Christmas Eve Comradery

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I’m glad I got to save one of my more enjoyable wine tasting experiences for the end of the year.  Well when it’s the holidays, and even more specifically Christmas Eve, it makes the occasion all the more merrier and the wine taste so much better.

What makes it all the more special is the wine I’m going to write about will go down as one of my favorite wines I’ve had, not only this year, but in a long while.

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The wine in question (well not in question, I just said that for dramatic effect) is The 2014 Lost Colony Wine from Virginia Dare Winery out of Geyserville, CA.

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Now I know what you might be thinking.  It’s The Lost Colony, it’s Virginia Dare Winery, and isn’t the state of Virginia one of the original 13 colonies?  My first reaction is this winery is a reasonable drive away.  Well just a few more hours have been added than originally presumed.  I’ll let you read the synopsis since I’m not the best at history. Instead I’ll stick with the wine and the spirit of Christmas.  Yay Christmas!

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So what inspired me to bring this wine to a dear friends’ Christmas Eve gathering?  Well the kind folks who were hosting prepared a pork crown roast.  And when you get invited to an event with a carefully prepared main course, the wine has to at the very least complement this meal that took days to prepare with love and care.

In advance of this gathering of loved ones and friends, but more so family, I did my research on the proper wines to pair with this dish. Syrah came up a lot and that was more or less in lines what I was thinking.  There were other suggested pairings but I was set on Syrah. And my local wine shoppe came through once again with a massive selection of bottles to choose from.

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Within seconds I spotted The Lost Colony and was in awe of this label.   I mean I was in love.  I had to take pictures.  Well I always take pictures.  But in this situation how could you not admire this work of art?  I’m sounding like a novice that only picks wines based on the label, but that’s a huge part of the fun.  It’s what draws you in.  And no, never judge anything by its cover, but when it looks this good, how can you not be the least bit fascinated?

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To be factually correct, this wine is a Red Blend (45% Syrah), and the fact sheet can be found here.

And when I saw the price listed at only $16 (more on this shortly), I was thinking it’s the holidays, it’s my dear friends’ Christmas Eve Party, and its this portrait and this wine that I want to bring to this assembly of awesomeness.  After all the build-up, this wine better be good.

Thankfully, I can safely say this wine was stupendous, tremendous, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with a few friends at the party.   Was I thinking of keeping it all to myself? Well…

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I was clutching this bottle like it was my baby.  Even the host of the party told me I should bring a cheaper wine out of the cellar, and to save this for later.  He had a point.  So I got a more standard label out and popped it open, and was done with it.

But I really wanted to open my wine.   So even after opening up the el cheapo, I went ahead and opened my Last Colony wine way ahead of dinner time.

This was a fruit forward gem that didn’t need any time to air out or open up, as it was amazing immediately.

The aura of this wine was something.  Lots of friend, old and new, were asking about this wine.  They were also intrigued by the label.  I felt proud that I brought such a wine that led to such a discussion.  It became an ice breaker which I didn’t expect at all.  Well it’s Christmas and the magic of the holidays shined through again.

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I poured cups for folks who were interested and was happy to do so.  And yes, dinner was nowhere close to being served.  But it paired well with the mammoth amount of appetizers and treats sprawled all across the kitchen counter.

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I did save a little wine for the crown roast.  And to say the pairing was amazing only tells a small percentage of the story.  I believe half the bottle was still there when I departed.  I hope my friends got to enjoy it.  The reviews I heard were strong across-the-board. It was so easy to drink.  It tasted more light bodied than I anticipated.   This may also due to the fact that the incredible amount of holiday parties leading to this one has made everything taste differently.  I’ve been feeling full most of the time so this wine may have had the opposite effect than if this were a more relaxed time of year.   And I still loved it.  Perhaps the Malbec in the blend gives is a lighter on the tannins feel.

Remember how I said I purchased this wine for $16?  It just had this feeling of tasting more than that.  But as you can see on the link to their own site, the price is $28.  How can this be?  I feel like I committed winery robbery.  And even though we spend like crazy on Christmas, I fully appreciated the savings in hindsight.   Even on reseller sites I see the prices listed in the $22-$25 range.  So is this an anomaly?  I may need to buy a few more of these bottles for future consumption.

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What’s funny is that if this bottle was over $20 I likely would not have purchased it.  It goes against my purchasing habits.  But here it is.  I was meant to buy this wine on this day, and I’m glad I did.  I’m happy to share this wine with dear friends and family a like.

And everyone at the party did the same.

That’s a testament to all of us.  We all came together to share in this wonderful couple’s home.  They wanted to share the holidays with us.  And we gave back in all the ways we could.  We all brought something to the party, whether it was a side dish, appetizer, sweet treat, liquor, and of course wine.  And that’s not only important during the holidays but all year round.   This group knows the meaning of sharing and caring throughout the year.

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And the hosts of this party go above and beyond in ways I have never seen.  It’s a blessing to know our party hosts, who are more than just hosts, they are family.  This whole group is a family.  And there’s nothing more important than family.  It’s amplified during the holidays and with this crew, the whole year through.

