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.

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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.

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This is to be continued…

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

I’d Like A Number One With A Side Of…

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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.

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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

 

Count Those Blessings

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Because you can count them maybe more than the amount of anything else in your life.  There’s always much to be thankful for.

I know what’s going on.  I’m at a strange place in life, yet it’s so exciting.  In the many post I’ve made, I’ve changed as a person, yet remained the same.  Whether that’s or good bad is all in the universe’s hands.  Well maybe mine too.

But time keeps moving along, and my tastes in not just wine, but in food, in social situations, hobbies, and personal development have either evolved or I’ve had those existential questions, and moments of, what next?

As much as it’s important to be present, and live in the moment, there’s always a what next.  That can be a good thing or it could leave one in quite the predicament.

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Yet for now, we take it back to a great homemade pizza dinner, with great friends, and I decided to bring two bottles from Ninety Plus Cellars.

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Two wines, because I loved that unknown aspect of what pizzas were going to be made.  I mean I had some idea, so I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s fun to take a chance, and see if the wines pair with the pies.  There is something to what grape goes with certain cheeses, sauces, and toppings.

And then again there is something to having however you want it.

The pizza was great, and you can read more about that here. But today I talk about the wine.

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I’ll get the weak out of the way first.   The 2016, Lot 116 Cabernet Sauvignon left a lot to be desired.  I’m so grateful we opened this bottle after dinner, because if we had this with pizza, or with anything, this dinner would tell a different story.

And don’t get me wrong, the best part of dinner is the socializing and the company.  So the better the food and the wine, that’s just a bonus.  But still, thank goodness we saved this for the end.  Even after giving it time to breathe, the Cabernet Sauvignon tasted like it was open for way too long.

If you’ve ever ordered wine at the bar, and it tasted skunk, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that least ordered, lesser popular tasting wine at the bar, that will be disposed of, if you ask politely.

That may sound harsh, but maybe it was a bad bottle.   Because no Cabernet can taste that bad.  Seriously.

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From that we go to a stellar bottle.   The 2016 Lot 23 Old Vine Malbec is an absolute treasure.  I wish I had brought two of these, at least.

This wine can go with so many different kinds of wine, or simply by itself.  This is just a matter of personal opinion.   Those dark fruits you know and love, such as plum, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries may their understated yet profound impression felt.  I say that this wine has so much going for it.  It has structure, depth, and endearing quality that will resonate with you long after finishing your glass, or in our case, the bottle.

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We had it with hummus, carrots, and the pizza!

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A medium amount of tannins are going to make your tongue feel so good.  It did for me.  Most of all, to me, when you have this smokey or oaky type of taste that lingers towards the end, you have my kind of wine. 

If a friend were to describe my kind of wine, this would be lighter version of it.  And I’m all for it.  This was fantastic.

But speaking of endearing, so was this whole evening…

What I also recall is one of our party really loving the Cabernet more so than the Malbec. That’s what makes this journey so fun.  We all like different things.

Both bottles are likely to be found for under $15.

But in the end, we all share a bottle, a meal, some laughs, and some great conversation.

We are one an we are the same.  That makes me feel good.

For more on Ninety Plus; here is their wine list, their story, their online ordering information, their contact information,  and where you can find their wines near you.

Counting my blessings…

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

 

 

Good Friends Gathering

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You don’t need wine to have an awesome gathering.  But it certainly helps.  So does good food.  I mean when was the last time you were with friends, either inside or dining (see!) out, which didn’t involve one or the other, or both.  And you can substitute wine for your favorite adult beverage.   I mean it happens.  Even the most serious of meetings involve something of sustenance.

And so it goes on.  I was invited to a quite gathering of friends recently, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I mean I’m close with the hosts, friends with many of the attendees, and I like a peaceful gathering.   The difference is that this was a get together for a show that so many people adore, and up until this event, I had only seen once.   Earlier in the season, I was invited to the premiere of this party, but chose to sit that one out.   For the finale, I think I just wanted to be around friends.

And with friends means food, it means wine, it and it means good times.

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I didn’t do any intense research on what wind to bring.  I was told stew was being served, so a medium bodied red wine is what came to mind.  No it’s not quite time to completely switch over to reds, but I will be mixing up the whites, reds, and hopefully a few more Rosé  as well.

