Keep That Momentum..

13.5Wine&Food

I can count the times on one, maybe two hands that I’ve been to 13.5% Wine Bar in the always enjoyable Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore.

13.5WineBar

That number just went up and is going to continue to go up if each visit is like the last one.   Every time I’ve been here I’ve always felt comfortable sitting at the bar outside, whether it’s with people or by myself.  The first time I visited was over six years ago, and I came here purposely alone.  I loved everything about it, and while company is great, so can be solitude.

This time I had a friend join me, but not before our bartender Mackenzie (big thanks to her for her hospitality and kindness) had me try three wines on the spot.  An impromptu tasting will always make me happy.  Maybe I made a wish to the universe and three bottles magically showed up.

13.5TheWines

Here are the three : The 2017 Pato Frio “Cashmere” Rosé; the 2016 Chalk Hill “Wits End” Vermentino, which is a new varietal and grape for me out of Australia, and my favorite the 2016 Three Brooms Riesling.

RieslingGlass

They’re all good to great with the Riesling having the most character, boldness, and structure.  To me it tastes more like a Sauvignon Blanc, and the tasting notes would say the same.  I don’t usually appreciate Riesling’s, but this was so good that a few 3 oz. pours would say I truly loved this wine.

Yes, 3 oz. pours make it easier to try multiple wines at even more reasonable prices.   I stuck with my Riesling, and kept that momentum going.  Even per other recommendations, I wanted to stick with what made me happy.

I haven’t seen these wines sold anywhere near me, so this seems to be the place to have them, for now…

I appreciate the honesty and transparency of what these wines would cost at retail.  I don’t recall if I’ve seen menus like this anywhere else.  It’s welcome to see.  This is new to me, but it’s a detail that’ll keep me coming back.

13.5Food

My friend and I had a good time catching up, talking about important things, talking about absurd things, and then nothing at all.  The small plates were great, and in a way symbolizes that the little things are the big things, and that’s what matters.

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Something about 13.5 has always brought joy to me.  It’s a getaway within a city.  If I want to be around people I don’t know, or don’t always see it’s perfect.  I like the anonymity and a different part of the city that while I do explore, I don’t explore enough.

The weather was perfect and ideal for sitting outside, but then the chances of a tasting and who knows what else may not have happened.  It’s all about location and timing, and I think, no I know, the decisions were made right.

You can’t force these things.  You can’t force good times and you can’t force your hand.  Being in the right place, at the right time, with a little divine faith is all you need.  And the universe will do the rest.

The universe looked out for us here.  This was tremendous in all areas.

Rosé and whites have slowly been done, with so many more to try.  There’s still the reds. There’s still plenty of time to try them all, but that journey will be done slowly, surely, and effortlessly.  Well maybe not too slow.

13.5TheWineBottles

This is to be continued, as we keep that momentum…

Salud.

Ideen

A Peaceful Day In Annapolis

PerrinReserveRose&Hummus2

How often do you got a second to yourself?   If you allow it, I bet we have more time to all the things we want, then we realize.  It’s an ongoing thing, this thing of ours.  No not that kind of thing of ours, but life.   Life is good, and going to the places that make you feel good is what this life is all about.

Annapolis makes me feel good.  Actually it’s the mood I’m in that decides whether or not a place is going to make you happy.   But the setting helps.

For my past history with wine in Annapolis, go here.

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I’ve been to 49 West (here is more about them, their menu, live music calendar, and contact information) several times, and  wrote about it once, in a different universe. and without going back and rereading it, I’m sure many of the same sentiments will appear.

It’s easy to explain this place but then it’s not.   It’s coffee, wine, food, community, live music, and everything in between.  I haven’t had the privilege of seeing any bands or solo artists play live, but I look forward to it, and I imagine the setting makes it all the more intimate than it already is.

I also haven’t gotten to appreciate all the food and drink that’s at our disposal.

When the weather gets to be where it is (and I’m not complaining, I’m embracing) the food preferences will change, and the lighter the more necessary.  I think that makes sense…

PerrinReserveRose&Hummus

I’m in the mood for hummus and pita bread.  I’m always in the mood for that.  And the presentation was beautiful.  It’s hard to mess up hummus.  This was good, and by no means can I compare it to anywhere else.  It’s hummus and it’s good, it’s satisfying, and I like to tell myself I’m eating healthy.   The carrots and celery told me so.

PerrinReserveRose

There was a sign outside saying it’s Rosé time.  You may have heard.

I wanted to make this as uncomplicated as possible and I’m thankful the Rosé by the glass is the Famille Perrin Reserve, and it’s about as standard and basic as it gets.

