2007 Shameless Hussy Merlot

Hard Row to Hoe is owned and operated by Judy and Don Phelps in Manson, Washington.  This particular Merlot comes from the Riverbend Vineyards located in the Wahluke Slope appellation.  It's yet another Merlot from Washington state that grabs you by the back of the head and says, "I'm gonna rock your world so buckle up  — Kansas is going bye bye."

You'd expect a red wine named Shameless Hussy to be like a riverboat dancer on Xanax.  For twenty bucks this wine delivers.  What is delivers depends on what you're looking for.  It's a sweeter, jammier fruit driven wine dealing black fruits like blackberry, black cherry and marionberry.  There's distinct vanilla and spices, that combined with the fruits gives you a sense of blackberry pie in a glass.

This is a fun wine.  There's no need to analyze it and pick out the tasting notes, just pour it in a glass and rock n' roll.  Every now and then I get a hankerin' for a jammy style wine, and this one will scratch that itch.  The alcohol level on the label says 13.8% but it comes across more like 14.7%.  It's a little hot at first so if you're looking for a food pairing, something with some heat will offset the sweetness.  Red meats like flank steak or new york strip do well with generous salt and pepper along with some chili flakes.  The chili flake part is the secret that'll make many red meats marry up with the hussy.  Visit the winery web page at HardRow.com.

I don't give scores, but I would suggest picking up a bottle to see what Shameless Hussy has to offer you.  If you don't like Merlot, Washington state might change your mind.  Cheers!

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Avocado, Apple and Field Greens Salad

Kitchen Still Life
Image by kiddharma via Flickr

. . Serves 4

INGREDIENTS 5 cups greens such as watercress 1/3 cut rice vinegar 1 TBSP finely chopped Walla Walla sweet onion ¼ cup finely chopped Fuji apple 4 TSP soy sauce 3 TBSP olive oil 1 ripe avocado 1 TSP sugar

In small bowl mix together vinegar, olive oil, onion, apple, sugar and soy sauce. Trim greens keeping thin stems and leaves only.  Toss greens with enough dressing to lightly coat greens.  Quarter, pit and peel avocado then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Toss with greens.  Serve on a chilled salad plate.

Wine Pairings: This is a pretty straight forward recipe that's quick, healthy and tasty. There's some nice tanginess from the soy and rice vinegar, which is offset by the creamy texture of a nice ripe avocado. You want a white wine, and probably one with some acidity that cuts through the avocado without tasting weird with the tanginess.  The apple helps bring it all together with a white like a French white like a Pouilly-Fuisse or Chablis.  Those are likely to be grown in limestone soils in climates that provide more acidity.  I recently had the Louis Jadot 2008 Pouilly-Fuisse and thought it was decent for the price:

Jadot is pretty widely available.  If you want to try something that's domestic, check out what they're doing in Washington's Horse Heaven Hills appellation.  Great stuff starting to come out of there at very reasonable prices.  One of my favorite places to visit is Walla Walla because the drive from Portland, Oregon to Walla Walla is incredible.  Woodward Canyon is one of the first wines I started collecting back in the day.  Their 2008 effort is awesome (like all their other wines).

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