…What Is Essential Is…

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There are times when I do this, that I wonder why I keep doing this.  I wonder if at some point I’ll become burnt out, or run out of fun wines to talk about.  The former is possible, the latter well..  There will never be enough time to try all the wine.  Hey!

After consecutive weeks of posts where all I did was review Whites and Rosé’s, it’s time to get back to what made me love wine in the first place, a simple, full bodied, and affordable red wine.

If it weren’t for dear friends of mine inviting me to dinner just hours ago, this may have been another white wine or Rosé post.  The dinner that we had could only be justified with something full, something powerful, yet something approachable.

My friend suggested an Australian Shiraz, and I agreed, with pleasure.  It didn’t take long to find something I liked. As a matter of fact, one jumped at me simply because of the label.

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The artwork and the beauty displayed from the 2014 Big Squeeze Shiraz by Evans & Tate will draw anyone in.  This depiction of animals, nature, and all the elements that are bright in the world sold immediately.

Its at this moment, that after $14 later, I so badly want this wine to taste amazing.   I already have a memory attached to it (its that dragonfly and butterfly, among all the other goodness), and I’ve yet to uncork (or in this case unscrew) this anticipatory bottle.

I’m so happy and grateful to report this wine was stellar upon opening, and got better with time.  And then it just kept getting better with time.  And this is all before dinner was served.

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So what is it about this wine, aside from the art?    It comprises everything I grew to love about reds.  First, I adore Shiraz.  Second, it’s the simple inclusion of plum, cherry, pepper, among the other easiest elements of the universe.    There’s lots of toasted oak too to almost make you think its a different season.  Almost.

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In short, this wine is approachable, medium bodied (in my tasters opinion) for a Shiraz that it almost tastes light, and is perfect for the Summer.   Yes you can have a red wine in the Summer and not feel bloated or regretful the next day.  It’s tremendous, it’s beautiful, and it’s what a red wine is supposed to taste like.

And my goodness this is pair perfectly dinner.  My friend was spot on with this call.  For a wine that with a beautiful label that represents goodness and the best parts of our planet, it only made sense that this meal (mostly comprised of local and organic elements would go with our wine.   Yes, our wine.   The expectations were so high that two bottles were actually purchased.

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Not only did the wine wow us all, but so did the food.  The meal which comprised of lamb sausage, pasta with homemade pesto and local basil, and local squash was a hearty yet the right kind of filling meal.  A fuller bodied Shiraz or any red may have undermined what were dining on.  It’s one of those things I realized while we were eating, and now as I write about this experience.

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And how could I forget the Caprese Salad?  Joyous emotions all around.   The tannin level on this wine leans towards the lower side, which in hindsight I appreciate even more.  As much as I love high levels of tannin, it wouldn’t work with this meal, at least in this instance.

I just found this to be so perfect.  It was so perfect, that the picture taking was limited. This was wine and meal I wanted to enjoy with my friends, and retain as many memories for myself and with my pals.

From when this wine was opened up until the conclusion of dinner was about an hour.  I can’t tell you how great the food was, and I can’t elaborate properly how this wine got so much better with each minute of breathing.   Some wines air out and then they settle into their intended taste for a while.  This one just kept getting better with each sip. But this wine is something special.

But everything factors into an awe-inspiring wine experience; the company, the weather, the food, your mood, and every other element the universe decides to present to us.

The conversation was great, it was necessary, and it was therapeutic.

Life is good but as much as I love wine on my own, great company is always a welcome thing.  And I’m grateful these folks are not only great company, but great friends.

And what wine is really that good if you can’t share it with good people.

Until today I’ve never seen this wine in my life.    To see if this wine is available near you, click here.  If not, you can also purchase this bottle online.    This wine is listed anywhere from $10-$14 and I feel it tastes closer to a $20+ bottle. That’s meant as a compliment.

There’s still plenty of time to write about all the other wines that identify with the Summer.  I sense this will resume next week.

So I’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

Goodness, Gracious, Great Bears Of…

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…or something like that.

I’m a sucker, I’m a nerd, and then I’m a sucker again.  Whenever I see an animal on a wine label, I’m automatically drawn to it.  And if the price is reasonable enough, say in the under $20 range (and hopefully under $10-$15), I’m likely going to purchase it.

This one I bought for $13, but you can easily find it (along with their other wines) for $10 or less.  And that is how much you should pay for it.

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Yes, regardless of the grape, the varietal, and without any research whatsoever, I’m going to buy it.  Because if someone had the wherewithal and the foresight to post a positive depiction of our animal friends, you have to believe there’s a heart and a soul behind the operation. Whether or not the wine is good is another story.

That’s a segue if there ever was one.

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The 2015 Chardonnay from Toasted Head is the perfect example of why purchasing just based on the label.  And you know, I didn’t even notice my new friend breathing fire until after uncorking.  I thought it was bear standing peacefully in solitude.  How nerdy o of me.

