The Great Expedition

ExpeditionWithFood3

The Expedition Merlot from Canoe Ridge Vineyard was a given to me nearly three months to the day, as a Christmas present.

ExpeditionFront

I wanted to find the perfect time to uncork it and enjoy it in all its glory, and in all its majesty.

Before even opening the wine, I was in awe of the label.  Yes I know it’s not all about the label.  But this one is such a strong selling point, I think it would be a huge injustice if I don’t profess how beautiful, yet understated this label is.  Because this was a gift, the sentiment and my love for this wine is at an even more spiritual and affectionate level.

ExpeditionDisplay3

Wait, so how was the wine?  I’ll get to that I promise.

From one holiday to another, we have St. Patrick’s Day this Friday.  And I had in the back of my mind to pair a tradition Irish dish (or as close to it as possible), with a wine.  Because we all know that wine and St. Patrick’s Day go hand in hand.

ExpeditionFood

Corn beef and cabbage is a dish I enjoy but don’t have too often.  Maybe once or twice a year to be exact.  So when I thought about the proper wine to pair it with, I thought about a a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, among others,  but realized I hadn’t written about the former in quite some time.  Then the realization came to me that the Expedition was the ideal wine to complement this meal.  I was truly hoping this would work.  If not, then I would chalk it up to experience.

ExpeditionWithFood3

This wine, let me tell you, oh my goodness.  This is my kind of wine.  This is my kind of Merlot.  And I’ve never truly loved Merlot, until now.  This is is just so over-the-top awesome that I’m not sure I will be able to do this justice.

ExpeditionInspiration

The aromas upon uncorking were heavy and they were powerful.  I assume there were cherries, maybe blackberries (which some reviews say blueberries, so maybe those as well), among who knows what else.  But it’s the tasting that matters.

I found something strangely familiar within the first few sips that I felt that a few minutes, if not more, of letting the wine air out, to let it breathe, and to let it open up was important.  Something about a wine this special needs a little more time.   Like any expedition hopefully there is plenty of time.

No timer was set or anything of the sort, but after several minutes I noticed more differences but again something was familiar.  At first I thought it was plums, or even prunes, but no. I was getting warmer.  Then it kind of it me.  If you like tea, and especially black tea, like I do then you’re familiar with blackcurrant.    I’m not going to pretend like I knew this right away.  I did some research of various descriptions of this wine which confirmed by beliefs.  I was thrilled to be onto something and happy to then see it verified elsewhere. That’s a great feeling.

What’s really a great feeling is how amazing this wine is.   And I’ve seen it mainly around the $15 range which is a deal and steal for what you’re getting.   Trust me, you’re getting a lot.

ExpeditionWithFood

But to me, this is more than an everyday wine.  This is a bottle that can be used for special occasions as as well as with winner.  And that dinner should be hearty and full of life, just like this wine is.  My meal was pretty good but the wine put it over-the-top.  You can’t ask for much more.  But this wine was fantastic in every possible away. It’s inspiring me to go on an expedition of my own, or maybe for now, try another of their massive list of wines, whichever comes first.  If it’s the latter I hope to be giving another stellar review.

For more information on the winery itself, click here.

Some of their Expedition Wines are available to purchase online, click here for more information.

Luckily for us, I’ve now seen this label in many a wine shoppe so I think it will be easy to find.  But at this point, at least for the Merlot, I’ve seen more of the 2015 Vintages than the one I just reviewed.  But I’m confident the quality is on the level of this most incredible wine I’ve shared with you today.

ExpeditionInspiration2

For me, this will forever be the wine that put my appreciation, and now love for Merlot, over-the-top.  I’m so grateful my dear friends thought to get me such a wonderful gift.  I will always appreciate this.

I look forward to doing this again, whether it’s a expedition, vacation, or some other fascinating journey.  I hope it’s a good one.  And best wishes to you on your Expedition, whether it’s the wine or in a literal sense.

Maybe both.

Ideen

 

Wine & Pizza Party!

CerielloChiantiPizza3

When it comes to figuring out what wines go with what kind of pizzas, or any wine and food pairing for that matter, when doing research it can start to drive you crazy.  You hear a bunch of differing opinions and whatever you thought of initially, is not in agreement with what any ‘experts’ and sommeliers suggest.

It’s important to go with your intuition but it’s also comforting when other opinions match your own.  But your opinion is the one that counts the most.

Wine and pizza is one of those combinations that’s supposed to be enjoyable.

I think I got half of it right this time.

CerielloWines2

Everything I just mentioned earlier was a bit of projection.   I ordered two pizzas from the awesome folks at Ceriello, and you can read about those pies here,  but the wines I purchased at their shoppe met with mix results.

