On The Mend

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There’s something about the Remington neighborhood in Baltimore that is so charming to me.   And I may not even be talking about the whole neighborhood, but a tiny block or even half a block area has become another in a line of safe places to be that are away from everyone, yet in plain sight of those same everyone’s.

What strikes me is how just a couple of years ago, this was a neighborhood that had all the telltale signs of expansion but looked fine in before pictures, and looks similar in after, with a few masterful additions.

While one place has become a source of necessary health and healing, another is more of the same on a different level.  R. House (I wrote about it once before) has been a source of new food, new experiences, and just a place for rebirth, rejuvenation, and welcome solitude.

On several occasions I’ve been here with friends, but recently it’s always been me and just me.  And this is a place where it’s ok to be just you.  Actually most places can fit that fold if you see fit and makes you feel good if that resonates within your heart and soul.  But something about R. House just feels so comforting, so familiar, and so divine.   It’s as if I’ve been here before in a previous life, but can’t connect all the dots just yet.  Not that I’m supposed to nor ever will, but it’s fun to romanticize.

And this place is worthy of all the romanticizing.   There’s a dozen or so food choices that didn’t exist just a few years ago.  And it just has this welcoming aura from the outside and from the open you open those double doors.  Yes it’s those simple things that really get me, move me, and fill my spirit whole.

Then nestled right in the middle is the r.bar…

I’ve always love the r.bar from afar, yet I was right there.  In all previous visits it only consisted of getting food to go or dining in. And to me dining in some ways has been a life changing experience.  Sometimes a couple hours sitting in complete and utter nothingness have gone by, without realizing.   To call it cathartic would be a statement.  And it would be the right one…

The r. bar is just the same.  I don’t know anyone that regularly hangs out here.  There’s friends that have their places to go, just like I do. Some are not always my favorite, but they’re safe, cozy, familiar, and there’s the path of least resistance factor.

Keep in mind, it’s only a bar but it symbolizes a lot.  Sometimes going to different places means going at it alone.  I’ve been going at it alone for 39 years and change, that I’m used to it in many ways by now.

Luckily, there’s a familiar face behind the bar who’ll make you feel good and welcome.  I always feel welcome here even if I don’t know where the love is coming from, or it’s not actually ‘there’.

So coming from one place of healing to another means simply a glass of wine, nothing more nothing less.   To me I don’t sense this is a place for rowdiness, it’s a place of peace, a place for folks to work, conduct business, enjoy a few friends, and in my case, enjoy solitude.

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With that, the mutual recommendation was the 2015 Carménère from Falernia Winery  (contact information here) was poured to perfection.

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It’s getting colder out there, and while it may not be full bodied wine season, it was on this day.  And I took my time sipping this thing, because I appreciated everything around me, which was a little noise, great ambiance, my friend behind the bar, but then it was just me.  I take my few pictures and then that’s that.

This is a wine that will be a crowd pleaser at any party, whether it’s one that you’ll be attending in a couple of months or next week.  I want to be careful with my language because to me it’s way too early to think about all the festivities in the next month or so, as fall is a season for letting go, grieving, and healing  And to me, and I’m sure many others, it’s more important now than ever before.

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Yes the tannins are big and bold, as a wine like this would be.  The synopsis mentions there’s chocolate and vanilla on the nose, which I actually didn’t notice.  But in hindsight I get it.  It fits a wine like this.  But most importantly, is it a wine you want?  I loved it and I think in this instance almost anything would have worked.  But I’m glad I had it at this moment in time, and nowhere else.  Life is great like that.

I love R. House as the home away from home that it’s become for me.  It’s convenient but there’s something much bigger going on here, and words don’t always need to apply or can apply.  It’s just larger-than-life.  That’s all I got right now.

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It’s a glorious place that is meant to be shared with and embraced by everyone.

How it is in this incarnation is a masterpiece, and I can’t wait to see how it expands and evolves, even if doesn’t really need to.

Hopefully this will be revisited before the year is out.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

La Princesse By The Pool

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This, like most posts, is not just about the wine.  But it’s about the experience that revolves around the wine.  Because with out that, it’s just a glass and nothing more.  And not that there is anything right or wrong about that.  But I like to think that with every bottle, every sip, and then every sip after that can tell a story that adds meaning to your life and maybe someone elses.

If that sounded a bit more dramatic than intended, I don’t apologize.  Its been an interesting summer, at least for me.  It’s been a transition.  Things are happening that remind me of what is important in life.   And I’ve always known this, but sometimes you need a reminder, no matter how simple or harsh it might be.   However, a nice bottle of wine and some great company will always make the transition of the next aspects of life the next season, or the next anything, at least a little easier to navigate through.

We had a Summer in Maryland that gave us many beautiful days, but maybe not enough pool days.  It could be a scheduling thing, some off timing, or the universe resetting itself, but I hardly felt like I got to take advantage of pool season.   Where it used to be double digits became barely past a count on one hand.

Fortunately, late September provided one more day.   So because of that I’m happy to talk about at least one more Rosé.

The 2016 Rosé from Cellier des Princes may not be a blow away wine.  But it’s a solid, light, and approachable Rosé that will do its job when applied to any occasion.   This happened to fall on one of the last days of pool season.  And I don’t mean official, I mean the last time my friend may have hosted a pool day.   It’s all subjective.  We could get some glorious days in October that remind us that fall and pumpkin season arrived just a bit too soon.  But I’m not holding my breath, and that’s just fine.

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This Rosé with the majority being Grenache, with a little Syrah thrown it to keep it honest, tastes light and refreshing as any Rosé  should.  The lighter salmon pink color would also be a strong indicator of a lighter Rosé.

I couldn’t find much information on this wine otherwise.   The website is not the most organized, and I see no mention of the aforementioned bottle anywhere.  To tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter.  The wine was fun and that’s what matters.

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And since it was hot, a little more ice was needed.  You might think this may water things down a bit, but I think the ice only enhanced our sipping experience.  I say our because we had a great group of friends, but we also had their animal friend soak in some rays.

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She is the princess by the pool.    Thanks to my friend for the inspiration on this title.

For me, the wine started a bit slow, but after a few seconds that all went away.  I don’t think the bottle needed time to breathe or open up.  I just think my first couple sips started off awkward but just got better with time.    This is where the bottle never had a chance.

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And what a glorious bottle it was.  As fun as this wine was, I was even more enamored with the positive notes of celebration and friendship that adorned the label itself.  I was fortunate that at my local retailer, I grabbed one of the last one out of the cooler.  And at $10-$12, you really can’t go wrong and won’t be taking that much of a hit if its a wine that doesn’t win you over.

But those notes of positvity translated into the wine, the day, the experience, and all the other good stuff that should never fall by the wayside.

An animal friend always helps too.

This hopefully doensn’t conclude the Rosé and white wine portion for the year.  But this is traditionally where more reds will be appearing in the coming weeks, with a few whites thrown in for measure.  It’s only uphill from here but that’s been the intent of this blog from the onset.

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We had fun with this one and that’s the point of this thing.  I look forward to this continuing, and I look forward to maintaining this ongoing dialogue, conversation, and story with you.

Thank you so much and peace be with you.

And dogs are the best!

Ideen

The Best Seat In…

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This is one of those weeks where I wasn’t thrilled or convinced with my wine options, to write about.  Some of it was timing, my intuition, and certain wines and stories being out-of-place (for now).

I thought the universe handed delivered me a sign yesterday, but then that quickly fizzled out.  Little did I know was that sign led me to something else.  It led me somewhere else.  It led me to my favorite wine shoppe of them all, the Wine Source in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore.

As organic and authentic a wine, beer, cheese, and specialty foods experience as you’re going to get, the Wine Source has always had this amazing aura and great energy about it.  It could be the neighborhood, it could be the selection, or it could be something bigger that is in no need of explanation.

But the choices of wines has always surpassed most other wine shoppes.  This is where you go to fine wine that other stores aren’t going to carry.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a bottle here that I wasn’t even looking for but worked perfectly for the event or occasion I was going to attend.   Here’s my original story from the Wine Source to illustrate that fact.

A meet up with a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in some time obviously led to some catching up.  It was also a reintroduction into a neighborhood I’ve grown partial too, but also seen some changes that are disconcerting.   The local element is still the majority but a chain here and there is a part of the sadness,.

But all roads lead to the Wine Source.  Somehow we ended up in the area and as always I can’t not walk in.  It’s one of those places that if I’m nearby, I’m walking in.  It’s as simple as that.

And each time tells a different story.

I had no idea there was small bar set-up in one of the back corners of this massive space. But here you can sample wine, beer, spirits, and even have a full glass while you shop. Yes I said while you shop.

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I saw selected wines were only $4 a glass, which is a steal anywhere in the world.  And the fun part is, if I want to drink a wine I purchase, and want to drink it there, they’ll open it for you there.

With all these enlightening and transforming information, I had to get a glass.  And I want to thank Brook who was working the table for letting me sample the 2015 Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Charles Smith Wines.

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Now if that label looks familiar than is more than likely is.

For the most part, Riesling has never been one of those wines I sought out.  It was always too sweet and sometimes too much to stomach.   Knowing what I know now, I understand that not every Riesling is sweet.  And considering this is from the great state of Washington, I learned that these are of the dry side.  And it’s outstanding.

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This is one of the smoothest, crispest, and easily drinkable wines (let alone a Riesling) I’ve ever had.  I mean that sincerely.   It could have been the environment we were in, which was literally my friend and I sitting at the counter enjoying a sip (a few beers were sampled too, which is rare for me) and just enjoying life.   It was at this pint I only learned we could walk around with our wines.

And you still get just enough sweet to make this a delightful Riesling.  The taste of apples and lime, among various citrus flavors our perfect for Summer.  I love that so much.

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I felt like I was in another dimension, outside of the city.  And maybe I was.  I’d like to believe that at least.   Time felt like it stood still even though it’s always moving the same. And knowing I was at my favorite wine shoppe ever only accelerated something already so special, in that moment.  It was one of those things that’s almost too good and too surreal to share, but why the heck not right?

The Kung Fu Grirl a great wine by the way.  And in the price range of $9-13, you can’t go wrong.  It’s an everyday wine that go with lots of fun foods.  That’s my kind of varietal.

Chances are you’ve seen Charles Smith Wines at your local distributor.  And more than likely this bottle for sure.  I’ll get to that one soon enough.

I want to thank Brook (who is the beer guy ironically) at Wine Source for giving my glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling on the house.  I hope I don’t get him in trouble by saying that  I’m grateful nevertheless.

If you’re in or close to the area I highly recommend a visit.

For more on Charles Smith Wines and where to find these most accessible of wines in your area, click here.

Here’s their story and more about the wines themselves.

I’m only just getting started with my admiration of The Wine Source.

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This was so fun, and it was all unplanned, unrehearsed, without any predetermination.

Predestined?  Maybe.

Thanks so much.

Ideen