Salud

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This is a celebration of close friends, a celebration of this life, and all the good that exists within that.

I want to congratulate some good friends who recently got engaged.

And when pals get engaged, you want to celebrate immediately, savor every moment, and enjoy it with some good libations.  And some good vibrations.  We had plenty of those, and then we had plenty of those.

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I’m so grateful I was included in the engagement celebration.  It was impromptu and organic as all the best experiences are.  For that, I’m so appreciative to be a part of something so beautiful.

This calls for a bit more elegant and pricier bottle of wine don’t you think?  It calls for the more sparking kind as well.  And the weather is now cooperative enough that going with a sparkling, white, or lighter red is going to work.   That does pain me to say but it’s mid September and at least much more wines are agreeable to the climate.

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I went with the necessary and always effective sparkling white.  If anything, it’s going to look good when you pour, in a glass, and of course in pictures.    And sometimes the label will draw you in too.

The Herbauges Luminescence Brut (for more on the wine and distributor click here) is exactly the kind of sparkling wine that fit this party perfectly.

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But what’s most important is the setting itself.  This is a fun group of people, and that is going to make any wine, any piece of food, and any moment you’re in that much better.

I spent $22 on this bottle.  And it never had a chance.  Actually nothing anybody brought had a chance.  I was lucky to get a glass and a half myself.  And I drank from a charming wine glass that fits where my friends with and fit entertaining mood in general.

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Was it worth spending $20+ on?  That can be debated.  For me, it tasted (for the small sample that I had) in between $10-$20, and that’s not based on any expert analysis.  It’s more of a feeling and instinct than anything else.

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The tasting notes can be found here. And the most endearing thing I read is “great looking bubbles’.  Those are the kinds of details and notes I can appreciate.  And anyone not into all the nuances of wine (and I’m one of them) can appreciate the inviting information.  Yes you might get hints of flowers, fruits, and as the synopsis reads ‘pastry’, the bubbles is what stands out.  And I was a fan of that before reading anything.

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Now about those pastries.  I love me some pastry, but to find hits of this takes a certain talent, or it’s once again a scent that hits a nerve or either resonates with you, or it’s one of those scents that had been a part of your day or significant memory that is lingering throughout the day.  I think I may have just made two of the same descriptions using different variations of words.  Whoops!

What is resonating is how fun this day was.  There was a great group of folks hanging out at a lovely house, with a beautiful set up of beverages and snacks, and since the weather was so glorious the party went outside for some outdoor activities.   We still have plenty of time in the season and in this life for organic, genuine, and positive experiences.

This is definitely one of the more positive ones someone can be a part of.

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As for the wine, I’ll always associate with this party.  Just like you have a certain food, drink, or memento that you associate with a certain place and time, the wine, among a few other things will always correlate with the fun day that everyone had.

Congratulations friends.

Salud,

Ideen

 

 

 

Bless The Blue Marlin

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I’m going to admit a little something here.   I made a booboo.  I’m not sure if I just spelled the word ‘booboo’ correctly.   But I digress.  I  completely forgot the actual wine I was supposed to write about in this weeks post.  But as I’m realizing this, at least for this week, it doesn’t matter.

I also needed help with the photography for this post.  However it was done, but it doesn’t matter.  In the end it was done and I’m grateful for my friends and I’m grateful fo my experience at the Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach, FL.

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This almost didn’t happen, because of my trip going at a frenetic place, but I’m so thankful it did.

My visit to the Gulf Coast of Florida only lasted five days but I got so much in that it felt like a lifetime.  The memories will surely last that long.  But it wasn’t the Blue Marlin itself that made this magical.

Good friends of mine have moved from the Baltimore area to many parts of Florida.  This was a first of several visits for me.  And while I’m sad my friends have left.  They’ve all moved on to something bigger, better, and the next adventure.  I’m more happy for them that they’ve found happiness.  It’s something we all deserve in this life, as much as possible.

