Jul 23, 2011

Sometimes I need to wine

There was a time, pre-Boy, when The Husband and I were really into wine.  We'd go to wine tastings (free wine, dudes!), visit wineries in the Hill Country when we lived in TX, we even stomped grapes and put our juicy footprints on t-shirts.

But when the short guy constantly walks in the room to update us on how many zombies he's killed with a pea shooter and how many times the dog has farted in the past 10 minutes...

Well, it's just hard to concentrate on the fine subtleties of wine.

So when I saw that the I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "Bevvies Week," I had the perfect excuse to allons a Lafayette and visit one of my favorite wine shops:
Marcello's on Johnston Street.  They have a great selection, always have a special going on, and the wine guy is very helpful and knowledgeable...not to mention hilarious.

I went in with my mind set on making Jamie Oliver's Strawberry Champagne, and grabbed a bottle of a beautiful-looking rosé sparkling wine.  I'll confess to the three things that drew me in: (1) it was on sale, (2) the label had fleurs de lis (as if I wouldn't fall for that), (3) it was pretty.  Priorities, people!  Just as I was second guessing my choice, Wine Guy appeared.  I think his name is Pete, but let's call him Wine Guy in case I'm wrong.

Wine Guy walked up to my husband...
WG: "Sir, is this lady bothering you?"
Husband: "Not nearly enough."
And then wise cracks all around.  Most having to do with my ability to cave under the influence.  Maybe I should have been offended.  But I wasn't.  Good times.

But back to the serious business of making a Jamie Oliver bev.  I wondered if this demi-sec wine plus sweet strawberries would be too much.  After explaining to Wine Guy the what and the why of this Jamie Oliver project (which he thought was cool, or at least pretended), he suggested using cherries.  Aha!  Not too sweet.  Don't have to worry about catching pesky seeds with a sieve.  The color of the cherries would go nicely with the color of the wine--Wine Guy's observation.  Cherries were currently on sale--my observation.  Wine Guy is pretty darn smart.
wine used:
Maréchal Touraine Demi-sec Rosé

Strawberry Champagne
from Jamie at Home, by Jamie Oliver
printable version can be found

a leaf of fresh mint
3 large handfuls of strawberries, preferably wild ones, hulled, washed and drained
a bottle of bubbly, such as Prosecco or Champagne

This is the simplest recipe in the world and possibly one of the best Champagne cocktails I’ve ever tasted. A great way to start a summer dinner or party.
Place the mint leaf and the strawberries in a sieve. Push the strawberries through the sieve into a bowl, using the back of a spoon. (You’re not really after the pulp, just the juice.) Chill until you are ready to serve your drinks.

Divide the strawberry purée between six Champagne glasses, carefully fill with bubbly and enjoy!

Except we all forgot one thing.  The Husband and I are not sparkling wine people.  We make racy jokes with strangers in the middle of stores and giggle while we discuss the dog's gastrointestinal issues with The Boy.

While many people would like this type of drink, for us it was doomed from the start.  Building something around an ingredient you don't much care for doesn't have a high chance of success.


But on the bright side, Wine Guy introduced me to my new favorite thing: Chocolatier Red Decadance.  It's the kind of thing I dream about.  I love Wine Guy. 

He said it tastes like chocolate covered cherries and he was 100% right on.  From the first whiff, I knew I would be into this.  I so very much am.

This red wine is infused with dark chocolate.  Normally, I'm snooty about add-ins when it comes to wine.  Normally, I'd want to taste the nuances of a wine--the chocolate, the citrus, the blackberry, the whatever--and have it be from the actual wine.  But I'll make an exception in this case.  And in this case The Husband and I made an entire bottle in one evening exception. 

Hope I didn't bother him too much.

This post is part of Bevvies week @ I Heart Cooking Clubs...currently cooking the recipes of Jamie Oliver.  For more info:


  1. Se you still have your groove with wine. Everyone needs a good local wine guy. Looks like you have yours.

    Great post.


  2. Wine Guy sounds like an awesome sales guy who really knows his stuff. I think the cherries in place of the strawberries is a great idea BUT I'm really into the idea of the dark chocolate infused wine. Um yeah...I think I could easily knock back a bottle of that:)

  3. Chocolate cherry wine??? Seriously?! Where do I get this!!

  4. I could use a glass or two of that strawberry champagne of jamie's right now. I haven't partaken in a spiked beverage for one week now, and I'm thinking, "is this for real?" Sounds so good; thanks for a great post!

  5. I'm laughing so hard at your husband's comment!! Too funny.

    I do love sparkling wine, so this sounds right up my alley.

    Hey guess what? I have red tomatoes finally... Garden Wednesday, watch out!! LOL

  6. Loved the story! OMG dog farts are insanely smelly, at least mines is, my dog's not me....
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Count me in for the chocolate wine! I'd like the cherry champagne, too. You can keep your dog. I have three. 'nuff said about the farts, LOL!

  8. I adore sparkling wine (well, all wine actually) so there's no doubt I would love this. Thanks for my morning chuckle!

  9. I do love sparkling wine but would have to go with the strawberries (or raspberries for that matter) over cherries. I can only eat cherries off the stem. Any other version doesn't go over well (which negates the chocolate covered cherry stuff). What you made does look fantastic!

  10. I always look forward to reading your posts, since you are such a great story teller! I'm with you though, not a big fan of the bubbly stuff. Not that chocolate infused wine.... it wouldn't stand a chance, LOL.

  11. Cherries are a perfect choice for this. I am sorry you didn't like it more but happy that you found a fun new wine to love. ;-)

  12. Cheeries and chocolate - a heavenly match! Mouth-watering photos you put up for us.

  13. I do love sparkling wine once in a while - and cherries are the perfect choice!
    The other bottle looks really interesting too, I haven't seen it up here.
    Bevvies week was one I was really looking forward to - and the only IHCC week I have ever missed! Ugh. I'll have to do a bevvie on the side of my dish this week, just to make up. ;-)

  14. Haha I had to laugh at that wine shop dialogue! Sounds like something my parents would say to each other, in a cute way!

    This champagne sounds utterly delicious! I'm a sucker for anything sparkling.

  15. I think that I know that wine guy at Marcello's! lol Both of these sound fab and I will definitely have to try them. Thanks for sharing!

  16. two drinks in one post,score! I totally love cherries and with the rose' that must have be a perfect cocktail!


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