Only The Horses

I have been waiting for over a month to write about this wine.  And the time has arrived.  The time is now. I shouldn’t be so melodramatic.  But I’m having fun here.

Over the course of this blog I’ve really tried to hit home my love for blends.  The triumvirate of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah for both wines I’m going to review are pieced together so well.

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. And on one fateful day in the end of March, I found one of the most beautiful bottles I have ever seen.   I’m sometimes dazzled by the things I attract into my life.

14HandsKentuckyDerbyBlend

The 2012 Kentucky Derby Red Blend from 14 Hands is brilliant.  After I saw the label and built such anticipation for it, I wanted to like this wine badly.  And thank goodness I do.   There is so much good about it, aside from the pretty horses. And they sure are pretty.

14HandsDerbyBackOfLabel

There’s a lot to love about this.  When I opened the bottled and poured my first glass, I detected some chocolate aromas from the nose.  It smelled like a full-bodied wine and the oak was permeating.  I was really looking forward to drinking it. But I let it breathe for a few minutes.

It tasted more like a medium, which was just fine by me.  It was a pleasant surprise. I could taste a little chocolate or cocoa, as the synopsis described.    There is mention of loganberries.  I have no idea what those are.  I attached a link for your edification and mine.  I like a winemaker that gets creative with the flavor hints and aromas.

But I still have no idea what loganberries are!  That’s me being humorous.  But really… I didn’t detect any plums or white pepper.  But once again, it’s all perspective and interpretation.  I’m always sensing berries and cherries in most of the reds I drink.  So that’s always been a starting point for me.  This is a fantastic wine.  I agree that it goes with more easygoing foods like pizza and burgers.

14HandsRedBlend14HandsRedBlendBack

An hour before, I had a glass of the 2012 Hot To Trot Red Blend.  This is a bottle I have had several times before, and is a seminal favorite of mine.   This is the first bottle of theirs I purchased,  and I’ve been a fan ever since.  For that alone, this will always be my favorite of theirs.   And because there’s hints of cinnamon and spices, it really complements this blend very well.  This is a well put together wine.  It’s not that it’s any better than the Kentucky Derby Blend.  It just has another aura of sentimentality, that the Derby one will also give me, if it hasn’t already.

14HandsGrapesNuts

I enjoyed both with some grapes and walnuts.  But as the fact sheet suggests, pork, mushrooms, or other heartier dishes can work as well.  I’d say it’s a little more than a party bottle as opposed to the Derby.  So I understand their foodie recommendations.

I’ll tell you something.  These PDF’s I have linked in this post, are so user friendly and approachable.  I’ve learned so much just by reading these details.  This is so well done.

14HandsKentuckyOpened14HandsRedBlendOpened

One final note on the Kentucky Derby Blend.  You may have noticed that they are Out Of Stock though their website.  I bought this back in late March at Cranbrook Liquors of Cockeysville, MD, at their Dollar Days.  They had cases of them at the time.   I’d seen them in many shops all over the Baltimore area as of a week ago.  So you may be able to find them at your local wine store, wherever you may live.

I definitely recommend both bottles for this Saturday’s celebrations.  They may both be Red Blends, there are noticeable differences and are definitely pleasing to many palates.   The Hot To Trot can be drank all year round.   And just because the race ends Saturday, I see no reason why the Derby wine would be rendered obsolete.  It’s a great bottle as well.

I’ve had several more of their Varietals as well.   I look forward to writing about those in a future message.

Enjoy the week, enjoy the weekend, and of course, enjoy the Derby.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen

Of The Earth

OurDailyRed

As we celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to review a couple of wines that I ordinarily wouldn’t try.  These will be of the organic and all natural variety.  Drinking, eating, and living organically and/or healthy is something we should strive for all the time. But for the sake of the today, I am proud to expound upon these two selections.  And I wish I had tried them sooner.

I am not vegetarian, vegan, or have a gluten allergy.  But I can appreciate products that support peoples lifestyle decisions. And I enjoy trying anything that tastes good and promotes wellness and feeling great.

I would like to give a massive thank you to Friendship WIne & Liquor for all their help and suggestions.

First and holy moly, certainly not least, is Our Daily Red from Novato, CA.   And I mean this with all sincerity.  This is one of the best wines I’ve had in some time.  It tastes so good.  It’s a wine you can have at anytime and with anything.   If I did a blind taste test, I wouldn’t know this was free from Sulfites, Vegan Friendly, USDA Organic, or anything else.  But if all this led to this wine tasting out of this world, then I’m all for it.  And at $11.99 this was a steal.

For the past year or so, I would see that charming label and think nothing of it.  I’m a bit annoyed it took this long to pour a glass but better late than never.

DailyRedLabel

If I hadn’t researched what it contained, I wouldn’t have known it contained Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.  It tasted so light I’d have thought it was a Pinot Noir or even Beaujolais.  But my palate has changed over time.  With a bottle like this, there is no need for pretension.  The back label keeps the information to what is important. This is a wine to be enjoyed and not over analyzed.  It takes me to a higher place.

Now a new grape has been introduced to me.  I had never heard of Carignan until now.   If this gem from France had a hand in this bottle tasting so good, then I’ll be on the look out for it in future purchases.    It’s mentioned that blackberry and black cherry flavors are prevalent and after sipping, some of that can easily be detected.  I did sense a little toastiness but had no idea there’s some vanilla in there. What a fantastic combination of flavors.

OurDailyFeast

This can be had alone or with any food your heart desires.  I went in a different direction and paired it with a nice Korean Pork Shoulder BBQ and organic brown rice.   Pure class all around.

I can’t get enough of how approachable their website is.   I am grateful to have attracted this wine into my life.  Since it’s Earth Day, I need to return the favor to the universe.

Lora

Not to be outdone is Lora Wines from Spain.   I wanted to try another one since this day is so special and worthy of at least another organic gem.   Their story of organic producing is just as inspiring.   I know this is a movement that has been going on for years.   And I fully support it.

LoraBackLabel

The Tempranillo & Syrah was the bottle of choice.  At first it tasted really strange.  I don’t know how to describe it.  It wasn’t bad. It just felt unique.  This is to be expected when trying something new.  But after letting it breath for 15-20 minutes, it settled into something great.  And best of all, my favorite, the oak came through in a big way.   I could detect some pepper, which is one of my favorite elements in wine.

LoraWithSteak&Cheese

As for everything else, it’s all interpretation and what your palate may tell you. This wine was a grower.  No pun intended. Once again, this wine can be had on its own or with a variety of dishes.  This was enjoyed with a nice grilled Cheese steak sub and a side of sweet potato and regular potato chips.  Yum!  And again, at $11.99, I was happy to pay that price.

It’s been a pleasure learning more about Earth Day and how some wineries are really going above and beyond to provide a healthier and affordable alternative to many of the wines we drink on a daily basis.  This is not to be taken for granted.  I look forward to drinking more organic Gems.  And hopefully this will lead to a change in other lifestyle choices.  These winemakers are to be commended for their gifts to us.  It make me want to improve many of my eating and drinking habits. And of course, for today and everyday, do something to better our planet.  So for that I say, thank you.

Stay healthy everyone.

Peace and Love,

Ideen

Merlot Mondaze

merlots

We did have this bottle on a Monday.  But it’s Wine Wednesdays and the tradition continues.

whenthewheelstouchdown

Today’s pick was based on the inspirational Wine & Food Matching Wheel.  This will become a staple on this blog from time to time.

A lovely grilled chicken plate was on tap for dinner, so I inquired as to where this exciting wheel had been.   It’s so user friendly, and very helpful in looking for some cool pairings.  One of the suggestions was a Merlot.    And voila!

informations

Unfortunately, the wine was not very good.    I have grown to love Merlot in the past year or so.  It was one of the few reds that I did not care for.  But that has changed.  My palate has expanded and I am much more open minded to trying just about anything.  This will not deter me from that.   The bottle was the Harthill Farms Merlot, an exclusive from Whole Foods.

In my visit to Northern Virginia, I always hope to find good wine deals in stores that can’t sell them in Maryland.   One of my sentimental stores is their Tysons Corner location in Falls Church, VA.  They have a vast selection, and more reviews will come.  And one hopes it can only get better from here.  This was a purchase for a mere $5.00, if I remember correctly.  So it wasn’t a total loss.

What immediately stands out is that there is no year or vintage to this wine.  Maybe it was made two weeks ago?  I’d like to know.    In addition, there is little known via the grocers website about this farm.   The reviews from various wine blogs are not positive, but I looked at them after I had my glass,  which I could barely finish.  Oh wait, I didn’t.

It just didn’t taste like anything to me.  It wasn’t a table wine you could have with pals or have a hearty meal, like the one pictured below.   It also doesn’t look like how a good wine should.  It seemed transparent and hollow.   Honestly, it tasted like bad fruit juice at times.

foodies

Luckily, the food was amazing.   Thankfully my taste buds survived and I enjoyed a sauteed grilled chicken, with broccoli, and corn bread.

Just because a wine is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad.  But the opposite can also be true.  I’ve had many great wines for under $10. This wasn’t one of them.      I am confident that many future reviews will suggest just that.

Have a great week.

Best,

Ideen

The Bulgarian Beaut

Beauts

It was suggested to me that I start talking about the whites.  With a few exceptions, my posts have revolved around the reds, and many of them of the full-bodied variety.

As the temperatures increase, you better believe more of these are going to be discussed.  I’ve stated before that I love lots of oak in reds.   The opposite could not be more true with whites. It’s an important detail going forward.