I will always remember this holiday season for a lot of things.  This party will be one of the highlights.

For more on Virginia Dare Winery click here.  They have charming music playing on the main page so beware if you’re looking at the workplace.

To purchase directly from the website, go here.

Here’s a behind the wines and then a history lesson.

If you live near the Baltimore area, I’ve seen this wine at the great Wine World in Abingdon, MD.  I’ve not seen it anywhere else but if I do, I will update it here.

This was fun and I can’t believe another year is in the books.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.  I may revert back to some old posts I never got around too and of course take some unexpected twists and turns throughout the duration.  I look forward to you joining me.

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But for now I will savor what’s left of the holidays and appreciate the fact that I got to be a part of this gathering, and that I got to share this with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Ideen

 

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray For…

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Well ordinarily I wouldn’t dig fruitier and sweeter wines.  But that’s always been the point of this journey.  I like getting out of my comfort zone as much as possible.  Essentially every wine is at least worth a try.

Not that long ago I would embrace sweet wines, because they’re accessible and endearing to so many.  It would be perfect and most likely affordable to bring to holiday parties, birthdays, and any gathering where not everyone enjoys wine.  But they would enjoy the sweet and tart varietals.  So it was a win win for everyone.

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As time went by it felt more like a loss.  I enjoyed the dryer reds and then started to appreciate the whites.  That much has remained the same.  But I’m no wine snob nor do I ever intend to be.  But the sugary content in the sweets began to give me a headache and became a chore to drink than anything else.  That’s not the point of this thing.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed.  And no time rings truer than the holidays.   Yet it’s with great pleasure that I say that the Cranberry Wine from St. James Winery is a winner.

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What’s not to like?  Look at that color.  It looks deceivingly like cranberry juice and not much else.  If you poured me a glass and didn’t tell me otherwise, I wouldn’t know the difference.  Only until sipping do you begin to realize that this is anything but just juice. You want to take your time with this one or it’ll creep up on you.

I love the tasting notes.  It literally is all cranberry all the time.   Cranberry acidity with a cranberry finish is what’s written.  Can you get more approachable and simplistic than that?  And around this time of year, with all the frenzy of running around like a fool shopping, errands, and looking for just a few minutes to relax, this is the kind of wine and synopsis you want.

This wine is so good I’ve gladly decided to give them buy a few and give them as gifts to people.  My hunch is the people I’ve purchased for may not be reading this blog.  So I hope I haven’t spoiled anything haha.

But I did bring it to my traditional gathering of dear friends.  We exchanged gifts, ate food a little too fast (or maybe that was just me), and sipped on this wine ever-so-slowly.

What’s funny is I think I only had one glass.  That is more due to the fact I was appreciating what I was drinking.  There’s nothing especially life-changing or monumental about this wine on the surface.  But if you’re enjoying this glass with the people you care about this much, then it will take on a life of its own.  And that’s how every wine and every experience should be, and is capable of being. The charm of that label helps too.

With this wine, you can also be creative, and make your favorite festive cocktails.

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Short and sweet, to the point, and happy holidays.

For more on our happy gathering, here’s the tea that we had.

For my festive friends in the Baltimore area, this bottle is available at Wine World in Abingdon for the low price of only $11.00.

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And to everyone else in the states and locally, here’s the link to search for it at a retailer near you.

You can also order this and all of their festive wines online, and their contact info is all over the page.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the joy that it’ll bring you.

Happy Happy and Merry Merry,

Ideen

 

 

A Very Special Label

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I’m calling another audible.  I had something in mine for this week, but I will be able to get back to that at a reasonable time.

This is an addendum to another post I made about this decorating party, which can be found right here.  And even with all the sentiment and heartwarming situations, there is room for laughs.  We all need some comedy and laughter in our life.  If not, then what’s this all for.  And is there a more necessary time than during the holidays?   This post might end up being funny, or just a bit dopey depending on where this goes.

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The title of this post might be misleading, but the label for the Happy Holidays Sparkling Wine is art.  What else needs to be said.  There is such care and precision put into this design, how can you not be drawn to it?

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For folks who love the entire wine experience, presentation is almost as important as the wine itself.  First impressions don’t necessarily tell you the whole story, or even offer up some semblance of what’s really going on.  We’re only scratching the surface.

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When you see a label like this, and at only around $11, it’s not worthy of a buy, it’s a must buy.  That’s what happened to me.   I got a little too excited that I made an impulse buy without stopping to check of the details of the wine itself.  And that’s where disappointment is likely to set in.  But we can also find the positives in any situation.  I’m saying all this before I’ve even opened the bottle.  But wait…

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After the euphoria wore off, I read that this was an Italian Sparkling Wine, which would go perfect for the brunch or light appetizer part of the party I was headed to.

This looked too good to open and too good to be true.  I wanted this to remain a mystery.  I wanted to romanticize all the beauty inside without ever uncorking.

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But that wasn’t going to happen.  The mimosas and various champagne drinks were being guzzled at rapid-fire rates that it was only a matter of time before my bottle would be unveiled to the world, or an audience of 10.  Either way this wasn’t good.  After the dramatic build-up I really wanted to like it.  But not even close.  And the host of the decorating party was the first to lash out.   My feeling weren’t hurt.  They all can’t be winners.  It tasted nothing like champagne, sparkling wine, or some other facsimile.

