Celebrate We Will…


There’s certain weeks and certain posts when writing  about wine is easy.  It’s so easy the words flow and minutes later I’m done.  And in other instances I hope I don’t start sounding like a reviewer giving critiques where and opinions that may not always come from the heart.  I’m willing to bet many of us have moments like this.  And I just don’t meant blog posts, articles, writings and reports we did in school and at work, but more so just everyday life.

I had something prepared for this week that after reading it, re-reading it, and editing it still didn’t sound like it came from a place of sincerity or something genuine.  It will have to wait.  If I sound like I’m taking myself and this too seriously, maybe.  But wine is something I care about, but in a spiritual sense, in a harmonious sense, and one where I want to find joy in sharing experiences with others, and sometimes myself.

What I’m going to write about this week is not meant to be a substitute or a filler.  This wine and this experience was going to be written about eventually.

I was going to wait until the Summer, but wait, and voila here we are.

To say I’m grateful to have good people in my life is an understatement.   But I’m still surprised when people get in touch with me to want to hang out.  If it sounds like I’m being hard on myself and self deprecating that’s not my intent.  It still just surprises me. Maybe I’m doing something right.

But people wanted to hang out, it was a gorgeous day, outside restaurants are doing outside seating and dining type of things, and people want to hang out.  Hanging out is fun!

Almost a month later this was one of the charming and cozy celebrations for my birthday.  And on a weekday, and on an impromptu set of circumstances I’m grateful my friends wanted to hang out.  Any good reason is a reason to celebrate.  And in many instances you need no reason at all.

So there were multiple wines had.  This group loves their wine.  I love my wine.  And I may get into a couple of others that were shared in future posts.  But for now,  I will hone in on one.


The 2015 Pinot Grigio delle venezie from Lagaria was and is one of those perfect wines to celebrate the summer, life, and all that is good in the world.

And I recall this was on a Wednesday and our bottle was half-priced.  And for a bottle that retails around $10, and with the restaurant markup and then made half-priced, it was almost identical to the aforementioned $10.   That’s going to make any wine taste better.

But this wine didn’t need any bonuses, promos, or discounts to taste good.  It tastes good. It sips well. And it got better with time.


The notes (which can also be found here) mention the straw yellow color and the floral aromas with apple, apricot, and fruit.  I would be lying if I said I could identify all that and it’s not always our jobs to do so, but it’s fun to speculate and guess on what we might be sipping.  It tastes like summer, and it was easier to go sip than the medium bodied wine that its described to be.  When it’s warmer medium to fuller bodied whites may feel lighter than usual.

The notes also mention this pairs well with fish and seafood.  I wholeheartedly agree. That just adds to the good vibrations of summer.  I believe we had some tasty eats with our vinos, but I was too busy enjoying myself that not a lot of pictures were taken. Sometimes less is more, and some memories are meant to be just memories.  But there will be a next time.

Temperatures, the atmosphere, and so many other factors affect how grapes are grown and cultivated, wine is produced, and all those other intangibles that we could talk about until the end of time.  The same applies to how we react to certain wines and the settings, temperatures, the food we eat, the mood we’re in, and the company we’re keeping at the time.   It’s all so simple and yet so exciting at once.


However, with all the questions and guesses we may have, we just want to drink a good wine that’s affordable, approachable, and inviting.  This would be it.

And I’ve seen this gorgeous label in many a wine shoppe, so it can’t be too hard to find.

If this wine is not available LagariaPinotGrigio2at a store near you, maybe this link can help.

Here is more information on the distributor, Empson & Co.

Thanks to Lee’s Pints & Shell for all their hospitality for the evening.


Lastly, we all have great friends, great stories, and the great wines that pair well with those friends and stories.  I’m maybe a bit too sentimental for my own good, but it’s good to be acknowledged and appreciated.  It’s still always a pleasant surprise when it happens.   I’m grateful and I’m grateful that this wine will forever remind me of a great night.

Thank you so much.


Enjoy, and Repeat


The beautiful city of St. Petersburg, FL has my heart.  And I knew it before I even arrived. I had no plans or any intentions of doing anything touristy, or anything specific. That’s not my style.

Celebrating Summer is my style.  Happy First Day of Summer to YOU!

I just go in with the idea that I’m going to enjoy myself the best that I can, and let everything else fall into place and come to me, and to find me.   In many ways I succeeded, and in a few others maybe the experiences didn’t feel organic.  If you’re self aware, you know the difference.


