Easter Party – The Red


Ordinarily I would do a post that would preview a good wine or two to enjoy for a holiday or event.   It didn’t quite work out that way, or maybe this is always how it was meant to be.

Instead I will be working backwards.  I will recap two wines I had at the most extraordinary Easter party I’ve ever attended.  I sincerely mean that.

I didn’t know what I was going to bring or where I was going to to find them. However, my intent was to pair and complement one red and one white with the respective foods that were going to be served.

The main course consisted of, well I’ll get to that next week.

The appetizers and desserts is what we were responsible for.  This is an eclectic group and the food is going to be from all over the map.  And I literally mean all over.  It’s diverse and so well-rounded. It’s what makes us all unique.  It’s what makes us all blessed.  We all have value and bring something different to the table.

On that note, we’re also all the same. We want good company, good food, and most of all feel good about ourselves. The simple pleasures is what keeps us going.

With that somewhat melodramatic diatribe out of the way, I basically wanted to say I needed to find a good red that pairs with a few appetizers.  One of them was Persian Mortadella with Barbari bread and feta cheese, which I brought.


My adventures led me back to Total Wine in Towson, MD.

After sampling a few Easter recommendations I got assistance from Mark G. who swiftly pointed me in the right direction of some low-cost bottles for the holiday.

He echoed many of my sentiments that I write about week-to-week.   Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.  And when you’re at a decent to large-sized gathering, food is being served, and the conversations are getting going, the last thing anyone is worried about is the intricacies of the wine they’re drinking.

As long as it tastes remotely decent, most people won’t care.  Even the most discriminating of tastes may give a second thought.  And if they do, it’s folks you may not to be friends with anyways. Ha.

For the red, I went with the superb QV Tinto from Carvalhas Winery of Portugal.  I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable of Portguese wines or the grapes that hail from there.  What I do now is this wine was fair for the price and pleasing to the palate.


The tasting notes are listed in the photo. But for this party it didn’t matter. However, it did taste a bit more medium-to-full then what the synopsis reads. That’s just my opinion. I also detected some pepper and spices that are not mentioned.   That’s where the fun begins and continues.

It’s fruit forward as it says but more importantly, it tasted great and the bottle never stood a chance.  I had the equivalent of one glass.   I would pronounce that a victory.


I consider part 1 of my one choices a victory as well.   I’m glad other folks enjoyed it as well.  And that’s what any holiday, party, or gathering is all about.   I was so grateful to be a part of it.  It was genuine gathering of friends, or moreso my Baltimore family, that all care for each other and want the best for everyone.    It’s a blessing to be a part of it.

I’ll leave with you my plate of yummy appetizers which consisted of the aforementioned mortadella, deviled eggs, ceviche, and other deliciousness too numerous to mention.


For a Total Wine near you, click here.

More deliciousness in part 2 next week.

All The Best and I hope you had a Happy Easter!




Full Moon Fever


If you figured out the inspiration for the title of this post, then I don’t feel so bad.  I feel like I’m dating myself just a tad.

I’ll admit, I believe in the theories that the full moon brings out the crazies.  My superstition includes the day before, day of, and the day after.   I can only articulate this so much, but in my opinion I think there is a cosmic force, a gravitational pull, or maybe something bigger than us that’s causing all this.   Maybe it’s all in my head?

So what on Earth does this have to do with wine?  I mentioned Earth and I’ll get to that shortly.

I usually go into these weekly posts with at least a rough sketch of what I’m going to write about.  This time I was drawing a blank.   I have tentative things written down and photographs for days but nothing seemed to click.  I had no idea what I was going to do.


However, I didn’t panic.  These wines and experiences find me, even at the eleventh hour. And I mean that literally.  With a little help and knowledge from my friends, we found ourselves at the under-utilized BistoRx.  Why I don’t visit more often is to my detriment. I love this place.


A dear friend of mine reminded me that Tuesday night (last night as of this posting) is 1/2 priced bottle night.  And that means a victory for everyone.

Earlier in the day the great idea of writing about a bottle with the word ‘moon’ it, came to me.   I thought I may have to do a little digging and drive from shop-to-shop to find one. My dilemma was resolved almost instantaneously.

I asked the ever-so-friendly and down-to-earth (there’s that planetary stuff again) if they carried a wine with that word in it.  You know the ‘moon’, I’ve only been harping on it all post.   And the universe looked out for us once again.


She went off the menu and blessed us with the 2011 Moonspell Cabernet Sauvignon from Bergevin Lane Vineyards.


