Enjoy, and Repeat

TryWine1

The beautiful city of St. Petersburg, FL has my heart.  And I knew it before I even arrived. I had no plans or any intentions of doing anything touristy, or anything specific. That’s not my style.

Celebrating Summer is my style.  Happy First Day of Summer to YOU!

I just go in with the idea that I’m going to enjoy myself the best that I can, and let everything else fall into place and come to me, and to find me.   In many ways I succeeded, and in a few others maybe the experiences didn’t feel organic.  If you’re self aware, you know the difference.

TryWineOriginal1

This is where I’m torn about Try Wine, which is a concept I’ve been a part of in two other cities, and presented in two other posts.  One with great success, and one that has since moved on.

The microchip and sample combination is something that can work in the right setting, the right location, and most importantly with the right people.

TryWineFront

On this night, it was quiet, and that is exactly what I was looking for.  But something in the atmosphere felt rushed.  My friends and I got there with under an hour to spare, so there was plenty of time to sample a plentiful amount of wines.  But somewhere along the way I just wanted a glass or two.

I want to thank Kristen who was my guide to where the various varietals and explained the process and price breakdowns, because if you don’t pay attention you will get a small pour that may cost more than a glass in most places.   I’ve made that mistake before.

There’s no need to get into every wine I tried, as that would be boring.  But I will mention one that stuck out and its counterpart.

The Red Blend (tasting notes can be found here) from Conundrum Wines has an aura about it.  The flavors linger long after each sip.  There’s your dark fruits and berries, but the true stand out is the cocoa and the chocolate.  And it doesn’t appear right away.  It shows up right near the end to enhance a wine that maybe didn’t need any more enhancing, but that’s what makes this what it is.

TryWineConundrumGlass

There’s wines we drink that are good, maybe even great, and then we forget about them. I’m not sure overall how I’m feeling about this wine.  It’s great and it’s still on my mind that I’m writing about it.  But there was something else about this I can’t put my finger on.  I just wish I had more time to appreciate it.  Maybe that’s what’s bothering me.  The experience felt rush and partly my own doing.

The White Blend (notes can be found here) on the other hand needed a few minutes. And it’s funny for me to say that I wine coming from a tap needed a few minutes to breathe. But it needed a few minutes to breathe.  This is a summer wine in all areas.   I tasted summer fruits but not sure what exactly.  The notes describe honeysuckle and coconut on the nose.  I wish I could say I got a helping of both.  Maybe a little more of the former but that’s about it.    This is more of a white to enjoy and not over analyze too much.  And the same goes for most, if not all, wines.  I would go out of my way to find the rest.  The white is something many would love, but it would take more time to grow on me.

TryWineConundrumWhite

Both are with a retail price of $20 and up, so they carry some weight but might be outside of what I would pay for either.

I do wish in hindsight that I had some food to pair with either of these pours.   I might have a different appreciation for the wines and for the experience in general.

There will a future engagement with hopefully more time to appreciate what’s going on. Along with that, they are moving to bigger location.   They’ve outgrown where they are now and are moving up the street.   I look forward to visiting them in their new home when I’m back.  And I will be back.  And soon.

For more on their current list of wines click here, their food menu, and their list of events.

Here’s more on Conundrum Wines, where to purchase online, and where you can find their wines near you.

This is going to be a great Summer and I look forward to more exciting wines, and a return visit to Try Wine’s new location soon.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

Rosé Come Out Tonight

RoseWithFood4

National Rosé Day is traditionally celebrated on  the second Saturday of June each year.  I would be lying if I said I had known this fact for a long time.   But thanks in part to many of my friends who love Rosé not just in this gorgeous warm weather months, but whenever they get the chance.  And I do mean whenever.

Many of my friends exclusively drink Rosé and nothing else.  I feel as if I’ve said this about particular wines and grapes before.

It’s a well known fact that Rosé may be the oldest wine there ever is and ever was.  And it can be used from many different grapes.  It makes the possibilities and the creativity endless.  But at the end of the day most of us just want a wine that tastes good, is affordable, and enjoyable either with friends of in the comfort of solitude.

For such a special day I didn’t want to fall into the added pressure of having to find this most amazing Rosé that has to stand above all the rest.  You know sometimes without thinking too hard, that will happen.   In this instance I went with one with a charming and enchanted label, along with the fact that it was a mere $10.00

RoseCotesDisplay

The 2016 Reserve De La Dame A L’Oiseau, Rosé has one of the more majestic and captivating label you’ll find on a wine bottle.  Yes I did judge a bottle by its over, but in the right way.  And that’s half the battle.

RoseCotesNotes

And I’m thinking, oh this is the Côtes du Rhône region. This has to be good.  I love Côtes du Rhône!

RoseUpClose

I believe in previous years I’ve had this selection from Vineyard Property Association (more can be learned here), and the fact that I only believe and don’t fully remember tells me that the wine didn’t resonate with me, good or bad.

RoseUpClose2

What has happened since is more or less the same.

RoseWithFood

The lighter pink color would make you think it would taste a bit lighter.  I would say this is more on the medium side.  But it just didn’t wow me.   And this is not based on the fact that I’m not a regular Rosé drinker (yet I’ve been starting to drink semi-regularly now as the weather gets glorious), but something just didn’t make this stand out.

RoseWithFood2

And for many of us it doesn’t matter.  I imagine in certain circumstances this wine would be perfect.  And many people are going to love this.  This is just my opinion, but even after a few minutes of breathing time, it didn’t get any better for me.  There’s aromas and tastes of fruit.  You could say strawberry, raspberries, and many other berries for that matter. But it doesn’t matter.  This is an ok wine and a reasonable price.

RoseWithFood7

If I had this with friends and the setting was perfect, I might be singing a different tune. No I’m not backing away from my opinion.  I’m making the point that I think has happened to many of us.  The same wines we had in one setting, may not work in another.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a wine tasting and had multiple wines that tasted like the greatest thing on Earth.  Yet only to go home and have that same wine a day or week later and wondering what went wrong.  Maybe it was the excitement of the moment.  This is what this wine reminds me of.  I think somewhere else I might like this.

RoseWithFood8

I did have this one alone but only could finish a glass.   I did my best to enjoy my glass with a little snack of meat, cheese, and crackers.  That’s another great thing about Rosé. It can pair with a multitude of foods and in a multitude of settings.

I’ve seen this label in many a wine shoppe, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.  If you want more information (and maybe where you can find the bottle in your area) from the importer, LVDH, their information can be found here.

Technically we have yet to reach Summer.  And I want to savor every minute and second of that fact.  I also hope to savor more charming Rosé wines as the weather continues to be breathtaking.  And I hope future Rosé selections will do the same, be breathtaking…

RoseWithFood6

Thanks so much.

Ideen

Can Every Wine Taste Like This?

MezzeRhone5

No that’s not possible and it would take the fun out of it.   However, the 2014 Domaine Bethet-Rayne Cotes Du Rhone Rouge (yeah that’s a mouthful) is one of those bottles that takes me back to why I got into red wines in the first place.

I have no concrete explanation or inspiring reason other than the dark fruits and the stronger tannins makes this a wine you can drink nearly all year round.  I say nearly because as it gets hotter, this wine, along with most medium-to-full bodies reds, would be better served indoors.

But for the purposes of this event, this is a continuation of last weeks’ marathon, which never intended to be, at the great restaurant, Mezze, in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.

What meant to be just one or two glasses of wine, turned into two bottles between some friends.  And there was everything right with this.  And then everything right some more. After we enjoyed that thrilling white the transition into a red felt like the organic and proper transition at the time.

MezzeRhone6

So per our servers’ suggestion and a mutual agreement we went with this Rhone.  It’s a bottle I’ve never recalled seeing in my local wine or spirits shoppe.  And have yet to see since.

Maybe Mezze is onto something.   Our two bottles were not necessarily the most obscure, but, they almost seem exclusive to them.  That’s quite the draw.  And you either need to be unique or be ignored.

Often times we see many restaurants carry a mix of standard labels and a few unique wines to stand out from the crowd.  Others’ only carry the bottles that are readily available in stores for half the price, if not more.  And there’s no right or wrong to any of this.  But when I find a gem like this and can’t find it anywhere else, it will make me want to come back the source.  Maybe this is a unique scenario but this is smart business.

MezzeRhone4

This wine is the essence of Spring and early Summer.  Look at that color?  It has a little fruitier and dare I use a wine term, jammier, look to it.  It shines brighter than many reds and Rhones you will have.  Which makes me pleasantly surprised how close to full bodied it is.

I’m going to steal part of the synopsis here but it does read supple tannic structure, and that is spot on.  Without reading that, you would pick up on this and be amazed but how well put together this wine is.   I just wish I could find it in a store near me so I could have this as part of my regular rotation.

MezzeRhone2

As a first time though I’m thrilled I got to share it with friends in a beautiful outdoor setting.  30 minutes became an hour, an hour became longer, and you know how the rest goes.   The olives that paired with this and our white I wrote about last week really hit the spot.  Lighter fare on a warmer day is always going to pay dividends to your spirit, your body, and overall well-being after the fact.

This is a wine to savor, appreciate, and enjoy with every sip.  That’s how a good wine should be.  That’s how a good life should be.

For those interested in find out more, here is a link to the wineries’ site.

I don’t remember what we paid for the wine here (and in many ways it’s priceless), but websites listed it between $15-20 and that’s more than fair and more than reasonable.

What may be of more assistance is the local distributor is Elite Wine Imports based out of Northern Virginia.

And finally for more on Mezze click here.  They’ve always done my friends and I a great service when it comes to food, vino, and top of the line service.

 

Lets do it again sometime, shall we?

Ideen

 

Yeah So Far, It’s Alright…

MezzeWine2

My favorite experiences involving wine or just about anything are the ones that were never planned.    There are a plethora of those experiences we only document in our minds, unless we keep a diary, journal, blog, or something similar.

But for the most part the great majority of those memories are the ones you share later and hopefully when they come up they’re done in an organic fashion as close to the experience itself.

National Wine Day was on May 25th.  I’m all for any excuse to drink wine but do you really need one?  I’m not sure how official, organic, or inviting (yes it’s very inviting) this holiday is but I will honor it just the same.

A random meeting with some close friends back way back in April, led to me trying a wine I ordinarily wouldn’t try.  Well that’s not necessarily true.   I’ll try anything.  But I’m also guilty of falling into comfort zones.  But on this day I went in a different direction.

MezzeWine1

The location was Mezze Restaurant in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD and the wine per our awesome server’s suggestion was the 2016 Tetramythos Malagousia from Tetramythos Wines of Greece.

I don’t pretend to know a thing about grapes or wines from Greece.  This link should be able to help you on all counts.

MezzeWine4

What I found was I drank this a little too quickly.  And I mean much quicker than I intended or truly realized.  I think outdoor seating is a dynamic that correlates into food, beverage, and the entire experience being that much better.

With good people means good conversation, and everything just coming together perfectly.  Something about this wine just vibed well with the day.  It was sweet but not too sweet.  It had hints of tropical fruits but it didn’t overpower the grape and the wine itself.

Along with that it had some intangibles that might be too good for words.  Ok let me not too be too overly dramatic or philosophical.  It’s a great white wine from a winery I’ve never heard of, doing a grape that I’ve been introduced to for this first time, all the justice in the world.

To be fair I have no frame of reference for how other comparable wine well, compare.