This is where I’m torn about Try Wine, which is a concept I’ve been a part of in two other cities, and presented in two other posts.  One with great success, and one that has since moved on.

The microchip and sample combination is something that can work in the right setting, the right location, and most importantly with the right people.


On this night, it was quiet, and that is exactly what I was looking for.  But something in the atmosphere felt rushed.  My friends and I got there with under an hour to spare, so there was plenty of time to sample a plentiful amount of wines.  But somewhere along the way I just wanted a glass or two.

I want to thank Kristen who was my guide to where the various varietals and explained the process and price breakdowns, because if you don’t pay attention you will get a small pour that may cost more than a glass in most places.   I’ve made that mistake before.

There’s no need to get into every wine I tried, as that would be boring.  But I will mention one that stuck out and its counterpart.

The Red Blend (tasting notes can be found here) from Conundrum Wines has an aura about it.  The flavors linger long after each sip.  There’s your dark fruits and berries, but the true stand out is the cocoa and the chocolate.  And it doesn’t appear right away.  It shows up right near the end to enhance a wine that maybe didn’t need any more enhancing, but that’s what makes this what it is.


There’s wines we drink that are good, maybe even great, and then we forget about them. I’m not sure overall how I’m feeling about this wine.  It’s great and it’s still on my mind that I’m writing about it.  But there was something else about this I can’t put my finger on.  I just wish I had more time to appreciate it.  Maybe that’s what’s bothering me.  The experience felt rush and partly my own doing.

The White Blend (notes can be found here) on the other hand needed a few minutes. And it’s funny for me to say that I wine coming from a tap needed a few minutes to breathe. But it needed a few minutes to breathe.  This is a summer wine in all areas.   I tasted summer fruits but not sure what exactly.  The notes describe honeysuckle and coconut on the nose.  I wish I could say I got a helping of both.  Maybe a little more of the former but that’s about it.    This is more of a white to enjoy and not over analyze too much.  And the same goes for most, if not all, wines.  I would go out of my way to find the rest.  The white is something many would love, but it would take more time to grow on me.


Both are with a retail price of $20 and up, so they carry some weight but might be outside of what I would pay for either.

I do wish in hindsight that I had some food to pair with either of these pours.   I might have a different appreciation for the wines and for the experience in general.

There will a future engagement with hopefully more time to appreciate what’s going on. Along with that, they are moving to bigger location.   They’ve outgrown where they are now and are moving up the street.   I look forward to visiting them in their new home when I’m back.  And I will be back.  And soon.

For more on their current list of wines click here, their food menu, and their list of events.

Here’s more on Conundrum Wines, where to purchase online, and where you can find their wines near you.

This is going to be a great Summer and I look forward to more exciting wines, and a return visit to Try Wine’s new location soon.

Thanks so much.




Rosé Come Out Tonight


National Rosé Day is traditionally celebrated on  the second Saturday of June each year.  I would be lying if I said I had known this fact for a long time.   But thanks in part to many of my friends who love Rosé not just in this gorgeous warm weather months, but whenever they get the chance.  And I do mean whenever.

Many of my friends exclusively drink Rosé and nothing else.  I feel as if I’ve said this about particular wines and grapes before.

It’s a well known fact that Rosé may be the oldest wine there ever is and ever was.  And it can be used from many different grapes.  It makes the possibilities and the creativity endless.  But at the end of the day most of us just want a wine that tastes good, is affordable, and enjoyable either with friends of in the comfort of solitude.

For such a special day I didn’t want to fall into the added pressure of having to find this most amazing Rosé that has to stand above all the rest.  You know sometimes without thinking too hard, that will happen.   In this instance I went with one with a charming and enchanted label, along with the fact that it was a mere $10.00


The 2016 Reserve De La Dame A L’Oiseau, Rosé has one of the more majestic and captivating label you’ll find on a wine bottle.  Yes I did judge a bottle by its over, but in the right way.  And that’s half the battle.


And I’m thinking, oh this is the Côtes du Rhône region. This has to be good.  I love Côtes du Rhône!


I believe in previous years I’ve had this selection from Vineyard Property Association (more can be learned here), and the fact that I only believe and don’t fully remember tells me that the wine didn’t resonate with me, good or bad.


What has happened since is more or less the same.


The lighter pink color would make you think it would taste a bit lighter.  I would say this is more on the medium side.  But it just didn’t wow me.   And this is not based on the fact that I’m not a regular Rosé drinker (yet I’ve been starting to drink semi-regularly now as the weather gets glorious), but something just didn’t make this stand out.


