I Heart First Fridays

PeakFoodWine2

Highlandtown is what I now consider the most homey part of Baltimore.  It’s the one neighborhood that is experiencing a renaissance, but still feels like a neighborhood with a community, local businesses, local flavor, and now an inspired art scene.

FirstFridays

The Highlandtown First Friday Art Walk, which began in June, and is going through the rest of the year has eagerly become an event myself and many others look forward too.

My first time experiencing this was back in July, and it just felt like old times.  And what I exactly mean by old times?  While so much around us has begun to look cookie cutter and all too pedestrian, this neighborhood is keeping it beautiful.  With art galleries, shoppes, local businesses, local foodie spots, and so much more popping up in the most charming of fashions, Highlandtown is doing it right.  And keep on doing it please.  It’s the most welcoming of feelings.

I don’t even know how to exactly describe it, other than it’s of the most authentic and really Baltimore feeling places you want to visit.   With friendly faces, familiar faces and new ones, beautiful art, beautiful people, plenty of food and drink, and live musicians inside and out, you’ve got a winning combination all around.

I’ve missed the past couple of month due to life happening, but I’ve made it a goal to make it through to the rest of the year, and with the holidays looming.

My good friends from Peak Peformance have taken advantage of this fantastic monthly event, with a happy hour with great food, vino, live music, and now a resident artist.

MowgliArtPeak

I missed it last month but Mowgli Art has made an impression that’s going to be hard to forget.  I’m a member of Peak, so I’m fortunate to admire this art on a regular basis.  ANd this month was no exception.  It’s just getting bigger.  The crowd was consistent and it was busy.

And my friend Melissa, who also works at Peak, got a chance to sell some of her great jewelry.

PeakJewelry

After all this, is there a wine involved?  But of course.  Plenty of food and drink was provided but I discovered a charming little bottle that fits in with the fall season, if not art itself.

The 2016 Camina Tempranillo is a simple wine with little if any thrills.  And for now that’s just the way I wanted it.  I was immediately drawn to the label with its beautiful depiction of leaves, animals, and charming as all heck symbols.  The color and images just yell fall don’t they?

CaminaWineInfo

It’s a wine heavy on berry aromas of cherry, blackberry, and other fruits.  The notes mention hints of almond and hazelnut.  It’s an easy to drink wine that you don’t have to think much about it.  It’s a good wine but it’s not going to blow anyone away.  And with a price averaging under $10, there’s no need for too many complaints.  But I wouldn’t spend that much more on it.

A big thanks to Peak Performance for this amazing spread of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, provided by Ceriello Fine Foods (locations can be found here), which I’ve written about in the past, and is deserving of all the praise and lauding in the world.

FirstFridayMap

The vibe at art events just tends to feel different and more welcoming.   I don’t know much about art but I know it makes people feel good.  It evokes different emotions and brings about a different type of conversation that you may not ordinarily get a typical bar.  This is better than the bar, and sets the bar on a different way to enjoy a Friday night or night out in general.

This blog is going to be as picture heavy as it gets.  It may be the most photos I’ve ever inserted in a blog, so I hope you enjoy that.

I want to thank Beth-Ann Wilson from Night Owl Gallery (pictures above) and Felicia from Highlandtown Gallery-Magnolia Designs (pictures below) for being so inviting, and making this a fun night out, that really makes Baltimore, Charm City.

There were some folks playing live music on the walk to and from various stops, which made us stop and appreciate what we were witnessing.

MagnoliaCat

Back in July, there was a live jazz band performing and the Highlandtown Art Gallery.  You’ll never know what to expect at this thing.  The unpredictability while still becoming familiar with the galleries makes this a truly harmonious and heartwarming event.

Buddha

November 3rd, will be here before you know it, and will be the next installment of the Art Walk.   If the stars alight, this might be revisited again for the blog.

Here are my past Highlandtown related posts.

MowgliArt5

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos, and hope you’re either experiencing or will be experiencing some awesome art yourself.

MowgliArt7

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Salud

LuminescenceWineKitchen4

This is a celebration of close friends, a celebration of this life, and all the good that exists within that.

I want to congratulate some good friends who recently got engaged.

And when pals get engaged, you want to celebrate immediately, savor every moment, and enjoy it with some good libations.  And some good vibrations.  We had plenty of those, and then we had plenty of those.

LuminescenceWineKitchen5

I’m so grateful I was included in the engagement celebration.  It was impromptu and organic as all the best experiences are.  For that, I’m so appreciative to be a part of something so beautiful.

This calls for a bit more elegant and pricier bottle of wine don’t you think?  It calls for the more sparking kind as well.  And the weather is now cooperative enough that going with a sparkling, white, or lighter red is going to work.   That does pain me to say but it’s mid September and at least much more wines are agreeable to the climate.

LuminescenceWine

I went with the necessary and always effective sparkling white.  If anything, it’s going to look good when you pour, in a glass, and of course in pictures.    And sometimes the label will draw you in too.

The Herbauges Luminescence Brut (for more on the wine and distributor click here) is exactly the kind of sparkling wine that fit this party perfectly.

LuminescenceWineFlowers2

But what’s most important is the setting itself.  This is a fun group of people, and that is going to make any wine, any piece of food, and any moment you’re in that much better.

I spent $22 on this bottle.  And it never had a chance.  Actually nothing anybody brought had a chance.  I was lucky to get a glass and a half myself.  And I drank from a charming wine glass that fits where my friends with and fit entertaining mood in general.

LuminescenceWineFlowers

Was it worth spending $20+ on?  That can be debated.  For me, it tasted (for the small sample that I had) in between $10-$20, and that’s not based on any expert analysis.  It’s more of a feeling and instinct than anything else.

LuminescenceWineNotes

The tasting notes can be found here. And the most endearing thing I read is “great looking bubbles’.  Those are the kinds of details and notes I can appreciate.  And anyone not into all the nuances of wine (and I’m one of them) can appreciate the inviting information.  Yes you might get hints of flowers, fruits, and as the synopsis reads ‘pastry’, the bubbles is what stands out.  And I was a fan of that before reading anything.

LuminescenceWineKitchen3

Now about those pastries.  I love me some pastry, but to find hits of this takes a certain talent, or it’s once again a scent that hits a nerve or either resonates with you, or it’s one of those scents that had been a part of your day or significant memory that is lingering throughout the day.  I think I may have just made two of the same descriptions using different variations of words.  Whoops!

What is resonating is how fun this day was.  There was a great group of folks hanging out at a lovely house, with a beautiful set up of beverages and snacks, and since the weather was so glorious the party went outside for some outdoor activities.   We still have plenty of time in the season and in this life for organic, genuine, and positive experiences.

This is definitely one of the more positive ones someone can be a part of.

LuminescenceWineKitchen2

As for the wine, I’ll always associate with this party.  Just like you have a certain food, drink, or memento that you associate with a certain place and time, the wine, among a few other things will always correlate with the fun day that everyone had.

Congratulations friends.

Salud,

Ideen

 

 

 

Bless The Blue Marlin

BlueMarlinRed5

I’m going to admit a little something here.   I made a booboo.  I’m not sure if I just spelled the word ‘booboo’ correctly.   But I digress.  I  completely forgot the actual wine I was supposed to write about in this weeks post.  But as I’m realizing this, at least for this week, it doesn’t matter.

I also needed help with the photography for this post.  However it was done, but it doesn’t matter.  In the end it was done and I’m grateful for my friends and I’m grateful fo my experience at the Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach, FL.

BlueMarlinSign

This almost didn’t happen, because of my trip going at a frenetic place, but I’m so thankful it did.

My visit to the Gulf Coast of Florida only lasted five days but I got so much in that it felt like a lifetime.  The memories will surely last that long.  But it wasn’t the Blue Marlin itself that made this magical.

Good friends of mine have moved from the Baltimore area to many parts of Florida.  This was a first of several visits for me.  And while I’m sad my friends have left.  They’ve all moved on to something bigger, better, and the next adventure.  I’m more happy for them that they’ve found happiness.  It’s something we all deserve in this life, as much as possible.

The Blue Marlin was pure happiness.  But it was the outside bar that told the real story. For a few moments it felt like we were the only people in (or out) the bar.  And we were. But bigger than all of this, it also felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I honestly felt that for a few moments.  I may not have shared that with anyone at the time, but I just had this feeling of tranquility, peace, and harmony that should’t just happen on vacation, but as much as humanly possible.

BlueMarlinBar

The charming bar outside is all we needed.  They had a perfectly simple list of cocktails, wines, and beer available at our disposal and within footsteps.  It’s a one-stop shop for everything.  And the live music set-up is about as picturesque as you’ll find.  The band was fantastic. Maybe it’s the serendipitous and unpredictability of how this day was going, but I felt so happy.  The environment is one where I’d like to think we’ve all been in from time to time, but maybe not enough.  At least for me, at least for this afternoon, I felt at home.

But just when you think I’ve seen it all, they had a just as equally stunning street food set-up, with just a few essential items.   However, for the sake of time I will focus on the sliders.   We tend to throw around greatest this and greatest that.   We might call certain meals, certain restaurants, and certain experiences life changing.  If we get to have so many of these then I’m all for it.  I like to be careful in what I apply ‘life changing’ to because if I say it so much, it loses it’s shine.  I think you know what I’m saying.

BlueMarlinDisplay4

This slider was life changing.  I’m just going to say it.  And my opinion is all my own, but I know I’m not alone.   Perhaps the perfection of this day made it taste that much better. Perhaps.   I think this was just art.   In terms of foodie culture and all that commotion, this is up there with the best burger I’ve ever eaten.   And I’m no expert on this.  But you or I don’t have to be.  This is world class cuisine.  I’m remembering now even more vividly how incredible this tasted.  You’ve got to be kidding me.   This was so great.

BlueMarlinDisplay3

Everything about this day was great.

BlueMarlinRedWine

Once again I apologize for not discussing the wines.  We had Pinot Noit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.   Well I may not have had the Cab Sav, as it may have been too heavy for the season.  But nevertheless, everything was superb.  I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.

BlueMarlinWineList

For more on Blue Marlin, click here. Here is their menu, events list, and contact information.

I want to make one last thing clear.  All along had planned on writing this around mid September (I was here back in mid-June), and the timing could not be more appropriate.

I’m happy this beautiful area, nearby Anna Maria Island, and many other nearby places are overall still intact and will be opening for business soon.

More importantly, I’m grateful dear friends all across the coast are safe, secure, and will be able to get back to normal.   A great set of cities, towns, and resorts have been spared.

And I can’t wait to be back again…

BlueMarlinSign

Take good care,

Ideen

More Bang For Your Buck

VinhoVerde1

I went back to see the last time I did a post exclusively to Vinho Verde.   How funny that is one year ago today (or tomorrow depending on where we are) that this happened.

I’m grateful that I did or I would be kicking myself for not supporting and promoting this fantastic wine, that should never be taken for granted.  In the context of summer wines this is one that may get lost in the shuffle to some.  But I will attempt to not let that happen again.

All you need to know about Vinho Verde is in this link right here, to see how easy it is to drink, understand, and appreciate in many different settings.

Since the wines are traditionally lower in alcohol content, that means they’re much easier to drink, more accessible to people who don’t love wine but are willing to try, and can be complemented with a plethora of meals, snacks, or with nothing at all.

VinoLabel

This most simple and peaceful of experiences takes me back to June, and a return to V-NO Wine Bar in the historic Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore.    Surprisingly to me, I’ve made only one post in regards to this beautiful space, and that can be found here.

That day I was with friends.  I’ve been here many times with friends.  On this visit, this was for me.

After taking a peaceful stroll around the beautiful rowhomes and remembering how much I need to appreciate these cobblestone streets, I made my way to V-NO on this most gorgeous of Saturday afternoons.

I think I got there as soon as it opened, so there was some level of enthusiasm on top of the spontaneity.

VinoSign

I was welcomed by Jane, who I wish I had thanked sooner.  She could not have been more accommodating.   I told he about my blog, and she was happy to help.  I took a lot of pictures but also helped her out in setting a few things up, since they just opened. Reciprocation is one of the joys of life, and makes us who we are.

Where is all this going?  Well I wanted a wine, and in fact I got to try two.  But for this weeks post I will focus on the Vinho Verde from Broadbent Selections.

Under the most peculiar of circumstances I think I would enjoy this wine.  It’s so simple, so refreshing, and in many ways irresistible.   

VinhoVerde2

I was outside, alone, yet the entire world around me was moving along at the most endearing of paces.  There were walkers, joggers, bicyclists, folks on the nearby pirate cruise, and my favorite friends on four legs (leashed of course) were in abundance.

For a while I forgot where I was. It felt like a utopia. It was a good hour or so of just being.  Yes I did take a few pictures but then I put the phone away and just chose to be. That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world we live in, but I think I pulled it off without even trying.

This is what I think… As enjoyable and simplistic as this wine was, it resonates with me much deeper than I or anyone else can explain.  Yes it was a simple glass of wine but to me something else was going on here.  And that part is just for me eyes and ears.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all been there.

VinhoVerde3

There’s something about this wine, and not that just that beautiful label that drew me in. And I’ve had this one several times before but not like this.  In the past it just was a wine I had and then I moved on and did something else.  This could have been any wine in this session but it was this one for a reason.  It tasted better than ever.

VinhoVerdeLabel

Now I may have this again and it just goes back to being a good wine with fruits of summer and that clear color is nice to look at, and then that’s it.  But at least for this day, this hour, this place in time it will mean more than even I’ll ever know.

And this wine can be found just about anywhere.  I’ve seen at so many stores for under $10.  Just another reason to love this.

VinoBar

Thanks to Jane for being so awesome, the universe for looking out for me, and to Broadbent for presenting to me on this most picturesque of days.

VinoCard

More for on V-NO click here.

For more on Broadbent, here is their story, their massive list of wines, and their contact information.

We’ve still got a lot of Summer left and I hopefully have more wines to discuss that fit the season.

And Part 2 might be next week.

VinoDisplay3

Thanks so much.

Ideen

And We’ll Be Birds

LeReveurRoseSushi6

I’m not ready to throw in the towel or wave the white flag on this season.  And even the though the towel might be white too, there’s no cause for alarm or concern.   I love summer and want to celebrate forever.  That means one more Rosé, and hopefully more to come.   When I’m in the planning stages or lack thereof when piecing these posts together, I look at the seasons, the place I’m in, and my log of wines I’ve tried to see what fits and what I can save for later, if at all.

WineSourceFront

But a return to the Wine Source, which will never get old, led to some curious searching. And I won’t confirm nor deny that this was a planned trip.  Nothing just happens and there’s no such thing as coincidence.   After my memorable visit two weeks ago, how would this one compare?

There doesn’t need to be a comparison.  While every experience is different they’re also somewhat similar, and sometimes all the same?  Make sense?  Well it does and then it doesn’t to me, but that’s what makes this excursion so fun and unpredictable.

The night in question from last week had me running around circles.  I was craving a Rosé but not just any.  I wanted a label and a bottle that would evoke emotions of hope, love, spirit, and a journey  that is forever going.  One that tells us that not only are we going to be ok, but that we are ok.

WineSourceRoseDisplay

I shoul’ve realized they were reading my mind and knew why I was there.  Without even knowing me they know my tastes and know their clientele.  I had no idea I sprinted past the lovely Rosé in front of the store.  I had just assumed walked around and dig to find a bottle within every nook and cranny of the shoppe.   How did I not see this gorgeous display of Rosé wine in front of the store for me to appreciate, admire. and adore some more.  And I was doing all of the three and that much more.

Now I was literally doing circles.  There were so many beautiful choices that the only one that made sense is one with designs of our animal friends.

LeReveurRose

So I saw one with a bird and didn’t think twice.   The 2016 Guillaume Gonnet Cotes du Rhone ‘Le Reveur’ Rose, from Rhone, France had the most inviting label and energy.  Yes a gorgeous looking robin on the label helps.  But never judge a book by its something and same with a label.   For all  you know it covers the deficiencies of the wine itself, and overcompensating by having such beautiful artwork.  I sound like such a novice but that’s the fun part.

No this is not the best wine you or I will ever have. It’s not even in the conversation, but what this one does is provide you with aspects with what make summer, wine drinking, and life in general so beautiful.  It’s listed anywhere from $10-$13.  I got mine for $11 (sale price from $13) and didn’t think twice about the price.

LeReveurRoseNotes

It’s (depending on where you read) got notes and hints of grapefruit, apple, melon, and various citrus flavors.  It may be what you smell, it may be what you taste, but what it does do for sure is add to an everyday wine that can be had with friends, in solitude, and with all types of food that make you happy.

LeReveurSushi

For me, I was in the mood for sushi.  And I found the pairing to work in syncopation with the other.  Now I mainly got rolls, but a couple pieces of sushi were necessary.  And what a match made in pairing heaven.  Not only did the colors mesh well but the wine itself went done smoothly with such hearty and filling rolls.

