Love It If We…

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Zinfandel is not one I talk about a lot.  And I have no explanation for it.   I mean I could make up one, and let the words try to validate what I’m trying to justify (oh boy…), or I could say when I get around to it.

So I got around to it.

I’m so grateful to be invited into friends’ homes and know that most of all, we are friends and that we care for each other, and that the conversations never get old. And at times, we can enjoy silence without it ever being awkward.

This dinner was full of beautiful conversation, all entertainment, and there’ll never be enough time to get it all in.  Then again, there’s always room for next time, and room for everybody.

I had brought a bottle of the same grape, and it turned out to be a flop.  I won’t get into specifics.  You might be able to see the label in picture, so maybe you know to avoid it if you’re out shopping for Zin.  But don’t take my word for it.  To each their…

Thankfully and fortunately, the hosts opened up one of their favorite wines, the 2015 Zinfandel from Carnivor Wines.  A name like that carries a lot of weight, no puns my friends.

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The price is anything but that, ranging from $10-$12, you’re getting a bargain.

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Without reading the label and getting a couple of sips, I tasted that oak and oak is you’re friend when it comes to reds, and some whites.  That’s just my opinion, but it’s based on experience.  The info also mentions blackberry and hints of caramel.  I really dig that if that’s what I tasted.   It just felt different but most importantly of all it tasted like a wine many would enjoy.

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And when you’re with fantastic company everything is going to taste better.  Food tastes that much more palatable (more than already might be), water is even that more refreshing, the air feels dryer and cooler (well that’s literally where we’re headed), and at least for me, my breaths feel for natural.   I know right.

This bottle, like most great ones, never had a chance.  It lasted a while but then it didn’t.  A few hours of a great evening always goes by rather quickly.   You don’t always want it to end, but does it really?  It’s just on hold for the next time.

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The food choices were plentiful: chips, hummus, olives, cheese are the perfect appetizer for any dinner or party of your liking.  It’s those little things that are the biggest things.  I’ve said it before with knowing some parts of better left unsaid and to just be.

The dinner itself was one of a more heartier and comforting variety, which is fitting to pair with a wine named Carnivor (here’s where to buy near you!).  As no pictures were taken I just made my point from earlier, sometimes there’s no need for explanations and facts.   You can take out most food and wines and substitute them for something else, and the story, while different, has the same constant of joy, love, happiness, and all those other good things.

I love all those good things.

I’m so grateful to have shared another evening with great friends, and I welcome and embrace the next time.

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

Drawing A Blank Here…

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Well, yes and no.  Yesterday was a bit goofy for me.  This past week or so has been a bit goofy for me.  I can attribute that to anything.   But in the beginning and the end, we have control over how he handle experiences and situations that are thrown at us.  Life throws us a lot of things.  We adapt, persevere, and we sometimes say everything is going to be ok.

I keep telling myself that, but I have to feel it too.  Where did the summer go?  I’m already seeing pumpkin stuff slowly showing up, and that worries me, to the point I forget about all the things I said in the first paragraph.

This is still summer, and I’m going to be talking about these kinds of spiritually healing and fulfilling wines for as long as it feels right and it feels right.  Yes, I know what I just said.

So as to not be overwhelmed, I shared this bottle with good friends and with good food.  That’s a recurring theme of this, and of life.

And to be able to sit outside while the weather is still in our favor is a testament to the good in this universe.

When I spotted this beautiful label of an owl at one of my favorite wine shoppes, The Wine Source, at the sale price of $8, it would be a catastrophe if I didn’t grab one, at least.

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The Verdejo wine from Sabeo out of Rueda, Spain looked amazing on the surface, which can lead to all kinds of mixed results. But I had a sense about this.  The golden crisp color of the wine evoked positive energy, without ever even opening the bottle.  And whatever you think of owls, you can’t help but think this is one of the more artistic and stand out labels you’re going to see.

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But as we all know, a label is not going to tell you anything about how the wine tastes.  That’s too idealistic and too much of a beginner way of thinking.  However, in many ways this journey of my love for wine will always make me feel like a beginner.

Thankfully, everything I said earlier is true.  This is a marvel, and for how little I paid for it, I felt like I was stealing.  Regular price goes for about $10, yet I would pay more for this.

This can be savored alone, with great company, and with great food.  All the generalities in life do apply, but mainly the positive ones.

If memory serves me correctly, this is the first time I’ve ever had this grape.  I’m so happy this is how it begins for me, and I feel spoiled and blessed in many ways. There’s flavors of lemon, lime, and maybe a hint of melon in this wine that could make many non-wine drinkers even a fan.  It just has that aura yet welcoming feel about it.  It’s approachable, endearing, and it’s a heck of a wine.

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Versatility is important in life, and definitely helps with pairing wine and food.  This wine has it all.  It complemented this amazing meal of chicken & vegetable kabobs cooked over the grill, along with homemade Tzatziki that it brought back memories of childhood, family, and happiness that transcend any headaches and complaints I referenced earlier.

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And a larger-than-life firepit always helps….

These are memories that will be ongoing, as new ones are created and nostalgia sets in immediately.  Living in the moment yet appreciating everything that’s going on makes anything, including a wonderful dinner, that much more of a notable place and time.

I’ve spent many dinners with my friends (and written about many, not all…) and I’m so grateful that the stories keep growing, evolving, yet the constant of joy, happiness, and harmony remain.

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Sometimes drawing then filling in the blanks is just fine..

To many more.

Salud.