Until last year, I had an aversion to white wines that were fermented in oak barrels.  To me it just didn’t taste right and undermined all the flavors and aromas that the wine would have to offer.

That changed recently.

I’ve been to many tastings this year where the oaky whites were a pleasant and welcoming surprise.  But maybe that was based on how I was feeling, how many wines I’ve already sampled, and the company that was with me.   I mean I was in good company upon uncorking this wine, but based on my reaction, I don’t think anyone else wanted to share in my dismay.

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The butterscotch or buttery aroma is what stands out the most.  And it didn’t work for me.  And upon reading the notes, I see the flavors of creamy toast peachy caramelized custard.  I’ll take that at face value and yet proceed with caution.  That awkward taste for me might have been that custard they referenced.  It also could be a lot of things.  But I think that oak wasn’t the main culprit.

I like Chardonnay.  It was never a wine I sought out, but lately it’s been a refreshing white wine as we’re celebrating these gorgeous and glorious sunny days of Summer.  I just wish this bottle would join the list of the many wines I’ve tried because of this blog of mine.   They’re not all going to be winners.  I was just taken aback by how rough it was and how difficult it was to finish.

I left the bottle for my friends hoping for some feedback.  So far (as of this writing) I’ve heard nothing.   Take that for what it’s worth.   Yet I think some people are going to love it.   That’s what makes this so fun.  We all aren’t going to like the same things, the same wines, the same grapes, and the same anything.  It would be boring if we did.

However, there’s always positives.  Even with a wine you don’t enjoy, there’s always silver linings and the glass being half full.

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I’m grateful just to have the opportunity to be invited to a friends house and be in a position to bring this bottle of wine to share.  I’m grateful for the fantastic pizza that paired with this wine, and I’m grateful to share my story with you.  There’s a lot to be grateful and thankful for, even if not everything was like I hoped.

There will always be another wine to try, another meal to pair it with, and hopefully some great company to share the experience with,

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I’m grateful to share this experience with you.

For more on Toasted Head, click here for their story, their wines (in which I would love to try another grape), and finally where to find their wines.

If the opportunity presents itself, I would love to try another.

I’ll be looking to write about a Chardonnay made in stainless steel, and expecting harmonious results. Maybe as soon as next week.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

Swizzling in NOLA

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I wish I had written about this entry sooner.

I made my first ever visit to New Orleans back in June of this year.  And I got to experience so much in such little time, that I almost freaked myself out.  There was so much to see, so much to eat, and yes so much wine to enjoy.  I wanted to space out these posts so I can try to appreciate these moments even more.

For my previous NOLA wine post, you can click here.

On my final night I met up with a friend and per their suggestion we met up at Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar, which is located inside the luxurious Loews Hotel.

I was grateful that I got to see a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years but our time was limited.  No food was ordered but wine was on the mind.   And I perused the menu and saw quite an extensive list.    Seriously, this list is nuts!  I kept scrolling and scrolling!  This is a wine lovers dream.  I would add to my knowledge base if I hung out here regularly.

No bottles on this day but I did settle on the 2012 LIOCO “Indica”, Old Vine Carignan/Petite Sirah.   Only by mistake (or maybe not) they poured me the 2013.  That’s not even a quibble, but only an observation.  And at the time I was so oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t really matter.  I only recall this when going through my notes.

Speaking of which, sometimes notes are helpful in referencing flavors and the like, but overall I don’t it can come close to telling the whole story.   This wine could have tasted pitiful and I wouldn’t have cared.  Honestly, I was in a wonderful city that I had always wanted to visit.  And perception is key.  I was in such a happy place that nothing was going to bring me down.   I was on vacation and I’m going to find the positives in everything.

The positives for this wine were easy.  This was not the aforementioned Carignan/Petite Sirah from 2012.  But we move ahead one year.  And I can’t pretend otherwise.  I’d never heard of Carignan until that day.  The bartender was helpful in explaining the details of that grape, that have since escaped my memory.  There was no Petite Sirah with this on for 2013. Now I wish I had those notes.

It’s perhaps never been in a wine I had before or had since, but in this instance (or many others) does it really matter?

I’ve never noticed this or any of their bottles sold in stores near me or when I visit, but if you’re interested in purchasing any, here is the link.

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The wine tasted light.  I seem to recall some cherries and it did have that jammy connotation.  There’s a term that has been thrown around many a time but does apply here.   It had some oak, tannins, and all the stuff that makes me love wine.   And how about that color?  We have a purplish and violet look here.  I find that delightful.

But most importantly I love wine because of how it makes me feel and the company I get to share it with.   And I got to enjoy it in one of my favorite cities in the world.

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The staff was great and the bartender was awesome enough to let me take a picture of the bottle in case I ever got to this point!  And yes!

I included a few photos from this fantastic night.  How short and sweet it was.

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I can’t wait to come back to this bar and this city.

Best,

Ideen