Grilled Artichokes – Tuscan


4 medium to large whole artichokes


1.5 cups olive oil

5 tablespoons Tuscan Bread-Dip Seasoning (

Aioli (prepare ahead of time and refrigerate)

3/4 Cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Tuscan Bread-Dip Seasoning (

**if you want a kick, add a touch of chili paste**

Cooking Instructions

1. Bring a large cauldron (or large sauce pan) filled with approximately 10 quarts of water to boil. Add 1.5 teaspoons salt.

2. Cut stems to within 1/2 inch; then slice artichokes in half lengthwise with a butcher knife. Cut 3/4 inch off the top of the artichokes to remove the tips of the prickly leaves.

3. Once water comes to a boil, add halved artichokes face up for 30 minutes, dunking occasionally.

4. After 30 minutes, turn halved artichokes face down for 15 minutes. Test doneness by tapping the heart with a fork or spoon until tender to the touch.


5. Remove from water and place on a cooling rack (heart side down) to drain for 20 minutes.

6. While waiting, take 2 gallon-sized ziplocks and fill each bag with:

• 3/4 cup olive oil

• 2 tablespoons Tuscan Bread-Dip Seasoning

7. After cooling, remove fuzz from the insides of the artichokes, along with any internal leaves that are loose.


8. Place 4 artichoke halves into each ziplock bag, coating with the marinade. Marinade a MINIMUM of 2 hours, preferably overnight.

9. Heat BBQ grill to ~400 degrees. Coat grate with Pam so the artichokes don’t stick. Place heart side UP and grill for 5 minutes. Flip heart side DOWN and grill for another 5 minutes, or until the heart is golden brown and slightly crispy.

10. Remove from heat; serve with aioli!!


1961 Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere Grand Vin Bordeaux

So this was the finale of the night.

I talked Don into getting us this wine since he had the hook up.  1961…..a 50 year old wine.  I have been drinking wine for over 16 years and I had never had the mindfulness to sit and really think about the intricate nature of making wine and where a wine came from.    Tonight I was put in my place by one of the most interesting wines I have ever had the pleasure of drinking.  I tasted and I drank it.  It was unreal!

We opened the bottle and Don thought it might have been corked.  He handed me the cork and I instantly knew it was fine.  It was a bordeaux for crying out loud.  LOL.  After 5 minutes it started to open up and I was so excited.

I have been fortunate to drink some mighty fine wines in my life.  Wines people dream of……Bond, Caymus Special Select, Insignia, Ridge Montebello, fine Burgundies from France, Chateau de Beaucastel CDP, etc.  This evening was different.  Maybe it was because the wine was older than I am and I know how far I have traveled as a person to be where I am at today.  Who knows?!?!?!

What I do know was the first smell was amazing.  50 years!!!  Dirt, Lilac, and a hint of black fruit meshed with a hint of oak/cedar.  I could not believe it was 50 years old and still smelled this fantastic.  It drank beautifully, it glided through my mouth and finished pretty strong.  Wow.  It was great.  After another 30 minutes this wine was wonderful.  It picked up some extra length and still had texture and complexity.  It was truly a pleasure to enjoy this wine with friends and loved ones.

This wine has traveled over the world.  The terroir spoke to me, shoot, the wine spoke to me.  It made me appreciate how the French mastered wine and could make a wine age so gracefully over 50 years.  12% alcohol, that is why their wine can age!  Thanks……………..what a lucky man I am!

1978 Chateau Cos D Estournes

First was the 1978, it was nice.  This was only the 3rd wine I have had that was made pre 1980.  It held together nicely.  The color was a bit coppery and aromas of earthy soil filled my nose.  First drink was interesting, it was quite layered which I didn’t expect.  After a touch of time it showed some good length combined with the rustic tannic nature you would expect from a nice bordeaux.  This was a treat just to have a wine of this caliber from this vintage.


1976 Ridge Montebello Cabernet

Yes, 1976!
We went out for Janell’s birthday and Don decided to get a bottle of 1976 since he had the ultimate connection.
The cork was a bit pushed in and moldy which is always makes your nerves a little sensitive.  Upon opening the cork was saturated but smelled very good.
The aroma was a pretty tannic with a touch of raspberry which was great to smell a little fruit.  The wine aged gracefully.  Upon first taste it was quite rustic with a definite taste of fine soil.
After about 45 minutes the wine was hitting its stride.  It had layers and had a nice finish.  Such a great wine for being about 34 years old.
Thanks Don and Janell!

2007 Dutton Goldfield Pinot Noir – Dutton Estate Russian River

Dan and I bought this one from because we are familiar with the Dutton Goldfield wines.  This wine is very predictable which is a great thing when good.  It is nice to be able get this wine at $25 and even better that we didn’t have to taste it to know it was a bargain!

Aromas of dark cherry cola smack you in the face followed by a touch of spice and smoke.  This wine has a touch of tart cranberry in the mouth followed by a lot of depth.  This wine explores every part of your mouth.  Great character and finish. (A-)

2009 Ferrari Carano – Fume Blanc

It has been way too long since I have posted last and it has also been a long time since I have had a Ferrari Carano wine.  🙂

Today is a fun day.  This weekend is my niece Ellie’s 2nd B Day.  My cousin is coming down from Napa and I am cooking dinner.  I am making Rosemary Foccacia and home made Pici pasta with a braised beef ragu.  I can’t wait.  Back to the wine…………..

Pineapple, grapefruit, and peaches on the nose.  Surprising acidity makes this wine very crisp and clean.  A hint of grass on the palette.  Good depth for a bottle you can find at the local grocery story for $10 – $15.  (B+)

2005 Chalk Hill Cabernet – Sonoma!

Whoa, what a pleasant surprise tonight.  I honestly thought Chalk Hill was in Napa.  So when I opened the bottle and had my first taste I thought to myself, nice, very nice.  After about 45 minutes of decanting the wine started to open very nicely.  I had bought steaks for dinner and some nice St Agur Blue Cheese. It was not until today when I found out this was a Sonoma wine.  Excellent job Chalk Hill!  Thats a compliment………….

Currant and black fruit open the nose to some herbal characteristics.  Normally, herbal can go one of two ways, Good or BAD.   This was good though.  Great balance, excellent tannins, good depth and plenty of fruit.  I think this is drinking excellent right now.  Perfect with our steaks. (A-)