The Blue Marlin was pure happiness.  But it was the outside bar that told the real story. For a few moments it felt like we were the only people in (or out) the bar.  And we were. But bigger than all of this, it also felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I honestly felt that for a few moments.  I may not have shared that with anyone at the time, but I just had this feeling of tranquility, peace, and harmony that should’t just happen on vacation, but as much as humanly possible.

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The charming bar outside is all we needed.  They had a perfectly simple list of cocktails, wines, and beer available at our disposal and within footsteps.  It’s a one-stop shop for everything.  And the live music set-up is about as picturesque as you’ll find.  The band was fantastic. Maybe it’s the serendipitous and unpredictability of how this day was going, but I felt so happy.  The environment is one where I’d like to think we’ve all been in from time to time, but maybe not enough.  At least for me, at least for this afternoon, I felt at home.

But just when you think I’ve seen it all, they had a just as equally stunning street food set-up, with just a few essential items.   However, for the sake of time I will focus on the sliders.   We tend to throw around greatest this and greatest that.   We might call certain meals, certain restaurants, and certain experiences life changing.  If we get to have so many of these then I’m all for it.  I like to be careful in what I apply ‘life changing’ to because if I say it so much, it loses it’s shine.  I think you know what I’m saying.

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This slider was life changing.  I’m just going to say it.  And my opinion is all my own, but I know I’m not alone.   Perhaps the perfection of this day made it taste that much better. Perhaps.   I think this was just art.   In terms of foodie culture and all that commotion, this is up there with the best burger I’ve ever eaten.   And I’m no expert on this.  But you or I don’t have to be.  This is world class cuisine.  I’m remembering now even more vividly how incredible this tasted.  You’ve got to be kidding me.   This was so great.

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Everything about this day was great.

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Once again I apologize for not discussing the wines.  We had Pinot Noit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.   Well I may not have had the Cab Sav, as it may have been too heavy for the season.  But nevertheless, everything was superb.  I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.

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For more on Blue Marlin, click here. Here is their menu, events list, and contact information.

I want to make one last thing clear.  All along had planned on writing this around mid September (I was here back in mid-June), and the timing could not be more appropriate.

I’m happy this beautiful area, nearby Anna Maria Island, and many other nearby places are overall still intact and will be opening for business soon.

More importantly, I’m grateful dear friends all across the coast are safe, secure, and will be able to get back to normal.   A great set of cities, towns, and resorts have been spared.

And I can’t wait to be back again…

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Take good care,

Ideen

Good Friends Gathering

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You don’t need wine to have an awesome gathering.  But it certainly helps.  So does good food.  I mean when was the last time you were with friends, either inside or dining (see!) out, which didn’t involve one or the other, or both.  And you can substitute wine for your favorite adult beverage.   I mean it happens.  Even the most serious of meetings involve something of sustenance.

And so it goes on.  I was invited to a quite gathering of friends recently, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I mean I’m close with the hosts, friends with many of the attendees, and I like a peaceful gathering.   The difference is that this was a get together for a show that so many people adore, and up until this event, I had only seen once.   Earlier in the season, I was invited to the premiere of this party, but chose to sit that one out.   For the finale, I think I just wanted to be around friends.

And with friends means food, it means wine, it and it means good times.

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I didn’t do any intense research on what wind to bring.  I was told stew was being served, so a medium bodied red wine is what came to mind.  No it’s not quite time to completely switch over to reds, but I will be mixing up the whites, reds, and hopefully a few more Rosé  as well.

In hindsight I’m glad the awkward change of the season lead to an awkward choice of wine.

The 2015 Reserva Malbec Petit Verdot from Oveja Negra is one of those wines that I can’t really get excited for.  I’ve had previous vintages and thought the same ting.  I’ve seen their bottles everywhere, and fortunately have never seen it priced for more than $10, so it does have that going for them.

