I Like Chance Meetings…

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Hampden evokes feeling of community, and that grows in volume as we approach the holidays.  Oh yes, the holidays.  I felt like I was just talking about that a few days ago.  And I don’t mean another holiday.  I mean the holidays.  Here we are…

I like it quiet, cozy, and peaceful.  I like conversation.  I like meaningful conversation.  Sometimes that might be too much for you or I.  But I can’t speak for you, so I won’t nor should I.  Small talk just hasn’t worked for me in a while.  I have done it, but I can only do it for so long before I’m exposed in away.   I have yet to grasp the concept of faking it till I make it.  Not yet…

But what is very real is great wine (and crappy wine, but not today…)and a great wine bar to boot.  So this brings us back to 13.5% Wine Bar (which I wrote about a few months back) and an awesome wine that’s not even on the menu!

Their happy hour red is the 2016 La Ferla Nero d’Avola and I’m grateful they were serving after those hours because this is the perfect wine to have with anything or nothing at all.  I tend to say that a lot, and it may come off robotic, but it’s a feeling I have about some wines.

It’s light enough to drink any time of year but has depth and character that will fill your senses, warm your heart, and perfect the mood that you’re in.  Hopefully it’s a good one.

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Filled with pepper, spices, and a little bit of the unknown, this just felt right for early November.  And at $4 a glass I’m getting a bargain.   The average price for this wine is around $10, and that’s exactly what it tasted like.  That’s a compliment above all else.

You know when wines just feel right and you want them right now.  This is for right now…

My friends and I had quite a few small plates and not at any time did the cheapness of wine come out when paired with spiced nuts, brussels sprouts, and frites.  Everything complemented the other.  What can also be said was that the company was great, the ambiance is always off the charts, and the positive energy is in abundance.  That’s going to make any wine, any food, and anything just be better.

I love this place, and sometimes experiences are so good that they shouldn’t always be shared.

Sometimes I get this visceral feeling as to what I should share, should document, should photograph, and what I shouldn’t.  It’s great to keep a log, a blog, a journal, a history of experiences, and to share them.  I just know there’s an intellect with this that is bigger than the food, the wine, or anything.  That it’s ok to put into words.

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When it comes to pictures, I sense a more polarizing opinion.  I think it’s good to take a few here and there, but I’ve never been one to constantly do it.  So when looking back at my posts I get a kick out of seeing photos I know I left out, because those are for me and for me only.  Same for certain stories that I will never share, or I am not ready to.  In a lot of ways that has more of a reaction than what is put out there.

With that being said, I don’t know what the holidays will bring but then I do.  But it’ll all be from my heart and with the best intentions.  Then there will be those stories that may or may not see the light of day.   That’s one of the many joys I get from this.

But for now, Happy Early Thanksgiving and…

Take good care…

Love,

Ideen

By The Glass

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I find Osteria Da Amedeo (menu, the wine list, and more about them) in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore refreshing.  And not just refreshing in terms of beverages.

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My visits have been somewhat frequent, but I wouldn’t call myself a regular.  I’ve been here enough yet I never seem to know anyone and vice versa.  In a small city like this, that makes me happy.  It’s easy to just run into people in Baltimore.  Of course if you go anywhere long enough, you’re bound to make a friend.   You can never have enough good friends.  You can also never have enough alone time.  If there was something to be said for the latter, then you think one would stay home.  But how’s that fun?

Friends of mine who live here or go here only rave about it.   With the exception of one time going with a pal, its always just been me.   My preference to be out by myself has always been with me.  It’s a feeling of liberation, to have some semblance of control, and if I’m ready to leave after 5 minutes, or two hours, it feels great to have that choice.

A place like Osteria Da Amedeo lend itself to spending a little extra time, in what I can only describe was one of the more cozy bars and settings in all of the city.

This won’t be a review of the bottles, because I don’t remember them.  This may come off amateurish but on a day back in the late Summer, this was not the time or place to worry about that.   It was a weird day.  Yet someone else might say that was one of their favorite days ever. That’s what makes this all so fun.  We all can be in the same and different places and time, and think completely different thoughts and feel a contrast in emotions.

There were emotions and there was some situations.  I just felt like like saying that.  Yes situations can mean anything.

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My mood wanted a little bit of red and a little of the while.  I didn’t finish either.  I just wanted something different.   I forgot if I ordered a Sangiovese or Montepulciano.  Like I said, this is not one of those serious reviews or discussion of labels.  Not like many of them are, but I hope you sense what I’m saying and where this is going.

As I was saying, whatever my red was, I loved it.  I savored it, and I savored my surroundings.  I had my own company and today was enough.  I love their wine glasses.  You don’t see these served in this form everyday or everywhere.  Wait, maybe I had one of each and I don’t remember.   Oops.  There are those times where I feel drained and trans

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For the blanca, I went with the Gavi, which to my knowledge is the one and only time I can honestly say I’ve ever seen it, ordered it, or drank it.  This detail is significant, at least to me.   I love firsts and I love to feel a little part of history, even if just my own, and to anyone who reads this.

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Like any new wine, it either hits you right away and makes you feel something, is an acquired taste, or is just not your glass of wine.  I’m settling for somewhere in the middle. As dry as the synopsis reads, it was a little sweeter and fruitier to my liking.   I could blame it on the fact I had that red (which one I’ll never know) and maybe didn’t cleanse my palate enough, or it’s just not for me right now.  All that can change later.   That’s the beauty of wine, and of life.

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What matters is this was a good day.  It was a day of reflection, healing, peace,and hopefully rejuvenation.  This was two months ago and in many ways I feel more exhausted than that day.  Maybe it’s because of writing so late, or maybe so much has caught up with me, that this day was at least a temporary relief, or will resonate with me for reasons that have still yet been shown to me.

Maybe and hopefully I can give a more in depth versus introspective recap on the food and wine…

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For some just going out means going out, then calling it a day or night.  I might take things too seriously, but I see everything has potentially significant.  I may not even catch all the signs and symbols of the universe, or maybe I look or try too hard to find them.  Nevertheless, they’re there.

I was happy to be there….

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

A Very Special Label

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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As always, happiest of holidays to you.

Ideen

 

 

Santa! I Know Him!

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Christmas is only two days away and I’m sad it’s heading into the final hours.  Every season has a different feel for me, and this one has been no different.   Starting this blog over a year ago has allowed me to expand my palate and my wine choices.  That’s one of many things I’m thankful for this holiday season.

With it being Christmas week, I had to find a label or a creative bottle that fit that mold and enhanced my spirit of the holidays.

I found myself at my Wine World and simply asked if there were any bottle that depicted the true spirit or just showed that cheerful jolly guy on the cover.   I am thrilled to say that the Christmas Wine from Duplin Winery proudly showcases all of that.

I wish I could say the same about the taste of the wine itself.  It’s an acquired sip that may take a while to obtain.  Muscadine is not a grape I’m familiar with.  And when the staff member told me that, I thought for sure he said Moscato.

Both are sweet but the former is domestic to the United States, specifically the southeast part. The latter if from that obscure country called Italy.  I think a small sample of folks have had their wines but it’s an exclusive club, but I digress.  😉

I wanted to like it.  I want to like everything connected with the season, but this just didn’t pan out like I had hoped.  I think I have had this at a wine festival or outdoors in a proper setting, I may think differently.   I’m certain many people will love it.  If you’re not a wine drinker or prefer sweeter choices, this is going to work perfectly.

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At a small holiday gathering with pals, no one else was interested in even a quick sample.  That will happen after drinking heavier reds and eating a hearty meal.  My aim was for a good counterbalance after dinner with some sweet treats.

We even broke out the reindeer glasses but it wasn’t enough.

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Sweet treats were had in the form of some ginger spice cookies, but the wine wasn’t cutting it.   I wish I coud say otherwise.

In perusing their site, they do have other holiday varietals that sometime I would like to give a shot.  I’m all about expanding my horizons.  And those labels are adorable.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of their wines, you can click here. And a store locator is here. Hopefully it’s available at a provider near you.

Next time I’m passing through or visiting the great state of North Carolina, I would love to visit and check out all the sights and sounds of what they have to offer.  I love random visits and wine tours, and whenever I see a sign for one driving down a highway I get excited, just like a kid on Christmas morning.

Speaking of Christmas, I wish all of you a beautiful one.  I hope you get to spend it with the ones you care for.  I will be doing so.  And I look forward to enjoying some great vino and food pairing with some many of those awesome people as well.

Stay healthy and take good care.

Best,

Ideen

 

Sister Gertrude

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I gotta admit, I purchased this bottle, only for the label itself.  And nothing more.   And I was pleasantly surprised.   This is a fun smelling and tasting wine.   But the most important question of all, how cool is that pig?

The 2012 La Maialina Gertrude from Tuscany is a steal at only $11.99.  This is a wonderful trio of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the inspiring Sangiovese.

I must make mention that this was purchased at Lighthouse Liquors in the Canton part of Baltimore.   They have one heck of a selection, and I find myself going in there at least once a week.    In a subsequent post, I will get into the further details and expound about the fun things of this shoppe.

When I uncorked the bottle, I detected some cherry and mint flavors off the top.  I initially thought this would be an amateur move, buying this wine because of how pretty the design was.  But I was pleasantly surprised on the taste.   Just as good as it smells.

It’s not that I had low expectations.  I’m just not sure what my expectations were.  But that’s the fun of trying a new wine or trying a new anything.  Not knowing what you’re getting into an leaving your comfort zone is part of the fun

But this is a wine that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.  And it can be eaten with anything within reason.    Within reason is entirely up to us.

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So what about the pig?  Very charming, I know.  What you see is the wrapping on top of the cork, and this looked too brilliant to pop open.

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And see, that Gertrude cannot be stopped.   You know I’ll be saving that cork, and heck, the bottle too.

Not much is on the web about this wine, aside from several reviews.

The origins of the La Maialina are listed on the back of the label and can also be found here.   The description of the back says Gertrude is unique she does not have the cinta (belt) markings but rather is all.  I’m honored to be a part of something unique.  I love Gertrude.

Finally, the synopsis reads that this awesome Tuscan wine is ready to be enjoyed now or in the next few years.   I look forward to doing both.  This is definitely a purchase I am happy about.   With Italian wines, I usually enjoy them with pizza and this is no exception.

I am happy to have met Gertrude and sometimes is does help judging by wine by it’s cover.  But not too much.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen