I’d Like A Number One With A Side Of…

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That title may seem to indicate I’m making light of what is a likable wine.  That’s exactly what the Uno Malbec is from Antigal Winery & Estates.

For more on the winery itself, here is their story, and how they make their wine.

I’ve had this bottle once or twice in the past and completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  It’s hard to keep up with everything.

You can call this your impromptu holiday special, as this was an unexpected yet once again serendipitous gathering.  The better ones happen with little to no planning.  As my list of wines I want to write about continues to grow, it’s always important to leave as many in the arsenal as possible, as long as the stories yet to be told can age well, as stand the test of time.

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I’d like to say the same for this 2013 vintage of the Uno Malbec.

Technical information for the 2014, can be found here. their wine list, and contact information.

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For the 2013 (notes here), I wasn’t looking to analyze or over analyze.  It was later in the day, and that can alter how one is feeling, what one is thinking, and who knows what has been eaten or drank already that can change ones palate many times over.

That’s what happened here.  So plenty of water needed to be had for hydration and then rehydration purposes.

The wine itself has so much depth and so much to offer.  There’s spices all over the place, and if I told you I knew them all, well you know…

But this had a darker element to it.  The wine had a more violet tint to it which I can appreciate.  It’s possible I tasted coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and more of what would be better suited for the fall or winter, but here we are in Spring and the weather still feels like the aforementioned seasons.  Yep.

This is not quite ‘my’ kind of wine, even though it’s been aged in oak for many months.  As much I wanted to love it, that didn’t happen.

It’s a good wine, but at the listing of $14-$16, I would say it’s not quite on that level.  It tastes closer to $10-$12 for me, and while that may sound like I’m nitpicking, it’s my observation and opinion.

It’s medium bodied and not full of the tannins that maybe one would expect.  It has character but maybe it’s just missing that one thing to put it over.  Funny how I said ‘one thing’, but it’s so close to being great.

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This was paired with carry-out cheese pizza, and then some holiday themed cookies, and chocolates.   This may come off as an unconventional pairing, but that’s what makes this so great.   These make for some of the more endearing and long lasting stories.  This wine carries some weight, and while it may be necessary to pair it with a different kind of dish, it doesn’t truly matter.

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The pizza, chocolates, and cookies are comfort foods in times where comfort is welcome and comfort is good.   And while that may imply one should get out of their comfort zone, for this time it was beautiful.  It didn’t last as long as the previous gathering (which you can read about here), but there will be more.

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Each get together creates and tells a different story.   The people with whom you spend it with will hopefully enhance that story.  If not, then there’s no point to any of this.   It makes the wine, the food, and then all those details you can’t see, mean that much more.

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And no, not every wine, and not every experience is going to be life changing.  If that was the case, then those events that are truly magnificent are going to feel betrayed.  I think that makes sense.   Some of the best times are the ones where it’s not that anything deep or profound was said, or done, but it was just simply being.

And this was one of those.  I’m overly sentimental I know that.

While this one was fast, it just means more to come.  And it’s good to just be.

Have a blessed holiday weekend…

Ideen

 

Smells Like Chocolate

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Not every wine that I or you are going to bring to a party is going to be a hit.  As I’ve stated before, we buy a wine based on how it looks, the varietal, a wine rep or staff members’ recommendation, a snazzy label, and most of all the price.

The wine I brought to the dinner soiree I wrote about last week didn’t go over to well.  And this was based on that aforementioned recommendation. That’s also just an opinion based on the time, place, a certain mood or feeling, and what that wine was paired with if anything at all.  Those are the only factors but that’s the gist.

I can over analyze why my selection was good or bad, but that would drive me, my friends, and my readers crazy.  It’s meant to be fun, enjoyable, and a journey that lasts hopefully forever.

When one wine doesn’t go over well, another and then another does.

I would like to thank the hostess for providing the perfect dichotomy to the wine I brought.  She provided several bottles of the 2015 Finca el Origen Reserva Estate Malbec.

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How I didn’t notice this earlier on in the evening is beyond me.  I was so fixated with everything else going on.  And how could you not?  There was nothing but yummy food all over the table.  And there was so much wine consumed between everyone that it’s easy for something to get lost in the shuffle.  I feel a tad embarrassed to not notice this bottle towards the latter half of the evening.

I never got to have any with dinner.  But while I was still craving a little more than dessert, it was certainly enjoyed by yours truly, with what was left of the cheese and crackers display.  Yeah we went through everything.

