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Strong Coffee to Red Wine Posts

Life Lately with Favorite Things

January is always a mix of end of the year to-dos and new year ponderings. As such, my life lately has been a hotbed of busy. We have already done our taxes; thanks to the best tax guy in town, if not the world, Steven @ The Clem Collaborative. I have cleaned the studio and will do it again this weekend as it takes several passes to get it right. At some point in the next two weeks, I have got to tackle the piles of papers that I keep acquiring. No matter how hard I try to not make…

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Roussillon & Jura: Bottle and Background

Two Lesser Known Wine Regions in France One of the things that I love about wine blogging is that it forces me outside of my familiar. Before writing Strong Coffee, I drank pretty much just one varietal. I would drink that varietal from different countries and different regions, but it was always the same grape. In the last two years, I have opened my eyes to wines of every color (I tried a blue wine once. Yes, blue, real blue; it did not go well.), and style. From countries that I had no idea made such great wines. And the…

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Looking Back at 2018

Well, the family Christmas tree at my sister’s house came down yesterday which officially marks the end of the holidays for me. Holy cow, our celebrations were so much fun. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and many fantastic friends that put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Looking back over the past year has reminded me of the highlights of a great year. Looking Back: 2018 Highlights Somm School at Edmund’s Oast Exchange Last Spring I went to Somm School at Edmund’s Oast Exchange. This entry level class was the perfect way…

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Bubbles 101 – Prepping for New Year’s Eve

5 minute read A Bubbles Primer It is almost New Year’s Eve, the evening we drink an estimated 360 million glasses of Champagne and sparkling wine in the USA. That is a lot of bubbles. Notice that I said Champagne and sparkling wine. Are they not the same thing? Well, it’s complicated. First, all Champagne is sparkling wine, but most sparkling wines are NOT Champagne. Stay tuned, I will explain below. Second, all Champagnes and sparkling wines have additional carbon dioxide dissolved into the wine that creates the bubbles once you open the bottle. After that, is when it gets…

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Bordeaux-Style Red Blends and Variations

As the weather has gotten cooler, I have slowly gravitated from rosé to red wine, and for the first time in years, I am drawn to the Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux-style red blends. There is something about their boldness and their power that can warm the cockles of your heart. Chill, be gone! What is Bordeaux-Style Red Blends? I say Bordeaux-style because Bordeaux is a wine region in France known for growing specific grape varietals. Thus Bordeaux-style wines use the same varieties of those produced in Bordeaux. A Bordeaux red blend usually combines two or more of these classic varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,…

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Appetizer Platters – Dress Them Up !

Appetizer Platter, Cheese Board, Antipasto, Cheese & Charcuterie Platter… there are many names, but they all mean the same thing. Meats and cheeses mingled with pickled veggies, fresh fruits and veggies, dried fruits, nuts, sauces, condiments and just about anything your heart desires. At this time of year, these appetizer platters are made for holiday parties all around the world. I love making these platters, but I also know it is easy to get it in a rut putting out the same items time after time. So on Sunday, my neighbor Natalie along with her kids and her parents came…

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Caramelized Tomato-Fennel Butter

The origin and creation of my Caramelized Tomato-Fennel Butter came from a childhood memory that I have never been able to forget. Decades have passed since I lived in Hilliard and this flavor always stuck with me. A few months ago when making dinner, I got a bit of tomato paste on my finger, and I licked it off. Out of nowhere, this memory of Luigi’s sub sandwich came flooding into my head, and I solved a mystery that I have wondered about my entire adult life. The Childhood Memory When I was a kid growing up in Hilliard, Ohio we would order pizza…

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Roundup – New Styles of Familiar Grapes

Fall Roundup – New Styles of Two Familiar Varieties This post is part two of my fall wine roundup. Different than the last post, you will undoubtedly recognize the two grapes referenced in the post, but you may not have tasted wine like these.  The grapes are Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir. These two cousins make incredible wine but depending on where the grapes grow and how the wine is made changes everything. And remember the comments will be short and to the point and end with a LOVE, LIKE, NMS (not my style), or GLove (Gary loves it) Pinot Grigio/Gris …

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Gifts for the Kitchen King or Queen

Great Gifts for Your Kitchen Royalty OK, I get it. It’s Cyber Monday already so why am I clogging your email inbox this late?  Well, its because it is never too late to share with you these fantastic gift ideas for the chef in your home. On Wednesday, I sent you Great Gifts for the Lover of Wine. Today is Great Gifts for the Home Chef. Below you will find great reads, serving items, skillets, dutch ovens, and prep tools. So let’s get shopping. Extra Large Rustic Olive Wood Serving Board – 20 x 10 Inch XL sells for $59.00 (smaller sizes available) Make your cheese…

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Gifts for the Lover of Wine

The holiday buying season takes off in earnest this weekend, so I came up with some gifts that are perfect for the wine enthusiast and home chef. There is something at every price point, so let’s not dilly dally, let’s get shopping. Great Gifts for the Wine Enthusiast Nambe Curvo Wine Rack – $119.00 Resting on its Nambé Alloy base, the Curvo Wine Rack’s acacia wood form curves rhythmically to create spaces for four wine bottles. A beautiful and functional piece of art, it can be displayed from the side or the front for two distinct effects. The Curvo Wine Rack…

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Fall Roundup – New Kids, New Grapes

Time flies way too fast. As I look back at the various new wines I have tried, I can see empty bottles with handwritten notes overtook my desk and found their way onto the bookshelf. That’s not good. But what that means is that means it is time for the Fall Wine Roundup. A roundup means the comments will be short and to the point and end with a LOVE, LIKE, NMS (not my style), or GLove (Gary loves it, but it’s NMS) I am breaking this roundup into a couple different posts.  This is Roundup #1 which includes two…

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