Count Those Blessings

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Because you can count them maybe more than the amount of anything else in your life.  There’s always much to be thankful for.

I know what’s going on.  I’m at a strange place in life, yet it’s so exciting.  In the many post I’ve made, I’ve changed as a person, yet remained the same.  Whether that’s or good bad is all in the universe’s hands.  Well maybe mine too.

But time keeps moving along, and my tastes in not just wine, but in food, in social situations, hobbies, and personal development have either evolved or I’ve had those existential questions, and moments of, what next?

As much as it’s important to be present, and live in the moment, there’s always a what next.  That can be a good thing or it could leave one in quite the predicament.

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Yet for now, we take it back to a great homemade pizza dinner, with great friends, and I decided to bring two bottles from Ninety Plus Cellars.

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Two wines, because I loved that unknown aspect of what pizzas were going to be made.  I mean I had some idea, so I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s fun to take a chance, and see if the wines pair with the pies.  There is something to what grape goes with certain cheeses, sauces, and toppings.

And then again there is something to having however you want it.

The pizza was great, and you can read more about that here. But today I talk about the wine.

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I’ll get the weak out of the way first.   The 2016, Lot 116 Cabernet Sauvignon left a lot to be desired.  I’m so grateful we opened this bottle after dinner, because if we had this with pizza, or with anything, this dinner would tell a different story.

And don’t get me wrong, the best part of dinner is the socializing and the company.  So the better the food and the wine, that’s just a bonus.  But still, thank goodness we saved this for the end.  Even after giving it time to breathe, the Cabernet Sauvignon tasted like it was open for way too long.

If you’ve ever ordered wine at the bar, and it tasted skunk, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that least ordered, lesser popular tasting wine at the bar, that will be disposed of, if you ask politely.

That may sound harsh, but maybe it was a bad bottle.   Because no Cabernet can taste that bad.  Seriously.

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From that we go to a stellar bottle.   The 2016 Lot 23 Old Vine Malbec is an absolute treasure.  I wish I had brought two of these, at least.

This wine can go with so many different kinds of wine, or simply by itself.  This is just a matter of personal opinion.   Those dark fruits you know and love, such as plum, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries may their understated yet profound impression felt.  I say that this wine has so much going for it.  It has structure, depth, and endearing quality that will resonate with you long after finishing your glass, or in our case, the bottle.

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We had it with hummus, carrots, and the pizza!

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A medium amount of tannins are going to make your tongue feel so good.  It did for me.  Most of all, to me, when you have this smokey or oaky type of taste that lingers towards the end, you have my kind of wine. 

If a friend were to describe my kind of wine, this would be lighter version of it.  And I’m all for it.  This was fantastic.

But speaking of endearing, so was this whole evening…

What I also recall is one of our party really loving the Cabernet more so than the Malbec. That’s what makes this journey so fun.  We all like different things.

Both bottles are likely to be found for under $15.

But in the end, we all share a bottle, a meal, some laughs, and some great conversation.

We are one an we are the same.  That makes me feel good.

For more on Ninety Plus; here is their wine list, their story, their online ordering information, their contact information,  and where you can find their wines near you.

Counting my blessings…

Ideen

Behold The Rain, Which Descends From…

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The title is the beginning of a famous quote from the great Benjamin Franklin.  The entire quotation can be found here.   But it has to do with wine, and it’s a beautiful thing alright.

It’s one of those lines that makes me feel good about drinking wine, appreciating all the nuances of wine, and simply just being one with vino.

So it brings me such joy to discuss The Federalist wine collection, which I only recently discovered in the last week.

How does this label go unnoticed by me, for so long?  Has it not been not out that long?  Important questions, but what’s important is that I found it now, I got to try it now, and I can tell you with great confidence, that I adore this wine.   This is the 2015 Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon.

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There’s not much to this wine, yet there’s so much.  You’ve got your usual dark berries, and the description reads a touch of cinnamon spice.   A wine this full of body, structure, and life is perfect for this time of year, the holidays, and any time that feels cold and you want to relax in the luxury of your home or a friends home.  Isn’t it funny that I say the word ‘luxury’ when The Federalist collection prides themselves on being called Luxury Wine.  That’s word association my friends.  They got me!

At around $15-$17, and maybe listed a bit higher in some retailers, it’s worth it’s weight in dare I say, Benjamins.  I did just say that.   No but it’s worth spending more than the usual $10-$15 I prefer to find in my vintages.

And enjoy this at a friends house I did, as we watched something called the Olympics.  Maybe you’ve heard about them.

This post is also a special for the city of Philadelphia.  They’re celebrating something special and this is my tip of the cap and homage to the city of Brotherly Love and a city that is so fun to visit.  In that spiritual essence, for me to grab the Benjamin Franklin label bottle doesn’t seem like a coincidence.

I don’t believe in such things.

But I do believe in this wine and what is represents.  It’s a simple Cabernet Sauvignon, yet those are often the best kinds.  The tannins, the depth, the structure, and the finish that lasts and lasts is what makes this wine truly a winner.   I think enjoying it with good company, watching an event we only see ever so often, makes the wine and experience all that much better.

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Oh yes there was some pizza as well.  For more on this amazing slice, click here!

This wine and experience was worth it.  I always question what takes me so long to discover such charming labels and even more charming wine.  But that’s always the joy of this lifelong journey.  We’re not meant to have every wine, and every mine is not meant to find us.   It’s definitely a great ride when you’re sipping one after the other, at a tasting, or with friends.  But the best bottles are always the ones savored, appreciated, and shared with good company.

That’s what life is all about.  That and a celebration of great events that only come ever-so-often, a celebration of American heroes, and a celebration of ourselves.  We’re pretty awesome too!

I would love to try another Federalist Wine down the line, and I’m confident the experience will be just as breathtaking.   I’m in full Olympics mode so my words may mirror some of the enchanting (there we go..) performances I’ve seen thus far.

For more on The Federalist; here is their wine list (with other magnificent historical figures by the way), their story, where you can find their wines near you, and of course their contact information.

I can’t wait to see where this ongoing wine party takes me next.

Take good care and peace be with you.

Ideen

The Journey Is The…

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I called another audible this week.   Plans are meant to change, otherwise this life can be stagnant and even though things are going according to plan, it might feel like we’re going through the motions.

Happy 4th of July by the way.  I did have something wine and food related in find the festivities, but it once again didn’t feel right and didn’t fit with how I’m feeling and thinking at the time.    It doesn’t fit with how I’m feeling currently either.

Gratitude is something I feel I don’t express enough.  And the people we love the most we may not see enough.  It’s life.  We get busy, we busier, and then the unfortunate truth is if the friendship isn’t fully nourished, it can lead to out of sight and out of mind.  We’ve been on both sides of the equation, whether or not we realize or notice it.  I’m observant and I see it, but probably don’t see it all.

Thankfully these friends I’ve kept in touch with and see frequently, so when we get to wining and dining, it feels like old times and it feels like we’ve been doing this for years. We have been doing this for years.

My goodness where is the time going.  This blog is past two-and-a-half years.  Sometimes it feels, no.. It feels just right.

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So when my dear friends are making a spectacular dinner,  I’m going to ask what wine to bring.  And I don’t ask what they’re making.  It keeps it fresh, exciting, and suspenseful. So when the suggestion is Sauvignon Blanc, I’m intrigued.   And my friend could have said just about any grape and I might have said the same thing.  So two sentences ago was more for dramatic affect.

First. the meal.

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The meal included a delicious salad with some savory lettuce and the freshest carrots I’ve had in some time.  It tasted fresh out of the farm.  As a matter of fact I believe it was.

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The main course was this whole grain pasta with vegetables and this most succulent of shrimp.  I’m writing this so late into the night and I’m craving some right now, or maybe I’m just delirious with happiness.

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So I’ve talked about everything but the wine.   And that’s not on purpose.  It’s how this story worked out.  I think the Sauvignon Blanc from Ponga Planet is refreshing, light, charming, and endearing.  And it fit the realm of this entire meal.

The notes mention flavor of nectarine, lime, and grapefruit.  And whether or not you or I taste or even catch a glimpse of any of those flavors doesn’t truly matter.   Floral finishes and aftertastes are cool to discuss, but this wine was simple easy to drink.  And at the same time, roughly around $10 retail value.  And I feel like that’s a slight bargain.

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I feel like the dinner went by rather quickly.  And that may be representative of how things are going in our lives.  We’re occupied with so much and taking time to make a meal (which I don’t do often enough), sit down, have meaningful (or light-hearted) conversations, and actually listen to each other is a sadly missing art.  And it shouldn’t be.  It’s one of the most beautiful things.

But you know what else is beautiful?  Us.  That we have the opportunity to have a meal, a glass, a chat with the people we care about.  It’s these endearing and heartening experiences that I think about periodically and when I do they make me smile.  I think that’s what many of us want out of life, to keep it simple.

And Ponga keeps it simple.  The Sauvignon Blanc is their one wine.  How much more accessible can you get?

Their story is beautiful.   In the middle is this inspirational story about the Ponga Fern, which is the inspiration for this wine.  I love this so much.

To find the Ponga Planet Sauvignon Blanc near you, this link is accessible just like everything else surrounding this wine.   And finally here is their contact information.

I love this wine that much more, as I reminisce and get all nostalgic.  That’s when you know something is special.  If it hits a nerve and resonates with you in a way that happens organically you know you were a part of something special.  The great food, and more importantly the even greater company helps.

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Here’s to many more lifetime memories and experiences that bring us all joy.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

Not One But…

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Two Oceans from South Africa is likely one of many wines I gloss over at my nearby wine shoppes and never think to purchase.   Actually I know it is because I can’t recall ever having any of their wines. This is not meant as a negative.  It’s just the reality of things.  There is so much wine in the world that there will never be enough time to consume it all.  I can come close but what would be the fun in that?  It’s something about a journey.

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Just like last week I’m following these newly created wine celebration days, and intend to honor these days just like they were the big holidays of the year.  Ok, maybe not that overly sentimental and dopey, but I think you know what I’m saying.  With that being said, National Sauvignon Blanc Day took place (as of this posting) two days ago, on the 24th.

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I have some friends, men and women, close to me who find Sauvignon Blanc to be their favorite wine and drink it exclusively.  Well I don’t know how believable that is but I’ll take them at their word.  It’s not one of my favorites but I’ve had some varietals that were pleasing to the palate, easy to drink, and went down smoothly.  I basically used the similar terms in three different fashions.  Yeah.

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So the 2015 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc can be classified as one of those aforementioned descriptions.   It started off slow mainly because I wanted to sip immediately.  That’s me being a little too excited.  I had the company of a friend who reminded me to let it breathe.  For the initial first few sips gave me a headache.  And that’s not how you want to judge a wine, especially for such a monumental occasion.

After a few minutes things did open up nicely.   My friend agreed that the wine went down easy, and this was without having any food to pair with.   I would say this leans more towards the medium bodied Blancs that may require some finger foods or a meal.

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Well the suggestions the bottle reads were unavailable to us but thankfully we had some hummus and carrots to help ease our appetite.  It wasn’t the warmest or sunniest of days but as the weather improves the lighter and healthier choices will hopefully take precedent.  Easier said that done, maybe.   But this wine, with a little conversation and good times, got better after each sip and after each glass.

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One of the joys of sharing wine with someone is it takes on a life of its own.  After a while the setting becomes just as, if not more important than the wine itself.  And if the time is enjoyable than the wine itself becomes the same.  And sometimes a wine tastes that much better than it has any reason to be.  I’m not sure how to categorize this one other than it was a grower.   And at $10 or less in most shoppes, it’s a good value and an easy-drinking wine that can he had immediately and for any occasion.

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It’s not the best I’ve ever had but it did its job nevertheless.  And the images on the label do remind one of the warmer weather months.  And that’s always a good thing.

If it wasn’t for wine I wouldn’t know what Gooseberry is.  I may or may not have had it in other whites but the taste has been hard to detect for me.   Tropical fruits and a smooth finish make this wine what it is.  I would love to try similar wines with similar fruits and berries to see if certain ones stand out.    With the weather getting brighter this is a strong possibility.

So far I think this is a good starting point.

For more on Two Oceans Wines click here.  And here is their contact information.

When presented the opportunity I would be delighted to sample more of their wines and hope I get to do just that.

I hope you had a Happy Sauvignon Blanc Day, which like any other wine day, doesn’t need a specific day to celebrate.  But I think it does add to the fun.

More fun days to come.

Ideen