Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wine of the week: Terrazas de los Andes

Priced under $20, Terrazas de los Andes 2013 Reserva Malbec is my find of the week!

This inky, medium-bodied red wine offers a strong bouquet of violets and dark fruits that match on the palate with the added bonus of a tobacco finish. Point of note: the Malbec grape is one of the original 5 Bordeaux grapes that have since dwindled on French soil. France’s loss is Argentina’s gain. In fact, this winery uses ungrafted Malbec vines that were planted in 1929. The vines grow over 1,000 meters above sea level.

As an investment wine, Malbec is known for its ability to bottle age, but I wouldn’t know. Although I savored this bottle over the course of a week, it was opened and emptied without a thought of storage. I’ll be on the lookout for more of Terrazas, which is one of the top 25 Argentinian Malbec wines in the U.S., best served with spicy beef, lamb and poultry.

The higher priced wine I recently tasted: a 2015 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (just under $30) did not thrill me as much as the Malbec. Sauvignon Blanc, or “the wild white” is a staple wine of New Zealand, but this Marlborough version was a bit too sweet for my taste. Perhaps I don’t care for the wet granite sensation mixed with wet freshly mown grass. Maybe this would have tasted better paired with a plate of green olives. I would try it again, but this round left me clouded.

Channel your inner queen at The Palace

Life in Northern California offers endless opportunities for day trips and weekend visits to explore small coastal towns or big cities like San Francisco.

So, I spent a night in San Francisco following a short visit to a friend’s house in Sacramento. The first thing I did was relax with a glass of Magnolia Grove 2013 California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Magnolia Grove 2013 California Sauvignon, priced at just under $10 a bottle.

This wine is an average, well-priced garnet-toned Cabernet made from grapes of Sonoma County. I wouldn’t complain about it – it was tasty! — but there really wasn’t anything complex about it.

For my palate, this is a drink-alone, medium bodied, great all-around table wine.  The Magnolia Grove of Chateau St. Jean would be the perfect spot to sip this berry and cherry-flavored wine.

Although I was not in Sonoma when I drank it, I was enjoying my first experience exploring San Francisco. This bottle of Magnolia Grove was left as a gift during my stay at the Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel. This was the start of channeling my inner queen.

Cowgirl CreameryA round of Cowgirl Creamery cheese was left with an assortment of crackers. Yes…

My room at the Palace Hotel, which, by the way, was originally built in 1875, was so inviting, especially after a long evening enjoying the company of good friends and perhaps too much wine the previous night. I would have been perfectly happy to crawl under the crisp, clean sheets and watch the big screen TV and sip wine paired with Cowgirl cheese and crackers. But…I was in San Francisco for only one evening, so the plan was to explore the dining scene. I had already spent the afternoon in Fisherman’s Wharf, which was amazing if only to watch the seals compete for space to sun on the dock. I wasn’t hungry, but if I were, it would have been a great place to select any number of culinary delights — from seafood to burgers and chowder, and lest not forget See’s Candies or Ghirardelli Square, the latter a stone’s throw from the area.

I can now say that I rode the cable car in San Francisco, and I live to tell the tale. I had no idea it would be so thrilling, and quite similar to a roller coaster in that you creep uphill in a struggle; fortunately you do not coast downhill, but it is a steep slope and the struggle of the car to keep a slow speed conjured up thoughts of broken cables and a runaway car from movies and televisions shows I’ve seen. Now that I’ve done it, I don’t need to do it again.

My day was full, I was tired, and when I stepped into the Palace Hotel, I wanted to remain there for a few days…at least. Why wouldn’t I? The lobby entrance was palatial, keeping in line with the theme of ornate interior design. Inside my modest, but very comfortable room, a toilet with options! A warm spritz later, I was out on the town — to Telegraph Hill to enjoy an Italian dinner at Original Joe’s in North Beach, with the Rat Pack overhead. Before I knew it, my virtual crown was left behind and I was on the rode again. San Francisco, I’ll be back soon!

At Original Joe’s.