A concert at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), pretty cool backdrop. Falcon Stadium is not huge, so I am thinking an up and comer or someone fading out but still loveable. Nope, it was Tim McGraw. Now, that is pretty awesome and I told my husband go ahead try to get some tickets…but then, they announced who is also high on the bill…I think co-lead—Train! Yes, Train, Train…I said get those tickets now!
On our feet–
Train, my best pic …they moved a lot and I was probably too.
When you hear Tim McGraw…but you really need to look at him too. sigh
Now, on paper this may seem like an unlikely pairing. But, it has been proven and many times here I have written about the need to break from tradition, because it works. Well, this worked and it worked really well. Both played to the audience that sang along note for note and word for word with both of them. It was unforgettable.
The music played was ageless as little kids were there and old fogies, even older than me. Yes, it is possible. (wink, wink). Pat Monahan , didn’t think anyone in the audience was old enough to remember Drops of Jupiter and Tim McGraw, thought he might be too old to remember Indian Outlaw. The crowd had their backs and I lost my voice. You can hear the applause right from my kids…shuddup 😉 jk
Train, my best pic …they moved a lot and I was probably too.
Double Fret Guitar, great tribute to Glenn Frey
Jimmy Stafford on big screen
The pure talent of Train really performed that night as they did a few tributes. Opening with Let’s Go Crazy from Prince and then later on Under Pressure, Queen and David Bowie and then Hotel California, for Glenn Frey. Although, they didn’t do any of the songs from their cover album of Led Zeppelin, they played almost all of their big hits plus a few. It was amazing and for the first time in a long time, I and I think everyone else, really heard the lyrics. If you think you know them, go back and give them a listen, it is amazing.
I have to say I am grateful to Tim McGraw. I love my husband but after he was listening to women of all ages swoon, and comment about this man’s pecs, my husband decided to follow the paleo diet that Tim sort of follows and we joined a gym. This man is no slouch and his songs all sound like he is singing to you or about you or something we all have experienced. That takes talent and although already a fan, I am much more of one now.
Now, to the surprising part and what gets me my name, The Blonde Grape. I was looking for something to drink at the stadium and they had beer. I can do that, but hello, this is Train, they have their own wine, I want to be on the wine Train. Yes, I said it, not well, but you read it, so there.
Train has several respectable wines and the brand is called Save Me, San Francisco…one of my fave songs. They donate a large part to charity if not all of it and they have several varietals. Some are: California 37 a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, Drops of Jupiter, a California Red Blend, Marry Me Rose’ ( I have yet to try this one, looking forward to it) and Calling All Angels, a Chardonnay wine. I was having trouble with their website but I can tell you although it has been a while since I have had some of them, I did recently have Calling all Angels and their wine is really good. Not just a celebrity wanting to do good, but the wine is great and can and should be paired with whatever you like. A nice article on how Train is successful in wine by Richard James of BuzzFeed can be read here. In fact, Train now has a Save Me, San Francisco chocolate through Ghirardelli, a great pairing. I say pair it with food, but pair it with good music and turn it up. I am thinking you can pair it with any of the artists above or you can even try Sting‘s new song 50,000 which is a tribute to the above artists and I am certain Train would approve.
My tour shirt and Calling All Angels
Trying to get a little tropical, for no real reason
So, I go back to my antique rocker
but, yearn for warmer weather…I’m so confused. But, I’m blonde, so that’s okay.
Here is a video or link to a video that I found with Jimmy Stafford, guitarist for Train
talking about Save Me, San Francisco wines and the development of the winery. He likes to have a glass or two of wine before a concert, that pleases me. Be daring, be bold and drink what you like. Cheers!
With a wake-up call like this, what better way to earn your wine than a bike ride through Steamboat Springs through rolling hills to an old school-house and then back for a wine tasting with Michael David Winery.
We gather in front of Cafe Diva near Gondola Square between Torian Plum and The Sheraton. I will admit it, I am a bit nervous. I have had two surgeries and only have done one ride outside since recovery. I bought brand new shoes because I am a girl and that is what I do (don’t judge). Will they clip into the bike? How many hills are there? [knowing full well this is Colorado and they lie when they say a flat course. I mean hello, Rocky Mountains…I am blonde but I can pull out knowledge when needed]. Before we start to roll, I over hear a conversation (okay eavesdrop, tell me the difference) and realize we have one of the owners of Michael David Winery trying to pedal chains with us on the adventure. As a lover of wine, a new blogger I am like a teenager at a Shawn Mendes concert. So far, three people have thought he was his brother, well I won’t, his name is David. That is my brother’s name, I’m golden…or…
We turn the cranks under the balloon and past funky mailboxes. The ride is going better than expected, I am refusing to admit that I am scared. I mean, I have legitimate excuses, never mind that I have been medically cleared and teach spinning.(I said before, don’t judge) Spinning is an excellent workout, it is indoor cycling. Which means I will make you sweat going nowhere fast. Now, we have just started and I am still trying to figure out how to shift my Bianchi (own one, and you’ll refer to it by its name…that is all), please remember I indoor cycle more due to injury. I suddenly hear a welcome voice asking me all sorts of questions. How are you? What do you think? Now, I am blonde and now I am thinking and pedaling, this is dangerous territory. So, I flip the tables between deep breaths…and find out that I am riding with a truly Epic cyclist that has now elevated my skills, status and anything else I can possibly tie to this event. I was riding alongside Sonya Looney. She wins 24 hour races in places like Nepal and they are world races and she is awesome. Click on her name, Sonya Looney and you will see for yourself and do what she says, which is Do Epic Shit. Just go ahead and do it, reasons why will be another post. She is awesome and as she distracted me, she reminded me how to shift and all of a sudden, I wasn’t a beginner driving a clutch, I was a pro and driving Fast and Furious.
Me and Sonya Looney, Epic Cyclist – Epic Ride
A Colorado Mailbox
Bruce, who made me cool again
So, if you haven’t figured this from my previous blogs, you should know that I love music. So, when I am pedaling up the last big hill and someone starts talking with an accent from the area that was my alma mater, I had to stay engaged. My college degree is Recording Industry Management with a Business and Mass Communications Minor from MTSU. A slight digression but now that I am in civilian life, I rarely meet someone who understand the passion behind music. One you don’t have to like all kinds, but there is a respect and memories are made no matter your style, and this man owned several record stores. In fact, I contributed to his 2nd home here in Steamboat because of how much I purchased. But, I am including him because he recognized my degree and he too can take any phrase, any quote and refer to the appropriate song. It is a curse, but enjoy it.
David Phillips after ride, quality testing wines
1st glass chardonnay poured for tasting
Michael David Chardonnay
Story is well worth the read
The finish is at Saddles, in the Sheraton Hotel which is slopeside. The inside is nice but in the middle of the lobby, but it opens up to the slopes and you can watch cyclists or skiers depending on season and it is almost perfection for location. Go here when you visit, the food will not disappoint you and will keep you in vacation mode whether for a day or a week.
Now, we get to the reward of pedaling in the heat. We rode up hill both ways – actually we did, they are rolling hills and that is how it works. David Phillips, founder introduced us to the Michael David Winery Chardonnay. It is the tamest of names for this vineyard but an enticing welcome as they raise your wine senses to a new level. I was impressed, that the owner new(ish) to Colorado rode the race that he sponsored the tasting. However, I was thrilled to find out that he sponsored many athletes, cyclists and Sonya Looney is one. So, no longer surprised, but you should witness, he still quality tests the wine before serving to our wine riding peloton. (See above).
David Phillips demonstrates that you should do what you love. He loves the outdoors, he loves wines and he loves really good food. The vineyard I am told, serves great food and I can tell you the winery will make you proud every pour. Do you like zinfandel? I do, hiswinery produces the #1 selling Zinfandel in the world and that is 7 Deadly Zins...but we were blessed to be able to try others. Now, David is quite the story-teller as he speaks about each wine being served. He told us about the vineyard but then he revealed to us the personality behind the fermented grapes he was pouring. [I am often asked how do I choose wine..not scientifically as you might expect. If I am going for a blind tasting, I factor in weather, occasion but I look for personality on the label.] David, takes his grapes and process seriously but he and the vineyard have a great sense of humor. He was raised in Catholic schools and he loves wine. Knowing the two mix but maybe not completely, they have chosen to name their wines reminding he and his brother Michael of their youth. That or a Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman movie, called Se7en about the Seven Deadly Sins. Rest assured the wine is infinitely more delicious,fun and memorable than the movie and adds a laugh or two on the label. But, the movie was pretty good too but I choose the wines. To name a few: Freakshow, 7 Deadly Zins, Earthquake, Rapture and Lust.
This is the second tasting and is the petite sirah. For a hot day, this is perfect and although they paired it with food, I pair it with sunshine, activity and such. This is Sonya’s favorite wine and it was a very nice change of pace. Which, when you shift your gears properly , is a very nice change of pace as well. Love Earthquake.
Next in line is Rapture. Now, David talked about how this was kind of rebellion against his youth and targeted at the evangelicals but it is a great wine and it is selling very well. Embrace the humor in the label and know that this is a great Cabernet Sauvignon. It may not lift you like Revelations, but to think that you are drinking it and still going skyward, that is a good thing. He may have made Biblical ties, but I linked it to Blondie and their song Rapture. More specifically, I linked it to the mashup of Blondie and The Doors and Rapture Rider. [I am betting you haven’t heard the mashup, so please give it a listen. It will surprise you]. For the record, I told him I made that leap…he liked it. I also discovered he likes Depeche Mode..if you listen and then read the labels, this does not come as a surprise. Try Just Can’t Get Enough.
I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be here. I have been a wine aficionado for half of my life but only began to blog about it recently. I am not seeking accolades, so I am majorly geeking out that a sport that I love and wine can be blended together for an event and I get to meet people at the top of their fields, doing what they love. It is beyond measurable. I apologize, because I can’t remember David’s wife’s name, (I am blonde, older and it wasn’t repeated as often) but I do know her contribution to the event and to be in a picture with her, David and Sonya is worth every sip of their wine.
Last but not least, I think you can tell that I try to stay positive in my posts but I would not say such stellar things if I didn’t believe them to be true. You will find that often, the experience may overpower the wine and that sometimes happens. In this case, Michael David Winery holds it own and this Pedal and Pour event, would not have been nearly as successful if it weren’t for a winery that had personality, character and understood the passion for pedaling. I think you will like this vineyard, and these wines make constant advice easy to follow – Drink What You Like. Cheers!
The sun is setting and a slight mist in the air, the anticipation of the first cork being pulled is palpable. Cue tape rewind … Introducing, the 2016 Steamboat Wine Festival . Steamboat Springs, CO could be the quintessential town displaying the culmination of the Old West and Contemporary Resort Life. A great ski town, known for Billy the Kid (Skier) and lots of snow. But, in the summer it is also known for some great events, the wine festival but there are several cycling events, running races, rodeos and more. There are several local lakes around for camping as well as hiking and it is a great place to unwind, especially considering the winding roads to get there.
Kickoff for the Wine Festival was held in Gondola Square. It was open to the public and my only disappointment is that it only featured one vineyard: Woodbridge Vineyards. Now, Robert Mondavi has a great history. The experience behind their wines and the family dramas tell for some great stories. But, and there is always a but, as an introduction to a wine fest where you are expected to be blown away by the offerings to only be offered one and it to be an easily accessible one or rather a very familiar one, was disappointing.
There are times when we will question the 80s music, but when you are gathered around a lot of people who are similar in age and younger ones that believe classic rock is cool. Yes, they are calling the 80s classic rock…something is seriously wrong there but that is for another blog.
So under the 80s link, this is a long listen, but the sampling 80s band more diverse than posted above, is a good way to boost your playlist. Need a boost to playlist or a happy reminder of your history – Click here.
Now, it is a wine fest so we ventured inside to Saddles, a location in the Sheraton that hosted many of the events. This place is awesome, if you are in the area, check it out. I didn’t know there was a patio until the next day, but great food and beautiful views. So, here I drank a glass from a vineyard I used to drink quite often but for one reason or another, haven’t had in years. A glass of the Austrailian Penfolds 389 which was a perfect accompaniment to the Elk Quesadillas. Now, according to the site, this is considered a poor man’s vinicultural drink. But, I find that very hard to believe. One, is it was very nice and well-rounded. It was strong yet soft at the same time and for the record, it was a surprising $20/glass. I didn’t see that at the beginning and probably would have not chosen it when the other glasses were $8-$12, but I thought it quite good and a more appropriate kick off to the event.
A wine festival is to celebrate the history, the experience, the excitement, the lessons taught and the lessons to be learned from wine. It is an event to celebrate love, friendships, new business, new families and a beverage that has been around for millenniums that unifies us all. There will be lots to choose from, so as always try something new but in the end, drink what you like. Cheers!
I am a city girl. I grew up in Miami, Florida. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I grew up near Broad Causeway where the tracks to “Jive Talkin'” by the Bee Gees was inspired and created. Yes, I am one degree away from a Bee Gee, but that is another post.
I am going to go out on a limb and declare that most girls at some point in their lives ask for a horse. They can do so often, once in a while, or once but at some point, they put the request on their wish list. When I was growing up I was fortunate enough to go to a dude ranch in Lake Wales, Fl. It was Circle F Dude Ranch and a great place with so many fun experiences. It is a treasured experience that I now share with my niece and my youngest daughter. I, even sat in the backseat of our car as we drove from Lake Wales to Miami repeating, “I wanna horse”…or rather ” I ..Wannnnna Hhhoooorrrrssssssseeee”. How my parents didn’t throw me out, I do not know. They are much better parents, individuals, humans than I. But, my love affair with the giant steeds was born and I am so grateful my youngest has carried the torch.
My girl & Dakota with a flash of tail
Again but laughing at me cuz’ I had my hat on backwards for the pic.
Still easily amused but can you see the love between girl and horse?
Dakota saa-ying enough
Dakota agreeing your mom is a bit odd 😉
Horses are a rare breed. Not because they are uncommon, but because they are truly magical. They do not need the mythical horn from their forehead, the possess all the magic one desires by gazing at them or even better, letting them take you for a ride.
Is this a bragging moment, yes. Yes, it is. This is my daughter not having rehearsed and going over cross jumps and I am a proud mama. Yes, totally own it, I am bragging…and now I’m done.
I ran across a wine, that just looked liked it had a western element. I have had it before, but I was struck by the label seeming so leathery and that had me thinking as I was watching my daughter at her lesson today at MaeBree Ranch. This is a bright, crisp Chardonnay from the Rutherford Valley region in California. It has some citrus but also grounded and true to the new generations of Chardonnay. I couldn’t resist having some fun with this bottle around the ranch. Although, this was a full bottle…why I trusted these guys to not knock it over and lick it up for themselves, I don’t know. Again, it must be a horse/girl thing.
Arabian Photo Bomb, it’s legal and adorable
Doc so would drink this
This Chardonnay is really quite good. It is under $20 and can tie in with anything, but it is fun to harness it to a horse. Ok, so I couldn’t do that, but I did do this….
What is the wine that has me unbridled? Mossback Chardonnay, because I knew I was going to be outside and couldn’t resist the leathery , saddle type of label. It fits into the Colorado Western lifestyle we think we have here in the West.
Now, I finished the day or evening off with a Valpolicella from Allegrini Vineyards. More licorice than I normally prefer but it fits the rough riding or rather smooth riding that we have been highlighting here.
Here’s a selfie of Lola, she is telling you to try what I recommended but really she is telling you to drink what you like. I am running a 7K into Broncos Stadium in September, we are the Galloping Hot Bloods after Thunder, the Arabian Mascot for the Denver Broncos. So, cheers to finishing the race and Celebrate You!
Now, it is not that long ago, that the world was shocked and awed by the fact that the USA was producing wines and damn good ones. The west coast tended to lead the way and although a few other areas tried, they were not taken too seriously. Now, that is changing. I can say first hand that I have had wines made in Texas, New York, South Dakota and Colorado. I think there is still a lot of room for growth but we are well on our way to expanding our horizons in the vinicultural world and a new way to play tourist as we travel across the states. I may even try some Florida wine soon.
On the way home after a great day of kayaking on the reservoir.
I was reminded of just how lucky I am to be living in a place where I can hike, bike, kayak, or just be lazy outside with mountains surrounding the waters. Before, we made it all the way down the Peak, we decided we would cap it off and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, The Wines of Colorado. This place is great! It is small, very casual so whether you are a tired tourist looking for a great souvenir for you and yours or you are a local trying to do the same, you blend in. But, the food is really good and if you thought Colorado only had a couple of wines, you would be hugely mistaken. Yes, we are better known for our microbreweries (Pikes Peak Brewing, Bristol Brewing to name but a few) and growing distilleries (3 Hundred Days of Shine) but we have some really good wineries and the Wines of Colorado is the place to sample them.
They have two decks that are creek side and although directly off of Hwy 24, you do not hear the road. Rather, you hear a babbling brook and it is really a great little escape, especially for us locals.
One of the things that make this place great is that you get to sample the wines, not just before purchase of a bottle, but before purchase of a glass. That is very cool but, be careful, your taste buds may get greedy (easy to do) and the tasting could take you a while. I suggest you sample before you sit down, remember which ones you like and then go to your table. I tried several and the ones I liked the most were Pikes Peak Chardonnay, it was a little smokey and yet smooth. I also tried Garrett Estate Cellars a very well-balanced, smooth 2011 Chardonnay that is unoaked. We ended up buying a bottle of the latter and we also bought a red blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from The Winery at Pikes Peak , called Parliament Blend.
Upon arriving you walk through an indoor patio and then the wine shop with a great bunch of “stuff” for the wine enthusiast. Everything from shirts, hats but also wine holders, aprons etc. I couldn’t resist taking a few pics as they show that we oenophiles have a good sense of humor. Make sure you click on that last link if you have any doubt of what the word means. Once you do, you may use it all the time just to see the reaction on people’s faces when you do.
More samples of stuff:
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to see if there is a local winery near you (or even in your state). Get out and explore your backyard and safely imbibe on the flavors that contribute to the fermented grape and enjoy. You may be surprised at what and how much you find when you sample what is growing in your backyard.
This is one of my favorite times of year. I live in a small town and the benefits of it are numerous but this time of year, we seem to get people for a terrific four-mile fun run on the 4th, the greatest small town parade, street fair and then cap it off with bands and fireworks. It is a long day, but it is really nice to see this town come so alive and welcome so many families and friends.
Top left: Bananas provided by Planet Deadline Escape Rooms for the race finishers Middle Left: Crowd of finishers at race Lower Left: A fun mobile Right: A Colorado mermaid on the hood of the vehicle showing a two-finger peace symbol.
Thank you to Facebook, I was reminded of a great character that Robin Williams did that seems very appropriate for today. He portrayed the American Flag. The portrayal is a reminder that we are one nation, under God, Indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously and we should always remember to keep a sense of humor with ourselves less we lose the ability to laugh. My comic heroes: Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, The Carol Burnett Show, Laugh-In now, you pretty much understand where I am coming from when I speak this way. A sense of humor is critical.
Please click here to see this to help you celebrate
the birth of the United States of America. We are fortunate to live here and like any youngster, we will continue to grow with a few stumbles, a few victories and the best opportunities for all our citizens to do the same. So, today and this week, Celebrate Freedom, Celebrate the USA and Celebrate You!
What do we pair with a day like today. Well, you can certainly do a red, or a white…but today (and I probably do this more often than most), I say celebrate with a white, made from a pinot noir grape and it sparkles. Roederer Estate Brut from Anderson Valley in California. Now, this particular sparkling wine is a 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, so you are getting a red and white which is 2/3 of the red, white and blue.
It will not break your budget and is ideal for when you see sparklers, and beautiful colored lights exploding in the sky. Remember to protect your pets, they do not understand our celebrations as much as we think they do the activity often scares them.
Oh, don’t think I forgot about the bluesy aspect of the red, white and blue. Perhaps, a bit more soul than blues, but turn it up to 11– James Brown and Livin’ in America
Happy Birthday U.S.A. and many more to you and yours!
One of my favorite Bible passages is when Jesus turns water into wine. It is proof that wine is a necessity in life and a reminder that good people, work hard, play harder and celebrate the wonders of the grape. Recently, where I live one of the water tanks is now missing water. This post is not a post about anger and the fact that we can’t water our lawns or the fact that they have no idea where the water went (grumble, grumble) but a post on what would be the best wine to quench our thirst when H2O is lacking.
Let’s start with a refreshing chardonnay from perhaps one of the oldest vineyards in Napa Valley. Charles Krug, in particular, the 2014 Chardonnay. It is a light and crisp chardonnay that as the sun descends upon the earth will not cause you to sink with it. Rather, you can sit back and stay cool as you go about your evening routine. I placed this bottle next to our rose-bush, for no apparent reason other than I think it is cool and although tempted to try to reverse wine into water, I am selfish and prefer it as wine. I really like the Carneros area as well and this is a good wine to have while you are standing in your yard ranting with the neighbors about how you have to water the yard by hand.
As the evening progresses and you settle in for a movie, I often like to change direction and add some color. One of my favorite vineyards is Dry Creek Vineyard. I have never had a bad bottle and I absolutely love the ships they use on the their labels. So, it is a dry red with a ship on the label, so I placed it on the cement and in the grass…again for no apparent rhyme or reason other than I thought it was cool and a bit ironic that it has been dry docked.
This wine is too good to spill a single drop. It is full of flavor but again not heavy. This zinfandel is excellent as the seasons change from summer to fall or late spring, but you really can never go wrong with this fabulous red. A side story, I ordered this in a restaurant once and the waiter still addressed my husband saying how it was such a great choice for wine and then looked at me (the one who ordered it) and said, very pretty bottle. Yes, that could be a rant for later.
So, to conclude. Don’t waste water and never waste wine. To reverse the blessing and make wine into water may be divine intervention but I think He got it right the first time. Enjoy and celebrate you!