LeReveurRoseSushi

I enjoyed plenty of sips without food and found it enjoyable either way.

LeReveurRoseSushi6

Like I said, this will not be the best wine you or I will ever have, but not all of them should be.  If we kept saying everything was amazing or the best, actual wines that fit that old (to us) would lose its appeal. This is a good everyday wine and I’m going to assume this is all that it was ever meant to be.

But having our animal friends on a bottle always helps.

LeReveurRoseSushi2

For more on this wine, perhaps a message to the importers, Misa Imports, may be of assistance.  Otherwise this is a wine I’ve seen sparingly in stores, one of course is the Wine Source in the great neighborhood of Hampden, in Baltimore.   If you don’t live in the area, hopefully this link may be of assistance.

WineSourceRose1

Whatever Rosé you’ve been indulging in this summer (and before and beyond), I sincerely hope it’s been enjoyable, not only for you but with all the awesome people that you’ve been sharing it with.  That’s what this is all about.  I look forward to enjoying and sharing so many more of my stories with you guys.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

Goodness, Gracious, Great Bears Of…

BearWinePizza4

…or something like that.

I’m a sucker, I’m a nerd, and then I’m a sucker again.  Whenever I see an animal on a wine label, I’m automatically drawn to it.  And if the price is reasonable enough, say in the under $20 range (and hopefully under $10-$15), I’m likely going to purchase it.

This one I bought for $13, but you can easily find it (along with their other wines) for $10 or less.  And that is how much you should pay for it.

BearWine2

Yes, regardless of the grape, the varietal, and without any research whatsoever, I’m going to buy it.  Because if someone had the wherewithal and the foresight to post a positive depiction of our animal friends, you have to believe there’s a heart and a soul behind the operation. Whether or not the wine is good is another story.

That’s a segue if there ever was one.

BearWine3

The 2015 Chardonnay from Toasted Head is the perfect example of why purchasing just based on the label.  And you know, I didn’t even notice my new friend breathing fire until after uncorking.  I thought it was bear standing peacefully in solitude.  How nerdy o of me.

Until last year, I had an aversion to white wines that were fermented in oak barrels.  To me it just didn’t taste right and undermined all the flavors and aromas that the wine would have to offer.

That changed recently.

I’ve been to many tastings this year where the oaky whites were a pleasant and welcoming surprise.  But maybe that was based on how I was feeling, how many wines I’ve already sampled, and the company that was with me.   I mean I was in good company upon uncorking this wine, but based on my reaction, I don’t think anyone else wanted to share in my dismay.

BearWineLabel

The butterscotch or buttery aroma is what stands out the most.  And it didn’t work for me.  And upon reading the notes, I see the flavors of creamy toast peachy caramelized custard.  I’ll take that at face value and yet proceed with caution.  That awkward taste for me might have been that custard they referenced.  It also could be a lot of things.  But I think that oak wasn’t the main culprit.

I like Chardonnay.  It was never a wine I sought out, but lately it’s been a refreshing white wine as we’re celebrating these gorgeous and glorious sunny days of Summer.  I just wish this bottle would join the list of the many wines I’ve tried because of this blog of mine.   They’re not all going to be winners.  I was just taken aback by how rough it was and how difficult it was to finish.

I left the bottle for my friends hoping for some feedback.  So far (as of this writing) I’ve heard nothing.   Take that for what it’s worth.   Yet I think some people are going to love it.   That’s what makes this so fun.  We all aren’t going to like the same things, the same wines, the same grapes, and the same anything.  It would be boring if we did.

However, there’s always positives.  Even with a wine you don’t enjoy, there’s always silver linings and the glass being half full.

BearWinePizza

I’m grateful just to have the opportunity to be invited to a friends house and be in a position to bring this bottle of wine to share.  I’m grateful for the fantastic pizza that paired with this wine, and I’m grateful to share my story with you.  There’s a lot to be grateful and thankful for, even if not everything was like I hoped.

There will always be another wine to try, another meal to pair it with, and hopefully some great company to share the experience with,

BearWInePizza5

I’m grateful to share this experience with you.

For more on Toasted Head, click here for their story, their wines (in which I would love to try another grape), and finally where to find their wines.

If the opportunity presents itself, I would love to try another.

