I’d Like A Number One With A Side Of…

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That title may seem to indicate I’m making light of what is a likable wine.  That’s exactly what the Uno Malbec is from Antigal Winery & Estates.

For more on the winery itself, here is their story, and how they make their wine.

I’ve had this bottle once or twice in the past and completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  It’s hard to keep up with everything.

You can call this your impromptu holiday special, as this was an unexpected yet once again serendipitous gathering.  The better ones happen with little to no planning.  As my list of wines I want to write about continues to grow, it’s always important to leave as many in the arsenal as possible, as long as the stories yet to be told can age well, as stand the test of time.

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I’d like to say the same for this 2013 vintage of the Uno Malbec.

Technical information for the 2014, can be found here. their wine list, and contact information.

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For the 2013 (notes here), I wasn’t looking to analyze or over analyze.  It was later in the day, and that can alter how one is feeling, what one is thinking, and who knows what has been eaten or drank already that can change ones palate many times over.

That’s what happened here.  So plenty of water needed to be had for hydration and then rehydration purposes.

The wine itself has so much depth and so much to offer.  There’s spices all over the place, and if I told you I knew them all, well you know…

But this had a darker element to it.  The wine had a more violet tint to it which I can appreciate.  It’s possible I tasted coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and more of what would be better suited for the fall or winter, but here we are in Spring and the weather still feels like the aforementioned seasons.  Yep.

This is not quite ‘my’ kind of wine, even though it’s been aged in oak for many months.  As much I wanted to love it, that didn’t happen.

It’s a good wine, but at the listing of $14-$16, I would say it’s not quite on that level.  It tastes closer to $10-$12 for me, and while that may sound like I’m nitpicking, it’s my observation and opinion.

It’s medium bodied and not full of the tannins that maybe one would expect.  It has character but maybe it’s just missing that one thing to put it over.  Funny how I said ‘one thing’, but it’s so close to being great.

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This was paired with carry-out cheese pizza, and then some holiday themed cookies, and chocolates.   This may come off as an unconventional pairing, but that’s what makes this so great.   These make for some of the more endearing and long lasting stories.  This wine carries some weight, and while it may be necessary to pair it with a different kind of dish, it doesn’t truly matter.

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The pizza, chocolates, and cookies are comfort foods in times where comfort is welcome and comfort is good.   And while that may imply one should get out of their comfort zone, for this time it was beautiful.  It didn’t last as long as the previous gathering (which you can read about here), but there will be more.

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Each get together creates and tells a different story.   The people with whom you spend it with will hopefully enhance that story.  If not, then there’s no point to any of this.   It makes the wine, the food, and then all those details you can’t see, mean that much more.

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And no, not every wine, and not every experience is going to be life changing.  If that was the case, then those events that are truly magnificent are going to feel betrayed.  I think that makes sense.   Some of the best times are the ones where it’s not that anything deep or profound was said, or done, but it was just simply being.

And this was one of those.  I’m overly sentimental I know that.

While this one was fast, it just means more to come.  And it’s good to just be.

Have a blessed holiday weekend…

Ideen

 

It’s Such A Clear Day…

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I had something all planned (I don’t like plans, or the word ‘plans’ honestly) all laid out for this week, but something didn’t feel right.   I’m all for keeping it simple and fortunately I have so many wines and stories I can talk about, that I’m going to save some of these other adventures for later in the Spring.

Oh yes Spring is coming!  Hooray!

The pictures here tell of skies that look grey, murky, gloomy, and throw in some other big words that’ll make you and I look good.  But skies and weather like this make for the clearest and brightest pictures.

So this may end up being a two part story, or I may scatter the second post.  I’ll see how I feel.

Being on vacation, yet being close to home, has its privileges.  Actually I’m just grateful to be able to type that last sentence out to you.  And I’m grateful I have dear friends who have trust in me to watch over their house and watch over their pups.  I love dogs in case you haven’t heard me say it before, or noticed.

This means different settings for food and wine pictures, and a different energy then being in my own home, a bar, or a restaurant.  It leads to more strategy or less thinking, a relaxed atmosphere where I can take my time, and all the time to sit and think (or maybe not think so much) and just be one with me, my animal friends, and the universe.

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I treated myself.  I got a simple cheese and meat spread, and some crackers to share with the 2016 (I think, more on that in a second) Blass Reserve Release Cabernet Sauvignon from Wolf Blass Wines.

This is one of the more unique Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a lot, but then again I haven’t.

The synopsis on their site is different than what’s on the back of the label shown here (the notes).  And upon further investigating the labels are slightly different.  But I’ll go with what I got and what I can.

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The darker fruits may be there, depending on which wine I actually drank.  But it’s safe to assume that plums and berries are involved.  Smoky cedar or oak? Maybe both.  Maybe nothing at all.  Maybe it’s all a figment of mine and your imagination.

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What does stand out is the blackcurrant.   If you drink a lot of black tea, then you know that flavor, that aroma, and that undeniable and distinguished taste.

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Despite all of this, the wine didn’t do it for me.  And with all the appeal of the label, the components of the wine itself, and an aura about it that I may have created in my own mind, it just never got going.

I gave it time to breathe or air out if you will, and nothing.   Like I said, I sat and relaxed for a while.  After taking some pictures, the phone and camera were silenced, and I just decided to be.

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Usually that means the wine or anything is going to be that much better.  But not everyone is going to be a winner.  Maybe in a different light, I may think differently.  Maybe blackcurrant is an acquired taste that needs time.   And perhaps, this is not the wine for me.

That doesn’t necessarily mean this wine wouldn’t be for you.  And at the price range of $10-$13, it’s not going to hurt you to try.

And this won’t prevent me for giving another of one of their wines, or a wine with this fantastic taste and flavor again.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this day, and sat in a charming backyard with nothing but myself, nature, my animal friends, and all the worries and cares seemed to dissipate instantaneously.   That’s the stuff that makes me feel good and make me happy.

Part two next week.  Maybe…

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

I Love This Holiday Tradition So Much

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What makes this season so magical is the events you know to look forward to.  Now not every tradition will go on.  Not every tradition is going to last forever.  Things end, but things also begin.  Most importantly the new traditions that just came together effortlessly are the ones you look forward to the most.

With that being said, this is the fourth year of our dear friends’ tree decorating party.

Here’s the previous two years’ decorating parties (here and then over here).

It has gone from a spontaneous event to one that I look forward to every December.  And it’s gone from one house to a new location, yet the principle folks remained en tact.  While the group was smaller, it was still the perfect set of people to celebrate this spectacular time of year with equally spectacular company.

I brought two bottles to share, and I chose to splurge just a little more.  It’s part of what life and the holidays are all about.  And when i mean splurging, I mean around $14-$15 for these two wines.

One was for the dinner, the other was for everything else.  And actually both bottles were meant for the snacks, the meal, the decorating, and then the admiring.

With that being said, both bottles deliberately had fancy red labels to commemorate this wonderful time of year.

First was the 2015 Red Knot Shiraz from Shingleback Wine.

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The purpose of this was for the main course.  But you know how that goes.  Around this time of year, or even many other situations, wine just starts getting opened and before we even let it breathe for a few minutes, it’s almost done.

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The snack display was more than enough to help complement this bottle and please even the most discriminate of palates.  Fortunately, this group is pretty laid back that the wine snob factor is kept at bay, or in this instance, kept at umm.. Well I had something clever to say but I forgot, so I’ll just leave that one on hold.

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This wine is fairly dark and what else would you expect from a Shiraz?  It’s full bodies and loaded with dark fruits and maybe some cloves to add a little stimulation to our holiday feast.  Honestly, this wine was solid but it didn’t really wow me in any way.  Thankfully, it was shared, devoured, and decimated before I could get to having even a second glass.

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But it paired perfectly with this incredible dinner.  The plate of fish, potatoes, and other various vegetables was stellar enough that any halfway decent wine was going to work here.  Everyone was enjoying themselves.   Our hosts broke out the fancier plates so you know we were a part of something special.

Then came the tree decorating.  Actually we were intermittently decorating, snacking, eating, drinking, and singing along to our favorite Christmas Carols.  At times it seemed like we were making fun of some of these songs we’ve heard so many times.  But that’s how you know you’re having a good time.  The same joke, the same song, or the same anything can still resonate and give you a positive feeling and association after all this time.   This is where I really started to feel it.  But I felt it before I even got there.  More on that near the end.

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The 2014 Three Rivers Red from Three Rivers Winery was more along the lines of what I like to drink.  One of the descriptions I read noted Strawberry Pie.  That along with the color is what drew me to it.  I wish I tasted some of that strawberry, but I did taste a lot of berries, cherries, and what I assume may have been hints of black currant.  In some descriptions I’ve read cedar and tea.  Could it be?

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But this was the after dinner wine, which fits the any time of wine that this red blend perfectly represents.  I hope my friends finished off the rest as half the bottle was still there.

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Both wines are likely available in retailers near you.   Here’s Shingleback’s contact info and likewise here is Three Rivers’.

Three and a half hours of celebrating, decorating, and enjoying each others company felt like five minutes.  It went by so quickly, that I almost feel it wasn’t enough.  Maybe it was just right.  Our lives are getting busier, life goes on, things pile up, and our schedules continue to spread and stretch us too thin.  But I’m so grateful this party continues.

Not one year versus another is my favorite.  They’re all my favorites.  A different story is told each year and the joy of how we celebrate is the constant that keeps us coming back.

There’s a few traditions I’ve already attended that I wasn’t feeling as in previous years, and didn’t feel the inspiration to write about.  This one was a no brainer.  A small gathering of some of the best people is going to make this easier to write about, and all the other little details (which to me are the most important) are easier to remember.

I will always remember and cherish this event.    It’s so much fun when Christmas comes to town.

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Peace Be With You.

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

Smells Like Chocolate

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Not every wine that I or you are going to bring to a party is going to be a hit.  As I’ve stated before, we buy a wine based on how it looks, the varietal, a wine rep or staff members’ recommendation, a snazzy label, and most of all the price.

The wine I brought to the dinner soiree I wrote about last week didn’t go over to well.  And this was based on that aforementioned recommendation. That’s also just an opinion based on the time, place, a certain mood or feeling, and what that wine was paired with if anything at all.  Those are the only factors but that’s the gist.

I can over analyze why my selection was good or bad, but that would drive me, my friends, and my readers crazy.  It’s meant to be fun, enjoyable, and a journey that lasts hopefully forever.

When one wine doesn’t go over well, another and then another does.

I would like to thank the hostess for providing the perfect dichotomy to the wine I brought.  She provided several bottles of the 2015 Finca el Origen Reserva Estate Malbec.

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How I didn’t notice this earlier on in the evening is beyond me.  I was so fixated with everything else going on.  And how could you not?  There was nothing but yummy food all over the table.  And there was so much wine consumed between everyone that it’s easy for something to get lost in the shuffle.  I feel a tad embarrassed to not notice this bottle towards the latter half of the evening.

I never got to have any with dinner.  But while I was still craving a little more than dessert, it was certainly enjoyed by yours truly, with what was left of the cheese and crackers display.  Yeah we went through everything.

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The sweetness and fruit forwardness of this wine makes this as one of the more approachable wines, even to someone who isn’t a fan of vino, to anyone.  This is one that can be enjoyed as daily table wine, and with a whole variety of finger foods and full on dinner plates.

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When you hear the term ‘silky or velvety tannins’, this wine is just as good as notice them as any others.  I felt them strong on my tongue and on my cheek than comparable wines that promote the same thing.  There was something about the entire structure of this wine that made this truly special.

It was one of those bottles that carried the same aura from the nose onto the palate.  It literally smelled and tasted the same.  The simplicity of this wine is truly what makes this magnificent.

And that purple  color was another beautiful visual in a sea of beautiful visuals of great good and great people to share this with.

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What I almost forgot to mention, is I can’t recall a much more perfect and fitting pairing than with chocolate.  Yes, chocolate!  Beautiful.

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This writing may be after Valentine’s Day but this whole party had nothing to do with this holiday.  Well maybe a little.  But chocolate and wine can be enjoyed together any time. But when you find a bottle and certain specialty chocolates that pair as well at this, it’s just magic.

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The fruits that came to life with each bite of a sweet treat is something we all should be honored to experience, and experience as much as possible.

This is a wine I’m going to want to add to my collection as soon as possible.  And ranging anywhere from $8-$12 online, this is a bargain and then some.

I haven’t noticed it in stores, but for my fellow wine lovers in the Baltimore area, my friend said it was available at The Perfect Pour in Columbia.  If I find other local shoppes and outlets (stores and online) that carry this wine, it will be updated here.

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This was a great wine and I’m grateful my first time trying it was in this setting and with an awesome set of friends.

Hope your Wine Wednesday is a wondrous one.

Kindest,

Ideen

May Wine Wednesdays

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I had wanted to talk about a Riesling since I started this blog.  And the timing couldn’t be better.

Recently, I was introduced to the German tradition of drinking May Wine.  And I’m so happy I was.

I like the concept of steeping herbs, plants, and flowers to enhance a beverages taste. It’s akin to how we prepare our teas.

I had heard of sweet woodruff before, since its a part of my Iranian culture in various festivities.  But little did I know that it’s significant in spring time celebrations, when infused in sweet white wines!  And it’s great to hear about it’s health benefits.

With all that being said, what bottle did we used for the first of many celebrations?

You’ve probably seen Schmitt Sohne in your local beer and wine shop. As the look and label really leave a lasting impression.

How was our Riesling?   It was tremendous. But I had to do a quadruple take.  I didn’t realize they had four varietals!  I’m intrigued.

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The Crisp and Fruity label helped me decipher what may be contained inside.   The synopsis mentions apples and peach aromas.  I detected what may have been those fruits, or others.  But the woodruff really intensified the flavor and that’s what resonated.   I was blown away by how good this tasted.  This wine went down very easy. And how beautiful is that color?

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I enjoyed my glass with a nice meal of ground turkey tacos with Mexican rice. This is a bottle that can be enjoyed with virtually any meal or by itself. And as the weather brightens, those meal selections will rapidly expand.

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I included my attempt at an aerial  view of the herb inside the bottle.  How cool is this?

May Day can be celebrated throughout the Spring and into the Summer.  And I cannot wait to try more white wines with this amazing flower permeating on the inside.   And you can bet more this awesome vineyard will be included.

Enjoy the rest of May and the warm months ahead!

Best,

Ideen