There’s been gems and beauties that you can find under $10, but I can’t vouch for this one.  Yes there’s a lovely sheep on the label, but sometimes that isn’t enough.  This is coming from an animal lover.   But it’s a different kind of sheep.  Hmmm.. But enough about the label.

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This wine is dark. The berries are dark, there’s smoke, there’s pepper, but there might be other things that don’t make this the most welcoming of wines/  It’s simply a wine that you drink, might have it with some food, have another sip, and then you go do something else.

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This makes the goblet all the more apropos.

It’s not terrible but it’s not great.  It’s an average wine that won’t offend anyone but I don’t think it will inspire anyone either.

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Being around great company will make any wine that much better.  Which tells me that the wine might be even been that much more lackluster when in a much less welcoming or setting of solitude.   It’s a medium to full bodied wine that is missing the components that make a wine stellar.  There’s no length of boldness to it.    I don’t ask for much but this isn’t offering much of anything.

Yet, every now and again I keep seeing this wine and I keep buying it, hoping it’ll inspire and move me in a powerful way.   It didn’t happen this time.  B

But there will always be a next time.

I love my friends, I love my family, and I love good times.  Those mean more to me than any quality of wine.    Well, the good food helps.

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That’s pork and some fantastic side items and foods.  Oh this is yummy. The stew was incredible too, in case I hadn’t already said that.

For more on Oveja Negra click here.  and here is their contact information.

Old Bridge Cellars is the importer, and they have an easy-to-use link to find this wine near you.

Thanks so much, and hopefully the pending change of the season, leads to some more exciting wines.   My gut tells me yes.

Ideen

 

A Rosé By Any Other Name…

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Charles & Charles
is a label that stands out and may resonate with you, if you’ve seen it.

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It was only a matter of time, and there’s no time like now, but their 2016 Rosé is everything that you want in the Summer, or any climate that suits you for that matter.

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For my final post of August (how sad does that sound) 2017, it had to be a Rosé, and if this one was a letdown I would be honest about it.  However, this is one of the better wines of its kind that you’re going to find.  Oh cool that rhymed…

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What will stand out is the American Flags that adorn their labels.  That’s always going to bring you in, and that’s before you’ve even had a sip.  The patterns and colors will just hit you, and it’s hit me, even in a sea of hundreds of bottles in any aisle of your local wine supplier, their wines I’ve thought about, and I’ve never had one.  Until last week.

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I will always be grateful and fortunate to have friends that simply say, stop by or invite me over to say hello.  It’s informal, organic, spontaneous, and usually leads to the best of conversations.

The light pink, almost pale like color is another detail that can’t go unnoticed.

I’ve read multiple reviews of this wine, and seen so many different details and those notes you always heard about, expounded upon.

One term I’ve often not used, if ever, because I like to keep it simple, is acidity.

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Acidity is what gives the wine its sour kind of taste, even in those sweeter wines.  This wine, with all its citrus and fruit flavors, has the perfect amount of acidity that counterbalances the slight sweetness of Charles and Charles’ gem of a wine.

Taking out any other technical details, this is jut an enjoyable wine.  And my friend and I enjoyed this rather swiftly.   Like most wines, I believe they all should be savored.  But sometimes, and maybe more than sometimes, you’re on a roll.  You’re enjoying the conversation, the setting, the weather, and all the other details of the universe that can’t be put into text, that the wine feels like its going down rather quickly, and all of a sudden its gone.

Sometimes it’s like that.  Time is a relative thing.  When life is good, it feels like time stands still.  It also moves literally at the speed of light, or speed of a great Rose.

I would say this bottle was split in about an hour so, but does the time frame really matter?   No food was paired with it, but you don’t need any.  But at the same time a wine like this is so adaptive and versatile, that it can be paired with all kinds of finger foods and dishes. What you choose is up to you, and that’s all that matters.  If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

This wine, not just this Rosé makes me happy, and like any awesome bottle, it will be one that will carry a good memory with me to last a lifetime.  I’m glad this is how I had my first wine from Charles & Charles, and I know this won’t be the last.

