One Of The Better Pairings…

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A great wine paired with a great dinner is something that never gets old.  As a matter of fact it can always feel new, can feel fresh, and can feel inspired if you well, feel it.

Easy said and easy done…

It doesn’t get more authentic than a great pasta dish paired with a great Italian wine.  An added  bonus is when the wine is affordable yet so great for the price, that you almost might feel guilty.  Don’t.  It’s good to find the best deals in anything without having to look too hard.

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The 2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Masciarelli is one of those wines that you’re going to find in a lot of places, and hopefully you’ve had the good fortune of trying it.  Sadly for me, it’s one of those wines (like many others) that I always see and unintentionally would take for granted.  It’s not deliberate.  There’s just so many great wines to try that while we have all the time in the world, it’s important to make the most of it.  And that goes for everything.

You’re going to taste your berries, cherries, and various spices but for a wine like this, like many others, that’s just one part of the story.  What’s most important is this a wine you’re going to enjoy?  Both things, among others, are connected.  I can safely say the answer yes.  Yes this is a wine that’s accessible, approachable, and affordable.  Those are some great things that start with the letter ‘a’.

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It’s also your typical wine you’ll find served at Italian restaurants, which in turn means great Italian meals and dinners, and could easily be served at an all around amazing feast near you.  I can imagine that it’s being served at a dinner near you, near me, and all around the world, as I write this, and as you read this.  It’s that versatile and that awesome of a wine.  There’s another ‘a” for you!

As it gets colder, the medium and fuller bodied wines are going to take shape.  Thankfully this is right in the middle of what could also feel like a light wine, depending on the meal, your mood, and the season.   Those are the fun details that can make a good wine into a great wine, and a good meal into an exceptional one.  This is so fun.

I mentioned affordable.  I’ve seen this wine sold for anywhere from $9-$12, and that’s a steal.   This tastes like a $15+ wine to me.  It may be for the aura it carries, the aura I sense, or just my gut reaction to it.  Your gut will always be your guide and never steer you wrong.

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What a great pairing of wine and food this was.  My meal was just as beautiful as it looks.  This was comfort at it’s most comfortable and beautiful.

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As we head towards the holidays, these are the kind of meals you’re going to encounter more if you haven’t already.  These are the wines that go with them, and hopefully you surround yourself with the best company as well.

I’m grateful to have shared this with a friend, and look forward to many more exciting times to come, before, during, and after the holidays.  It’s still early November, so one glass, and one meal at a time…

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

Leave The Memories Alone

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What’s the title mean? I’m sentimental but then again, I can sense what’s real, what to feel, and what just feels uninspired and unimaginative.   It’s an intuition and clairvoyance we’re all capable of having.  Some better than others.  I honestly have no idea where this will go, except I’ll just keep going.

I’m big on memories, but only the good ones.  The bad ones or the experiences, are just those too.  Yeah.

I had a visitor from my past, more so from my childhood show up this past weekend.  The way I write that sounds mysterious, sounds cryptic, and sounds estranged.   It would be all of the above.   If this person reads this I think he would appreciate what I’m saying.  As the feeling is mutual.  I’ll leave that to your own interpretation, and maybe some of you reading this might relate to what I’m saying?

 

We move from one holiday to another.  Wait, no not yet.  There’s necessary lulls where we don’t have to talk about anything in particular except the day at hand, or well, what may be coming.   There’s things coming alright.  But I want to talk about a bottle that while I was looking for something else, essentially found me.

So we have the 2016 Oregon Rosé from Portlandia Vintners.  For more information, here are their wines, their story, and contact information.

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There’s just something about Portland that’s been on my mind lately.   Maybe it’s because there’s lots of rain in the forecast this week here in Maryland, and aside from sun today, it’s been mostly grey skies going back to this past weekend.  I take this all as a sign.  I take a lot of things as signs.  The universe is always speaking to us, whether we realize it, or are paying attention to things or not.

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On the nose, tells a story of a beautiful bouquet of spring, flowers, and fresh fruits.  Those are the standards of any good Rosé, or maybe I’m just talking nonsense, and pretending to give you some expert analysis.  Maybe all of the above.