I’ll be looking to write about a Chardonnay made in stainless steel, and expecting harmonious results. Maybe as soon as next week.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

Enjoy, and Repeat

TryWine1

The beautiful city of St. Petersburg, FL has my heart.  And I knew it before I even arrived. I had no plans or any intentions of doing anything touristy, or anything specific. That’s not my style.

Celebrating Summer is my style.  Happy First Day of Summer to YOU!

I just go in with the idea that I’m going to enjoy myself the best that I can, and let everything else fall into place and come to me, and to find me.   In many ways I succeeded, and in a few others maybe the experiences didn’t feel organic.  If you’re self aware, you know the difference.

TryWineOriginal1

This is where I’m torn about Try Wine, which is a concept I’ve been a part of in two other cities, and presented in two other posts.  One with great success, and one that has since moved on.

The microchip and sample combination is something that can work in the right setting, the right location, and most importantly with the right people.

TryWineFront

On this night, it was quiet, and that is exactly what I was looking for.  But something in the atmosphere felt rushed.  My friends and I got there with under an hour to spare, so there was plenty of time to sample a plentiful amount of wines.  But somewhere along the way I just wanted a glass or two.

I want to thank Kristen who was my guide to where the various varietals and explained the process and price breakdowns, because if you don’t pay attention you will get a small pour that may cost more than a glass in most places.   I’ve made that mistake before.

There’s no need to get into every wine I tried, as that would be boring.  But I will mention one that stuck out and its counterpart.

The Red Blend (tasting notes can be found here) from Conundrum Wines has an aura about it.  The flavors linger long after each sip.  There’s your dark fruits and berries, but the true stand out is the cocoa and the chocolate.  And it doesn’t appear right away.  It shows up right near the end to enhance a wine that maybe didn’t need any more enhancing, but that’s what makes this what it is.

TryWineConundrumGlass

There’s wines we drink that are good, maybe even great, and then we forget about them. I’m not sure overall how I’m feeling about this wine.  It’s great and it’s still on my mind that I’m writing about it.  But there was something else about this I can’t put my finger on.  I just wish I had more time to appreciate it.  Maybe that’s what’s bothering me.  The experience felt rush and partly my own doing.

The White Blend (notes can be found here) on the other hand needed a few minutes. And it’s funny for me to say that I wine coming from a tap needed a few minutes to breathe. But it needed a few minutes to breathe.  This is a summer wine in all areas.   I tasted summer fruits but not sure what exactly.  The notes describe honeysuckle and coconut on the nose.  I wish I could say I got a helping of both.  Maybe a little more of the former but that’s about it.    This is more of a white to enjoy and not over analyze too much.  And the same goes for most, if not all, wines.  I would go out of my way to find the rest.  The white is something many would love, but it would take more time to grow on me.

TryWineConundrumWhite

Both are with a retail price of $20 and up, so they carry some weight but might be outside of what I would pay for either.

I do wish in hindsight that I had some food to pair with either of these pours.   I might have a different appreciation for the wines and for the experience in general.

There will a future engagement with hopefully more time to appreciate what’s going on. Along with that, they are moving to bigger location.   They’ve outgrown where they are now and are moving up the street.   I look forward to visiting them in their new home when I’m back.  And I will be back.  And soon.

For more on their current list of wines click here, their food menu, and their list of events.

Here’s more on Conundrum Wines, where to purchase online, and where you can find their wines near you.

This is going to be a great Summer and I look forward to more exciting wines, and a return visit to Try Wine’s new location soon.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

Rosé Come Out Tonight

RoseWithFood4

National Rosé Day is traditionally celebrated on  the second Saturday of June each year.  I would be lying if I said I had known this fact for a long time.   But thanks in part to many of my friends who love Rosé not just in this gorgeous warm weather months, but whenever they get the chance.  And I do mean whenever.

Many of my friends exclusively drink Rosé and nothing else.  I feel as if I’ve said this about particular wines and grapes before.

It’s a well known fact that Rosé may be the oldest wine there ever is and ever was.  And it can be used from many different grapes.  It makes the possibilities and the creativity endless.  But at the end of the day most of us just want a wine that tastes good, is affordable, and enjoyable either with friends of in the comfort of solitude.

