Doug & I went to a wine tasting & dinner with some friends on Friday night. The tasting was at one of our favorite stores & Robin, one of our favorite wine reps, was pouring. We love her tastings - not only has she become a good friend of ours, but her pours are heavy & she brings food as well. Not just crackers & cheese, but things like chicken salad, flank steak, & shrimp! She really likes to showcase the relationship between wine & food, & in ways that just about everyone can pull off.
For example, she suggested the chicken salad with Cycles Gladiator 2005 Pinot Grigio, & it was delightful. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Pinot Grigio, although I must admit that the Italian girl in me really wants to love it. I find it leaves me wanting & bored, especially after having some lesser-known Italian whites that I like much better, like Verdicchio. This Pinot Grigio, however, has a touch of Riesling in it - 6%, to be exact. This really added interest to the wine, & at about $10 a bottle, we snatched a bottle immediately. It's going to make a really nice summer quaffer, & we'll very likely buy it again.
Robin also surprised us by bringing a bottle of something that she doesn't even distribute (her former company does), & I could've kissed her for it (I didn't). She wanted to introduce the owners of the store to this winery, & she also suspected that we'd be popping by, too. That's happening more & more - our rep friends are bringing special bottles that they've picked out because they know that Doug & I will love it. They don't include it in the tasting, but they have it hidden & pull it out when no one is looking. Hehehe... tasting on the sly. Anyway, back to the wine - it was the 2005 Dare Cabernet Sauvignon, & it was amazing. We're huge fans of the Dare Cabernet Franc, which we bought without tasting on a recommendation from someone we trust in the wine business. Since then, we've turned some of our friends on to that bottle, & it's become a favorite. The Cab Sauv could also easily share the same popularity, but at about $40 a bottle, maybe not right now. Damn gas prices.
Enough about the freakin' wine, already. Let's talk about fun with beer.
We had dinner reservations at Big Sky Cafe, & while we were waiting for our table to be ready, the bartender made the most wonderful suggestion: the Shandy. None of us had heard of such a thing, but it was love at first sip. My shandy was made with fresh-squeezed lemonade & a raspberry Hefeweizen beer, half & half. Crisp, refreshing, & just downright lovely, & light in alcohol - perfect for a hot summer night. My friend's shandy was made with the lemonade & a peach beer, & that was really good, too. That one was a tad bit sweet for me, but I wouldn't turn it down if someone made one for me! I think Doug & I will have to have these available at our next party...but I'm sure the lemonade will be Minute Maid or something like that, which I'm confident will be just fine.
Oh, Shandy...insert bad Barry Manilow parody here.
But hey, let's not just talk about booze... the food at Big Sky is pretty good, too! Our favorite was the Cheddar Cheese Macaroni - with fresh sage & bacon. Mmmmmm... I could make a meal out of just that dish, but then I'd probably have to buy all new pants the next day.
That wouldn't be good.
Martin Ray Russian River 2015 Chardonnay
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