Good Friends Gathering

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You don’t need wine to have an awesome gathering.  But it certainly helps.  So does good food.  I mean when was the last time you were with friends, either inside or dining (see!) out, which didn’t involve one or the other, or both.  And you can substitute wine for your favorite adult beverage.   I mean it happens.  Even the most serious of meetings involve something of sustenance.

And so it goes on.  I was invited to a quite gathering of friends recently, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I mean I’m close with the hosts, friends with many of the attendees, and I like a peaceful gathering.   The difference is that this was a get together for a show that so many people adore, and up until this event, I had only seen once.   Earlier in the season, I was invited to the premiere of this party, but chose to sit that one out.   For the finale, I think I just wanted to be around friends.

And with friends means food, it means wine, it and it means good times.

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I didn’t do any intense research on what wind to bring.  I was told stew was being served, so a medium bodied red wine is what came to mind.  No it’s not quite time to completely switch over to reds, but I will be mixing up the whites, reds, and hopefully a few more Rosé  as well.

In hindsight I’m glad the awkward change of the season lead to an awkward choice of wine.

The 2015 Reserva Malbec Petit Verdot from Oveja Negra is one of those wines that I can’t really get excited for.  I’ve had previous vintages and thought the same ting.  I’ve seen their bottles everywhere, and fortunately have never seen it priced for more than $10, so it does have that going for them.

There’s been gems and beauties that you can find under $10, but I can’t vouch for this one.  Yes there’s a lovely sheep on the label, but sometimes that isn’t enough.  This is coming from an animal lover.   But it’s a different kind of sheep.  Hmmm.. But enough about the label.

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This wine is dark. The berries are dark, there’s smoke, there’s pepper, but there might be other things that don’t make this the most welcoming of wines/  It’s simply a wine that you drink, might have it with some food, have another sip, and then you go do something else.

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This makes the goblet all the more apropos.

It’s not terrible but it’s not great.  It’s an average wine that won’t offend anyone but I don’t think it will inspire anyone either.

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Being around great company will make any wine that much better.  Which tells me that the wine might be even been that much more lackluster when in a much less welcoming or setting of solitude.   It’s a medium to full bodied wine that is missing the components that make a wine stellar.  There’s no length of boldness to it.    I don’t ask for much but this isn’t offering much of anything.

Yet, every now and again I keep seeing this wine and I keep buying it, hoping it’ll inspire and move me in a powerful way.   It didn’t happen this time.  B

But there will always be a next time.

I love my friends, I love my family, and I love good times.  Those mean more to me than any quality of wine.    Well, the good food helps.

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That’s pork and some fantastic side items and foods.  Oh this is yummy. The stew was incredible too, in case I hadn’t already said that.

For more on Oveja Negra click here.  and here is their contact information.

Old Bridge Cellars is the importer, and they have an easy-to-use link to find this wine near you.

Thanks so much, and hopefully the pending change of the season, leads to some more exciting wines.   My gut tells me yes.

Ideen

 

Landmark Moves

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The sun showed up this past Friday at one of my favorite quarterly traditions, the Landmark Wine Club party.

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And the timing feels right and it feels necessary.  For inexplicable reasons I didn’t get around to reviewing the wines from their first soiree this year.  Maybe at the time it wasn’t meant to be.  Perhaps I was saving it for this go around.  More on that later.  And thankfully the weather worked in everyone’s favor.  It only enhances this and any event.

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The three bottles in this package are all first-timers.  When I initially saw the list I was intrigued.   I had no idea what to expect.  Unfamiliar territory is a good thing.   But how quickly we soon forget. Landmark members got the first taste of our first wine, back in November.

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The 2015 Viognier was my second favorite of the collection.  That’s saying a lot.  I really enjoyed it.  The summer fruits and floral aromas really came to light immediately.  I don’t want to open this immediately but I may be tempted too.  A friend in our group said he tasted grapefruit, so it should come as no surprise that the first thing I tasted was the same.  In essence, it’s a light-to-medium bottle that tastes and feels like summer.  And summer makes most folks happy.  So yes, this is a crowd pleaser.

A pleasant surprise was the ample amount of oysters available to pair with this wine. And I wish I had more.  Initially most folks were taking two-at-a-time but as the event was winding down, they were there for the taking.  I never used to love oysters but now I’ll try any.  And his worked masterfully. Oh how I adore the warm weather traditions.

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But what I’m impressed with the most is how this wine (or any wine) has evolved.  What we had six months prior, in its infancy stages, compared to now is so fascinating.  It’s a part of the harvesting and aging process that I’m familiarizing myself with more. I’m astounded and grateful to have been one of the guinea pigs.  The picture above is from November 2015.

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The 2015 Albarino was my least favorite of the three.  It’s never been a favorite grape of mine to begin with.   Where was the Viognier had a sour and bitter taste to it, the Albarino was a bit too sweet for me.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t have a glass but it’s not one I’ll be actively seeking.   My palates have expanded significantly.  Five years ago I’d be saying this was my favorite.

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Finally, the crown jewel, was the New Vintage Petit Verdot.  Only 97 cases were made and only available to members.  This is where I wish my plan was for more than one bottle a piece.   I’ve overused the term life-changing for things.  I’m over-the-top and campy with it.  It may be a trite but this felt like that.  When I think of a wine should taste this is up there.  I want smokiness, dark fruits, and blatant tannins.  I want it heavy and full-bodied at its finest.

There is a familiarity with the wine largely in part that the grapes have been a part of their Landmark Wines in the past.  I have included the newsletter that expands on that along with the other 2 varietals.

My peers and some of the staff saw my reaction to the tasting.  It was genuine and that’s what the wine tasting experience should be all about.   What works for one may for another, but where is the fun in that?  It’s good that our palates and our tastes are all over the place.  We all don’t love the same grapes, the same aromas, and the same notes, and that makes this journey phenomenal.

This was a laid-back atmosphere and the crowd seemed a tad smaller than usual.  Which makes me think most folks would be attending the Saturday party.  But nevertheless, the Petit Verdot is one for the ages.  The suggestion is optimal tasting will be in two years.  I will be waiting a while to open this one.  And the event will symbolize the genius of this wine.   I’ll know when to uncork.

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For more info on joining their wine club, click here.

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And here’s a link to my previous posts on this endearing winery.

A huge thanks to Justine, Gerry, and Diane for being cordial as always.

Until the next party…

Cheers,

Ideen

Step Right Up

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If you’re drawn to a label, chances are you will do a double-take, if not more. I experienced this first-hand over the weekend.

I was invited to hang out with some close friends that I hadn’t seen in some time.  Which is something I’m always grateful to be a part of .   And to show my gratitude I know I had to obtain a wine that fit the occasion.   Now for me and my pals, any solid wine will do.  But in this instance I wanted it to be a little more on the special and sentimental side.

There’s been times in the past (and even more recently) where I’d agonize and fret over finding the perfect bottle.  I’ve taken a task that should be completed in mere minutes and have sometimes extended that to nearly an hour.  I’m not kidding you. What’s supposed to be the most enjoyable part of all I’ve sometimes made an arduous expedition.

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However, this past weekend it took me under 10 seconds to find said bottle.  I literally walked into a wine shoppe and was floored by this beautiful bottle. Without even figuring out what it was, or even the price, I said I was getting it.  It found me.

Ah the price.  That’s where that double-takes comes in again.   Thankfully, the 2013 Petite Petit from Michael David Winery was worth the $17 and then some.

I’ll admit, I was drawn to the elephants.  The circus imagery on the front and back evokes feelings of Springtime, positivity and happiness.  The hope is that it would translate to an exquisite tasting wine.   That’s exactly what happened.

The Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot combination is masterful. This is a full-bodied gem that deserves all the superlatives it gets.   It also helps having  great company around.  It can even make certain mediocre bottles much better than they are.  Luckily, the wine is anything but mediocre.

A lot of darker fruits, vanilla, and maybe even some chocolate might be present.   The tannins linger and do they linger.

Needles to say, this bottle never had a chance.  Between our small group, I was fortunate to have at least one glass.  For a bottle that’s heavier than what we might be accustomed drinking, it sure got decimated in a fashion that would suit lighter fare.

Maybe it was just being in the moment and enjoying each others’ company.   Time moves swiftly when you love life, love your friends,and love your wine.   This went by incredibly quickly.

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A great wine mean great food needs to join and be its friend.   That pizza is legit.   With a heavier flavor means you need a little cheese and carbs.  This was magnificent on all levels.  I’m craving more as I write this.  We dined on other various snacks and treats, and they all paired fine with the bottle. The flavor and intensity of the wine paired well with everything.  It also pairs well with nothing.  It’s fruit forward enough that this can be had in solitude.   Heck, have it with food, with with friends, or alone, just because you can. That’s more technical for you.

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I’m a fan and  I didn’t realize I’ve had some of their other wines.  I want more.  And if you want more, this is where you can find them.

If the opportunity presents itself, and it will, I hope to review more of their assortments.

For more of the winery and their story, go here.

I called an audible this week. I was set to conclude my recent winery tour with a third and final post.  I will get to that within the next couple of weeks.  Or if I’m feeling ambitious I will do a random post on a random day.  I’ve yet to do that.

For more on that stellar pizza, go here.

Take care,

Ideen

 

Fresh Air

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If I’m correct, this is the first time I’ll be writing about a Carmenere since starting this blog.  What took me so long?  Well there’s so many amazing wines to talk about.  I will never get to them all.  And why would I want to?  That’s what makes this journey brilliant. There will never be enough time to try them all.  Fortunately there is time to try an assortment.

Carmenere was one of the original six grapes in France, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.    It faded into obscurity until the early 90’s and now found its proper home (as the national grape) in Chile.    If this story sound familiar, the same thing happened with Malbec.  And now that’s the most popular grape of Argentina.

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So this brings me to the 2011 Car Men Air distributed by Bronco Wine Company.    I purchased this for under $10 at my favorite Trade Joe’s in Alexandria, VA.

The play on words funny yet nothing about this wine is.  It’s a straight-forward and no-thrills bottle.  It’s got just the right amount of oak and spiciness that it doesn’t taste like a rock-bottom priced vino.  But not much more than that.   If I’m to assume correctly, black cherry, smoke, spices, and the aforementioned oak are all easily detectable.  Anything else is not as discernible.  But hey, that’s just my opinion.  It did have a darker tint than many wines we’re accustomed to.

I brought this bottle over to a friends house to relax, sip, and crack some jokes.  Not about the wine but in general.  The weather is warming up and spirits are doing the same.  It’s about time.   As long as this wine was somewhat acceptable, then it’s going to taste that much better with good company and a good energy.  If this or any wine were appalling then we’d be hard pressed to enjoy ourselves. Then again we might move on and find a suitable replacement.

I’m sounding like I’m down on this wine.  Not at all.  I think I’m just excited and all over the place with this sudden heat wave that’s hitting the east coast.   I’m salivating at the thought of all the outdoor activities and all the great wines that I’ll be having during some of those fun events.   I hope you’re getting amped up too.

After perusing their list, I’ve noticed many I’ve had in the past.  This will be revisited at a later date.

If you’re interested in finding this or other wines, click here.

Lastly, here is my most recent post on a great wine from Trader Joe’s.  And here’s one that wasn’t as golden.

Winter time is winding down but some of these impeccable wines I’ll try will not. We’re just getting started.

Best,

Ideen

 

Maryland Has Some Great Ones

This is part two of my recap of the events at the Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival. For all the fun of part one you can click on this link.

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Whenever I come to a Maryland Wine event, Bordelau, is one of the first wineries I immediately look for.   They have always been the most approachable, prolific, and endearing wineries at these events.

I was first introduced to them three years ago, at this exact event.  When I was inquiring about something very smokey, very be full, and very dry.  And I was introduced to their Chambourcin.  This was the Lot 5 from 2006, which is exactly what I was looking for.  Even on a hot day, it went down easy.  Because of the climate, it felt fuller than it probably was.  But that doesn’t diminish how amazing this bottle was.

From that point forward, I’ve been hooked. I’m disappointed that I had not heard of them or this grape before.  But this is the lifelong journey of a wine lover.

I’ve had different variations.  And that’s what so great about it.  It can be used to make all kinds of great tasting gems. Many have been dry, but also the sweet and rose variations of it.   It’s a relatively new grape at barely over 50 years.  What I love the most about it, is that it’s prolific in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast parts of the United States.   And I’ve had some great ones from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

My favorite and in my opinion, the standard-bearer still this one.     So how did this years tasting turn out?

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The Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 6 tasted like any good Cab should.  It was medium to full and it was the bottle I almost bought. But since I had the 2007 still at home, I was looking to purchase something else this time.

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The Malbec was perfect for this event.  It tasted lighter than what I was expecting. But for this weather, it was perfect.  The finish was so clean and if not too tannic. For an outdoor event, it wasn’t necessary. I got a whole bottle to share with friends but now wish I took one home for a future celebratory occasion.

The Petit Verdot was not as memorable.  It was good but it didn’t linger with me.  Now its a wine that seems that could get better with time.  But that could be said for all of their selections.

Getting better with time is exactly right for the final two that we sampled.

The much-anticipated Chambourcin Lot 6 and Meritage, tasted very clean and went down as easy as anything I’ve had.  But that means they both need time to marinate, flourish, and become the amazing tasting wines they’ve been known for.

I’m a massive fan of the Meritage blends as well.  A future post on that grape is forthcoming.  The Merlot was sold out at the time.  And I really wanted to try that too.  My love for them has grown exponentially.

We never got a chance to taste the whites. This just means that a visit is long overdue. And I’ve been saying this to myself for a couple of years now.  A visit needs to happen.  I love their wines and the folks behind it have been nothing but friendly.

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For more on all their wines, and for purchasing click here and here.

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We enjoyed our Malbec rather quickly with some salty snacks.  We enjoyed ourselves. The pictures above are a tribute to an alma mater.

Lastly, I’ve included some more photos from the sites of the festival.   The third and final post from this event comes next week!

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Have a great one.

Best,

Ideen

Anything But

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In nearly all instances, it’s better to focus on the positives.   I’ll try to do so here. However, it saddens me that a wine such a powerful name, could be so disappointing.

I love throwing around powerful words, such as inspiration and emotion.  It feels good just writing about it. So when I stumble upon a wine entitled, Inspired, I take notice.  And I was making, what I thought at time time, was an impassioned and life altering purchase.  This should have been my destiny.  I could not be more wrong.

I was all set to write a, dare I say, inspired post.   I was all jazzed up to bring forth some positive energy, that would make you look in the mirror and say, I am awesome and I am here to inspire!   No.  Not this post.  This wine did not live up to these unrealistic expectations.   See how I built this up all for nothing?

I was sending friends pictures of this bottle and they all knew, this was a wine hand crafted for me, and it was going to be delicious.  A wine for the ages.  Absolutely not.

Now it’s not terrible.  It’s just not very good.  I had a hard time finishing my glass.   I’ve had much worse wines but this was a touch below mediocre.  I am a fan of Meritage wines and red blends, but this was a bogey.    Perhaps their combination of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot doesn’t mesh well.   And because I hyped it up so much in my head, it’s plausible that it tastes worse than it really is.   This is all a matter of taste and in my mind, but it makes me sad it didn’t live up to my (unrealistic?) expectations.

I had tunnel vision. I saw the label.  I saw the word ‘Inspired’, and was sold.   If a wine has a cool label, like this one does, I will be extra curious.  But just like a book, don’t judge a wine by it’s label.   Some of my favorite bottles have the most basic labels.  But a pretty one is hard to resist.  And the nerd in me really wanted to like this wine.

Looking through the incomplete website, you see spine chilling images, of folks doing  and quotes that get cut off across the homepage.   Just another line in a comedy of errors.

Believe me, I really wanted to like this wine.  I wanted to crown it as an achievement in my tasting experience, but that won’t be happening.

As always, just because I wasn’t happy with it, doesn’t mean that you’ll yield the same results.   We all have different palates.  Our preferences evolve as we evolve. Maybe a few years ago, Inspired, would have done just that.  The raw emotion will have to wait another day, or the next uplifting moment could be just a post away.

Stay inspired.

Best,

Ideen

Boordy Brings It

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Boordy is the first winery I ever visited.  So I’m partial and nostalgic to them.    They know how to throw events, concerts, and festivals.   They were  my first tasting and  tour.   So the soft spots just keep on coming.  They are a big part of why I love wine so much.

In November, there was another first.  It’s the first time I joined an exclusive wine club.   And of course it was Boordy’s.  I don’t think any of these things are accidents.  It could be fate or destiny.  Or both.

Now the perks are mentioned in the link above.  Or I’ll link it to you again here.  And I am grateful to be a part of this thing. Even if I don’t continue on, I can say I was a part of a club.   I may look at other wineries to do the same.  But one step at a time.

* 2013 Dry Rose – It’s a charming, light bodied wine that isn’t something I usually like to have.  But at the tasting I enjoyed it. It was easy to drink and didn’t come off too sweet. The synopsis is very simple to understand.  It states it’s similar to the roses of Provence and combines saignee juices of their varietals grown on their property.  One thing that stands out is that their grapes are 100% grown in Maryland.  Not every Maryland winery can make that claim.  There is something to be said for keeping it local.  A lot of wine aficionados appreciate that fact alone.

* 2008 Ruby Port – Now I don’t seek out Ports.   It’s just not my glass of wine.   Now I appreciate that it’s a dessert wine, after a hearty meal.  We actually opened this bottle, this past Sunday, for a birthday celebration.  So my experience goes beyond the original tasting.   The description reads a mix of plums and chocolate.  Both, especially the latter are detectable. Or maybe, once again, I tell my mind there are plums in there.  But I think I got a taste.   We enjoyed this with some Dove Chocolates, Coconut Cake, and Chocolate Cupcakes.

* 2012 Landmark Reserve – What this package is named if honor of.  Or maybe I just think so.  Oh well.. My favorite combinations of some of my favorite grapes – Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Label mentions briar fruit and chocolate are detected.  I’l have to see if I can taste those flavors.  For now, this bottle is killer.  I think it’s incredible.  And though I only had it at the tasting, it was worth getting the package for this alone.  This will be opened for a special occasion.

More on this phenomenal series can be found here.

The next package comes in February, and it will be a pleasure to do a recap.   I have seen what will be included, and a couple of my favorites are involved.  I am elated.  I will also, in a future post, talk about these.

I will also do recaps of other future events I may attend here.

Boordy will always have a special place in my heart.   And I thank them, for being one of the catalysts, for my worship of wine.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen