Reds Before…

PinotProjectFlower

I’m already seeing the signs for Rosé season and that’s alright.   Any hopes of Spring and the joys of the warm weather are welcoming.  Because right now it’s still blah out there.  That’s a technical term by the way.  I, and many others are waiting for the sun.  In times and situations sometimes it’s what we want the most.  Without it can cause headaches, confusion, and all kinds of turmoil.

And we’re in this current cycle of Mercury Retrograde that is compounding everything.

So what does this have to do with wine?  I have no witty response.

In good times, in great times, or the other times (which I will just call experiences here…), a dinner with good friends is always welcome, of absolute importance, and can’t happen enough.

As we grow up, get older, and much more wiser (hopefully), we gradually know what is worth our time, and what will fade out, and be a distant memory or complete afterthought.  Settings like this stay with me because of its simplicity, wholesomeness, and all those other overly sentimental sentiments.  Wow I just said that last part.

Pinot Noir was requested for this sit down dinner of three, and as always I’m happy to oblige.   When you have so many options of such a drinkable and usually affordable wine, it can drive you bananas and make one indecisive.  That one in question, is me.

PinotProjectBottle

So when I spotted a label that truly did stand out, I actually bypassed it for another.  And here I present to you, the Pinot Noir, from the Pinot Project, which in hindsight was supposed to happen.

PinotProjectInfo

Not everything is deep or meant to be over analyzed, decoded, and then analyzed some more.  But this is a project like the wine says, so let’s work on this project shall we?  That was cheesy.

The information, or notes if you will, are here for your viewing pleasure.  But I got nothing inspiring to say here.

However, it makes me laugh that roses and pomegranate can be found on the nose.  Funny how that all connects.  I didn’t get any of that though. No spices were tasted, but black cherry is always there.

This is a wine that’s just kind of there.  It’s not good nor bad.  It’s just there.  And that’s sometimes more disappointing than a wine that’s terrible.  At least more can be said in those situations.

At $10-$12 average retail value it’s alright.  I think some people will appreciate it for what it is.  It’s still easy to drink, since it’s a Pinot, but not the usual going down smooth.  The lingering finish is one that lingers for not the best reasons.   For me, it’s best to move on here.

PinotProjectFood

Within every cloud, there’s always a silver lining. The meal of boneless pork chops, couscous, and salad is one of the more healthier and learner forms of comfort food you’re going to find.  I’m grateful for my good friend to host and prep something so wonderful like always.

PinotProjectFlowers2

And the good company, and conversation always helps.  The food is always going to stand out, and even though the wine this time left much to be desired, and with not much to discuss.  There will always be next times.

And I’m always thankful for those next times.

Feeling grateful…

Ideen

 

 

So Secret, I Can’t Say Anything…

IlluminatiRiparossoStuffedShells3

That line is infamous or not, depending on where your allegiances are.  I won’t put up too many links nor should I actually be divulging my thoughts on this certain secret society, that has become more of a running joke than anything else. It’s become one of those things where if you speak of it, you’re automatically labeled this.

Leave it to me to use my wine blog as a vehicle to discuss this wine, which has nothing to do with this group whatsoever.   I’m cracking myself up as I write this all out.  Yes my friends who know me, like to call me conspiracy theorist, because that’s the easy thing to do.  Or is it?  Hmm…

IlluminatiRiparossoLabel

The 2015 Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riparosso is a family wine that I had no expectations of.  If I wasn’t so enlightened (ha) I would just expect this to be  decent Montepulciano at worst that would serve its purpose, and pair well with a meal, most likely an Italian dish.

IlluminatiRiparossoStuffedShells

At least the stuffed shells were good.  Ah that’s a bit mean.   But yes my meal was fantastic.  I gave this bottle a lot of time to breathe and I still didn’t get much.  I spent about $15 and at worst I expected a wine that would taste somewhere on that level.  That level is open to your interpretation and tastes.  I wanted something of value, instead this wine fell a bit flat.

IlluminatiRiparossoBack

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible.  There’s just not much to this.  I appreciate the notes on the back saying ‘Gifted of Generous Character and Rich Flavour’, because when I read that, are they talking about the wine or something else? Hmm, I detect something secretive going on here.. Ooooh Ahhhh.

The notes from where I purchased this (Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits in Baltimore is the only place I’ve seen this bottle) mention aromas of cherry, plums, and spices; along with some of those same flavors I just mentioned, and flowers.   Which flowers, I don’t know, but that’s where I get the earthy forest-like taste on my palate,  and it doesn’t really work out here.

IlluminatiRiparossoWine

It’s light, easy enough to drink but I wanted more. It’s a good bottle, but not at $15, more say a $9 bottle.

But if you’re looking for something same, inoffensive, and approachable, this will do just fine.  I just wish it had more of the taste I was hoping for.  I’ve had plenty a Montepulciano and Italian wine in my lifetime, and they’re usually good to fantastic.  They all can’t be winners, but at the end of the day we all have our tastes, and some people are going to love this.

Which is what the theme of this blog has always been.  You’re on with your vino.  I love how we all can have different tastes because we come from different walks of life, yet share the same love for wine with dear friends, family, and other faithful companions.  It’s what makes this journey one that is never-ending, nor should it ever end.

I’m truly grateful I have the capacity to write this blog out on at least a weekly basis.  And share with you my thoughts on the wines, but even more so on how it connects to the time of year, my life, and in a relatable sense, maybe your life as well.   The pairings of food, the location, the good friends, and all those other details are more important than any notes, flavors, aromas, or any of that jazz.  And that latter stuff is important, but I think you know what I’m saying.

Even though this wine didn’t win me over, it might end up being one of your favorites.  And that’s fantastic.   This is an odd time of year where the holidays are over and the weather is still cold enough, that I can create a different story just based on the wine itself and how I’m feeling.

This wine, like many others, just seem to find me.  As I continue to find myself, I look forward to seeing what finds me this time next week.   Not yet enlightened (Yes I had to go there one more time haha) but doing my best here…

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

Halloween Special

FatBastardBloodRedBlendWide

I don’t expect to find many wines made exclusively for Halloween.  It’s just not a holiday I associate with lots of wine drinking and finding a nice meal to pair it with.

But a so much has changed.  Any excuse to incorporate alcohol and food into a holiday, celebration, event, festival, you name it, will involve those aforementioned entities.  And that usually is a good thing, as long as it’s done responsibility and with civility.   Well, Halloween is not often associated with civility, but with more people enjoying wine and all its nuances, it’s to be expected that winemakers are going to jump on board anything that makes them stand out and be noticed.  Be unique or be ignored.

FatBastard&HalloweenWines

Fat Bastard Wines did everything to stand out and not make people want to see what their Bloody Red Blend is all about.   And they made it look effortless.   While I did have something planned to write about for tonight, those plans changed when I walked into my local wine shoppe and saw a Halloween display in the front of the store, with several wines with Halloween themes and charming labels.

FatBastardBloodyRedBlenLabel

The Bloody Red Blend is not even featured on their website, unless you go into the tech sheets (and you can find that here), because for timing reasons, it’s limited edition, and I can see this disappearing rather quickly, as in November.

FatBastardBloodyRedBlendInfo

Until today (as of this writing) I had no idea this wine existed, and I’m so grateful to have found it.  One of the main reasons I love wine, is for those winemakers that don’t take themselves too seriously.  With a company named Fat Bastard, and their ever so charming labels, and affordable prices (I always see their wines at $10 or less at retailers), and accessible information, it’s what makes you want to come back more and stay away from the pretentious.  And their wines taste like they’re under $10, so they’re taking ownership in all areas.

The Bloody Red Blend is a mix Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot.  And when you think French wines, you think lots of Grenache.  And that’s what you taste here.  But if you’re looking for any serious information after that, you need to look elsewhere.  Their synopsis on the winemaking process is one of the most hilariously brilliant things I’ve read on the back of a wine label (and in these notes).  This is art and I’m in love with this wine before I even twist off the cap.

FatBastardBloodRedBlendGlass

I’ve had plenty of their wines for all different types of occasions. It’s a everyday wine for everyday things.  You want it with nothing, with food, with friends, with nobody,  then these are just the wines you want.

And the Bloody Red Blend continues that tradition.  If you’re going to be celebrating Halloween this weekend and next week, this is a welcome addition to any party.  Just for the randomness and uniqueness about it is going to draw eyes to this bottle.  It tastes like a blend, and it’s easy to sip.  And as we begin to talk about the holidays more and more, these are the wines you’re going to want.  These are not the best wines you will ever drink, nor do the claim to me, and I would sense they don’t need to be.

FatBastardBloodRedBlendGlass2

This is a fun wine in the tradition of how Fat Bastard presents itself.  I get a kick out of typing that out by the way…

Some of the suggest food pairings are burgers, fried chicken, and pumpkin pie.  I wish I paired this with pumpkin pie, but something tells me we’re just being made fun of.  And I like it this way.

FatBastardBloodRedBlendFood

I paired with what turned out to be a much spookier looking meal than I intended.  Perhaps it’s fitting, but I had some chunks of sauteed pork with every vegetable known to man.   I purposely got this meal because after Halloween I suspect the meals will start to get heartier and much more unhealthy.  As much as I love the name, I don’t want to be a fat bastard myself.

But if you’re into something humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously, the Bloody Red Blend just might be what you’re looking for…

My wine glass adds some more charm just when you couldn’t think get any more.

Fat Bastard is one of the more standard labels which are easy to find all over the place, so it shouldn’t be hard.   Here is the link to find their wines are a store near you.

Here is their lovely list of wines and story, and their contact info.

I wish you a safe and Happy Halloween.

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