PerrinReserveRose2

I’ve written highly about their Rhone in the past, and how it’s one help make me love wine the way I do.  This however is nothing special.  Yes this is a glass that’s just ‘there’.

In many ways that’s all I wanted.  I’m sometimes in no place to revel and talk about how amazing a wine is.  Sometimes you want average, you want standard, and you want simple. Not that they make the best stories, but sometimes they make the best stories.

It’s the quietest I’ve ever seen the place, but it was mid afternoon, and that’s just how I liked it. A few quick pictures later and then I just sat there.  And I was happy. This isn’t just about people watching…

There’s art watching, display watching, and watching nothingness.  That’s meant in a good way.  I wasn’t bored, I was peaceful.  I don’t get that enough.

This town brings me peace that I know I can find within myself.  We all have it.  These days where I’m exhausted and spiritually drained, I keep coming back here and appreciating all the gems of this town.  I don’t know a lot of people, but then I start recognizing everyone.  There’s so much comfort in that.

I’m going to enjoy everything I can because this is what Annapolis does for me and so many others.  It’s a place of happiness, peace, love, community, and support of local.

I’ll have more to say on 49 West soon.

Bless you Annapolis, thanks for ongoing memories that have brought me peace.

Love,

Ideen

 

 

What Can I Say…

SpyPigRoseWine&FoodDisplay

…I’m an animal lover.

But that doesn’t equate to expert wine analysis, but that’s not the point of this post, or many of my stories.  The intent is to give a lighthearted perspective with a bit of knowledge thrown in here and there.

I’m always learning, and when it comes to wine, it’s an going journey with a destination that hopefully never ends.  There was a dopey cliche somewhere in there, but it’s true.

The sun is finally out, and it took a lot longer, but good things come to those… Yeah another cliche.  But good things come to those who deserve it or don’t think about it.  It just comes, and it comes to them.

So it came to us and with a vengeance in some ways…  We’ve been bad and I guess we’ve finally been good and been rewarded with sun, life, daylight, and all the good things that Spring traditionally brings.

With that bring us Rosé season.   I know for many, it’s their favorite.  Folks that don’t fully embrace wine will drink Rosé for it’s simplistic qualities, for the color, the symbolism of Spring (and what’s to come), and all the good things in life.

Some take Rosé a bit more seriously when it comes to wine drinking.  It’s treated just like any other, like a peer, and like any wine that can be paired with a good meal or savored alone, or with dear friends.

Ironically the Syrah Rosé from Spy Pig (I get a laugh just typing that out and saying it out loud) is a lot more serious than on first viewing and initial sipping.  This is a solid wine at a reasonable price.  You should be able to find this for $10 and under at a retailer near you.  Here’s where to buy,  and more on their wines.

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When a label is that endearing, you might think that it’s covering up deficiencies with the wine itself.  This isn’t the case here.   And for something so affordable, you know what you’re getting it and depending on your palate, it’s either a pleasant surprise or meets expectations.

I’m not even the biggest Rosé fan, and I found this enjoyable.   Life changing it’s not, but it’ll make your day for sure.  And that’s an important of life.

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On a warm day like today, the color even looks more lively, and with red berries on the nose, and on the palate, it’s a simple, welcoming, and heartwarming wine that will make anyone feel good.

After an extended winter that has truncated Spring, this has been long overdue.  But like I said good things come, good things come in all kinds of packages and labels, and any chance to symbolically appreciate our animal friends, no matter how eccentric or enigmatic it might be, I’m all for it.

SpyPigRoseWine&Food

To say that my snacks (think you may recognize ’em) were subconsciously paired with my wine, could be an understatement.   In many instances, things just work out like that.

It’s those stories that might linger and feel memorable over time, as I look back and read memoirs from the past, or it could be a footnote.  I certainly doubt the latter.  Everything has a bigger meaning than just what’s right in front of you.  Sometimes what’s in front of you is all you have, and sometimes you don’t know what you have until after the fact.

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Where I’m going with this, I’m not quite sure.   This wine was simply fun, and I get the feeling this only the beginning with the Rosé wine discussion.

Only time will tell what’s next, and what will be discussed next week.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Be Yourself Or Be…

JoshMerlot3

Yeah I don’t know… Well after reading the notes for the 2015 Josh Merlot from Josh Cellars, this easily could have been a Father’s Day Special.  That either means I’ll be revisiting this in several weeks, or something else is to come.  Maybe both.   I love how I’m already talking about Summer when we’ve barely got teases of Spring.  I know right?