In hindsight I’m glad the awkward change of the season lead to an awkward choice of wine.

The 2015 Reserva Malbec Petit Verdot from Oveja Negra is one of those wines that I can’t really get excited for.  I’ve had previous vintages and thought the same ting.  I’ve seen their bottles everywhere, and fortunately have never seen it priced for more than $10, so it does have that going for them.

There’s been gems and beauties that you can find under $10, but I can’t vouch for this one.  Yes there’s a lovely sheep on the label, but sometimes that isn’t enough.  This is coming from an animal lover.   But it’s a different kind of sheep.  Hmmm.. But enough about the label.

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This wine is dark. The berries are dark, there’s smoke, there’s pepper, but there might be other things that don’t make this the most welcoming of wines/  It’s simply a wine that you drink, might have it with some food, have another sip, and then you go do something else.

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This makes the goblet all the more apropos.

It’s not terrible but it’s not great.  It’s an average wine that won’t offend anyone but I don’t think it will inspire anyone either.

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Being around great company will make any wine that much better.  Which tells me that the wine might be even been that much more lackluster when in a much less welcoming or setting of solitude.   It’s a medium to full bodied wine that is missing the components that make a wine stellar.  There’s no length of boldness to it.    I don’t ask for much but this isn’t offering much of anything.

Yet, every now and again I keep seeing this wine and I keep buying it, hoping it’ll inspire and move me in a powerful way.   It didn’t happen this time.  B

But there will always be a next time.

I love my friends, I love my family, and I love good times.  Those mean more to me than any quality of wine.    Well, the good food helps.

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That’s pork and some fantastic side items and foods.  Oh this is yummy. The stew was incredible too, in case I hadn’t already said that.

For more on Oveja Negra click here.  and here is their contact information.

Old Bridge Cellars is the importer, and they have an easy-to-use link to find this wine near you.

Thanks so much, and hopefully the pending change of the season, leads to some more exciting wines.   My gut tells me yes.

Ideen

 

So Much To Celebrate

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I had the great honor of once again being invited to a dear friends’ house for an Easter lunch/dinner that was also home to one of a few Thanksgiving Feasts (post is here) I’m grateful to have been invited to.  It’s the holidays once again.  But not those holidays. They’ll be here before you know it.

Yet; Easter, Passover, Spring, and anything else going on in this time frame is a part of that routine of life that I enjoy.  More friends will be wanting to do fun things, inside and out.  That means more wine and delicious food to enjoy, and to appreciate.

Another day (which I wrote about last year, link is here) of celebration is Malbec Day or Malbec World Day.  These are real days ladies and gentlemen.  Since the computer says so I have to believe it. But seriously, links can be found for Malbec World Day and other wine days for more information.

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After what I wrote about last year, it was going to be hard to top.  But that doesn’t mean the wine can’t be good, great, or even exceptional.  But the 2015 Pardrillos from Ernesto Catena Vineyards was missing something.  And when I mean missing something, I mean missing a few things.  I wanted to like this wine like any wine I purchase.

And look at the horses on the label. How can you not be drawn to that?  And the brightness of those colors.  I feel it’s one of the any great interpretations and reflections of the season.  I didn’t look too hard to find a wine and I feel as if it was just waiting for me.

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It was ok on the nose.  And with any wine I want to give it a few minutes to breathe if at all possible.  Who knows what flavors will develop and enhance after uncorking.   However, this is a wine to drink now, so there’s no need to wait too long.   You might be able to tell by my writing that I’m going to struggle to find many positives about this wine.  And that would be the case.

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When I say something is just there, in any context, it’s a disheartening feeling.  It comes off as apathetic and lacking any real attachment or emotion to a wine.   There’s really nothing to this wine.

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I got some darker berries and fruits, slight tannins, and nowhere near as jammy as other reviewers have interpreted. It was enough to drink but it was one of those wines I was waiting to finish so I didn’t have to drink anymore.  Perhaps in a different context, or after a couple of glasses of another wine, I may enjoy this.

But I don’t know how better of a setting I could be in.  I was with some amazing people, including the hosts, on a beautiful Spring day, with a food spread for the ages.  And I mean ages.

