A Rosé By Any Other Name…

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Charles & Charles
is a label that stands out and may resonate with you, if you’ve seen it.

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It was only a matter of time, and there’s no time like now, but their 2016 Rosé is everything that you want in the Summer, or any climate that suits you for that matter.

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For my final post of August (how sad does that sound) 2017, it had to be a Rosé, and if this one was a letdown I would be honest about it.  However, this is one of the better wines of its kind that you’re going to find.  Oh cool that rhymed…

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What will stand out is the American Flags that adorn their labels.  That’s always going to bring you in, and that’s before you’ve even had a sip.  The patterns and colors will just hit you, and it’s hit me, even in a sea of hundreds of bottles in any aisle of your local wine supplier, their wines I’ve thought about, and I’ve never had one.  Until last week.

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I will always be grateful and fortunate to have friends that simply say, stop by or invite me over to say hello.  It’s informal, organic, spontaneous, and usually leads to the best of conversations.

The light pink, almost pale like color is another detail that can’t go unnoticed.

I’ve read multiple reviews of this wine, and seen so many different details and those notes you always heard about, expounded upon.

One term I’ve often not used, if ever, because I like to keep it simple, is acidity.

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Acidity is what gives the wine its sour kind of taste, even in those sweeter wines.  This wine, with all its citrus and fruit flavors, has the perfect amount of acidity that counterbalances the slight sweetness of Charles and Charles’ gem of a wine.

Taking out any other technical details, this is jut an enjoyable wine.  And my friend and I enjoyed this rather swiftly.   Like most wines, I believe they all should be savored.  But sometimes, and maybe more than sometimes, you’re on a roll.  You’re enjoying the conversation, the setting, the weather, and all the other details of the universe that can’t be put into text, that the wine feels like its going down rather quickly, and all of a sudden its gone.

Sometimes it’s like that.  Time is a relative thing.  When life is good, it feels like time stands still.  It also moves literally at the speed of light, or speed of a great Rose.

I would say this bottle was split in about an hour so, but does the time frame really matter?   No food was paired with it, but you don’t need any.  But at the same time a wine like this is so adaptive and versatile, that it can be paired with all kinds of finger foods and dishes. What you choose is up to you, and that’s all that matters.  If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

This wine, not just this Rosé makes me happy, and like any awesome bottle, it will be one that will carry a good memory with me to last a lifetime.  I’m glad this is how I had my first wine from Charles & Charles, and I know this won’t be the last.

At a price range from $11-$15, it’s worth more than just the dollar amount.  It’s beautiful. And I’ve seen their labels at many a shoppe, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one near you.

I would also like to thank my friend for a few of the up-close photos that are displayed prominently throughout this post.  I’m grateful.

For more on the wines of Charles & Charles‘ click here.   More about them in video form (which is awesome by the way), a link to purchase their wines online, and their contact info.

Here’s my Rosé history lesson.

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Here’s to Summer.   I hope to keep it going.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

…What Is Essential Is…

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There are times when I do this, that I wonder why I keep doing this.  I wonder if at some point I’ll become burnt out, or run out of fun wines to talk about.  The former is possible, the latter well..  There will never be enough time to try all the wine.  Hey!

After consecutive weeks of posts where all I did was review Whites and Rosé’s, it’s time to get back to what made me love wine in the first place, a simple, full bodied, and affordable red wine.

If it weren’t for dear friends of mine inviting me to dinner just hours ago, this may have been another white wine or Rosé post.  The dinner that we had could only be justified with something full, something powerful, yet something approachable.

My friend suggested an Australian Shiraz, and I agreed, with pleasure.  It didn’t take long to find something I liked. As a matter of fact, one jumped at me simply because of the label.

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The artwork and the beauty displayed from the 2014 Big Squeeze Shiraz by Evans & Tate will draw anyone in.  This depiction of animals, nature, and all the elements that are bright in the world sold immediately.

Its at this moment, that after $14 later, I so badly want this wine to taste amazing.   I already have a memory attached to it (its that dragonfly and butterfly, among all the other goodness), and I’ve yet to uncork (or in this case unscrew) this anticipatory bottle.

I’m so happy and grateful to report this wine was stellar upon opening, and got better with time.  And then it just kept getting better with time.  And this is all before dinner was served.

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So what is it about this wine, aside from the art?    It comprises everything I grew to love about reds.  First, I adore Shiraz.  Second, it’s the simple inclusion of plum, cherry, pepper, among the other easiest elements of the universe.    There’s lots of toasted oak too to almost make you think its a different season.  Almost.

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In short, this wine is approachable, medium bodied (in my tasters opinion) for a Shiraz that it almost tastes light, and is perfect for the Summer.   Yes you can have a red wine in the Summer and not feel bloated or regretful the next day.  It’s tremendous, it’s beautiful, and it’s what a red wine is supposed to taste like.

And my goodness this is pair perfectly dinner.  My friend was spot on with this call.  For a wine that with a beautiful label that represents goodness and the best parts of our planet, it only made sense that this meal (mostly comprised of local and organic elements would go with our wine.   Yes, our wine.   The expectations were so high that two bottles were actually purchased.

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Not only did the wine wow us all, but so did the food.  The meal which comprised of lamb sausage, pasta with homemade pesto and local basil, and local squash was a hearty yet the right kind of filling meal.  A fuller bodied Shiraz or any red may have undermined what were dining on.  It’s one of those things I realized while we were eating, and now as I write about this experience.

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And how could I forget the Caprese Salad?  Joyous emotions all around.   The tannin level on this wine leans towards the lower side, which in hindsight I appreciate even more.  As much as I love high levels of tannin, it wouldn’t work with this meal, at least in this instance.

I just found this to be so perfect.  It was so perfect, that the picture taking was limited. This was wine and meal I wanted to enjoy with my friends, and retain as many memories for myself and with my pals.

From when this wine was opened up until the conclusion of dinner was about an hour.  I can’t tell you how great the food was, and I can’t elaborate properly how this wine got so much better with each minute of breathing.   Some wines air out and then they settle into their intended taste for a while.  This one just kept getting better with each sip. But this wine is something special.

But everything factors into an awe-inspiring wine experience; the company, the weather, the food, your mood, and every other element the universe decides to present to us.

The conversation was great, it was necessary, and it was therapeutic.

Life is good but as much as I love wine on my own, great company is always a welcome thing.  And I’m grateful these folks are not only great company, but great friends.

And what wine is really that good if you can’t share it with good people.

Until today I’ve never seen this wine in my life.    To see if this wine is available near you, click here.  If not, you can also purchase this bottle online.    This wine is listed anywhere from $10-$14 and I feel it tastes closer to a $20+ bottle. That’s meant as a compliment.

There’s still plenty of time to write about all the other wines that identify with the Summer.  I sense this will resume next week.

So I’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

More Bang For Your Buck

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I went back to see the last time I did a post exclusively to Vinho Verde.   How funny that is one year ago today (or tomorrow depending on where we are) that this happened.

I’m grateful that I did or I would be kicking myself for not supporting and promoting this fantastic wine, that should never be taken for granted.  In the context of summer wines this is one that may get lost in the shuffle to some.  But I will attempt to not let that happen again.

All you need to know about Vinho Verde is in this link right here, to see how easy it is to drink, understand, and appreciate in many different settings.

Since the wines are traditionally lower in alcohol content, that means they’re much easier to drink, more accessible to people who don’t love wine but are willing to try, and can be complemented with a plethora of meals, snacks, or with nothing at all.

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This most simple and peaceful of experiences takes me back to June, and a return to V-NO Wine Bar in the historic Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore.    Surprisingly to me, I’ve made only one post in regards to this beautiful space, and that can be found here.

That day I was with friends.  I’ve been here many times with friends.  On this visit, this was for me.

After taking a peaceful stroll around the beautiful rowhomes and remembering how much I need to appreciate these cobblestone streets, I made my way to V-NO on this most gorgeous of Saturday afternoons.

I think I got there as soon as it opened, so there was some level of enthusiasm on top of the spontaneity.

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I was welcomed by Jane, who I wish I had thanked sooner.  She could not have been more accommodating.   I told he about my blog, and she was happy to help.  I took a lot of pictures but also helped her out in setting a few things up, since they just opened. Reciprocation is one of the joys of life, and makes us who we are.

Where is all this going?  Well I wanted a wine, and in fact I got to try two.  But for this weeks post I will focus on the Vinho Verde from Broadbent Selections.

Under the most peculiar of circumstances I think I would enjoy this wine.  It’s so simple, so refreshing, and in many ways irresistible.   

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I was outside, alone, yet the entire world around me was moving along at the most endearing of paces.  There were walkers, joggers, bicyclists, folks on the nearby pirate cruise, and my favorite friends on four legs (leashed of course) were in abundance.

For a while I forgot where I was. It felt like a utopia. It was a good hour or so of just being.  Yes I did take a few pictures but then I put the phone away and just chose to be. That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world we live in, but I think I pulled it off without even trying.

This is what I think… As enjoyable and simplistic as this wine was, it resonates with me much deeper than I or anyone else can explain.  Yes it was a simple glass of wine but to me something else was going on here.  And that part is just for me eyes and ears.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all been there.

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There’s something about this wine, and not that just that beautiful label that drew me in. And I’ve had this one several times before but not like this.  In the past it just was a wine I had and then I moved on and did something else.  This could have been any wine in this session but it was this one for a reason.  It tasted better than ever.

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Now I may have this again and it just goes back to being a good wine with fruits of summer and that clear color is nice to look at, and then that’s it.  But at least for this day, this hour, this place in time it will mean more than even I’ll ever know.

And this wine can be found just about anywhere.  I’ve seen at so many stores for under $10.  Just another reason to love this.

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Thanks to Jane for being so awesome, the universe for looking out for me, and to Broadbent for presenting to me on this most picturesque of days.

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More for on V-NO click here.

For more on Broadbent, here is their story, their massive list of wines, and their contact information.

We’ve still got a lot of Summer left and I hopefully have more wines to discuss that fit the season.

And Part 2 might be next week.

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Thanks so much.

Ideen

And We’ll Be Birds

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel or wave the white flag on this season.  And even the though the towel might be white too, there’s no cause for alarm or concern.   I love summer and want to celebrate forever.  That means one more Rosé, and hopefully more to come.   When I’m in the planning stages or lack thereof when piecing these posts together, I look at the seasons, the place I’m in, and my log of wines I’ve tried to see what fits and what I can save for later, if at all.

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But a return to the Wine Source, which will never get old, led to some curious searching. And I won’t confirm nor deny that this was a planned trip.  Nothing just happens and there’s no such thing as coincidence.   After my memorable visit two weeks ago, how would this one compare?

There doesn’t need to be a comparison.  While every experience is different they’re also somewhat similar, and sometimes all the same?  Make sense?  Well it does and then it doesn’t to me, but that’s what makes this excursion so fun and unpredictable.

The night in question from last week had me running around circles.  I was craving a Rosé but not just any.  I wanted a label and a bottle that would evoke emotions of hope, love, spirit, and a journey  that is forever going.  One that tells us that not only are we going to be ok, but that we are ok.

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I shoul’ve realized they were reading my mind and knew why I was there.  Without even knowing me they know my tastes and know their clientele.  I had no idea I sprinted past the lovely Rosé in front of the store.  I had just assumed walked around and dig to find a bottle within every nook and cranny of the shoppe.   How did I not see this gorgeous display of Rosé wine in front of the store for me to appreciate, admire. and adore some more.  And I was doing all of the three and that much more.

Now I was literally doing circles.  There were so many beautiful choices that the only one that made sense is one with designs of our animal friends.

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So I saw one with a bird and didn’t think twice.   The 2016 Guillaume Gonnet Cotes du Rhone ‘Le Reveur’ Rose, from Rhone, France had the most inviting label and energy.  Yes a gorgeous looking robin on the label helps.  But never judge a book by its something and same with a label.   For all  you know it covers the deficiencies of the wine itself, and overcompensating by having such beautiful artwork.  I sound like such a novice but that’s the fun part.

No this is not the best wine you or I will ever have. It’s not even in the conversation, but what this one does is provide you with aspects with what make summer, wine drinking, and life in general so beautiful.  It’s listed anywhere from $10-$13.  I got mine for $11 (sale price from $13) and didn’t think twice about the price.

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It’s (depending on where you read) got notes and hints of grapefruit, apple, melon, and various citrus flavors.  It may be what you smell, it may be what you taste, but what it does do for sure is add to an everyday wine that can be had with friends, in solitude, and with all types of food that make you happy.

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For me, I was in the mood for sushi.  And I found the pairing to work in syncopation with the other.  Now I mainly got rolls, but a couple pieces of sushi were necessary.  And what a match made in pairing heaven.  Not only did the colors mesh well but the wine itself went done smoothly with such hearty and filling rolls.

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I enjoyed plenty of sips without food and found it enjoyable either way.

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Like I said, this will not be the best wine you or I will ever have, but not all of them should be.  If we kept saying everything was amazing or the best, actual wines that fit that old (to us) would lose its appeal. This is a good everyday wine and I’m going to assume this is all that it was ever meant to be.

But having our animal friends on a bottle always helps.

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For more on this wine, perhaps a message to the importers, Misa Imports, may be of assistance.  Otherwise this is a wine I’ve seen sparingly in stores, one of course is the Wine Source in the great neighborhood of Hampden, in Baltimore.   If you don’t live in the area, hopefully this link may be of assistance.

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Whatever Rosé you’ve been indulging in this summer (and before and beyond), I sincerely hope it’s been enjoyable, not only for you but with all the awesome people that you’ve been sharing it with.  That’s what this is all about.  I look forward to enjoying and sharing so many more of my stories with you guys.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

Home Away From Home

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This is more than just about a wine.  And honestly most of these stories are more than just about the wine.  It’s also about the journeys we go on, the people we share it with, and of course any life changing tidbits along the way.  Not everything is going to be memorable or resonate.

Sometimes it’s not the wine but it’s the wonderful company you shared it with, or maybe you had a moment of peace and solitude.  And you may have said to yourself that life is pretty good, and at least for even a few surrealistic seconds, it was as pretty close to complete peace that there is.

You ever get that feeling?  I bet it happens more than you and I realize.

I’ve had that happen to me multiple times recently.  Maybe the universe is telling me to appreciate life all I can, because those moment are everywhere if you let them.

Well this happened to me twice in the same weekend at nearly the same place.  Now how I ended up in Northern Virginia twice in three days is something I hadn’t planned out.  It just worked out that way.  And I’m grateful it did because it brought me back to visit an old familiar friend, Balducci’s.

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Now we’ve all been to markets with their selections of natural foods, organic foods, salad bars, hot food bars, delis, cheese markets, and everything else you can come up with. But Balducci’s has been doing this for over 100 years.

Now with locations exclusively to Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, it’s not going to be readily accessible to everyone.  And in a way these locations are mostly in pricier parts of their respective cities, which means higher end food and higher end prices.  That also means higher quality, yet you can still find deals.

I’ll make this part brief. my first and many visits after was to the Bethesda location near where i grew up.  Now that area is not quite my cup of tea but going back to my younger days when it was under a different name, I do have fond memories, maybe simply because it was a simpler time, and there were less things to worry about.

Even if the prices seemed out of reach at the time, what did stand out is how I hadn’t seen a store like this, of its kind, maybe ever.  And even with changes, the heart of the store remains the same.  And now they’ve added wine.

But two recent visits to the older part of McLean, VA brought me to another one of Balducci’s location.  And this location has more of a presence and easier to find than its Bethesda counterpart, simply because the McLean location is almost in an island unto itself, with little to no competition or hardly any neighbors to speak of.

Before I continue to digress, I’ll just say that what makes Virginia even stand out more is wine is easily accessible in grocery, convenient, and drug stores, while in Mayland you need a special permit, which the Bethesda location has.  But it makes coming to Virginia to buy one that much easier.

Yet I wasn’t looking for it.  But in McLean I felt so happy.  It was near where I was born, near things that made me happy (what those things are I’m really not quite sure, but I felt warm and fuzz), and overall had a welcoming energy I hadn’t always felt from its Bethesda counterpart.  If it sounds like I’m sort of picking on Bethesda, I don’t mean to.

There’s a lot to appreciate because in addition to everything that’s cool, their main headquarters is in Maryland.

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With all that said, I perused the wine section and noticed how so many bottles were in the $20-$30+ range.  That wasn’t a priority for me and it hardly ever is.  Thankfully, Balducci’s does have their own label of wines that were mostly under $15.00.  One in particular, the Chenin Blanc was only $10.  Without hesitation I decided this is what I was going to get, and this is what I’m going to write about.

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I was introduced to Chenin Blanc last summer, and enjoyed it for its simplicity yet somewhat sweet but still dry flavors, that make it a white that fans of mostly red wines can also enjoy.  If you were willing to give it a shot.  I did and I’ve had a few I’ve truly sipped again.

This 2016 Balducci’s Chenin Blanc tasted like a wine that is worth $10, nothing more, maybe less.  And with the understanding now it was one of the few bottles at $10 or less at Balducci’s, I get that quality is much higher here, and a lot of Chenin Blanc was produced.  More than what they know what to do with.  That’s just an observation and speculation.

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I tasted some fruits, and while it was semi sweet and dry, it was missing that wow factor. It felt like an everyday wine and I don’t think you should expect much more.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it.   It was a decent wine for the price.

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And it pairs well with spicy foods, salads (among so much more) or nothing at all.  I had mine with some Asian style chicken and vegetables.  And it was simple complement of wine and food.   That’s sometimes all you want and/or need.

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Here is a link to the importer of their wines, Kysela Pere et Fils if you’re curious to know more.

Maybe I had lofty goals because the Balducci’s of McLean had a positive energy and vibe that I can’t fully explain.  Maybe the grass is always greener, maybe it’s because I was born not too far away (that is a huge part of it),  or maybe I don’t come around enough to grasp what’s fully going on.   No need to over-analyze too much.

However, I do know this is just the beginning.  There’s more of this location and I’d like to explore and definitely a visit to the place where I was born in Alexandria, VA.

Yes so this will be done again sooner rather than later, and definitely before the year is out.   It’ll be a thoroughly enjoyable adventure.  I hope you’ll be able to join me.

For more on Balducci’s, click here.   And many of their items such as coffee, sweets and snacks,  spices, and many other giftsgifts are available for purchase online.

Here’s their list of locations again, which also includes one for my local friends in Baltimore.

And finally, here is their contact information.

Thank you so much and look forward to doing this all again soon.

Ideen