CerielloWines1

There was some angst and agonizing over which two wines to get with each respective pizza.  I was set on one red and one white.

I’ll start with the red.   This is where my instinct and experience came through.  I was leaning towards an Italian red that was affordable, approachable, and hopefully palate pleasing.   I was thinking a Chianti.  I don’t recall the last time I wrote about one, oh wait there it is.

Ceriello’s wine list is a good of mix of everything, but also small enough, that you won’t get too lost in searching for the perfect wine.

The irony is that this was all for just for me, and I guess the audience reading this.  So maybe there was a little pressure that shouldn’t have been there.

After scouring the rows I noticed the last bottle of the 2015 Piccini Chianti sitting all by its lonesome and I literally mean all by its lonesome.  It was the last bottle on the shelf.  I figured it was waiting for me and only me.  I like to believe things like that.  And at $10, that’s my kind of wine and that kind of price.

CerielloChiantiPizza

A pizza with meatballs (or meats in general) and tomato sauce pairs so well with an Italian red.   It’s one of those things where the acidity of the wine works well with that sauce.  This is not meant to be an expert analysis.  It’s a light red that works and is adequate but it wasn’t anything to write home about.

CerielloChiantiPizza2

Something just felt off.  No, not about the pizza, but the wine.   I’ve had this wine in previous years with previous vintages and found it to be just fine.  I suppose some things never change.  There were some hints of fruits and spices but it didn’t click.

I had one glass and kind of just forgot about it.  It’s a good everyday wine and a good value that I would gladly try again under different circumstances, but it didn’t work, especially with this amazing pizza.

The Piccini Chianti is one of those standard label wines you can most likely find at your neighborhood wine store.  I’ve seen it multiple times in multiple places.

CerielloWhite2

The white I went with was an ambitious choice.  This is where I struggled and maybe tried too hard to find the perfect white to go with my second pie with fresh vegetables and prosciutto.

CerielloWhite

The 2015 L’Isola de Profumi  from Alcesti with two grapes I had never heard of until last week, Catarrato and Grecanico.  I hope I spelled those correctly.   This wine didn’t work here or by itself.

CerielloWineNotes

It’s a Sicilian White that is an acquired taste.  I’m just not sure when and if I would ever acquire it.   I read that there’s hints of Mediterranean fruits. What those fruits are I honestly couldn’t tell you.

CerielloWineAndPizza2

I will concede that this wine doesn’t seem to be meant to be paired with pizza.

This is where I will sound like a novice and in another attempt to sound inspiring, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong pairing.

CerielloWine2

However, there are exceptions.  Some foods and some wines will clash and all those amazing flavors that may or many not exist may disappear.  At other times the cheapness of some foods and wines will be exposed.

CerielloWhite3

This wine at $8 was worth a shot and even though it didn’t work out, I look forward to trying some more of Ceriello’s wines from Italy and other parts of the world, in the future.

CerielloWineBoth

The pizza was phenomenal, I just wish I found the perfect wines to pair it with.  Actually this is maybe what I did wrong. I was overthinking a bit and looking for signs outside of myself that didn’t exist this time around.

Ceriello does a Friday pizza and wine night, and has a set of wines on display that they suggest work well with the certain pizzas.   This wasn’t about me going rogue or being different, well maybe the different part.   But one of these Friday feasts will be something I will take part in and learn from this most recent experience.

And maybe I will learn a little more about myself and meet some great people in the process.

Sometimes wine is meant to be enjoyed alone, sometimes in groups, and just sometimes there’s going to be rough patches that are educational experiences.

They’re all educational, they’re all experiences, and I look forward to many more enjoyable experiences soon.

To read more about these fantastic pizzas go here.

Here’s more on Piccini and here’re more on Alcesti.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

It’s Whats For Dinner

riojasnacks4

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?

riojawithfood

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.

riojasnacks2

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.

riojadescription

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.

riojacandles

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.

riojasnacks

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.

riojawithfood2

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

 

 

 

Winner Winner

mascarlotwithdinner2

It’s already February.  How did this happen?   The holiday season is way in the rear view mirror.  And what we have now is the transitional period of waiting for winter to slowly end before the festivities of Spring begin.

Now that sounds negative.  A transition period seems to have a negative connotation if interpreted that way.  But thankfully for those of us in Maryland it’s been a bit milder than usual.   What this means is instead of hibernating and disappearing which tends to happen around this time, we now have more people wanting to hang out and host beautiful dinner parties with beautiful friends, who have even more beautiful souls.

I’ve been honored to attend these several of these convocations throughout my time on this earth, and lately the amount if escalating.  Maybe it’s destiny, as it gives me more ideas and inspiration to share.

This dinner was more of the low-key variety.  To be more specific, it was a quiet one for two.  I have the honor of knowing lots of great people in Baltimore, and to be invited into someone’s house is a treat I never take for granted and fully appreciate.

As always, with dinner, I never come empty handed.  And I don’t remember the last time I didn’t bring wine.

I was told ahead of time by my friend that a chicken stir fry type of dish would be on the menu.  And when it comes to that kind of specificity, I want to bring something to complement the dinner and the theme.

Leave it to one of my new go-to’s at Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits to come through once again.

I had done my research.  A lighter wine made sense with a likely spicy stir fry dish.  Pinot Noir and Beaujolais seemed like the obvious.  But it’s not always about the obvious.  We can’t always follow the suggested, how accurate they may be.   It’s good to go with an instinct or in this instance, a little help from beyond.  Let me not so be dramatic.  There’s a great staff at this shoppe.  And one in particular steered me to try the 2014 Mas Carlot Tradition Rouge.   At only $12, I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to win, and learn from regardless.

mascarlotbottle3

This wine was a grower.  I’ll explain shortly.

I got to my friends place and literally got to experience the entire crafting of the dinner until the end.  There was a slow build in the conversation which tends to be a lot of my doing, or maybe for other people too.  But I like it that way.  It’s a nourishing kind of discussion.  I may start off a bit awkward, but after a little wine and a few appetizers, and maybe just a little more libations, my senses are calmed and heightened.

mascarlotopened2

The conversation grows organically as it was always destined to be.  And just like our discussion is breathing and evolving, so was the wine.  This whole process took on a life of its own  I’m not sure how much time went by, from when this bottle was opened until completion.

mascarlotopened

This medium bodied wine got better after a few sips and enough time to breathe.   Some folks or experts would say it had opened up nicely.  That’s exactly what happened whatever semantics you want to use.

Grenache and Syrah carry most of the weight.  And carries it well.  And a little Mourvedre goes a long way.

mascarlotstrawberries2

There were definitely some kind of spices along with those darker fruits that tend to embody wines from the Rhone Valley.   I see there were notes of strawberries.  How perfect that strawberries were the dessert.  I know I’m skipping around the order but it needed to be mentioned.  And I’m not always about proper order.

shrimp

It worked so well with the shrimp we had beforehand.  It was going to work with everything.  Enjoying yourself, the company we keep, and everything that goes with it makes just about any wine that much better.

mascarlotwithdinner

The dinner was marvelous.  The simple time are always the best.  I feel like this was the best wine under this circumstance.  We were meant to have this in that moment. I don’t know if this a wine I will ever have again.  And if that’s the case I’m fine with that.

mascarlotstrawberries3

I only say that because it’s a label I’ve never seen before and wouldn’t stick out right away in most instances. For more on this wine, here is the official site which you can translate.   A little for more can be found here.

Once again, if it’s the only time I ever have this wine, it will be fitting.  It will remind me of this enjoyable evening I had and nothing else.

And nothing else needs to be said.

Ideen

Christmas Eve Comradery

lostcolonywinedinner

I’m glad I got to save one of my more enjoyable wine tasting experiences for the end of the year.  Well when it’s the holidays, and even more specifically Christmas Eve, it makes the occasion all the more merrier and the wine taste so much better.

What makes it all the more special is the wine I’m going to write about will go down as one of my favorite wines I’ve had, not only this year, but in a long while.

lostcolonywinebottle

The wine in question (well not in question, I just said that for dramatic effect) is The 2014 Lost Colony Wine from Virginia Dare Winery out of Geyserville, CA.

lostcolonywinebottle3

Now I know what you might be thinking.  It’s The Lost Colony, it’s Virginia Dare Winery, and isn’t the state of Virginia one of the original 13 colonies?  My first reaction is this winery is a reasonable drive away.  Well just a few more hours have been added than originally presumed.  I’ll let you read the synopsis since I’m not the best at history. Instead I’ll stick with the wine and the spirit of Christmas.  Yay Christmas!

lostcolonywineapps3

So what inspired me to bring this wine to a dear friends’ Christmas Eve gathering?  Well the kind folks who were hosting prepared a pork crown roast.  And when you get invited to an event with a carefully prepared main course, the wine has to at the very least complement this meal that took days to prepare with love and care.

In advance of this gathering of loved ones and friends, but more so family, I did my research on the proper wines to pair with this dish. Syrah came up a lot and that was more or less in lines what I was thinking.  There were other suggested pairings but I was set on Syrah. And my local wine shoppe came through once again with a massive selection of bottles to choose from.

lostcolonywineapps4

Within seconds I spotted The Lost Colony and was in awe of this label.   I mean I was in love.  I had to take pictures.  Well I always take pictures.  But in this situation how could you not admire this work of art?  I’m sounding like a novice that only picks wines based on the label, but that’s a huge part of the fun.  It’s what draws you in.  And no, never judge anything by its cover, but when it looks this good, how can you not be the least bit fascinated?

lostcolonywineapps5

To be factually correct, this wine is a Red Blend (45% Syrah), and the fact sheet can be found here.