At a price range from $11-$15, it’s worth more than just the dollar amount.  It’s beautiful. And I’ve seen their labels at many a shoppe, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one near you.

I would also like to thank my friend for a few of the up-close photos that are displayed prominently throughout this post.  I’m grateful.

For more on the wines of Charles & Charles‘ click here.   More about them in video form (which is awesome by the way), a link to purchase their wines online, and their contact info.

Here’s my Rosé history lesson.

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Here’s to Summer.   I hope to keep it going.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

…What Is Essential Is…

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There are times when I do this, that I wonder why I keep doing this.  I wonder if at some point I’ll become burnt out, or run out of fun wines to talk about.  The former is possible, the latter well..  There will never be enough time to try all the wine.  Hey!

After consecutive weeks of posts where all I did was review Whites and Rosé’s, it’s time to get back to what made me love wine in the first place, a simple, full bodied, and affordable red wine.

If it weren’t for dear friends of mine inviting me to dinner just hours ago, this may have been another white wine or Rosé post.  The dinner that we had could only be justified with something full, something powerful, yet something approachable.

My friend suggested an Australian Shiraz, and I agreed, with pleasure.  It didn’t take long to find something I liked. As a matter of fact, one jumped at me simply because of the label.

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The artwork and the beauty displayed from the 2014 Big Squeeze Shiraz by Evans & Tate will draw anyone in.  This depiction of animals, nature, and all the elements that are bright in the world sold immediately.

Its at this moment, that after $14 later, I so badly want this wine to taste amazing.   I already have a memory attached to it (its that dragonfly and butterfly, among all the other goodness), and I’ve yet to uncork (or in this case unscrew) this anticipatory bottle.

I’m so happy and grateful to report this wine was stellar upon opening, and got better with time.  And then it just kept getting better with time.  And this is all before dinner was served.

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So what is it about this wine, aside from the art?    It comprises everything I grew to love about reds.  First, I adore Shiraz.  Second, it’s the simple inclusion of plum, cherry, pepper, among the other easiest elements of the universe.    There’s lots of toasted oak too to almost make you think its a different season.  Almost.

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In short, this wine is approachable, medium bodied (in my tasters opinion) for a Shiraz that it almost tastes light, and is perfect for the Summer.   Yes you can have a red wine in the Summer and not feel bloated or regretful the next day.  It’s tremendous, it’s beautiful, and it’s what a red wine is supposed to taste like.

And my goodness this is pair perfectly dinner.  My friend was spot on with this call.  For a wine that with a beautiful label that represents goodness and the best parts of our planet, it only made sense that this meal (mostly comprised of local and organic elements would go with our wine.   Yes, our wine.   The expectations were so high that two bottles were actually purchased.

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Not only did the wine wow us all, but so did the food.  The meal which comprised of lamb sausage, pasta with homemade pesto and local basil, and local squash was a hearty yet the right kind of filling meal.  A fuller bodied Shiraz or any red may have undermined what were dining on.  It’s one of those things I realized while we were eating, and now as I write about this experience.

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And how could I forget the Caprese Salad?  Joyous emotions all around.   The tannin level on this wine leans towards the lower side, which in hindsight I appreciate even more.  As much as I love high levels of tannin, it wouldn’t work with this meal, at least in this instance.

I just found this to be so perfect.  It was so perfect, that the picture taking was limited. This was wine and meal I wanted to enjoy with my friends, and retain as many memories for myself and with my pals.

From when this wine was opened up until the conclusion of dinner was about an hour.  I can’t tell you how great the food was, and I can’t elaborate properly how this wine got so much better with each minute of breathing.   Some wines air out and then they settle into their intended taste for a while.  This one just kept getting better with each sip. But this wine is something special.

But everything factors into an awe-inspiring wine experience; the company, the weather, the food, your mood, and every other element the universe decides to present to us.

