Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Update and 90+ Cellars

Hi, friends! Did you have a good weekend? I continued my Friday night baking streak with a lemon meringue pie. The second season of MasterChef just wrapped up and one of the pressure tests/elimination challenges was baking a lemon meringue pie. Feeling inspired, and since John asked so nicely, I baked the pie for him. I made the crust, lemon curd, and meringue all from scratch. They were pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

Though somebody, who will not be named, managed to taste the pie before me. I finish baking around 10:15pm on Friday and it was too hot to eat right then. I let it cool overnight and hoped we could try the pie together in the morning. Well.....that unnamed somebody woke up in the middle of the night and decided to take a little nibble (see the bottom left picture). In his defense, I did bake the pie specifically for him.

In other news, we made a nice discovery at the local wine/beer/liquor store. The store was having wine tastings for Syrah/Shiraz/Sirah, as well as 90+ Cellars. By happy accident, we focused more of our efforts on the 90+ Cellars wines. Our favorites being the Riesling, French Fusion, and Shiraz. 

90+ Cellars is a unique concept and the first that I've heard of. 90+ Cellars is a virtual winery and doesn't own any vineyards. From the 90+ Cellars website, "We are taking advantage of the current economic conditions by purchasing high quality and highly rated finished wines direct from wineries at a discount and then passing the savings on to you. The wines we purchase must have a pedigree of 90 or higher ratings, best buy or gold medal accolades from a respected wine authority or publication."

These wineries either have a surplus of grapes or are having trouble selling their wines. In order to cut their losses and continue to sell, the wineries agree to sell their wine to 90+ Cellars at a discount. The wineries will also bottle and label the wine for 90+. In return, 90+ Cellars gives those wineries complete anonymity and passes the savings on to us.

I'm not a wine expert, so knowing I'm getting a high quality bottle of wine at a great price is very appealing. The prices at the store ranged from $9.99 to $13.99 (sale prices of $8.99 to $12.59). According to the distributor, these bottles would normally run in the $20's, possibly higher, depending on the Lot. As a point of reference, we usually buy wine that's well under $10 from Trader Joe's.

As you can tell from the pictures, a bottle of Shiraz (Lot 37) came home with us. It's out of McLaren Vale in Australia. The description reads, "Inky in color with seductive aromas of spicy dark fruit and perfumed plums. The wine is full-bodied, round, and juicy with subtle trails of vanilla in the finish. You'll love this wine with savory short ribs, hearty stews, or a juicy cheeseburger off the grill."

I definitely picked up on the spiciness and juiciness. As suggested by the label, we enjoyed the wine with grilled cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, and grilled zucchini. It was the perfect paring for the perfect summer night. And was definitely better than our usual culprits from TJ's.

If 90+ Cellars sounds like a good idea to you, check here to see if their wine is available near you. Chicago readers, it looks like they're available at Binny's. I know we'll probably be picking up a few more bottles in the future.

Full disclosure: I'm not being compensated by 90+ Cellars for this post. The opinions are my own. I just wanted to share a great product with you.

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1 comment:

  1. I'll have to check out 90+ Cellars... I'm not a wine expert either, so I totally agree--knowing it's high-quality wine at a good price would be fantastic.


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