Love It If We…

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Zinfandel is not one I talk about a lot.  And I have no explanation for it.   I mean I could make up one, and let the words try to validate what I’m trying to justify (oh boy…), or I could say when I get around to it.

So I got around to it.

I’m so grateful to be invited into friends’ homes and know that most of all, we are friends and that we care for each other, and that the conversations never get old. And at times, we can enjoy silence without it ever being awkward.

This dinner was full of beautiful conversation, all entertainment, and there’ll never be enough time to get it all in.  Then again, there’s always room for next time, and room for everybody.

I had brought a bottle of the same grape, and it turned out to be a flop.  I won’t get into specifics.  You might be able to see the label in picture, so maybe you know to avoid it if you’re out shopping for Zin.  But don’t take my word for it.  To each their…

Thankfully and fortunately, the hosts opened up one of their favorite wines, the 2015 Zinfandel from Carnivor Wines.  A name like that carries a lot of weight, no puns my friends.

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The price is anything but that, ranging from $10-$12, you’re getting a bargain.

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Without reading the label and getting a couple of sips, I tasted that oak and oak is you’re friend when it comes to reds, and some whites.  That’s just my opinion, but it’s based on experience.  The info also mentions blackberry and hints of caramel.  I really dig that if that’s what I tasted.   It just felt different but most importantly of all it tasted like a wine many would enjoy.

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And when you’re with fantastic company everything is going to taste better.  Food tastes that much more palatable (more than already might be), water is even that more refreshing, the air feels dryer and cooler (well that’s literally where we’re headed), and at least for me, my breaths feel for natural.   I know right.

This bottle, like most great ones, never had a chance.  It lasted a while but then it didn’t.  A few hours of a great evening always goes by rather quickly.   You don’t always want it to end, but does it really?  It’s just on hold for the next time.

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The food choices were plentiful: chips, hummus, olives, cheese are the perfect appetizer for any dinner or party of your liking.  It’s those little things that are the biggest things.  I’ve said it before with knowing some parts of better left unsaid and to just be.

The dinner itself was one of a more heartier and comforting variety, which is fitting to pair with a wine named Carnivor (here’s where to buy near you!).  As no pictures were taken I just made my point from earlier, sometimes there’s no need for explanations and facts.   You can take out most food and wines and substitute them for something else, and the story, while different, has the same constant of joy, love, happiness, and all those other good things.

I love all those good things.

I’m so grateful to have shared another evening with great friends, and I welcome and embrace the next time.

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

What Can I Say…

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…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.

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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

 

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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

A Rosé By Any Other Name…

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Charles & Charles
is a label that stands out and may resonate with you, if you’ve seen it.

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It was only a matter of time, and there’s no time like now, but their 2016 Rosé is everything that you want in the Summer, or any climate that suits you for that matter.

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For my final post of August (how sad does that sound) 2017, it had to be a Rosé, and if this one was a letdown I would be honest about it.  However, this is one of the better wines of its kind that you’re going to find.  Oh cool that rhymed…

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What will stand out is the American Flags that adorn their labels.  That’s always going to bring you in, and that’s before you’ve even had a sip.  The patterns and colors will just hit you, and it’s hit me, even in a sea of hundreds of bottles in any aisle of your local wine supplier, their wines I’ve thought about, and I’ve never had one.  Until last week.

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I will always be grateful and fortunate to have friends that simply say, stop by or invite me over to say hello.  It’s informal, organic, spontaneous, and usually leads to the best of conversations.

The light pink, almost pale like color is another detail that can’t go unnoticed.

I’ve read multiple reviews of this wine, and seen so many different details and those notes you always heard about, expounded upon.

One term I’ve often not used, if ever, because I like to keep it simple, is acidity.

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Acidity is what gives the wine its sour kind of taste, even in those sweeter wines.  This wine, with all its citrus and fruit flavors, has the perfect amount of acidity that counterbalances the slight sweetness of Charles and Charles’ gem of a wine.

Taking out any other technical details, this is jut an enjoyable wine.  And my friend and I enjoyed this rather swiftly.   Like most wines, I believe they all should be savored.  But sometimes, and maybe more than sometimes, you’re on a roll.  You’re enjoying the conversation, the setting, the weather, and all the other details of the universe that can’t be put into text, that the wine feels like its going down rather quickly, and all of a sudden its gone.

Sometimes it’s like that.  Time is a relative thing.  When life is good, it feels like time stands still.  It also moves literally at the speed of light, or speed of a great Rose.

I would say this bottle was split in about an hour so, but does the time frame really matter?   No food was paired with it, but you don’t need any.  But at the same time a wine like this is so adaptive and versatile, that it can be paired with all kinds of finger foods and dishes. What you choose is up to you, and that’s all that matters.  If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

This wine, not just this Rosé makes me happy, and like any awesome bottle, it will be one that will carry a good memory with me to last a lifetime.  I’m glad this is how I had my first wine from Charles & Charles, and I know this won’t be the last.

At a price range from $11-$15, it’s worth more than just the dollar amount.  It’s beautiful. And I’ve seen their labels at many a shoppe, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one near you.

I would also like to thank my friend for a few of the up-close photos that are displayed prominently throughout this post.  I’m grateful.

For more on the wines of Charles & Charles‘ click here.   More about them in video form (which is awesome by the way), a link to purchase their wines online, and their contact info.

Here’s my Rosé history lesson.

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Here’s to Summer.   I hope to keep it going.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

…What Is Essential Is…

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There are times when I do this, that I wonder why I keep doing this.  I wonder if at some point I’ll become burnt out, or run out of fun wines to talk about.  The former is possible, the latter well..  There will never be enough time to try all the wine.  Hey!

After consecutive weeks of posts where all I did was review Whites and Rosé’s, it’s time to get back to what made me love wine in the first place, a simple, full bodied, and affordable red wine.

If it weren’t for dear friends of mine inviting me to dinner just hours ago, this may have been another white wine or Rosé post.  The dinner that we had could only be justified with something full, something powerful, yet something approachable.

My friend suggested an Australian Shiraz, and I agreed, with pleasure.  It didn’t take long to find something I liked. As a matter of fact, one jumped at me simply because of the label.

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The artwork and the beauty displayed from the 2014 Big Squeeze Shiraz by Evans & Tate will draw anyone in.  This depiction of animals, nature, and all the elements that are bright in the world sold immediately.

Its at this moment, that after $14 later, I so badly want this wine to taste amazing.   I already have a memory attached to it (its that dragonfly and butterfly, among all the other goodness), and I’ve yet to uncork (or in this case unscrew) this anticipatory bottle.

I’m so happy and grateful to report this wine was stellar upon opening, and got better with time.  And then it just kept getting better with time.  And this is all before dinner was served.

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So what is it about this wine, aside from the art?    It comprises everything I grew to love about reds.  First, I adore Shiraz.  Second, it’s the simple inclusion of plum, cherry, pepper, among the other easiest elements of the universe.    There’s lots of toasted oak too to almost make you think its a different season.  Almost.

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In short, this wine is approachable, medium bodied (in my tasters opinion) for a Shiraz that it almost tastes light, and is perfect for the Summer.   Yes you can have a red wine in the Summer and not feel bloated or regretful the next day.  It’s tremendous, it’s beautiful, and it’s what a red wine is supposed to taste like.

And my goodness this is pair perfectly dinner.  My friend was spot on with this call.  For a wine that with a beautiful label that represents goodness and the best parts of our planet, it only made sense that this meal (mostly comprised of local and organic elements would go with our wine.   Yes, our wine.   The expectations were so high that two bottles were actually purchased.

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Not only did the wine wow us all, but so did the food.  The meal which comprised of lamb sausage, pasta with homemade pesto and local basil, and local squash was a hearty yet the right kind of filling meal.  A fuller bodied Shiraz or any red may have undermined what were dining on.  It’s one of those things I realized while we were eating, and now as I write about this experience.

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And how could I forget the Caprese Salad?  Joyous emotions all around.   The tannin level on this wine leans towards the lower side, which in hindsight I appreciate even more.  As much as I love high levels of tannin, it wouldn’t work with this meal, at least in this instance.

I just found this to be so perfect.  It was so perfect, that the picture taking was limited. This was wine and meal I wanted to enjoy with my friends, and retain as many memories for myself and with my pals.

From when this wine was opened up until the conclusion of dinner was about an hour.  I can’t tell you how great the food was, and I can’t elaborate properly how this wine got so much better with each minute of breathing.   Some wines air out and then they settle into their intended taste for a while.  This one just kept getting better with each sip. But this wine is something special.