The conversation was great, it was necessary, and it was therapeutic.

Life is good but as much as I love wine on my own, great company is always a welcome thing.  And I’m grateful these folks are not only great company, but great friends.

And what wine is really that good if you can’t share it with good people.

Until today I’ve never seen this wine in my life.    To see if this wine is available near you, click here.  If not, you can also purchase this bottle online.    This wine is listed anywhere from $10-$14 and I feel it tastes closer to a $20+ bottle. That’s meant as a compliment.

There’s still plenty of time to write about all the other wines that identify with the Summer.  I sense this will resume next week.

So I’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

More Bang For Your Buck

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I went back to see the last time I did a post exclusively to Vinho Verde.   How funny that is one year ago today (or tomorrow depending on where we are) that this happened.

I’m grateful that I did or I would be kicking myself for not supporting and promoting this fantastic wine, that should never be taken for granted.  In the context of summer wines this is one that may get lost in the shuffle to some.  But I will attempt to not let that happen again.

All you need to know about Vinho Verde is in this link right here, to see how easy it is to drink, understand, and appreciate in many different settings.

Since the wines are traditionally lower in alcohol content, that means they’re much easier to drink, more accessible to people who don’t love wine but are willing to try, and can be complemented with a plethora of meals, snacks, or with nothing at all.

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This most simple and peaceful of experiences takes me back to June, and a return to V-NO Wine Bar in the historic Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore.    Surprisingly to me, I’ve made only one post in regards to this beautiful space, and that can be found here.

That day I was with friends.  I’ve been here many times with friends.  On this visit, this was for me.

After taking a peaceful stroll around the beautiful rowhomes and remembering how much I need to appreciate these cobblestone streets, I made my way to V-NO on this most gorgeous of Saturday afternoons.

I think I got there as soon as it opened, so there was some level of enthusiasm on top of the spontaneity.

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I was welcomed by Jane, who I wish I had thanked sooner.  She could not have been more accommodating.   I told he about my blog, and she was happy to help.  I took a lot of pictures but also helped her out in setting a few things up, since they just opened. Reciprocation is one of the joys of life, and makes us who we are.

Where is all this going?  Well I wanted a wine, and in fact I got to try two.  But for this weeks post I will focus on the Vinho Verde from Broadbent Selections.

Under the most peculiar of circumstances I think I would enjoy this wine.  It’s so simple, so refreshing, and in many ways irresistible.   

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I was outside, alone, yet the entire world around me was moving along at the most endearing of paces.  There were walkers, joggers, bicyclists, folks on the nearby pirate cruise, and my favorite friends on four legs (leashed of course) were in abundance.

For a while I forgot where I was. It felt like a utopia. It was a good hour or so of just being.  Yes I did take a few pictures but then I put the phone away and just chose to be. That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world we live in, but I think I pulled it off without even trying.

This is what I think… As enjoyable and simplistic as this wine was, it resonates with me much deeper than I or anyone else can explain.  Yes it was a simple glass of wine but to me something else was going on here.  And that part is just for me eyes and ears.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all been there.

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There’s something about this wine, and not that just that beautiful label that drew me in. And I’ve had this one several times before but not like this.  In the past it just was a wine I had and then I moved on and did something else.  This could have been any wine in this session but it was this one for a reason.  It tasted better than ever.

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Now I may have this again and it just goes back to being a good wine with fruits of summer and that clear color is nice to look at, and then that’s it.  But at least for this day, this hour, this place in time it will mean more than even I’ll ever know.

And this wine can be found just about anywhere.  I’ve seen at so many stores for under $10.  Just another reason to love this.

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Thanks to Jane for being so awesome, the universe for looking out for me, and to Broadbent for presenting to me on this most picturesque of days.

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More for on V-NO click here.

For more on Broadbent, here is their story, their massive list of wines, and their contact information.

We’ve still got a lot of Summer left and I hopefully have more wines to discuss that fit the season.

And Part 2 might be next week.

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Thanks so much.

Ideen

And We’ll Be Birds

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel or wave the white flag on this season.  And even the though the towel might be white too, there’s no cause for alarm or concern.   I love summer and want to celebrate forever.  That means one more Rosé, and hopefully more to come.   When I’m in the planning stages or lack thereof when piecing these posts together, I look at the seasons, the place I’m in, and my log of wines I’ve tried to see what fits and what I can save for later, if at all.

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But a return to the Wine Source, which will never get old, led to some curious searching. And I won’t confirm nor deny that this was a planned trip.  Nothing just happens and there’s no such thing as coincidence.   After my memorable visit two weeks ago, how would this one compare?

There doesn’t need to be a comparison.  While every experience is different they’re also somewhat similar, and sometimes all the same?  Make sense?  Well it does and then it doesn’t to me, but that’s what makes this excursion so fun and unpredictable.

The night in question from last week had me running around circles.  I was craving a Rosé but not just any.  I wanted a label and a bottle that would evoke emotions of hope, love, spirit, and a journey  that is forever going.  One that tells us that not only are we going to be ok, but that we are ok.

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I shoul’ve realized they were reading my mind and knew why I was there.  Without even knowing me they know my tastes and know their clientele.  I had no idea I sprinted past the lovely Rosé in front of the store.  I had just assumed walked around and dig to find a bottle within every nook and cranny of the shoppe.   How did I not see this gorgeous display of Rosé wine in front of the store for me to appreciate, admire. and adore some more.  And I was doing all of the three and that much more.

Now I was literally doing circles.  There were so many beautiful choices that the only one that made sense is one with designs of our animal friends.

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So I saw one with a bird and didn’t think twice.   The 2016 Guillaume Gonnet Cotes du Rhone ‘Le Reveur’ Rose, from Rhone, France had the most inviting label and energy.  Yes a gorgeous looking robin on the label helps.  But never judge a book by its something and same with a label.   For all  you know it covers the deficiencies of the wine itself, and overcompensating by having such beautiful artwork.  I sound like such a novice but that’s the fun part.

No this is not the best wine you or I will ever have. It’s not even in the conversation, but what this one does is provide you with aspects with what make summer, wine drinking, and life in general so beautiful.  It’s listed anywhere from $10-$13.  I got mine for $11 (sale price from $13) and didn’t think twice about the price.

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It’s (depending on where you read) got notes and hints of grapefruit, apple, melon, and various citrus flavors.  It may be what you smell, it may be what you taste, but what it does do for sure is add to an everyday wine that can be had with friends, in solitude, and with all types of food that make you happy.

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For me, I was in the mood for sushi.  And I found the pairing to work in syncopation with the other.  Now I mainly got rolls, but a couple pieces of sushi were necessary.  And what a match made in pairing heaven.  Not only did the colors mesh well but the wine itself went done smoothly with such hearty and filling rolls.

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I enjoyed plenty of sips without food and found it enjoyable either way.

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Like I said, this will not be the best wine you or I will ever have, but not all of them should be.  If we kept saying everything was amazing or the best, actual wines that fit that old (to us) would lose its appeal. This is a good everyday wine and I’m going to assume this is all that it was ever meant to be.

But having our animal friends on a bottle always helps.

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For more on this wine, perhaps a message to the importers, Misa Imports, may be of assistance.  Otherwise this is a wine I’ve seen sparingly in stores, one of course is the Wine Source in the great neighborhood of Hampden, in Baltimore.   If you don’t live in the area, hopefully this link may be of assistance.

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Whatever Rosé you’ve been indulging in this summer (and before and beyond), I sincerely hope it’s been enjoyable, not only for you but with all the awesome people that you’ve been sharing it with.  That’s what this is all about.  I look forward to enjoying and sharing so many more of my stories with you guys.

Thanks so much.

Ideen