Archive | December, 2012

Red Zinfandel Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit


Here’s a yummy winter meal that’s a huge hit every time I make it! Recipe is for 4 people. And of course all props go to “Grace Parisi” of Food and Wine Magazine…

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Four eight-ounce lamb shoulder chops (cut 1 inch thick)
Salt and ground pepper
1 tbsp ground coriander
8 garlic cloves in halves
8 thyme sprigs and a few for garnish
1 cup or 2 of a jammy California Red Zinfandel (recommend the Gnarly Head Zin)
1/2 cup dried red cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots
2 cups low-sodium beef broth

In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil.
Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and rub coriander over the chops.

Add the lamb chops to the skillet with garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and cook over high heat, turning once, until the lamb chops and garlic cloves are browned (about 6 min.).

Next add the red wine, dried cherries and dried apricots and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the wine is reduced by half (about 5 min.). Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thick about 35 minutes. Turn the chops once or twice during cooking. Discard the thyme sprigs. Serve lamb chops immediately and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves… Accompany with couscous or mashed potatoes.

My wine pairing suggestion is the Gnarly Head California Red Zin for $9.99 or for roughly $17, the 2008 Layer Cake Italian Primitivo which is the Italian Red Zin. Buon appetito!

Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2008 Colchagua Valley Chile


On the tasting table today, here is the break-down of a really amazing Chilean Merlot, the Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre vintage 2008.

Casa Lapostolle is a Chilean/French operation. The French part belongs to the Marnier-Lapostolle Family who is best known for the Grand Marnier Liqueur!

Lapostolle owns 3 separate vineyards in Colchagua and this Merlot is from their Apalta Vineyard.

It is composed of 85% Merlot, the remainder being 15% Carmeniere…

I generally am not a huge fan of Merlot but the perfect balance of tannins, acidity and palate-pleasing notes in this wine really won me over…

This wine has no signs of sediment so if you don’t own a decanter, no worries (aerate in bottle once opened).

The color is a deep purple with a ruby rim and has a medium plus viscosity judging by the legs…

On the nose, the intensity is a medium plus…

The fruit aromas are of black cherry, blackberries, plums and a slight hint of blueberries.

I also sensed the presence of baking spice right off the bat which gives me a hint of “Old World” wood char.

On the palate, the sweetness level is off dry and is a medium bodied wine…

I have to agree with the nose on the fruit notes and the baking spice.

I also tasted notes of violet flower, chocolate and a slight hint of bacon.

The tannins and alcohol level were medium high and this wine had a long and very enjoyable finish.

For $19.00 I highly recommend this Merlot and it will definitely change your opinion of Merlot!

For pairing suggestions, I recommend Tuna, salmon, duck, beef, and lamb dishes. Cheeses that go well with Merlot are aged cheddar, parmiggiano, and smoked Gouda…

Colchagua Valley Chile


The Colchagua Valley is located about 100 miles south of Chile’s Capital (Santiago).

Forming part of the larger Rapel Valley, the Colchagua Valley starts East at the foothills of the Andes Mountain Range and extends all the way West to the Pacific Ocean.

A rare combination of marine breezes, Andean Winds, clearly defined four seasons, and a fertile volcanic terroir composition, make Colchagua the perfect place to grow wine grapes.

In the year 2005, the Colchagua Valley was granted “Wine Star Wine Region of the Year Award” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine…