A Worldly Pinot


World Market does it again. I’m such a fan.  The positive energy and good vibrations I get each time I’m at one of their stores keeps me coming back.   And you know that includes their extravagant wine selection.

For the past few months I’ve been meaning to write about one of their wines. In particular, I present the 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  The wine was grown in Sonoma County and made exclusively for World Market.  How awesome is that?  As an added bonus, the wine was created from organically grown Pinot Noir grapes.  This is a winner all around.

But why do I like it so much?

First of all, when you’re a store that has a section on inspiration, you’re going to get many brownie points from me.

Secondly, it’s a user-friendly wine that anyone can enjoy. My first reaction after sipping a glass was that this would be ideal for anyone who was looking to get into wine, yet was hesitant to try.

This was as light as a Pinot Noir that you’re ever going to taste.  It goes down smooth.  And when I mean smooth, I mean effortlessly.  We have a perfect introductory wine.

I tasted some raspberry and perhaps some other fruits.  There’s spices in there somewhere.  But what I got most from this is that if this is what organic wine tastes like, I want more of it. This was a joy.

Around $12 is what I’ve seen this bottle listed for online.  That’s around what I paid for it. Because of the simplicity of it, that’s about what the price should be. That’s not an insult but more of a statement of the wine.  It’s mean to be affordable and approachable.  Those are my kind of wines.


I had to go back in my library to track down photos of this eye-catching bottle. How gorgeous is that label?


This wine can go with anything and can go with any season.  That’s one of the many reasons why I’m championing this one.  I wish I had more of this exclusive collection.  And there’s more. All the means is a road trip to one of the coolest stores around.

To find the nearest World Market near you, go to this link.

Not only is their wine selection brilliant, but so is everything else.  I don’t think I need to sell this any more.


I had a pre-holiday meal with this bottle.   By the pictures I couldn’t tell exactly what I ate but it was something Thanksgiving-like I presume.   But the wine was the stand-out.

To read more World Market gems, go here and here.

More to come…






Keep It Simple


Diseño has been a staple in my collection for several years now.  There’s nothing overtly sexy or grandiose about it. That’s exactly how I want it sometimes and that’s what I was in the mood for recently.

I’ve seen this bottle listed anywhere from as low as as $7.  So in all likelihood around $10 is going to be commonplace. In my humble opinion, it drinks for at least double that.

You may hear this term fruit-forward thrown around and it applies here.  Got a berry in mind?  It might be in here. Raspberry, cherry, and black cherry aromas, as well as on the palate, is what you may discover.

Most Malbec’s tend to lean towards the medium-to-full bodied side but this is an aberration, and that’s part of why I like it.


This is an easy sipping wine that can paired with nothing or just about anything.   On this particular day, it was enjoyed by itself and it was fantastic.

For folks who are just getting into wine and are looking for something simple, this bottle fits that mold.     Malbec has skyrocketed in popularity during the last 5-10 years, largely in part to how easy and accessible it is to drink and discuss.

It’s quite possible that maybe its already reached its zenith, depending on where you look and who you ask.  But most importantly it’s on you to decide if Malbec (or any wine for that matter) is for you.

In the United States, I’ve seen Diseño at a plethora of retailers and beverage stores.  I wish they had a website of their own but maybe this link will help.  For my pals in the Baltimore area, Total Wine is one of many places you can go. For everyone else,  here is a link to order online.

These photos were taken from Plug Ugly’s in Baltimore. And I’ve seen this bottle served at many other restaurants. So you may find it at your favorite dining establishment as well.

I love it.  I may talk about a few more as the weather slowly shows signs of hope and of change.  Yes that means Spring is creeping upon us and that means more approachable and endearing wine talk to come.

And A Happy Early National Drink Wine Day.  Enjoy it simple, complex, or however you want.  I’m going with the former and the latter.



Fab Tuesday


I had no idea what I was going to write about this morning.  My mind drew a blank but I didn’t panic.  When I don’t know have any ideas, I venture out and experience. It happened again.

Most of know that yesterday was Fat Tuesday. So what does this have to do with the wine?

There is a wine that can go with anything.  I believe that.  It’s not rocket science.  Even if it’s not conventional or following social code, who cares?  Mardi Gras has never been about following everyone else.

My views on the event and New Orleans have rapidly changed in the last year.  I made my first visit to this amazing city last Summer.  And I still think about my experience often.

Of course it’s about the libations but it’s also about the revelry, the comradery, the food, and enjoying life.

I will get to yesterday in a moment.   But if you want a recap of my previous NOLA posts, one can go here, or you can click on this exciting post, and finally this inspirational story. Hooray!

The Cardinal Tavern of Canton is fantastic.   I may be understating this significantly. There food options have been unique in a city of many ordinary establishments.

I’m grateful to have friends who do their Sunday Brunch here on a regular basis. And that has introduced me to creative dishes and concepts that make me yearning to come back.

Last night I came back.

They had an amazing buffet spread for the holiday.  And the kicker?  It was free. For 2 hours we had a breathtaking spread that I’d pay $50 for.  I’m not joking.  This was insane.  I felt bad having a couple of plates.

Instead of explaining every item, I took photos of the smorgasbord.  You can use this as a legend to identify what’s on my plate.

Don’t drool too much.


Here’s where the wine comes in…  I will say I impressed myself yesterday.  With spicy food, you want lighter choices.   I looked at their wine list and naturally figured I would like a Pinot Noir, Riesling, or even a Prosecco to go with this dish.  When inquiring with the barkeep, he suggested the former.  That was my intuition and first choice.  That felt good.   It’s the simple things.


The 2013 Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir was the bottle that complemented this iconic meal.  As an added bonus, the bottles were half-off tonight as they are every Tuesday. Having the entire bottle for only $10 is highway robbery.  

The label seems deceptive.  And l might be sounding sarcastic, but nothing about this vino is arrogant. I found the bottle to be understated and humble.


Psychologically speaking, discounted food and wine is going to taste so much better when otherwise it wouldn’t.  This doesn’t apply here. I’d pay good money for all of it. This is a great bottle with simple flavors of berries, cherries, and a few hints of spices.  What those are is up to you.

The wine is not listed on their site but I’ve seen it listed at under $10.00 elsewhere. It tastes like one that is worth one-and-half to double that. It’s light and easy to drink.  This can be had alone or with a multitude of eats.

To get in touch with them about their wines, you can guide yourself to this link.


Finally, the crawfish beignets never had a chance.  Free food is going to go rapidly. However, these were being decimated instantaneously as a fresh batch came out. I mean it when I say all the food was amazing. But this was on another level.

My pals and I were able to grab a small plate to share amongst ourselves.  We were very fortunate.

And we’re very fortunate to wine and dine in a cozy, comforting, and welcoming.

I’ll be back soon.  It might be this weekend.

Damn this was good.

Happy Holidays!




I Believe In Magic

I had no idea Alchemy Elements even existed.  Nor that it opened minutes away from me in Bel Air.  That’s magical in and of itself.     This will be quite the introduction as I’ve yet to partake in dining at their Hampden location, appropriately titled Alchemy, go figure.

This falls along the lines of unplanned and serendipitous.  I’ve heard from multiple sources how splendid and amazing this restaurant was.   I was eager to find out about it myself.  I thought I would have a set date and time I would be going.   Thankfully I went with a friend on a random lunch.  And what a lunch it was.

I mentioned magic in the title.    When reading about them, that’s how I found out about their concept.  If you’ve been to either location, I guess you know what this magic is.  I was told molecular fusion is how they prepare their food and their cocktails.  I think that’s marvelous.  It’s something different and in a world where restaurants claim to be this or that, which basically is over-the-top words to cover up for how ordinary they are, this felt different.

As long as the food, the atmosphere, the energy, and the company are magical than everything else will fall into place.

This is a wine blog and I will get to that.

Per the friendly waiter’s advisement, I ordered the Quinoa Spinach Salad with chicken breast.  It was divine.


The black tea egg, the spinach, the quinoa, the walnuts, the goat cheese, and everything else in between was from another dimension.  Holy moly this was good.  This salad was good for 3 people.  I made sure it was only for one.  Before I knew it, the whole thing had been decimated.

The Canyon Road Chardonnay paired well with the salad.  As per suggested, it went perfectly with the grilled chicken.  It’s just not a wine I would go out of my way to have again.

I’ve never been a big fan of Chardonnay in general, so this wasn’t a surprise.  I also won’t let a grape I’m resistant to cloud my judgement.  I will always give a new wine a chance and will try anything once.  This was a serviceable medium-bodied white that tasted citrusy with some fruits that complemented many of the ingredients of the salad.

So the recommendation was spot on.  It’s just not a wine I was crazy about.

Believe me, with everything else clicking so perfectly, this will hopefully be a place I visit regularly.  And I look forward to being amazed and dazzled by the city location as well.

For where you can track down Canyon Road Wines in your area, click here.

All The Best,