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This week in MoneyPenny - Tuesday July 28th 2009

This week in Moneypenny:
Hey, kids. shake it loose together...

Miss Moneypenny has been working hard for ya.

As a lover of Michigan, I always seek to discover the best that the Mitten has to offer.

This time, I discovered WINE!

And the discovery was really fun.

On a recent Saturday we took a drive to Dundee, MI, to the St. Julian store. My folks swear by their red wine vinegar for salads and buy it by the case. They gave us a bottle and I immediately fell in love with the stuff. It makes salad dressing and marinades wonderfully delicious and easy. When I ran out, I went online and saw that St. Julian's has the largest and oldest winery in Michigan and that they have several different kinds of wine.

This was all it took for me to grab

my assistant and get in the car for an MCB roadtrip.

The actual winery is in Paw Paw and looks like a lovely place to visit with tours and events, but a bit much of a drive. So we went to the store in Dundee right across the street from Cabela's. It's a large wine store, with a nice tasting bar and plenty of stuff to pick from. They offered us case price, so we grabbed 6 bottles of their seasoned vinegar and took a trip around the floor to examine each wine and scratch our heads.

We admittedly don't know anything about wine.
Just that we like it a lot.
The nice girl at the bar noticed our struggle and let us taste several of their delightful products. We picked out our favorite 6, which took all of a few minutes, then merrily wandered over to Cabela's with our tiny buzz.
Nothing like roaming a colossal hunting goods store
when you're a bit tipsy.
Those creepy, omnipresent stuffed animals are trying to look all stoic,
but I'm convinced they're watching and listening as people shop.

When we got home, we didn't really remember most of what we had picked out. So in order to write to you fine folks about each wine, we had no choice but to spend the week drinking it. It was a tough call to action, but for the sake of journalism we braved through it.

St. Julian Simply Red: $8.49
A pleasant every-day red that is easy to drink. All of the Michigan reds seem a little sweeter, less dry than we're used to but I found it refreshing. This was perfect with snacks on a hot day.

St. Julian Michigan Cherry Wine: $7.99
I LOVED this. Slightly spicy and very cherry, my assistant was not a fan. But I'm a girl, and thought this was fantastic. The finishing taste is just like real cherry pie. I wanted to drink this in my backyard, so I just enjoyed it cold in a tumbler. It's that kind of unpretentious wine that still makes you feel like you're drinking something fancy.
If you like cherry, this is your Tenderoni.

St. Julian Red Wine Vinegar Salad Dressing:
This is THE stuff.
This is what we drove all the way out there for.
This makes the perfect base for marinade or salad dressing
and I love it so much I think I could drink it.
It makes everything a lovely color, too.

Miss Moneypenny's Ruby Salad Dressing:
Equal parts good olive oil and St. Julian salad dressing vinegar
with sea salt and cracked pepper to taste, and just a little bit of honey
Shake the hell out of it.

St. Julian Red Heron and Blue Heron: $7.19
These say semi-sweet on the bottle, which means sweet. I like the Red Heron, it is spicy and very grapey. This is good cold and could be good with dessert. It reminds me of sangria in a way. Which is a good thing.

Braganini Reserve Cabernet Franc: $19.99
This one was by far our favorite. Unfortunately it is the most expensive wine on my list, but we both really loved it when we tasted it at the store and just had to have it.

Drier than the other wines but still light.

We're actually saving this bottle for a good meal.

It deserves that much.

St. Julian Red: $8.49
Reminiscent of the Simply Red, this is a good table wine. My assistant drank this while I drank the Red Heron because he doesn't like much sweet, and he drank the whole bottle which means that this one must have been dry enough for his palate.

In the line of duty we've had a few wine-buzz adventures. My favorite was when we took a little walk down to the nearby train tracks to pick wild raspberries and busted a neighbor doing the same. She ran home and got us a fresh, deep purple jar of her homemade black raspberry jam; all made from wild Michigan raspberries. It is my favorite product of Michigan so far, and it made a lovely snack on toast with more of my wine.

Did I mention that this project was fun?

We will have to take on a few more of our editor's proposals
which is a leap of faith considering some of the last few thrown at us

To top it all off, we discovered recently that Faygo has four flavors still made with real sugar and bottled in glass. Sadly, none of the flavors are Rock n Rye, but we made due with Red Pop. After a long day of wine drinking and breezy Michigan summer, I was like a slap-happy, drunken little kid with my glass bottle of pop.

So from all of this I have learned that wine is fun and not snobby, that Michigan is bountiful, and only the BEST stuff comes in glass bottles and jars.

See? Drinking makes you smart.

Bottoms us, everyone!

Now it's time to dry out and pack. One assignment we never turn down is covering the EODM for MCB. We're off to Canada to see Eagles Of Death Metal in London and Kitchener! You didn't think I was gonna get all soft and boring, just drinking in my back yard all day, didja? Well, maybe someday. But not this week. Stay tuned for a mega-dose of super sexy rock-n-roll madness comin your way. The EODM never, ever disappoint. We'll bring 'em some Detroit Steam and give the Devil all your Motorcity love!