When we got married back in 1983, we watched the finale of M*A*S*H on television. It was billed as ‘the’ television event of all time. For two and a half hours, we muddled through a mediocre script with some really good actors who knew that this was the end. And, in the end, it was, at that time, the highest rated show ever watched. A few years later we got caught up in a new Bill Cosby sitcom – The Cosby Show – we couldn’t miss a Thursday night show . . . especially when it led into Miami Vice! But, as the kids grew up (they always do!), the show lost its’ luster. The concept of introducing new characters to replace the ones that got ‘too old’ for the show kind of wore us out! Around this same time, we got heavily involved in L.A. Law with its ensemble cast and ‘compelling’ story lines, we rarely missed an episode. But, just like the sitcoms, as characters “wore out their welcome” or became too unbelievable to believe, the show lost its luster as well. (Guess we showed our age a bit here – not really followers of Gossip Girl or Real Housewives of New Jersey – my how TV has changed).
Magnum P.I., Cheers, Mad About You, China Beach, Friends, Seinfeld, Dallas (can’t bear to watch the “new” Dallas), Falcon’s Crest – the field is littered with shows that had a meteoric rise in audience appeal, but died a quick and painful death with the loss of characters and actors. Over the years, network television has lost gargantuan ratings to the cable channels that because of their niche programming, just keeps eating away at their audience and, no doubt their ad revenues. Fast forward to today and it is a RARE night that the television finds ANY of the local broadcast channels. A combination of washed up programming with poor concepts has made network viewing passe’ at best. (Unless, of course, a football game or playoff baseball game is on!) We have settled in and have found a HUGE following for a show on of all places the Food Network. On Tuesday nights, you will normally find us watching, no – make that, loving, Chopped at 9 p.m. This show has captured our attention for, at least the last five (5) years. And, what a concept – four chefs from a variety of restaurant and other culinary backgrounds – all working with the same ingredients to create an appetizer and then an entree and lastly, a dessert. The catch is that after each round, one of the chef’s gets ‘chopped’ as in bye-bye. What you end up with at the end of the show are the last two chef’s making a dessert and facing “the chopping block” for a chance at $10,000. While this may not be ‘life-changing’ television . . . it is highly entertaining, clean, educational and is a perfect venue for tasting wine.
As we watched tonight’s episode of Chopped, tilefish, spaghetti-o’s, miniature pineapples, honey comb cereal to name a few, filled their baskets, we decided that another Zinfandel was in order, so we pulled out a 2007 G Di’Arie Zinfandel, and we were really pleasantly surprised. Upon opening – a screw top – the nose was less than exciting and the taste – well, just plain olde’ too tart. We thought for sure that we’d be writing about a DUD; however, this wine began to open up and the true zin qualities began to emerge. From raspberries and black pepper to wild herbs and a smooth, toasted oak and dark chocolate finish, we were really impressed with the wine. This one, from Twin Liquors’ 75th Annivesary Sale, was less than $10 a bottle. Being big Zinfandel fans, this is probably a wine best enjoyed among other zin fans – it’s not big and bold, but it’s tasty. It’s not super peppery but it has some spice and when combined with the ingredients in the basket on Chopped, we found that it was the perfect way to wrap up our Tuesday.
So now you know that on Tuesday nights around 9 p.m., we’ll be settling in for another NEW episode of ‘Chopped’ . . . and the chances are GOOD that we’ll be breaking out that night’s wine for sampling while we enjoy a show whose characters change every week, but the end result is always delicious. So, regardless of what your day serves you up tomorrow – who knows, you might get some tilefish and spaghetti-o’s tossed your way, make the best day of it you can – remember to add in some spice to make everything better.
Please be sure to enjoy your wine responsibly and recycle when ever possible!