Thankful Thursdays

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I love Thanksgiving.  I can easily say it’s one of my favorite holidays.   However, every year has a different feel for you, for me, and for everyone.  One persons joyful celebration may be a time for reflection and realization for some.   For me, this year, I find myself doing both.

I’m big on tradition.  And I’m grateful to have so many good people in my universe.  And sometimes I don’t realize it or fully appreciate it.  At other times, there’s a mood that hits me.  It goes all over the place.  I want to see everyone in my family that I can.  I want to pay visit and respect to all my dear friends, not just during the latter stages of the year, but the other ten months to.  I do but I know it’s never enough.  That’s the holidays.

We’re so busy and find ourselves playing catch up.  But catch up from what?  A lot of our business is our own doing.   Yet, at other times, things can’t be helped.

Do any of us have an answer on how to handle life and the holidays?  I think the secret lies within all of us, and while the answers are different, they’re also all so relative.

This year, tradition took a different turn.  I have a wonderful family in Baltimore.  I have a wonderful set of relatives back where I grew up in Montgomery County.  And I pray I see them soon.  In past years, I would see both.  This year, things have changed.  I was meant to stay in Charm City.   Despite the tennis match in my head, it was meant to be.

And what else is meant to be, is two more wines to honor Beaujolais nouveau.

Two more, because in case I run out, I always carry reserved me in my car (unopened of course).  And in case I have the honor of going to another party, I know not to come empty handed.  This applies to any party,  not just during the holidays, but throughout this ride.

The bottles were split over the appetizer and than full dinner portion of the party.  But due to the fact that Thanksgiving means stuffing ourselves till we can’t physically move, they did overlap a bit.  However, for the sanctity of the blog, I’ll make it look proper and wholesome.

The 2016 Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau is exactly along the lines of the sweet, fruity beaujolais nouveau you’ve come to expect.  All the berries and all the goodness make this a winner.  And I tasted something else on top of that.  There was an even more sweeter goodness in the underbelly of this bottle.  Maybe there were some summery fruits on top of cherries and raspberries.   Whether or not that’s the case, or I tricked my mind into thinking is for me to figure out.  You may draw your own interpretations.  But it paired well with all the amazing appetizers that were served.  My family and friends can cook.

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For the official dinner, I opened up the 2016 Domaine Descroix Beaujolais Nouveau 2016. This felt heavier than the previous bottle from tonight’s festivities.   The traditional Thanksgiving favorites were there, along with some other yummy foods.  And the wine and the meal clicked perfectly.  Having great people to share the experience with heightens all of this and then some.

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One synopsis mentions bubble gum on the nose.  What makes me laugh is I thought the aforementioned Domaine Manoir actually tasted like bubble gum.  And here we go. Certain wines have certain flavors, but our interpretations might be (and should be) all different.

And on the notion of interpretations, the holidays mean so many different things to all of us.

I don’t know where the time went.  I felt like I wrote about last years festivities a mere few months ago.  Events from last week felt like last year.  And that’s time for you.

All this is saying is we should appreciate the moments we have, with the people we care about, as much as humanly possible.  And for me (and maybe for you) there may never be enough of that.  Being kind to each other is what life is all about.  And this applies to our entire life, not just the holiday.  Before I sound too preachy, I’m saying this to myself along with saying this to you.  We all deserve to give love and get that love back.  It makes the world a difference.  Life is all about good wine, but more importantly it’s about good times too.   Not to say that wine, good times, good food, and good people are mutually exclusive, but I’m going to safely assume you know what I mean.

To my fellow wine lovers looking for these respective bottles, hopefully this link will help out.  And this one.

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For my friends in Baltimore, these wines, along with others, can be found at the Wine Source in the gorgeous Hampden neighborhood.  They have the most beautiful of displays for Beaujolais nouveau. And many of the bottles, including the two I purchased, can be found for under $10.00.  That’s a holiday celebration I can get used it.

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And I will revisit the Wine Source sooner rather than later.  They have always come through in the clutch when other wine shops fell short.  I’ve found some gems at their store.  I’ve also found it to have the most welcoming and approachable energy of just about any wine shoppe I’ve been to.  And this is not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

beaujolaisthanksgiving1So in the spirit of giving and celebrating, I hope you all had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving with good friends and good family.   We all deserve a little kindness during the holidays.   A great wine might do the trick, but a simple gesture as saying thanks does so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ideen

 

 

I Love Thursdays

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As a kid, and now as an adult, I’ve always looked forward to Thanksgiving.  The fourth Thursday is one many of us mark on the calendar as a day of eating, celebrating with people you care about, drinking, eating, and more eating.