Ideen

We’re Starting Up A Brand New Day…

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I would like to think that I go into most experiences with the best of intentions.  I believe that many of you would say the same as well. When it comes to the wine drinking experience, a meal, a gathering of any sort, or anything, we want it to be the best.  Well not everything is going to be the best, but we hope it’s a great experience, and some to remember by.

Then there’s those other occasions where the wine is just not up the par, and a weak bottle is sometimes necessary to reset things and put things back into that perspective, or whatever melodramatic, romantic, or wishy washy term you want to use.

For the bulk of the next couple of months, or for however many weeks or time, there’s going to be a lot of white and Rosé talk, with maybe a red thrown in.  I feel like I’ve said this before.  But I guess we have to start somewhere, and this could be one of those reset buttons, as sometimes it’s needed.

ProspectorChardonnay

This was an off week, but the 2014 Prospector Chardonnay from Pioneer Wine Co. (which I had a difficult time finding a link for) leaves a lot to be desired.

Not every week or story needs to have a theme, or anything inspirational to go with it.  Sometimes it’s really just a glass or bottle of wine, and then you go on about your day.  Well that’s how I felt about this wine.   The information is presented to you on the back of the label, but this was flat.

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I didn’t overthink about a bottle to buy or what to do.  I saw something and I grabbed it.  At about $12, give or take, it’s not the end of the world.   I didn’t expect oak or bursting flavors, or anything that would be considered life changing.  I sensed something was off.  But as friends of mine have told me, feelings are fickle, and for the most part (if not all) we create our own happiness, our surroundings, and how we feel over the course of the day, and in our lives.

Wine is sometimes a game of chance.  If you don’t know what to buy, what to try, and you feel a certain way then you’ll attract chance, you test fate, and sometime that’s a good thing.  The element of surprise if your friend.  And even when its lackluster, those feelings are well, fickle.

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Life is meant to be enjoyed and this wine was a chore.   For a medium-bodied Chardonnay it was about as middle of the road as it gets.  Medium to be me, in this instance, feels like it’s just there.

This is a wine I uncorked, allow some time to breathe, poured it into my glass, enjoyed my salmon dinner, and put my glass in the sink.  That’s how I felt about the wine.  If you can read between the lines or notes, then you get what I’m saying.

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You don’t need to be an expert to know this wine is missing something.  It never got even into first gear.

Well you’ve got to start somewhere, and sometimes that means starting over. or just allowing the universe to reset itself.

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There’s always a positive and a way to look at this glass half full.

Something tells me we get it back going again soon.

Peace as always Be With You.

Ideen

 

I’m Glad I Waited…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

What Can I Say…

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

Reunion

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Just in time for Thanksgiving, I got together with a couple of dear friends that have added so much delight and inspiration to the this blog.  A relocation and a few life changes for all of us have separated us for the time being.   Just recently we got back together for a reunion, and I’m so grateful it was before and not after the frenetic pace of the holidays.

Well, it’s already headed in that direction anyways.  People’s schedules are already starting to fill up, calendar space is starting to come at a premium, and all the while we still need to take care of ourselves, in our daily lives, yet help whenever we can.

After a later start than usual, per elements of the universe factoring in, I brought a Malbec as requested, and I went with another audible.  I went with a wine I’ve never seen or noticed before.  It wasn’t so much the label or anything.  And the label is alright too.. Well it did have the word ‘Club’ in it, so maybe I was paying homage to our dinner club I’ so thankful to be a part of.

The 2016 Asado Club Malbec is a simple and approachable kind of wine, that is not going to take the world over, but it was an enjoyable wine that once again, didn’t have a chance.   I just love saying that.

This is exactly the medium to full bodied wine you would expect from a Malbec.   It’s got the dark berries and tasted more earthy to me than I would have expected.  But that’s it for the expert analysis.  It’s a wine that seems elusive and aloof, for the fact I’ve never seen it before.  I will give credit where it’s due in that regard.

Maybe it’s a wine that’s meant to be hidden in plain sight, and not found out right away.  For that, I had to look hard to find a link to where you might be able to find this wine near you.  At an average price of $10, it’s not going to hurt your bank account, or hurt anyone’s feelings.  It’s a good wine that does it’s job.

I think my peers liked it more than I did.  And I’m easy to please.

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But what was even more pleasing was the meal my friends prepared.   Seasoned and sauteed chicken, an incredible salad with sunflower seeds that really put it over the top, and squash slices with pomegranate seeds.   And these guys have had some lavish meals in the past, with always awesome groups of people, which means plenty of wine and other libations have been brought, shared, and I will say decimated! Woohoo!

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But this simple meal was just what everyone needed.   I could have pieces of the squash till the end of time, and that salad is on my mind as I write this during breakfast.   The chicken was great, but if even if you subtract that, it’s a vegetarian’s dream meal.  This was yummy!

And in a way the wine paired with this perfectly.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Things are going to get crazy, whether or not we choose to allow it or see it. Some of us are better equipped (not sure about me) of handling the excitement, the stress, the errands, the impending shopping, the parties, and all of that other commotion.  Yes, lots of commotion!

But many situations and events are also about peace and calm.  Last night was exactly about that, peace and calm.  Oh and plenty of wine drinking…

This was not the only bottle we had, so you can see we were enjoying ourselves, responsibly of course, knowing that we had some beautiful moments, and while the next month is going to be crazy, we will always be thankful for the quiet times, the crazy times, and all of the times.

I wish you and yours a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

Peace be with you…

Ideen