My Original Rhone

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This is another one of those posts I didn’t necessarily plan or time to coincide with National Drink Wine Day, that occurred on February 18th, here in the states, because to me and many of us, that’s a daily ritual.

But nevertheless, this is the kind of wine that would only feel write to discuss.  It’s one that has thrown in sentimentality to me the past few years, for a multitude of reasons.

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I’ll first say that the Famille Perrin Reserve Côtes du Rhône Rouge from Château de Beaucastel Winery in the southern part of the Rhone Valley of France.  (Like I know where that is.)

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is likely the first Red Blend or Rhone from France that I ever had the opportunity of trying.  I say this with the understanding and possibility that I’ve had others before, but I was oblivious to the region, to the type of grapes, and to the significance of how wine is created.  So I would like to say this was my first and I truly hope it is.

It’s also the first that really made me appreciate why I love wine, and why I love sharing my wine with others.  And that feeling is reciprocal.  This was also a bottle that dear friends, and I may even consider them family, introduced to me.

The location does not matter.  It’s that old cliche of not where you are but who you’re with that truly matters.  In this instance that is exactly right.

I was introduced to this by a couple of close friends that have ties to the region, whether it’s their native land and can speak the language, have a sentiment for the wine itself, or something bigger than any of that.  There’s always layers to this thing which you may not see on the surface.

Speaking of layers, this is a wine when I first tried was a breath of fresh air.  It was just different than I was accustomed too.  It seemed ripe full of tannins, loaded with strawberries and other fine fruits, and had a rouge (as the name suggests) color that did have a different tint than what I’m accustomed too.  Now this might all be more than I’m making it out to be.  But there was just something about it.

And the place where I first shared it at was ironic.  It was more of a pub atmosphere than a wine bar.  I’ll tell you at the time and looking back on it, this couldn’t be more perfect.  In a sea of cold beer and mixed drinks, this was the savior to all that.  None of that was the intent.  But for me this has significant value I will always look back on fondly.

Yes the people I shared this bottle with also made this experience all the more grande.  Not just anyone would be a part of this.  So there were those few folks who shared the same affinity and joy for this wine, like I did, and likely much more.

What’s important to know is I still keep in touch with these pals.  Sometimes I still get to see them.  That makes this part of my past even more meaningful.  It’s more than just bar friends, these are dear friends, and you might even call them family.  If I had lost touch or think I’d never see them again, than I would still feel some sense of nostalgia, but it would be different.  Make sense?

The fun part of all this is we didn’t just share a glass. We usually got a bottle or two.  And I would say the vintages ran from 2009-2011.  Yes we did this for a while and on numerous occasions, for a stretch run of at least a year, maybe two, and maybe more?   There’s joy in that.  It wasn’t a one and done.  Nurtured and growing bonds come from this.  It could be wine, or it could be anything that does the trick.   But wine can really form deep and spiritual connections if you scratch the surface, even just a little.   Or for some it’s just give me a class and let’s move on.  I would prefer the former. 🙂

People move on, they get busy, some get busier, and some just grow a part.  Even though I had mentioned I still consider these people great friends, I don’t see them as much.  I don’t see them enough.  And whenever I come across a Perrin Wine, I still get a bit emotional and look back on this time fondly.   It was nothing out of the ordinary.  It was just good friends drinking good wine.

There’s old memories and then there’s new memories.  Not all memories are  created equal but relatively they can all be awesome.

I was at a local wine shoppe recently, on my way to a fun event that a dear friend told me about.   And for me, bringing a bottle is just a part of this thing.  It’s me on auto-pilot and knowing to never come empty-handed to an event.  Little did I know the significance of this one.

I purchased the 2014 version, simply because I saw it was one of the more affordable options on the shelf.  And when I mean affordable, I mean under $10.  And I’ve seen it was low as $7, and not just on sale days.   I didn’t realize what I had bought until I showed up at what I hope becomes a new tradition, Club 603.

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If it wasn’t for someone who I now consider family, I would have likely never been here. Maybe the universe would lead me here in a different direction.  But I don’t think so.

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This event represents what it’s like to be around good people, good friends, and what feels like a family atmosphere.

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It’s a monthly (or sometimes more or less) concert event held in someone’s living room, in a gorgeous house, in a gorgeous part of Baltimore.   And what’s all the more gorgeous is everyone is bringing something to the party.

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As you can see there’s nothing but food, food, and more food.

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There will be no pictures of music or musicians.  That’s up to your imagination, or if you’re in the area, a reason for you to visit.

Oh there’s plenty of alcohol too.  I brought my wine and only got to have a glass.  That’s the sign that what I brought to the table was liked by one person.  Even though I didn’t ake the wine, it still feels good.  The same thing happened the month prior.  I literally had half a glass. That makes me feel good.  It’s the little things that are the big things.

And I say month prior because I’m so fortunate to have been at a few of these events, and feel all the more welcome each time.   And now new memories are being created, and yes that good old Perrin is now attached to a new experience.

If there’s one negative, it’s either the vintage has changed, my palate has changed, or it’s just my tastes have evolved.  I would say it’s possibly all and much more than that.   The wine till had that Red Blend (Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah) I’ve come to love, but the sweetness was not there like before. It could be a number of reasons, time and place, temperature, the vintage has evolved, or maybe I’ve evolved.

I’ve had many blend since that have wowed and me disappointed me.  This is one that will have a historic and profound significance to me for a long to come.

If you go to your local wine shoppe there’s a chance that you will find this bottle.  It’s one of the most standard and massed produced wine you’re going to find.  And that’s meant as a positive. It’s accessible, affordable, drinkable, and an everyday wine for every occasion.

The whole point of the wine experience, is to learn something about wine, but most importantly learn more about yourself, and to feel good.  There’s a lot of generalities but the intent is positive.  Wine has created some amazing memories.  Life is about creating good memories to look back on when times are great, or sometimes not-so-stellar.

For my one previous post on the the Famille Perrin Wines, go here.

For more on Club 603, click here.

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I don’t know the next time I’ll be at this said event.  But when I do I will bring another bottle (or two), and maybe do another post to pay tribute to the wines I love and more importantly, the great people I’ll share it with.

Thankful and grateful,

Ideen

 

 

 

Exuberant Enjoyment

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I’ll begin this with a bit of amateurish commentary.  I used to think Côtes du Rhône was the actual name of a grape.  I don’t know how long I paraded around like a buffoon saying this to people.  It just sounded so perfectly.  I was calling it my favorite wine for a time. That part remains true but I corrected myself and found the light.  At least I think so.

Grenache is the actual grape, and it’s grown all over the world.  Well I can now confidently say that Grenache is one of my favorites.  It’s extremely popular but one I don’t hear discussed often among peers.  It’s one I don’t have as often as I liked.  That’s on me. There’s so much wine to choose from that some do tend to get lost in the shuffle.

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This leads me to one of the most beautiful and approachable labels I’ve ever come across, Les Dauphins.   Their 2015 Reserve Rose is a winner and a bargain.  Seriously, I’ve seen this and all their wines as low as $8 in many retailers.  This almost constitutes stealing.  The story that this continues to tell is you can get fantastic bottles for under $10.

I’ve had several of their reds (wine list can be found here) and found them to be palatable, approachable, and as I referenced before, affordable..  That’s what many of us want from a wine.  We want it simple, endearing, and a great conversation piece.  If part of the conversation is how great a wine is then they’ve done their job.   It’s icing on the cake so to speak.

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Now I’ve brought a red to a dinner or party or two and it’s gone over well.  But on a recent visit to see some my friends, to my pleasant surprise, they had a bottle of their Rose opened.   Actually, I literally made last call.  As you can tell by the photos, the bottle was nearly done.  I’m glad I caught the tail end of this party (actually more wine was had but I just had to be a bit dramatic), or this post doesn’t happen for a while.

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I couldn’t tell you what fruits, etc. were in it and at the time I didn’t care.  The color, the nose, and taste were simple and joyous enough that it doesn’t matter.  It was as easy to sip as any Rose I’ve ever had.  I’m not even a big Rose fan but I would have this again.  And I will be. The great company and being outdoors surely helped.   Thanks for saving a little for me!

Here’s a beautiful history of the winemakers, info on where you can find their wine, and their contact info.   Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen their bottles in many different stores across any different states.  So it should be easy to find.

I’m seriously so in love with their label.  In the next few months it only seems right to chat about them again.  I look forward to seeing you then.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Sentimental Saturdays

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I was grateful to be invited to the 2nd Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Party hosted by a dear friend of mine. I’m not sure how official this event is but the 2nd anniversary it is!

Yes this took place on a Saturday, hence the cheesy title.