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We had all the essentials; turkey, ham, greens, deviled eggs, salads, and all kinds of incredible appetizers.  The food was gold, I just wish the wine was at or at least approaching that level.  I feel disappointed in myself but thankfully other folks brought some amazing wines and beverages (along with that stellar food) that is for sharing.

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And that’s what this and any holiday is all about.  I just wish my wine could have a memorable part of the celebration.

I could see someone spending under $10 for this, but at $13, which is what I paid, I don’t see the justification. Yes it’s only a few dollars difference but it’s the principle.  This is a everyday table wine and nothing more, and nothing less.   I think other people will enjoy it, and some of my pals at the party did, but I wasn’t moved.

It’s not a label I’ve seen to frequently in stores and their site isn’t helpful in our search.

What’s most important is the environment I was in.  We were welcomed into someone’s home that went above-and-beyond to host a holiday party, and that’s the most important thing to remember.  I look forward to many more fun times with genuine and kind people to come.  Some will be written about and some will be kept internal.

All I can do is supply the best wine(s) possible and hope I’ve done my part in this.

I hope you truly enjoyed your holiday and wait in anticipation of all the fun Spring is going to bring all of us.

By the way, there’s a reason for the horses.  More to come…

Kindest,

Ideen

 

Smells Like Chocolate

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Not every wine that I or you are going to bring to a party is going to be a hit.  As I’ve stated before, we buy a wine based on how it looks, the varietal, a wine rep or staff members’ recommendation, a snazzy label, and most of all the price.

The wine I brought to the dinner soiree I wrote about last week didn’t go over to well.  And this was based on that aforementioned recommendation. That’s also just an opinion based on the time, place, a certain mood or feeling, and what that wine was paired with if anything at all.  Those are the only factors but that’s the gist.

I can over analyze why my selection was good or bad, but that would drive me, my friends, and my readers crazy.  It’s meant to be fun, enjoyable, and a journey that lasts hopefully forever.

When one wine doesn’t go over well, another and then another does.

I would like to thank the hostess for providing the perfect dichotomy to the wine I brought.  She provided several bottles of the 2015 Finca el Origen Reserva Estate Malbec.

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How I didn’t notice this earlier on in the evening is beyond me.  I was so fixated with everything else going on.  And how could you not?  There was nothing but yummy food all over the table.  And there was so much wine consumed between everyone that it’s easy for something to get lost in the shuffle.  I feel a tad embarrassed to not notice this bottle towards the latter half of the evening.

I never got to have any with dinner.  But while I was still craving a little more than dessert, it was certainly enjoyed by yours truly, with what was left of the cheese and crackers display.  Yeah we went through everything.

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The sweetness and fruit forwardness of this wine makes this as one of the more approachable wines, even to someone who isn’t a fan of vino, to anyone.  This is one that can be enjoyed as daily table wine, and with a whole variety of finger foods and full on dinner plates.

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When you hear the term ‘silky or velvety tannins’, this wine is just as good as notice them as any others.  I felt them strong on my tongue and on my cheek than comparable wines that promote the same thing.  There was something about the entire structure of this wine that made this truly special.

It was one of those bottles that carried the same aura from the nose onto the palate.  It literally smelled and tasted the same.  The simplicity of this wine is truly what makes this magnificent.

And that purple  color was another beautiful visual in a sea of beautiful visuals of great good and great people to share this with.

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What I almost forgot to mention, is I can’t recall a much more perfect and fitting pairing than with chocolate.  Yes, chocolate!  Beautiful.

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This writing may be after Valentine’s Day but this whole party had nothing to do with this holiday.  Well maybe a little.  But chocolate and wine can be enjoyed together any time. But when you find a bottle and certain specialty chocolates that pair as well at this, it’s just magic.

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The fruits that came to life with each bite of a sweet treat is something we all should be honored to experience, and experience as much as possible.

This is a wine I’m going to want to add to my collection as soon as possible.  And ranging anywhere from $8-$12 online, this is a bargain and then some.

I haven’t noticed it in stores, but for my fellow wine lovers in the Baltimore area, my friend said it was available at The Perfect Pour in Columbia.  If I find other local shoppes and outlets (stores and online) that carry this wine, it will be updated here.

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This was a great wine and I’m grateful my first time trying it was in this setting and with an awesome set of friends.

Hope your Wine Wednesday is a wondrous one.

Kindest,

Ideen