But everything factors into an awe-inspiring wine experience; the company, the weather, the food, your mood, and every other element the universe decides to present to us.

The conversation was great, it was necessary, and it was therapeutic.

Life is good but as much as I love wine on my own, great company is always a welcome thing.  And I’m grateful these folks are not only great company, but great friends.

And what wine is really that good if you can’t share it with good people.

Until today I’ve never seen this wine in my life.    To see if this wine is available near you, click here.  If not, you can also purchase this bottle online.    This wine is listed anywhere from $10-$14 and I feel it tastes closer to a $20+ bottle. That’s meant as a compliment.

There’s still plenty of time to write about all the other wines that identify with the Summer.  I sense this will resume next week.

So I’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

So Much To Celebrate

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I had the great honor of once again being invited to a dear friends’ house for an Easter lunch/dinner that was also home to one of a few Thanksgiving Feasts (post is here) I’m grateful to have been invited to.  It’s the holidays once again.  But not those holidays. They’ll be here before you know it.

Yet; Easter, Passover, Spring, and anything else going on in this time frame is a part of that routine of life that I enjoy.  More friends will be wanting to do fun things, inside and out.  That means more wine and delicious food to enjoy, and to appreciate.

Another day (which I wrote about last year, link is here) of celebration is Malbec Day or Malbec World Day.  These are real days ladies and gentlemen.  Since the computer says so I have to believe it. But seriously, links can be found for Malbec World Day and other wine days for more information.

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After what I wrote about last year, it was going to be hard to top.  But that doesn’t mean the wine can’t be good, great, or even exceptional.  But the 2015 Pardrillos from Ernesto Catena Vineyards was missing something.  And when I mean missing something, I mean missing a few things.  I wanted to like this wine like any wine I purchase.

And look at the horses on the label. How can you not be drawn to that?  And the brightness of those colors.  I feel it’s one of the any great interpretations and reflections of the season.  I didn’t look too hard to find a wine and I feel as if it was just waiting for me.

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It was ok on the nose.  And with any wine I want to give it a few minutes to breathe if at all possible.  Who knows what flavors will develop and enhance after uncorking.   However, this is a wine to drink now, so there’s no need to wait too long.   You might be able to tell by my writing that I’m going to struggle to find many positives about this wine.  And that would be the case.

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When I say something is just there, in any context, it’s a disheartening feeling.  It comes off as apathetic and lacking any real attachment or emotion to a wine.   There’s really nothing to this wine.

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I got some darker berries and fruits, slight tannins, and nowhere near as jammy as other reviewers have interpreted. It was enough to drink but it was one of those wines I was waiting to finish so I didn’t have to drink anymore.  Perhaps in a different context, or after a couple of glasses of another wine, I may enjoy this.

But I don’t know how better of a setting I could be in.  I was with some amazing people, including the hosts, on a beautiful Spring day, with a food spread for the ages.  And I mean ages.

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We had all the essentials; turkey, ham, greens, deviled eggs, salads, and all kinds of incredible appetizers.  The food was gold, I just wish the wine was at or at least approaching that level.  I feel disappointed in myself but thankfully other folks brought some amazing wines and beverages (along with that stellar food) that is for sharing.

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And that’s what this and any holiday is all about.  I just wish my wine could have a memorable part of the celebration.

I could see someone spending under $10 for this, but at $13, which is what I paid, I don’t see the justification. Yes it’s only a few dollars difference but it’s the principle.  This is a everyday table wine and nothing more, and nothing less.   I think other people will enjoy it, and some of my pals at the party did, but I wasn’t moved.

It’s not a label I’ve seen to frequently in stores and their site isn’t helpful in our search.

What’s most important is the environment I was in.  We were welcomed into someone’s home that went above-and-beyond to host a holiday party, and that’s the most important thing to remember.  I look forward to many more fun times with genuine and kind people to come.  Some will be written about and some will be kept internal.

All I can do is supply the best wine(s) possible and hope I’ve done my part in this.

I hope you truly enjoyed your holiday and wait in anticipation of all the fun Spring is going to bring all of us.

By the way, there’s a reason for the horses.  More to come…

Kindest,

Ideen