I’m Ready For Summer

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I mean that.  Technically on the calendar we’re still here.  We’re all right here…

Fall is wonderful.  It means festivals, a smell and crispness in the air, and still plenty of reasons to be outside and enjoy life.  Yeah that life thing.  It’s alright.

While it’s still hot and there’s still plenty of daylight, the lighter wines, the whites, and of course the rosé.   I’ve got time to talk about more rosé.  See, as much as the seasons all have a place, I love summer.  I’m ready for summer.

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The Lavignone Rosato was amongst the many choices I was looking at.  Actually no, let me know sound so serious.   It’s the one that stood out, because of the label, and because I knew nothing about it.  I don’t know about a lot of these wines.  And I don’t have to either.

Like any other situation, the mood I’m in, the setting, the feeling, and all those other little things that either do or don’t exist play a role in how a wine is going to taste, and how it’s going to make you feel.

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I’m still processing this one.  I’m still processing a lot of things.

At the same time, it’s not that serious.  At $15 this is bit of a splurge, but nothing out of sorts.  If it wasn’t for the flowers, I don’t know what I would think.  Yes I said flowers!

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The whole process of helping plant flowers is similar in how wine become well, a pretty bottle and label such as this.

Now there’s nothing life altering about this wine.  I’ve never looked at rosé in that way.  However, like flowers, the smells of summer is the main draw.  The synopsis mentions strawberry, watermelon, cranberry, and fresh cut grass.  Those would be the aromas, not necessarily the tastes.   I think I tasted grass once when I was a kid and I don’t remember it being good.

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This wine is ok.  I wouldn’t say it’s amazing.  I go back-and-forth on it.  As I’m writing this out, my heart is telling me something it wasn’t when I actually had a glass.  You may love it and that’s awesome.  My mind and heart are in contrasting places, and that’s a good thing, as much as that sounds confusing.

If I spent $10 on this label, I might have a different opinion.   As much as the display of flowers and colors is lively, full of life, and ready for the fall season, there are plenty of other grapes of all kinds that are going to be a bit more inspirational.

I mentioned how I was processing my thoughts on this wine, and my feelings may be unraveling as I share this with you. But I really don’t know what to say. Maybe it’s the change of the seasons and the place I’m in at the moment, but something isn’t completely adding up.   Maybe I’m ready for the medium bodied reds, or more of the whites I’ve grown to like and love.

Maybe I’m just not in love with this wine and that’s ok too.  There’s so many to choose from.  And as much as I or we want to see the good in everything, it’s good to see faults too.  Because those faults are sometimes those most endearing qualities.

No need to over analyze everything.  Some things just don’t need a further explanation.

It’s going to be a great rest of the year, and a great time to try wines (which is anytime) is just around the corner.   I’m all for a roadblock or two here to put things back in perspective.

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The best is yet to come and the best is in the present…

Love,

Ideen

 

Rosé In The…

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You can fill in the blank here.  There’s all kinds of shirts, slogans, gimmicks, and what have you to sell you on something that doesn’t need much selling.   People like their Rosé, and while it’s becoming more of a thing to do and sip, it’s funny how people are jumping on this bandwagon.   Maybe I’ve missed the boat and this has been going on for longer than I remember?

For many of us, we just want to enjoy our wine, and not worry about all the analysis that sometimes comes with it.  Many of my friends who like to drink Rosé just want the wine to taste good, and have it a part of their outdoor celebrations, whether at a bar, restaurant, a party, or in solitude.

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I wish I could recommend the Les Pierres AOC Languedoc Rosé from Domaine de Nizas (Grapes : 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache noir, 20% Mourvèdre), but it just didn’t win me or my friends over.

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Here’s more about them, their contact info, and where to find their wines near YOU.

Old Bridge Cellars is the North American distributor, and can hopefully be of assistance.

However, as I referred to, it depends on t he setting.  We were at a restaurant but something just felt off from the get go.  And a lot of these vibes and energies are based on how we’re feeling and what we attract.   It’s quite possible that in different circumstances this bottle may taste a lot better.

But I have to go with my first impression.  It was rough to drink and that’s not what you want from a Rosé.  It shouldn’t be difficult, this should be fun.

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I’m not going to throw the restaurant we were at under the bus.  This isn’t the point of that.  I will say our service was lackluster, and our cheese plate was missing something.  As you will see from one picture to another, we had to ask, and wait, and ask again for a little extra, which should’ve been part of our array anyways.

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I can’t blame a wine for missing the mark on all the other factors, but sometimes when it rains…

The sun was shining and shining as bright as you’re every going to see, so I’ll really just chalk this up to an experience.   I’ve had so many a glass and bottle of Rosé (In The USA, ha…) where it went down like water, like juice, and like it was the easiest thing to drink in the world.

None of this happened here.  I shared this with fellow wine lovers who all agreed something was wrong.   Drinking this felt like work and felt like a chore.   Good wine and good times can’t be forced.

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With all that being said, I would give this wine another go and would gladly try another one of their wines if given the opportunity.

For a price range of $12-$15, it’s not going to break the bank nor break your heart.  It didn’t break ours, but it left us with more questions and head scratching than anything else.   I’m all for giving wines another go, as first impressions can change as does our palates.   And just because I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean you won’t.

We’ve got plenty of summer, plenty of the year, and plenty more of life and wine to celebrate and talk about.  But for now…

Peace Be With You…

Love,

Ideen

Stop The Clocks

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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

 

Oh What A Thing To Do

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As promised, this is the continuation from last week.   It’s part two of my vacation.  Which was more of a home away from home.

And I love home.  It’s safe, peaceful, and a shelter from the sometimes chaotic and frenetic pace of the rest of the world.

And I love company.  I love the company of kind people, good people, the best people possible…  Then again you’re your own best company.   If you can’t enjoy your own then what is the point.  I remind myself of this fact constantly.   Yet when there’s a few awesome dogs running around, that point can be argued.   I love them so much.

You may spot on a dog in the background of one of the photos.  I love them so much.  Yes, I know I just said that.

So this is two wines in a row where something just didn’t click or compute.  And I wanted this to be wonderful.  But the 2014 Y Series, Shiraz Viognier, from Yalumba just didn’t bring any inspiration or feeling that I hope it would.

At around $10-$13 it’s not going to hurt you in that regard, but it’s not worth that much in my opinion.

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But that horse, that lovely horse, that symbolizes all the good that’s in the world, should’ve lead to so much more.   As someone who likes wine, actually I love it, I know the label is not the be all and end all of anything.  Never judge a book, a bottle, or anything by its cover, its label, and anything superficial.

There’s always layers under all that beauty.  Sometimes there’s more beauty.  Sometimes there leaves a to be desired, and someone you have to work a little harder.  I’m not sure what my point here was, but I couldn’t tell you anything redeeming about this wine.  That sound harsh but it’s true.

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There’s no flavors that really stood out.  It tasted bland, then it tasted off.   This one synopsis may shed some light on why this wine tasted peculiar.

Not every wine has to taste award winning or move you in a way that you’ll remember for years, or a lifetime.  But it helps when it tastes good, and you share an appreciation with friends.   Even though I had this alone, I don’t think sharing this with people may have changed my tune.   I let this breathe for a while and still nothing.   I wanted something.   That’s not asking for much.

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My plate of vegetables didn’t pair well with this, but I’m not sure what would have.  On their own my food was joyous.

Even though the wine didn’t work out for me, this was a great day nonetheless.  I had the company of some wonderful dogs, a beautiful day, a gorgeous setting, and I got to enjoy my own company (like I stated before), which I don’t get to do enough.  Being busy makes you forget about those little things sometimes.  But those small things are so important.  They’re SO important.

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The signs of Spring were all around me.  I saw and heard birds chirping, more green starting to show themselves, and the signs of the days getting longer makes me feel so good.   That means more time to enjoy life, your friends, family, your animal friends, and yourself.

I enjoyed myself today.   And like I always say, after a few pictures, I turned my phone off and just decided to be.  And I got to be for a while.  I felt more like myself then I had in a while.   And no bottle of wine, no piece of food, and no anything can substitute for that kind of harmony.  All those details will help, but putting ourselves on a pedestal leads all the good things to come.

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There’s more good to come.   I will treasure this time, and the time spent with my four legged friends, who have been friends for a long time.  And I hope for many years to come.  That’s the good stuff…

For more on Yalumba, here is their wine list, a link to purchase their wines online, and their contact information.

When the opportunity presents itself, I would love to try another one of their wines.  But for now…

Happy Spring and Peace Be With You.

Ideen

It’s Such A Clear Day…

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I had something all planned (I don’t like plans, or the word ‘plans’ honestly) all laid out for this week, but something didn’t feel right.   I’m all for keeping it simple and fortunately I have so many wines and stories I can talk about, that I’m going to save some of these other adventures for later in the Spring.

Oh yes Spring is coming!  Hooray!

The pictures here tell of skies that look grey, murky, gloomy, and throw in some other big words that’ll make you and I look good.  But skies and weather like this make for the clearest and brightest pictures.

So this may end up being a two part story, or I may scatter the second post.  I’ll see how I feel.

Being on vacation, yet being close to home, has its privileges.  Actually I’m just grateful to be able to type that last sentence out to you.  And I’m grateful I have dear friends who have trust in me to watch over their house and watch over their pups.  I love dogs in case you haven’t heard me say it before, or noticed.

This means different settings for food and wine pictures, and a different energy then being in my own home, a bar, or a restaurant.  It leads to more strategy or less thinking, a relaxed atmosphere where I can take my time, and all the time to sit and think (or maybe not think so much) and just be one with me, my animal friends, and the universe.

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I treated myself.  I got a simple cheese and meat spread, and some crackers to share with the 2016 (I think, more on that in a second) Blass Reserve Release Cabernet Sauvignon from Wolf Blass Wines.

This is one of the more unique Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot, but then again I haven’t.

The synopsis on their site is different than what’s on the back of the label shown here (the notes).  And upon further investigating the labels are slightly different.  But I’ll go with what I got and what I can.

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The darker fruits may be there, depending on which wine I actually drank.  But it’s safe to assume that plums and berries are involved.  Smoky cedar or oak? Maybe both.  Maybe nothing at all.  Maybe it’s all a figment of mine and your imagination.

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What does stand out is the blackcurrant.   If you drink a lot of black tea, then you know that flavor, that aroma, and that undeniable and distinguished taste.

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Despite all of this, the wine didn’t do it for me.  And with all the appeal of the label, the components of the wine itself, and an aura about it that I may have created in my own mind, it just never got going.

I gave it time to breathe or air out if you will, and nothing.   Like I said, I sat and relaxed for a while.  After taking some pictures, the phone and camera were silenced, and I just decided to be.

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Usually that means the wine or anything is going to be that much better.  But not everyone is going to be a winner.  Maybe in a different light, I may think differently.  Maybe blackcurrant is an acquired taste that needs time.   And perhaps, this is not the wine for me.

That doesn’t necessarily mean this wine wouldn’t be for you.  And at the price range of $10-$13, it’s not going to hurt you to try.

And this won’t prevent me for giving another of one of their wines, or a wine with this fantastic taste and flavor again.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this day, and sat in a charming backyard with nothing but myself, nature, my animal friends, and all the worries and cares seemed to dissipate instantaneously.   That’s the stuff that makes me feel good and make me happy.

Part two next week.  Maybe…

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Salud

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This is a celebration of close friends, a celebration of this life, and all the good that exists within that.

I want to congratulate some good friends who recently got engaged.

And when pals get engaged, you want to celebrate immediately, savor every moment, and enjoy it with some good libations.  And some good vibrations.  We had plenty of those, and then we had plenty of those.

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I’m so grateful I was included in the engagement celebration.  It was impromptu and organic as all the best experiences are.  For that, I’m so appreciative to be a part of something so beautiful.

This calls for a bit more elegant and pricier bottle of wine don’t you think?  It calls for the more sparking kind as well.  And the weather is now cooperative enough that going with a sparkling, white, or lighter red is going to work.   That does pain me to say but it’s mid September and at least much more wines are agreeable to the climate.

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I went with the necessary and always effective sparkling white.  If anything, it’s going to look good when you pour, in a glass, and of course in pictures.    And sometimes the label will draw you in too.

The Herbauges Luminescence Brut (for more on the wine and distributor click here) is exactly the kind of sparkling wine that fit this party perfectly.

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But what’s most important is the setting itself.  This is a fun group of people, and that is going to make any wine, any piece of food, and any moment you’re in that much better.

I spent $22 on this bottle.  And it never had a chance.  Actually nothing anybody brought had a chance.  I was lucky to get a glass and a half myself.  And I drank from a charming wine glass that fits where my friends with and fit entertaining mood in general.

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Was it worth spending $20+ on?  That can be debated.  For me, it tasted (for the small sample that I had) in between $10-$20, and that’s not based on any expert analysis.  It’s more of a feeling and instinct than anything else.

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The tasting notes can be found here. And the most endearing thing I read is “great looking bubbles’.  Those are the kinds of details and notes I can appreciate.  And anyone not into all the nuances of wine (and I’m one of them) can appreciate the inviting information.  Yes you might get hints of flowers, fruits, and as the synopsis reads ‘pastry’, the bubbles is what stands out.  And I was a fan of that before reading anything.

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Now about those pastries.  I love me some pastry, but to find hits of this takes a certain talent, or it’s once again a scent that hits a nerve or either resonates with you, or it’s one of those scents that had been a part of your day or significant memory that is lingering throughout the day.  I think I may have just made two of the same descriptions using different variations of words.  Whoops!

What is resonating is how fun this day was.  There was a great group of folks hanging out at a lovely house, with a beautiful set up of beverages and snacks, and since the weather was so glorious the party went outside for some outdoor activities.   We still have plenty of time in the season and in this life for organic, genuine, and positive experiences.

This is definitely one of the more positive ones someone can be a part of.

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As for the wine, I’ll always associate with this party.  Just like you have a certain food, drink, or memento that you associate with a certain place and time, the wine, among a few other things will always correlate with the fun day that everyone had.

Congratulations friends.

Salud,

Ideen

 

 

 

Bless The Blue Marlin

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I’m going to admit a little something here.   I made a booboo.  I’m not sure if I just spelled the word ‘booboo’ correctly.   But I digress.  I  completely forgot the actual wine I was supposed to write about in this weeks post.  But as I’m realizing this, at least for this week, it doesn’t matter.

I also needed help with the photography for this post.  However it was done, but it doesn’t matter.  In the end it was done and I’m grateful for my friends and I’m grateful fo my experience at the Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach, FL.

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This almost didn’t happen, because of my trip going at a frenetic place, but I’m so thankful it did.

My visit to the Gulf Coast of Florida only lasted five days but I got so much in that it felt like a lifetime.  The memories will surely last that long.  But it wasn’t the Blue Marlin itself that made this magical.

Good friends of mine have moved from the Baltimore area to many parts of Florida.  This was a first of several visits for me.  And while I’m sad my friends have left.  They’ve all moved on to something bigger, better, and the next adventure.  I’m more happy for them that they’ve found happiness.  It’s something we all deserve in this life, as much as possible.

The Blue Marlin was pure happiness.  But it was the outside bar that told the real story. For a few moments it felt like we were the only people in (or out) the bar.  And we were. But bigger than all of this, it also felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I honestly felt that for a few moments.  I may not have shared that with anyone at the time, but I just had this feeling of tranquility, peace, and harmony that should’t just happen on vacation, but as much as humanly possible.

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The charming bar outside is all we needed.  They had a perfectly simple list of cocktails, wines, and beer available at our disposal and within footsteps.  It’s a one-stop shop for everything.  And the live music set-up is about as picturesque as you’ll find.  The band was fantastic. Maybe it’s the serendipitous and unpredictability of how this day was going, but I felt so happy.  The environment is one where I’d like to think we’ve all been in from time to time, but maybe not enough.  At least for me, at least for this afternoon, I felt at home.

But just when you think I’ve seen it all, they had a just as equally stunning street food set-up, with just a few essential items.   However, for the sake of time I will focus on the sliders.   We tend to throw around greatest this and greatest that.   We might call certain meals, certain restaurants, and certain experiences life changing.  If we get to have so many of these then I’m all for it.  I like to be careful in what I apply ‘life changing’ to because if I say it so much, it loses it’s shine.  I think you know what I’m saying.

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This slider was life changing.  I’m just going to say it.  And my opinion is all my own, but I know I’m not alone.   Perhaps the perfection of this day made it taste that much better. Perhaps.   I think this was just art.   In terms of foodie culture and all that commotion, this is up there with the best burger I’ve ever eaten.   And I’m no expert on this.  But you or I don’t have to be.  This is world class cuisine.  I’m remembering now even more vividly how incredible this tasted.  You’ve got to be kidding me.   This was so great.

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Everything about this day was great.

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Once again I apologize for not discussing the wines.  We had Pinot Noit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio.   Well I may not have had the Cab Sav, as it may have been too heavy for the season.  But nevertheless, everything was superb.  I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.

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For more on Blue Marlin, click here. Here is their menu, events list, and contact information.

I want to make one last thing clear.  All along had planned on writing this around mid September (I was here back in mid-June), and the timing could not be more appropriate.

I’m happy this beautiful area, nearby Anna Maria Island, and many other nearby places are overall still intact and will be opening for business soon.

More importantly, I’m grateful dear friends all across the coast are safe, secure, and will be able to get back to normal.   A great set of cities, towns, and resorts have been spared.

And I can’t wait to be back again…

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Take good care,

Ideen