Steamboat Wine Festival Sipping Sotheby’s Style – Bordeaux vs Burgundy

Sotheby’s brought their world-class status to Steamboat Springs and entertained the lovers of the vine with a thing or two about Bordeaux and Burgundy. The gathering was held at Saddles where once again the food did not disappoint and the views are stunning. The hosts from Sotheby’s were Eli Rodriguez from New York and Mike Hoagland from California. Yes, it was an East Coast vs West Coast kind of deal which is kind of funny considering the East Bank vs West Bank of our wine tastings.

What do you think of when you think of Burgundy? Are you thinking it is a really pretty color? If yes, you might be on the wrong blog. burgundy colors
Rather, it is a region in France and it is known for producing really great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.  Now, California and Oregon create some very appealing Pinot Noirs, but this lighter red wine is elevated to a higher level when you drink one from this colorful region. The Pinot Noir grape is the only red varietal grown in the Burgundy region. See map below to acquaint yourself with the region.

Driving this point home was theburgundy_map spectacular sampling of Hudelot-Noellot Nuits St. Georges “Les Mergers” ler Cru 2010 (shown above left).  Using Sotheby’s description, “An outstanding vintage, this is a wonderful example of  the extraordinary quality of fruit in 2010. An enticing, mouth-watering nose gives way to mildly spicy, concentrated, earthy flavors in the mouth.  Juicy and delicious Pinot Noir.” I not only quote them because they are spot on, but because when you are sampling a bottle that is selling for a little over $100 you want to be exact. To learn more about Pinot Noir, check out the following link from Your Wine IQ, here.

Now, what do you think of when you hear Bordeaux? You would be on the right blog if you think a deeper red wine and associate the region of France with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Malbec. Now, this is my blog and I would think of the same things but I also think of my red husky aptly named Bordeaux.

So, making sure I give the proper respect and not accidentally misrepresent the stronger wines, I will again post the descriptions of the Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004  and the Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998 that Sotheby’s provided on their card.

Via Sothebys:
Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004: A blend of majority Merlot, with the rest of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Clinet is always impressive Pomerol.  Powerful, densely colored and big, balanced with freshness and precision.  One of Bordeaux’s great Right Bank estates.
Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998: As one of Bordeaux’s famed Second Growths, Gruaud Larose is textbook St. Julien: on the nose, a touch of cedar, cherry and blackberry, blended with balanced smoke, fruit and sweet tannin on the finish.  Benchmark Bordeaux, and always built to last.

Both of these wines were excellent. Dare I say, all of the wines presented by Sotheby’s were very good and honestly, better than expected. Yes, we paid for the presentation but they really elevated the experience.  Eli and Mike, look like brothers and finished each other’s sentences and made wine accessible to the masses.  As it should be, it has been around longer than you or I and thus we should experience the stories each glass tells.

Perhaps my favorite part of the experience, is I received some unsolicited validation. Wine is to be enjoyed and I often drink red wine with fish, I pair a wine with the weather, (see Hace Caliente) my goal is to enjoy the complexities of wine and also the simplicities of wine. When I heard these experts, and they are sommeliers and do intense study, lead off with drink what you like and have red wine with fish…I beamed.  I almost did a spit take and I can’t agree more.

You may notice Bordeaux giving the proper sniff to a bottle of red…well, it is actually a Zinfandel and the only grape that is actually native to California.  It is not, but probably more similar to a Burgundy but I couldn’t resist the picture. Besides, as I have said before and will say again,

And….Kickoff

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 .
20160811_192601_resizedSteamboat 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) images 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.

Enter the 6 Million Dollar Band. You are saying this is the second post referring to the Bionic series in the 70s. Well, first it was the Bionic Woman, this is not my reference but one the band chose and refers to Steve Austin ( played by Lee Majors.) But, I am betting you are still looking forward to the link of the theme song. Here it is: Six Million Dollar Man Theme Song.

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.

31C1099B-38F6-424E-9385-0F7D6751774A_1_bigPenfolds_2012_Bin_389_Tasting_Note_SC

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!

 

We’re Screwed!

What did the nut say to the bolt? “Screw me”

 

 

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Found on Google.com credit to Dreamstime.com

I was drawn to the label, yes, I like good art.  This one insinuated travel and I was going to be watching Marco Polo on Netflix and he traveled, are you following me yet? I was perusing several bottles and this caught my eye but also the fact that they had a 90 rating. I got caught in the moment, yes, I was distracted by the allure of travel, the light, yet richness of a Pinot Noir that I missed…I missed…I missed the fact that this bottle was a (gulp) screw top. I am sure I should place some sort of disappointed emoji or an empathetic one, but I am over 21 and I am not going to do so, at least not yet.

