Never Be Enough Time

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My mini Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail Tour continues from last week with the second stop being the beautiful Brookmere Wine & Vineyard Inn.

This is one where I wish I had spent more time than I did.   But the energy didn’t seem to lend itself to more than a few minutes visit.

Once again, as I’m driving down the interstate I see a sign directing travelers to a winery. Before I even decided to check where it was, I just followed the signs and took my fate in the atmosphere’s hands.

It only took about a 10 mile detour to get here and I’m happy I did.  Upon arrival, I see a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of the street going on its merry way.   The visual that I just gave you is just as awesome as it was in person.  I only wish I had photographic evidence but maybe it’s meant to be.  Let that memory remain with me and the privacy of the horse remains as such.  But after seeing that I knew I was in for a treat.

Matt greeted me as I walked in and asked if I had any questions.   Like last week, I explained my blogging passion and pictures were encouraged.

What stood out were the labels.  How beautiful are some of these?  The artwork, the imagery, and especially the animals, always wins me over.

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The wine itself did not completely blow me away.   Nothing wowed me to the point of purchase or a second sip.  Even the Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc, which are usual go to’s were not amazing.  No wine was bad and many were decent.  It just didn’t hit me the way previous wines have.  Until…

The Red Fox, while having a beautiful animal friend on the cover, also was the one that captivated me the post.  It’s a sweet and spicy bottle that can be had summer or winter, chilled or heated, and everything in between.   The cinnamon is not too overpowering and was something unique to enjoy.  In going with tradition of buying at least one bottle at a wine tasting, I went with this one.  I’ll hold onto this for a while, until a special occasion calls for it.   At $12 it’s a more-than-reasonable find.

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My one-track mind of going for all red’s also may have hindered me from appreciating what was in front of me.  I rinsed my glass and cleansed my palate at every opportunity.  It just didn’t work out as best as I had hoped. It was still a good time but there was something lacking.  Perhaps it was me.

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This is where having some good company, making friends with other wine tasters, or having a friend or two with you would help.   The wines could easily taste better with a more stimulating conversation, good food, and good friends.  Maybe at some point I hit a wall going to a winery on my own.   Notice how this is a reflection on me and not on the winery itself.

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Brookmere’s space was cozy and on top of that there is a bed & breakfast and wedding venue right next door to the winery.  I snagged a photo of the building next door and I can only imagine how charming it is on the inside.   Maybe someone will invite to their wedding and I’ll have an excuse to come back?  Wait, that was a no?  Oh well I’ll have to make a move to return sooner as opposed to later.

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As I mentioned earlier, maybe I didn’t give myself enough time to appreciate my surroundings.  I did but a little relaxation and a retreat to a new location should lead to peace and tranquility.   There is no rush in life.  I’ll do it even better next time.

I hope you enjoy my collage of photographs!

If you’re interested in purchasing their wines, click here!

For part 1 aka last weeks post, go here.

Take good care,

Ideen

Feeling Happy at Hunters Valley

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I’m so grateful to live in Maryland.   I have access to drive to so many wineries and attractions in many neighboring states.  This leads to adventures, excitement, and something fresh.  That’s what life is all about.  This is a never-ending journey, and why would I want it any other way.

A road trip to Central Pennsylvania can me a lot of things.  I’m all about the unexpected, unplanned, and unseen.  But what I discovered is more joy than I could ever imagined.

I had only heard of the Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail in passing.   And didn’t realize until I made a visit to The Winery at Hunters Valley, that I’m about to embark on something special.

I made the 15 minute detour off the interstate to visit this charming vineyard.    Thank goodness I did.  I almost just kept on going to get closer to my destination.  What that destination is doesn’t matter, because I’m not even sure what that is.

You’re going to see a lot of pictures and I’ll let that do most of the talking.  I want to thank Megan, who was conducting the tasting, for allowing me to take all the pictures I wanted. She was very accommodating and went above-and-beyond in making my visit as efficient, yet peaceful as possible.  The only caveat is that I give the winery and their wines a positive review.  That’s not going to be a problem.

It helps when you’re the only one there at the time.  So chances are the conversation is going to be a lot more laid back and informal as opposed to a larger group.  It also lends itself to being more of yourself versus having to play chameleon.  That can be enjoyable too, but I hope you know what I mean.

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What’s refreshing is the wine tasting was free.   I feel like I’m already in the money at this point.  I had up to five to choose from but Megan let me try six.  I hope I don’t get her in trouble.    The five err.. six I tasted are checked off by yours truly.     Notice how reasonably priced they are.

An analysis of every wine tried is not necessary.  I’ll try to keep it brief.  But I’ll tell you, I liked some more over others.  That may not be the expertise you’re looking for but it’s a simple way of saying a couple really won my heart.

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The Merlot was the bonus I tried and it was probably my second favorite.  This grape has really grown on me as my palate has changed.   I’ve made mention of this over the life of this blog.

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The Niagara is just like it says.   I really felt like I was eating a grape and savoring the juices.  Oh this one really got to me.  I almost bought this.  I’m still contemplating my decision as to why I didn’t.

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I went with the Heart of the Valley.   I gave away my purchase at the beginning of this post is you look above.   One of the main reasons is I think I’ve never written about a Chianti and that’s quite a shame.   Chambourcin is one of those grapes that’s on my short list of my favorite grapes but this didn’t taste like the grape I’ve grown accustomed too.  That’s just fine by me. They’re all not meant to taste the same.

The main reason I bought it (other than I feel a courtesy to buy a wine at a tasting) is I think this bottle is going to get amazing with time.  It’s one of the easiest wines I’ve sipped and I  feel that the wine will age well.  That’s not just a cliche you hear about.   It’s so easy to sip now that it can only grow to be more awesome.

But speaking of awesome, the views outside are so inspiring.   My cell phone photography is not going to do enough justice.  But this is as majestic as it gets.    I wish I could have stayed longer and appreciated the serenity around me.  I hope I get the opportunity to come back.

This is going to be split up into three parts.  I was fortunate enough to stop at three wineries on this trail.  I had no idea they’d all be connected.  But I guess it was meant to be.

I can’t say this enough.  I love wineries.  The whole concept of a vineyard is one of those gifts from the universe, or whatever you may believe in.   Whenever I get an opportunity, I’ll literally go the extra miles to make a visit.  This one was special.   I just hope the next visit is on par with this one.  Only time and the stories will tell.

For more on Hunters Valley, here is their contact information. And to order many of their awesome wines, go here.

Thanks so much!  I had a great time writing about this one!   More to come next week!

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Remember The Alamos

AlamosMeal2Man I’ve been waiting a long time to write that title.  And I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to write about Alamos.  This post also coincides with the upcoming Malbec World Day which takes place this Sunday, April 17th.

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There’s plenty of Malbec’s I’ve written about, but this is the originator.  This is the one I’m most sentimental too.  If it wasn’t more some dear friends introducing me to Malbec and this bottle in particular, my passion for wine and everything that goes with it, may be null and void.  Yes, for as long as I can recall, this is the very first Malbec I ever had.

It’s been the most approachable and accommodating of bottles.  And I may be understating that just a bit.  I’ve seen this wine at nearly every wine retailer I’ve ever walked into.  The same can be said for restaurants.

More than any other wine the Alamos Malbec is a fixture at fine dining establishments, sports bars, dive bars, and everything in between.  This speaks to how accessible this wine is along with the aforementioned a’s earlier in this paragraph.  I do this alliteration bit a lot. See?

Through the years it’s also been consistent.  The flavors of blackberry and dark cherry permeate through every bottle and every glass I’ve enjoyed either alone, with family, or with friends.  My palates  have changed but this wine keeps tasting better to me.

I mention the various places Alamos Malbec can be found.  And I’ve enjoyed them in many of those situations and more.    I’m sipping on the 2014 as I write this and it’s brilliant.

It’s a wine worthy of having over a conversation but equally this wine is worth having a conversation about.

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I’m having a dialogue with you while I also finish my meal I paired it with.  I wish I could say it was my creation but I wouldn’t be true to myself or the audience.  It’s a homemade meal but from someone else’s home.  The chicken marsala with green beans and mixed vegetable was decent yet it paired ideally with my wine.   Can you see the animal friend in the background?

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This is a wine you can have with anything.  This is what makes wine fun.  It doesn’t have to be overpriced or pretentious.  I’ve seen this bottle listed anywhere from $7-$10 and it drinks at about that price.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  As a matter of fact it’s everything that’s right about wine.

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Red Blend And Cabernet Sauvignon are good ones too but the Malbec is like that great friend that will always be their for you.  Alamos has been loyal to me over the years and I will not take that for granted.  I will not take or granted that some wonderful friends introduced me to this wine.

I am forever grateful.

Have a Happy Malbec World Day.

Best,

Ideen

Easter Party – The Blanca

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I’m following up on last weeks post, where I paired the Easter gathering appetizers with a splendid red.

This week it’s the conclusion of the party with the main course, and of course a white wine (or in this case a blanca) that would hopefully go over well.

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If you guessed I brought a Spanish white, then you would win the door prize, if I only  had a prize to give.  However, per a few of the guests in attendance the Palma Real Rueda from my pals at Total Wine, was a hit and a de facto winner.  I only say that because the party included lots of beer, liquors, and other various adult beverages.   My bottles seemed to be a sentimental hit with a select few.  That just means more for us.

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With such a substantial and abundant meal pictured above, the vino has got to be light. You don’t need to be a sommelier to know that.  It’s simple common sense and respect for pairing a wonderful meal with a glass to balance it all out. If not, everything could be diluted.

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At this point so much food and alcohol has been consumed by everyone, that talk of wine may not mean much.  But it still does to me.  I’m always learning.  The synopsis is so simple.  It’s crisp and refreshing.   If I hadn’t read that before, I would still believe that. It’s exactly as such.   For me it’s refreshing on a few other levels.

I’ve noted in the past that I’ve preferred reds over whites..  I like my dry, full-bodied reds more than anything else that it doesn’t lend itself to sweeter white wine.  That’s a bias of mine that’s changing over time , with this blog and with my experiences. And those experiences with family and friends are just as important, if not more, than the wine itself.

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This party was about a family I’m proud to be a part of.  And a couple of our Baltimore family complimented on how refreshing and pleasantly surprising this wine was.  That’s all the analysis you need.  It reads that it’s a medium-bodied wine and it tasted perfectly, maybe even lighter than that.  And look at that price.  $9.99 is a bargain.

But in a sense that’s all micro.   The macro is the joy we felt sipping our wine, noshing on some great eats, and most importantly spending quality time with great people.

Moments like this are to be cherished.   Thankfully, this Easter party is not a one-off.  I’m grateful to spend time with these folks over many holidays or, even better, for no specific occasion at all. That’s a good life.

It’s the little things that are the big things.

Take good care,

Ideen