Olympic Dinner Party


Well it might not be quite that big, but since we’re in the Olympic season, posts with these grandiose titles will exist for now.  I got a few more to go.

I’ve stated this before, if it wasn’t for this blog, there are certain wines that I have never attempted or given a chance.  I’m not one to discriminate but certain grapes haven’t always brought me satisfaction.  And when trying multiple bottles that confirmation (or confirmation bias) would ring true.

This was either a new one for me, or just one that never stood out in the past. That’s going to change for now.

A small and spontaneous dinner (hence why the Olympics post is a bit of hyperbole) with a friend definitely lent itself to some vino.  I brought one bottle (which I’ll get to next week) and she already had one picked out for tonight’s meal.  I went in without knowing what was on the menu, which I prefer sometimes.  It’s fun to be in the dark, it makes it all the more exciting.


To my delight, I present you the Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2014 from Portugal.  This was a joy to sip.  And sipping was an understatement, I nearly caught myself chugging this thing. Chugging and wine could not be more of an oxymoron.


That color, that fizz, that crispness, and everything else was so easy to drink.   This was happening even before dinner was served. I needn’t get carried away, but I did.   The conversation was going great that I forgot what I was doing.  That tends to happen.  And at the point the quality of the wine isn’t that important.  But if the energy and company is awesome, and the wine is on par with that, it’s a double-bonus. And at $11.00, my dear friend got a steal.


Upon second viewing of my photos, I can see a greenish tint of my glass.  If I’m mistaken, please let me know, but that could be part of the youthfulness of the wine itself.  Vinho Verde is its own varietal and not the grape itself.  More information can be found here.

Arinto is the grape.  That’s a new one for me.  But that’s where we get the lemony fresh taste in this wine.  This is fantastic.  Personally, we thought we got some pear and other citrus fruits, so the lemon is identifiable.  Most importantly, this is a great wine.


My friend made an amazing dish of Tilapia and organic vegetables.  The pairing of wine and food here is second-to-none.   I’m craving and appreciating our feast that just took place hours ago.

For our friends in Baltimore, this bottle is available at Chesapeake Wine Company.  And to fellow pals elsewhere, I found the North American distributor, Evaton USA.   Their contact info can be found here.   And finally, for the rest of the world, hopefully this link can lead you in the right direction.  And here’s one more.

This is a wine that’s meant to be shared with everyone.  Seriously, I may have become a convert.  It’s one with a lot of charm and endearment.

I wish you all a great week and last few days of these Olympics!

Oh and part two of this decadent feast is next week!





Easter Party – The Red


Ordinarily I would do a post that would preview a good wine or two to enjoy for a holiday or event.   It didn’t quite work out that way, or maybe this is always how it was meant to be.

Instead I will be working backwards.  I will recap two wines I had at the most extraordinary Easter party I’ve ever attended.  I sincerely mean that.

I didn’t know what I was going to bring or where I was going to to find them. However, my intent was to pair and complement one red and one white with the respective foods that were going to be served.

The main course consisted of, well I’ll get to that next week.

The appetizers and desserts is what we were responsible for.  This is an eclectic group and the food is going to be from all over the map.  And I literally mean all over.  It’s diverse and so well-rounded. It’s what makes us all unique.  It’s what makes us all blessed.  We all have value and bring something different to the table.

On that note, we’re also all the same. We want good company, good food, and most of all feel good about ourselves. The simple pleasures is what keeps us going.

With that somewhat melodramatic diatribe out of the way, I basically wanted to say I needed to find a good red that pairs with a few appetizers.  One of them was Persian Mortadella with Barbari bread and feta cheese, which I brought.


My adventures led me back to Total Wine in Towson, MD.

After sampling a few Easter recommendations I got assistance from Mark G. who swiftly pointed me in the right direction of some low-cost bottles for the holiday.

He echoed many of my sentiments that I write about week-to-week.   Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.  And when you’re at a decent to large-sized gathering, food is being served, and the conversations are getting going, the last thing anyone is worried about is the intricacies of the wine they’re drinking.

As long as it tastes remotely decent, most people won’t care.  Even the most discriminating of tastes may give a second thought.  And if they do, it’s folks you may not to be friends with anyways. Ha.

For the red, I went with the superb QV Tinto from Carvalhas Winery of Portugal.  I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable of Portguese wines or the grapes that hail from there.  What I do now is this wine was fair for the price and pleasing to the palate.


The tasting notes are listed in the photo. But for this party it didn’t matter. However, it did taste a bit more medium-to-full then what the synopsis reads. That’s just my opinion. I also detected some pepper and spices that are not mentioned.   That’s where the fun begins and continues.

It’s fruit forward as it says but more importantly, it tasted great and the bottle never stood a chance.  I had the equivalent of one glass.   I would pronounce that a victory.


I consider part 1 of my one choices a victory as well.   I’m glad other folks enjoyed it as well.  And that’s what any holiday, party, or gathering is all about.   I was so grateful to be a part of it.  It was genuine gathering of friends, or moreso my Baltimore family, that all care for each other and want the best for everyone.    It’s a blessing to be a part of it.

I’ll leave with you my plate of yummy appetizers which consisted of the aforementioned mortadella, deviled eggs, ceviche, and other deliciousness too numerous to mention.


For a Total Wine near you, click here.

More deliciousness in part 2 next week.

All The Best and I hope you had a Happy Easter!




I Love Labs

This is simply going to be an homage to my favorite breed of dog, the Labrador Retriever.   Oh yes.  My whole being glows when thinking about them or when one crosses my path.


Dogs are what life’s all about.  They love you, want to be your companion, and will always stand up for what’s right.  Labs, like the majority of dogs, only want the simple things back; food, water, love, shelter, and a few related things in between.  They don’t ask for much.

At the heart of it most of us human beings don’t want much more than that either.

We like to enjoy a nice meal, good company, vacations and other outings, or maybe a journey to our favorite restaurant or watering hole.   So I found the most appropriate wine that symbolizes all of this.

I adore the happily titled Lab, from Casa Santos Lima Winery out of Portugal. What I am reviewing is the 2013 Label. The 2012 is what the site lists.

Aside from Syrah, the grapes are; Tinta Roriz which for us in the states we would know as Tempranillo.   35% is Castelao, which is a grape mainly found in Portugal.   Last but certainly not least is Touriga  Nacional, which is highly touted.

For such a simple pleasure it seems like a complicated wine and I didn’t meant to write this post as so.  If I drank this blindly I wouldn’t assume this was a bottle that goes  for under $10 just about anywhere.  It drinks like a $20+  bottle and maybe approaching $50.

This is all my opinion but this wine rocks. That’s a scientific term by the way.   I love this wine so much.  I want to cuddle with it like I do my favorite dog.   The label drew me in.  I mean how could it not?

It’s going to taste better simply because of the artwork.  If it doesn’t for you then I can’t help you there.

And the wine was marvelous anyways.  I got some black cherry, some unidentifiable spices, but most of all I got joy.  This is a winner.

Just like last week, I’ve been proclaiming what a softy I am when it comes to animals, and dogs in particular.  So this is only the beginning.


And I mean that because as you see in this photo, and linked here, labs come in all shapes and sizes.  Did you see how I framed that?  I love ’em.


We enjoyed our vino with one of those simple things, a good slice of pizza (or two).  And it may not be the ideal pairing for these grapes but we didn’t care.  It worked for us and that’s all that matters. If it works for you then that’s exactly what I’m saying.

For our friends in Baltimore and Maryland, their wines can be found at Cranbrook Liquors and roots market, respectively.   For elsewhere, they can be contacted here.

More Lab wine reviews will be forthcoming.  This is just the beginning of an amazing journey.

On a not-so-final note, I’ve never had a dog of my own.   If there ever was a sign…

I Love Lab(s),