And when I saw the price listed at only $16 (more on this shortly), I was thinking it’s the holidays, it’s my dear friends’ Christmas Eve Party, and its this portrait and this wine that I want to bring to this assembly of awesomeness.  After all the build-up, this wine better be good.

Thankfully, I can safely say this wine was stupendous, tremendous, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with a few friends at the party.   Was I thinking of keeping it all to myself? Well…

lostcolonywineapps

I was clutching this bottle like it was my baby.  Even the host of the party told me I should bring a cheaper wine out of the cellar, and to save this for later.  He had a point.  So I got a more standard label out and popped it open, and was done with it.

But I really wanted to open my wine.   So even after opening up the el cheapo, I went ahead and opened my Last Colony wine way ahead of dinner time.

This was a fruit forward gem that didn’t need any time to air out or open up, as it was amazing immediately.

The aura of this wine was something.  Lots of friend, old and new, were asking about this wine.  They were also intrigued by the label.  I felt proud that I brought such a wine that led to such a discussion.  It became an ice breaker which I didn’t expect at all.  Well it’s Christmas and the magic of the holidays shined through again.

lostcolonywineapps2

I poured cups for folks who were interested and was happy to do so.  And yes, dinner was nowhere close to being served.  But it paired well with the mammoth amount of appetizers and treats sprawled all across the kitchen counter.

lostcolonywinedinner

I did save a little wine for the crown roast.  And to say the pairing was amazing only tells a small percentage of the story.  I believe half the bottle was still there when I departed.  I hope my friends got to enjoy it.  The reviews I heard were strong across-the-board. It was so easy to drink.  It tasted more light bodied than I anticipated.   This may also due to the fact that the incredible amount of holiday parties leading to this one has made everything taste differently.  I’ve been feeling full most of the time so this wine may have had the opposite effect than if this were a more relaxed time of year.   And I still loved it.  Perhaps the Malbec in the blend gives is a lighter on the tannins feel.

Remember how I said I purchased this wine for $16?  It just had this feeling of tasting more than that.  But as you can see on the link to their own site, the price is $28.  How can this be?  I feel like I committed winery robbery.  And even though we spend like crazy on Christmas, I fully appreciated the savings in hindsight.   Even on reseller sites I see the prices listed in the $22-$25 range.  So is this an anomaly?  I may need to buy a few more of these bottles for future consumption.

lostcolonywinebottle2

What’s funny is that if this bottle was over $20 I likely would not have purchased it.  It goes against my purchasing habits.  But here it is.  I was meant to buy this wine on this day, and I’m glad I did.  I’m happy to share this wine with dear friends and family a like.

And everyone at the party did the same.

That’s a testament to all of us.  We all came together to share in this wonderful couple’s home.  They wanted to share the holidays with us.  And we gave back in all the ways we could.  We all brought something to the party, whether it was a side dish, appetizer, sweet treat, liquor, and of course wine.  And that’s not only important during the holidays but all year round.   This group knows the meaning of sharing and caring throughout the year.

lostcolonywineapps7

And the hosts of this party go above and beyond in ways I have never seen.  It’s a blessing to know our party hosts, who are more than just hosts, they are family.  This whole group is a family.  And there’s nothing more important than family.  It’s amplified during the holidays and with this crew, the whole year through.

I will always remember this holiday season for a lot of things.  This party will be one of the highlights.

For more on Virginia Dare Winery click here.  They have charming music playing on the main page so beware if you’re looking at the workplace.

To purchase directly from the website, go here.

Here’s a behind the wines and then a history lesson.

If you live near the Baltimore area, I’ve seen this wine at the great Wine World in Abingdon, MD.  I’ve not seen it anywhere else but if I do, I will update it here.

This was fun and I can’t believe another year is in the books.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.  I may revert back to some old posts I never got around too and of course take some unexpected twists and turns throughout the duration.  I look forward to you joining me.

lostcolonywineapps6

But for now I will savor what’s left of the holidays and appreciate the fact that I got to be a part of this gathering, and that I got to share this with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Ideen

 

 

 

A Very Special Label

happyholidayswine4

I’m calling another audible.  I had something in mine for this week, but I will be able to get back to that at a reasonable time.

