It’s Such A Clear Day…


I had something all planned (I don’t like plans, or the word ‘plans’ honestly) all laid out for this week, but something didn’t feel right.   I’m all for keeping it simple and fortunately I have so many wines and stories I can talk about, that I’m going to save some of these other adventures for later in the Spring.

Oh yes Spring is coming!  Hooray!

The pictures here tell of skies that look grey, murky, gloomy, and throw in some other big words that’ll make you and I look good.  But skies and weather like this make for the clearest and brightest pictures.

So this may end up being a two part story, or I may scatter the second post.  I’ll see how I feel.

Being on vacation, yet being close to home, has its privileges.  Actually I’m just grateful to be able to type that last sentence out to you.  And I’m grateful I have dear friends who have trust in me to watch over their house and watch over their pups.  I love dogs in case you haven’t heard me say it before, or noticed.

This means different settings for food and wine pictures, and a different energy then being in my own home, a bar, or a restaurant.  It leads to more strategy or less thinking, a relaxed atmosphere where I can take my time, and all the time to sit and think (or maybe not think so much) and just be one with me, my animal friends, and the universe.


I treated myself.  I got a simple cheese and meat spread, and some crackers to share with the 2016 (I think, more on that in a second) Blass Reserve Release Cabernet Sauvignon from Wolf Blass Wines.

This is one of the more unique Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot, but then again I haven’t.

The synopsis on their site is different than what’s on the back of the label shown here (the notes).  And upon further investigating the labels are slightly different.  But I’ll go with what I got and what I can.


The darker fruits may be there, depending on which wine I actually drank.  But it’s safe to assume that plums and berries are involved.  Smoky cedar or oak? Maybe both.  Maybe nothing at all.  Maybe it’s all a figment of mine and your imagination.


What does stand out is the blackcurrant.   If you drink a lot of black tea, then you know that flavor, that aroma, and that undeniable and distinguished taste.


Despite all of this, the wine didn’t do it for me.  And with all the appeal of the label, the components of the wine itself, and an aura about it that I may have created in my own mind, it just never got going.

I gave it time to breathe or air out if you will, and nothing.   Like I said, I sat and relaxed for a while.  After taking some pictures, the phone and camera were silenced, and I just decided to be.


Usually that means the wine or anything is going to be that much better.  But not everyone is going to be a winner.  Maybe in a different light, I may think differently.  Maybe blackcurrant is an acquired taste that needs time.   And perhaps, this is not the wine for me.

That doesn’t necessarily mean this wine wouldn’t be for you.  And at the price range of $10-$13, it’s not going to hurt you to try.

And this won’t prevent me for giving another of one of their wines, or a wine with this fantastic taste and flavor again.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this day, and sat in a charming backyard with nothing but myself, nature, my animal friends, and all the worries and cares seemed to dissipate instantaneously.   That’s the stuff that makes me feel good and make me happy.

Part two next week.  Maybe…

Peace Be With You.



Muffuletta Memories

This post takes us to New Orleans, where I had the honor of visiting over a month ago. Even with all the wonderful foods and cocktails I got to try while I was there, I still had to make time for the inspiring bottles I love so much.


And I love this city so much too.  I didn’t want to leave.   And as a wanderer, I found myself at the French Market everyday I was there.  It’s a small town feel within one of the greatest places I’ve ever visited.

It was a warm day and we heard some amazing jazz music up the street.  This calls for cigars, relaxing, good food, and a bottle of red.   The latter part may sound like an oxymoron, but this is a vacation!

The night before on a leisurely stroll towards Frenchmen Street I came upon the market as it was about to shut down for the night and saw the stand for Alberto’s Cheese and Wine Bistro.


And this place looked so quaint, cozy, and charming.  I knew I had to at least come back the next day to see what this place (and the Market as a whole) is all about.

Coming back the next day, the Market was so alive and so vibrant.  I have been to many local markets before with a similar sentiment, but not like this.  This felt like home.  I belonged here.  And everyone was so friendly.  It’s the type of love and comradery I can get used to.

Alberto’s had a very welcoming and small town feel, just like the rest of the French Market.  I felt like something had to be wrong.  The folks behind the counter were so accommodating and answered any questions about the menu that I had.


New Orleans is known for a lot of amazing things.  I didn’t know the Muffuletta was one of them.  So I ordered one and it was incredible.  So what about a great wine to pair with it?


I grabbed the Banfi Tuscany Centine Rosso and it paired with my hearty sandwich perfectly.


The sandwich killed it.  I could have had another.  The meats and cheeses with this amazing sesame bread just made my day. The house made olive salad was a nice complement although I barely had room to finish it.


And the wine could have tasted like garbage and wouldn’t have mattered.  And it didn’t.  It was fantastic. And regardless, for the moment in time we were in, it was perfection.   The mix of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot gelled perfectly.  A nice mix of light and full-bodied to make it the right wine to pair up with a filling meal such as mine.

No fancy glasses were necessary today.   And we can’t walk around with the streets with those anyways.  But plastic cups will do just fine.


As a bonus, to make this day even more meaningful in hindsight, I am pulling this directly off their Facebook page : first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. How amazing is that?  When I looked at the back of the label at the time, All I read was first winery and didn’t think to read further.  I am thrilled that my purchase represents something good and pure.

More information on this wine can be found here.

Everything about this setting was perfect. Great weather, wine, food, company, and people watching.   This city is magical. I felt so at ease.  I feel like I belonged there and after this trip was over, I was left to ponder what took me so long.  That just means I need to come back soon!

There’s going to be pictures all over this post.  Many will revolve around the wine and the meal.  And many as a tourist.

I didn’t expect to write as much as I did. Actions speak louder than words, as do photos. So here you go.


I am homesick from NOLA, because there I felt like I belonged there and been there for years, not days. Until the next visit…



Sip Baltimore Style


I was grateful to be invited to a friend’s birthday party last night, at Sip Kitchen & WIne Bar.  If you drive on Key Highway, you might miss it, but you wouldn’t want to. Barely open over a month, this place makes an already stellar wine drinking experience, all that much better. It may have been overwhelming at first, but that fear wore off instantaneously.

There is so much to like about Sip, that this will not be dedicated to one post.

How it works is simple.  I ordered a prepaid micro chipped card (up to any amount I want) from the bar, just as if I were ordering a drink.  I leave the bartender a great tip, as if I ordered a drink, and the the card is handed to me.   This is where the inspiration begins…

There are over 100 bottles from which to indulge from.    I wish I had taken more photos.    The card is inserted into the side and then the choices are abundant and you’re not trapped, because you can order a 1 oz. pour, a 3 oz. half glass, or the full 6 oz. pour.  So you’re not stuck with a wine you don’t like any time for too long. Very exciting stuff!   It’s like being a kid on a shopping spree or at the candy shoppe!




The money is automatically deducted, which towards the end of the balances, lead to some funny situations.   It was surreal trying to track down wines that matched a 1 oz. pour of under $2, or whatever was close to the balance of the card.   Needless to say, there were final balances of $.40-$.90 or similar.

The selections are all over the spectrum.  Plenty of whites.  Plenty of reds.  Lots of light, medium, and full bodied selections.   What was drank was too much to name.  And these pictures will not do this complete justice.

The food and service were tremendous as well.   The staff seemed genuine and happy to help. The charcuterie and cheese plate was magnificent, as were the fries with various sauces.

The real charm comes from talking about all the wines from the pours.    The ritual of discussing each glass, made this experience so authentic.   It brings about a unique and positive social experience.  It felt like a race at times, but there is where the fun comes from.   At the same time, it’s a marathon to try every selection available.

The vibe was fantastic.  A lot of people enjoying themselves, their company, and the libations.  I felt like I was on vacation.  I can’t wait to be back.

More to come.