Captivating Is Right…

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That’s what Pine Ridge Vineyard describes their white blend of Chenin Blanc & Viognier.  Which happen to me to grapes I’ve grown to love (not that I ever thought otherwise) over the past few years, simply by varietals finding me.

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For me, Chenin Blanc & Viognier have always carried an aura about them that feels larger than life.  They’re just different than many of the whites that are readily available at your local wine shoppe.   These grapes primarily found in France can be made into stellar creations on its own, but to have them together is a risk.  But life is about taking risks.  And if it were too fail, then so be it?  That’s what life and experiences are all about. They’re not going to be winners and perfect all the time.

And then there’s the 2016 Blend from Pine Ridge that I wouldn’t say tastes like nothing I’ve had before, because I don’t know what that nothing or something is.  It’s just a great wine at an affordable price.  And that’s important.  What also is wonderful is a blend like this can succeed and stand out among all the wines that are available for purchase.  Yet I’ve seen this listed for anywhere from $11-$15, and that’s more than reasonable.

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The notes are listed on the page, but while I can pretend I could smell, detect, or taste peaches, pineapple, and citrus, none of that is the case.  What I did taste is a wonderful white wine that makes me feel good and appreciate that something so well could be crafted and provided to us at such an affordable price.

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No, it’s not the best wine I’ve ever had, because that’s not a fair thing to say.  What has happened it has added to my ever increasing love for white wines.   I would say appreciate but that sounds like I’m not really a fan, and a cop out.

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What I find charming is Pine Ridge has its own website devoted to this blend.  I like the touch and it shows how serious and passionate they are about this wine.

And the good news?  This is one you will likely find at a store near you.  If not, it’s also available for purchase online.

Which leads me to think, how good are there other wines, including the reds? Well if this is any indication, I have much to look forward too.  As we’re still in season and it’s warm and oh so summer out, the reds will wait.  The whites and rosé well… We shall see!

But get this wine, even if you don’t love it, at least it was something different, and it may lead to insightful and inspirational conversations, just like many wines can do.  Great wine, great food, and great conversation is what makes this life so great.

While the weather is still this kind, I hope to discuss more of the lighter and medium wines, because this life and time just keeps going.  It’s funny how cyclical things are, but that’s just what it is.  It’s great when a wine like this comes along to shake things up and breaks the cycle.  To write about something life this regularly might take away from that luster, so we’ll see where go to next…

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My hunch tells me more of the best and brightest.

Peace be with you.

Love,

Ideen

Oh What A Thing To Do

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Best of Both…

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Happy New Year everyone.  There’s so many posts that I let linger too long that they no longer become relevant. It could be because seasons have changed, too much time has passed, or the time of year would become compromised.

If I let the wines I tried from Red Red Wine Bar of Annapolis, MD remain uncorked and without the proper review, then I would ruin Christmas and the holidays forever.  That was a joke by the way.

I was of course going to write about my experience a few weeks back, in conjunction with the fabulous pizzas we had, but all of the holiday everything took over.  That might be me making excuses but it also gave me time to reflect a little more on this experience, and see if these wines I tasted resonated with me into the new year.  And has it aged well with me.

A great wine ages well but so does an organically awesome experience.

And I always attempt to write about wine in a way that is approachable, relatable, and accessible to everyone.

Little did I know that I would get such a valuable lesson in New World Vs. Old World.

It’s one of those things we often taken for granted.  When we sip wine we usually just want it to taste a certain way, and for us to feel good about what we’re drinking.  How often do we think about where the wine is coming from?

For me I’d like to know the source.  Knowledge is power.  But knowledge when it comes to wine is even more invaluable.  It opens so many doors and steers conversations in regards to food and beverage into magical places.  I’ve found myself in riveting discussions because of what I’ve learned about wine and even more what my peers have taught me, whether directly or by happenstance.

So without getting any more long-winded I’m happy to write about a new world and an old world varietal.

The 2015 Penya Viognier is a treasure.  And as much as it paired great with the pizza we had, I can only imagine how great this would be in the summer.   With its inclusion of summer fruits like mango, pineapple, and peach this is perfect all year round.  But when it’s warmer in climate I can only imagine how joyous this is with a less hearty meal.

And the novice in me also thinks of New World (which is what this wine is) is the addition of fruits, more oak, and more creativity than it’s Old World counterparts.  I also think many New World wines want to please many people at once.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Wine is intended to make as many people happy as possible.

For more on this wine, which is distributed by Regal Wine, click here.

Now for the Old World.

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The 2012 Villa Puccini Toscana is what old world is all about.   It’s a medium bodied wine that is easy to drink and easy to drink now.  I found it just as light if not lighter than the Viognier.  But that could be because of the heavy holiday eating going on at the time.  And what else screams Old World more than Italy.

90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot seems simple enough.

However, I’ve had the Villa Puccini countless times in the past.  It’s just one of those wines that I tend to see everywhere. I’ve had it at restaurants, seen it at parties, and swear I’ve seen it sold in many a wine shoppe.  And it has always been reasonably priced and easy to drink, and to pair with everything.   If that isn’t old world then I don’t know what is.

But what’s old world and new world to me may be different for you, and different or everyone else.  And that’s the joy in wine drinking.

And more for on this wine which is distributed by HeyDay Corporation, click here.

I want to once again thank Bethany at Red Red Wine Bar for a world class experience that will forever stick with me as a great memory for this past holiday season.

I’ve seen both wines priced in stores anywhere from $9-$12.  Both are bargains for what you’re getting.

This is only the beginning. Their wine list is loaded with goodness and an inspired collection of wines that I won’t be able to ever do in its entirety.  But I can try a few.  And I hope to revisit this within the next month or so.

One wine I forgot to mention was their Chardonnay on tap.  I may have actually enjoyed it more than the others.  Not for the fact that it was on tap (well maybe).  But for the simple flavor.  It’s my fault I didn’t investigate further.  But it was wonderful.  Just another in the many reasons I will be back.

To be continued.  And this is likely the last holiday post for a while.

But for old times sake, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

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Ideen

 

 

 

 

This One’s For The Girls

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And for the guys too.  Yet you may recognize this title from somewhere.   This is also meant to be uplifting, and more than just a wine review.  That’s the perpetual intention of what I’ve been doing here, since the onset.

The location brings us back to BistroRX and half-priced wine night on Tuesdays.  Yes, if you’re reading this on the day of posting, this bottle is from yesterday evening. Their wine list can be overwhelming, if you let it.  And can lead to indecision which has happened to me in many a restaurant or shopping excursion.

However, I’m learning to relax and agonize less over the simplest of things.  Going out to wine and dine is meant to be an enjoyable experience.  Work should be left to work.  And that shouldn’t be so daunting either if you think about it.

As opposed to going off the menu, in our previous visit, I spotted a name I liked and didn’t think twice.  Well maybe not.   I just can’t help myself.  I’m always looking for signs, for names, and for some sort of inspiration.  It’s not always outside myself. It can be from within.  So this leads us to..

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There’s so much to like about the 2014 Flygirl White from Airfield Estates.  Here is a more elaborate synopsis if you’re so inclined.

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The name drew me in.  I’m almost positive I’ve seen this label before.  Maybe it’s just the pretty girl.  But everything about this label is an artistic joy.  The vintage shown within the star is the kind of detail that’ll keep me coming back for more.   And I haven’t even touched upon the wine yet.

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I smelled some pear right away.  Any tropical and/or citrus fruits that may be there would have me guessing. I’m happy to swing and miss.  I’m also happy that it’s hot enough and sunny enough to be outside.   The view of Patterson Park and the streets of Baltimore make  this experience all the better.

My friend and I agreed the wine was smooth, easy to drink, and then even easier to drink. Pinot Gris and Viognier have never been favorite grapes of mine. Yet as a blend this is solid. Gewurztraminer will likely be revisited during the, umm, I won’t say it yet. No it’s not the best wine I’ve ever had, but as a whole package I would recommend this to anyone, girls along with guys.  I think the beauty of the design works on so many approachable and endearing levels.  And at around $15 retail price, I’m sold.

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The flatbread pizza that we paired with our wine,tasted just as magnificent as it looks. Bistro’s food has never disappointed.  You can read more about this pizza here.

To purchase vino from Airfield Estates, click here.  And here is their contact info.  I imagine their winery would be welcoming and then some.  Finally, here is their full wine list.  I’d love to try some more. Oh wait, one more finally, here is their list of distributors by locator.  This will hopefully lead you to finding their wines in your area.

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And thanks as always to BistroRx.  Visit them if you get the chance.

Sunrise Sunset

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When I got the opportunity to meet Fred Wilson of Elk Run Winery, I knew I was in for a laid back and relaxed tasting experience.  I suspect when I explained to the volunteer that I wrote about wine that she thought I was more serious then I actually let on.  She introduced me to Fred and we had a nice rapport right away.  I didn’t have anything too over-the-top or high brow to ask. We’re at a wine festival.  And the weather is beautiful. Life isn’t that serious.  And that leads me to my final post from Great Grapes.

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At this point in the afternoon it was rapid-fire.  I wanted to sample as much as I could while still being objective and appreciating what I was sipping.  Without further adieu I got to try two of of Elk Run’s wines, despite all the bottled in that photo above, as the area was packed elbow-to-elbow.  And I’m not exaggerating here.  Room was at a premium.

In many ways, the two I got to try could not be more opposite and makes this all come full circle.

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First, was the Cabernet Franc.  I don’t see it listed under their reds on their site, so I’m glad I was able to get a snapshot at the tasting table itself.  This is lighter than similar wine with the same grape that I’m used to.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t like it and with the weather being what it was, and us being outdoors I h ad no problem getting a more medium bodied helping for this day.  It wasn’t one of my favorites.  And at almost $30, that may be a bit steep for me budget.

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However, the Annapolis Sunset is what this festival and what this season is all about.  First impressions can be misleading, but how can you not fall in love with that label?   I was certain that this wine was automatically based on this artwork and the feeling associated with the wine. I’ve repeatedly stated in my writing and with friends how much I love Annapolis.  This one really hits home.

Funny how I’ve sung the praises of this wine without even getting a taste.   This is as simple and approachable a wine as I’ve tasted.  It’s what I would be raving about when I started to segue from the sweeter wines and an evolving into the more dryer wines.  This is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio, according to the tasting sheet.  At $16 this seems like a reasonable buy.

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Yet if you look on the site it lists the aforementioned Cab and Viognier.  The funny thing is I hope it’s the latter, or do I?  I’ve had a hard time adjusting to Pinot Gris.  I prefer Viognier for the fuller bodied wines that come from the grape.  That’s not to knock the Pinot Grigio. It’s just never clicked with me.  So if it’s the former, then my palates have expanded some more.   And that makes this journey takes some twists and tuns I hadn’t planned for.  And that’s the point of this thing.

I wanted to thank Fred for taking a few minutes to chat with me.  I promised him I’d be as nice as possible, and I hope I’ve succeeded.

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As I’ve intimated in the past, Elk Run is another winery I’d love to visit in person, to get a more up-close-and-personal feel that you may not always get a festival.

If you’re interested in purchasing bottles you can go here, for where to buy locally you can click here.

Their list of events look exciting too!  I’m digging everything about this place and I’ve yet to even set foot at the winery itself.

For all of my recent and posts from the Great Grapes Festival, click here.

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More to come this Summer!  Enjoy all the sunrises and sunsets you can. We’re in the midst of some of the longest days of the year. I intend to make the most of ’em.

All The Best,

Ideen

Landmark Moves

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The sun showed up this past Friday at one of my favorite quarterly traditions, the Landmark Wine Club party.

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And the timing feels right and it feels necessary.  For inexplicable reasons I didn’t get around to reviewing the wines from their first soiree this year.  Maybe at the time it wasn’t meant to be.  Perhaps I was saving it for this go around.  More on that later.  And thankfully the weather worked in everyone’s favor.  It only enhances this and any event.

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The three bottles in this package are all first-timers.  When I initially saw the list I was intrigued.   I had no idea what to expect.  Unfamiliar territory is a good thing.   But how quickly we soon forget. Landmark members got the first taste of our first wine, back in November.

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The 2015 Viognier was my second favorite of the collection.  That’s saying a lot.  I really enjoyed it.  The summer fruits and floral aromas really came to light immediately.  I don’t want to open this immediately but I may be tempted too.  A friend in our group said he tasted grapefruit, so it should come as no surprise that the first thing I tasted was the same.  In essence, it’s a light-to-medium bottle that tastes and feels like summer.  And summer makes most folks happy.  So yes, this is a crowd pleaser.

A pleasant surprise was the ample amount of oysters available to pair with this wine. And I wish I had more.  Initially most folks were taking two-at-a-time but as the event was winding down, they were there for the taking.  I never used to love oysters but now I’ll try any.  And his worked masterfully. Oh how I adore the warm weather traditions.

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But what I’m impressed with the most is how this wine (or any wine) has evolved.  What we had six months prior, in its infancy stages, compared to now is so fascinating.  It’s a part of the harvesting and aging process that I’m familiarizing myself with more. I’m astounded and grateful to have been one of the guinea pigs.  The picture above is from November 2015.

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The 2015 Albarino was my least favorite of the three.  It’s never been a favorite grape of mine to begin with.   Where was the Viognier had a sour and bitter taste to it, the Albarino was a bit too sweet for me.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t have a glass but it’s not one I’ll be actively seeking.   My palates have expanded significantly.  Five years ago I’d be saying this was my favorite.

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Finally, the crown jewel, was the New Vintage Petit Verdot.  Only 97 cases were made and only available to members.  This is where I wish my plan was for more than one bottle a piece.   I’ve overused the term life-changing for things.  I’m over-the-top and campy with it.  It may be a trite but this felt like that.  When I think of a wine should taste this is up there.  I want smokiness, dark fruits, and blatant tannins.  I want it heavy and full-bodied at its finest.

There is a familiarity with the wine largely in part that the grapes have been a part of their Landmark Wines in the past.  I have included the newsletter that expands on that along with the other 2 varietals.

My peers and some of the staff saw my reaction to the tasting.  It was genuine and that’s what the wine tasting experience should be all about.   What works for one may for another, but where is the fun in that?  It’s good that our palates and our tastes are all over the place.  We all don’t love the same grapes, the same aromas, and the same notes, and that makes this journey phenomenal.

This was a laid-back atmosphere and the crowd seemed a tad smaller than usual.  Which makes me think most folks would be attending the Saturday party.  But nevertheless, the Petit Verdot is one for the ages.  The suggestion is optimal tasting will be in two years.  I will be waiting a while to open this one.  And the event will symbolize the genius of this wine.   I’ll know when to uncork.

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For more info on joining their wine club, click here.

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And here’s a link to my previous posts on this endearing winery.

A huge thanks to Justine, Gerry, and Diane for being cordial as always.

Until the next party…

Cheers,

Ideen