To Be Continued…

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

I wasn’t sure how I was going to write about Old Westminster Winery, so I’m going to shoot from the hip and right from the heart.  I feel like I’ve said this before.  And before that.

But first, here is tasting room info, where you can find their wines, which you can purchase online, their philosophy, and more about this awesome family operation.

OldWestminsterWineryMenu

On a random weekend day some time ago, I felt like doing my own thing.  I had asked a few people if they wanted to take the long (actually short) drive from Baltimore to Westminster, and the interest was little to none.  And like many other things, I was meant to do this on my own.

And for my first visit, I’m glad it was just me…

There’s always that excitement and anticipation of going somewhere new, and taking that unfamiliar drive on a stretch of road that didn’t exist to you moments before.   These things just don’t happen everyday, and I wish they did.

In this world that’s so big, yet to small, the amount of wineries and places in general I haven’t visited, but want to so badly, is going to continuously and instantaneously grow.  But what matters is what I do visit and do experience.

And that’s what I did on this day.

OldWestminsterWinerySign

Upon arrival, and seeing the winery sign, I felt like a kid at his first day of school.  And then I felt like a kid at the first day of school.  See what I’m saying?

Especially going somewhere on your own, can be uneasy for some.  Sometimes I still feel uncomfortable, but more times than not I enjoy my own company.  If you can’t enjoy your own company, how can anyone else be expected to enjoy yours either?   So without thinking I go to restaurants, cinemas, and sometimes travel on my own.   Who knows who or what may be waiting on the other side.

A winery is no different.

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How about that scenery?

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On this particular weekend day, I had a sense the tasting room would be packed.  They’re only open for tastings on Friday through Sunday, and with the aura surrounding the place, I suspected it would be packed to near capacity.  This particular sunny, yet windy afternoon, it was pretty close to full.

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I had a few minutes wait before I could do a tasting, and there was no rush.  The room itself is immaculate, fantastic, and feels like a place to be.  Maybe even the place to be.  In this Carroll County gem, it’s a place I definitely want to be, and be back at again.

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Before I sound like I’m signing off, I won’t speak of every wine, because I’ll save that for another time.  But I will talk about one.  And it’s the one that stood out to me the most, the 2016 Home Vineyard Chardonnay.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnayTastingRoom

I’ll let the synopsis tell you one story, and I’ll tell you mine.   Wow that sounded way too profound, and that wasn’t the full intent.  However, I do like Chardonnay’s with a little more oak than this, but this one hit a different spot and nerve.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

Since there was nowhere to sit inside, I took a seat in the outdoor patio, which wasn’t full set-up for seating.  It was windy, a little chilly, and not conducive to anything I was doing.

But again, like I said, it felt like the first day of school.  It was a bit awkward, out of sorts, and I wasn’t one to fake it till I make it.  Not yet at least.

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But I did take some cool pictures.  The one outside, and one actually from the bathroom.  I may get in trouble for saying that.  But the flowers looked pretty cool.

I did socialize a bit inside, and a crowd at a winery can be much different than one at a standard bar or pub.  We’re all there for the same reasons, and the reasons might be a bit more authentic and genuine versus just going to the same ole’ place.  And there’s always room to change it up and do something real.

This is not how I thought this post would go, but like I said, this is only the beginning.

I’ll be back again.

To be continued…

Ideen

 

 

 

I’m Feeling Thankful

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I tell you, life can be so good if you allow it to be.    Yesterday, I allowed that to be.

I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland and I’m here at least several times a month visiting friends and family.  There may have been a time or two where I visited Sugarloaf Mountain, went on a trail, and that was it.  And it’s sadly possible I never did that.  This goes back to grade school.   Otherwise I haven’t been in this vicinity in over two decades.

But something told me yesterday it was time to make a return.  Maybe not necessarily the mountain, but a serendipitous situation led me to Sugarloaf  Mountain Vineyard.

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There are situations that have come up in my life that have motivated to actually stop and smell the roses, or in this instance, taste the wine.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not stopped to relax, do something new, and experience something that well, maybe at the time wasn’t meant to be.  Now those situations may come up again but life is all about doing the most with what you have, and doing the most that makes you feel good.

As we approach Thanksgiving, those feeling are amplified.

The holidays are a beautiful time for us, a rough time for many others, and a mix of emotions for everyone in between.  I would say I’m a combination of all of the above.

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One of many blessings is the fact that the vineyard is open seven days a week from 12-6 daily.  Many vineyards have limited hours, some that are restricted to weekends.  When I looked up the hours my day was made.  And subconsciously I may have been trying to talk myself out of visiting, and just decide to back to the comforts of my own home, or my home town.  No, none of that today…

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I got there literally at opening, and was greeted by Michelle and Charlie immediately.  They were my wine pourers for the day.  And what I thought would be a few minutes tuned into a beautiful afternoon…

Of course I came for the tasting, but what really caught my eye is the Melisseus.  More on that in a little while.

