Posts Tagged ‘Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel’

That’s right… I barbecue pizzas. What’s it to you?

September 24, 2011


I’m not saying I make pizza with barbecue sauce on it…

I make regular pizzas on my barbecue.

Here’s how…

Make sure your pizza dough is resting at room temperature before you start working with it.  Leave it on the counter, and start prepping your toppings…

The key is to pre-cook your veggies... Here I caramelized some onion with olive oil and garlic.

And here are some portabella mushrooms, sliced thinly and cooked to release their meaty flavor...

You know you've got to use simple fresh ingredients, so I snipped some basil from my garden.

So the thing about barbecuing a pizza is that you have to work quickly once the dough is on the grill.  Because of this, you must make sure that all of your toppings are ready to go before you throw anything over the fire.  I made two pizzas the other night, so I prepped my toppings like so…

Caramelized onions, portabella mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella for pizza number one...

Tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella for pizza number two.

Now time to bring out the dough!

I bought this stuff at Trader Joe’s for a few bucks, but you can make your own for a few cents…

Using hella flour on a cutting board, I prefer to stretch my dough by hand instead of rolling it. That's right. My hand is blurry. Don't judge me!

Be sure to preheat the grill to medium for 10 minutes while you are working the dough, then use your trusty pizza peel to transport the pizza to the fire…

Brush the dough with olive oil, and place it on the grill (oil side down) for 3 - 5 minutes. Brush the exposed side of the dough with olive oil while you are waiting.

Use the pizza peel to flip the dough. Immediately place all of the toppings on your pizza except for the cheese. I put tomatoes and fresh basil on this one...

This mutant pizza was topped with caramelized onion and portabella mushrooms.

Let the pizzas cook for another 5 – 7 minutes to get them all blistered and crunchy.  Throw on your cheese and slam down the lid with anger for the last minute.

Here’s how they turned out…

Tomato, fresh basil, and mozzarella... Bright and whimsical.

Caramelized onion, portabella mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella... Earthy and refined.

These pizzas were so delicious, they put me into a food coma.  When I awoke, I realized that I had tasting notes for a wine I had already reviewed before.  The results of which were surprising…

Trader Joe's 2010 Grower's Reserve Zinfandel from Paso Robles... Again!

The first time I reviewed the Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel I was not stoked.  This was a five dollar wine that I decanted for three hours… Just long enough for it to fall apart.  I paired it with a pulled pork sandwich, and it just didn’t work.  You can read the post yourself, or you can just trust me that I gave it an 84.

But this time…

This time it was different…

This time I popped and poured the wine immediately.

This time I paired it with two dope barbecued pizzas.

This time…

This time it worked!

Color: Red to purple.

Nose: Bright cherry and raspberry fruit.

Taste: Nice dark plums with bright cranberry and raspberry.  This medium weight wine gave a nice chalky (You know I’m ’bout it!) plum skin finnish, and paired nicely with both pizzas.

Score: I was hella stoked on this wine… this time.  It doesn’t have the backbone to age for a long time, but what it is bringing right now is dope.  Buy this wine for a green back at TJ’s, and drink it NOW… unless you’re driving… Why you are driving while reading this blog, I’ll never know… Pull over!  Give it an 89+ foo.

So… Here I am telling you to how much I loved a wine that I hated a few months ago…

Has this ever happened to you?

Was it bottle variation?

Has my palate changed?

Was it the difference in how long the wine was open?

Was it the food pairing?

Was it the food coma?

Was it some combination of these factors?

What do you think?

Leave a comment, and let me know…

Stay Rad,



Two wines. Two days. Can you dig it?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes, you decant a Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel for 3 hours.

Sometimes, that’s a bad idea.

Sometimes, you use the word “sometimes” at the beginning of a sentence, to set a mood.

Trader Joe's 2010 Grower's Reserve Zinfandel. Sometimes, you just gotta.

Look.  We got this Paso Robles zinfandel on Sunday afternoon for $4.99.  Kara asked if she should decant it.  I was like, “Sure”.  She popped it and poured it into the decanter.  Then I looked at my watch.

It was 2 o’clock.

We weren’t planning on having dinner until 5 at the earliest.

Listen.  I know that it never hurts to decant a wine.  It always helps.  Many times I’ll leave a bottle open overnight, and see improvement the next day.

But if you don’t know the wine…  It’s structure…  How it changes….  If you’re not sure about how it will last…  I would never go longer than an hour.

Eventually, all wines will fall apart.  The better the wine, the longer it takes for that to happen.

Do you feel me?

After making a T-Joe’s type of dinner, I sat down to try the wine.

BBQ pulled chicken w/ dijon broccoli slaw. Montel Jordan would be all, "Shadadada dap dabadahhhh. This is how we do it!"

Color:  This wine was straight purple.  When pouring it into the glass, I noticed that it was almost a light pink.

Nose:  Dusty strawberries and wood.  Hmmmmm.

Taste:  Jammy fruit.  There were these mouth-coating smooth tannins, a sharp cranberry, and a touch of cherry fruit roll-up.  Not bad.

But then…

I started diving into the food…

The dish I made was quite sweat in nature.  A Texas style, if you will.  After going back to the wine, the sweetness of the BBQ wiped out the jammy fruit.  What was left of the wine was this unpleasant acidity.  I figured that maybe it was just a bad food pairing, but after the meal, I went back to the wine and all I could taste was that same hollow gross acidity.

Score:  I was gonna give it an 86, but had to change it to an 84.

Sometimes, decanting is a good thing.

Sometimes, food and wine go together.

Sometimes, a wine falls apart on you.

Sometimes, food reveals flaws.

Shall we move on?

Today, Kara whipped together a really neat looking and tasting dinner…

Tabouleh cucumber romaine split and a simple salad w/ goat cheese. Pee Wee Herman would be all, "Mmmmmmm. Vegetably."

With it, she served up the Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  This wine was a gift from Thevegetarians for Kara’s birthday, so I didn’t bother looking up the price (that’s rude).  I’m sure you can find out how much it was by clicking the link on the wine.

Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay next to some balls.

Color:  Light gold.  This wine looks like chardonnay.

Nose:  Pear.  Apple.  Petrol.  Toast.  Not bad.

Taste:  The first thing I noticed was the mouthfeel.  This wine is THICK!  Very viscous.  It’s almost oily.  Also… this wine is a spicy oak bomb.  There are nice notes of apple and peach.  Like the zin from yesterday, I’m also noticing a fruit roll-up flavor in there.  There is a little custard on this wine.

This is a BIG chardonnay.  Almost too big, but not.

It did not pair well with the tabouleh.  I would love to try it with some vanilla ice cream.

Score:  I’m not going to give this wine a score, since it was a gift.  I did like it, however.  If I were going to score it, I’d give it an 87.

So there you have it.

Two wines in two days.

Sometimes, that’s how I roll.

Stay Rad,


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