The wine was listed at $56 and drinking this at half-price was a steal.  Literally, I thought I was stealing.  The winery website lists this at $28.  It’s worth every bit of it and then some.


So yes, we drank this at retail value and what a joy this was.  Per the bartender’s recommendation, when you’re drinking half-price is fun to splurge and go a little towards the higher end.   I don’t get this opportunity every day.

My premise has always been to expound on reasonably priced wines that hopefully please your palate and satisfy many aficionados.  The intention is to have fun.  But I guess with a full moon I’m going to be a little cuckoo as well.

What I find fascinating is the back of the label reads differently than the synopsis online. I’m not disputing one of the other.   I did catch that oak that I love so much.  But when you mention leather, that hilariously goes over my head.  I wish I knew how to detect that one.  But that’s all in the eye of the beholder, or drinker in this case.


You see how earth is listed?  I don’t think that’s an accident.  We were meant to drink this tonight.

The cheese and pate that paired with our glasses was phenomenal.  A little brie and duck fig pate never hurt anyone.  Well in this instance, the pate did stand a punchers chance. At this point we had a 3rd pal join in and we still couldn’t finish it.  It was succulent but rich.

I took my time sipping.  This bottle lasted a while and I’m thankful it did.  After an hour of breathing it took on a life of its own.  A wine this valuable needs to be savored a little more than usual.

I got the tail end of the bottle and may have caught some sediment.  It’s only a 2011 so possibly my mind tricked me again.  I’m not complaining.  It’s actually the opposite.

This full-bodied and high tannin wine is a winner.  I would drink this again if I could.  But it may be a while.  These are one of those once in a while wines.   The great company and great conversation only accelerated this already amazing experience.

Tuesday night at BistroRx are the place to be and I’ll be making it my place to be in the near future.   I will make it a priority to come back on other days as well.  I’ve always enjoyed myself here. The food and vino has a custom-made track record.   I’m enthralled and can’t wait to do it again.

For more on this winery, click here.   And to contact BistoRX, you can go here.

Happy Full Moon Day,


Boca Breeze


This will be one of the more visually pleasing notes.   Did I say notes?

I was invited to a gathering of friends.  Well maybe I just invited myself.   Regardless, I always like to bring something, whether it be a bottle of vino, a meal of food, or some sweet treats.  Luckily for me, I brought the former and everything else was provided.

My wine purchasing adventures has always been a highlight for me.  I sometimes like to go to parties blind, without knowing what will be served or what to expect.  I love the uncertainty.   On the contrary, if I know the food and snacks being served, I’ll research accordingly.  The 2015 Radio Boca Tempranillo from Hammeken Cellars falls under the category of unpredictability.


Once again, the label is what drew me in.  That and the fact it’s a brand I’ve never come in contact with.   And being under $10 certainly helps the cause.   So how was the wine itself?

The tasting notes can be found here but I’d like to tell my own story again.

I didn’t adore it at first.  It felt flavorless and monochrome.   I was sharing this dejection with my friends.  It’s not a persons fault for when they unknowingly bring a wine to a party and it turns out flat.   I’ve been known to be hard on myself for that fact.   But common sense prevailed.  I let the bottle breathe as one should.

From there, the experience turned magical.   My next glass evolved into something beautiful.  I should add that this next glass was my last, as my friends decimated the rest of it.  You might notice, the bottle is empty in these photos.

The strawberries, cherries, and imaginative spices shown through.  For a light wine this one packed a punch.  It just took a few minutes.  All you need is some patience and a sense of spirit.  It also helps when your friends are sipping with you and enjoying it immensely.


Speaking of which, good company will usually make even the most drab wine better.  But this isn’t drab. It’s a grower and now I’m a fan.

The food spread enhanced this already immaculate experience, exponentially.    The strawberries and grapes opened up some nooks in my already fine glass.  And this has a bit more tannins than I expected.   I’m happy for that.


All the food was amazing.  I give all the credit to the host and their impassioned cooking. Banana bread, croissants, chicken salad, and all the fruits and cheese encompass this iconic spread.

I’m a fan and now a convert.  I’ll be seeking out more Radio Boca and more of their expansive collection of wines.   And they got a lot.    For more information, you can go here.

These are the wines, the foods, and the events that make Spring so thrilling.  I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come.





Fresh Air


If I’m correct, this is the first time I’ll be writing about a Carmenere since starting this blog.  What took me so long?  Well there’s so many amazing wines to talk about.  I will never get to them all.  And why would I want to?  That’s what makes this journey brilliant. There will never be enough time to try them all.  Fortunately there is time to try an assortment.

Carmenere was one of the original six grapes in France, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.    It faded into obscurity until the early 90’s and now found its proper home (as the national grape) in Chile.    If this story sound familiar, the same thing happened with Malbec.  And now that’s the most popular grape of Argentina.


So this brings me to the 2011 Car Men Air distributed by Bronco Wine Company.    I purchased this for under $10 at my favorite Trade Joe’s in Alexandria, VA.

The play on words funny yet nothing about this wine is.  It’s a straight-forward and no-thrills bottle.  It’s got just the right amount of oak and spiciness that it doesn’t taste like a rock-bottom priced vino.  But not much more than that.   If I’m to assume correctly, black cherry, smoke, spices, and the aforementioned oak are all easily detectable.  Anything else is not as discernible.  But hey, that’s just my opinion.  It did have a darker tint than many wines we’re accustomed to.

I brought this bottle over to a friends house to relax, sip, and crack some jokes.  Not about the wine but in general.  The weather is warming up and spirits are doing the same.  It’s about time.   As long as this wine was somewhat acceptable, then it’s going to taste that much better with good company and a good energy.  If this or any wine were appalling then we’d be hard pressed to enjoy ourselves. Then again we might move on and find a suitable replacement.

I’m sounding like I’m down on this wine.  Not at all.  I think I’m just excited and all over the place with this sudden heat wave that’s hitting the east coast.   I’m salivating at the thought of all the outdoor activities and all the great wines that I’ll be having during some of those fun events.   I hope you’re getting amped up too.

After perusing their list, I’ve noticed many I’ve had in the past.  This will be revisited at a later date.

If you’re interested in finding this or other wines, click here.

Lastly, here is my most recent post on a great wine from Trader Joe’s.  And here’s one that wasn’t as golden.

Winter time is winding down but some of these impeccable wines I’ll try will not. We’re just getting started.




Oscar Party Pals


This was a spontaneous one.   I was invited to a small gathering of friends for the Academy Awards this past Sunday.  Writing about a wine was not on my radar.  I thought I would relax, enjoy some snacks, and some good company.    Well all of the that good stuff did take place.

I wish I could say the same about the wine.  For this special occasion, I didn’t have to look too hard to find an appropriate wine.

With that being said, it was only fitting that I acquired the 2014 Rosso from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

The video is succinct and a welcome touch.  Yet, the wine itself felt flat.  I love red blends and the melanges take the wines-tasting experience to different heights.  It’s raised our awareness of how wine can and should taste.  They’ve been cultivated for years, but only recently have they blown up, and become one of the more sought after wines in shops.

They’re welcoming, approachable, and usually friendly.  That’s what we want in our bottles.  They’re not all cheap either.  Yet this one needed to be versus what I paid for.   At one retailer it listed for $12.  I don’t see it.  This was one that felt overpriced and not justifying what I paid for.

When looking online, you can see it listed for nearly half in some places.  That’s what makes this even more disheartening.   I felt like I got gypped to an extent.


I wanted to like this.  I want to like every wine I buy.    But I didn’t care for this at all. Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel are all great blends.  I was hoping to get the best of all worlds.  The latter is not my favorite but I’ve had a few good Zinfandels recently.   That’s not the culprit.

Cherry, Strawberry Jam, Plum, and Mocha are the flavors but I didn’t get much of anything.   The jammy element might have been there.  I’m reaching.

If I had paid $7-$8 for this I might not be as difficult.  However, I’m having a hard time finding any redeeming qualities.    This is not the worst wine I’ve ever had but it’s below mediocre.

When I come across another Coppola wine, I will definitely give it a go.  This is what makes this journey so exciting.  We’ve got so many wines to taste and an abundance of options to choose from.   When you frame it like that, the great ones will outweigh the bad.

While perusing the website, I saw so many wonderful and pleasurable getaway opportunities.   I hopefully will get the opportunity to visit the west coast soon.  And if I do, I would love to make a stop here.  Wineries are fun and their site is drawing me in.

In the meantime, I enjoyed watching the awards this past Sunday.   The hosts prepared some wonderful treats.  Popcorn was a must.  Hopefully better wines will be a part of future celebrations.

Do you see my ballot? It’s easy to spot.

The weather is improving, which means more exciting opportunities to come.

For our local winos, I found this bottle at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors in Baltimore. For the rest of the world, I’ve seen Coppola wines in many stores.  If you’re unable to find them near you, their online shop has got you covered.