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There were eight for sampling, and I want to thank Michelle for holding the wines for me so I could grab as many pictures as I could.  I did inform them of my blog and what I was hoping to do for the day.  They kindly obliged.  And I’m so thankful.  It made the tasting and the rest of my visit, that much better.

While I had all eight wines, and instead of reviewing and dissecting every wine that’s listed, I will just share my thoughts on my favorites.SugarloafSiren

I really liked the 2016 Siren.  The synopsis even mentions flavors and scents of childhood candies.  It reminds me of my Middle Eastern candies I’ve shared with family and friends, not only growing up, but even in present time.   And while it’s not a wine I’ll actively seek out, when it’s around, I’m happy to sip.

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The 2016 Rosé is perfect for Thanksgiving.  And I especially mean this Rosé.  Some are perfect for warmer climates, but the tint and body on this one goes well with a lavish holiday meal, or two, or three, ha.  This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is first class all the way. The tannins are low so you can truly appreciate  anything and everything about this one.  The aromas of cinnamon, spices, and everything nice under the sun will win even non wine lovers over. I tasted strawberry.  And while I would have purchased this wine (In hindsight I wish I did), I went with the my old reliable.

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And old reliable, is meant with the highest praise.  As much as my palate has evolved and expanded to appreciate different grapes, scents, tastes, and all the other intricacies of fine wines such as these, I went with the 2015 Cabernet Franc.  This was $26 (most of their wines are in the $20+ range), and I wanted to treat myself.

As a dear friend told me, this is my kind of wine.  The taste of peppers and cranberries is what makes this medium bodied wine an absolute gem.  I’ve had many Cabernet Francs and they’re all somewhat similar in taste, but this just a little more pep (ha) in its step.  I can’t say it’s the best Cab Franc I’ve ever had, because that’s not a fair comparison to all the others, and to this.   The notes mention black cherries and grape tannins.  This is everything I want in a wine.  There’s so many things that we discover in wine, that makes the combinations of flavors and scents unlimited.  But this is is unpretentious, welcoming, and makes me want to open this bottle now, then saving for later.

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But I’ll save it for later.

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However, the Melissius is for now.  This is what I came for.  And while they only usually serve it on weekends (I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble for this), Charlie made me up of this warm holiday tasting masterpiece, and my day just got made.

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This is the hot, honey spiced wine made with an Unoaked Chardonnay and all the spices that make this time of year so great, and makes this life so fun sometimes.

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The Melissius will be served every weekend from now until April, so there’s plenty of time for you to have a glass.  It’s worth the drive alone.

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Even if you’re not a wine drinker, you’re going to love this one.  My new friends in the tasting room suggested the most perfect snacks to go with my drink.   I don’t need to explain them, the pictures speak for themselves.

And this is where I officially found peace for the next hour or so.  I took my pictures and then just sat and admired these views of fall and the scenery that I’ve come to love once again these past couple of months.  But when it’s right in your face the feelings were different this time.

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While time just flies by and it’ll be 2018 before you know it, it was important to be where I was and understand time, feelings, and emotions can be fleeting, fickle, and yet so wonderful.

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I forgot where I was at times, while I sipped my Melissius.  Maybe I  was transported to a place in time of Greek Mythology, like its namesake.  But like I say, I think I was somewhere bigger than I even realize, or can fully explain.

I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  And what a feeling that is.

When I came down from that euphoria, I met a friendly couple outside, and I explained to them what I was doing, even though they had already figured it out.   They had a lovely dog with them too.    I can’t help but be overly sentimental and nostalgic of an event that took place less than 24 hours ago.

I need to come back, and I won’t ever take this long again.

As I grow up, (and I have much growing up to), the yearning for genuine peace, genuine conversation, with some great food and wine to boot, is all I need in this lifetime.  Oh and some great company too.

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This was something, and I wish I could go on forever, but I can’t.   All I can do is be thankful for the time I had here, and let everyone know that I look forward to the next time.   The next story of this chapter will be written, and I look forward to that day.

For more on Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard click here for their story, their wine list, where to find their wines in Maryland, info on the tasting room and visiting, their calendar of events, to join their wine club, and contact info.

P.S. I’m so grateful for the industry discount Sugarloaf  Mountain Vineyard bestowed upon me.  It was an early Thanksgiving and Christmas present I will never forget and it’s one of many things I shall be thankful for, not just this holiday season, but forever.

I’ll leave you with plenty of pictures from my stay.   I look forward to next time.

Happy Early Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragonfly In

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I’d like to think I’m in tune with much of the universe, my surroundings, nature, animals, people, and everything in between.  Not even close. But if that were truly the case than I think the point and purpose of my life, your life, or anyone’s would be lost.

We’re not supposed to know everything.  Why would we want to either?

This is not so much a post about wine, but more about the symbolism and meaning in the things we do, how we live our lives, and how everything affects us.

I wasn’t aware of the dragonfly’s significance and meaning until events starting happening to close people in my life.   These events usually tend to lean towards sadness and hardship.  It’s our proclivity to seek meaning and information in times of difficulty, confusion, and heartache.  I do it too and know this far too well.

Something has happened again where events and energies are affecting me deeply.   But I can’t be egocentric or self-serving.  The world does not revolve around me, or you, or anyone in particular.  Actually in a positive sense it does revolve around me, you, and everyone else.  We are all one.  And events in our life, our dear friends and family’s life, and maybe with people we have yet to meet all affect us.   Whether we realize it or not.

The fact that I know this might mean I’m a bit ahead of the curve, but again what do I really know?

What does this have to do with wine?  I’ll get to that I promise.

As advanced as we are humans, we continue to feel things that on the surface may feel uncomfortable forever, but it’s all temporary.  Even if that temporary negative feeling lasts much longer than a temporary joyous one, it’s all short-term.   We want to feel good, in harmony, in touch with everyone ad everything.  We want to feel that everything will go right for us.  And it most instances it does.  But when it hurts.  It truly hurts.  And those feelings of sadness can feel like an abyss, like an eternity, with little to no end in sight. But it’s still temporary.

Animals, whether they’re dragonfly’s, dogs, cats, and all our other amazing friends have feelings to.  But they’re either mostly all loving, all knowing, and know what’s important in life to survive.  They know they don’t need much.  But a feeling of zen and/or love is the common theme.  Actually a feeling of peace, acceptance, appreciation of life, and knowing there’s something bigger than us is the main message.

The dragonfly is now something I like to research about whenever I can.   As the weather is improving they may across our paths a lot more frequently than we will acknowledge.

I noticed that when I was more aware and self-aware of my surroundings they were showing up in the most unlikely of all places (or was there something more).  They were telling me something.   They tell us all something whether we see them or not.  Whether we realize they’re there or just ignore them, they are sending us messages.

In my own way, I wish I wasn’t always aware of all this.  It can drive a person (i.e. me) crazy to know that in a way we’re being watched, warned, or being served messages on a regular basis from these highly advanced creatures.  Yes they’re smarter than us.

They might be sending us signals of love, hope, peace or maybe a warning of something that is to come.  Maybe it’s just a message to relax and appreciate what we have.  Because so many things we love will not be around forever.  And as we get older, grow up, and experience happiness and tragedies, we will ultimately know what’s important.  I would like to think I’m getting there.  I would like to think we’re all getting there.

I would like to think that many of us put things into perspective and to appreciate life when things are going great, not just when times are difficult and the patches are rough.

We’re all so vulnerable aren’t we?

Some of us might be stronger than teflon and carry ourselves like nothing can stop us. More power to you if that’s working out for you.

But for the rest of the world (at least in mine), something has been going on that I can’t describe.  It’s like a domino effect of events affecting so many people close to me, close to us, and I would like it to calm down.

Again, it’s temporary, it will resolve itself.  But I root for my friends, my family, and most of all our individual selves to become stronger because of this.  We will. It may take longer for some things to resolve over others.  But they will.  We have to believe that.

Our dragonfly friends are giving us signals of that.

After all that, again what does this have to do with wine?

I take it all the back back to last September and the Maryland Wine Festival.

There was a stranger energy in the air than previous festivals.  Again, we all see it differently, but this is how I saw it.

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From one booth to another, it just felt like something was more off than usual.  Than my initial visit to the Far Eastern Shore Winery tent felt a bit eerie.  For my first of what I would assume would be repeat visits to this and other booths, this one had an aura about it.   And I’ve sampled their wines before, at many an event or tasting.

Maybe it was the plants and flowers on display, maybe it was their famous swans on the labels, or maybe it was something bigger.  But this initial visit was all about a minute.  The lines were long all over the venue.

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After several hours of wandering, I didn’t realize it until after the fact, that my last visit of the day was back at their tent.  How about them dragonflies?

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And I only tried one  of their wines.  I only needed to try one.  It was this one pictured above.  I know right?

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It may not mean much but everything is a sign, everything is energy, everything is everything.  To say I’m freaking out in remembrance of this and writing about it now would be an understatement.  I’m slightly shaking.  That’s an energy bigger than me saying this.

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To complete this I will say that this wine does not fit my palate.  But it doesn’t matter.  In this or all instances it doesn’t really matter does it?  It’s a blush wine with a white Shiraz base that many will adore.  It contains raspberries and yummy dragonfruit (yes!), that works perfectly in the warm weather months.  And actually it can work whenever you want it too.

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It’s not a wine I would truly seek out but it now has huge meaning to me that I feel I need to have it stored at home in a safe (the fridge of course ha) place to remind me of things, to remind me of energies, messages, and all that is here and all that might be coming.

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I’m not a clairvoyant but I sense something bigger is going on in our universes that has always existed but is finally scratching the surface, and we will be up to the challenge.  Yes this is about all of us.

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But for those interested in contacting the winery (and I am one of them) to learn more, click here.   Info on their tasting room is here.

And here is where you can find their wine locally in Maryland and where you purchase it across the country.

I hope to chat with the winemakers about this remarkable experience I’ve had, because if it wasn’t for them I wasn’t sure how I would be able to share this with you.  There’s a huge meaning right there.

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There’s a deeper meaning in everything.  I believe that.  Many people close to me believe that.  There’s something bigger than us but our energies are also so big, full of life, full of potential, and full of amazing life experiences to come.

Thank you dragonflies.

Ideen

 

 

Christmas Eve Comradery

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I’m glad I got to save one of my more enjoyable wine tasting experiences for the end of the year.  Well when it’s the holidays, and even more specifically Christmas Eve, it makes the occasion all the more merrier and the wine taste so much better.

What makes it all the more special is the wine I’m going to write about will go down as one of my favorite wines I’ve had, not only this year, but in a long while.

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The wine in question (well not in question, I just said that for dramatic effect) is The 2014 Lost Colony Wine from Virginia Dare Winery out of Geyserville, CA.

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Now I know what you might be thinking.  It’s The Lost Colony, it’s Virginia Dare Winery, and isn’t the state of Virginia one of the original 13 colonies?  My first reaction is this winery is a reasonable drive away.  Well just a few more hours have been added than originally presumed.  I’ll let you read the synopsis since I’m not the best at history. Instead I’ll stick with the wine and the spirit of Christmas.  Yay Christmas!

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So what inspired me to bring this wine to a dear friends’ Christmas Eve gathering?  Well the kind folks who were hosting prepared a pork crown roast.  And when you get invited to an event with a carefully prepared main course, the wine has to at the very least complement this meal that took days to prepare with love and care.

In advance of this gathering of loved ones and friends, but more so family, I did my research on the proper wines to pair with this dish. Syrah came up a lot and that was more or less in lines what I was thinking.  There were other suggested pairings but I was set on Syrah. And my local wine shoppe came through once again with a massive selection of bottles to choose from.

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Within seconds I spotted The Lost Colony and was in awe of this label.   I mean I was in love.  I had to take pictures.  Well I always take pictures.  But in this situation how could you not admire this work of art?  I’m sounding like a novice that only picks wines based on the label, but that’s a huge part of the fun.  It’s what draws you in.  And no, never judge anything by its cover, but when it looks this good, how can you not be the least bit fascinated?

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To be factually correct, this wine is a Red Blend (45% Syrah), and the fact sheet can be found here.

And when I saw the price listed at only $16 (more on this shortly), I was thinking it’s the holidays, it’s my dear friends’ Christmas Eve Party, and its this portrait and this wine that I want to bring to this assembly of awesomeness.  After all the build-up, this wine better be good.

Thankfully, I can safely say this wine was stupendous, tremendous, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with a few friends at the party.   Was I thinking of keeping it all to myself? Well…

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I was clutching this bottle like it was my baby.  Even the host of the party told me I should bring a cheaper wine out of the cellar, and to save this for later.  He had a point.  So I got a more standard label out and popped it open, and was done with it.

But I really wanted to open my wine.   So even after opening up the el cheapo, I went ahead and opened my Last Colony wine way ahead of dinner time.

This was a fruit forward gem that didn’t need any time to air out or open up, as it was amazing immediately.

The aura of this wine was something.  Lots of friend, old and new, were asking about this wine.  They were also intrigued by the label.  I felt proud that I brought such a wine that led to such a discussion.  It became an ice breaker which I didn’t expect at all.  Well it’s Christmas and the magic of the holidays shined through again.

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I poured cups for folks who were interested and was happy to do so.  And yes, dinner was nowhere close to being served.  But it paired well with the mammoth amount of appetizers and treats sprawled all across the kitchen counter.

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I did save a little wine for the crown roast.  And to say the pairing was amazing only tells a small percentage of the story.  I believe half the bottle was still there when I departed.  I hope my friends got to enjoy it.  The reviews I heard were strong across-the-board. It was so easy to drink.  It tasted more light bodied than I anticipated.   This may also due to the fact that the incredible amount of holiday parties leading to this one has made everything taste differently.  I’ve been feeling full most of the time so this wine may have had the opposite effect than if this were a more relaxed time of year.   And I still loved it.  Perhaps the Malbec in the blend gives is a lighter on the tannins feel.

Remember how I said I purchased this wine for $16?  It just had this feeling of tasting more than that.  But as you can see on the link to their own site, the price is $28.  How can this be?  I feel like I committed winery robbery.  And even though we spend like crazy on Christmas, I fully appreciated the savings in hindsight.   Even on reseller sites I see the prices listed in the $22-$25 range.  So is this an anomaly?  I may need to buy a few more of these bottles for future consumption.

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What’s funny is that if this bottle was over $20 I likely would not have purchased it.  It goes against my purchasing habits.  But here it is.  I was meant to buy this wine on this day, and I’m glad I did.  I’m happy to share this wine with dear friends and family a like.

And everyone at the party did the same.

That’s a testament to all of us.  We all came together to share in this wonderful couple’s home.  They wanted to share the holidays with us.  And we gave back in all the ways we could.  We all brought something to the party, whether it was a side dish, appetizer, sweet treat, liquor, and of course wine.  And that’s not only important during the holidays but all year round.   This group knows the meaning of sharing and caring throughout the year.

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And the hosts of this party go above and beyond in ways I have never seen.  It’s a blessing to know our party hosts, who are more than just hosts, they are family.  This whole group is a family.  And there’s nothing more important than family.  It’s amplified during the holidays and with this crew, the whole year through.

I will always remember this holiday season for a lot of things.  This party will be one of the highlights.

For more on Virginia Dare Winery click here.  They have charming music playing on the main page so beware if you’re looking at the workplace.

To purchase directly from the website, go here.

Here’s a behind the wines and then a history lesson.

If you live near the Baltimore area, I’ve seen this wine at the great Wine World in Abingdon, MD.  I’ve not seen it anywhere else but if I do, I will update it here.

This was fun and I can’t believe another year is in the books.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.  I may revert back to some old posts I never got around too and of course take some unexpected twists and turns throughout the duration.  I look forward to you joining me.

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But for now I will savor what’s left of the holidays and appreciate the fact that I got to be a part of this gathering, and that I got to share this with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Ideen

 

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray For…

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Well ordinarily I wouldn’t dig fruitier and sweeter wines.  But that’s always been the point of this journey.  I like getting out of my comfort zone as much as possible.  Essentially every wine is at least worth a try.

Not that long ago I would embrace sweet wines, because they’re accessible and endearing to so many.  It would be perfect and most likely affordable to bring to holiday parties, birthdays, and any gathering where not everyone enjoys wine.  But they would enjoy the sweet and tart varietals.  So it was a win win for everyone.

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As time went by it felt more like a loss.  I enjoyed the dryer reds and then started to appreciate the whites.  That much has remained the same.  But I’m no wine snob nor do I ever intend to be.  But the sugary content in the sweets began to give me a headache and became a chore to drink than anything else.  That’s not the point of this thing.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed.  And no time rings truer than the holidays.   Yet it’s with great pleasure that I say that the Cranberry Wine from St. James Winery is a winner.

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What’s not to like?  Look at that color.  It looks deceivingly like cranberry juice and not much else.  If you poured me a glass and didn’t tell me otherwise, I wouldn’t know the difference.  Only until sipping do you begin to realize that this is anything but just juice. You want to take your time with this one or it’ll creep up on you.

I love the tasting notes.  It literally is all cranberry all the time.   Cranberry acidity with a cranberry finish is what’s written.  Can you get more approachable and simplistic than that?  And around this time of year, with all the frenzy of running around like a fool shopping, errands, and looking for just a few minutes to relax, this is the kind of wine and synopsis you want.

This wine is so good I’ve gladly decided to give them buy a few and give them as gifts to people.  My hunch is the people I’ve purchased for may not be reading this blog.  So I hope I haven’t spoiled anything haha.

But I did bring it to my traditional gathering of dear friends.  We exchanged gifts, ate food a little too fast (or maybe that was just me), and sipped on this wine ever-so-slowly.

What’s funny is I think I only had one glass.  That is more due to the fact I was appreciating what I was drinking.  There’s nothing especially life-changing or monumental about this wine on the surface.  But if you’re enjoying this glass with the people you care about this much, then it will take on a life of its own.  And that’s how every wine and every experience should be, and is capable of being. The charm of that label helps too.

With this wine, you can also be creative, and make your favorite festive cocktails.

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Short and sweet, to the point, and happy holidays.

For more on our happy gathering, here’s the tea that we had.

For my festive friends in the Baltimore area, this bottle is available at Wine World in Abingdon for the low price of only $11.00.

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And to everyone else in the states and locally, here’s the link to search for it at a retailer near you.

You can also order this and all of their festive wines online, and their contact info is all over the page.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the joy that it’ll bring you.

Happy Happy and Merry Merry,

Ideen

 

 

Wine A Little Lighter

AuburnRoadRosalita

The very first thing that stood out to me on Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery’s website was their tagline, ‘Everything Matters’.   Do I read into that too much like I usually do?  The message is simple yet profound.  It’s the truth with in life.  And for many, life is wine, and wine is life.  I just got a little deep on you too, not lighter.

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This is my first every winery visit in the great state of New Jersey and I’m glad this was it. Across this post you’ll see a lot of photographs.  I felt like a tourist.  Well I was a tourist. But I wear my heart on these things.  The winery is just as important as the wines being poured themselves. Everything matters.