But I even made the statement to my friends that this is one of the quickest sips of a wine I’ve ever had the pleasure in partaking in.  When I caught myself in the act I decided to take it down a notch.

After the initial sample, I was set on only getting a glass, but we went with a bottle.  And the bottle never stood a chance.  That’s a compliment by the way.  It was done in no time.

I’ve never seen this wine sold in stores.  I’ve never seen in sold in a restaurant, until this day.  Now I’m going to keep my eye on this brand, this wine, and other Greek wines when I visit Mediterranean restaurants such as Mezze.

However, if you’re looking for this or similar wines, Dionysos Imports out of the Nothern Virginia area might be able to steer you in the right direction.  I make no promises, I just post what I see on the back of the label.

MezzeWine3

Speaking of which, I was enamored with the label.  It has a certain understated yet charming look about it that just draws you in.  The wine itself accomplished the same thing.  It’s a great change of pace from the whites you and I might usually have, when the weather is nice and the sun is shining.

Oh the sun was shining on this day.   Because this gathering of gurus was so exhilarating it may have earned a second post for next week.  We may also explore to the food of Mezze as well.

MezzeWine5

For now I will appreciate all the joys of this wine and look forward to next week, and hopefully the next time I’m at Mezze maybe trying another rousing and stirring varietal.

Have a blessed one,

Ideen

 

 

Graduation

LionhoundParty3

By this time all it’s likely someone close to you has either graduated or is about to graduate.  It’s a beautiful thing in so many respects.  It’s the beginning, the end, and culmination of everything.  You worked hard for this, your family worked hard for this, friends, and everyone in between.  Now it’s time to celebrate!

This is a congratulations to my cousin on graduating.  And I don’t mean just graduating. It’s of the highest level possible.  What that entails is important but it’s one of those things that’s still so personal, so beautiful, and warms the heart that it’s just too remarkable to expound correctly.

But I’m going to do my best when it comes to the celebration and to the party.

You may find that a momentous and monumental celebration might lead you to overthink what to bring to a party, whether it’s wine, food, or a dessert.

Now I’ve been to parties that my family has either held or attended and they always do it nice.  They go above and beyond, spare no expense, and want to make everyone invited feel like family in the process.  That’s what life is all about. So that may add to the pressure.

I didn’t know it ahead of time but the masterful and incredible food spread may have had a hand in what I brought.

Luckily, there were options for wine, red and white, and other alcoholic beverages that if myself or any other guest may have made a misstep, it wouldn’t have been noticed.

Regardless of that, you still want to bring a wine that everyone will enjoy, that others will sip, so you get that sense of validation and satisfaction when your bottle is completed. It’s a glorious feeling and a little ego boost.

LionhoundBottle

How my wine turned out I truly don’t know.  And for big picture reasons, it really doesn’t matter.  But the 2015 Lion Hound Red from Ridgeback Wines, of South Africa (for more on the winery click here) is a grower.  For more on these wines you can also find more information from the importer Cape Starz Wine.

LionhoundNotes

The unique flavors are hard to describe.  And once again, none of that is truly important when you’re in a celebration to remember.

I brought it as a gift, with no intention (well, maybe) in the back of my mind that this was going to make this blog.  And I mean that with all the respect in the world.  I was just as well let this marinate with all the other wines and have the hosts open it in their own time.

Well it felt like time.

I’m a huge animal lover and the Rhodesian Ridgeback is not a dog I see everyday.  But it’s one I’ve had a few encounters with and thought they were the most beautiful of creatures.  That has no bearing on why I bought this bottle.  Cute or artistic depictions of animals on a label would never draw anyone in.  Not your truly either.  No, never.   ‘Hehe’.

The $9 price tag didn’t hurt either.

But this truly hard to describe.  It’s a mix of so many grapes and 10 months of aging in French Oak which leads to a blend that I can only explain and sweet, spicy, dry, and impression lasting.  I kind of invented that last term.