It was too thick and too heavy to be considered champagne or anything remotely close. Like I said, I wanted this to be one of those bottles that you’ll be talking about for years to come.  That’s not even close.  But the fact that it was hard to drink is what made this so funny.  We had a bunch of cheap and standard-label champagne to start off, that served its purpose and went down smooth.  That’s all we want in a champagne brunch.  Maybe the sparkling wine would have been better served in another capacity, but I don’t see it.

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The hostess was great to find the positives in this.  The bottle had already been open, and we waited until all the other champagne tapped out to finish this one.  It just sat there looking lonely.  No one wanted any.  But that label can’t be disputed.  I could stare at that for a while, or until I got restless and wanted a good wine or champagne.  It was funny trying to avoid drinking this until absolutely necessary.  It was tolerable enough to finish but a struggle at the same time.  That’s not an endorsement.

If I were to talk badly about a wine, I wouldn’t want it to be during the holidays, but I gave myself much higher expectations.  And because of the imagery, I doomed myself with such lofty expectations.  I would say I’ve learned my lesson, but I wouldn’t want to.  It may be a novice thing to buy a wine based on a label but the heck with it.  Buy what you want, drink what you like, and take some chances.  I did and I’ll do so again.

I can’t find much about this bottle online, except for this link.  Not sure this can help.

More on the winery itself, Villa Jolanda, can be found here.

For my friends in Maryland, I found this at Wine World in Abingdon, MD.

If you would like to see my friends’ party recap from last year, this is the link for YOU!

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I will bid farewell with a few more pictures from the decorating party.  Regardless of how the wine was, everything about the event was perfection.  I can only hope the next wine I bring to one of these affairs will be the same.

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As always, happiest of holidays to you.

Ideen

 

 

Holiday Party Season

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Here’s the exciting yet confusing part of the holidays for me.   I have a plethora of options to go with for this week.  That’s also the dilemma.  Which one feels right?  No matter what I go with, there’s going to be second guessing.  It’s the Christmas season.  Would you expect anything less?  And I think we can relate to that with just about any scenario. What’s the perfect gift to give someone?  What’s that perfect note, card or message that we would like to convey?  What’s that perfect fill-in-the-blank?

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Perfect is a relative term.  We have to be careful with setting ourselves for a colossal letdown or disappointment.  I’ll tell you something, the wine I’m going to write about is anything but a letdown or a reason to fret.  The Lost Order No. 191 from Boordy Vineyards is close enough to the perfect holiday wine that you forget about all the other hangups and insecurities that may come into your life during this season.  I may be projecting a bit but someone out there must relate.  If not, then this post is in vain.  But I’ll continue nevertheless.

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This continues my posts in support of local business.  I’ve written about Boordy countless times before, but figure it’s been long enough that it didn’t run its course.  I hope so.   Circumstances prevented myself, along with good pals, from attending the last couple of wine club parties, but sometimes life throws you a bone, or a bottle.  And your fellow winos share with you their love of wine.

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More importantly than how good this wine was.   This was a gift from some dear friends that are fellow Landmark Reserve Club Members.  Automatically this wine contains an attachment and memory of giving and of sharing.  And that’s what this season is truly all about.

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300 words later and I’ve yet to actually talk about the wine itself.  It’s a Red Blend that wine lovers and newbies will both adore.  Last weekend I brought it to my local gym’s (for more on Peak Performance, click here) holiday happy hour, and it went over very well.   I had debated on where the most fitting place to bring this invaluable vintage.   This needed to be an organic  experience.  So what better place than the gym.

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This red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and one of my new favorite grapes, Petit Verdot, tastes surprising lighter than what I expected.  Yet it was refreshing and perfect (there’s that word again) for this or any holiday party.  It pairs with the lightest or heartiest of foods.

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I laugh because we work our tails off here, with our weights, rowing machines, and treadmills during the day.  However, in the lobby area we gorged ourselves on loads of food and drink that it felt like I undermined all my hard work for the day, or that week for that matter.

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Ah but that’s the holidays.  Your stomach is supposed to beg for a reprieve.  And one day here and there is not going to be the end of you or me.  Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?

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Well the party was fun.  The dynamic was different as we were revelers as opposed to fitness fanatics.  And that led to a different level of conversation.  And this season leads to a sense of love and community that I wish would permeate all year round.  Sometimes it does.  It’s up to me and you as individuals to spread that cheer for the duration of the calendar year and in this thing called life.

A wine like that certainly helps.  My bottle is still waiting for pickup, which just means I need to share it with close friends and family at the next of hopefully many holiday gatherings.  It’s early December and I love this time of year.  The more parties the merrier. I’m glad I was gifted this wine to share with these good folks.  And I can only assume the good times will continue to present themselves.

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For more on Boordy’s Landmark Reserve Club, click here.

For more on Peak Perfomance, click here.

 

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Have a Safe and Blessed Holiday,

Ideen