…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

 

Yeah So Far, It’s Alright…

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My favorite experiences involving wine or just about anything are the ones that were never planned.    There are a plethora of those experiences we only document in our minds, unless we keep a diary, journal, blog, or something similar.

But for the most part the great majority of those memories are the ones you share later and hopefully when they come up they’re done in an organic fashion as close to the experience itself.

National Wine Day was on May 25th.  I’m all for any excuse to drink wine but do you really need one?  I’m not sure how official, organic, or inviting (yes it’s very inviting) this holiday is but I will honor it just the same.

A random meeting with some close friends back way back in April, led to me trying a wine I ordinarily wouldn’t try.  Well that’s not necessarily true.   I’ll try anything.  But I’m also guilty of falling into comfort zones.  But on this day I went in a different direction.

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The location was Mezze Restaurant in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD and the wine per our awesome server’s suggestion was the 2016 Tetramythos Malagousia from Tetramythos Wines of Greece.

I don’t pretend to know a thing about grapes or wines from Greece.  This link should be able to help you on all counts.

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What I found was I drank this a little too quickly.  And I mean much quicker than I intended or truly realized.  I think outdoor seating is a dynamic that correlates into food, beverage, and the entire experience being that much better.

With good people means good conversation, and everything just coming together perfectly.  Something about this wine just vibed well with the day.  It was sweet but not too sweet.  It had hints of tropical fruits but it didn’t overpower the grape and the wine itself.

Along with that it had some intangibles that might be too good for words.  Ok let me not too be too overly dramatic or philosophical.  It’s a great white wine from a winery I’ve never heard of, doing a grape that I’ve been introduced to for this first time, all the justice in the world.

To be fair I have no frame of reference for how other comparable wine well, compare.

But I even made the statement to my friends that this is one of the quickest sips of a wine I’ve ever had the pleasure in partaking in.  When I caught myself in the act I decided to take it down a notch.

After the initial sample, I was set on only getting a glass, but we went with a bottle.  And the bottle never stood a chance.  That’s a compliment by the way.  It was done in no time.

I’ve never seen this wine sold in stores.  I’ve never seen in sold in a restaurant, until this day.  Now I’m going to keep my eye on this brand, this wine, and other Greek wines when I visit Mediterranean restaurants such as Mezze.

However, if you’re looking for this or similar wines, Dionysos Imports out of the Nothern Virginia area might be able to steer you in the right direction.  I make no promises, I just post what I see on the back of the label.

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Speaking of which, I was enamored with the label.  It has a certain understated yet charming look about it that just draws you in.  The wine itself accomplished the same thing.  It’s a great change of pace from the whites you and I might usually have, when the weather is nice and the sun is shining.

Oh the sun was shining on this day.   Because this gathering of gurus was so exhilarating it may have earned a second post for next week.  We may also explore to the food of Mezze as well.

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For now I will appreciate all the joys of this wine and look forward to next week, and hopefully the next time I’m at Mezze maybe trying another rousing and stirring varietal.

Have a blessed one,

Ideen

 

 

A Worldly Pinot

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World Market does it again. I’m such a fan.  The positive energy and good vibrations I get each time I’m at one of their stores keeps me coming back.   And you know that includes their extravagant wine selection.

For the past few months I’ve been meaning to write about one of their wines. In particular, I present the 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  The wine was grown in Sonoma County and made exclusively for World Market.  How awesome is that?  As an added bonus, the wine was created from organically grown Pinot Noir grapes.  This is a winner all around.

But why do I like it so much?

First of all, when you’re a store that has a section on inspiration, you’re going to get many brownie points from me.

Secondly, it’s a user-friendly wine that anyone can enjoy. My first reaction after sipping a glass was that this would be ideal for anyone who was looking to get into wine, yet was hesitant to try.

This was as light as a Pinot Noir that you’re ever going to taste.  It goes down smooth.  And when I mean smooth, I mean effortlessly.  We have a perfect introductory wine.

I tasted some raspberry and perhaps some other fruits.  There’s spices in there somewhere.  But what I got most from this is that if this is what organic wine tastes like, I want more of it. This was a joy.

Around $12 is what I’ve seen this bottle listed for online.  That’s around what I paid for it. Because of the simplicity of it, that’s about what the price should be. That’s not an insult but more of a statement of the wine.  It’s mean to be affordable and approachable.  Those are my kind of wines.

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I had to go back in my library to track down photos of this eye-catching bottle. How gorgeous is that label?

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This wine can go with anything and can go with any season.  That’s one of the many reasons why I’m championing this one.  I wish I had more of this exclusive collection.  And there’s more. All the means is a road trip to one of the coolest stores around.

To find the nearest World Market near you, go to this link.

Not only is their wine selection brilliant, but so is everything else.  I don’t think I need to sell this any more.

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I had a pre-holiday meal with this bottle.   By the pictures I couldn’t tell exactly what I ate but it was something Thanksgiving-like I presume.   But the wine was the stand-out.

To read more World Market gems, go here and here.

More to come…

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Of The Earth

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As we celebrate Earth Day, I wanted to review a couple of wines that I ordinarily wouldn’t try.  These will be of the organic and all natural variety.  Drinking, eating, and living organically and/or healthy is something we should strive for all the time. But for the sake of the today, I am proud to expound upon these two selections.  And I wish I had tried them sooner.

I am not vegetarian, vegan, or have a gluten allergy.  But I can appreciate products that support peoples lifestyle decisions. And I enjoy trying anything that tastes good and promotes wellness and feeling great.

I would like to give a massive thank you to Friendship WIne & Liquor for all their help and suggestions.

First and holy moly, certainly not least, is Our Daily Red from Novato, CA.   And I mean this with all sincerity.  This is one of the best wines I’ve had in some time.  It tastes so good.  It’s a wine you can have at anytime and with anything.   If I did a blind taste test, I wouldn’t know this was free from Sulfites, Vegan Friendly, USDA Organic, or anything else.  But if all this led to this wine tasting out of this world, then I’m all for it.  And at $11.99 this was a steal.

For the past year or so, I would see that charming label and think nothing of it.  I’m a bit annoyed it took this long to pour a glass but better late than never.

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If I hadn’t researched what it contained, I wouldn’t have known it contained Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.  It tasted so light I’d have thought it was a Pinot Noir or even Beaujolais.  But my palate has changed over time.  With a bottle like this, there is no need for pretension.  The back label keeps the information to what is important. This is a wine to be enjoyed and not over analyzed.  It takes me to a higher place.

Now a new grape has been introduced to me.  I had never heard of Carignan until now.   If this gem from France had a hand in this bottle tasting so good, then I’ll be on the look out for it in future purchases.    It’s mentioned that blackberry and black cherry flavors are prevalent and after sipping, some of that can easily be detected.  I did sense a little toastiness but had no idea there’s some vanilla in there. What a fantastic combination of flavors.

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This can be had alone or with any food your heart desires.  I went in a different direction and paired it with a nice Korean Pork Shoulder BBQ and organic brown rice.   Pure class all around.

I can’t get enough of how approachable their website is.   I am grateful to have attracted this wine into my life.  Since it’s Earth Day, I need to return the favor to the universe.

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Not to be outdone is Lora Wines from Spain.   I wanted to try another one since this day is so special and worthy of at least another organic gem.   Their story of organic producing is just as inspiring.   I know this is a movement that has been going on for years.   And I fully support it.

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The Tempranillo & Syrah was the bottle of choice.  At first it tasted really strange.  I don’t know how to describe it.  It wasn’t bad. It just felt unique.  This is to be expected when trying something new.  But after letting it breath for 15-20 minutes, it settled into something great.  And best of all, my favorite, the oak came through in a big way.   I could detect some pepper, which is one of my favorite elements in wine.

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As for everything else, it’s all interpretation and what your palate may tell you. This wine was a grower.  No pun intended. Once again, this wine can be had on its own or with a variety of dishes.  This was enjoyed with a nice grilled Cheese steak sub and a side of sweet potato and regular potato chips.  Yum!  And again, at $11.99, I was happy to pay that price.

It’s been a pleasure learning more about Earth Day and how some wineries are really going above and beyond to provide a healthier and affordable alternative to many of the wines we drink on a daily basis.  This is not to be taken for granted.  I look forward to drinking more organic Gems.  And hopefully this will lead to a change in other lifestyle choices.  These winemakers are to be commended for their gifts to us.  It make me want to improve many of my eating and drinking habits. And of course, for today and everyday, do something to better our planet.  So for that I say, thank you.

Stay healthy everyone.

Peace and Love,

Ideen