For such a special day I didn’t want to fall into the added pressure of having to find this most amazing Rosé that has to stand above all the rest.  You know sometimes without thinking too hard, that will happen.   In this instance I went with one with a charming and enchanted label, along with the fact that it was a mere $10.00

RoseCotesDisplay

The 2016 Reserve De La Dame A L’Oiseau, Rosé has one of the more majestic and captivating label you’ll find on a wine bottle.  Yes I did judge a bottle by its over, but in the right way.  And that’s half the battle.

RoseCotesNotes

And I’m thinking, oh this is the Côtes du Rhône region. This has to be good.  I love Côtes du Rhône!

RoseUpClose

I believe in previous years I’ve had this selection from Vineyard Property Association (more can be learned here), and the fact that I only believe and don’t fully remember tells me that the wine didn’t resonate with me, good or bad.

RoseUpClose2

What has happened since is more or less the same.

RoseWithFood

The lighter pink color would make you think it would taste a bit lighter.  I would say this is more on the medium side.  But it just didn’t wow me.   And this is not based on the fact that I’m not a regular Rosé drinker (yet I’ve been starting to drink semi-regularly now as the weather gets glorious), but something just didn’t make this stand out.

RoseWithFood2

And for many of us it doesn’t matter.  I imagine in certain circumstances this wine would be perfect.  And many people are going to love this.  This is just my opinion, but even after a few minutes of breathing time, it didn’t get any better for me.  There’s aromas and tastes of fruit.  You could say strawberry, raspberries, and many other berries for that matter. But it doesn’t matter.  This is an ok wine and a reasonable price.

RoseWithFood7

If I had this with friends and the setting was perfect, I might be singing a different tune. No I’m not backing away from my opinion.  I’m making the point that I think has happened to many of us.  The same wines we had in one setting, may not work in another.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a wine tasting and had multiple wines that tasted like the greatest thing on Earth.  Yet only to go home and have that same wine a day or week later and wondering what went wrong.  Maybe it was the excitement of the moment.  This is what this wine reminds me of.  I think somewhere else I might like this.

RoseWithFood8

I did have this one alone but only could finish a glass.   I did my best to enjoy my glass with a little snack of meat, cheese, and crackers.  That’s another great thing about Rosé. It can pair with a multitude of foods and in a multitude of settings.

I’ve seen this label in many a wine shoppe, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.  If you want more information (and maybe where you can find the bottle in your area) from the importer, LVDH, their information can be found here.

Technically we have yet to reach Summer.  And I want to savor every minute and second of that fact.  I also hope to savor more charming Rosé wines as the weather continues to be breathtaking.  And I hope future Rosé selections will do the same, be breathtaking…

RoseWithFood6

Thanks so much.

Ideen

Can Every Wine Taste Like This?

MezzeRhone5

No that’s not possible and it would take the fun out of it.   However, the 2014 Domaine Bethet-Rayne Cotes Du Rhone Rouge (yeah that’s a mouthful) is one of those bottles that takes me back to why I got into red wines in the first place.

I have no concrete explanation or inspiring reason other than the dark fruits and the stronger tannins makes this a wine you can drink nearly all year round.  I say nearly because as it gets hotter, this wine, along with most medium-to-full bodies reds, would be better served indoors.

But for the purposes of this event, this is a continuation of last weeks’ marathon, which never intended to be, at the great restaurant, Mezze, in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.

What meant to be just one or two glasses of wine, turned into two bottles between some friends.  And there was everything right with this.  And then everything right some more. After we enjoyed that thrilling white the transition into a red felt like the organic and proper transition at the time.

MezzeRhone6

So per our servers’ suggestion and a mutual agreement we went with this Rhone.  It’s a bottle I’ve never recalled seeing in my local wine or spirits shoppe.  And have yet to see since.

Maybe Mezze is onto something.   Our two bottles were not necessarily the most obscure, but, they almost seem exclusive to them.  That’s quite the draw.  And you either need to be unique or be ignored.

Often times we see many restaurants carry a mix of standard labels and a few unique wines to stand out from the crowd.  Others’ only carry the bottles that are readily available in stores for half the price, if not more.  And there’s no right or wrong to any of this.  But when I find a gem like this and can’t find it anywhere else, it will make me want to come back the source.  Maybe this is a unique scenario but this is smart business.

MezzeRhone4

This wine is the essence of Spring and early Summer.  Look at that color?  It has a little fruitier and dare I use a wine term, jammier, look to it.  It shines brighter than many reds and Rhones you will have.  Which makes me pleasantly surprised how close to full bodied it is.

I’m going to steal part of the synopsis here but it does read supple tannic structure, and that is spot on.  Without reading that, you would pick up on this and be amazed but how well put together this wine is.   I just wish I could find it in a store near me so I could have this as part of my regular rotation.

MezzeRhone2

As a first time though I’m thrilled I got to share it with friends in a beautiful outdoor setting.  30 minutes became an hour, an hour became longer, and you know how the rest goes.   The olives that paired with this and our white I wrote about last week really hit the spot.  Lighter fare on a warmer day is always going to pay dividends to your spirit, your body, and overall well-being after the fact.

This is a wine to savor, appreciate, and enjoy with every sip.  That’s how a good wine should be.  That’s how a good life should be.

For those interested in find out more, here is a link to the wineries’ site.

I don’t remember what we paid for the wine here (and in many ways it’s priceless), but websites listed it between $15-20 and that’s more than fair and more than reasonable.

What may be of more assistance is the local distributor is Elite Wine Imports based out of Northern Virginia.

And finally for more on Mezze click here.  They’ve always done my friends and I a great service when it comes to food, vino, and top of the line service.

 

Lets do it again sometime, shall we?

Ideen

 

Yeah So Far, It’s Alright…

MezzeWine2

My favorite experiences involving wine or just about anything are the ones that were never planned.    There are a plethora of those experiences we only document in our minds, unless we keep a diary, journal, blog, or something similar.

But for the most part the great majority of those memories are the ones you share later and hopefully when they come up they’re done in an organic fashion as close to the experience itself.

National Wine Day was on May 25th.  I’m all for any excuse to drink wine but do you really need one?  I’m not sure how official, organic, or inviting (yes it’s very inviting) this holiday is but I will honor it just the same.

A random meeting with some close friends back way back in April, led to me trying a wine I ordinarily wouldn’t try.  Well that’s not necessarily true.   I’ll try anything.  But I’m also guilty of falling into comfort zones.  But on this day I went in a different direction.

MezzeWine1

The location was Mezze Restaurant in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD and the wine per our awesome server’s suggestion was the 2016 Tetramythos Malagousia from Tetramythos Wines of Greece.

I don’t pretend to know a thing about grapes or wines from Greece.  This link should be able to help you on all counts.

MezzeWine4

What I found was I drank this a little too quickly.  And I mean much quicker than I intended or truly realized.  I think outdoor seating is a dynamic that correlates into food, beverage, and the entire experience being that much better.

With good people means good conversation, and everything just coming together perfectly.  Something about this wine just vibed well with the day.  It was sweet but not too sweet.  It had hints of tropical fruits but it didn’t overpower the grape and the wine itself.

Along with that it had some intangibles that might be too good for words.  Ok let me not too be too overly dramatic or philosophical.  It’s a great white wine from a winery I’ve never heard of, doing a grape that I’ve been introduced to for this first time, all the justice in the world.

To be fair I have no frame of reference for how other comparable wine well, compare.

But I even made the statement to my friends that this is one of the quickest sips of a wine I’ve ever had the pleasure in partaking in.  When I caught myself in the act I decided to take it down a notch.

After the initial sample, I was set on only getting a glass, but we went with a bottle.  And the bottle never stood a chance.  That’s a compliment by the way.  It was done in no time.

I’ve never seen this wine sold in stores.  I’ve never seen in sold in a restaurant, until this day.  Now I’m going to keep my eye on this brand, this wine, and other Greek wines when I visit Mediterranean restaurants such as Mezze.

However, if you’re looking for this or similar wines, Dionysos Imports out of the Nothern Virginia area might be able to steer you in the right direction.  I make no promises, I just post what I see on the back of the label.

MezzeWine3

Speaking of which, I was enamored with the label.  It has a certain understated yet charming look about it that just draws you in.  The wine itself accomplished the same thing.  It’s a great change of pace from the whites you and I might usually have, when the weather is nice and the sun is shining.

Oh the sun was shining on this day.   Because this gathering of gurus was so exhilarating it may have earned a second post for next week.  We may also explore to the food of Mezze as well.

MezzeWine5

For now I will appreciate all the joys of this wine and look forward to next week, and hopefully the next time I’m at Mezze maybe trying another rousing and stirring varietal.

Have a blessed one,

Ideen