I was there at a quieter time of day, which can feel lonely, but not necessarily.  There’s comfort in solitude. Several folks were having a glass and some snacks at a table inside. And periodically, their wines were being purchased for consumption later.  I live near a few wineries myself.  If I gave myself more of an opportunity I would get them directly from the source, and no middle man.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

A huge thanks to Bo from the winery, who conducted the tasting.  Since it was just the two of us, the conversation was a bit more laid back than if it’s in a group setting.   The tasting also took a bit longer than you would think.  I was enjoying myself and not in a rush to go anywhere.

Well… There was a show down the road that wasn’t happening for a few hours.  So there was that.  Speaking of which, I found out the owners and I share a common musical taste.

Before I go on a tangent, there is a point to all this.  If you see my tasting sheet, and you scroll down, you see the Rosalita.  Captain obvious would tell you that’s the bottle I took the go. Well, unless there’s quite the exception, I buy one bottle to go from a winery.  I feel there’s a principle.   However, I went with another.  You can see my tasting list below :

Instead of going down the entire list, I’ll just mention a few that stood out.   The rest are quite accessible, with a brilliant video recap of each bottle.

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The Eidolon with its blend of Chambourcin and Merlot is powerful red blend which I think gives more of the former and a little lower on the Merlot.  Which a year ago I would have welcomed. But I’ve grown to love Merlot, so a blend of the two is fantastic.  Chambourcin has been steadily one of my favorite grapes over the years, so this is ideal if you’re into one or both of these grapes.

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The Kind of Blue is blueberry dessert wine made only of blueberries.  I love this concept. Blueberries have plethora of health benefits.  Turning this into a wine seems like icing on the cake or in this case, dessert.  This is a grower.  My palate doesn’t match a wine like this just yet. People will love this wine, during the Summer and all year round.

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The Rosalita is slightly sweet but not in your face.  This is a good Rose, but I wanted to love it more, just for the name alone.  These past  few months I’ve become a lover of Rose’s and this would easily be a part of my a collection.  The dichotomy of this not having too tangy a taste and a little candy apple make this a winner but this was not my favorite of the bunch. I would put this in the upper tier of the wines I samples.

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As more my palate changes, the more it stays the same.   The American Red Winemakers Blend was one for the books.  I tend to overreact with my facials and a twist of my body when a wine really does something to you. This was one of those.  And of course there’s Cabernet Franc, which still stands as my favorite grape to this day.  Mix that with another one of my fave’s, Cabernet Sauvignon and this is gold.  Only listed at $15, this tastes double that amount.  That might be a stretch, but this is tremendous.  How is this only $15. Well the synopsis mentions it’s a medium blend with soft tannins.  It tastes a bit fuller to me, but as Bo and I discussed, what’s in a wine is all in the power of suggestion. That’s what make this so fun.  Did I mention this is the one I bought?

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Speaking of which, what I failed to take photos of, was one of my bonus pour.  It was the Give Peach A Chance which tasted like the skins of a peach.  Maybe a bit too sweet for me but the flavor as there.  And again, this is a wine many have and will continue to adore.  I love the bohemian style logo on the label.

They have lots of fun events coming up.  They have a restaurant within the winery as well. What’s not to love?   The scary thing is that even though it seems so far away, it’s only an hour or so from many of us in the Baltimore area.  I will be back.  It’s just a matter of when.

Here is their contact information, their story, upcoming events, and most important of all, purchasing information.

I hope you got a glimpse of what the ins and outs of the winery, literally.    And enjoy the pictures!

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Everything Matters,

Ideen

Step Right Up

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If you’re drawn to a label, chances are you will do a double-take, if not more. I experienced this first-hand over the weekend.

I was invited to hang out with some close friends that I hadn’t seen in some time.  Which is something I’m always grateful to be a part of .   And to show my gratitude I know I had to obtain a wine that fit the occasion.   Now for me and my pals, any solid wine will do.  But in this instance I wanted it to be a little more on the special and sentimental side.

There’s been times in the past (and even more recently) where I’d agonize and fret over finding the perfect bottle.  I’ve taken a task that should be completed in mere minutes and have sometimes extended that to nearly an hour.  I’m not kidding you. What’s supposed to be the most enjoyable part of all I’ve sometimes made an arduous expedition.

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However, this past weekend it took me under 10 seconds to find said bottle.  I literally walked into a wine shoppe and was floored by this beautiful bottle. Without even figuring out what it was, or even the price, I said I was getting it.  It found me.

Ah the price.  That’s where that double-takes comes in again.   Thankfully, the 2013 Petite Petit from Michael David Winery was worth the $17 and then some.

I’ll admit, I was drawn to the elephants.  The circus imagery on the front and back evokes feelings of Springtime, positivity and happiness.  The hope is that it would translate to an exquisite tasting wine.   That’s exactly what happened.

The Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot combination is masterful. This is a full-bodied gem that deserves all the superlatives it gets.   It also helps having  great company around.  It can even make certain mediocre bottles much better than they are.  Luckily, the wine is anything but mediocre.

A lot of darker fruits, vanilla, and maybe even some chocolate might be present.   The tannins linger and do they linger.

Needles to say, this bottle never had a chance.  Between our small group, I was fortunate to have at least one glass.  For a bottle that’s heavier than what we might be accustomed drinking, it sure got decimated in a fashion that would suit lighter fare.

Maybe it was just being in the moment and enjoying each others’ company.   Time moves swiftly when you love life, love your friends,and love your wine.   This went by incredibly quickly.

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A great wine mean great food needs to join and be its friend.   That pizza is legit.   With a heavier flavor means you need a little cheese and carbs.  This was magnificent on all levels.  I’m craving more as I write this.  We dined on other various snacks and treats, and they all paired fine with the bottle. The flavor and intensity of the wine paired well with everything.  It also pairs well with nothing.  It’s fruit forward enough that this can be had in solitude.   Heck, have it with food, with with friends, or alone, just because you can. That’s more technical for you.

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I’m a fan and  I didn’t realize I’ve had some of their other wines.  I want more.  And if you want more, this is where you can find them.

If the opportunity presents itself, and it will, I hope to review more of their assortments.

For more of the winery and their story, go here.

I called an audible this week. I was set to conclude my recent winery tour with a third and final post.  I will get to that within the next couple of weeks.  Or if I’m feeling ambitious I will do a random post on a random day.  I’ve yet to do that.

For more on that stellar pizza, go here.

Take care,

Ideen

 

Never Be Enough Time

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My mini Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail Tour continues from last week with the second stop being the beautiful Brookmere Wine & Vineyard Inn.

This is one where I wish I had spent more time than I did.   But the energy didn’t seem to lend itself to more than a few minutes visit.

Once again, as I’m driving down the interstate I see a sign directing travelers to a winery. Before I even decided to check where it was, I just followed the signs and took my fate in the atmosphere’s hands.

It only took about a 10 mile detour to get here and I’m happy I did.  Upon arrival, I see a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of the street going on its merry way.   The visual that I just gave you is just as awesome as it was in person.  I only wish I had photographic evidence but maybe it’s meant to be.  Let that memory remain with me and the privacy of the horse remains as such.  But after seeing that I knew I was in for a treat.

Matt greeted me as I walked in and asked if I had any questions.   Like last week, I explained my blogging passion and pictures were encouraged.

What stood out were the labels.  How beautiful are some of these?  The artwork, the imagery, and especially the animals, always wins me over.

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The wine itself did not completely blow me away.   Nothing wowed me to the point of purchase or a second sip.  Even the Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc, which are usual go to’s were not amazing.  No wine was bad and many were decent.  It just didn’t hit me the way previous wines have.  Until…

The Red Fox, while having a beautiful animal friend on the cover, also was the one that captivated me the post.  It’s a sweet and spicy bottle that can be had summer or winter, chilled or heated, and everything in between.   The cinnamon is not too overpowering and was something unique to enjoy.  In going with tradition of buying at least one bottle at a wine tasting, I went with this one.  I’ll hold onto this for a while, until a special occasion calls for it.   At $12 it’s a more-than-reasonable find.

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My one-track mind of going for all red’s also may have hindered me from appreciating what was in front of me.  I rinsed my glass and cleansed my palate at every opportunity.  It just didn’t work out as best as I had hoped. It was still a good time but there was something lacking.  Perhaps it was me.

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This is where having some good company, making friends with other wine tasters, or having a friend or two with you would help.   The wines could easily taste better with a more stimulating conversation, good food, and good friends.  Maybe at some point I hit a wall going to a winery on my own.   Notice how this is a reflection on me and not on the winery itself.

BrookmereBarn

Brookmere’s space was cozy and on top of that there is a bed & breakfast and wedding venue right next door to the winery.  I snagged a photo of the building next door and I can only imagine how charming it is on the inside.   Maybe someone will invite to their wedding and I’ll have an excuse to come back?  Wait, that was a no?  Oh well I’ll have to make a move to return sooner as opposed to later.

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As I mentioned earlier, maybe I didn’t give myself enough time to appreciate my surroundings.  I did but a little relaxation and a retreat to a new location should lead to peace and tranquility.   There is no rush in life.  I’ll do it even better next time.

I hope you enjoy my collage of photographs!

If you’re interested in purchasing their wines, click here!

For part 1 aka last weeks post, go here.

Take good care,

Ideen

Easter Party – The Red

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Ordinarily I would do a post that would preview a good wine or two to enjoy for a holiday or event.   It didn’t quite work out that way, or maybe this is always how it was meant to be.

Instead I will be working backwards.  I will recap two wines I had at the most extraordinary Easter party I’ve ever attended.  I sincerely mean that.

I didn’t know what I was going to bring or where I was going to to find them. However, my intent was to pair and complement one red and one white with the respective foods that were going to be served.

