Sunday, November 20, 2016

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Stocking Up on Wine for the Winter

Back on Sunday, October 30th, my friend Elizabeth and I ventured out to the wine warehouse called Total & Wine & More and then made dinner together at my place. This is the second time that I've been to this amazing store, but my first visit to their new location to a bigger place in the same shopping center. In their celebration of the new superstore, they mailed a coupon. If you spent $100 on 750mL or 1.5L bottles of wine, then you got $20 off. Initially, I had planned to spend $75 like my first big wine shopping excursion, so I played with my virtual shopping cart on their website until I got it just over the needed $100 subtotal. That wasn't perfect, but I actually managed to get the subtotal to $100.23 in store. With the coupon (and tax), my total was $87.45. I ended up with seven bottles of wine including a double bottle (1.5L)! That's like $11 a bottle. Such a wonderful value! I definitely wanted to stock up on some wine for the winter when I am no longer earning a lot of commission.

I picked up the following bottles of wine:

1. Radius Riesling
I wanted to have a bottle of either Moscato or Riesling for when I have my friend T over for a weeknight dinner. She likes a sweet white wine while I am the complete opposite with my dry red preference, so we pretty much have to have two bottles on the table. I actually served her this domestic wine from Washington last Tuesday evening and she liked it.

2. Bolla Chianti
This was my go to for years and what I often grab from the liquor store I can walk to. I already enjoyed this 1.5L bottle including when I was wining and dining with T.

3. Dom des Grandes Perrieres Sancerre
Sancerre is my signature white wine. I love when a wine is described as "elegant." I look forward to trying this particular crisp Sauvignon Blanc with my penne pasta with sun-dried tomato cream sauce dish maybe sometime during the winter. This was my priciest selection, but it was still under $20 after the discount.

4+5. Banfi Chianti Classico
This is my favorite red wine. I discovered it on my first visit to this store. It is the smoothest medium-bodied Italian red wine I have ever had. Check out an entire post dedicated to this signature red wine of mine. I grabbed two bottles, one I am enjoying this week and the other I am saving to share with another friend.

6. Gabbiano Chianti Classico
This was such a great value. It tasted of berry and pepper though and I happen to prefer a more smooth taste, free of spice and pepper. I remember that I first discovered that a wine could contain a note of pepper at a wine tasting at Boordy Vineyards here in Maryland. I don't think I'd purchase it again.

7. Rivata Prosecco
I wanted Prosecco because it is an ingredient in an Italian cocktail called a spritz. I intend to serve it in the summertime. This sparkling wine is also described as "elegant." That coupled with the price being right, I can hardly resist!

After this shopping trip, my wine cabinet was almost full, only two spots in the wire rack empty.

I did really well. Like on my first visit, I got an amazing value on the bottles I wanted. It was odd to be filling a shopping cart. I don't buy a lot of anything anywhere!

One of the bottles of Banfi is currently on the kitchen counter. 
This is what my wine cabinet looks like tonight, with just three unopened bottles from this trip left.

I would like to buy a bottle of tequila before next summer, so I can have blood orange margaritas throughout the season. I'm sure that I will buy that along with the Banfi Chianti Classico and perhaps something new to try if that's in my budget on my next visit to this warehouse.

Elizabeth picked up a bottle to try with dinner. We couldn't find anything we loved the description for that was reasonably priced and completely different. I suggested a South American wine, maybe one from Chile, but they didn't seem to be represented well in this store. We returned to the Italian section and I suggested Valpolicella, a rich red wine from the Veneto region. I have a fond memory of drinking this specific wine in Piazza delle Erbe in Verona on my last trip to Italy in 2011. Elizabeth and I both liked this wine with so much going on, but I don't believe either of us loved it. I was glad this Valpolicella didn't have a note of spice, which I believe stopped me from buying it before. I would purchase it in the future.

For dinner, we tried a new recipe: balsamic chicken. We both love this dish, but wanted to find a decent recipe for it. This one was delicious! The chicken was so moist. This was the best way I have ever prepared chicken. I am happy to now have this recipe in my repertoire. We served it on a bed of sauteed spinach. We also made my olive-oil roasted gold potatoes.

I have to sincerely thank my friend Elizabeth for helping me that day. I woke up with a cold on the previous day, Saturday. The morning of our outing, I sneezed and I suppose my muscles were tight at that moment because my back went out. I could function, but despite pain reliever (alternating with cold medicine!), was in serious pain every time I sat, bent or twisted for six days. She helped me carry the heavy liquids and probably helped more with the cooking. I am grateful.

I still did laundry at my parents' place as usual that Sunday afternoon/evening, but simply was not at my best to publish a blog post at the end of that particular exhausting day. I even set up those bottles and snapped those pictures while we were cooking, planning on publishing the same day, but it was too much. I am sorry that I didn't post. I will try to catch up on the blog, so please stay tuned!