Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Surviving the Cold of White Christmas

It's certainly been interesting adjusting to the cold, especially while trudging through knee-high snow in Arizona's White Mountains the past couple days. Of course, spending time with my family makes it all worthwhile (not to mention the beautiful surroundings and good food).
I took this photograph from my family's home in Lakeside. It's hard to tell, but there is a mostly frozen lake there on the other side of the handrail.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's a Busy Time of Year

Vintage season is always the busiest time of the year for winemakers, but the holiday season is always busy for everyone! That being said, I have plenty to share but not enough time to do so now. I'm about halfway through my visit back in the United States, and am finally adjusting to the cold. It's been great catching up with all my friends and family, but haven't had a free moment; I now have hundreds of photographs I've taken to sift through. So be patient, plenty of wine talk to come from my indulgence in my wine cellar and travel stories too.

Happy holidays to everyone, please enjoy them safely and happily.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Santa Carolina 2010 Premio Red

Santa Carolina is one of Chile's oldest wineries and has been making wine in Chile's Central Valley for over 125 years. Its founding French enologists were pioneers here, bringing select Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc clones to the valley. In 1973, its original warehouse was declared a national monument for its architectural integrity and beauty; it is still in operation today. With their long winemaking history, extensive vineyard holdings in several premier regions, and constant innovation, Santa Carolina continues to provide consumers with a quality array of wines.
Winery - Santa Carolina Winery
Location- Macul, Santiago, Chile
Wine - Santa Carolina 2010 Premio Red Wine
Varietals - undisclosed
Appellation - D.O. Central Valley
Alcohol - 12.5% v/v 
Price - $8 USD

Nose/Aroma - Fruit punch
Palate/Flavors - Candied cherries, jammy. Hint of licorice/anise. Sweet, broad mouthfeel, low/med. acid, not phenolic or alcoholic.
Style - Easy-drinking.
Food Pairing -This wouldn't go with too powerful a dish, but I think it would go well with a semi-spicy pasta dish.
Comments - This wine is definitely a drink now type of wine; it was enjoyable but had too much sugar, which made it unbalanced. This definitely has Carmenere in it, and I would guess maybe some Pinot Noir as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mie Goreng

Mie Goreng means "fried noodles" in Indonesian. This is a classic in several southeast Asian countries. Here in Indonesia, you can pretty much enjoy it anywhere from the small streetside warungs to 5-star restaurants. Sometimes, you're only choices are between mie goreng and nasi goreng (fried rice). Mie goreng noodles are rather thin, egg noodles, and usually contain a combination of vegetables and some type of meat or seafood. Every mie goreng is slightly different, but flavors center around sweet soy sauce (kecap manis in Indonesia), and sambal (chili sauce).
This has become one of my favorite dishes to cook. You can pretty much use any type of vegetable in here; probably why I like it so much! Here's my recipe:

Egg noodles
Egg
Tempe, cubed
Garlic, minced
Onion, sliced thin
Carrot, diced
String beans, chopped
Tomato, diced
bean sprouts
cabbage, shreded
Kecap manis
Sambal
Oil
Spices - mild curry powder, black pepper, salt

Start the tempe in the oil for a minute or two before adding garlic, onion, carrot, and string beans. Sprinkle over spices during this stage too. Cook for another few minutes, then add tomato, bean sprouts, and cabbage. Boil water and cook noodles for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Drain noddles and add to pan with vegetables and tempe. Mix through kecap manis and spice to taste. Plate and top with fried egg (I usually do my egg sunnyside up because the yolk makes a nice consistency).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tanduay Superior Rhum

Tanduay Distillers is one of the oldest rum producers in the world, and has been operating in the Philippines city of Manilla since the 1850's. Though its highly acclaimed nationally, it is just beginning to make a push into the international marketplace. Tanduay began producing rhum (rum), but has since branched out to offer a broad range of spirits; their offerings include 10 different rhums under the Tanduay and Boracay brand names, gins under the London and Ginebra brand names, vodka under the Cossack brand name, brandy under the Barcelona brand name, and whiskey under the Embassy brand name.

This was a gift from my girlfriend Kristin's family that they brought during a recent visit to Bali. Liquor prices in Indonesia are rather exorbitant due to high import taxes imposed by the government. I was also surprised by how cheap alcohol is in the Philippines; this bottle cost just under $4 USD! Thanks for the gift, we've been enjoying it.
Distillery - Tanduay Distillers
Location-Manilla, Phillipines
Spirit - Tanduay Superior 12-year old Rhum 
Alcohol - 40% v/v
Price - 155.50 Philippine pesos (approx. $3.50 USD)

Nose/Aroma - Smokey vanilla and slightly citrus.
Palate/Flavors - Lemon zest combined with nice aged oak characteristics of vanilla, caramel, and tobacco. Smooth, medium bodied. Lasting finish.
Style - Well made, oak-age rum.
Cocktail -This is a good sipping rum that I enjoyed on the rocks. I also mixed it with a bit of fresh mandarin and guava juice, which was rather refreshing on a hot afternoon.
Comments - This is a really nice rum; if you can find this, definitely get a bottle. I would think this would easily sell in the US for $20-30. Unfortunately, Tanduay doesn't have the market presence of other major producers such as Bacardi, though I found that this is superior (pardon the pun) to most rum offerings I've had and at such an amazingly low price-point. Thanks again for the gift, thoroughly enjoyed!