The main course consisted of, well I’ll get to that next week.

The appetizers and desserts is what we were responsible for.  This is an eclectic group and the food is going to be from all over the map.  And I literally mean all over.  It’s diverse and so well-rounded. It’s what makes us all unique.  It’s what makes us all blessed.  We all have value and bring something different to the table.

On that note, we’re also all the same. We want good company, good food, and most of all feel good about ourselves. The simple pleasures is what keeps us going.

With that somewhat melodramatic diatribe out of the way, I basically wanted to say I needed to find a good red that pairs with a few appetizers.  One of them was Persian Mortadella with Barbari bread and feta cheese, which I brought.

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My adventures led me back to Total Wine in Towson, MD.

After sampling a few Easter recommendations I got assistance from Mark G. who swiftly pointed me in the right direction of some low-cost bottles for the holiday.

He echoed many of my sentiments that I write about week-to-week.   Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.  And when you’re at a decent to large-sized gathering, food is being served, and the conversations are getting going, the last thing anyone is worried about is the intricacies of the wine they’re drinking.

As long as it tastes remotely decent, most people won’t care.  Even the most discriminating of tastes may give a second thought.  And if they do, it’s folks you may not to be friends with anyways. Ha.

For the red, I went with the superb QV Tinto from Carvalhas Winery of Portugal.  I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable of Portguese wines or the grapes that hail from there.  What I do now is this wine was fair for the price and pleasing to the palate.

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The tasting notes are listed in the photo. But for this party it didn’t matter. However, it did taste a bit more medium-to-full then what the synopsis reads. That’s just my opinion. I also detected some pepper and spices that are not mentioned.   That’s where the fun begins and continues.

It’s fruit forward as it says but more importantly, it tasted great and the bottle never stood a chance.  I had the equivalent of one glass.   I would pronounce that a victory.

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I consider part 1 of my one choices a victory as well.   I’m glad other folks enjoyed it as well.  And that’s what any holiday, party, or gathering is all about.   I was so grateful to be a part of it.  It was genuine gathering of friends, or moreso my Baltimore family, that all care for each other and want the best for everyone.    It’s a blessing to be a part of it.

I’ll leave with you my plate of yummy appetizers which consisted of the aforementioned mortadella, deviled eggs, ceviche, and other deliciousness too numerous to mention.

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For a Total Wine near you, click here.

More deliciousness in part 2 next week.

All The Best and I hope you had a Happy Easter!

Best,

Ideen

 

Santa! I Know Him!

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Christmas is only two days away and I’m sad it’s heading into the final hours.  Every season has a different feel for me, and this one has been no different.   Starting this blog over a year ago has allowed me to expand my palate and my wine choices.  That’s one of many things I’m thankful for this holiday season.

With it being Christmas week, I had to find a label or a creative bottle that fit that mold and enhanced my spirit of the holidays.

I found myself at my Wine World and simply asked if there were any bottle that depicted the true spirit or just showed that cheerful jolly guy on the cover.   I am thrilled to say that the Christmas Wine from Duplin Winery proudly showcases all of that.

I wish I could say the same about the taste of the wine itself.  It’s an acquired sip that may take a while to obtain.  Muscadine is not a grape I’m familiar with.  And when the staff member told me that, I thought for sure he said Moscato.

Both are sweet but the former is domestic to the United States, specifically the southeast part. The latter if from that obscure country called Italy.  I think a small sample of folks have had their wines but it’s an exclusive club, but I digress.  😉

I wanted to like it.  I want to like everything connected with the season, but this just didn’t pan out like I had hoped.  I think I have had this at a wine festival or outdoors in a proper setting, I may think differently.   I’m certain many people will love it.  If you’re not a wine drinker or prefer sweeter choices, this is going to work perfectly.

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At a small holiday gathering with pals, no one else was interested in even a quick sample.  That will happen after drinking heavier reds and eating a hearty meal.  My aim was for a good counterbalance after dinner with some sweet treats.

We even broke out the reindeer glasses but it wasn’t enough.

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Sweet treats were had in the form of some ginger spice cookies, but the wine wasn’t cutting it.   I wish I coud say otherwise.

In perusing their site, they do have other holiday varietals that sometime I would like to give a shot.  I’m all about expanding my horizons.  And those labels are adorable.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of their wines, you can click here. And a store locator is here. Hopefully it’s available at a provider near you.

Next time I’m passing through or visiting the great state of North Carolina, I would love to visit and check out all the sights and sounds of what they have to offer.  I love random visits and wine tours, and whenever I see a sign for one driving down a highway I get excited, just like a kid on Christmas morning.

Speaking of Christmas, I wish all of you a beautiful one.  I hope you get to spend it with the ones you care for.  I will be doing so.  And I look forward to enjoying some great vino and food pairing with some many of those awesome people as well.

Stay healthy and take good care.

Best,

Ideen