Another box for Christmas

It’s a nice chilly evening up at the condo we are lucky enough to have access to through “the wife’s” family and we’ve just finished off a great bottle of Michel-Schlumberger “Coteaux Sauvages” and we still need more vino…

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So it is on to the Seven non-vintage Red wine of Spain. This box of wine is a blend of, you guessed it, seven varietals including 24% Shiraz, 24% Cab, 11% Garnacha, 11% Graciano, 10% Tempranillo, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. If you are after your century club, this may help…

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Anyhow, this is a red with a baked/cooked fruit character, not too bad and definitely a valid second bottle if you are trying to save the good stuff or have a house full of people who wouldn’t differentiate a great bottle with a handle of Gallo.

Read that last part, good for large family gatherings that tend to happen around this time of year… Get my drift?

Anyhow, I wish you all the best and happiest of holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the NorCalWingman!

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2007 Concannon Shiraz, Selected Vineyards, Central Coast

I was exceptionally exited to receive my first “bottles” for sample from Concannon Vineyards and had high hopes to review and enjoy their offering.  In addition, while I was volunteering at the Russian River Valley Single Night I met Andrew and Marshall from Wine Soiree an in-bottle decanting system and they hooked me up with one of there decanting devices.  So I figured this would be the perfect time to give it a test.

Concannon Shiraz and Soiree
Concannon Shiraz and Soiree

Here we go, I poured myself one glass from the bottle then hooked up the Soiree decanter and poured another so I could do side-by-side comparison

The Nose: Potent character of alcohol, some suggestions of fruit but very faint
The Nose  (Soiree): Oh my god…  Well, there is no doubt this thing works, or at least does something.  Unfortunately, in this case, it doesn’t help this wine much.  I get strong cooked vegetables, probably green beans and band-aids, the alcohol is diminished on this nose in comparison.

The Taste: Taste of dark red fruit, black cherry and toasted oak wood, not vanilla but woody.
The Taste (Soiree): The taste here is similar to the glass without the Soiree but the harsh edges are rounded (seems a bit better, if that nose wasn’t wafting up my nostrils too)


The Mouth Feel:
This wine asserts itself with a sharp tartness, it’s a bit thin and overly hot, there is some acidity but it’s a bit unbalanced, the finish is long and is probably this wine’s best quality
The Mouth Feel (Soiree): The Soiree definitely makes this wine show differently in mouth feel.  The harshness is gone and makes the wine more smoothed out.


The Color: A ruby red and garnet color, clear and pretty, thin to pale pink at the edges
The Color (Soiree):
Nothing different here

The Nitty Gritty:
ABV 13.5%
Residual Sugar: 0.10 g/100ml
pH: 3.61
Released: 2010
Retail Price: $10
Available anywhere

The Verdict: Well, not a good showing for a $10 wine, even at the value price point, I could think of a few other wines I’d rather be drinking.  While I don’t think there were any major flaws this wine just did not suit me at all.

65 Pts, D

Concannon Shiraz
2007 Concannon Shiraz

As for the Soiree decanter.  It certainly opens up the wine and shakes things up.  I will use it in some of my future reviews, it certainly didn’t do this wine any favors, which I think goes to show that not all wines should be decanted.

Cheers,
Brian
norcalwingman

Disclosure:  The wine in this review was provided as a sample with the intention of being reviewed.  The Soiree Wine decanter was swindled by me at #RRVSN from the Wine Soiree crew.

“Not Bad” Guest Blogger – Tim Hilcove

This is the first of (Hopfully) many guest blog posts on Norcal Wingman, it is my honor to share with you a post from Tim Hilcove, of the Weekly Wine Journal, without further ado Steak & Shiraz ala Hilcove!

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I’m a steak, Cabernet, Shiraz kind of guy.  And a hockey fanatic.  Memorial Day evening the Chicago Blackhawks faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers for game two of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Two great reasons for putting in the extra effort and making a great dinner.  If you want to try this at home this is what you are going to need:

Steak, Bottom Round, aka Trip Tip.  Cut into long thick strips
bacon
Leaf Spinach
Feta
Olive oil
Thick chopped Mushrooms
Your favorite Shiraz I used “The Gate, 2003”
Chipotle pepper Tabasco sauce
Soy Sauce

I cooked my steak from frozen. The first thing to do is turn on the oven to 300F and put the frozen steak on a tray in the middle rack.

While that is happening you should chop up the bacon and begin frying it on medium low to medium heat, while using a spatula to turn and toss frequently.  You don’t want the bacon to burn and stick to the pan.  This bacon is going to be the bacon bits that you put on the spinach and feta salad.  When the bacon has reached your desired level of crunchiness, drain the fat into a cup and scoop the bacon bits into a bowl.

baconbits
mmm... bacon

Turn off the heat and leave the pan, don’t clean it.
Remove the steak from the oven, pour the bacon fat on top of the steak and put the steak back in the oven for 30 minutes.

Steak
Drizzle Bacon Fat onto Steak

With Trip tip steak it is important to avoid cooking the steak too fast.  The flavor is better when it is slow cooked, and also not over cooked, medium is about as well done as you’ll want it.
After 30 minutes turn up the heat to 350.  Keep an eye on it because the bacon fat will start to sizzle.  When you start to see it smoke, turn the heat down a little.  Finally, after about 45-50 minutes in the oven, turn off the heat, but keep the steak in the oven.

mushrooms
Fresh Mushrooms

Turn on the frying pan, lay the mushrooms in the greasy pan and turn on to medium heat.  As the pan warms up, splash some Shiraz in there and simmer, then splash some Soy sauce and Chipotle Tabasco, and toss and turn the mushrooms so that they are steeped in the sauce.

Cooked Mushrooms
Sauteed in bacon grease, yum!

Do not over cook the mushrooms, remove them from the pan and put them in a bowl.  Turn off the heat and pour the remaining sauce in a bowl.  You will drizzle this sauce on your steak just before you serving.
Alright just about there…put some leafy spinach on your plate, throw on some crumbled chucks of feta cheese, add some olive oil and the bacon bits.

Spinach Salad
Spinach Salad with Bacon and Feta

Take the steak out of the oven now.  It should have been in there just about an hour.  Cut the strips in half to check the wellness.  They should be juicy and medium rare, if not, put them back in for a few more minutes.

steak
Medium Rare

With a teaspoon drizzle the sauce over the steak.  Pour yourself a nice big glass of the Shiraz and serve!

shiraz
McLaren Vale, 2003,The Gate, Shiraz

I had pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert, the Cinnamon in the pie compliments the spicy steak juice and also the spiciness of most Shiraz’s

Enjoy!

Tim Hilcove
Guest Blogger Tim Hilcove

Tim Hilcove is a wine blogger who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He runs the Weekly Wine Journal, and is also a guest writer at Corkd.com ( http://content.corkd.com/author/timhilcove/ )  You can find Tim on twitter @wklywinejournal and on Facebook.