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Jammy and fruit forward, sure why not?  Well yes.  I definitely tasted strawberries, but watermelon?  Maybe if I don’t think so hard.  This is a good wine, that’s worth paying a few extra dollars for.  At around $15, this is isn’t going to hurt you and it’s good to splurge here and there.  This is what life is all about.

Easy to drink, goes down smooth, and loaded with structure, depth, and character. That’s what you want in a Rosé, that’s what you want in a wine, and that’s what you want in anything.

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I don’t recall having a Rosé made from Pinot Gris at all.  There’s a first time for everything, or maybe I’m just oblivious to everything.  That sounded kind of funny.  Mixed in Rosé from Pinot Noir and Grenache, it creates a brilliant blend that I feel would work as a Red Blend equivalent.  Just a thought.   Maybe the rain and all of this eeriness is getting to me.

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If you’re looking for a fairy tale romance or heartwarming ending to a story, this one may do it for some.  Some just want a bottle of wine and not think so much.  Me, I think too much and I feel too much.  For feeling, this is absolutely a wine for that.  If you’re into emotions and being captivated, this might do it for some, and literally just be a wine to drink when the weather is nice, or it’s grey and murky like it is now.

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I love it all, and as we ride high into the season of Rosé, I don’t want to get carried away and make this a weekly thing.  More might be coming, as will more whites.   As for the reds, I can’t bit adieu just yet.  I never will.  There’s room for reds and there’s room for everybody.

Estranged or not.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Happy Early Mother’s Day!

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As we approach Mother’s Day, I notice the sentimentality grows with my peers.  Mom’s of all kinds (of pets as well as kid! yay!) should be celebrated as much as possible.  Having a special day to commemorate everyone, everything, and all the good in between is what makes the world go round.

There’s so many ways to go about it, but as long as the intent is good and to make others happy, then I’m all for it.

Previous Mother’s Day stories can be found here.

It doesn’t take an expert of any kind to know that Mother’s Day and Rosé are synonymous with each other.  Any kind of sweet beverage and sweet treat can and should be used for this and many other festive occasions.

Seeing all the Rosé display cases in the local wine shoppes is one of those thing I now look forward to, and you can see them as early as before that other holiday in February.  I like to think of it as one of those post Christmas things that represents the days getting longer, the outdoor festivities and invitations picking up, and that means more chilled wines.  That’s exactly right.

Part of the fun, and sometimes part of the angst, is picking the right wine.  There is no right or wrong, unless you do something catastrophic.  And using that word is a stretch, but you know what I mean.

Most of our peers are just grateful that wine is available, at reasonable prices, and with so many wines, grapes, varietals, whatever to choose from.  It’s the kid in a candy store, the kid at Christmas, and the kid in (fill in the blank).  But for this one, it’s for mom.

 

The 2017 L’Oliveto Rosé of Pinot Noir from Brack Mountain Wine Company is along the lines of any solid Rosé that you could sip now, with mama, or whenever.  There’s nothing pretentious about it.

It’s a colorful wine with hints of fruit on the nose and on your palate.  But more importantly, at under $15, it’s not going to hurt you in the money department, and even feels like a bit of a splurge.

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Just like a Pinot Noir, it’s easy to drink, easy to share, and has the right amount of acidity that it will go down smoothly.

That’s all that most folks ask for.  The day itself might be stressful enough.  If you want a wine that’ll make it easy on your mind, heart, and soul, this is just as good as any.

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I say this realizing that Rosé is still not a wine I can compare with others.  I just can’t always tell you what’s good, great, or lackluster.  As I’ve stated in the past, so many factors go into how a wine is going to feel to you…

Were you in the right frame of mind? Was the present company spiritually and harmoniously making you feel good? Were you feeling good?

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How about the food?  Good food makes mama, and everyone else happy too!  This plate of fish, and healthy veggies pairs perfectly with this Rosé.

I’m asking the same questions with different wording, but it all connects.  You can have the same wine, the same food, and the same anything under different circumstances, and if one thing gets thrown off, then you may lose your center.

Part of my statements are projecting, as I’ve encountered this many times, lately.   No experience is ever the same.  I’ve had the same wine many times and it doesn’t exactly the same.  I find that so fascinating.  And it’s more than just your palate changing, it’s just symbolic of life and the experiences we go through in this journey.

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The journey is to be enjoyed.  So whatever wine you share with mom, family, friends, and anyone else, always know that it’s meant to be fun, and you want to feel good as much as possible.

It’s not always easier said than one. Sometimes it just is.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Reds Before…

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I’m already seeing the signs for Rosé season and that’s alright.   Any hopes of Spring and the joys of the warm weather are welcoming.  Because right now it’s still blah out there.  That’s a technical term by the way.  I, and many others are waiting for the sun.  In times and situations sometimes it’s what we want the most.  Without it can cause headaches, confusion, and all kinds of turmoil.

And we’re in this current cycle of Mercury Retrograde that is compounding everything.

So what does this have to do with wine?  I have no witty response.

In good times, in great times, or the other times (which I will just call experiences here…), a dinner with good friends is always welcome, of absolute importance, and can’t happen enough.

As we grow up, get older, and much more wiser (hopefully), we gradually know what is worth our time, and what will fade out, and be a distant memory or complete afterthought.  Settings like this stay with me because of its simplicity, wholesomeness, and all those other overly sentimental sentiments.  Wow I just said that last part.

Pinot Noir was requested for this sit down dinner of three, and as always I’m happy to oblige.   When you have so many options of such a drinkable and usually affordable wine, it can drive you bananas and make one indecisive.  That one in question, is me.

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So when I spotted a label that truly did stand out, I actually bypassed it for another.  And here I present to you, the Pinot Noir, from the Pinot Project, which in hindsight was supposed to happen.

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Not everything is deep or meant to be over analyzed, decoded, and then analyzed some more.  But this is a project like the wine says, so let’s work on this project shall we?  That was cheesy.

The information, or notes if you will, are here for your viewing pleasure.  But I got nothing inspiring to say here.

However, it makes me laugh that roses and pomegranate can be found on the nose.  Funny how that all connects.  I didn’t get any of that though. No spices were tasted, but black cherry is always there.

This is a wine that’s just kind of there.  It’s not good nor bad.  It’s just there.  And that’s sometimes more disappointing than a wine that’s terrible.  At least more can be said in those situations.

At $10-$12 average retail value it’s alright.  I think some people will appreciate it for what it is.  It’s still easy to drink, since it’s a Pinot, but not the usual going down smooth.  The lingering finish is one that lingers for not the best reasons.   For me, it’s best to move on here.

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Within every cloud, there’s always a silver lining. The meal of boneless pork chops, couscous, and salad is one of the more healthier and learner forms of comfort food you’re going to find.  I’m grateful for my good friend to host and prep something so wonderful like always.

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And the good company, and conversation always helps.  The food is always going to stand out, and even though the wine this time left much to be desired, and with not much to discuss.  There will always be next times.

And I’m always thankful for those next times.

Feeling grateful…

Ideen

 

 

Take A Number

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In the world we live in, or at least in a world you or I might live in, there’s never a lack of events to look forward to.  Some we’d be billing to bypass because they’ve ran their course, or we grow up.

Sometimes none of that matters.  We still grow up but we still enjoy our friends, good food, and a little vino never hurt anybody.

The event I’m referring to is a gathering of friends to watch a major professional wrestling event that took place this past Sunday night.  The specifics aren’t necessary, other than it was a good group of individuals, and I was honored to be invited and included.

Now I had no intention or idea that a story would come out of this. We’re at as simple as a bar as you’re going to find.   The food is bar food, the drinks are your cold beers, well drinks (I’m not even sure what that is but ‘well drinks’ just popped up in my head), and for the contrarians like me, they do have a couple of bottles of wine.

With the latter part of what I said coming to fruition, I did buy a bottle.  In hindsight I have no idea why I did.  But for a short and long-term investment it was worth it, so I didn’t have to get up to keep ordering a drink.   But in the long run, none of this really matters.  More on that in a little while.

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The wine was the 2014 Canyon Road Pinot Noir from you guessed it, Canyon Road.  And there isn’t much to it. That sounds dismissive and I don’t meant it to be, but this is about as basic as a wine as you’re going to find.  And I’ve seen it listed from $7-$10 in most places.  The cheaper you can find it, the more it’s actually worth that price.  I know that makes sense.

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The wine has little, if any, structure.  And you don’t need to be an expert to know, you want a a wine to bring something to the table.  You might taste some cherry, get a little tannin, and a get a little soul.   But all things considered, this wine will satisfy many.  And when pickings are slim, there’s little room for complaining.    I even waited a good 15-20 minutes for this wine to breathe, and not much changed.   That’s when you know this as standard label and mass produced as a wine as there’s going to be.

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The salad was as good as it’s going to be.  I honestly don’t know what that means, as I think about it. Haha.

For a  post I made on another one of their wines, nearly two years ago, click here.

For more on Canyon Road click here,  here is where you can find their wines near you, their wine list, and finally their contact information.

But going back to numbers,  I want to focus on something else.  The event we watched was all about numbers.  We picked a number to match an entrant in said event, but also a number hoping we might win some money.  That’s always fun.  Not too much was committed, so the risk vs. reward was’t too serious.  Well the reward always feels good if you win it.

Where I’m going with this, is recently I’ve had conversations with people (and myself) about how more and more they feel like just a number, like a spoke on the wheel, and an afterthought at times.  The title of this post may evoke feelings of waiting in a deli line to pick up whatever, and that might feel pedestrian and robotic as anything. While in some universes that might be valid, it’s actually the furthest thing from the truth.

We’re all brought here to add value, we all come from the same source, and are all connected.  And none of that says we’re just a number.  We’re all spiritual beings that have arrived here to do some awesome things, enjoy the finer things in life (like good wine), but also to feel good as much as possible.  Again, nothing about that entails that you and I are just a number.

Well might be a number.  That number is 1.  Because we’re capable of being the best to ourselves, to each other, and all the good energy that’s here on this planet Earth.

Sunday night I felt something and I can’t explain it, nor do I need to right away.  Something felt uneasy but then it felt right.  I hung with good friends but I also hung out with people I rarely see, or just met for the first time.  We were all there for the same reason, and one of those was just to feel good.

And you can’t put any price tag or number, on feeling good.

I feel good right now, and I wish the same for you.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

…And Be Your Compass

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It’s early January, and does anyone know where the time went?  I write this from a place of having many options to write about, yet many options that might not see the light of day, nor are meant to ever be.

As eclectic as these experiences have been, and I know will continue to be, sometimes the best is always going to be the ones that you didn’t even know were going to happen.  And you don’t know always know how great they’re going to be until the company you didn’t even expect to see, show up; and the place we ended up, were never on our radar to begin with.

Or maybe it was.

The day after Christmas, a good friend of mine met me at one venue, but we mutually realized this wasn’t going to work.  It was too crowded for what we wanted.   All we were looking for was a place of peace, to sip a glass of wine, and maybe partake in more indulging of foods that make the holidays so great.

I keep talking about the holidays. They’re officially over in most circles, but to me, anything and everything can turn into a holiday, a joyous experience, and a memorable one, if done properly.

This is exactly what we did.

When we stopped too hard to find a place, we let our spiritual compass find our way.  My gut told me wine, and it always tells me wine.   Footsteps from where we were standing, the Chesapeake Wine Company was just the cure that was needed for the sometimes bluesy and downward feelings the holidays can bring.

I’ve been here many times before, seen ownership change hands, purchased plenty of wine for a party, and had many a glass inside.

This was a combination of all of that.  My friend and I shared a couple of bottles and enjoyed a beautiful plate of bread and cheese.  It was a comfort that was needed.  And what was going to be a short while, turned into a long one.   How long the day went doesn’t matter.

It’s one of those situations where time stands it and flies by all at the same time.

The wine that did stand out was the 2016 Monterey County Black Pinot Noir from Mark West.

Now if you’ve had a Mark West wine, you know you’re going to get quality, you know they’re strictly all about Pinot Noir and nothing else, and you know this all comes at a reasonable price.   I’ve seen their selections in many a shoppe at right around $10, and sometimes less.  It’s a bargain for what you’re getting.

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The Monterey County Black is in more of the $12-$15 range, and for me this tastes closer to a $20 bottle.  That’s just an opinion and observation based on how the wine tasted and opened up as the afternoon went on.

It’s a smoother Pinot then many might be accustomed too.  You get those flavors of plums, dark cherries, vanilla, and mocha which is exquisite for the winter time, but is just as drinkable in the warmer months.  But thinking about this now, it was perfect for a post Christmas affair.

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Seriously, this might have been the most fitting day to have this glass, and it went perfectly with our snacks.

What’s even more fascinating is the notes tell a story that I’m going to look for in future wines, when I get the chance.

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In order to give this wine that darker color and more of a medium-to-full bodies taste is the result of a process called saignée, which is when the ligher colored wine is removed before it has time to blend in with the skins of the grapes.

I didn’t think about any of that at time because I was just so busy enjoying the wine in its purest form and more importantly the company of one another.   And that’s what a place like this will do.

The atmosphere of Chesapake Wine Company is  inviting, welcoming, yet private enough that you can have a pleasant conversation without anyone in the world to distract you.

Yet the bottles available for purchase might be a nice cause for distraction and another escape if necessary.  The staff is pretty awesome as well.

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For more on the Chesapeake Wine Company, here is more about them, their wines by the glass, their food menu, and contact information.

And for more on Mark West, here is their wine list, their story, where to find their wines, and contact info.

This is the first post of the year, and as I’ve always said, we’re just getting started.

We’re just getting started.

Happy New Year.

Ideen

…From This Exceptional Place

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There’s a full moon coming this Saturday (November 4th), and if you’re superstitious like me, you look for signs of the crazies leading up to the full moon.  Maybe the day before or the day before that bookend the day the moon is at its fullest each month is where you might things seem out of sorts.  And before I start pointing fingers, I also look at myself.  Have I been acting goofy?  Have I not been myself?   I can attribute it to the moon, the starts, the universe, and everything that’s beyond my control.

Some things are beyond our comprehension.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you talk to) we also just take things at face value, and not seeing that their might be something bigger than us.  This is how I go about drinking wine and writing about it.  This is also how I go about a lot of things.

This whole week and these past couple of months have seen majors changes in me, my life, my peers, but overall the life around me is evolving.  It’s a new normal which just becomes normal after a while.  It’s fight or flight, or go into hiding.

Well I’m not ready to go into hiding.  There’s plenty of great wine to be had and it’s November, the official start of holiday month, which actually lasts two months.  It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year and a great time to be alive.  The wine is going to hopefully match the sentiments of the time of year and the gathering that are to come.

But first, I need one for me and and only me.  And this goes for all of us, the best time to appreciate wine is any time and way you want.

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I received a most intriguing Christmas gift last year, in the form of the 2012 Carneros Pinot Noir from Valley Of The Moon Winery of the Sonoma Valley.

It was sitting in the most beautiful of decorative bags all these months just waiting to be opened.  Well it was worth the wait.  It had the look and feel of a bottle over $20.  And I don’t just mean the label.  I had a sense that this isn’t an everyday wine to just crack open for no good reason.

Well today I did just crack it open, and the reasons are whatever I want them to be.

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I absolutely adore this wine.  It has a presence and energy that just begs to be awesome.  And it’s so awesome.   I love a good Pinot Noir and this to me has more of a medium bodied feel than the lighter ones we’re used to.  The oak along with hints of fall make it feel a little bolder than what a Pinot Noir may traditionally be.

And a huge thanks to my pals for this most charming of wine glasses.

When I say hints of fall, it could be the fact that the temperatures continue to drop and the days are getting shorter.

Along with the full moon, daylight savings time ends this weekend.  That could be a double dose of chaos, or it could just be nothing.   But in researching their 2014 Pinot that is available for purcahse, the notes mention toasted oak and cinnamon sticks.  Yes, this is fall ladies and gentlemen!

The 2012 Notes mention aromas of cherry, honeysuckle, and currant.   Cherry is easy to recognize, along with cranberry but the the additions of ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla confirm everything.  This is the perfect wine for this time of year.  I’m enjoying my bottle slowly as I write this to you.  Yes I took plenty of time to appreciate this without photos and without writing,  and will do so upon completion.   It’s too good not to take your sweet time with.

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I want to thank another dear friend for providing me the yummy food that is featured with my vino.  The meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cabbage is a hearty meal that pairs perfectly.  And this is a wine that can be had with just about anything.  It’s that versatile.

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This is why sometimes it pays to go outside of the $10 range of wines and splurge a little bit.  This is a gem and I’m so grateful to receive it as a gift and the timing to share it with everyone sounds about right.

Funny thing is I’ve never seen this wine in stores.  Since I received this gift I still have yet to see it in nearly a year.  I wonder with this celebration of my first Valley Of The Moon wine, will I start seeing it in wine shoppes somewhere along the way.

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I can only hope.

For more on Valley Of The Moon, here is their story, their list of wines, and options for purchase online.

Happy Full Moon and End Of Daylight Savings Time to you this weekend.  I guess that’s something to celebrate, I think.  But there’s no question this is a wine to be celebrated and appreciated.

I appreciate and celebrate this one so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

Impromptu Tasting

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I just love becoming a part of things that I had no idea minutes or even seconds before, that I would be participating in.   With our busy and overloaded schedules, even our social events all seem too well coordinated and planned.  And not that there’s anything right or wrong with that.  But the charm of events coming together or coming to you instantaneously is what makes this life so magical.   I or you should intend it, without having to forcefully wish for it.  Because then, all the goodness finds you.

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It did for me this past Saturday.at Quarry Wine & Spirits right outside the city limits of Baltimore, in Pikesville, with a count ’em, 18 wine tasting.

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It brings me such joy just to write that.  Yes I said 18.  Aside from even the most comprehensive of tastings at a wine festival, I don’t think I’ve ever done double digits for a wine tasting.  That might show my naivete but it sounds like a grand number to me.  And what a treat this was.

No I will not go over every wine that was listed.   I took notes and did lots of scribbling which makes no sense to me as I look over it now.  But there will be pictures of that tasting sheet.  This is one I’m going to hold on to and store in a safe place.

How I ended up here is just one of those laws of the universe.  Quarry Lake is not a shopping district I find myself in often.  But I was here on this day for a reason.  As I’ve stated in certain instances before, I almost didn’t walk in.

I had been invited to a barbecue later in the day, and I would be bringing wine, but from most likely one of my usual wine shoppes downtown, without even thinking about this serendipitous experience that was about to take place.

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I will shortly go over the wines.  These are the three that I bought.  These are also the three that me and a new friend I made seemed to concur were the best.  Well at least on two of them we were in agreement on the same power and flavors these two in particular brought.

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What’s also fun about this is you do make friends at these things.  Sometimes it was just for that 20-30 minutes plus over the wine, or sometimes a deeper connection begins and you not only talk about the wine, but you start  talking about other things.  It’s as if you’ve known each other for years.  And maybe in certain situations that might be the case. Maybe it’s a past life sort of thing, or maybe it’s just the moment to take in and appreciate for now.  I think it’s a bit of everything and more.

This was also not one I planned on taking pictures of and blogging about. This was even more organic than I would realize.

Our party host was quite charismatic as well. And I wish I remembered his name.  This is not the professional journalism I’ve come to expect from myself.  But his voice and his selling almost made me by more.  But I’m not one to overpay and get carried away when it comes to buying one.  There’s a discipline.  These wines have to be bought with the intent of being either drank soon, or saved for a special occasion.   Buying wines and just letting them sit there till they go bad is something I’ve done far too often.  There’s probably wines in my cellar that needs to be disposed of for this reason alone.  Gross.

The 2015 Alto Vinho Verde Rose was only $6, from the retail price of $11.    And this is the one that set the tone for the rest of the tasting.  Yes this was the first one on this incredible list as we were going to were lightest to fullest, and sweetest to the boldest, as the list implies.  That’s Tasting 101.   I imagine for the price, and because it was the first impression, that many bought this one, if they didn’t purchase any other or had to buy just one.    This is going to wonders when the weather gets nicer.   It was nicer on this day but I’m gonna save this one and maybe expound on it another time.  But the strawberry flavors are going to get a lot of people excited when Spring finally comes.  It’s officially March so I say enjoy!

The 2013 Pinot Noir from Chamisal Vineyards is the first of two that got me to overreact and genuinely think this wine is one that could be a favorite.    The label mentions how the grapes weren’t aged in Oak but in Stainless Steel to show how great the Pinot can taste on its own.  Interesting stuff. It did seem to enhance the Pinot Noit by its self as well as the fruit flavors of cranberry, black cherry, and plum.  I definitely got a mix of all three, or is it because I read the label and was told that this is what I would taste? Hmm.. But the fruitiness was easy to get, and this made for a closer to medium-bodied wine (but still light) then what I usually get from my Pinot’s.  And this was a nice treat.   This was also #9 on this list and I had a few samples leading up to it that were less than great, that may have made this wine even that much better.  That’s for me to think about later when I open this up for guests or for myself.  But my hunch is I will love it the same.

However, at $30.00 retail, that may be a bit too much for me.  I like my bottles $20 and under and perferably $10-$15 whenever possible.  At the sale price of $17, I wish I had purchased two.  This was more than worth that amount.  I’ve seen it listed in the $21-$25 range on many sites, so there’s a frame of reference for you.

Again I can’t wait to break this out when the weather gets closer to awesome.  And it’s coming.   This is what I was going to bring to the barbecue.  Maybe it was going to be…

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The 2010 Finca Sobreno Toro Tempranillo was the big winner.  And as you can see, it’s the one I circled which makes me laugh in hindsight.  This is the expert analysis I’m here to bring.

It’s funny because at just about any other tasting that previous Pinot would have won in a landslide. I love how it’s 2010.  That means it’s already got more longevity than I know how to handle.  Actually yes I do.  I can drink it and share with fellow wine lovers.

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This medium-bodied wine is loaded with all sort of flavors, I don’t know where to begin.  It’s as if this wine was meant for me.  It’s a mix of all the seasons.  There’s scents of vanilla, chocolate, and clove.  I only got those based on power of perception, maybe.  And plenty more berries and chocolate after tasting.   This was wine  #14 on the list, so who know if there were so many ho hum wines (and lots of sips of water and small bites of crackers to reset the palate) in between the aforementioned Pinot and this. But the regular price of $32 is not for me.  However, at $20 this is just on the cusp of my threshold.  So why not.

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Tastings to tend to make many a wine larger than life than they really are.  It’s about the experience. It’s about the wines, potential pairings, and situations where these wines can truly shine.  And this discussion was done in the most genuine and without the slightest hint of pretension and arrogance.  Unless my rose (not Rose) colored glasses were a little tighter than usual, this was one of friendship, comradery, and just an awesome Saturday to celebrate the joy of wine drinking and get introduced to some new wines that will become staples of our lives.

Not to get too dopey but the weather turned to rain later on this day so the new memories will have to be put on hold.   If the universe allows I will revisit these wines when paired with food and see how my pairing pals enjoy it versus how much I did.

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I hope these wines create many new memories to cherish.  But for now, I do cherish this once in a while experience.  And can only hope the next time can be just as tremendous.

Cheers,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance Party!

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No, not really.  Well, unless you incorporate laying around as much as possible as some form of interpretive dance.

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I’ll cut right to the dance and step in where I can, this dance party was brought to us by our friends from Trader Joe’s.  The 2014 Cotillion Pinot Noir is an exclusive to TJ’s and I wouldn’t expect it any other way.

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I can’t fully explain into words but there’s certain stores you walk into, and you can just tell the food, the drink, or what have you is synonymous with that store.  If I saw this bottle somewhere at a friends house,  I would sense this can only come from one place. That’s a testament to the bottle and the energy of this store.

The fact that I’m expounding on this so long on this may come off as an indictment of the wine itself than a love for the label.  Well there is a love for the label.  How do you not like animals dancing the Cotillion.

My one issue is the price.  I think in general they’ve steadily raised their prices $1-$2 (and sometimes more) for most of their exclusive wines.  The same wines I used to see for $3-4, yes you read that right, are now in the $5-7+ range.

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This wine goes for $10 and it’s ok for that price.  The tasting notes have been provided for you, and Trader Joe’s is so good with making that accessible and easy for anyone to understand.  The berries are easy to detect as with many California wines, but the vanilla spice is the stand out here. Maybe in colder temperatures I’ll appreciate this even more.

It screams fall and it screams a cozy situation where doing nothing as much as possible is ideal. That’s more projecting and a personal observation than anything else.

Since it’s a Pinot Noir, it can be paired with anything and nothing all at the same time. After a few minutes of letting it breathe, it improved in taste.  Initially I was weary.  But that’s why you know never judge a wine on first sip, immediately upon opening.  And you never judge a wine by its label, unless it’s as charming as this one.  In that case, judge away, as long as it’s positive. Animal friends always deserve to be happy.

And we should be happy with whatever wine we’re drinking.

I would be happier if this was a few dollars less.  And I may have been spoiled since I’ve had many great wines at $7.00 or less from Trader Joe’s.

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As seasons change so does our eating habits.   Some dear friends supplied a wonderful spread of cheese, crackers, and finger foods to complement the vino.  It’s a team effort! For even more on this group collective, go here.

And the team at the Trader Joe’s in Alexandria, VA has always been accessible.    Since my first time visiting I’ve always had a good feeling about this store.  It’s been one of my go-to wine shoppes for the past few years.  And when I make my way to the vicinity I make it a priority to stop by.

Even though prices for certain vintages have gone up, there’s still bargains that are second-to-none, that you can’t find everywhere.  Being a national chain is part of why they can lower their prices.

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Lower prices doesn’t always mean lower quality.  Just as a cheap bottle can lead to cheap wine. So have fun and do some research.   Before you know it the holidays will be here and if you live near a TJ’s that sells wine consider yourself fortunate and find some great deals.

Here’s a sampling of my Trader Joe’s posts from the past.

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We’re just getting started and more sweet deals are hopefully to come.

Cheers,

Ideen

 

Rolling in the Deep

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I thought long and hard about what to write this week. I’m serious.   The Maryland Wine Festival gave me enough options to fill out the rest of the year.  But like I said last week, this will likely not be done with a consecutive weeks stream of posts and then I move onto the next thing.   It will be spaced out.  That could happen starting next week for a few weeks from now.  Only time will tell.

The fun of festivals is sampling so many wines from local vineyards, without having to make the drive to the winery itself.  Does this sound like cheating?  No, I wouldn’t say so. This might be like the Cliffs Notes version of things.  But it’s the perfect introduction to wines we otherwise may have never heard of. They come to us, like so many good things do.  We pay a small cover charge ($25-$30) to enter and the world is our oyster (or our vineyard).

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One such vineyard is Deep Creek Cellars.  You know in all my time on this Earth, I’ve never been to Deep Creek itself.  Maybe I drove past it once or twice, but never have actually hung out or spent a weekend there.  Dating back to high school up to the present, different groups of friends go all the time.  I’ve never had the opportunity.  More on that later.

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It wasn’t until reading about the winery itself, that they are not your traditional wine provider.  They’re a purveyor of ‘natural wine’, and are environmentally conscious without it impeding on the tradition of enjoying wine with a delicious meal.

So it makes it harder to find the negatives on the wine, but our tastes are all different.

Like many other wineries at the festival, they brought a condensed version of the winery on the road.   Which likely meant sweet and approachable wines that most attendees would be likely to buy.

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Of the four, I only had two, the 2014 Great Crossings and the 2013 Watershed. The 2014 Watershed and 2014 Pinot Noir were an extra $1 and with me usually not carrying cash, I chose to pass.  In hindsight, I wish I brought singles or stopped at an ATM.   That just means a visit is on the horizon, to try the rest.  A visit is meant to happen anyways.

The ’14 Great Crossings was the one I preferred over the two. The blend of Vidal Blanc and Pinot Gris was light and easy to drink.  I didn’t taste any almond.  I wasn’t trying too hard to find it but it never came to me.  Well maybe I did.  I don’t know.  And citrus flavors are usually a standard in these blends.  This wasn’t a wine I would actively seek, but it’s a perfect everyday wine.  I sense they left the best stuff at the vineyard.

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The ’13 Watershed with its Black Cherry and Cab Blend doesn’t work for me.  However, I noticed this was a big seller.  As most folks attending this event love their sweet wine, this fits many of those boxes you’re looking to check.  This was just a bit too sweet for my palate.

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As was the case throughout the day, the gentleman volunteering was easy to talk to and had plenty of knowledge of what he was pouring.  It’s not required but always a bonus.

Big picture wise, I must visit Deep Creek Cellars and Deep Creek itself.  There’s a lot of wines on their list I want to try, including many more of the grapes I prefer.

Contacting them is easy.  I’m liking these guys more and more.  They keep their social media presence limited, which is part of the mentality.  I appreciate that.

I see a road trip this fall or winter.  Who’s in?

Hey look, they got honey too!

Yay!

Ideen