We’ll Be Seeing Ya

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Life should be filled with as many  random, exciting, jubilant, and inspirational moment as possible.  You can throw in all the superlatives, synonyms, and dangling participles you can.  It’s supposed to be fun.  It’s short, it’s long, and everything in between.  This one is about all of that and so much more

A chance encounter with a long-time friend lead us to meet in glorious and historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

I was born in Alexandria and that adds to my sentiment.   We don’t choose where we’re born but it does choose us.  And each time I wander around this town I’m more and more grateful that I was one of those chosen ones.

This town fits me.  I appreciate it more as times goes by and I get older.  The cobblestone streets, the small shops, the walking paths, the mom and pop restaurants, the museums, the water, and everything else gives me that feeling of peace.  There’s plenty of beautiful towns in this country and world, and I’d love to explore more.  But this one is mine.

How I ended up here on this day I’ll chalk up to the universe. And the universe can be so kind. I’ve wanted to meet my friend several times over the past year or so, but circumstances and timing prevented it.  It all lead to this one.  And thank goodness, because this will likely be the last one for a while.

He suggested a tea shoppe but that sadly closed unceremoniously.  There’s the downside to local business.  Rent may be too high to justify attempting a new venture.

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However, there’s a plethora of wine bars in the area and we walked into the first one we saw. That would be Sonoma Cellar on King Street, the heart of everything.

We walked in a few minutes early but the staff didn’t seem to mind.  We literally had no sense of time or direction which makes sense in context.   The wine literally took us where we were meant to go.

After some careful deliberation, we took a seat outside in their wine garden.

The menu is loaded with all kinds of fun and excitement.  And with that comes some pricier options.  Fortunately, we were only coming in for a glass and a small bite to eat.  I understand the location and prices, but some did look a bit steep for my taste.  Thankfully this was happy hour and there’s affordable options to be had as well.

I love that the majority of the wines are from California.  Makes sense of course.

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My choice was the 2012 Chardonnay from Bluewing Vineyards.  My pal went with the 2015 Rose of Sangiovese from Barnard Griffin. Yes this is one of those rare posts where I talk about two separate wines from two separate wineries.  Very exciting I know.

I’ll let the menu do the talking on the descriptions.

sonomachardonnay

The Chardonnay was good but I didn’t find it particularly memorable.   But I could tell right away that it was aged in stainless steel.  I dig that.  I couldn’t tell that it was finished in oak but it’s all case by case.   I may not always want my whites to be too oaky   That’s a matter of taste more than anything else.

Lemon meringue on the nose?  Hmm, I don’t know.  Apple and lime blossom flavors? The former I could taste.  The latter?  Well, maybe next time.

sonomarose

I was grateful to get a sip of the Rose of Sangiovese and this was the winner.  That color stood out immediately.  It looked even rosier than your typical rose.   I was happy to taste the cranberry and pomegranate before I even looked at the synopsis.  That made me happy. This is a wine you can drink all the time.  The weather encourages it even more so now.

Great wine means great food.  A cheese and charcuterie plate was the perfect second to our glasses.   It’s contradictory to say that the food never had a chance.  Wine and small plates are meant to be savored.  But I suppose we were hungry.   The rosemary focaccia bread was a brilliant touch.

Speaking of brilliant.  I love this place.  Our server was kind of enough to allow me to take pictures where I could.

There’s an aura and energy of a pricier experience, but I would love to come back.   Money shouldn’t always be an issue.    If you’re with good company, having a good conversation, and enjoying yourself you forget about finances.  And you can’t put a price on great experiences.

Life is short, it’s long too, but it’s also very short.   I’m grateful to have spent a little bit of time with a friend I may not see for some time.  It’s not a goodbye, more of a…

We’ll be seeing ya,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Food and Wine Pairing Pals

oldmoon

Sometimes what I write about is predetermined.  At other times the topics find me.   This one is a combination of both.

The plan was to have cheeseburgers for a meal, and I wanted to find a wine that pairs well with them.  As per usual, I did a Google search, and you get two dozen opinions on what goes well with anything.   There is something to a food and wine pairing, but it’s all perception.  What might look good to some, might be hideous to others.

Based on the consensus; Malbec, Syrah, and Zinfandel were the ubiquitous suggestions to complement burgers.  Do you detect a theme?  These are three of the more full-bodied reds, with alcohol contents higher than 13.5%.

I have reviewed the first two wines in previous posts.  These can be seen here and here.  So Zin is the big winner today.

In looking at our collection of bottles, I only saw one Zin.  And I present the 2012 Old Moon (Old Vine) Zinfandel from our pals at Trader Joe’s.   This is part of an exclusive collection, that can only be bought at their stores.

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Not much in the way of superlatives to say about this wine.  It’s pretty standard.  But for $5.99 you really can’t complain.   I didn’t care for it at first. But, after a few minutes of breathing it got better.  It’s extremely fruity.  And in reading various reviews of it, every fruit known to man has been detected.  It’s best to go with your senses as to what you taste.   There’s little oak that I could detect.  And not much in the way of tannins.  It’s very easy to drink.  It can be enjoyed without food, for any occasion.

But if you’re looking for something groundbreaking, this is not it.  It’s a very basic wine.  This is a great wine for folks who are new to wine drinking.  And then your palate can only expand from here.

Not every wine is going to pair well with your dish.  My bacon cheeseburger with sides of regular and sweet potato fries was tremendous.  However, the wine didn’t heighten anything or bring about any new flavors.  It’s a decent and affordable bottle that serves its purpose.  If you are fortunate enough to be in a state where your local TJ’s sells wine, this is not one I would go out of my way to buy. For the price alone, it’s ok.  But there’s plenty of others at a few dollars more, with better quality. And I will be getting to those in proceeding posts!

cheeburger

How great does that look? 🙂

Thankfully, like I stated in the beginning, sometimes the topics are shown to me.  This is a great lead in to talk about my first visit to a Trader Joe’s that sold wine!    It was a serendipitous visit around the holidays in 2013 to their Old Town Alexandria, VA store!    I will be discussing some of my past and recent purchases in hopefully a fun and harmonious way.

And if I feel the need, I will be talking about my sadness over the Charles Shaw wines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Best,

Ideen