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The sweetness and fruit forwardness of this wine makes this as one of the more approachable wines, even to someone who isn’t a fan of vino, to anyone.  This is one that can be enjoyed as daily table wine, and with a whole variety of finger foods and full on dinner plates.

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When you hear the term ‘silky or velvety tannins’, this wine is just as good as notice them as any others.  I felt them strong on my tongue and on my cheek than comparable wines that promote the same thing.  There was something about the entire structure of this wine that made this truly special.

It was one of those bottles that carried the same aura from the nose onto the palate.  It literally smelled and tasted the same.  The simplicity of this wine is truly what makes this magnificent.

And that purple  color was another beautiful visual in a sea of beautiful visuals of great good and great people to share this with.

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What I almost forgot to mention, is I can’t recall a much more perfect and fitting pairing than with chocolate.  Yes, chocolate!  Beautiful.

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This writing may be after Valentine’s Day but this whole party had nothing to do with this holiday.  Well maybe a little.  But chocolate and wine can be enjoyed together any time. But when you find a bottle and certain specialty chocolates that pair as well at this, it’s just magic.

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The fruits that came to life with each bite of a sweet treat is something we all should be honored to experience, and experience as much as possible.

This is a wine I’m going to want to add to my collection as soon as possible.  And ranging anywhere from $8-$12 online, this is a bargain and then some.

I haven’t noticed it in stores, but for my fellow wine lovers in the Baltimore area, my friend said it was available at The Perfect Pour in Columbia.  If I find other local shoppes and outlets (stores and online) that carry this wine, it will be updated here.

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This was a great wine and I’m grateful my first time trying it was in this setting and with an awesome set of friends.

Hope your Wine Wednesday is a wondrous one.

Kindest,

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

 

 

 

Step Right Up

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If you’re drawn to a label, chances are you will do a double-take, if not more. I experienced this first-hand over the weekend.

I was invited to hang out with some close friends that I hadn’t seen in some time.  Which is something I’m always grateful to be a part of .   And to show my gratitude I know I had to obtain a wine that fit the occasion.   Now for me and my pals, any solid wine will do.  But in this instance I wanted it to be a little more on the special and sentimental side.

There’s been times in the past (and even more recently) where I’d agonize and fret over finding the perfect bottle.  I’ve taken a task that should be completed in mere minutes and have sometimes extended that to nearly an hour.  I’m not kidding you. What’s supposed to be the most enjoyable part of all I’ve sometimes made an arduous expedition.

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However, this past weekend it took me under 10 seconds to find said bottle.  I literally walked into a wine shoppe and was floored by this beautiful bottle. Without even figuring out what it was, or even the price, I said I was getting it.  It found me.

Ah the price.  That’s where that double-takes comes in again.   Thankfully, the 2013 Petite Petit from Michael David Winery was worth the $17 and then some.

I’ll admit, I was drawn to the elephants.  The circus imagery on the front and back evokes feelings of Springtime, positivity and happiness.  The hope is that it would translate to an exquisite tasting wine.   That’s exactly what happened.

The Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot combination is masterful. This is a full-bodied gem that deserves all the superlatives it gets.   It also helps having  great company around.  It can even make certain mediocre bottles much better than they are.  Luckily, the wine is anything but mediocre.

A lot of darker fruits, vanilla, and maybe even some chocolate might be present.   The tannins linger and do they linger.

Needles to say, this bottle never had a chance.  Between our small group, I was fortunate to have at least one glass.  For a bottle that’s heavier than what we might be accustomed drinking, it sure got decimated in a fashion that would suit lighter fare.

Maybe it was just being in the moment and enjoying each others’ company.   Time moves swiftly when you love life, love your friends,and love your wine.   This went by incredibly quickly.

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A great wine mean great food needs to join and be its friend.   That pizza is legit.   With a heavier flavor means you need a little cheese and carbs.  This was magnificent on all levels.  I’m craving more as I write this.  We dined on other various snacks and treats, and they all paired fine with the bottle. The flavor and intensity of the wine paired well with everything.  It also pairs well with nothing.  It’s fruit forward enough that this can be had in solitude.   Heck, have it with food, with with friends, or alone, just because you can. That’s more technical for you.

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I’m a fan and  I didn’t realize I’ve had some of their other wines.  I want more.  And if you want more, this is where you can find them.

If the opportunity presents itself, and it will, I hope to review more of their assortments.

For more of the winery and their story, go here.

