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

Dinner Party Pals

Sometimes you just need a great dinner with friends to get the week going.  And when that means a good steak, of course you need to pair with it something stellar.

Considering the dinner party host, I knew the food was going to be good.  So my hope was to find a bottle that would complement a hearty meat and vegetable dish.

My search led me back to Wine World and its massive collection of everything.   The staff here is tremendous.  They know right away when anyone as a question, and is always quick to give a great suggestion or two, or more!

The question about a selecting a wine with a hearty meat, has been going on forever.  And while I have a few grapes in mind, I love hearing other people’s opinions.    They pointed out some new ones to me the ranged from $16 to upwards of $40.   Now like most folks, the preference is to go the lower end of the spectrum.

I got assistance from one more team member, and they suggested a brand I forgot about, Casillero del Diablo, distributed to the United States from Excelsior Wines.  I surmise that many of us have had a bottle of two of theirs without realizing it. It’s a standard label that is sold in even the most simplest of wine shops.  And this is no way discounting them.  Of the few I’ve had, it’s a great value for under $10.  And more times than not, it’s all we need for a simple dinner or to drink on its own.

But what was suggested was a new one to me.  Right next to the collection of del Diablos, I was introduced to the Devil’s Collection Red, which is a trio of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Syrah.   It’s like they read my mind.

Before I even walked in these three grapes, along with Petit Sirah are what were on my mind.  So to get a bottle, and a new one for that matter, that contains a few of what I was seeking, only triples the fun and enhances my wine buying experience, along with hopefully making this meal fun.

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So how did everything turn out?  Well the meal was amazing and the wine was really good.  My friend had a beautiful decanter to add to the atmosphere of our friendly feast.  And the color on this wine really shines here.

The synopsis mentions flavors of plum and black cherry.  Through the power of suggestion, the latter did seem noticeable. A small hint of chocolate?  I was hoping to taste it and as my palate expands will hope to catch it next time.

This is a very good bottle at the price of $12.99.  And with a mix of medium-to-full bodied wines mixed together, it tasted refreshingly lighter than what I was expecting.  I’ll definitely give it a go again.

if you’re interested in reading more about these wines, you can go here, here, and here!  Yes I know that’s a lot! 🙂

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I will leave with a couple of fun pictures from our meal.  I want to give a huge thank you to the host.  The steak, with acorn squash, and peppers was a hit.   The vegetables, especially, tasted organic, natural, and most importantly healthy.  Well maybe I just used three all-too-similar synonyms to over-emphasize how great this was!

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Beaulieu – A Great Taste of Napa

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I’ve never been to Napa, but I have indulged in a few of their selections.   And it’s usually been a good experience.

I don’t believe in accidents or coincidence, so coming back from a recent ski trip a couple of Saturdays ago (1/24/15), I find myself at one of my favorite wine stores, College Square Liquors, in Westminster, MD.

I’ve been fortunate to attend a few of their Saturday tastings and the diversity of their choices is fantastic.    Napa Valley, and California in general, have usually been the most represented, among other wines from around the world.   But on this day, I discovered a beautiful bottle…

The 2010 BeauRouge from Beaulieu Vineyard is a delicious mix of eight grapes.  Cabernet Sauvignon is most prominent, maybe because it’s the fullest of the reds included.  The other seven are : Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Tempranillo, Petit Sirah, and two new ones for me – Touriga and Charbono.  The latter two I will need to do more research on.

This is a full bodied wine that hits you hard and pulls no punches.  The tannins are omnipresent and feel so good on my tongue, and on the inside of my mouth.   I know I’m drinking something special.  There is the peppery flavor that is so agreeable to my palate.  The description states there’s blackberry, chocolate, and cassis, which I could detect, if I try hard enough. Or maybe not at all

In the indoctrination process of Napa Wines, or more complicated blends, maybe this isn’t one of the early ones I should be drinking.  But as the old cliche goes, you gotta start somewhere.  So I welcome the simple ones and the even more intense blends to come.

When it comes to California wines, it’s a lifelong learning process that I look forward to.    I may never learn everything, but I am looking forward to gaining all the knowledge I can.  This is going to be a fun ride.

One of the most important things to note is, I got this bottle for only $16.99.  This is a good deal. The vineyard’s own website lists it at $32.00.   Most retailers, I have looked at online, have it around the $20.00 mark give or take.

I cannot tell you how many great wines I have bought at below cost, that are worth what they are regularly priced.  My preference is to buy all my bottles at under $20.00 if I can, with exceptions to the rule.   This would be one of those exceptions.  I look forward to trying more from Beaulieu.    And one day, it will hopefully be a memorable stop when I tour Napa.

Maybe someday…

Best,

Ideen