This is an addendum to another post I made about this decorating party, which can be found right here.  And even with all the sentiment and heartwarming situations, there is room for laughs.  We all need some comedy and laughter in our life.  If not, then what’s this all for.  And is there a more necessary time than during the holidays?   This post might end up being funny, or just a bit dopey depending on where this goes.

happyholidayswine8

The title of this post might be misleading, but the label for the Happy Holidays Sparkling Wine is art.  What else needs to be said.  There is such care and precision put into this design, how can you not be drawn to it?

happyholidayswine3

For folks who love the entire wine experience, presentation is almost as important as the wine itself.  First impressions don’t necessarily tell you the whole story, or even offer up some semblance of what’s really going on.  We’re only scratching the surface.

happyholidayswine2

When you see a label like this, and at only around $11, it’s not worthy of a buy, it’s a must buy.  That’s what happened to me.   I got a little too excited that I made an impulse buy without stopping to check of the details of the wine itself.  And that’s where disappointment is likely to set in.  But we can also find the positives in any situation.  I’m saying all this before I’ve even opened the bottle.  But wait…

happyholidayswine1

After the euphoria wore off, I read that this was an Italian Sparkling Wine, which would go perfect for the brunch or light appetizer part of the party I was headed to.

This looked too good to open and too good to be true.  I wanted this to remain a mystery.  I wanted to romanticize all the beauty inside without ever uncorking.

happyholidayswine7

But that wasn’t going to happen.  The mimosas and various champagne drinks were being guzzled at rapid-fire rates that it was only a matter of time before my bottle would be unveiled to the world, or an audience of 10.  Either way this wasn’t good.  After the dramatic build-up I really wanted to like it.  But not even close.  And the host of the decorating party was the first to lash out.   My feeling weren’t hurt.  They all can’t be winners.  It tasted nothing like champagne, sparkling wine, or some other facsimile.

It was too thick and too heavy to be considered champagne or anything remotely close. Like I said, I wanted this to be one of those bottles that you’ll be talking about for years to come.  That’s not even close.  But the fact that it was hard to drink is what made this so funny.  We had a bunch of cheap and standard-label champagne to start off, that served its purpose and went down smooth.  That’s all we want in a champagne brunch.  Maybe the sparkling wine would have been better served in another capacity, but I don’t see it.

happyholidayswine5

The hostess was great to find the positives in this.  The bottle had already been open, and we waited until all the other champagne tapped out to finish this one.  It just sat there looking lonely.  No one wanted any.  But that label can’t be disputed.  I could stare at that for a while, or until I got restless and wanted a good wine or champagne.  It was funny trying to avoid drinking this until absolutely necessary.  It was tolerable enough to finish but a struggle at the same time.  That’s not an endorsement.

If I were to talk badly about a wine, I wouldn’t want it to be during the holidays, but I gave myself much higher expectations.  And because of the imagery, I doomed myself with such lofty expectations.  I would say I’ve learned my lesson, but I wouldn’t want to.  It may be a novice thing to buy a wine based on a label but the heck with it.  Buy what you want, drink what you like, and take some chances.  I did and I’ll do so again.

I can’t find much about this bottle online, except for this link.  Not sure this can help.

More on the winery itself, Villa Jolanda, can be found here.

For my friends in Maryland, I found this at Wine World in Abingdon, MD.

If you would like to see my friends’ party recap from last year, this is the link for YOU!

happyholidayswine6

I will bid farewell with a few more pictures from the decorating party.  Regardless of how the wine was, everything about the event was perfection.  I can only hope the next wine I bring to one of these affairs will be the same.

happytree

As always, happiest of holidays to you.

Ideen

 

 

Holiday Party Season

peakparty7

Here’s the exciting yet confusing part of the holidays for me.   I have a plethora of options to go with for this week.  That’s also the dilemma.  Which one feels right?  No matter what I go with, there’s going to be second guessing.  It’s the Christmas season.  Would you expect anything less?  And I think we can relate to that with just about any scenario. What’s the perfect gift to give someone?  What’s that perfect note, card or message that we would like to convey?  What’s that perfect fill-in-the-blank?

peakparty11

Perfect is a relative term.  We have to be careful with setting ourselves for a colossal letdown or disappointment.  I’ll tell you something, the wine I’m going to write about is anything but a letdown or a reason to fret.  The Lost Order No. 191 from Boordy Vineyards is close enough to the perfect holiday wine that you forget about all the other hangups and insecurities that may come into your life during this season.  I may be projecting a bit but someone out there must relate.  If not, then this post is in vain.  But I’ll continue nevertheless.

peakparty10

This continues my posts in support of local business.  I’ve written about Boordy countless times before, but figure it’s been long enough that it didn’t run its course.  I hope so.   Circumstances prevented myself, along with good pals, from attending the last couple of wine club parties, but sometimes life throws you a bone, or a bottle.  And your fellow winos share with you their love of wine.

peakparty9

More importantly than how good this wine was.   This was a gift from some dear friends that are fellow Landmark Reserve Club Members.  Automatically this wine contains an attachment and memory of giving and of sharing.  And that’s what this season is truly all about.

peakparty8

300 words later and I’ve yet to actually talk about the wine itself.  It’s a Red Blend that wine lovers and newbies will both adore.  Last weekend I brought it to my local gym’s (for more on Peak Performance, click here) holiday happy hour, and it went over very well.   I had debated on where the most fitting place to bring this invaluable vintage.   This needed to be an organic  experience.  So what better place than the gym.

peakparty6

This red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and one of my new favorite grapes, Petit Verdot, tastes surprising lighter than what I expected.  Yet it was refreshing and perfect (there’s that word again) for this or any holiday party.  It pairs with the lightest or heartiest of foods.

peakparty5

I laugh because we work our tails off here, with our weights, rowing machines, and treadmills during the day.  However, in the lobby area we gorged ourselves on loads of food and drink that it felt like I undermined all my hard work for the day, or that week for that matter.

peakparty4

Ah but that’s the holidays.  Your stomach is supposed to beg for a reprieve.  And one day here and there is not going to be the end of you or me.  Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?

peakparty3

Well the party was fun.  The dynamic was different as we were revelers as opposed to fitness fanatics.  And that led to a different level of conversation.  And this season leads to a sense of love and community that I wish would permeate all year round.  Sometimes it does.  It’s up to me and you as individuals to spread that cheer for the duration of the calendar year and in this thing called life.

A wine like that certainly helps.  My bottle is still waiting for pickup, which just means I need to share it with close friends and family at the next of hopefully many holiday gatherings.  It’s early December and I love this time of year.  The more parties the merrier. I’m glad I was gifted this wine to share with these good folks.  And I can only assume the good times will continue to present themselves.

peakparty2

For more on Boordy’s Landmark Reserve Club, click here.

For more on Peak Perfomance, click here.

 

peakparty1

Have a Safe and Blessed Holiday,

Ideen

 

Thankful Thursdays

beaujolaisthanksgiving8

I love Thanksgiving.  I can easily say it’s one of my favorite holidays.   However, every year has a different feel for you, for me, and for everyone.  One persons joyful celebration may be a time for reflection and realization for some.   For me, this year, I find myself doing both.

I’m big on tradition.  And I’m grateful to have so many good people in my universe.  And sometimes I don’t realize it or fully appreciate it.  At other times, there’s a mood that hits me.  It goes all over the place.  I want to see everyone in my family that I can.  I want to pay visit and respect to all my dear friends, not just during the latter stages of the year, but the other ten months to.  I do but I know it’s never enough.  That’s the holidays.

We’re so busy and find ourselves playing catch up.  But catch up from what?  A lot of our business is our own doing.   Yet, at other times, things can’t be helped.

Do any of us have an answer on how to handle life and the holidays?  I think the secret lies within all of us, and while the answers are different, they’re also all so relative.

This year, tradition took a different turn.  I have a wonderful family in Baltimore.  I have a wonderful set of relatives back where I grew up in Montgomery County.  And I pray I see them soon.  In past years, I would see both.  This year, things have changed.  I was meant to stay in Charm City.   Despite the tennis match in my head, it was meant to be.

And what else is meant to be, is two more wines to honor Beaujolais nouveau.

Two more, because in case I run out, I always carry reserved me in my car (unopened of course).  And in case I have the honor of going to another party, I know not to come empty handed.  This applies to any party,  not just during the holidays, but throughout this ride.

The bottles were split over the appetizer and than full dinner portion of the party.  But due to the fact that Thanksgiving means stuffing ourselves till we can’t physically move, they did overlap a bit.  However, for the sanctity of the blog, I’ll make it look proper and wholesome.

The 2016 Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau is exactly along the lines of the sweet, fruity beaujolais nouveau you’ve come to expect.  All the berries and all the goodness make this a winner.  And I tasted something else on top of that.  There was an even more sweeter goodness in the underbelly of this bottle.  Maybe there were some summery fruits on top of cherries and raspberries.   Whether or not that’s the case, or I tricked my mind into thinking is for me to figure out.  You may draw your own interpretations.  But it paired well with all the amazing appetizers that were served.  My family and friends can cook.

beaujolaisthanksgiving3

For the official dinner, I opened up the 2016 Domaine Descroix Beaujolais Nouveau 2016. This felt heavier than the previous bottle from tonight’s festivities.   The traditional Thanksgiving favorites were there, along with some other yummy foods.  And the wine and the meal clicked perfectly.  Having great people to share the experience with heightens all of this and then some.

beaujolaisthanksgiving2

One synopsis mentions bubble gum on the nose.  What makes me laugh is I thought the aforementioned Domaine Manoir actually tasted like bubble gum.  And here we go. Certain wines have certain flavors, but our interpretations might be (and should be) all different.

And on the notion of interpretations, the holidays mean so many different things to all of us.

I don’t know where the time went.  I felt like I wrote about last years festivities a mere few months ago.  Events from last week felt like last year.  And that’s time for you.

All this is saying is we should appreciate the moments we have, with the people we care about, as much as humanly possible.  And for me (and maybe for you) there may never be enough of that.  Being kind to each other is what life is all about.  And this applies to our entire life, not just the holiday.  Before I sound too preachy, I’m saying this to myself along with saying this to you.  We all deserve to give love and get that love back.  It makes the world a difference.  Life is all about good wine, but more importantly it’s about good times too.   Not to say that wine, good times, good food, and good people are mutually exclusive, but I’m going to safely assume you know what I mean.

To my fellow wine lovers looking for these respective bottles, hopefully this link will help out.  And this one.

winesource

For my friends in Baltimore, these wines, along with others, can be found at the Wine Source in the gorgeous Hampden neighborhood.  They have the most beautiful of displays for Beaujolais nouveau. And many of the bottles, including the two I purchased, can be found for under $10.00.  That’s a holiday celebration I can get used it.

beaujolaiswinesource

And I will revisit the Wine Source sooner rather than later.  They have always come through in the clutch when other wine shops fell short.  I’ve found some gems at their store.  I’ve also found it to have the most welcoming and approachable energy of just about any wine shoppe I’ve been to.  And this is not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

beaujolaisthanksgiving1So in the spirit of giving and celebrating, I hope you all had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving with good friends and good family.   We all deserve a little kindness during the holidays.   A great wine might do the trick, but a simple gesture as saying thanks does so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ideen

 

 

I Love Thursdays

beaujolaisnouveaudinner7

As a kid, and now as an adult, I’ve always looked forward to Thanksgiving.  The fourth Thursday is one many of us mark on the calendar as a day of eating, celebrating with people you care about, drinking, eating, and more eating.

But in what has now become a preview of things to come, the third Thursday, Beaujolais Nouveau Day, has almost become the launching pad of the holiday season, at least here in the states.  And of course for others, the holidays started right after Halloween, if not before.   Nevertheless, I’m happy to have found two unique bottles versus last year, and thankfully two gatherings to bring them to.

beaujolaisnouveaudinner7

I love Friendsgiving, or Friends Thanksgiving.  I love how we all embrace each other a little more during this time of year.  There’s a natural energy and progression that hits us for a couple of months.  It’s the height of love.  I want to believe it permeates throughout the year.  Some would say it would talk away some of the shine and uniqueness of this time of year.   I would venture to say that being good to each other should be exclusive to the entire year.  And it can be.  With that being said…

beaujolaisnouveaudinner4

The 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau from Bouchard Aîné & Fils was my favorite of this season thus far. This was brought to a Friendsgiving this past Sunday. So yes, I cheated.  I broke the tradition of only having this on that faithful Third Thursday, but good wine is meant to be drank.  And it was still at the store, so it was meant to be bought, meant to be savored, and meant to be appreciated, all year round.  Ok that was a bit dramatic.

beaujolaisnouveaubouchardreverse

But this wine had a sweetness about it.   I should have figured out that besides blackberry and cherry, which is synonymous with these wines, was some white peach.  This made the wine alone.  The synopsis which is listed also mentions flavors or smoke.  You would think smoke would undermine the sweet and fruity principles that these wines bring forth.  This was not the case.

beaujolaisnouveaudinner8

I loved it and was happy that my friends enjoyed it too.  The bottle barely made it through dinner.  You know when you bring a bottle and no one drinks it, feelings may be hurt.  It’s happened to the best of us.  So I’m happy other people enjoyed it and are now fans.  I’m a huge fan.

beaujolaisnouveaudinner

I was a huge fan of the feast.  Everyone made or brought some awesome foods.  Pictures are all over this writing, and I don’t need to explain everything on my plate.  Hopefully the pictures do them justice.  But everything was wonderful.  The hosts are great people who I consider close friends, it was nice to reconnect with friends I don’t always see, and I’m happy to have met some new ones.  This is the point of the holidays, and the point of this thing of course called life.

beaujolaisnouveaugreeneggs

Can you spot the green eggs and ham?  Haha.

So that was dinner.  And after dinner comes sweet tooth time.

beaujolaisnouveaudessert3

Bottle #2 is the Beaujolais Noveau from Joseph Drouhin tasted a bit more standard and more of the wines that are in line with this event.  That’s not to say it was bad.  The dark fruits, blackberries, and cherries made this wine a little more fuller than I expected.  I didn’t love it at first, but it was a grower.  A few of sips were better than others. And that could entirely be based on the pastries that were paired with.  The sweetness may shown itself when it otherwise wouldn’t.

beaujolaisnouveaudrouhinback

This was a smaller gathering with good friends.  I feel like such a grown up going to another party for dessert and vino.

beaujolaisnouveaudessert

These wines are meant to be paired with heavy meats and cheeses.  But there are never any rules to this thing.  Well there might be one.  These wines are meant to be drank now. I have bottles from a couple of years ago that are probably lost causes.   They were meant to be brought to various holiday parties and events.  I won’t make that same mistake by letting them collect dust.

beaujolaisnouveauboth

We got a long season and that means these youthful wines are meant to be had immediately.  And most go for under $15.  And some under $10.  Those are my kind of price points.

beaujolaisnouveaudessert2

The holidays are about getting carried away, indulging yourself like there’s no tomorrow (or until the next party), and spending time with the people you care about the most.

I would strongly recommend the Bouchard Aîné & Fils, and I think many others will love the Joseph Drouhin.

As an aside, I did taste the Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, and it left so much to be desired. It’s the weakest I can recall in sometime.  I would say it lacked the fire and enthusiasm of previous years.

So you might be asking where you can find these bottles?  The respective websites are not the best of help in that regard. All I know is that in Baltimore, you can find them at the fine folks of Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits.  I’ve always had a great experience there. Online sites may list this at various prices.  If I can track down where else they can be found, I will update this list.

Here is my Beaujolais Nouveau post from one year ago.

Happy Third Thursday to you and Happy Thanksgiving Eve!   And if you read this after that, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Happy Wine Drinking!

I Love Beaujolais Nouveau!

Best to you and yours,

Ideen

Satisfy My Soul

 

oldsoulhalloween

Is there a little bit of Old Soul in all of us?  That’s a question of the ages, or for the soul if you will.  If you feel the need to proclaim yourself as one than there’s some more questions you need to be asking.  Wait, what am I talking about again?  The soul or wine? Are these two entities really that separate from one another?  This goes deeper if you want it to.

oldsoulbaklava

I had initially brought the Old Soul Pinot Noir from Oak Ridge Winery as a gift so some dear friends.  I told them to save it for a special occasion, because there was symbolism and meaning for the recipients of this wine.  That conversation and metaphysical discussion will be left between us and the universe.   And we’ve all had these in-depth and philosophical meetings at least once (and if we’re fortunate, many more) in our lives.   This is the kind of wine that encompasses all that is good with the atmosphere.

oldsoulbread

So after all that, the special occasion turns out to be a Halloween party?  Makes sense if you think about it.  Cut out the seriousness, and how fitting of a holiday to serve such a perfect and purposeful wine.   Not sure this is the kind of soul discussion I was hoping for. I think you get what I’m referencing.

At my local stores I’ve seen this priced anywhere from $13-$16.  I say that’s a fair price and one I’m willing to spend a few more dollars on than my traditional $10 and under purchases.

The immediate stand out is the intense fruits when I uncorked the bottle.   What a beautiful array of berries and as the synopsis says, floral tones.  I knew I was in for something special.  The aura and energy of the wine seemed distinctively familiar.  And it may be possible I’ve had this wine or any one of their other varietals.  But I think there’s something bigger here.  There’s something bigger than us.  Maybe it’s the name, the label, that beautiful tree, or all of the above.  This wine really hits nerves on a multitude of levels.

And it tastes a lot more fuller than your traditional Pinot, and that’s mainly due in part that it’s blended with Zinfandel.  I kept saying to anyone who would listen that this wine was fantastic.  Well I would say some pals agreed, or they wanted an alternative from a mixed drink or cold beer. This wine never stood a chance.  It was decimated in minutes, and I was lucky to get a second cup in.  Seriously, the taste of blackberries and whatever else may be inside the soul was something to savor.  I thought I may have gotten some vanilla.  Again, as I’ve said before, our palates are all different.  We all may get a little something and a little bit of the same with this wine.  That’s what makes this so fun.

This is a wine meant to be shared, but more importantly shared with the people you care about the most.  Yes, this was a Halloween party and the seriousness should be left at the door and especially when wearing a goofy costume.  But this wine really touched my soul. There’s a big picture with this.  Which means I must try more, and share it with everyone here.

oldsoulowls2

But for now I’ll leave with some of the foods that were paired with this one.  This was early on in the party so you see the easy plates of appetizers such as hummus, pita bread, and some sweet baklava and pastries that were opened later.

oldsoulowls

All this will be revisited again soon.  I’m a huge fan of this wine and think this winery is bringing some of that positive energy that we all need, and what a perfect time to talk about it was we steadily approach the holidays.

For information on where to find there wines in your area click here.

More is coming!

Ideen