I’m Glad I Waited…

GreatFrogsMeritage

The amount of times I had planned to write about my visit to Great Frogs back in January, is almost embarrassing to talk about.

I’ve written about them previously in different settings (you can read about that here) with the hope that one day I would get to visit their winery.    And it finally happened.

Good things come to those who wait, and before I discuss this exquisite visit, here is their FAQ, more about this wonderful winery, visitor information, info on purchasing their wines/shipping info, and where you can find their wines near you.

If you don’t live or aren’t planning to visiting the Annapolis area, your only chance is to have their wines shipped to you.   These wines are on the pricier side, and are outside of my price range.  But every once in a while, I feel it’s right to treat myself.  It’s right to treat yourself, as much as you want, for as much as you want.

It’s my life, it’s your life, and we only get one of those, as who we are in this lifetime.

A few years back when I first about this winery, I had these images of exclusivity, and this place being a secret club that only the highest of society are welcome or dare try to visit.  There’s this thing about assuming that you shouldn’t always do.

However, on a random day I had dropped someone off not realizing their house was literally on the other side of this immaculate looking green and shrubbery, which was Great Frogs.  I was in awe.  I put this place on even more of a pedestal.  Sometimes assuming or presuming adds to the excitement and adds to the mystique.

Needless to say, the winery wasn’t open that day and I thought maybe someday.

After attending wine festivals and having a glass at various restaurants around town, I was enamored.  Maybe it’s an Annapolis thing (my increasing list of my affinity for Annapolis can be found here) but I love their wine and I love everything about this place.

Tastings are by reservation only, and on a limited time frame Fridays and Saturdays only.  At $35 a person that may put some people off.  You can get three bottles in most places for that much.  But this is not that kind of place.  I love this place.

When I drove up, I noticed the amazing vines, the greens, the farmland, and then the barn which hosts the tastings,  I was looking for the adorable pups (Scout & Bruno) who protect the crops and vines from the outside world (wildlife), but not on this day.  That just means I’ll have to be back.  And that’s a given.

GreatFrogsVines

I won’t talk about every wine that was tried.  I don’t want to bore you.  This is not what this blog is about.  It’s about enjoying the wines, enjoying the company your worth, and enjoying your surroundings.

This was well worth the investment.  And in hindsight $35 is not that much for an experience that’s more than just a tasting.  You get 6 wines, you get snacks (which they will replenish for you), and the most incredible ambiance I can ever recall at a winery.  Being away from Downtown Annapolis and being in your own universe a few miles away added another element of wonder and fascination to this visit.  Man I loved all of this.

GreatFrogsTasting

I neglected to mention this tasting also includes a glass of your choice upon completion.  Does it get any better?  This tasting room decor is incredible.   I want to thank Ben who helped with the tasting, and could not have been friendlier.

This is family affair as I also got to meet the owners, Nathathanael & Andrea, who could not have been friendlier.

GreatFrogsMeritage

The wines that stood out to me were the 2015 Estate Meritage, the 2015 Cold Blooded (their newest release at the time), and the Chardonnay.    I went with the former as my glass mainly because the spices, the cedar taste, the berries, and the chocolate made this perfect for the winter time.   Full bodied wines are what’s going to work here, and this worked alright.    This is a $50 bottle, and if you’re feeling ambitious, go for it.   This is a tremendous wine, as most of their wines are.

GreatFrogsColdBlooded

The Cold Blooded is a blend with every grape under the sun, and at $55, this was heavily pushed for a celebration they had the day after Thanksgiving, that was originally to be my first visit.  That didn’t happen for reasons I can’t remember, other than it wasn’t meant to be.

GreatFrogsSign

This visit was meant to be.   This was more than a wine tasting, this was art.  It’s Great Frogs, it’s Annapolis, it’s happiness, this is living.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Thank you so much.

Ideen

 

Stop The Clocks

Nonni

When you get spoiled and exposed to wines that are delightful, yet affordable, it’s easy to run into wines that are going to bring you down the earth.   Not everything is going to be highly rated.  Life doesn’t work out that way.  I wish it did.  I wish every wine would be four stars and up.

If that were the case, the vintages that are actually on that level lose so much of their shine and luster.

I purchased the 2016 Nonni Malbec with all the intentions of bringing it to someone, somewhere.  I honestly don’t recall.  Maybe I was going to bring it to a dinner party, maybe I was going to well, I don’t know.

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Without even opening the bottle, that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement.  However, at only $12 (technical info can be found here) and under retail price, and a charming label as well, what can go wrong? It’s a Malbec, and based on my experience those are usually the more reliable wines.

NonniMalbec

Reliable is exactly the word you would use.  It’s there, it’s nothing special, and it’s about as average a wine you’re going to find.

My friends seemed to enjoy it a little more than I did, but more or less we were on the same page.  When a night spent hanging in involves lots of food, drink, and all kinds of other fun things, not everything is going to be perfect.

The perfect days or nights usually involve little to no planning, what usually stands out is something you would never expect.  This wine is good enough to talk about, but more in the lines of the entire night itself.   Which means this is going to be ongoing.  How ongoing? Well…

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I can’t describe this wine, other than there’s dark fruits and it’s easy to drink, along the lines of a Pinot Noir.  But taking out all the pseudo expert analysis, this was a fine that was simply, just there.

‘There’ isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just well, there.

It’s a talking point I look forward to, and can sometimes go into a passive aggressive direction, if framed a certain way.   Oh wait…

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This goes back to a night in May. where I got together with pals and some animal friends I don’t see enough.  There’s plenty of people in our lives we can say that about. How often have you said to the people you care about the most, ‘We need to see each other more often’, or ‘Let’s get together soon, it’s been too long’.  Then the next time you see them, that conversation may come up again.

It’s either because you don’t see them enough, or no matter how many good times you’ve had with them in succession, it’ll never be enough.

This applies to so many loved ones I think about on a regular basis.  And likely people are thinking that way about you.   That’s the good kind of being ‘there’.

This particular evening went hours on end.  A lot of laughs were shared, stories were recanted, and a lot of food and drink were imbibed.

What stood out wasn’t one thing in particular, but a collection of things.  Well maybe one or two things, but you get what I’m saying…

The other day the memories were a little more clear, but now it’s a it hazy.   And that’s the place I’m in.   Ask me tomorrow, I might have a few other things to say.

What matters is that there’s never enough great times to spend with the people you love and care about the most.

NonniMalbecWineGlass

This is to be continued…

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

This Was Meant To Be Found

Chateau3

Leave it to a wine that I didn’t bring to a party, and leave it to a wine that might seem out of place at the same party, on first impression, to end up being one of the better wines I’ve had in quite some time.

As we approach the Summer, you know it’s going to be out the whites, the lighter reds (if possible), and the rosé’s of course.  It wouldn’t be right otherwise.  So after a few weeks of the latter, we take it back to a red that had no business being here, if you believe that.

I believe otherwise.

The 2014 de Landiras Rouge, Graves is a wine that should never be lost in the shuffle, or caught in the mix of anything.  That analogy can be applied to daily life as well.

For outdoor parties, of course lighter fare, more sweeter varietals and cocktails are going to be the drink of choice.  That’s the point.  It’s your drink of choice.  I sound like a public service announcement, but it’s whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as it makes you feel good and the good vibrations are around you and all your pals.

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This more than standard Bordeaux with a classic blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like the first wine I ever had.  If that doesn’t make sense (or it does), it just tastes like a wine drinkers wine.  No matter what your level of expertise, or your palate, it just has that look and feel of an old world and old school wine.

My kind of wine.

Dark berries and cassis is what you might find on the nose, (well that’s what one synopsis says), but the blackberry and currant is what you taste (the palate) and it’s the best combination of the two that I can remember.

I love currant because it’s so common in some of my favorite teas, so to find it go well in certain wines makes me so happy.  And it’s a throwback, and old school taste that reminds me of drinking wine and sipping tea with family and friends.   And that’s so important.

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This is a wine that was shared, appreciated, and spoken in awe of family and friends.  I want to know who brought this wine, so I can personally thank them.  You should always say thank you when someone brings something to a party.

At a value of ranging from $12-18, I feel this would be worth over $20.  I believe I saw the price tag on this particular bottle say $22.  I’d pay that much for it, but of course I rather pay less.  Who wouldn’t?

I’ve never seen this wine before (that I know of), and have no idea where to find it.  I almost get the sense that it’s something I’m not supposed to ever see again, or not until the next time it randomly shows up in my life.   Sometimes life works out like that, and in a way, I’m ok with that.  Those make for the best stories.

ChateauWithFood

I still enjoyed this with some great party foods, snacks, and with plenty of great people to share the day with.  This was a party I was honored to have been invited to, and honored to discover this amazing wine, surrounded by amazing friends.  Even if only a few of us enjoyed this wine.

I would say back to your regularly scheduled whites or rosé next week, but you never know…

Peace Be With You..

Ideen

 

Leave The Memories Alone

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What’s the title mean? I’m sentimental but then again, I can sense what’s real, what to feel, and what just feels uninspired and unimaginative.   It’s an intuition and clairvoyance we’re all capable of having.  Some better than others.  I honestly have no idea where this will go, except I’ll just keep going.

I’m big on memories, but only the good ones.  The bad ones or the experiences, are just those too.  Yeah.

I had a visitor from my past, more so from my childhood show up this past weekend.  The way I write that sounds mysterious, sounds cryptic, and sounds estranged.   It would be all of the above.   If this person reads this I think he would appreciate what I’m saying.  As the feeling is mutual.  I’ll leave that to your own interpretation, and maybe some of you reading this might relate to what I’m saying?

 

We move from one holiday to another.  Wait, no not yet.  There’s necessary lulls where we don’t have to talk about anything in particular except the day at hand, or well, what may be coming.   There’s things coming alright.  But I want to talk about a bottle that while I was looking for something else, essentially found me.

So we have the 2016 Oregon Rosé from Portlandia Vintners.  For more information, here are their wines, their story, and contact information.

PortlandiaRose

There’s just something about Portland that’s been on my mind lately.   Maybe it’s because there’s lots of rain in the forecast this week here in Maryland, and aside from sun today, it’s been mostly grey skies going back to this past weekend.  I take this all as a sign.  I take a lot of things as signs.  The universe is always speaking to us, whether we realize it, or are paying attention to things or not.

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On the nose, tells a story of a beautiful bouquet of spring, flowers, and fresh fruits.  Those are the standards of any good Rosé, or maybe I’m just talking nonsense, and pretending to give you some expert analysis.  Maybe all of the above.

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Jammy and fruit forward, sure why not?  Well yes.  I definitely tasted strawberries, but watermelon?  Maybe if I don’t think so hard.  This is a good wine, that’s worth paying a few extra dollars for.  At around $15, this is isn’t going to hurt you and it’s good to splurge here and there.  This is what life is all about.

Easy to drink, goes down smooth, and loaded with structure, depth, and character. That’s what you want in a Rosé, that’s what you want in a wine, and that’s what you want in anything.

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I don’t recall having a Rosé made from Pinot Gris at all.  There’s a first time for everything, or maybe I’m just oblivious to everything.  That sounded kind of funny.  Mixed in Rosé from Pinot Noir and Grenache, it creates a brilliant blend that I feel would work as a Red Blend equivalent.  Just a thought.   Maybe the rain and all of this eeriness is getting to me.

PortlandiaRoseWithRose

If you’re looking for a fairy tale romance or heartwarming ending to a story, this one may do it for some.  Some just want a bottle of wine and not think so much.  Me, I think too much and I feel too much.  For feeling, this is absolutely a wine for that.  If you’re into emotions and being captivated, this might do it for some, and literally just be a wine to drink when the weather is nice, or it’s grey and murky like it is now.

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I love it all, and as we ride high into the season of Rosé, I don’t want to get carried away and make this a weekly thing.  More might be coming, as will more whites.   As for the reds, I can’t bit adieu just yet.  I never will.  There’s room for reds and there’s room for everybody.

Estranged or not.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

What Can I Say…

SpyPigRoseWine&FoodDisplay

…I’m an animal lover.

But that doesn’t equate to expert wine analysis, but that’s not the point of this post, or many of my stories.  The intent is to give a lighthearted perspective with a bit of knowledge thrown in here and there.

I’m always learning, and when it comes to wine, it’s an going journey with a destination that hopefully never ends.  There was a dopey cliche somewhere in there, but it’s true.

The sun is finally out, and it took a lot longer, but good things come to those… Yeah another cliche.  But good things come to those who deserve it or don’t think about it.  It just comes, and it comes to them.

So it came to us and with a vengeance in some ways…  We’ve been bad and I guess we’ve finally been good and been rewarded with sun, life, daylight, and all the good things that Spring traditionally brings.

With that bring us Rosé season.   I know for many, it’s their favorite.  Folks that don’t fully embrace wine will drink Rosé for it’s simplistic qualities, for the color, the symbolism of Spring (and what’s to come), and all the good things in life.

Some take Rosé a bit more seriously when it comes to wine drinking.  It’s treated just like any other, like a peer, and like any wine that can be paired with a good meal or savored alone, or with dear friends.

Ironically the Syrah Rosé from Spy Pig (I get a laugh just typing that out and saying it out loud) is a lot more serious than on first viewing and initial sipping.  This is a solid wine at a reasonable price.  You should be able to find this for $10 and under at a retailer near you.  Here’s where to buy,  and more on their wines.

SpyPig1

When a label is that endearing, you might think that it’s covering up deficiencies with the wine itself.  This isn’t the case here.   And for something so affordable, you know what you’re getting it and depending on your palate, it’s either a pleasant surprise or meets expectations.

I’m not even the biggest Rosé fan, and I found this enjoyable.   Life changing it’s not, but it’ll make your day for sure.  And that’s an important of life.

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On a warm day like today, the color even looks more lively, and with red berries on the nose, and on the palate, it’s a simple, welcoming, and heartwarming wine that will make anyone feel good.

After an extended winter that has truncated Spring, this has been long overdue.  But like I said good things come, good things come in all kinds of packages and labels, and any chance to symbolically appreciate our animal friends, no matter how eccentric or enigmatic it might be, I’m all for it.

SpyPigRoseWine&Food

To say that my snacks (think you may recognize ’em) were subconsciously paired with my wine, could be an understatement.   In many instances, things just work out like that.

It’s those stories that might linger and feel memorable over time, as I look back and read memoirs from the past, or it could be a footnote.  I certainly doubt the latter.  Everything has a bigger meaning than just what’s right in front of you.  Sometimes what’s in front of you is all you have, and sometimes you don’t know what you have until after the fact.

SpyPigRoseWineGlass

Where I’m going with this, I’m not quite sure.   This wine was simply fun, and I get the feeling this only the beginning with the Rosé wine discussion.

Only time will tell what’s next, and what will be discussed next week.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

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.

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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

 

 

I’d Like A Number One With A Side Of…

Antigal1UnoMalbecDisplay3

That title may seem to indicate I’m making light of what is a likable wine.  That’s exactly what the Uno Malbec is from Antigal Winery & Estates.

For more on the winery itself, here is their story, and how they make their wine.

I’ve had this bottle once or twice in the past and completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  It’s hard to keep up with everything.

You can call this your impromptu holiday special, as this was an unexpected yet once again serendipitous gathering.  The better ones happen with little to no planning.  As my list of wines I want to write about continues to grow, it’s always important to leave as many in the arsenal as possible, as long as the stories yet to be told can age well, as stand the test of time.

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I’d like to say the same for this 2013 vintage of the Uno Malbec.

Technical information for the 2014, can be found here. their wine list, and contact information.

Antigal1UnoMalbecInfo

For the 2013 (notes here), I wasn’t looking to analyze or over analyze.  It was later in the day, and that can alter how one is feeling, what one is thinking, and who knows what has been eaten or drank already that can change ones palate many times over.

That’s what happened here.  So plenty of water needed to be had for hydration and then rehydration purposes.

The wine itself has so much depth and so much to offer.  There’s spices all over the place, and if I told you I knew them all, well you know…

But this had a darker element to it.  The wine had a more violet tint to it which I can appreciate.  It’s possible I tasted coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and more of what would be better suited for the fall or winter, but here we are in Spring and the weather still feels like the aforementioned seasons.  Yep.

This is not quite ‘my’ kind of wine, even though it’s been aged in oak for many months.  As much I wanted to love it, that didn’t happen.

It’s a good wine, but at the listing of $14-$16, I would say it’s not quite on that level.  It tastes closer to $10-$12 for me, and while that may sound like I’m nitpicking, it’s my observation and opinion.

It’s medium bodied and not full of the tannins that maybe one would expect.  It has character but maybe it’s just missing that one thing to put it over.  Funny how I said ‘one thing’, but it’s so close to being great.

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This was paired with carry-out cheese pizza, and then some holiday themed cookies, and chocolates.   This may come off as an unconventional pairing, but that’s what makes this so great.   These make for some of the more endearing and long lasting stories.  This wine carries some weight, and while it may be necessary to pair it with a different kind of dish, it doesn’t truly matter.

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The pizza, chocolates, and cookies are comfort foods in times where comfort is welcome and comfort is good.   And while that may imply one should get out of their comfort zone, for this time it was beautiful.  It didn’t last as long as the previous gathering (which you can read about here), but there will be more.

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Each get together creates and tells a different story.   The people with whom you spend it with will hopefully enhance that story.  If not, then there’s no point to any of this.   It makes the wine, the food, and then all those details you can’t see, mean that much more.

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And no, not every wine, and not every experience is going to be life changing.  If that was the case, then those events that are truly magnificent are going to feel betrayed.  I think that makes sense.   Some of the best times are the ones where it’s not that anything deep or profound was said, or done, but it was just simply being.

And this was one of those.  I’m overly sentimental I know that.

While this one was fast, it just means more to come.  And it’s good to just be.

Have a blessed holiday weekend…

Ideen