…What Is Essential Is…

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There are times when I do this, that I wonder why I keep doing this.  I wonder if at some point I’ll become burnt out, or run out of fun wines to talk about.  The former is possible, the latter well..  There will never be enough time to try all the wine.  Hey!

After consecutive weeks of posts where all I did was review Whites and Rosé’s, it’s time to get back to what made me love wine in the first place, a simple, full bodied, and affordable red wine.

If it weren’t for dear friends of mine inviting me to dinner just hours ago, this may have been another white wine or Rosé post.  The dinner that we had could only be justified with something full, something powerful, yet something approachable.

My friend suggested an Australian Shiraz, and I agreed, with pleasure.  It didn’t take long to find something I liked. As a matter of fact, one jumped at me simply because of the label.

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The artwork and the beauty displayed from the 2014 Big Squeeze Shiraz by Evans & Tate will draw anyone in.  This depiction of animals, nature, and all the elements that are bright in the world sold immediately.

Its at this moment, that after $14 later, I so badly want this wine to taste amazing.   I already have a memory attached to it (its that dragonfly and butterfly, among all the other goodness), and I’ve yet to uncork (or in this case unscrew) this anticipatory bottle.

I’m so happy and grateful to report this wine was stellar upon opening, and got better with time.  And then it just kept getting better with time.  And this is all before dinner was served.

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So what is it about this wine, aside from the art?    It comprises everything I grew to love about reds.  First, I adore Shiraz.  Second, it’s the simple inclusion of plum, cherry, pepper, among the other easiest elements of the universe.    There’s lots of toasted oak too to almost make you think its a different season.  Almost.

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In short, this wine is approachable, medium bodied (in my tasters opinion) for a Shiraz that it almost tastes light, and is perfect for the Summer.   Yes you can have a red wine in the Summer and not feel bloated or regretful the next day.  It’s tremendous, it’s beautiful, and it’s what a red wine is supposed to taste like.

And my goodness this is pair perfectly dinner.  My friend was spot on with this call.  For a wine that with a beautiful label that represents goodness and the best parts of our planet, it only made sense that this meal (mostly comprised of local and organic elements would go with our wine.   Yes, our wine.   The expectations were so high that two bottles were actually purchased.

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Not only did the wine wow us all, but so did the food.  The meal which comprised of lamb sausage, pasta with homemade pesto and local basil, and local squash was a hearty yet the right kind of filling meal.  A fuller bodied Shiraz or any red may have undermined what were dining on.  It’s one of those things I realized while we were eating, and now as I write about this experience.

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And how could I forget the Caprese Salad?  Joyous emotions all around.   The tannin level on this wine leans towards the lower side, which in hindsight I appreciate even more.  As much as I love high levels of tannin, it wouldn’t work with this meal, at least in this instance.

I just found this to be so perfect.  It was so perfect, that the picture taking was limited. This was wine and meal I wanted to enjoy with my friends, and retain as many memories for myself and with my pals.

From when this wine was opened up until the conclusion of dinner was about an hour.  I can’t tell you how great the food was, and I can’t elaborate properly how this wine got so much better with each minute of breathing.   Some wines air out and then they settle into their intended taste for a while.  This one just kept getting better with each sip. But this wine is something special.

But everything factors into an awe-inspiring wine experience; the company, the weather, the food, your mood, and every other element the universe decides to present to us.

The conversation was great, it was necessary, and it was therapeutic.

Life is good but as much as I love wine on my own, great company is always a welcome thing.  And I’m grateful these folks are not only great company, but great friends.

And what wine is really that good if you can’t share it with good people.

Until today I’ve never seen this wine in my life.    To see if this wine is available near you, click here.  If not, you can also purchase this bottle online.    This wine is listed anywhere from $10-$14 and I feel it tastes closer to a $20+ bottle. That’s meant as a compliment.

There’s still plenty of time to write about all the other wines that identify with the Summer.  I sense this will resume next week.

So I’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

Preakness Special

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All of a sudden we arrive at Preakness Week.   It’s been two years since a Triple Crown winner was crowned and I still think about those amazing races.  I’ll watch clips of them, not just during this time of year, but at opportune times where I feel I need some inspiration and something to lift me up and make my day a little better.

I’ve sporadically written about wines related to horse racing season but not specifically for a wine created for this upcoming weekend’s race at Pimlico.

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The Racetrack Red from Fiore Winery & Distillery is just the right wine to celebrate the occasion, and before and after isn’t so bad either.

For my taste, it’s not the kind of wine I tend to go after regularly, but the semi sweetness works for the usually warm weather, the celebration, and I think many a wine drinker and even non-wine drinker will be able to appreciate what it has to offer.

The touch of Muscato doesn’t necessarily wow me but I think folks are going to love it. I’m also not a fan of Muscato to begin with, so that’s a personal thing.

And it’s easy to drink.  Chambourcin is a grape synonymous with Maryland.  It can be used to make medium to fuller reds to the sweeter variety that we have today. Regardless, the cherry flavor is hard to ignore as well as the high level of tannins, acidity, and thick skin.  It’s a wine that’s not to be sipped quickly.  Certain ones actually may take thicker skin to finish.  That’s not a joke or a pun.

At only $12.99 this is a wine that is also inviting on the price.   But how about that label and the notes?  If this isn’t a Maryland, and more specifically, Baltimore type of wine, then I give up.  This is one where you buy, not only for the label as a keepsake and souvenir, but to celebrate what a beautiful week this is for the the city and the state.

If you’re having a Preakness Party or pre-party what better way to celebrate than with this approachable and accommodating varietal.  And it goes with simple foods like you may be eating at a party such as pizza.  And pizza is fun.

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No black-eyed Susans but I hope these flowers will do.

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Moving along I want to mention that Fiore has some of my favorite local wines period. I’ve been to their winery and I’m grateful that’s in a short drive from me.  Also by realizing I just said that, I don’t go there enough.  I’ve been to tastings and events at the venue and find it cozy like any good winery should.  The vibe and the energy feels like home.  Well it’s near home, but you know what I’m saying.

This is the first time I’ve written about Fiore and it won’t even be close to the last.  As I alluded to earlier, their Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon are two favorites of mine that I like to use for special times of celebration with friends, family, and other awesome people in my life.  And at around $20, the price is well worth splurging here and there when it feels right.

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To purchase the Racetrack Red or any of their wines click here.  The link to find a store carrying it near you is there as well.

Yet I have something even more exciting to talk about.  If that wasn’t enough, I have posted this link that I found per a conversation I had yesterday.   This is the wine and this is the grape that also is synonymous with the northeast, the southeast, Maryland, and home.   It may not be next week but I look forward to talking about this special wine soon.  I’ve yet to try it myself but if the verdict is unanimous than there’s got to be something special about it right?   I believe we’re all in for a treat.

Enjoy Preakness, Enoy this wine, and enjoy each other.

This is really an awesome week to be in Maryland and in Baltimore, so enjoy…

Ideen

Only The Horses

I have been waiting for over a month to write about this wine.  And the time has arrived.  The time is now. I shouldn’t be so melodramatic.  But I’m having fun here.

Over the course of this blog I’ve really tried to hit home my love for blends.  The triumvirate of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah for both wines I’m going to review are pieced together so well.

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. And on one fateful day in the end of March, I found one of the most beautiful bottles I have ever seen.   I’m sometimes dazzled by the things I attract into my life.

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The 2012 Kentucky Derby Red Blend from 14 Hands is brilliant.  After I saw the label and built such anticipation for it, I wanted to like this wine badly.  And thank goodness I do.   There is so much good about it, aside from the pretty horses. And they sure are pretty.

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There’s a lot to love about this.  When I opened the bottled and poured my first glass, I detected some chocolate aromas from the nose.  It smelled like a full-bodied wine and the oak was permeating.  I was really looking forward to drinking it. But I let it breathe for a few minutes.

It tasted more like a medium, which was just fine by me.  It was a pleasant surprise. I could taste a little chocolate or cocoa, as the synopsis described.    There is mention of loganberries.  I have no idea what those are.  I attached a link for your edification and mine.  I like a winemaker that gets creative with the flavor hints and aromas.

But I still have no idea what loganberries are!  That’s me being humorous.  But really… I didn’t detect any plums or white pepper.  But once again, it’s all perspective and interpretation.  I’m always sensing berries and cherries in most of the reds I drink.  So that’s always been a starting point for me.  This is a fantastic wine.  I agree that it goes with more easygoing foods like pizza and burgers.

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An hour before, I had a glass of the 2012 Hot To Trot Red Blend.  This is a bottle I have had several times before, and is a seminal favorite of mine.   This is the first bottle of theirs I purchased,  and I’ve been a fan ever since.  For that alone, this will always be my favorite of theirs.   And because there’s hints of cinnamon and spices, it really complements this blend very well.  This is a well put together wine.  It’s not that it’s any better than the Kentucky Derby Blend.  It just has another aura of sentimentality, that the Derby one will also give me, if it hasn’t already.

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I enjoyed both with some grapes and walnuts.  But as the fact sheet suggests, pork, mushrooms, or other heartier dishes can work as well.  I’d say it’s a little more than a party bottle as opposed to the Derby.  So I understand their foodie recommendations.

I’ll tell you something.  These PDF’s I have linked in this post, are so user friendly and approachable.  I’ve learned so much just by reading these details.  This is so well done.

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One final note on the Kentucky Derby Blend.  You may have noticed that they are Out Of Stock though their website.  I bought this back in late March at Cranbrook Liquors of Cockeysville, MD, at their Dollar Days.  They had cases of them at the time.   I’d seen them in many shops all over the Baltimore area as of a week ago.  So you may be able to find them at your local wine store, wherever you may live.

I definitely recommend both bottles for this Saturday’s celebrations.  They may both be Red Blends, there are noticeable differences and are definitely pleasing to many palates.   The Hot To Trot can be drank all year round.   And just because the race ends Saturday, I see no reason why the Derby wine would be rendered obsolete.  It’s a great bottle as well.

I’ve had several more of their Varietals as well.   I look forward to writing about those in a future message.

Enjoy the week, enjoy the weekend, and of course, enjoy the Derby.

Take good care.

Best,

Ideen