But in what has now become a preview of things to come, the third Thursday, Beaujolais Nouveau Day, has almost become the launching pad of the holiday season, at least here in the states.  And of course for others, the holidays started right after Halloween, if not before.   Nevertheless, I’m happy to have found two unique bottles versus last year, and thankfully two gatherings to bring them to.

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I love Friendsgiving, or Friends Thanksgiving.  I love how we all embrace each other a little more during this time of year.  There’s a natural energy and progression that hits us for a couple of months.  It’s the height of love.  I want to believe it permeates throughout the year.  Some would say it would talk away some of the shine and uniqueness of this time of year.   I would venture to say that being good to each other should be exclusive to the entire year.  And it can be.  With that being said…

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The 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau from Bouchard Aîné & Fils was my favorite of this season thus far. This was brought to a Friendsgiving this past Sunday. So yes, I cheated.  I broke the tradition of only having this on that faithful Third Thursday, but good wine is meant to be drank.  And it was still at the store, so it was meant to be bought, meant to be savored, and meant to be appreciated, all year round.  Ok that was a bit dramatic.

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But this wine had a sweetness about it.   I should have figured out that besides blackberry and cherry, which is synonymous with these wines, was some white peach.  This made the wine alone.  The synopsis which is listed also mentions flavors or smoke.  You would think smoke would undermine the sweet and fruity principles that these wines bring forth.  This was not the case.

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I loved it and was happy that my friends enjoyed it too.  The bottle barely made it through dinner.  You know when you bring a bottle and no one drinks it, feelings may be hurt.  It’s happened to the best of us.  So I’m happy other people enjoyed it and are now fans.  I’m a huge fan.

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I was a huge fan of the feast.  Everyone made or brought some awesome foods.  Pictures are all over this writing, and I don’t need to explain everything on my plate.  Hopefully the pictures do them justice.  But everything was wonderful.  The hosts are great people who I consider close friends, it was nice to reconnect with friends I don’t always see, and I’m happy to have met some new ones.  This is the point of the holidays, and the point of this thing of course called life.

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Can you spot the green eggs and ham?  Haha.

So that was dinner.  And after dinner comes sweet tooth time.

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Bottle #2 is the Beaujolais Noveau from Joseph Drouhin tasted a bit more standard and more of the wines that are in line with this event.  That’s not to say it was bad.  The dark fruits, blackberries, and cherries made this wine a little more fuller than I expected.  I didn’t love it at first, but it was a grower.  A few of sips were better than others. And that could entirely be based on the pastries that were paired with.  The sweetness may shown itself when it otherwise wouldn’t.

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This was a smaller gathering with good friends.  I feel like such a grown up going to another party for dessert and vino.

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These wines are meant to be paired with heavy meats and cheeses.  But there are never any rules to this thing.  Well there might be one.  These wines are meant to be drank now. I have bottles from a couple of years ago that are probably lost causes.   They were meant to be brought to various holiday parties and events.  I won’t make that same mistake by letting them collect dust.

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We got a long season and that means these youthful wines are meant to be had immediately.  And most go for under $15.  And some under $10.  Those are my kind of price points.

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The holidays are about getting carried away, indulging yourself like there’s no tomorrow (or until the next party), and spending time with the people you care about the most.

I would strongly recommend the Bouchard Aîné & Fils, and I think many others will love the Joseph Drouhin.

As an aside, I did taste the Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, and it left so much to be desired. It’s the weakest I can recall in sometime.  I would say it lacked the fire and enthusiasm of previous years.

So you might be asking where you can find these bottles?  The respective websites are not the best of help in that regard. All I know is that in Baltimore, you can find them at the fine folks of Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits.  I’ve always had a great experience there. Online sites may list this at various prices.  If I can track down where else they can be found, I will update this list.

Here is my Beaujolais Nouveau post from one year ago.

Happy Third Thursday to you and Happy Thanksgiving Eve!   And if you read this after that, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Happy Wine Drinking!

I Love Beaujolais Nouveau!

Best to you and yours,

Ideen

Basement Party

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This was supposed to be the  calm before all of the holiday themed posts.  We’re way past the point of no return.  And I’m glad.  We got nearly two months of this and it’ll fly by.  So this is all about embracing community, the ones you love, whether it be your friends, family, your pets, or all of the above.  And we’re going to get all of the above and so much more.

Highlandtown is a a part of Baltimore that is near and dear to me.  In a previous life I actually did leave here.  But at the time it was just on the verge into becoming the flourishing and thriving neighborhood it has become today.  And it seems like they’ve only just scratched the surface.

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I’ve been a sucker and lover for festivals, community events, and neighborhood block parties for as long as I can remember.  So it comes to my surprise that it took me this long to fully partake in their annual Basement Bar Tour.  And what a beautiful congregation of people it has become.

In previous incarnations I only was able to make it to the tail end and only make a couple of the houses and the post party celebration at DiPasquales.  Oh how I love DiPasquales.  I wrote about them once.  You can read that here.

But before I go on any more tangents, lets focus on the topic at hand.  The basement tour was genuine and loaded with soul.

We all put down a relatively cheap $20 to participate in the tour and all the houses (not so much basements anymore) welcomed us with open arms.

Many had snacks, comfort food, beer, mixed drinks, and of course wine.   Yes I need to talk about wine. That’s important to this post and to the integrity of this blog.    Most important of all, there were friendly faces and friendly conversations with everyone.

I got to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a while.  I got to bond with friends in a way that I ordinarily wouldn’t if we were at a crowded bar or party.  Not that either is right or wrong.  But there is something that much more authentic about a neighborhood of friends all gathering for the same reason.   What it led to me is what is symbolic of what the holidays and what the true meaning of life is all about.  I don’t know the exact words as to what life is all about.  But the terms good, community, friendship, and family come to mind.

I’ll leave most of the houses to your imagination.  Many of my experiences on this day are for my and my friends’ internal memories.   But of course one house did that stand out that’s worth sharing…

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It’s never too soon for Mulled wine.  Well it may taste funnier in the normal months but I think you catch my drift.  But if not than that’s cool too.

This was house number, (hmm.. I forgot) on the tour.   My friends and I were already in a good place based on the last few residencies.  I kept wondering what surprises each house would bring next.   At this house we got macaroni and cheese, chili, and pulled chicken.

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all we get  fresh baked cookies and that mulled wine. Oh my goodness.  The host kept having to refill because it was going so fast.

He went over the recipe as he was replenishing the wine, but it has completely escaped my memory.  That’s my fault and I take full responsibility for not being able to share that with you.   I even saw the gentleman later on and thanked him for making such an awesome concoction.  And of course I once again forgot to ask him what it contained.

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It’s safe to assume the Bota Box wine was used, since you can see it in some of these photos.  And it was neighbors to that amazing contraption making the mull.  I’m savoring some right now.

Which leads me to say I want to make some mulled wine.   And I fully believe the possibilities on how to make it are endless.  It’s to your discretion.  The wine is readily available to you.  All we have to do is throw in some fruit, spices, and anything else palpable till your hearts content.

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This made my day and we were only around the halfway point.  Four hours plus flew by. And with any fun event time doesn’t stand still.  It accelerates at a scorching pace.  And I fully intend to do my best to slow some of it down and appreciate all the moments.  Not everything will be captured in my blogs but I’ll do my best to share some of the best.  The Basement Bar Tour is some of that best.

In the spirit of community I’d like to promote some of the local businesses in the neighborhood.  Some I’m proud to say are great friends of mine.  Some I’m proud to say I support on at least a semi-regular basis.  If you’re in and around the area, definitely check them out before the holidays and the year is out.  And this will be edited to add more over time, so my humblest of apologies if I leave anyone out.  That is not my intent.

Links will be listed where available :

Peak Performance Training

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RoofTop Hot – Urban Farm & Sustainability Services

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Highlandtown Gallery/Magnolia Designs/Night Owl Gallery

Rust-N-Shine

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Y:Art

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DiPasquales

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A huge thanks to all the houses that welcomed us in and seemed genuine happy to be a part of this.  And to DiPasquale’s for an amazing celebration by the fire, at the end.  And of course the Highlandtown Community Association.

I’m ready for the holidays.  Oh wait, they’re already here!

More cheer to come,

Ideen

Thanksgiving Through and Through

 

It’s not too early to talk about Thanksgiving, especially when we’re a mere two weeks away from one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite altogether.

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As I referenced weeks ago, if timing and the universe worked out, I would revisiting some of my favorite stations from the Maryland Wine Festival.  And I’m honored to present my favorite to you today, Thanksgiving Farm.

Why I had never heard of them until now is just one of those things.  But that’s the joy of this journey. The wine experience will go on till eternity.  Just when you think you’ve started to narrow down the choices in your area, let alone globally, more just tend to sneak up on you.

The micro of this came into play at the festival.  I’ve been to a decent amount of these wineries or, at the very least, sampled their vintages somewhere.  This was my inaugural tasting of their wines, and what a remarkable experience this was.

This years festival was done mostly by myself.  After doing a few loops and walking around in repetitive circular motion can get rather boring quickly, that the tasting experience can be rendered meaningless.  If you’re not in the best mood than the wines may not as taste as well versus being in a harmonious position.

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After a few seconds of telling myself this festival is about fun, this gorgeous banner showed up in my field of vision.  And the lovely folks at Thanksgiving Farms welcomed me with opens farms.

I felt like I’ve known Doug and Maureen Heimbuch for years.

While exchanging pleasantries I explained this thing of mine and promised I would write about them sometime in November leading up to this most celebratory of holidays.  What perfect name for this winery.   And I’ve yet to even talk about their wines.

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What I loved was their no nonsense approach to this festival.  They had two wines to taste, both reds, and both were Meritage.  I sampled a 2011 and 2010 respectively.

The mood I was in made these great wines taste even better.  I said wines because I did get to try both.   Even though the 2010 (Reserve) was a premium pour.  They gave it to me on the house and it was quite the treat.  That’s going above and beyond.

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The wines are priced at $19.95 for the 2011 and $24.95 for the 2010 Reserve.  I think are both worth that but it’s understandable if that’s out of your price range.  As I’ve said before, $20 is right around my cut-off.  But both of these wines are worth the prices being listed.

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I can’t say which I loved more.  But the blends of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot , and Cabernet Sauvignon in both vintages were champion caliber.  The Reserve tasted ligter than I thought it would but that’s not a complaint.  I’ll safely assume blackberry, cherry, among other fruits encompass these blends. But more importantly the soul behind these wines makes me yearn for more.  These were excellent.

Their world class hospitality is going to make me come to them.  The intent is to make a visit.  I was hoping it would be before the holiday.  That still may happen.  But if it’s later on I will still be happy to to a strong write-up about what I can only assume will be just as world class of an experience, and wine tasting.

I look forward to trying more of their wines, which can you see listed across the page.  So the two they presented to the patrons of the festival was fantastic preview of what’s to come.

For information on purchasing their wines, click here.  They do currently only ship to Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Florida.

Here’s a rundown of my past posts from this years and last years Maryland Wine Festival.

Happy Early Thanksgiving and you know many great holiday posts are coming!

Blessed,

Ideen

Satisfy My Soul

 

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Is there a little bit of Old Soul in all of us?  That’s a question of the ages, or for the soul if you will.  If you feel the need to proclaim yourself as one than there’s some more questions you need to be asking.  Wait, what am I talking about again?  The soul or wine? Are these two entities really that separate from one another?  This goes deeper if you want it to.

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I had initially brought the Old Soul Pinot Noir from Oak Ridge Winery as a gift so some dear friends.  I told them to save it for a special occasion, because there was symbolism and meaning for the recipients of this wine.  That conversation and metaphysical discussion will be left between us and the universe.   And we’ve all had these in-depth and philosophical meetings at least once (and if we’re fortunate, many more) in our lives.   This is the kind of wine that encompasses all that is good with the atmosphere.

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So after all that, the special occasion turns out to be a Halloween party?  Makes sense if you think about it.  Cut out the seriousness, and how fitting of a holiday to serve such a perfect and purposeful wine.   Not sure this is the kind of soul discussion I was hoping for. I think you get what I’m referencing.

At my local stores I’ve seen this priced anywhere from $13-$16.  I say that’s a fair price and one I’m willing to spend a few more dollars on than my traditional $10 and under purchases.

The immediate stand out is the intense fruits when I uncorked the bottle.   What a beautiful array of berries and as the synopsis says, floral tones.  I knew I was in for something special.  The aura and energy of the wine seemed distinctively familiar.  And it may be possible I’ve had this wine or any one of their other varietals.  But I think there’s something bigger here.  There’s something bigger than us.  Maybe it’s the name, the label, that beautiful tree, or all of the above.  This wine really hits nerves on a multitude of levels.

And it tastes a lot more fuller than your traditional Pinot, and that’s mainly due in part that it’s blended with Zinfandel.  I kept saying to anyone who would listen that this wine was fantastic.  Well I would say some pals agreed, or they wanted an alternative from a mixed drink or cold beer. This wine never stood a chance.  It was decimated in minutes, and I was lucky to get a second cup in.  Seriously, the taste of blackberries and whatever else may be inside the soul was something to savor.  I thought I may have gotten some vanilla.  Again, as I’ve said before, our palates are all different.  We all may get a little something and a little bit of the same with this wine.  That’s what makes this so fun.

This is a wine meant to be shared, but more importantly shared with the people you care about the most.  Yes, this was a Halloween party and the seriousness should be left at the door and especially when wearing a goofy costume.  But this wine really touched my soul. There’s a big picture with this.  Which means I must try more, and share it with everyone here.

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But for now I’ll leave with some of the foods that were paired with this one.  This was early on in the party so you see the easy plates of appetizers such as hummus, pita bread, and some sweet baklava and pastries that were opened later.

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All this will be revisited again soon.  I’m a huge fan of this wine and think this winery is bringing some of that positive energy that we all need, and what a perfect time to talk about it was we steadily approach the holidays.

For information on where to find there wines in your area click here.

More is coming!

Ideen