The synopsis of the 2013 vintage mentions dark cherries, plum, licorice, with hints of cigar box and wood spice.   Yes you read that correctly.  Your palates and guesses are as good as mine.

This is a full bodied wine that may taste like a medium wine to some but this one has got some potency to it.   There’s lots of grapes to love (Shiraz, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier) which make this so intense and full of life.  Literally full of life.

I left before the wine was kicked.  So I can’t tell you other people’s impressions or thoughts, but there was a lot of wine, a lot of food, and a lot of excitement that I’m more than grateful just to have been a part of this awesome coronation and event based on love and of celebrating the end of a journey, but the creation and continuation of others.

LionhoundParty

Beautiful.

More importantly, so was this party.  There was and is so much to be grateful for.  Not only is a celebration of family success, but it’s also a celebration of family.  Any chance to hang out with family, needs to excuse or explanation.  Sometimes the best reason is no reason, but sometimes the best reason is also of celebration.

I love my family and I’m so grateful to have been a part of this.  And I’m so grateful that I’ve already spent time with family since this celebration last weekend.

It’s a beautiful near conclusion to Spring and a hopeful and inspirational sign of things to come for the summer and beyond.

LionhoundParty2

I’ll leave with just an image or two of the amazing food spread but not much.  Some memories are meant to be kept internal.

Pastries

This is one to be cherished forever.

Love,

Ideen

Preakness Special

RacetrackGlass3

All of a sudden we arrive at Preakness Week.   It’s been two years since a Triple Crown winner was crowned and I still think about those amazing races.  I’ll watch clips of them, not just during this time of year, but at opportune times where I feel I need some inspiration and something to lift me up and make my day a little better.

I’ve sporadically written about wines related to horse racing season but not specifically for a wine created for this upcoming weekend’s race at Pimlico.

RacetrackFront

The Racetrack Red from Fiore Winery & Distillery is just the right wine to celebrate the occasion, and before and after isn’t so bad either.

For my taste, it’s not the kind of wine I tend to go after regularly, but the semi sweetness works for the usually warm weather, the celebration, and I think many a wine drinker and even non-wine drinker will be able to appreciate what it has to offer.

The touch of Muscato doesn’t necessarily wow me but I think folks are going to love it. I’m also not a fan of Muscato to begin with, so that’s a personal thing.

And it’s easy to drink.  Chambourcin is a grape synonymous with Maryland.  It can be used to make medium to fuller reds to the sweeter variety that we have today. Regardless, the cherry flavor is hard to ignore as well as the high level of tannins, acidity, and thick skin.  It’s a wine that’s not to be sipped quickly.  Certain ones actually may take thicker skin to finish.  That’s not a joke or a pun.

At only $12.99 this is a wine that is also inviting on the price.   But how about that label and the notes?  If this isn’t a Maryland, and more specifically, Baltimore type of wine, then I give up.  This is one where you buy, not only for the label as a keepsake and souvenir, but to celebrate what a beautiful week this is for the the city and the state.

If you’re having a Preakness Party or pre-party what better way to celebrate than with this approachable and accommodating varietal.  And it goes with simple foods like you may be eating at a party such as pizza.  And pizza is fun.

RacetrackGlass

No black-eyed Susans but I hope these flowers will do.

RacetrackGlass2

Moving along I want to mention that Fiore has some of my favorite local wines period. I’ve been to their winery and I’m grateful that’s in a short drive from me.  Also by realizing I just said that, I don’t go there enough.  I’ve been to tastings and events at the venue and find it cozy like any good winery should.  The vibe and the energy feels like home.  Well it’s near home, but you know what I’m saying.

This is the first time I’ve written about Fiore and it won’t even be close to the last.  As I alluded to earlier, their Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon are two favorites of mine that I like to use for special times of celebration with friends, family, and other awesome people in my life.  And at around $20, the price is well worth splurging here and there when it feels right.

RacetrackGlass4

To purchase the Racetrack Red or any of their wines click here.  The link to find a store carrying it near you is there as well.

Yet I have something even more exciting to talk about.  If that wasn’t enough, I have posted this link that I found per a conversation I had yesterday.   This is the wine and this is the grape that also is synonymous with the northeast, the southeast, Maryland, and home.   It may not be next week but I look forward to talking about this special wine soon.  I’ve yet to try it myself but if the verdict is unanimous than there’s got to be something special about it right?   I believe we’re all in for a treat.

Enjoy Preakness, Enoy this wine, and enjoy each other.

This is really an awesome week to be in Maryland and in Baltimore, so enjoy…

Ideen

Celebrating Mom

NobleRose

When it comes to suggesting a wine for Mother’s Day there can be no debate.  It’s Rosé and only Rosé.  Actually it can be anything you want, but when it comes to traditions and suggestions, this is is one I’m a ardent supporter of.

For as long as this blog continues, this will be a tradition. This is why I’m a bit sad that I skipped last year for no good reason at all.  Maybe I was busy.  But you or I should never be too busy to celebrate a member of your family, whether it’s a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, aunt, cousin, and of course pet.

Here is my Mother’s Day post from two years ago.  Where did the time go?  Oh wait it’s over here!

I love this time of year.  The days are getting longer.  The days are going to continue to get longer.  And those smells.  I love the smell of freshly cut grass, flowers, roses, and Rosé.  Yes, Rosé has a distinct smell that is unforgettable.  I can’t explain it.

Actually yes I can, but it would take too long and take the fun out of the celebration.

NobleRoseBottle

The 2016 Vine Select Rosé from Noble Vines is one of those vintages that reminds me of why I love wine drinking in the first place.

NobleRoseBottle2

I’ve had the privilege over the past few years to sample their creative and endearing wines without looking into the what the numeric significance these wine entailed.  After reading the back of the label I’m even more grateful to have chosen this wine as a celebration of Mother’s and motherly figures in general.

NobleRose2

At only $12, the price is another reason to celebrate.  It’s a wine the has that distinct Rosé aroma with that iconic salmon color.

NobleRoseNote

But going back to the label… If more wineries explained themselves in an even more accessible fashion I would be supporting them without hesitation.  The notes mention that they call this their 515 Blend because that’s the time they open their wine at home. What’s even more endearing is they say they enjoy their flavors with any type of food.

NobleRose

Now I’m all for suggestions and the power of suggestion but I love when nothing else needs to be said.  Most wines can be paired with a wide variety of foods.  Just because a few obscure and sometimes over-the-top meals are suggested with wines doesn’t make that final.

There are some exceptions.  Some foods bring out the cheapness of a wine and I’ve had wines that had no business being paired with certain meals.  But a lot of this is common sense, and trial and error.  Many Rosé wines are created to be celebrated with all kinds of fun meals.

NobleRose4

They’re more importantly created to be celebrated with all kinds of wonderful people.

This is one of those wines that when shared with people, great conversation, and great energy that’s going to get better with time and with each sip.  It has that likability and sustainability.  Even though I had it on my own, I could see this becoming better when around great source energy.  The same can be said for many wines, but this certainly applies here.

To find Noble Wines in your area, this link should be of great assistance.

Adding to the theme of being approachable and accessible, their website is simple, to the point, and information is easily attainable.

I want to toast all the amazing mother’s, including mine.  And then I want to thank the motherly figures who are currently in my life and those who had a profound effect on me just once or twice.

You’re thought about and thanked about more than you know.   Whether you’re a mother to some kids, to some pets, or to something else glorious in this universe, it all matters. It’s all relevant and it’s all to be celebrated and appreciated.  Thank you so much.

And what Mother’s Day would be complete without some sort of floral arrangement. Luckily, the displays found me, and I didn’t have to go far to find some beautiful ones.

You’re all beautiful ones.

Love,

Ideen