Now, to not show that I am ignorant to the trend, I recognize the monetary savings that goes on in the production of wine and using cork. But, But, But…here’s the deal. Wine is not only enjoyed because it brings pleasure to your taste-buds and warms your body or relaxes your mind after a long day. No, wine is not only about linking yourself to history, even to Biblical times when this beverage that changes day by day enlightens your soul.  No, it is not only because they use wine to filter water to give your body sustenance should you be stranded in a desert or on an island and need water for life (yes, wine is a purifier to water and if you had to purify water through wine…I want to move to that island). This according to TurtleRunWinery.com fun facts about wine. [On a different note, I like their site, worth a visit while sipping.]

The fun fact states: Did you know that humans originally consumed wine for the express purpose of purifying water? Yep! Blend 10% to 25% wine with water and let it sit for 30 minutes and you can drink that creek water!

However I caution you, that just like skinny pants, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So, DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN...WAIT FOR FURTHER DOCUMENTATION, DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN!  Remember, you are not Bear Grylls. and he squeezes elephant dung to make water.

Bear Grylls
To prove the point of Do Not Experiment on Your Own, He is (for the most part) a spectator sport. I will not squeeze poop to make water.

 I am a gadget girl, so I am not locked into the past. However, one of my favorite aspects of wine whether solo, couple, family/friends or grand gala…the anticipation of the bottle opening, watching it work its way to the top with a gasp for air…that adds excitement…that is Anticipation!  That is why, I normally refuse the purchase of a bottle that my wrist can turn to the left and without a gasp, is open. Okay, I know your thinking, why did this blonde link to Anticipation?  Because it was more than a Ketchup song…it is one of the key aspects of wine that makes us clink our glasses and celebrate the moment..yes, the moment! Click on the link, it is a really good song by Carly Simon.

So, whether you want to collect your corks to do something crafty, or not,  I have to tell you that there are times when you  may have to cross over and get screwed. I admit it, most times I would run, again out of principle.

Courtesy of Wine Folly and Simply the Best

Wait! I know what you are thinking! When we open a bottle of wine using a device, it is called a cork screw! Sigh, yes you are right. But, there is still satisfaction on going through the motions and determining whether any cork remains in the bottle.  I will not draw a clearer picture to you other than Eric Claption’s great song for the Color of MoneyIt’s in the Way that You Use It. 

So, what I am telling you, should you choose to accept this mission, trust your gut.  If you like the story, like the grape, like the company…step outside your comfort zone and give it a try. At worst you are out a few bucks, or need a palate changer. But, you will not be short an experience.

Tonight, I chose to unscrew this:

Left Coast Cellars, Cali’s Cuvee Pinot Noir from 2013. My husband said, you are not paying attention…but, it is not bad.  I mean it doesn’t suck and it is much better than expected from a pre-judgmental audience. It was good!  It had a multitude of flavors, it was smooth and true to the grape.  It is affordable and mostly, it forced me to step outside my comfort zone and taste.   I ask you, what is life if you don’t taste it? Friends, drink what you like and celebrate you!

 

 

 

Pairing Wine With a Dog

For the record, I have three dogs. Today, I will introduce you to Mojito. She comes from a long line of spirited dogs in our family.  We started with Champagne, Cognac, Chianti, Merlot, Bacchus and the other two current ones are Bordeaux and Riesling. So, this affair with wine or dogs, is legitimate.

We took our Alaskan Malamute, Mojito on a hike.  She loves to be outside and she loves water even more.  When dad got a pebble in his shoe, she jumped in to stomp around in the squishy mud.

In our house, you may hear Elvis, but probably not Hound Dog as it doesn’t reflect too nicely on a dog just because he failed to catch a rabbit. You might hear The Monkees because since we have three, we tend to agree with the theory, Gonna Buy Me A Dog. I realize, inserting the link to identify Elvis was probably not needed but when Kurt Cobain has surpassed him in searches, I thought I would just be safe and give equal time.

So, what do you pair with a spirited malamute named after a refreshing latin drink?
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Yes, you serve a pinot noir from Chateau La Paws that proudly supports no kill animal shelters and serves up a really nice red wine.  I tend to pair my wines with the weather too, and summer is perfect for a full-bodied red but that is on the lighter side. Plus, the terrier on the label is so cute, could you resist this face if you saw it on a shelf? I didn’t think so. I have had others from the vineyard, and I encourage you to try them next time you are purchasing wine.

If you want to know if Merlot approved? See for yourselves.

She gives it a good sniff and was pleased with the decision.

Until next time, keep waggin’ and celebrate you!

The Celebration of Independence

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.

Robin Williams Flag
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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.

Roederer Estate Brut
Photo: Thefermentedfruit.com off of google search

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!