And for many of us it doesn’t matter.  I imagine in certain circumstances this wine would be perfect.  And many people are going to love this.  This is just my opinion, but even after a few minutes of breathing time, it didn’t get any better for me.  There’s aromas and tastes of fruit.  You could say strawberry, raspberries, and many other berries for that matter. But it doesn’t matter.  This is an ok wine and a reasonable price.


If I had this with friends and the setting was perfect, I might be singing a different tune. No I’m not backing away from my opinion.  I’m making the point that I think has happened to many of us.  The same wines we had in one setting, may not work in another.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a wine tasting and had multiple wines that tasted like the greatest thing on Earth.  Yet only to go home and have that same wine a day or week later and wondering what went wrong.  Maybe it was the excitement of the moment.  This is what this wine reminds me of.  I think somewhere else I might like this.


I did have this one alone but only could finish a glass.   I did my best to enjoy my glass with a little snack of meat, cheese, and crackers.  That’s another great thing about Rosé. It can pair with a multitude of foods and in a multitude of settings.

I’ve seen this label in many a wine shoppe, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.  If you want more information (and maybe where you can find the bottle in your area) from the importer, LVDH, their information can be found here.

Technically we have yet to reach Summer.  And I want to savor every minute and second of that fact.  I also hope to savor more charming Rosé wines as the weather continues to be breathtaking.  And I hope future Rosé selections will do the same, be breathtaking…


Thanks so much.


Can Every Wine Taste Like This?


No that’s not possible and it would take the fun out of it.   However, the 2014 Domaine Bethet-Rayne Cotes Du Rhone Rouge (yeah that’s a mouthful) is one of those bottles that takes me back to why I got into red wines in the first place.

I have no concrete explanation or inspiring reason other than the dark fruits and the stronger tannins makes this a wine you can drink nearly all year round.  I say nearly because as it gets hotter, this wine, along with most medium-to-full bodies reds, would be better served indoors.

But for the purposes of this event, this is a continuation of last weeks’ marathon, which never intended to be, at the great restaurant, Mezze, in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.

What meant to be just one or two glasses of wine, turned into two bottles between some friends.  And there was everything right with this.  And then everything right some more. After we enjoyed that thrilling white the transition into a red felt like the organic and proper transition at the time.


So per our servers’ suggestion and a mutual agreement we went with this Rhone.  It’s a bottle I’ve never recalled seeing in my local wine or spirits shoppe.  And have yet to see since.

Maybe Mezze is onto something.   Our two bottles were not necessarily the most obscure, but, they almost seem exclusive to them.  That’s quite the draw.  And you either need to be unique or be ignored.

Often times we see many restaurants carry a mix of standard labels and a few unique wines to stand out from the crowd.  Others’ only carry the bottles that are readily available in stores for half the price, if not more.  And there’s no right or wrong to any of this.  But when I find a gem like this and can’t find it anywhere else, it will make me want to come back the source.  Maybe this is a unique scenario but this is smart business.


This wine is the essence of Spring and early Summer.  Look at that color?  It has a little fruitier and dare I use a wine term, jammier, look to it.  It shines brighter than many reds and Rhones you will have.  Which makes me pleasantly surprised how close to full bodied it is.

I’m going to steal part of the synopsis here but it does read supple tannic structure, and that is spot on.  Without reading that, you would pick up on this and be amazed but how well put together this wine is.   I just wish I could find it in a store near me so I could have this as part of my regular rotation.


As a first time though I’m thrilled I got to share it with friends in a beautiful outdoor setting.  30 minutes became an hour, an hour became longer, and you know how the rest goes.   The olives that paired with this and our white I wrote about last week really hit the spot.  Lighter fare on a warmer day is always going to pay dividends to your spirit, your body, and overall well-being after the fact.

This is a wine to savor, appreciate, and enjoy with every sip.  That’s how a good wine should be.  That’s how a good life should be.

For those interested in find out more, here is a link to the wineries’ site.

I don’t remember what we paid for the wine here (and in many ways it’s priceless), but websites listed it between $15-20 and that’s more than fair and more than reasonable.

What may be of more assistance is the local distributor is Elite Wine Imports based out of Northern Virginia.

And finally for more on Mezze click here.  They’ve always done my friends and I a great service when it comes to food, vino, and top of the line service.


Lets do it again sometime, shall we?