The first of many – Head to Head Aerator Challenge

Yes it’s Thursday, and in all rights I should be typing up a sweet recipe for you to enjoy on another “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner!”  Well, perhaps I’ll add a cooking tip at the bottom of this post…  Anyhow, Tonight we had some super delish, filet mignon steaks, so I wanted to have some good red to pair with my dinner.  I picked out a 2007, Valley of the Moon, Cuvee de la Luna.  This wine has held a lofty place in my “go-to” Bordeaux style blend list of yummy wines.  So, “the wife” said to me, “Oh, that’s young!”  I was thinking to myself that yeah but the 2007s are drinking like champs so go with it right?  But Wait!  I have my Soiree, and since Vinturi never hooked up a completely unimportant wine blobber named Norcalwingman with a free sample Vinturi, I had to pick one up on woot.com.

Now in the left corner, weighing in at slightly more than its competitor:  VINTURI

A heavy plastic or some other clear material V-shaped funnel type thing, with a nice filter screen and resting stand.

And in the right corner, don’t call him glass-jawed Joe: Soiree

A gasket wearing glass bulb, with some etched swirl lines.

Soiree v. Vinturi
Soiree v. Vinturi

Well, it’s not really that exiting but in my completely unscientific test.  The nose on the glass poured with the Soiree seems to have a higher/more robust aroma.  The taste of the two are nearly comparable, but the olfactory sensation on the Soiree glass does seem to edge ahead of the Vinturi.

Round 1 Victor, by 1 point:  Soiree

Stay tuned for more head to head action.

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for, a great tip on cooking your Filet Mignon.

I used my gas grill tonight, I fired it up and brought the temperature up to about 350 F, on the built-in thermometer using the left two burners of my 4-burner grill.  I placed my two steaks on the right side, upper grill shelf and cooked for approximately 20 minuted, until an instant read thermometer read 120 F.  I removed the steaks from the grill, placed on a plate and covered with foil.  In the mean time, I turned up the heat on the two burners to high.  After about 5 minutes of rest, I returned the two steaks to the grill and placed directly above the flames.  I seared each steak on both sides for approximately 3 min/side and served immediately.

These steaks may be the best I’ve cooked yet!  They were medium/medium-rare in temperature and supremely browned, just on the outside.  I hope this tip might help you with your next steak, you have got to try this method!

Cheers
Brian

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2002 Deerfield Ranch Winery, Super T Rex – plus Soiree

I have a little history with this wine.  The first time I had the pleasure of drinking this wine was at a great Italian restaurant in historic “Railroad Square” in downtown Santa Rosa, CA, named Portofino’s.  Unfortunately, Portofino’s is no more, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find some of this wine left over at a “meet-up” hosted by William Allen of Simple Hedonisms at Deerfield Ranch Winery on August 26, 2010.  It was a fantastic event, for multiple reasons, first off I got to meet a ton of folks who I interact with on twitter and facebook.  I was super excited to meet Ben Simons and Ed Thralls of vinotology.com and winetonight.com respectively.  Two great guys who inspired me to kick my blogging up a notch and who just happened to be in my neck of the woods!  Oh, and to top it off, my birthday was the very next day.  Enough of the intro, let’s get down to business, here it is:

2002, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Super T Rex, California North Coast

2002 Deerfield Ranch, Super T Rex
2002 Super T Rex

The Nose (without soiree): A little hot off the bat, but followed quickly by a sugar-plum cherry, Tuscan flavored pipe tobacco humidor with saddle leather and sage brush.

The Nose (with Soiree): More of the same but the heat is not predominant and other notes are slightly subdued.

The Nose (with Soiree): I roped the wife in for one!  “Baked plum pie, sweet caramelized wood, yeasty, hints of tire rubber, specifically ‘bicycle tire’.”

The Taste: Spicy plum fruits backed by cedar wood overtones, creamy vanilla finish.

The Mouth Feel: Mild acidity and medium tannic structure, lingering a tad but fleeting.  Finish has nice viscosity and leaves dry.

The Color: Brickhouse Red, the wine is clearly concentrating, thin clear edges.

The Nitty Gritty:
Varietal Makeup – 43% Sangiovese, Sonoma; 28% Sangiovese, Lake County; 15% Cabernet Franc, Lake County; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County; 4% Dolcetto, Sonoma
Residual sugar: 0.0%
Barrel aged for 32 months in 80% French an d
20% American oak, 35% new
SO2 (sulfite) at bottling: 18ppm, SO2 at release: less than 8ppm1500 Cases Produced
ABV – 14%
$27 Retail/Online

The Verdict: As this wine opens up, it grows closer to my heart.  It is moving closer to resembling what I consider a true Tuscan wine.  It has many of the desirable characteristics that remind me of my trip to Italy and more specifically, the Tuscan countryside!  I’m still a big fan of this wine, it’s a bit spendy but there aren’t many super Tuscans available from Sonoma County and Deerfield does a good job with this wine.  They have a new Tuscan blend that’s available, but I didn’t buy one while I was at the meet-up and I don’t specifically remember any of my thoughts on the wine (but I’m sure I’ll have it in the future).  It was a great time, so many of the Sonoma county Social Media crew were out socializing face-to-face, so I was more into having a great time with great people.  It was awesome to finally meet both Ben and Ed in person, Cheers to both of you!  If you get a chance, you should stop by the Deerfield Ranch Winery, their cellar was beautiful and their staff were gracious and accommodating.  Oh, and if you’re lucky, they may have a few bottles of this wine left.

On the Soiree:  I’m still a bit of a skeptic of the “instant decanter” but this device does seem to be helping this wine open up and live up to the name “Super.”  I had “the wife” take a video of me showing how to use the Soiree to open up the wine, so check this video clip out on how to get the most aeration out of your Soiree decanter.

* Some Nitty Gritty Details provided by Deerfield Ranch Winery Website

2007 Casa Lapostolle – Cuvée Alexandre – Soiree Decanter

A recent adventure to Costco netted me a six pack of new and different wines, mostly from the South of the Equator.  This particular winery came highly recommended from “the wife” as she had visited Chile while studying wine business in college and in particular, really expressed how great this winery and her experiences there were for her.  Anyhow, enough with the fluffy pre-story, let’s get on with the show!

2007 Casa Lapostolle – Cuvée Alexandre – Cabernet Sauvignon – Apalta Vineyard – Colchagua Valley

2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvee Alexandre
2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvée Alexandre

The Nose:  Deep dark red fruit, dark black cherry and currant, cedar overtones and tobacco box
The Nose + Soiree: Surprisingly this wine showed no difference on the nose with the Soiree.
The Taste:  Rich and bountiful fruit with strong support from the tannic structure, unwinding the oak and exposing cigar humidor
The Taste + Soiree:  The Soiree helps out here really bringing out the cherry fruits and maturing the sweet tobacco
The Mouth Feel:  Luxurious and velvety with big tannins on the mid-palate.  Long and complex finish with toasty oak and wet stone.
The Mouth Feel + Soiree:  Soiree livens up this already vibrant wine, softens the tannins and moves the finish to expose more minerality.
The Color:  Deep and dark brick and ruby red
The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 14.1%
Grape Variety: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Merlot
Single Vineyard: Apalta Estate
Aged 10 months, 25% New, 75% Second year French Oak Bordeaux Barrels

The Verdict:
Chile is an amazing wine region and every Cabernet Sauvignon I have had from the region has been a stellar performer, and this wine is no disappointment.  I highly recommend this wine.

91 Pts.  / A-

2007 Casa Lapostole Cuvee Alexandre

Cheers
Brian

Cuvée