…And Be Your Compass

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It’s early January, and does anyone know where the time went?  I write this from a place of having many options to write about, yet many options that might not see the light of day, nor are meant to ever be.

As eclectic as these experiences have been, and I know will continue to be, sometimes the best is always going to be the ones that you didn’t even know were going to happen.  And you don’t know always know how great they’re going to be until the company you didn’t even expect to see, show up; and the place we ended up, were never on our radar to begin with.

Or maybe it was.

The day after Christmas, a good friend of mine met me at one venue, but we mutually realized this wasn’t going to work.  It was too crowded for what we wanted.   All we were looking for was a place of peace, to sip a glass of wine, and maybe partake in more indulging of foods that make the holidays so great.

I keep talking about the holidays. They’re officially over in most circles, but to me, anything and everything can turn into a holiday, a joyous experience, and a memorable one, if done properly.

This is exactly what we did.

When we stopped too hard to find a place, we let our spiritual compass find our way.  My gut told me wine, and it always tells me wine.   Footsteps from where we were standing, the Chesapeake Wine Company was just the cure that was needed for the sometimes bluesy and downward feelings the holidays can bring.

I’ve been here many times before, seen ownership change hands, purchased plenty of wine for a party, and had many a glass inside.

This was a combination of all of that.  My friend and I shared a couple of bottles and enjoyed a beautiful plate of bread and cheese.  It was a comfort that was needed.  And what was going to be a short while, turned into a long one.   How long the day went doesn’t matter.

It’s one of those situations where time stands it and flies by all at the same time.

The wine that did stand out was the 2016 Monterey County Black Pinot Noir from Mark West.

Now if you’ve had a Mark West wine, you know you’re going to get quality, you know they’re strictly all about Pinot Noir and nothing else, and you know this all comes at a reasonable price.   I’ve seen their selections in many a shoppe at right around $10, and sometimes less.  It’s a bargain for what you’re getting.

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The Monterey County Black is in more of the $12-$15 range, and for me this tastes closer to a $20 bottle.  That’s just an opinion and observation based on how the wine tasted and opened up as the afternoon went on.

It’s a smoother Pinot then many might be accustomed too.  You get those flavors of plums, dark cherries, vanilla, and mocha which is exquisite for the winter time, but is just as drinkable in the warmer months.  But thinking about this now, it was perfect for a post Christmas affair.

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Seriously, this might have been the most fitting day to have this glass, and it went perfectly with our snacks.

What’s even more fascinating is the notes tell a story that I’m going to look for in future wines, when I get the chance.

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In order to give this wine that darker color and more of a medium-to-full bodies taste is the result of a process called saignée, which is when the ligher colored wine is removed before it has time to blend in with the skins of the grapes.

I didn’t think about any of that at time because I was just so busy enjoying the wine in its purest form and more importantly the company of one another.   And that’s what a place like this will do.

The atmosphere of Chesapake Wine Company is  inviting, welcoming, yet private enough that you can have a pleasant conversation without anyone in the world to distract you.

Yet the bottles available for purchase might be a nice cause for distraction and another escape if necessary.  The staff is pretty awesome as well.

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For more on the Chesapeake Wine Company, here is more about them, their wines by the glass, their food menu, and contact information.

And for more on Mark West, here is their wine list, their story, where to find their wines, and contact info.

This is the first post of the year, and as I’ve always said, we’re just getting started.

We’re just getting started.

Happy New Year.

Ideen

Christmas Is All…

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It’s whatever you want it to be and make it out to be.  But if you sense the title is from a certain holiday movie, you’re exactly right.

And that’s exactly what I did with a friend this past Friday night.  We watched this great movie, we had some pizza, and had a nice glass of wine.

While all the holiday parties were going on, all the shenanigans, and all the commotion of the weekend leading into Christmas, somewhere my mind, my heart, and my spirit became drained, exhausted, and at times dispirited.

That’s how the holidays have been for me this year.  And it’s seemed to have mirrored other years.  But as I get another year older, another year (maybe wiser), and becoming more self aware of what I can and should be doing, taking it easy seems to more of a preference of mine as opposed to a break now and again.

One of my favorite things now is to hang out at a friend’s house, have some wine, some good food, watch a movie or not, and have a spirited discussion between a few friends or one on one.  It’s how you really get to know someone, and form bonds that otherwise would not be formed if perhaps in a more noisy, crowded, and rushed environment.   Even many of the holiday parties I attended were either scaled back, more low key, and more intimate than in previous years.  And that made for more time to get to know one another, meet some new people one otherwise wouldn’t, and to hear yourself and your peer talk.

Of course the constants of the food, booze, and Christmas Spirit remain.  Those things will always remain.

And it’s nothing like a gathering of two to celebrate the holidays.  My friend got the pizza, I got the wine.  I didn’t take any quality pictures of the pizza, so you can assume it awesome.  It was awesome.  And I also blame my own fatigue of still running around during the holidays as to why the pictures are minimal this week.   And in a way, I also need to scale back to keep it as simple as possible. Not just during the holidays but all year round.

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The wine is the 2015 Dogajolo Baby Super Tuscan from Carpineto Winery.

As burnt out as a I am (and it may show in this post), I still looked for a bottle that had a label, a feel, and an energy for this season.  I succeeded.

My friend is a fan of the wine and when she saw that’s what I brought, she was grateful.  I’m feeling grateful.

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You can find the notes here, and this wine has a lot of structure and has so much to offer, just as a simple evening in with a friend has so much to offer.  This wine goes anywhere  from $9-12 and that’s a great value, just a a night in with a friend is.

With 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet and other varietals, it almost feels like a mix of a light and full bodied wine.  Now why do I say that?  You get the best of everything.  It’s a fruity wine with dark cherries, vanilla, and spices while still tasting like a medium to full bodied wine that is easy to drink.  Yet it’s full of structure and balance that it pleases all palates and many different tastes.  It’s a wine for all occasions. So this works all year round with all kinds of food.

Or with nothing at all.

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For all that I can expound upon, the only thing that matters in the end is that my friend and I enjoyed this wine.  The movie felt like it went by in a flash, just like the night did, and just like this holiday season did.  So a few hours of peace is always welcome and has been a recurring theme throughout this blog and the stories that I write.

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The best stories of wine drinking (and many spiritual entities for that matter) are the ones shared with a few dear friends, over some good food, over some good anything, or sometimes nothing at all.

The holidays are a time to reflect, to review, renew, and yet rekindle relationships with family, friends, and most importantly yourself.  A genuine time with a great friend will check off all those boxes and more.  I’m happy to have been a part of something so simple and beautiful.

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Having a dog to hang out with never hurts either.

I look forward to the next time.

Ideen

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray For…

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Well ordinarily I wouldn’t dig fruitier and sweeter wines.  But that’s always been the point of this journey.  I like getting out of my comfort zone as much as possible.  Essentially every wine is at least worth a try.

Not that long ago I would embrace sweet wines, because they’re accessible and endearing to so many.  It would be perfect and most likely affordable to bring to holiday parties, birthdays, and any gathering where not everyone enjoys wine.  But they would enjoy the sweet and tart varietals.  So it was a win win for everyone.

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As time went by it felt more like a loss.  I enjoyed the dryer reds and then started to appreciate the whites.  That much has remained the same.  But I’m no wine snob nor do I ever intend to be.  But the sugary content in the sweets began to give me a headache and became a chore to drink than anything else.  That’s not the point of this thing.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed.  And no time rings truer than the holidays.   Yet it’s with great pleasure that I say that the Cranberry Wine from St. James Winery is a winner.

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What’s not to like?  Look at that color.  It looks deceivingly like cranberry juice and not much else.  If you poured me a glass and didn’t tell me otherwise, I wouldn’t know the difference.  Only until sipping do you begin to realize that this is anything but just juice. You want to take your time with this one or it’ll creep up on you.

I love the tasting notes.  It literally is all cranberry all the time.   Cranberry acidity with a cranberry finish is what’s written.  Can you get more approachable and simplistic than that?  And around this time of year, with all the frenzy of running around like a fool shopping, errands, and looking for just a few minutes to relax, this is the kind of wine and synopsis you want.

This wine is so good I’ve gladly decided to give them buy a few and give them as gifts to people.  My hunch is the people I’ve purchased for may not be reading this blog.  So I hope I haven’t spoiled anything haha.

But I did bring it to my traditional gathering of dear friends.  We exchanged gifts, ate food a little too fast (or maybe that was just me), and sipped on this wine ever-so-slowly.

What’s funny is I think I only had one glass.  That is more due to the fact I was appreciating what I was drinking.  There’s nothing especially life-changing or monumental about this wine on the surface.  But if you’re enjoying this glass with the people you care about this much, then it will take on a life of its own.  And that’s how every wine and every experience should be, and is capable of being. The charm of that label helps too.

With this wine, you can also be creative, and make your favorite festive cocktails.

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Short and sweet, to the point, and happy holidays.

For more on our happy gathering, here’s the tea that we had.

For my festive friends in the Baltimore area, this bottle is available at Wine World in Abingdon for the low price of only $11.00.

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And to everyone else in the states and locally, here’s the link to search for it at a retailer near you.

You can also order this and all of their festive wines online, and their contact info is all over the page.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the joy that it’ll bring you.

Happy Happy and Merry Merry,

Ideen