I called an audible this week. I was set to conclude my recent winery tour with a third and final post.  I will get to that within the next couple of weeks.  Or if I’m feeling ambitious I will do a random post on a random day.  I’ve yet to do that.

For more on that stellar pizza, go here.

Take care,

Ideen

 

What Pairs With Eggnog?

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I must be joking right?  Well not entirely.  Fells Point Main Street held their 12th annual Old Thyme Christmas event this past Saturday.  And it was a rousing success!

Part of the festivities including an eggnog contest with various bars, restaurants, and retail shoppes participating.   All it required was a small donation and a little stamina to drink something so dense and so thick.

My pals and I nearly hit all of them.  And that’s an unofficial count of 20. I feel bloated as I elaborate on it.

A lot of water to cleanse the palate and the soul was necessary.  But as always, wine serves that same purpose.

Tradition dictates that we head to V-NO.  I’ve been coming here for a numbers of years now and have always had pleasant service, a treasured experience, and lots of great vino.  This was no exception.

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Unless we wanted to be ushered out on a forklift, a lighter varietal was in order.   So without hesitation and in unison we went with the 2014 Domaine Brunet Pinot Noir.  Good choice.

After intaking lots of dairy it may have been a challenge to appreciate the simplicity of a solid and peaceful glass of anything.    And any flavors that we could have detected might have been marginalized but I still think it turned out fine.

After a cup of water our palates were reset.   Wine is a forever learning process and while there are flavors present, our interpretations and our minds are going to process a lot of different things.  That’s the fun of this. Fortunately when you can detect black cherry off the bat then it’s going to be an easier uphill battle when nailing other components.

The one link I posted above and again here mentions notes of vanilla and then another review discovers dark chocolate, so who knows who’s entirely right.  Maybe they both are.

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The back of the label mentions blueberry notes and another one will say blackberry.  Who is right?   If you’re just having fun then no need to analyze every detail like I am now.  But it’s fun to think about and discuss.

It’s just a great wine that doesn’t always need to be scrutinized or dissected just to get a few fruits and tastes right.

If I could find this wine in a store I would gladly buy it again.  I have never seen or noticed it in my shopping experiences but I will surely be on the lookout now.  Fortunately the friendly folks at V-No sell a multitude of wines to go, including the one we delighted in.

For our friends in Baltimore and in the Fells Point neighborhood there’s no need to sell you on how charming this place is.  We already know.

There’s an intimate bar on the inside and plenty of outdoor dining outside.  Yes it’s December and the weather was still conducive to relaxing on the patio.  It doesn’t get any better.   Not very Christmas-like but no one’s complaining on this end.

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I’ve had plenty of inspiring meats, cheese, and other joyous treats in previous visits.

The bottle (with corking fee) came to a little over $20 and it was well worth it.  The estimated price of this bottle in shoppes will be a little over $10 and that’s nothing for what you will be getting.

During the holidays we’re going to over-indulge, even when we go with the lighter stuff.   A glass of this, or anything light for that matter, is a good way to step back and relax for a second.

It’s easy to get carried away these next few weeks, but there’s more than a place to take it easy and simply relax.    If we allow it, it’s going to be a hectic time for all of us or we can take it easy and appreciate all the things that make this holiday great.  Life is meant to be great.  An experience like this, that we had at V-NO, is a reminder of such.

Not to mention that awesome 80’s music that was blasting.  That doesn’t hurt.

Happy Holidays.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

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The joy of doing this is discovering wines you didn’t even know existed.  This will continuously be a lifelong journey with no end in sight.  And as daunting as that may sound on the surface, that’s exactly how it should be.  Unless there is some magical ending, there should never be a final resting place.  Well unless it’s a with a fabled bottle of vino!

This brings me to the wines from Tussock Jumper.   Until a few days ago, they were nowhere on my radar.  I love uncovering something new.

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The simple reason I saw drawn to the bottle is because of the cat on the label.  In addition to that, there was a plastic baggie with a collectors item attached at the top of it.  Upon further investigation I saw it was a refrigerator magnet.  Without any hesitation I bought this bottle with little regard to the type of wine it was.  They sold me.

I was in the South American wines section of the shop, so it was most likely Malbec or something similar.  But I was blinded by the animal!   Along with animals, wine is one of my real joys in life.  And a combination of a beautiful creature pictured on a bottle will usually get me every time.  Well done.

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The magnet is now hanging gloriously on the refrigerator along with all its other magnet pals.

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And without belaboring the point, how was my sipping experience?  Well I only thought the wine was ok.  I gave it a few minutes to breathe and it started to improve with time.  But it never really got anywhere.   The label mentions aromas and flavors of berries, fruits, and chocolates.   So I will assume blackberry will be notated a lot.  It did have that jammy flavor with maybe some cocoa if I didn’t think so much about it.  But nothing came of this for me.

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In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day yesterday, I hoped to heighten the wine with a piece of cookie or two, and sadly that did not happen.

On a warm Summer’s day this would be ok to drink.  It’s more medium bodied, with it’s combination of Malbec an Shiraz, which can usually be good.  But not here.

I did notice on their wine list, that this varietal is not even listed.

Could it be I’m not the only one that wasn’t floored by the Mendoza?  Or maybe it just wasn’t a huge hit?

However, there’s so much to love about their website.   They have a different animal representing each of their wines.  And it’s also laid out by country.  It’s broken down by recipe, food pairings, grape synopsis, and the vineyards.  You can’t get much more user-friendly than that.   And their tasting guide breaking down the full to light bodied choices, from red to white is magnificent.

Here’s where you can find their wines.

I’m intrigued.  Even though this bottle was disappointing, I will need to do some poking around.  This could become quite the adventure.  The concept is great and I expect many of the wines will turn out the same.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Only The Horses

I have been waiting for over a month to write about this wine.  And the time has arrived.  The time is now. I shouldn’t be so melodramatic.  But I’m having fun here.

Over the course of this blog I’ve really tried to hit home my love for blends.  The triumvirate of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah for both wines I’m going to review are pieced together so well.

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. And on one fateful day in the end of March, I found one of the most beautiful bottles I have ever seen.   I’m sometimes dazzled by the things I attract into my life.

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The 2012 Kentucky Derby Red Blend from 14 Hands is brilliant.  After I saw the label and built such anticipation for it, I wanted to like this wine badly.  And thank goodness I do.   There is so much good about it, aside from the pretty horses. And they sure are pretty.

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There’s a lot to love about this.  When I opened the bottled and poured my first glass, I detected some chocolate aromas from the nose.  It smelled like a full-bodied wine and the oak was permeating.  I was really looking forward to drinking it. But I let it breathe for a few minutes.

It tasted more like a medium, which was just fine by me.  It was a pleasant surprise. I could taste a little chocolate or cocoa, as the synopsis described.    There is mention of loganberries.  I have no idea what those are.  I attached a link for your edification and mine.  I like a winemaker that gets creative with the flavor hints and aromas.

But I still have no idea what loganberries are!  That’s me being humorous.  But really… I didn’t detect any plums or white pepper.  But once again, it’s all perspective and interpretation.  I’m always sensing berries and cherries in most of the reds I drink.  So that’s always been a starting point for me.  This is a fantastic wine.  I agree that it goes with more easygoing foods like pizza and burgers.

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An hour before, I had a glass of the 2012 Hot To Trot Red Blend.  This is a bottle I have had several times before, and is a seminal favorite of mine.   This is the first bottle of theirs I purchased,  and I’ve been a fan ever since.  For that alone, this will always be my favorite of theirs.   And because there’s hints of cinnamon and spices, it really complements this blend very well.  This is a well put together wine.  It’s not that it’s any better than the Kentucky Derby Blend.  It just has another aura of sentimentality, that the Derby one will also give me, if it hasn’t already.

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I enjoyed both with some grapes and walnuts.  But as the fact sheet suggests, pork, mushrooms, or other heartier dishes can work as well.  I’d say it’s a little more than a party bottle as opposed to the Derby.  So I understand their foodie recommendations.

I’ll tell you something.  These PDF’s I have linked in this post, are so user friendly and approachable.  I’ve learned so much just by reading these details.  This is so well done.

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One final note on the Kentucky Derby Blend.  You may have noticed that they are Out Of Stock though their website.  I bought this back in late March at Cranbrook Liquors of Cockeysville, MD, at their Dollar Days.  They had cases of them at the time.   I’d seen them in many shops all over the Baltimore area as of a week ago.  So you may be able to find them at your local wine store, wherever you may live.

I definitely recommend both bottles for this Saturday’s celebrations.  They may both be Red Blends, there are noticeable differences and are definitely pleasing to many palates.   The Hot To Trot can be drank all year round.   And just because the race ends Saturday, I see no reason why the Derby wine would be rendered obsolete.  It’s a great bottle as well.

I’ve had several more of their Varietals as well.   I look forward to writing about those in a future message.

Enjoy the week, enjoy the weekend, and of course, enjoy the Derby.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen