Can Every Wine Taste Like This?

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No that’s not possible and it would take the fun out of it.   However, the 2014 Domaine Bethet-Rayne Cotes Du Rhone Rouge (yeah that’s a mouthful) is one of those bottles that takes me back to why I got into red wines in the first place.

I have no concrete explanation or inspiring reason other than the dark fruits and the stronger tannins makes this a wine you can drink nearly all year round.  I say nearly because as it gets hotter, this wine, along with most medium-to-full bodies reds, would be better served indoors.

But for the purposes of this event, this is a continuation of last weeks’ marathon, which never intended to be, at the great restaurant, Mezze, in historic Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.

What meant to be just one or two glasses of wine, turned into two bottles between some friends.  And there was everything right with this.  And then everything right some more. After we enjoyed that thrilling white the transition into a red felt like the organic and proper transition at the time.

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So per our servers’ suggestion and a mutual agreement we went with this Rhone.  It’s a bottle I’ve never recalled seeing in my local wine or spirits shoppe.  And have yet to see since.

Maybe Mezze is onto something.   Our two bottles were not necessarily the most obscure, but, they almost seem exclusive to them.  That’s quite the draw.  And you either need to be unique or be ignored.

Often times we see many restaurants carry a mix of standard labels and a few unique wines to stand out from the crowd.  Others’ only carry the bottles that are readily available in stores for half the price, if not more.  And there’s no right or wrong to any of this.  But when I find a gem like this and can’t find it anywhere else, it will make me want to come back the source.  Maybe this is a unique scenario but this is smart business.

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This wine is the essence of Spring and early Summer.  Look at that color?  It has a little fruitier and dare I use a wine term, jammier, look to it.  It shines brighter than many reds and Rhones you will have.  Which makes me pleasantly surprised how close to full bodied it is.

I’m going to steal part of the synopsis here but it does read supple tannic structure, and that is spot on.  Without reading that, you would pick up on this and be amazed but how well put together this wine is.   I just wish I could find it in a store near me so I could have this as part of my regular rotation.

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As a first time though I’m thrilled I got to share it with friends in a beautiful outdoor setting.  30 minutes became an hour, an hour became longer, and you know how the rest goes.   The olives that paired with this and our white I wrote about last week really hit the spot.  Lighter fare on a warmer day is always going to pay dividends to your spirit, your body, and overall well-being after the fact.

This is a wine to savor, appreciate, and enjoy with every sip.  That’s how a good wine should be.  That’s how a good life should be.

For those interested in find out more, here is a link to the wineries’ site.

I don’t remember what we paid for the wine here (and in many ways it’s priceless), but websites listed it between $15-20 and that’s more than fair and more than reasonable.

What may be of more assistance is the local distributor is Elite Wine Imports based out of Northern Virginia.

And finally for more on Mezze click here.  They’ve always done my friends and I a great service when it comes to food, vino, and top of the line service.

 

Lets do it again sometime, shall we?

Ideen

 

Earth Hour 2.0

 

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Helping this universe in any way, shape, or form shouldn’t be a one or two time thing. This is a two-post thing but I wish it could be longer.  But it wasn’t supposed to be.  Earth Hour is a beautiful event.

After last weeks intro, it’s only fitting that I finish with a wine that is not necessarily the most sentimental to me, but one is definitely one that has always tasted the same, tasted great and tasted like any good wine should.

The 2015 Charles Thomas Cotes du Rhone Rouge is a wine I’ve had for several vintages and seen it at many a wine shop, seen in on many a wine list at the bar, and found it to be all around accessible and approachable.  That’s what you want from a wine like this, especially the latter.   Oh and of course the price. $10, give or take is the norm but I would pay a little bit more for this.  The 2015 especially.

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This is even better than I remember ever it ever tasting.   This not meant to be an insult, but only a compliment, but for some reason it actually sipped better than it had any reason to.   I hope that makes sense.  It’s not supposed to be this good.   $10 wines are good but not always this good.   I also hope you sense the facetiousness.

It’s heavy on the fruits.  Yes it’s that fruit forward term you may have heard about.  The berry fruits take over and for the occasion this was perfect.  And with the hearty meal of meats, veggies, and pastas, this was even more the perfect wine to pair with this meal.

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It’s a lot lighter than many Rhone Rouge’s I’ve had, and even with this breakdown (50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre), it’s a wine even exclusively sweet wine drinkers can appreciate.

Yet this is a wine you can have with anything.  I also thing that after the first bottle, this was even better and more refreshing than I remember.

What also helps is I wasn’t alone in my sentiments.   This wine never had a chance.  I think I was lucky to half one full glass.   It was being drawn to like a magnet.  Or maybe it was the ratatouille you see pictured.   A perfect French dish served with an equally awesome French wine makes me happy.  Whenever you can pair a wine with a meal this in syncopation it feels validating, it feels good, and it feels victorious.

The other victory was getting a few last second photos before it was Earth Hour.

I’ll admit and admit it some more, I’m so terrible with my cell phone obsession.  It would be safe to say I’m not alone in this feeling.  For a fleeting moment I started to feel weird that I would have my cell phone turned off for an hour and be without any communication.  But that feeling was gone immediately.   The hosts went above-and-beyond in putting together a stellar feast that my words will never be able to give its proper due.

And being able to remember fondly before and during Earth Hour is better than any staring aimlessly at my mobile phone every few seconds for no good reason.   I shouldn’t have even get to this point.  I and we should embrace life without having to take a break to habitually push a few buttons and tap on the screen, and then go back to embracing life.  That’s not a healthy way to be.

I wished I hung around longer.  About 90 minutes in I didn’t see anyone need or want to use any technology.

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There was enough food, drink, excellent company, and natural light that nothing else was necessary.  This should be the rule and not the exception.  It’s unfortunate that I’ve got to this point.  It’s not even something I should claim ownership on, but it’s something that can be remedied immediately.  Wow.  This is a wine blog I know, not cell phone addicts anonymous.  I rather be addicted to one over than the other.

The moral to all of this is life is good.  Wine is good.  Food is good.  People are good.  And life is good.   Hey, I just said that but it is.

For more on this wine and the distributor, click here.   But like I said, it’s easy to find. I’ve seen it at many nearby wine shops and I’m willing to bet you will find this at a wine shop near you.

And even more importantly, here is more on Earth Hour.

Stay healthy,

Ideen

My Original Rhone

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This is another one of those posts I didn’t necessarily plan or time to coincide with National Drink Wine Day, that occurred on February 18th, here in the states, because to me and many of us, that’s a daily ritual.

But nevertheless, this is the kind of wine that would only feel write to discuss.  It’s one that has thrown in sentimentality to me the past few years, for a multitude of reasons.

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I’ll first say that the Famille Perrin Reserve Côtes du Rhône Rouge from Château de Beaucastel Winery in the southern part of the Rhone Valley of France.  (Like I know where that is.)

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is likely the first Red Blend or Rhone from France that I ever had the opportunity of trying.  I say this with the understanding and possibility that I’ve had others before, but I was oblivious to the region, to the type of grapes, and to the significance of how wine is created.  So I would like to say this was my first and I truly hope it is.

It’s also the first that really made me appreciate why I love wine, and why I love sharing my wine with others.  And that feeling is reciprocal.  This was also a bottle that dear friends, and I may even consider them family, introduced to me.

The location does not matter.  It’s that old cliche of not where you are but who you’re with that truly matters.  In this instance that is exactly right.

I was introduced to this by a couple of close friends that have ties to the region, whether it’s their native land and can speak the language, have a sentiment for the wine itself, or something bigger than any of that.  There’s always layers to this thing which you may not see on the surface.

Speaking of layers, this is a wine when I first tried was a breath of fresh air.  It was just different than I was accustomed too.  It seemed ripe full of tannins, loaded with strawberries and other fine fruits, and had a rouge (as the name suggests) color that did have a different tint than what I’m accustomed too.  Now this might all be more than I’m making it out to be.  But there was just something about it.

And the place where I first shared it at was ironic.  It was more of a pub atmosphere than a wine bar.  I’ll tell you at the time and looking back on it, this couldn’t be more perfect.  In a sea of cold beer and mixed drinks, this was the savior to all that.  None of that was the intent.  But for me this has significant value I will always look back on fondly.

Yes the people I shared this bottle with also made this experience all the more grande.  Not just anyone would be a part of this.  So there were those few folks who shared the same affinity and joy for this wine, like I did, and likely much more.

What’s important to know is I still keep in touch with these pals.  Sometimes I still get to see them.  That makes this part of my past even more meaningful.  It’s more than just bar friends, these are dear friends, and you might even call them family.  If I had lost touch or think I’d never see them again, than I would still feel some sense of nostalgia, but it would be different.  Make sense?

The fun part of all this is we didn’t just share a glass. We usually got a bottle or two.  And I would say the vintages ran from 2009-2011.  Yes we did this for a while and on numerous occasions, for a stretch run of at least a year, maybe two, and maybe more?   There’s joy in that.  It wasn’t a one and done.  Nurtured and growing bonds come from this.  It could be wine, or it could be anything that does the trick.   But wine can really form deep and spiritual connections if you scratch the surface, even just a little.   Or for some it’s just give me a class and let’s move on.  I would prefer the former. 🙂

People move on, they get busy, some get busier, and some just grow a part.  Even though I had mentioned I still consider these people great friends, I don’t see them as much.  I don’t see them enough.  And whenever I come across a Perrin Wine, I still get a bit emotional and look back on this time fondly.   It was nothing out of the ordinary.  It was just good friends drinking good wine.

There’s old memories and then there’s new memories.  Not all memories are  created equal but relatively they can all be awesome.

I was at a local wine shoppe recently, on my way to a fun event that a dear friend told me about.   And for me, bringing a bottle is just a part of this thing.  It’s me on auto-pilot and knowing to never come empty-handed to an event.  Little did I know the significance of this one.

I purchased the 2014 version, simply because I saw it was one of the more affordable options on the shelf.  And when I mean affordable, I mean under $10.  And I’ve seen it was low as $7, and not just on sale days.   I didn’t realize what I had bought until I showed up at what I hope becomes a new tradition, Club 603.

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If it wasn’t for someone who I now consider family, I would have likely never been here. Maybe the universe would lead me here in a different direction.  But I don’t think so.

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This event represents what it’s like to be around good people, good friends, and what feels like a family atmosphere.

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It’s a monthly (or sometimes more or less) concert event held in someone’s living room, in a gorgeous house, in a gorgeous part of Baltimore.   And what’s all the more gorgeous is everyone is bringing something to the party.

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As you can see there’s nothing but food, food, and more food.

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There will be no pictures of music or musicians.  That’s up to your imagination, or if you’re in the area, a reason for you to visit.

Oh there’s plenty of alcohol too.  I brought my wine and only got to have a glass.  That’s the sign that what I brought to the table was liked by one person.  Even though I didn’t ake the wine, it still feels good.  The same thing happened the month prior.  I literally had half a glass. That makes me feel good.  It’s the little things that are the big things.

And I say month prior because I’m so fortunate to have been at a few of these events, and feel all the more welcome each time.   And now new memories are being created, and yes that good old Perrin is now attached to a new experience.

If there’s one negative, it’s either the vintage has changed, my palate has changed, or it’s just my tastes have evolved.  I would say it’s possibly all and much more than that.   The wine till had that Red Blend (Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah) I’ve come to love, but the sweetness was not there like before. It could be a number of reasons, time and place, temperature, the vintage has evolved, or maybe I’ve evolved.

I’ve had many blend since that have wowed and me disappointed me.  This is one that will have a historic and profound significance to me for a long to come.

If you go to your local wine shoppe there’s a chance that you will find this bottle.  It’s one of the most standard and massed produced wine you’re going to find.  And that’s meant as a positive. It’s accessible, affordable, drinkable, and an everyday wine for every occasion.

The whole point of the wine experience, is to learn something about wine, but most importantly learn more about yourself, and to feel good.  There’s a lot of generalities but the intent is positive.  Wine has created some amazing memories.  Life is about creating good memories to look back on when times are great, or sometimes not-so-stellar.

For my one previous post on the the Famille Perrin Wines, go here.

For more on Club 603, click here.

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I don’t know the next time I’ll be at this said event.  But when I do I will bring another bottle (or two), and maybe do another post to pay tribute to the wines I love and more importantly, the great people I’ll share it with.

Thankful and grateful,

Ideen

 

 

 

Winner Winner

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It’s already February.  How did this happen?   The holiday season is way in the rear view mirror.  And what we have now is the transitional period of waiting for winter to slowly end before the festivities of Spring begin.

Now that sounds negative.  A transition period seems to have a negative connotation if interpreted that way.  But thankfully for those of us in Maryland it’s been a bit milder than usual.   What this means is instead of hibernating and disappearing which tends to happen around this time, we now have more people wanting to hang out and host beautiful dinner parties with beautiful friends, who have even more beautiful souls.

I’ve been honored to attend these several of these convocations throughout my time on this earth, and lately the amount if escalating.  Maybe it’s destiny, as it gives me more ideas and inspiration to share.

This dinner was more of the low-key variety.  To be more specific, it was a quiet one for two.  I have the honor of knowing lots of great people in Baltimore, and to be invited into someone’s house is a treat I never take for granted and fully appreciate.

As always, with dinner, I never come empty handed.  And I don’t remember the last time I didn’t bring wine.

I was told ahead of time by my friend that a chicken stir fry type of dish would be on the menu.  And when it comes to that kind of specificity, I want to bring something to complement the dinner and the theme.

Leave it to one of my new go-to’s at Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits to come through once again.

I had done my research.  A lighter wine made sense with a likely spicy stir fry dish.  Pinot Noir and Beaujolais seemed like the obvious.  But it’s not always about the obvious.  We can’t always follow the suggested, how accurate they may be.   It’s good to go with an instinct or in this instance, a little help from beyond.  Let me not so be dramatic.  There’s a great staff at this shoppe.  And one in particular steered me to try the 2014 Mas Carlot Tradition Rouge.   At only $12, I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to win, and learn from regardless.

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This wine was a grower.  I’ll explain shortly.

I got to my friends place and literally got to experience the entire crafting of the dinner until the end.  There was a slow build in the conversation which tends to be a lot of my doing, or maybe for other people too.  But I like it that way.  It’s a nourishing kind of discussion.  I may start off a bit awkward, but after a little wine and a few appetizers, and maybe just a little more libations, my senses are calmed and heightened.

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The conversation grows organically as it was always destined to be.  And just like our discussion is breathing and evolving, so was the wine.  This whole process took on a life of its own  I’m not sure how much time went by, from when this bottle was opened until completion.

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This medium bodied wine got better after a few sips and enough time to breathe.   Some folks or experts would say it had opened up nicely.  That’s exactly what happened whatever semantics you want to use.

Grenache and Syrah carry most of the weight.  And carries it well.  And a little Mourvedre goes a long way.

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There were definitely some kind of spices along with those darker fruits that tend to embody wines from the Rhone Valley.   I see there were notes of strawberries.  How perfect that strawberries were the dessert.  I know I’m skipping around the order but it needed to be mentioned.  And I’m not always about proper order.

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It worked so well with the shrimp we had beforehand.  It was going to work with everything.  Enjoying yourself, the company we keep, and everything that goes with it makes just about any wine that much better.

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The dinner was marvelous.  The simple time are always the best.  I feel like this was the best wine under this circumstance.  We were meant to have this in that moment. I don’t know if this a wine I will ever have again.  And if that’s the case I’m fine with that.

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I only say that because it’s a label I’ve never seen before and wouldn’t stick out right away in most instances. For more on this wine, here is the official site which you can translate.   A little for more can be found here.

Once again, if it’s the only time I ever have this wine, it will be fitting.  It will remind me of this enjoyable evening I had and nothing else.

And nothing else needs to be said.

Ideen