Tag Archives: red wine

Product Review: 5 Wines Under $10 from Trader Joe’s

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook’s love of Trader Joe’s is well-documented. And nowhere is that affection more well placed than in the wine aisle. For anyone who truly feels there is nothing drinkable under a certain price range, avert your eyes. For everyone else, whose palate is less discerning, pocketbook is less fat, or concern is with quantity over quality (for a party, not advocating a bacchanal here), this blog is for you.

Hello Pink Drink: Rose Cremant for the Win!

Hello Pink Drink: Rose Cremant for the Win!

Special thanks to Waldorf for the selections. Now back to disagreeing with you.

5 Wines Under $10 from Trader Joe’s

First, make sure you enlist people to help you when you decide to take on such a wine tasting project. It got a little dicey halfway through. Having had some truly great wines lately, I could taste the difference, but more than one of these I would go back for and drink happily.

Blason Rose Cremant: 90% Pinot noir and 10% gamay, made like champagne. My personal favorite. It’s pink, bubbly, and festive. Slightly over $10 but worth it. It is girly, but do not be afraid. It is not overly sweet. If you must make it sweeter, slice up a few strawberries or add a scant few blueberries and call it a day.

Blason Rose Cremant from Trader Joe's

Blason Rose Cremant from Trader Joe’s

Michel Leon GewĂĽrztraminer: French wine, German grape, light and fruity; sweet and grapey, pairs well with salty food, wonderful summer wine.

Michel Leon Gewurztraminer from Trader Joe's

Michel Leon Gewurztraminer from Trader Joe’s

Reserve des Cleons Muscadet: Sweeter but not cloying, crisp and luscious, nice.

Reserve des Cleaons Muscadet from Trader Joe's

Reserve des Cleaons Muscadet from Trader Joe’s

Reves Priorat 2006 Spanish red: 40%carignan, 35% garnache, 25%syrah. This wine raised the question of whether a back-to-back tasting would render it undrinkable (as in comparing it to a high-quality Priorat). It was not my favorite, probably my least favorite of the five. However, it was a reasonable representation for what it is, a red table wine.

Reves Priorat from Trader Joe's

Reves Priorat from Trader Joe’s

Nerelo del bastardo: Sicilian red 2008. This is good with grilled food as the label suggests– the smoke tempers the sweetness. I would not drink this alone. 🙂

Nerelo del Bastardo from Trader Joe's

Nerelo del Bastardo from Trader Joe’s

What’s your go-to inexpensive wine or wine source? Share your tips and labels in the comments below. Or invite me over and I’ll help you decide if it’s good.

Send your deep thoughts, food questions, and video challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday: More Summer Sandwiches and A Note About Hunger Relief.

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Foie Gras Tasting: Love It or Liver It (with video)

Gentle Readers, today’s post is not for the faint of heart, or the ahem, lily-livered. Do pardon, some puns simply can’t be avoided. True confession, though The Practical Cook is a food fan, she had never tried foie gras before a recent meal, high atop Las Vegas, in a little place called the Mix.

Inside the Mix in Las Vegas

Inside the Mix in Las Vegas

The Mix Menu

The Mix Menu

It is gorgeous, with a lovely view, and amazing service. The hazelnut quotient was a touch high for me (as anything above zero would be), but the food was lovely, especially the starters, coordinated by friend and fellow foodie Apps Strategist. In corporate-speak, we most definitely executed on the apps strategy: tuna tartare, gnocchi, and charcuterie. (Something with shrimp was ordered too, but I declined the dish and the trip to the ER.)

The Apps: Tuna Tartare, Charcuterie, and Gnocchi (already eaten, oops)

The Apps: Tuna Tartare, Charcuterie, and Gnocchi (already eaten, oops)

The pinnacle was tasting foie gras for the first time. I’m a reasonably adventurous eater (less the hazelnuts/shrimp/licorice trifecta), and a liver fan, but I’ve never done foie gras, for myriad reasons. Roll the tape (and forgive the bad camera work, I blame the Cabernet).

It was good, really good. I wouldn’t want to eat it every day, and not even that much at once. It is unctuousness personified. And there are the goose rights issues as well. But as a very rare item, done well, it was truly amazing, both in texture and in taste. It should practically come with a side of Lipitor, it’s so rich, is fluffier than other livers in texture, and less iron-y, with bacon notes. We both ate more than the required sample.

Foie Gras, at Last We Meet

Foie Gras, at Last We Meet

If you have a chance to go to the Mix, by all means do so. Thanks to the friends and colleagues who made the meal something special, in tone and conversation. Great food is indeed heightened by good wine, the perfect setting, and gifted conversationalists. Salud!

Are you liver foe or fan? Have you tried foie gras? Post a comment or Tweet away.

Send your thoughts on liver to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, it’s Kitchen Tool Talk, Three (More) of My Favorite Things.

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Filed under On the Table, Restaurant Reviews