JoshMerlotWineNotes

Josh is one of those wines that my friends I have seen, shared on and off, and appreciated for the better part of the last 10 years.   It’s affordable (average price around $13), approachable, and has an aura about it that doesn’t need much of an explanation.

For more on Josh Cellars, here is their story, their contact info, and where you can find their wines near you.

JoshMerlotWine

Maybe its in the name itself.   Josh just sounds right, everything about it seems right, and here we are.

In this instance, a Merlot was the perfect choice.  The rain was coming down yesterday.  It’s coming down as I write this.   Merlot, to me, that has an energy about it, that it should be drank during grayer skies, murkier weather, and under perhaps conflicting conditions.

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That’s not to say Merlot should only be had under these circumstances.   No no, there’s a time and a place for any grape, at any time, and at your leisure.   There’s always exceptions to rules, and it’s wine, you follow your path, do your thing, and well, be yourself.

However, this Merlot, with its darker violet color and taste that it’s indescribable, yet I’m going to try anyways, is a hit.  It’s fantastic.  And for the mood and setting I was in, this wine found me, and I found them.  Even though my pals and I discovered Josh nearly a decade ago.  It felt like new times even though it’s a familiar face, or a familiar friend if you will.

Plums, cherries, and blackberries are part of the flavors you’ll find on the palate, and a soft tannin finish that is once again, approachable, and will draw you back in for more.  I had a couple glasses myself, and it got better by the minute.  This is one you’re going to definitely want to let breathe for a while.

The finish is what counts.  I can get all dopey on you and say, ‘it’s not how you start but how you’.., or some facsimile, but no thanks.   But how something ends will make everything leading up to it all that more vital in hindsight.

The understated levels of toasted oak are another complement to this wine that’s worthy of all the compliments.   You know its there but its not overpowering anything else.  I love oak, and for me, there can never be enough, but this is wondrous.

The 2015 Josh Merlot is a reminder of why I started loving wine in the first place, and confirms my love for the simple things in life, and further proof that great wine doesn’t have to be expensive, overpriced, or pretentious.   This is as down-to-earth and genuine as it gets.

JoshMerlot2

Speaking of the Earth, you can see my glass was shared with Mother Nature itself.  The rain on my glass is perhaps symbolic of a cleansing that was necessary.   We’re starting to see more green, more flowers blooming, and the bright colors finally emanating, and bringing us signs of joy, hope, optimism, and all the other reasons to feel happy about being alive.

JoshMerlot

Planting season is here and that segues into more time to be outdoors, doing all the great activities the universe wants us to do.

Josh Cellars has given us wines that the universe wants us to share, in any setting that makes you feel good.

Why it took me so long to write about them is just another of those questions.  All I can say is  more to come….

And be yourself, or be….

Love,

Ideen

 

 

Cast No Shadow

CuneRiojaWine

As I continue to write, I wonder if at some point the motivation wanes.  The whole point of doing things you enjoy is to keep on enjoying them.   As life accelerates, we want to do all the things possible that make us happy, keep us going, and keep us feeling well, alive.

There are days where I’m just so exhausted, that I just want to sit, relax, and do nothing.  And I do have days when I allow myself the opportunity to do just that.  There’s enough time for rest.  But at the same time there’s so much out there to do, explore, and appreciate.  There’s room and time for sleep later..

Or right now…

As much as I love sharing a glass with friends, family, and other wonderful people; a glass cherished alone is just as important.  It’s a place to disengage, detach, and become one with myself and one with vino.

I’ve had many a wine story with friends, and in solitude, that I either forgot to share, the timing didn’t feel right, or the statute of limitations has run out.   Some stories are just not meant to be told either.   Yeah I got a flair for the dramatics.

But the title of this post is something I think about.  I pour a lot into what I write, with a consistent schedule for the most part.  At some point my concern is that I become transparent and have little or nothing left to say.  So it’s of great importance to dial it back when I can.  That was the whole point of this post, but that won’t be happening today.

Which brings me to the 2014 Cune ‘Crianza Rioja Tempranillo from CVNE.

I went with a Tempranillo, because like the Pinot Noir, it’s light, usually easy to drink, and can be savored the whole year round.  And it’s a drinking wine for right now, not later.

This would easily classify as a wine you open as soon as you purchase it.  That’s what I did.

I find the notes and reviews of this wine highly endearing.  Yes you can easily detect plums and cherries if you don’t think so much, or maybe tell your mind that’s what you taste; and in addition to that I read cream of mushroom.  Mmm.. Now I love cream of mushroom soup, but to get that in a wine is truly something.

If you gave me a blind taste test, there’s absolutely no way I would mention mushrooms or any facsimile to describe this wine.  But that’s the fun of it.  There’s a lot of truth to what you might be tasting, and then it’s a lot of imagination and being a bit liberal with your sense of smell, and taste buds.  For the sake of argument, I’ll just say this is an easy to drink wine that’s not going to offend anyone, or change the world for that matter.

But I find it to be delightful and has a pleasing to the palate.  That’s all you can ask for.

CuneRiojaWineFood

I treated myself to some Chinese food to go with my wine, and it worked out well.   I snapped a few photos, came up with a few ideas, and then got some much needed rest…

…And then I wrote this out for you.   And that’s all I got for you, for now.

Well that, and saying for under $15, this is a solid buy.   But if you can find it for $10-$12, that’s more of what the wine tasted like for me.  Again, that’s just my opinion, and a few extra dollars spent here or there isn’t going to be the end of yours or my word in any way.

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As long as you keep casting that shadow…

Peace Be With You,

Ideen

 

 

Reds Before…

PinotProjectFlower

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.

PinotProjectInfo

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.

PinotProjectFood

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.

PinotProjectFlowers2

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

 

 

Oh What A Thing To Do

YalumbaWine&FoodDisplay

As promised, this is the continuation from last week.   It’s part two of my vacation.  Which was more of a home away from home.

And I love home.  It’s safe, peaceful, and a shelter from the sometimes chaotic and frenetic pace of the rest of the world.

And I love company.  I love the company of kind people, good people, the best people possible…  Then again you’re your own best company.   If you can’t enjoy your own then what is the point.  I remind myself of this fact constantly.   Yet when there’s a few awesome dogs running around, that point can be argued.   I love them so much.

You may spot on a dog in the background of one of the photos.  I love them so much.  Yes, I know I just said that.

So this is two wines in a row where something just didn’t click or compute.  And I wanted this to be wonderful.  But the 2014 Y Series, Shiraz Viognier, from Yalumba just didn’t bring any inspiration or feeling that I hope it would.

At around $10-$13 it’s not going to hurt you in that regard, but it’s not worth that much in my opinion.

YalumbaWineGlass

But that horse, that lovely horse, that symbolizes all the good that’s in the world, should’ve lead to so much more.   As someone who likes wine, actually I love it, I know the label is not the be all and end all of anything.  Never judge a book, a bottle, or anything by its cover, its label, and anything superficial.

There’s always layers under all that beauty.  Sometimes there’s more beauty.  Sometimes there leaves a to be desired, and someone you have to work a little harder.  I’m not sure what my point here was, but I couldn’t tell you anything redeeming about this wine.  That sound harsh but it’s true.

YalumbaWineDisplay

There’s no flavors that really stood out.  It tasted bland, then it tasted off.   This one synopsis may shed some light on why this wine tasted peculiar.

Not every wine has to taste award winning or move you in a way that you’ll remember for years, or a lifetime.  But it helps when it tastes good, and you share an appreciation with friends.   Even though I had this alone, I don’t think sharing this with people may have changed my tune.   I let this breathe for a while and still nothing.   I wanted something.   That’s not asking for much.

YalumbaWine&Food

My plate of vegetables didn’t pair well with this, but I’m not sure what would have.  On their own my food was joyous.

Even though the wine didn’t work out for me, this was a great day nonetheless.  I had the company of some wonderful dogs, a beautiful day, a gorgeous setting, and I got to enjoy my own company (like I stated before), which I don’t get to do enough.  Being busy makes you forget about those little things sometimes.  But those small things are so important.  They’re SO important.

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The signs of Spring were all around me.  I saw and heard birds chirping, more green starting to show themselves, and the signs of the days getting longer makes me feel so good.   That means more time to enjoy life, your friends, family, your animal friends, and yourself.

I enjoyed myself today.   And like I always say, after a few pictures, I turned my phone off and just decided to be.  And I got to be for a while.  I felt more like myself then I had in a while.   And no bottle of wine, no piece of food, and no anything can substitute for that kind of harmony.  All those details will help, but putting ourselves on a pedestal leads all the good things to come.

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There’s more good to come.   I will treasure this time, and the time spent with my four legged friends, who have been friends for a long time.  And I hope for many years to come.  That’s the good stuff…

For more on Yalumba, here is their wine list, a link to purchase their wines online, and their contact information.

When the opportunity presents itself, I would love to try another one of their wines.  But for now…

Happy Spring and Peace Be With You.

Ideen