This one, even more so, is truly about the experience.  This crew is fun.  So you know good food and hopefully good wine is going to be incorporated.

The wine purchased was a 2014 Cotes du Rhone Rouge Acantalys, from Chesapeake Wine Company in Baltimore, MD.  A thanks to them for the suggestion.

I had never seen that bottle before and I can’t find anything on it, except a link in the UK to purchase.   For this occasion, it didn’t matter…

I really liked it.  The label looked like some red wrapping paper so that helped.  I specifically asked the owner if they had had any holiday themed bottles or labels for this party.   They did not, so I simply asked if they had a decently priced wine with some pepper or spices.   And voila.

This is exactly what I was looking for.   It had elements of pepper, spice, and barbecue smoke.  This was an enjoyable bottle for only $12.

But more importantly, this was shared by all of us as we slowly adorned the tree with ornaments.  This is a special time of year and some of can get overly sentimental.

Some of us need an event like this to finally get us over the hump and into the spirit.  I’m somewhere all over the place.   I can never involve myself in enough things with the intent of feeling good.  This was needed by everybody.

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A friend brought homemade cupcakes which paired well with the spicy wine. I’d say the dichotomy of the flavors really made the wine and the cupcake a unique but successful duo.

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You know when there’s a party, pizza has to be involved.  And my friend ordered a buffalo chicken pie to be shared.  It was annihilated within minutes.  Here’s my one slice.

Nothing could have messed this up. Even if the food or wine wasn’t up-to-par, we would have figured something out.  Luckily, everything tasted great.   I suspect the festive occasion made everything taste and feel better regardless.

With a heightened sense of spirit, our palates and our energy may have been altered a bit, for the best.  And I say that with all positive intent.

It’s events like these that make me feel such joy and love.   I wish the feeling could hit me everyday.  Actually it can. The holidays are a special part of the calendar year that would lose it’s uniqueness if celebrate too long.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel good all the time.  Small gathering like this remind me that I can and I intend to.

Good wine and good food will only increase those good times.   Good friends and family to share it with, not only enhances that but also gives us a feeling of comfort and love.

We are well into the holidays and want to take every second to savor it I can. This is why these blog posts exist.

And speaking of savoring, Chesapeake Wine Company has apparently been sold.  What will come of it?  I don’t know.  But this place has been so good to me, especially on Sundays.  As one of the few places with a seven-day liquor license, it has been a go-to for so many. So keep that in mind if you’re in the area and doing shopping over the weekend.

In the meantime I’m going to appreciate the work we did on the tree. Before and after pictures have been included.

Enjoy the holidays and enjoy them with people you care about!

Best,

Ideen

 

Smokin’

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I got to try a new Cotes Du Rhone, per a recommendation from a friend.  And I am so happy I did.   It’s a full bodied red at it’s finest.  I thought it was a bottle that I had before.  But I doubt it.  This flavor would have resonated with me.  Is it the peppery taste that makes me love Cabernet Franc so much or are there some exciting things going on here?

Now I have always like a good Rhone, Grenache has always been a favorite for me.

The La Grande Ribe Cuvee Centenairee Cotes Du Rhone 2009 is one for the books.   As soon as I took a whiff upon opening, I knew I was in for something different and something special.   Boy was that an understatement.

There was a smokiness, along with something else very distinct about the aroma.  So I took a pour and this blew my taste buds away.  I thought I was tasting a piney, earthy, or maybe out of this world selection.   Well I looked up what I could and discovered that barbecue smoke and roasted herbs are added to make this a dynamite bottle.  Literally.

Mystery is abound, however, as I cannot find anything about the winery itself.  But to my pleasure and lack of surprise, you can look this wine up and get a dozen or so different synopsis and evaluation of what is included.   It’s all about interpretation and the power of persuasion.  But I definitely can taste the smoke and the herbs.   Or is it something else too good for words?

Now this recap tells me there’s the black pepper I alluded to, coffee, cinamon, figs, and licorice flavors.  Now which one is it?   There’s also red fruit and black fruit?   So much to keep up with.   This could take years or maybe sooner, but one day, I will figure this puzzle out.   Maybe they’re all right?  Or maybe it’s not meant to be solved?   Just maybe, the flavor can be whatever you interpret it as.    Ah this adds to the mystery…

Bottom line, this is an awesome get.  And this is how I enjoyed it.

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Pretty inspiring I know.

All the best,

Ideen