Count Those Blessings

90PlusOldVineMalbecWithPizza

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.

90PlusWines

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.

90PlusInfo

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.

90PlusCabernetSauvignon

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.

90PulsOldVineMalbec

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.

90PlusOldVineMalbecCarrots&Hummus

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

90PlusOldVineMalbecWithPizza

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

Have A Cigar

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This in connection with a story I wrote about here.

The pizza was great, but for the sake of this post, how was the wine?

My dear friends introduced me to Harvest Thyme of Davidsonville, MD, which is as charming and welcoming a restaurant as I’ve seen.  And I tend to say that a lot.  When you visit a place for the first time, and/or literally go with little to no notice (this kind of goes along the lines of both), it’s one of those natural feelings that can’t always be expressed in words.  It’s expressed in feeling, emotions, and sometimes no words at all.

But what about the wine?  I tend to go on these tangents, and forget about the subject at hand.

CigarWine

The 2015 Cigar Zinfandel was the bottle of choice.  We came for a glass a piece, and since it was the three of us, and happy hour including deals on bottles of wine, this made perfect sense.

At the time, and in hindsight the wine made perfect sense.

We weren’t looking for anything fancy.  We just wanted something that looked good on paper, and spoke to our sensibilities.   Why not have a Cigar?

The name is a draw, but the wine itself is fantastic.  And I don’t drink a lot of Zinfandel wine in general, so whenever I get the opportunity I embrace it.  And I don’t avoid these wines on purpose.  It’s just not a grape I actively seek out.  With this wine, that might need to change.

There’s so much to love and yet there’s so little to decipher.  That makes me happy.

A lot (or maybe just a few) darker fruits and berries is what you will taste, but you also get a peppery or wood type of flavor, which makes it feel like there’s an elements of smoke or perhaps even a cigar in it.   It’s easy to make your mind think that as well, because of the name of the wine.

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But after a few sips and a good conversation, all that analysis doesn’t really matter.  The waiting area had a feeling of a ski lodge, or anywhere cozy that would make you feel safe, secure, and have all the worries and cares in the world disappear, if even for just this short visit.

And a restaurant that’s as inviting as Harvest Thyme, is instantly going to give you that community type of feeling.  Aside from my friend’s who have been there before, I didn’t know a single person, yet felt like I belonged here.  It was a mini vacation, away from home, yet close to home, that everything feels so near and so far away at once.  It just felt good.

CigarWine3

The Cigar Zinfandel is one of those wines that might feel like it would only taste well in this setting.  But there’s a lot of depth, structure, and character to this wine.  It’s what you want in your friends, your relationships, and all the spiritual parts of your life.  So why not have it in your wine, as well?

There’s a darker red color which I take as just sit back and enjoy the view.   There’s a little spice in this as well.  Some of this may all be hogwash, but sometimes a wine that’s easy to figure out are the best ones.  And I’m not sure I’ve figured it all our, nor would I want to.  Not yet at least.

At around $15, this is well worth it.  I would absolutely drink it again.  It seems perfect for a night in by the fire with some tasty treats, or nothing at all.

HarvestThymeSlices

Oh yeah, there’s that pizza… 

For more on Harvest Thyme, here is their food menu, their drink menu, and their story.

And this wine is available at a Total Wine, near you.

Until the next one, peace be with you…

ideen

 

Celebrating Mom

NobleRose

When it comes to suggesting a wine for Mother’s Day there can be no debate.  It’s Rosé and only Rosé.  Actually it can be anything you want, but when it comes to traditions and suggestions, this is is one I’m a ardent supporter of.

For as long as this blog continues, this will be a tradition. This is why I’m a bit sad that I skipped last year for no good reason at all.  Maybe I was busy.  But you or I should never be too busy to celebrate a member of your family, whether it’s a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, aunt, cousin, and of course pet.

Here is my Mother’s Day post from two years ago.  Where did the time go?  Oh wait it’s over here!

I love this time of year.  The days are getting longer.  The days are going to continue to get longer.  And those smells.  I love the smell of freshly cut grass, flowers, roses, and Rosé.  Yes, Rosé has a distinct smell that is unforgettable.  I can’t explain it.

Actually yes I can, but it would take too long and take the fun out of the celebration.

NobleRoseBottle

The 2016 Vine Select Rosé from Noble Vines is one of those vintages that reminds me of why I love wine drinking in the first place.

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I’ve had the privilege over the past few years to sample their creative and endearing wines without looking into the what the numeric significance these wine entailed.  After reading the back of the label I’m even more grateful to have chosen this wine as a celebration of Mother’s and motherly figures in general.

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At only $12, the price is another reason to celebrate.  It’s a wine the has that distinct Rosé aroma with that iconic salmon color.

NobleRoseNote

But going back to the label… If more wineries explained themselves in an even more accessible fashion I would be supporting them without hesitation.  The notes mention that they call this their 515 Blend because that’s the time they open their wine at home. What’s even more endearing is they say they enjoy their flavors with any type of food.

NobleRose

Now I’m all for suggestions and the power of suggestion but I love when nothing else needs to be said.  Most wines can be paired with a wide variety of foods.  Just because a few obscure and sometimes over-the-top meals are suggested with wines doesn’t make that final.

There are some exceptions.  Some foods bring out the cheapness of a wine and I’ve had wines that had no business being paired with certain meals.  But a lot of this is common sense, and trial and error.  Many Rosé wines are created to be celebrated with all kinds of fun meals.

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They’re more importantly created to be celebrated with all kinds of wonderful people.

This is one of those wines that when shared with people, great conversation, and great energy that’s going to get better with time and with each sip.  It has that likability and sustainability.  Even though I had it on my own, I could see this becoming better when around great source energy.  The same can be said for many wines, but this certainly applies here.

To find Noble Wines in your area, this link should be of great assistance.

Adding to the theme of being approachable and accessible, their website is simple, to the point, and information is easily attainable.

I want to toast all the amazing mother’s, including mine.  And then I want to thank the motherly figures who are currently in my life and those who had a profound effect on me just once or twice.

You’re thought about and thanked about more than you know.   Whether you’re a mother to some kids, to some pets, or to something else glorious in this universe, it all matters. It’s all relevant and it’s all to be celebrated and appreciated.  Thank you so much.

And what Mother’s Day would be complete without some sort of floral arrangement. Luckily, the displays found me, and I didn’t have to go far to find some beautiful ones.

You’re all beautiful ones.

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Food and Wine Pairing Pals

oldmoon

Sometimes what I write about is predetermined.  At other times the topics find me.   This one is a combination of both.

The plan was to have cheeseburgers for a meal, and I wanted to find a wine that pairs well with them.  As per usual, I did a Google search, and you get two dozen opinions on what goes well with anything.   There is something to a food and wine pairing, but it’s all perception.  What might look good to some, might be hideous to others.

Based on the consensus; Malbec, Syrah, and Zinfandel were the ubiquitous suggestions to complement burgers.  Do you detect a theme?  These are three of the more full-bodied reds, with alcohol contents higher than 13.5%.

I have reviewed the first two wines in previous posts.  These can be seen here and here.  So Zin is the big winner today.

In looking at our collection of bottles, I only saw one Zin.  And I present the 2012 Old Moon (Old Vine) Zinfandel from our pals at Trader Joe’s.   This is part of an exclusive collection, that can only be bought at their stores.

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Not much in the way of superlatives to say about this wine.  It’s pretty standard.  But for $5.99 you really can’t complain.   I didn’t care for it at first. But, after a few minutes of breathing it got better.  It’s extremely fruity.  And in reading various reviews of it, every fruit known to man has been detected.  It’s best to go with your senses as to what you taste.   There’s little oak that I could detect.  And not much in the way of tannins.  It’s very easy to drink.  It can be enjoyed without food, for any occasion.

But if you’re looking for something groundbreaking, this is not it.  It’s a very basic wine.  This is a great wine for folks who are new to wine drinking.  And then your palate can only expand from here.

Not every wine is going to pair well with your dish.  My bacon cheeseburger with sides of regular and sweet potato fries was tremendous.  However, the wine didn’t heighten anything or bring about any new flavors.  It’s a decent and affordable bottle that serves its purpose.  If you are fortunate enough to be in a state where your local TJ’s sells wine, this is not one I would go out of my way to buy. For the price alone, it’s ok.  But there’s plenty of others at a few dollars more, with better quality. And I will be getting to those in proceeding posts!

cheeburger

How great does that look? 🙂

Thankfully, like I stated in the beginning, sometimes the topics are shown to me.  This is a great lead in to talk about my first visit to a Trader Joe’s that sold wine!    It was a serendipitous visit around the holidays in 2013 to their Old Town Alexandria, VA store!    I will be discussing some of my past and recent purchases in hopefully a fun and harmonious way.

And if I feel the need, I will be talking about my sadness over the Charles Shaw wines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Best,

Ideen