This Wine Was Flirting With Me… (And I Really Liked It)

Upon first sip, this wine and I were in love… or maybe it was lust. We hadn’t really gotten to know each other yet. It was sexy and sophisticated but still flirty and fun. This is not a wine that takes itself too seriously. It is incredibly smooth and went down (almost too) easily. It made me want to put on my highest pair of black and red Christian Louboutins and go do something especially fabulous, preferably something resembling a hot date. Alas, I was just sitting alone in my boudoir (it’s a French wine so I can say that) thinking of how I would write about this seductive little number. I just kept thinking about how this wine had really grabbed my attention. My lack of reviews lately has definitely not been for my lack of research but just my lack of excitement about anything I’ve recently tried. Nothing has really made me perk up and pay attention. The mystery in this bottle will keep you interested all the way through to the end. It evolves and grows with each sip. I kept putting my nose to the glass to breathe in the sultry aroma. While it did have the standard black cherry notes, there was something floral there that I don’t know exactly how to describe except to tell you what I saw when I closed my eyes. I kept picturing dark exotic orchids and plum colored roses swirling together. It had more body and sass than any pinot noir I’ve had in a long time. It was a definite surprise, especially for the price. I found this at Kroger for around $11. That’s a steal! Please take my advice on this one and put Hob Nob Pinot Noir on your shopping list. This is one way to bring a little romance and spice into an otherwise ordinary evening at home. Who couldn’t use that?

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TTR Is STILL Partying For The Cause In Uptown!

In an effort to raise even MORE money for the Houston Red Cross, The Tasting Room in Uptown Park is throwing ANOTHER Party For The Cause this Saturday, September 27 and every Saturday after that until they reach their fundraising goal of $25,000! They raised over $10,000 this past Saturday. The rules are the same… $1 gets donated for every glass or bottle of wine or any pizza ordered. Let’s go raise some money for Houston! See you Saturday! XOXO, Mandee

Come Help Out This Saturday!

By help out I mean come over to the Tasting Room in Uptown Park for some wine and yummy food this Saturday! This all day event (Noon until Curfew) will feature live music, great food and wine, and festivities on the patio. What a great way to blow off some steam after all the trouble Ike has caused! It’s all about Houstonians helping Houstonians! TTR will donate $1 for every glass of wine, bottle of wine and every pizza sold between now and Saturday night to the Houston Red Cross. So come out Saturday and help us make sure it’s a sizeable donation! They are also accepting donations of non-perishable food and clothing for Ike victims. See you Saturday, September 20, at the Uptown Park Tasting Room!

Voice & SoVino… So Wonderful

If my birthday celebration was any indication of how this year is going to turn out, I think 26 is going to be pretty great. After a night spent with family and friends on Friday, Andrew and I had Saturday night to ourselves and it was such a treat. Ever since Voice opened in April at Hotel Icon in downtown Houston, I’ve been itching to try it. I’ve also wanted to try SoVino for a while now and I was so pleased with both places!

Mandee & Andrew At SoVino

Mandee & Andrew At SoVino

Walking into Voice, the decor and design of the resaurant are immediately impressive. It’s very cool and classy but fun at the same time with black and white cowhide barstools, velvet patterned drapes hanging from the very high ceiling and ornate gold trim everywhere. Leather chairs made for comfortable dining but we were seated at a table for two and it was so long that it felt like we were a mile away from each other. That was the only part of dinner that I didn’t love. It made it difficult to share things, which we always do, and even to have a conversation. The one thing that made up for the lack of gab was the awesome music they had playing in the background. Everything from the Rolling Stones to Michael Jackson made dinner a lot more entertaining. Enough about the atmosphere, let’s get to the good stuff. Food and wine!

We ordered by the glass since I was in the mood for white and he wanted red. They could have offered a few more options by the glass but overall their wine list looked pretty impressive and was very well priced. I would say it was definitely one of the best value wine lists I have seen in Houston. I thoroughly enjoyed my 2006 Van Duzer Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon. It was light, crisp and refreshing which is exactly what I wanted and expected. It was structured and balanced with a clean finish. It would go well with at least half the menu which made ordering dinner especially easy. I started off with the Mushroom Soup Cappuccino which was heavenly. Crimini mushroom soup topped with truffle foam and porcini powder. It almost plays with your mind a little when it first arrives in front of you in a coffee cup because it truly does look so much like a cappuccino. I then had the Maytag Blue Cheese Salad which was good but nothing to write home about. Andrew ordered the Asparagus Salad and they looked almost identical while they sounded completely different on the menu. For my entrée I had the special which was a Tazmanian Trout which looked and tasted like salmon. It was very good but I would order something else next time. Andrew started with the Composition Of Local Heirloom Tomatoes with goat cheese, black mission figs and arugula… very tasty but exactly what you would expect. I like that all of the ingredients are local. His entrée was to die for! He ordered the Venison Sous Vide with a sour cherry sauce. My mouth is watering just typing about it right now. It was so tender he didn’t even need a steak knife. It also paired beautifully with his Australian wine, a 2005 Loose End GSM (Grenache, Shiraz and Merlot) from Barossa Valley. It was fantastic and definitely a wine I plan on seeking out to enjoy at home. Perhaps the most exciting part of this meal were the Truffled Parmesan French Fries. Yes I said Truffled Parmesan French Fries. Little bites of HEAVEN is what those were! It was just silly how good they were. I would say they were better than dessert which is true blasphemy for a sweet-eater like me. Speaking of sweets… I can’t really complain. While it looked like they had several yummy choices, our waiter decided to order for us which we were ok with. Normally I wouldn’t have been but I think I may have been a little bit high on truffled french fries and my judgement was impaired. Before my delectable Study in Chocolate came out (and Andrew’s Warm Chocolate Cake) we had a champagne toast to celebrate my birthday. Like I always say, you can’t properly celebrate without some bubbles. We each had a glass of Leon Palais Brut Blanc de Blancs from Champagne, France and it was perfect. It was, in my opinion, everything a good glass of bubbles should be. It wasn’t too sweet, it had a gorgeous single line of bubbles coming straight up the middle of the flute and it went down easy. It was so good that it left me wanting more… which led us to SoVino.

Birthday Wine

I am actually headed back to SoVino this weekend because I didn’t get enough of it on my first trip. The atmosphere was fantastic. Here we were able to sit next to each other which was nice since we were so far apart at dinner. The lighting was dim and romantic, the music was good and the company was better. I decided to stick with bubbles and enjoyed two marvelous glasses of Mumm Napa Brut Prestige. I actually liked the Leon Palais better but would be happy to order this again as well. Andrew drank the 2003 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa which of course inspired me to go on some sort of rant about Oberon, the King of the Fairies, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s about as intellectual as I got that night. My brain was too overwhelmed with delicious food and wine to think about anything else. It was all in all perhaps the best birthday I have had to date and I am so excited to see where this year takes me!

Cheers!

Mandee