Count Those Blessings

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Because you can count them maybe more than the amount of anything else in your life.  There’s always much to be thankful for.

I know what’s going on.  I’m at a strange place in life, yet it’s so exciting.  In the many post I’ve made, I’ve changed as a person, yet remained the same.  Whether that’s or good bad is all in the universe’s hands.  Well maybe mine too.

But time keeps moving along, and my tastes in not just wine, but in food, in social situations, hobbies, and personal development have either evolved or I’ve had those existential questions, and moments of, what next?

As much as it’s important to be present, and live in the moment, there’s always a what next.  That can be a good thing or it could leave one in quite the predicament.

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Yet for now, we take it back to a great homemade pizza dinner, with great friends, and I decided to bring two bottles from Ninety Plus Cellars.

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Two wines, because I loved that unknown aspect of what pizzas were going to be made.  I mean I had some idea, so I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s fun to take a chance, and see if the wines pair with the pies.  There is something to what grape goes with certain cheeses, sauces, and toppings.

And then again there is something to having however you want it.

The pizza was great, and you can read more about that here. But today I talk about the wine.

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I’ll get the weak out of the way first.   The 2016, Lot 116 Cabernet Sauvignon left a lot to be desired.  I’m so grateful we opened this bottle after dinner, because if we had this with pizza, or with anything, this dinner would tell a different story.

And don’t get me wrong, the best part of dinner is the socializing and the company.  So the better the food and the wine, that’s just a bonus.  But still, thank goodness we saved this for the end.  Even after giving it time to breathe, the Cabernet Sauvignon tasted like it was open for way too long.

If you’ve ever ordered wine at the bar, and it tasted skunk, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that least ordered, lesser popular tasting wine at the bar, that will be disposed of, if you ask politely.

That may sound harsh, but maybe it was a bad bottle.   Because no Cabernet can taste that bad.  Seriously.

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From that we go to a stellar bottle.   The 2016 Lot 23 Old Vine Malbec is an absolute treasure.  I wish I had brought two of these, at least.

This wine can go with so many different kinds of wine, or simply by itself.  This is just a matter of personal opinion.   Those dark fruits you know and love, such as plum, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries may their understated yet profound impression felt.  I say that this wine has so much going for it.  It has structure, depth, and endearing quality that will resonate with you long after finishing your glass, or in our case, the bottle.

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We had it with hummus, carrots, and the pizza!

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A medium amount of tannins are going to make your tongue feel so good.  It did for me.  Most of all, to me, when you have this smokey or oaky type of taste that lingers towards the end, you have my kind of wine. 

If a friend were to describe my kind of wine, this would be lighter version of it.  And I’m all for it.  This was fantastic.

But speaking of endearing, so was this whole evening…

What I also recall is one of our party really loving the Cabernet more so than the Malbec. That’s what makes this journey so fun.  We all like different things.

Both bottles are likely to be found for under $15.

But in the end, we all share a bottle, a meal, some laughs, and some great conversation.

We are one an we are the same.  That makes me feel good.

For more on Ninety Plus; here is their wine list, their story, their online ordering information, their contact information,  and where you can find their wines near you.

Counting my blessings…

Ideen

Not One But…

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Two Oceans from South Africa is likely one of many wines I gloss over at my nearby wine shoppes and never think to purchase.   Actually I know it is because I can’t recall ever having any of their wines. This is not meant as a negative.  It’s just the reality of things.  There is so much wine in the world that there will never be enough time to consume it all.  I can come close but what would be the fun in that?  It’s something about a journey.

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Just like last week I’m following these newly created wine celebration days, and intend to honor these days just like they were the big holidays of the year.  Ok, maybe not that overly sentimental and dopey, but I think you know what I’m saying.  With that being said, National Sauvignon Blanc Day took place (as of this posting) two days ago, on the 24th.

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I have some friends, men and women, close to me who find Sauvignon Blanc to be their favorite wine and drink it exclusively.  Well I don’t know how believable that is but I’ll take them at their word.  It’s not one of my favorites but I’ve had some varietals that were pleasing to the palate, easy to drink, and went down smoothly.  I basically used the similar terms in three different fashions.  Yeah.

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So the 2015 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc can be classified as one of those aforementioned descriptions.   It started off slow mainly because I wanted to sip immediately.  That’s me being a little too excited.  I had the company of a friend who reminded me to let it breathe.  For the initial first few sips gave me a headache.  And that’s not how you want to judge a wine, especially for such a monumental occasion.

After a few minutes things did open up nicely.   My friend agreed that the wine went down easy, and this was without having any food to pair with.   I would say this leans more towards the medium bodied Blancs that may require some finger foods or a meal.

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Well the suggestions the bottle reads were unavailable to us but thankfully we had some hummus and carrots to help ease our appetite.  It wasn’t the warmest or sunniest of days but as the weather improves the lighter and healthier choices will hopefully take precedent.  Easier said that done, maybe.   But this wine, with a little conversation and good times, got better after each sip and after each glass.

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One of the joys of sharing wine with someone is it takes on a life of its own.  After a while the setting becomes just as, if not more important than the wine itself.  And if the time is enjoyable than the wine itself becomes the same.  And sometimes a wine tastes that much better than it has any reason to be.  I’m not sure how to categorize this one other than it was a grower.   And at $10 or less in most shoppes, it’s a good value and an easy-drinking wine that can he had immediately and for any occasion.

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It’s not the best I’ve ever had but it did its job nevertheless.  And the images on the label do remind one of the warmer weather months.  And that’s always a good thing.

If it wasn’t for wine I wouldn’t know what Gooseberry is.  I may or may not have had it in other whites but the taste has been hard to detect for me.   Tropical fruits and a smooth finish make this wine what it is.  I would love to try similar wines with similar fruits and berries to see if certain ones stand out.    With the weather getting brighter this is a strong possibility.

So far I think this is a good starting point.

For more on Two Oceans Wines click here.  And here is their contact information.

When presented the opportunity I would be delighted to sample more of their wines and hope I get to do just that.

I hope you had a Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day, which like any other wine day, doesn’t need a specific day to celebrate.  But I think it does add to the fun.

More fun days to come.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

It’s Whats For Dinner

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Another dinner party with some of the usual cast of awesome people took place again recently.    And it grew exponentially.  When it gets bigger there is a greater chance of more wines being presented that some of us had never had before.   This was exactly the case.

What may also occur is the risk of one or more of these wines not standing out and getting lost in the shuffle.  This is a good problem to have.  Not all wines are created the same. And not all wines are going to affect and move us in the same way.  That’s what makes us all so wonderful, blessed, and unique.

With that, many of this party did supply a bottle, yours truly included.  And what do you know, mine was the one that never really caught on.  But that’s a good a thing.  They all can’t be winners.   So without a further diatribe, my choice was the 2014 Burgoviejo Graciano Rioja.

My rationale for bringing this bottle was to change it up a bit and expand mine and maybe someone else’s horizons in the process.  As I would assume why other friends would bring a certain label or vintage.  Or just maybe I’m looking into it a bit more deeper than a necessary.  It’s a dinner party after all, and this one in particular is always casual, down-to-earth, and loaded with kindness and friendship.  Shouldn’t they be all?

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The main course was a beef roast with complementing vegetables, a risotto, and salad.  All of this was beautiful.  But before I get too far ahead of myself, I needed a proper wine to go with it.

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Cheese and crackers were the appetizer, but I didn’t want to spoil myself too much.  But that’s always a welcome treat and surprise.  And best of all, a palate cleanser.

I went to one of the many fine wine providers in the area, and as per usual, the staff is always happy to help and bring their knowledge to the situation.  I mentioned the menu for this dinner party, and after several recommendations (some I was leaning towards beforehand via research), one of the last ones suggested was this Rioja.

It just stood out a little bit above the others.  Again, maybe it was the simple label of flowers.  Maybe it was the hint that Spring is right around the corner.  And just maybe it was a feeling this was going to be special and somewhat different.

I went with it with the hope this was going to be something special.  Somewhere in the back of my mind there must have been just the slightest feeling of doubt after I purchased this bottle.  But at $14, this was a reasonable risk.  And hey I’m being a bit dramatic again, but it was worth a shot.

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A hearty meal like that means a full-bodied wine.  I’m not quite sure this was full-bodied enough.  There was something missing here.  It didn’t have that pizzazz or inspirational feeling you might get from a certain bottle.  Honestly, it was kind of just there.  With all the other wines people brought, this wasn’t nearly as moving as the others.

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That’s not to say it wasn’t finished.  We had quite a number of bottles that didn’t stand a fighting chance (in a good way), but mine was just a bit lower on the totem pole.   With a fuller bodied wine you want more tannins, you want more spice, you want the darker fruits to stand out, and you just want it to feel bold and boundless.  None of that happened here.

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My peers were in concurrence with this.   However, with any good dinner party, it doesn’t always matter.  The meal was incredible, the conversations were meaningful, and time just flew by.

Did I mention that good company is always the most important part of any feast?  That should never be taken for granted.  It makes the time go by so quickly.  You know what else does?  Great wine.

And because there were so many other wondrous choices, I will likely and hopefully get to one next week that paired perfectly dessert.  Yes, our bellies were full, but there’s always room for more savory wine and sweets.

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It also shows how good this crew is.  Everyone brought something to the table and didn’t come empty handed.

The host even made a joke that I shouldn’t be working and just enjoy the event fot what it was.  The point was valid and duly noted.  I only took a few photos and enjoyed myself the best I could.   I think my words and more importantly, my experience, are strong enough to celebrate and appreciate another great memory, and another great dinner.

For my friends in Baltimore, this wine can be found at Chesapeake Wine Company.  For all my other wine loving friends, hopefully this link will be of assistance.

More next week.

Ideen