

Editor’s Note: Firm, tight, dense and concentrated, with a mix of loamy earth, dried berry, sage, cedar, mineral and floral scents. Full-bodied, ending with chewy, rustic tannins. Best from 2012 through 2022. 1,800 cases made.–JL

91 Points (WS)

ELK COVE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Mount Richmond 2008

Editor’s Note: Smooth and silky, delivering a root beer-like sassafras and anise character weaving through the blackberry, cherry and spice flavors with transparency and vibrancy. Picks up some cream and tobacco as the finish lingers. Best from 2012 through 2018. 894 cases made.–HS

94 Points (WS)

We drank:

Domaine Sercene – Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley – Yamhill Cuvee – 2006

My Review: Beautifully airomatic, extremely complex, with focused tannins, a hint of spice and a long finish. Hints of blueberry pie, cinnamon, and plum.

Kirkland Signature-  Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Cuvée de Nalys – 2009

Never in my life would I have ever purchased a Kirkland wine if it didn’t come highly recommended… It has a certain stigma for me. However, after reading a couple of reviews, I figured I couldn’t beat a Chateaunef-du-Pape for $20. We haven’t had much from this appellation, and I figured it would be a great way to get to know the varietals… and boy was I right!

My review: Silky, lengthy core with a medium length finish. Medium bodied with flavors of tea, spice, and black cherry. This one could be cellared for a few years.

Chateau Bonnet – Entre-Du-Mers – 2009

My review: Bright, zesty and crisp with lemon and herb notes. Mush less grassy than expected for a wine that was mostly Sauvignon Blanc. (This was our first White Bordeaux… and we will be coming back for more.)

Woop Woop – Shiraz – South Eastern Austrailia – 2009

My Review: Lighter bodied for a Shiraz, but still very fruit forward. Almond and vanilla flavors brought a lot of excitement, but were a bit of a let down in the finish.


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I have always struggled with nail polish. It just doesn’t seem stay on my nails for more than a day or two without peeling. Not only that, but no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to get my nails dry without messing them up.

Typically, I get a pedicure once every other week, and I periodically paint my nails at home… I can’t justify paying for a manicure when I know it won’t last.

Yes, there are other options like fake nails, but those are well… trashy and I won’t even consider them. There’s also gel polish now… however, I read an article a few weeks back where a woman got skin cancer on her hands from the UV lamps at the salon. I am very fair skinned, and the story scared me enough that I won’t be making gel polish a part of my regular routine.

I had all but given up until I tried Deborah Lippmann, and now I love her products so much that I even bought some items to do pedicures at home!

Here are the items I would recommend if you are just getting started:

Hard Rock – Hydrating Hardner Base and Top Coat – $20

Cuticle Remover with Lanolin – $20 (Use this instead of cuticle nippers.)

Get Off Foot Spray – $38

Foot Fetish – Dual Sided Stainless Steel Foot File – $38

Her nail polish goes on very smoothly, and I can wear them for over a week without chipping or peeling. My favorite color is called My Romance because it’s neutral and suitable for work. Who can pass up a good hot pink though?… Enjoy!

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I feel as though my blog has been a little oenocentric lately… that’s right, I made up a word.

Oenophile– a lover or connoisseur of wines

I am an oenophile, and therefore, I think my blog has been a little oenocentric lately.

Anyways, the point is that I’m going to relegate my wine-talk to one post per week. (For those of you who may not be here to talk about wine.)

Matt and I are working on building our collection. We’re not talking about $1k plus bottles that you can only find at auction. We may get there some day… but for now, we’re working at acquiring a few hundred bottles that we intend to age for at least a few years before drinking. So, this new section of posts will consist of a list of our weekly wine purchases as well as the wines we consume that week, followed by a personal review.