So it brings me great pleasure to be talking about the Sauvignon Blanc From Bulgariana Wines.  And it’s a pleasure.

I stopped into my local Total Wine in Towson, MD, knowing they had a massive selection of every grape imaginable, and was immediately helped by a very friendly staff member.  I wish I had gotten her name.   I mentioned I was looking for a white, specifically a Sauv Blanc, for a blog I was doing, and she gave me a few wonderful suggestions.

I settled on the Bulgariana as it had the most appealing label, and even more exciting, in the synopsis there was a mention of pineapple!  How awesome is that?  I’ve never knowingly had the pleasure of sampling a wine that had pineapple or a similar exotic fruit in it.  So I had to try.  This is part of the fun.   There will be so many unknowns in wine tasting, and that’s one of the best part of a wine tasters journey.

I couldn’t wait to take this home and chill it in the fridge for a few hours.  When I finally opened it, the exciting aromas just hit my heart.  It’s just one of those indescribable feelings.  It might be too good for words.   But I’m going to try.  It’s that moment right when the bottle is about to be uncorked, and you just know something amazing is about to happen.  That’s a wonderful high.  And this is one of those beautiful moments.  I can’t tell you what every scent or flavor it, but it was heavenly.  Oh my goodness.  And even the back of the label mentions exotic fruits, but doesn’t say exactly which ones. Maybe I’m not meant to know. Or maybe I will know in time!

The suggestions are to enjoy this with a salad, fish dishes, pizza, and pasta.  Now the Sauvignon Blanc’s are always a welcome pairing with lighter fish entrees since most of the Blanc’s are light to medium themselves.  Pretty simple!

yummers

As you can see, I chose to savor this alone.  But this is a wine that deserves a wonderful food pairing.   It’s light enough to be drank with friends, but it’s worthy of a delicious meal to go with it.

I have never seeked out whites and they’ve never been my first choice.  But this bottle was something else.   It’s a great way bottle to enjoy during the warm weather months.     I also look forward to trying more of Bulgariana’s wines in the near future.  In the meantime, this one will be celebrated in all her glory.   And at only $10.99, I got more than my money’s worth.

Crab

Enjoy the spring.

Kindest,

Ideen

Food and Wine Pairing Pals

oldmoon

Sometimes what I write about is predetermined.  At other times the topics find me.   This one is a combination of both.

The plan was to have cheeseburgers for a meal, and I wanted to find a wine that pairs well with them.  As per usual, I did a Google search, and you get two dozen opinions on what goes well with anything.   There is something to a food and wine pairing, but it’s all perception.  What might look good to some, might be hideous to others.

Based on the consensus; Malbec, Syrah, and Zinfandel were the ubiquitous suggestions to complement burgers.  Do you detect a theme?  These are three of the more full-bodied reds, with alcohol contents higher than 13.5%.

I have reviewed the first two wines in previous posts.  These can be seen here and here.  So Zin is the big winner today.

In looking at our collection of bottles, I only saw one Zin.  And I present the 2012 Old Moon (Old Vine) Zinfandel from our pals at Trader Joe’s.   This is part of an exclusive collection, that can only be bought at their stores.

glasses

Not much in the way of superlatives to say about this wine.  It’s pretty standard.  But for $5.99 you really can’t complain.   I didn’t care for it at first. But, after a few minutes of breathing it got better.  It’s extremely fruity.  And in reading various reviews of it, every fruit known to man has been detected.  It’s best to go with your senses as to what you taste.   There’s little oak that I could detect.  And not much in the way of tannins.  It’s very easy to drink.  It can be enjoyed without food, for any occasion.

But if you’re looking for something groundbreaking, this is not it.  It’s a very basic wine.  This is a great wine for folks who are new to wine drinking.  And then your palate can only expand from here.

Not every wine is going to pair well with your dish.  My bacon cheeseburger with sides of regular and sweet potato fries was tremendous.  However, the wine didn’t heighten anything or bring about any new flavors.  It’s a decent and affordable bottle that serves its purpose.  If you are fortunate enough to be in a state where your local TJ’s sells wine, this is not one I would go out of my way to buy. For the price alone, it’s ok.  But there’s plenty of others at a few dollars more, with better quality. And I will be getting to those in proceeding posts!

cheeburger

How great does that look? 🙂

Thankfully, like I stated in the beginning, sometimes the topics are shown to me.  This is a great lead in to talk about my first visit to a Trader Joe’s that sold wine!    It was a serendipitous visit around the holidays in 2013 to their Old Town Alexandria, VA store!    I will be discussing some of my past and recent purchases in hopefully a fun and harmonious way.

And if I feel the need, I will be talking about my sadness over the Charles Shaw wines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Best,

Ideen