Here are the wines that we purchased to save last week, as well as the Wine Spectator review of each bottle:

ARGYLE Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Nuthouse 2008

Light and distinctive for its slightly candied currant and guava flavors, picking up an attractive lime blossom note as the finish lingers effortlessly. Drink now through 2018. 3,200 cases made.–HS

92 Points (WS)

PENFOLDS Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Bin 407 2008

Editor’s Note: This elegant red has a beguiling purity to its currant, plum and cedar flavors, hinting at mint and bay leaf as the finish persists against finely polished tannins. Best from 2013 through 2020. 2,900 cases imported.–HS

90 Points (WS)

Also last week, we purchased the following wines to drink:

Cline –Zinfandel – 2009

My review: Juicy dark berry flavors with a smooth finish. Bold with some spice and a bit of oak.

Hogue -Cabernet Sauvignon – Columbia Valley  2007

My Review: (Not my favorite of the bunch, though I’m not the biggest Cabernet fan.) Light and tangy, smooth tannins which lacked complexity. Blackberry and cherry. Would go well with pasta.

McWilliams – Shiraz – South Easter Australia; Hanwood Estate – 2009

My Review: Plum and raspberry notes with a hint of mint. I enjoyed the complexity of this wine. Very refreshing.

Red Knot – Shiraz – South Australia – 2008

My Review: Firm with notes of light oak and hints of vanilla and spice. Very smooth finish big bodied.

It’s funny how they say your palate will change over time. While I used to be much more tolerant of Cabs, I’m now finding anything less than a Schrader or Screaming Eagle to be a dull waste of time. Surprisingly, I am now drawn more and more to Shiraz, and of course Pinot Noir.

Have you noticed any changes in your palate over the years?

Oh, and I also scored some more free glasses at the opening of Total Wine – Goodyear last week:

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Despite all of the puppy chaos this weekend, we managed to “finish” the laundry room!

I had already finished tiling the back splash and floors last weekend, and we just needed to paint and add new base boards.

So, without further adieu, here is the big reveal:

And here it is with the washer and dryer:

We still need a new light for the room, some shelving on the left side as well as on the wall, and we need to have the marble counter top installed, but it still feels like we’ve made so much progress!

Here  is the light that I am thinking of using:

I think the almost see-through glass will add a lot to the room.

Oh, and for those of you who are interested, here is a breakdown of what we used:

  •  The paint color I chose was Martha Stewart’s Bedford Gray from Home Depot. (I had them do a color match with Behr paint plus primer in eggshell because I like Behr paint better.)
  • 3 inch  baseboard with quarter round. (We use Behr Swiss Coffee in semi-gloss for all of our trim.)
  • 12×12 Carrara marble tiles for the floor – (snow white grout)
  • 3×6 bright white ceramic subway tiles – (misty grey grout)

…. and one of my favorite things in the room is this antique washboard on the back wall:

It feels so good to have a working laundry room again, and I can’t wait until the rest of the little details are completed.

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Back in February, our littlest puppy, Maribel, died of a heart condition. It was a very sad time, and Tip Tip has been lonely ever since. Matt and I had talked about getting another dog to keep him company, but we really didn’t want to go through the hassle of the “puppy stage” again… especially with our new hardwood floors.

So, when we heard that the Arizona Humane Society was waiving all adoption fees this weekend due to overpopulation, it seemed like the perfect time to add another member to our family and do something good at the same time.

Matt had to work on Saturday, so I went with my parents to a couple of different shelters. There were several very adorable dogs, all of which had their own distinct personalities. I had some one-on-one time with a beautiful Papillon named Bandit, but he had some aggression issues, and I didn’t think he would get along very well with Tip Tip. In case you haven’t seen Tip Tip – he is very small… about 3.5 lbs, and I’m afraid the Papillon would have torn him up.

Here he is on Matt’s shoulder:

I had almost given up on the idea when my Mother suggested that we go to the Biltmore store. (Yes, the Humane Society has a boutique/adoption center at the Biltmore!) So, we went… and that’s where I found Ollie!!!

Oliver (Ollie for short) is a Carin Terrier – about 12-15 lbs… much larger than Tip Tip, and he he has had a rough life. He has several scars on his body, some quite large and when the Humane Society found him, he had several metal BB’s in his body. He still has some open wounds, and a broken leg that is healing, but he is the biggest sweetheart ever, and has not let anything that has happened to him change his perspective.

There will be a little bit of an adjustment period of course. He is having some issues with food, and Tip Tip is going to have to learn how to share his space, but overall Ollie seems to really like his new home, and we sure are glad to have him!

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This wine exhibited dark cherry flavors, some earth, a hint of strawberry with a bland finish. It left much to be desired. It was drinkable, but lacked complexity. Overall, I was rather disappointed.

On the other hand, here’s a sneak peak of the laundry room. I have a few things left to do before I can give you a full review (like putting the washer and dryer back in the room.)

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For at least a month now, Matt and I have been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of the Total Wine in our neighborhood. Previously, we had to drive at least 20 minutes to get to either the Arrowhead or Phoenix location, and honestly if you’re only picking up one bottle, it wasn’t worth the drive.

There are other options in our area… WineStyles, BevMo, and AJ’s to name a few, however, the selection and value just never seem to beat total wine… (except when AJ’s has their annual summer wine sale.) On top of that, I have always had the best customer service at Total Wine, and we really enjoy the employee picks and the top ten ratings for each varietal.  I can’t believe I am giving such an amazing endorsement to a chain, but these people really seem to get it right.

Now, even though the grand opening of the Goodyear store is not until tomorrow, they have been unofficially open for the past two weeks, and I have already managed to make a few trips down.

On one such trip, I spotted this flyer:

Learn with Riedel
Glassware and Premium Wine Class
Hosted by owner Georg Riedel

Join us for this very special class, led by the owner of Riedel Crystal, Georg Riedel.

This class will feature four glasses from the Riedel collection plus premium wines to pair with each glass. 

All attendees will receive a Riedel set of glasses, including:

Sommelier Bordeaux Glass
Sommelier Burgundy Glass
Sommelier Montrachet Glass
Plus a bonus glass
($250 value)

Featured wines
Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Belle Glos Pinot Noir Clark and Telephone 2008 – Wine Spectator 91
Mer Soleil Chardonnay 2008
Plus a bonus Syrah
Seating is limited for this event, and can be reserved by calling the store at (623) 547-2109. 


The Caymus is a 99 pt wine, the Bell Glos 91, Georg Riedel as the instructor, and free glassware to boot! Oh, and not just any glassware. The Sommelier collection is like the Rolex, Choppard, or Cartier of glassware – Praised by Robert Parker as ‘The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make.”

I had to get into this class!

Well, as luck would have it, we were a little late… as in “We’d be happy to put you on the waiting list, but you’re numbers 8 and 9” kind of late…  Oh boy was I disappointed.

However, we decided not to let it ruin our evening,  and we made plans to go to the new olive oil store at Park West called The Olive Gourmet. It’s a very small mom and pop shop, but we loved it! Afterall, how much space do you really need to sell olive oil? I picked up a medium california olive oil, a Tuscan herb infused olive oil, as well as a Sicilian lemon infused white balsamic vinegar. The shop owners were very nice, and allowed us to sample anything we were interested in. (I would recommend the chipotle oil, peach vinegar, or avocado oil if you’re looking for something different)… and then, we hurried over to Total Wine to see if maybe, perhaps, by chance (keep your fingers crossed) someone wouldn’t show up and we would get into the class.

Well, we were AMAZINGLY lucky and they were able to fit us in! We had a wonderful time, and I felt honored to be in Mr. Riedel’s presence. It really was my wine tasting dream come true… for now anyways.

They wouldn’t allow us to take pictures of the seminar, but here are some photos of the wines. We also picked up a bottle of french Pinot Noir which we’ve never tried before to take home with our new glasses… review to follow.

I also have a house project update coming very soon!

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