Are we serious when we tell our kids, we want you to have fun and enjoy your last “carefree” days while you are in college? Many of us who are reading this, will think yes and then, after contemplation, maybe not. After all, our kids are “our” kids, college has changed so much. Well truth be told, it really hasn’t changed that much. Freshmen are still punished with 8am classes that are way too large to stay awake. The food, despite claims of now offering salad, is still focused primarily on pizza, take-out and whatever has the most caffeine. Anyone remember Jolt Cola?
But, I must admit there is an element of college that scares me. A little further digression and then, you may understand my dilemma. When I went to school, photos were not digital. Polaroids were portable selfie booths and cameras were either SLR or a one-shoot with a disposable flash. We took silly pictures that often had to be developed by some guy at a Fotomat but there still was some anonymity to it.
Now a days, it is all instant, digital and even if done as a prank, the perception is out there for all to view. This can be an innocent picture of someone sleeping with a prank narrative or just kids being goofy in what should be safe. So, yes, I am a parent that loves social media and yet it scares me because of what it can do to the trusting new adults. There I said it…I think you understand. Now, everything is prefaced and I have become a nagging, worried parent who is freaking out about their child’s departure to expand and firm his own foundation for the rest of his life.
Bragging rights for this mom, he received an award in tennis, (yes, I blocked his name), he is participating in school activities and then his senior photo shoot looks really good. Don’t you agree?
Award for going to State in Tennis
Celebrate Nerds – Fun Day
His smile says it all
Train in the background, how cool is that.
Yet, senior year brings out the nag in every parent. “Did you finish your applications?” “Do you know what school you want to go to?” “I know you are 18, but you still live in this house, take out the garbage.” “Did you do your homework?” “Yet?” Repeat all of the above and add a few more and I do feel a little sorry for him, then I think about it…no, I don’t.
But alas, the turmoil and the mixed emotions of the year do have me leading to weird pairings. Like having a Maple and Things at Casey’s Craft Bar and Grill…a yummy delicious twist on an Old Fashioned cocktail. Then, to have wine…now truth be told, there will be several bottles emptied throughout this year, but this one definitely helps us learn our coping skills.
Senior year is meant to be a bit wild, so why not have the wine be a special respite from it all. It can help ground you, give you spirit to take what is thrown at you and it will undoubtedly keep your taste buds excited, perhaps even as excited as an 18-year-old in his senior year eagerly anticipating the sense of independence.
Don’t try this at home, but do dare to be different
Very true, from the Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon cork.
From the label
Yes, I paired wine with a cocktail…and I’d do it again.
The Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon lives up to expectations. Maybe that is a little too much pressure to be applied senior year, but I think this wine can handle it. It is smooth, blends well with a variety of foods. Besides it pays a little homage to one of the most successful cookbooks of all time “The Joy of Cooking”, by having the corks remind us of the Joy of Wine.
This is a rough year for a parent and yet it is one that has us swelling with pride. Witnessing the sense of wonder come to life as the steps get bigger and they become more and more accountable and their own voice is formed and heard. Wine will be needed but just as we do not choose favorites among our children, now is not the time to choose favorites among our choice of wine. It is the quintessential time to drink what you like. Cheers!
“I’ve a whale of a tale to tell you lads, a whale of a tale or two…” even better when sung by Kirk Douglas (if you are wondering about the relevance of the 20,000 League ride at Disney Parks). Click here, assuming I still can’t get the video to link directly. Remember, part of the title is Blonde…now, let it go.
Vail, Colorado is a beautiful mountain town with a definite European influence. Covered bridges, nestled in the Gore Mountains and plenty of unique shopping and dining experiences.
Lots of statues
Would you know you aren’t in Lucerne, if I didn’t say Vail?
Covered bridges…told you.
Small, intimate and very much appreciated history of our Country and Vail. Don’t miss it.
Kintetic art, my favorite
The hills are alive in Vail…go ahead and sing…it is already in your head.
One of the better farmer’s markets around, although a little light on the natural foods, a great selection of cook to order meals, great arts & crafts and even wine. In fact, the wine caught me by surprise and ended up buying some before the wine festival even started. Bookcliff Vineyards, probably my favorite of Colorado wines so far…although admittedly, I have only tried a few. I am getting over the coastal issue but I was very pleased and bought a triple package. The packaging was very creative and really promoted Colorado wines.
See what I mean, creative and I’m a girl, it is so cute!
Yes, again boxed wine..but they are box free now.
Boxed wine, Colorado style.
Vineyards description of the Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc via Colorado
See, packaged in the box and out, it is creative and true to the vine. We purchased a triple and was able to choose the wines. We chose the Cabernet Franc, Ensemble and the Syrah. Granted, we leaned red and I am normally more balanced between the two, but I think the strength of this vineyard is in the reds and I really enjoyed the Cabernet Franc. Other very notable vineyards, use Cabernet Franc in their blends along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot…if the ratio is done just right, it is divine.
Now, to enter the wine festival. The food pairings they had were not disappointing, although some of the wines were. I can tell you The Prisoner was winning hands down, although Vail would have you feeling anything but trapped. I will also tell you,again, my favorite is sparkling wine, so I was drinking Chandon, by the bottle. Okay, a split..but I drank it from the bottle and it fit in the drink holder of all the Audi cars. Yes, they were a sponsor and my husband promised me the TT. Shown below.
Hey, it is not the size it is how you drink it 🙂
Can’t do this in public often…or at all but break the rules
I made the split pose…
My new car-sometime in the future-probably in a future dream
More pics from the Wine Festival—
A Colorado Wine from the Farmer’s Market
More Autumn Art
I love all dogs, but this wine-not so much. Sorry, but no.
Pretty good, but would not buy it for home.
I enjoyed Saintsbury, a little shy of expectations but very nice.
A nice one, worth taking a second look
Vail is one of my favorite places. It is nice and a true escape from the daily grind. This wine fest was very enjoyable and you can never go wrong with the excellent dining and outdoor activities that abound in the valley. Go shop, taste and experience Vail. But remember, your taste is your own-drink what you like. Cheers!
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.
The French Burgundy, Pinot Noir $104.95
Saddles delicious accompaniment to wine.
Volunteers guarding the wines.
The Blonde Grape and Eli Rodriguez
Eli drinking and Mike taking his turn at speaking
Eli and Mike
The real star of the show
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.
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 the 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.
Superb blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a majority of Merlot.
Under $100 (barely) we have a second growth Bordeaux.
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.
A Sotheby’s Table
Bordeaux guarding the grape
It begins with a good sniff…
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,
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!
The answer is one. This is a little more insight into me, making it easier to follow my words. My love for music and the business of music is well-known and makes me smarter than I really am, because I can spout any useless information on the topic but can’t tell you why I walked into the kitchen. That’s me.
In this edition, I will introduce you to an interesting blend of style with wine and music. Sit back, relax and open your mind.
To think he was the birth of Kinko’s. Copies in minutes, wow!
Not a button, this required real manpower
They don’t look happy? Do you think they found a typo?
More than words…literary art.
Since the beginning of time as much as we have loved the convenience of speed, we turn to relish the classics that took a bit of time. Whether or not it is actually better, that is a long debate that I feel depends on what you are debating. But, when you hold some of these items that took more than a keystroke to print and disperse, it does cause you to pause. I think the use of the pause button would save a lot of aggravation today. For example, type a text, press pause, read the text or auto corrected text and correct the auto-correction and then push send. Oh, imagine the possibilities. Now, think of Gutenberg if he printed a typo.
I was at an arcade recently with my daughter and found an old video game, Galaxian…like Galaga (but that was being used) and after I put a quarter in the slot, (yes, still a quarter) I had to keep pushing the button to fire. Now, I’m Jane Jetson and “I’ve Got the Push Button Blues.” I actually got tired and I am thinking to myself, damn I’m old. Actually, I am just thinking that I just proved my point remembering a song sung by Jane Jetson. There was also the episode where…I’ll leave it for later.
Maybe this is one of the reasons I enjoy wine so much. It cannot be made well if it is rushed. It cannot mature and become robust if made in a hurry. It can’t go back and bring forth centuries of flavors if the older vines are destroyed so that we can consume a history of the region. You should know, that although I am a slow runner, mid-paced hiker, strong but not speedy cyclist I like fast cars, fast wit and do not like to linger when shopping. But, drinking wine and enjoying the outdoors, I will say should be savored slowly. It is my attempt at controlling time and although I never truly succeed at it, I do create great memories and that works for me.
Enter the Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon. I automatically think of vinyl records but this even echoes my sentiments on the bottle when it prints “never rush a great wine”. This 2014 wine out of Paso Robles, CA is oak barrel aged. Like a vintage recording such as Sammy Davis Jr and Buddy Rich on the album Sounds of ’66, the intro to “Come Back to Me” is a genuineness and beauty that can only be augmented by the tracks on the record such as “What Now My Love”. Now, due to tempus fugit, vintage means more the artists of my youth like the Rolling Stones,Beatles, Journey, and much more. Back to the wine, this Cabernet is dark and the process has been slowed down to be more concentrated, which proves sometimes, slowing down demonstrates the
well-intentioned effort and show the true amalgamation of when art meets craft. Delicious!
Enter perhaps the purest of methods to record an album. It was not done by many but was used most often in the 60’s and 70’s. It is when an album was recorded direct to disc, not first to the tape and then transferred. Thus it removed some of the hissing (a well-loved memory of vinyl) but created a truly honest reproduction and if you pause well enough to listen, you can hear a breath taken. See for yourselves a great article on the process here.
I played trumpet in my youth and had one of his mouthpieces. Too cool.
Although, Sammy eludes to the live recording being pressed to wax during the performance, there is no guarantee but here is an example for you by the great Harry James, and “Sweet Georgia Brown” recorded direct to disc by Sheffield Lab.
So endeth the lesson on this process. Friends, listen to what brings a smile to your face and drink what you like and makes your taste buds happy. Cheers!
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.
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 Money…It’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!
Global warming or just that time of year called Summer, we are nearing the dog days and it is hot. We are beyond warm, or a little touched by the heat, we are in full flip-flop mode and portable fans.
Now, I don’t always think it necessary to pair wine with food. As I have said before, drink what you like and choose the guidelines if you wish. But, I do tend to make a deciding factor on what I drink based on the weather. To me when it is hot, it is the time to keep the drink a little lighter and sometimes even a little sweeter. Warning: If you make it too light and too sweet you may drink too fast due to dehydration, be careful.
One of my favorite drinks to cool down the heat, is Sangria. There are many kinds, but typically there are three version for you to choose from: a red, a white and a cava (sparkling wine). My favorite place for Sangria and Cuban/Spanish Cuisine is The Columbia in Ybor City, FL (Tampa).
This place is very much a destination place when you visit Tampa, in particular, Ybor City. Known for it’s “Cuban” Cigars, it is hard to get much more authentic than actually going to Cuba. This is a very eclectic neighborhood that is continuously improving and free roaming chickens. Go see for yourselves, believe.
So, back to it being hot, this place alongside it’s great food is known for it’s sangria. The Columbia has packaged a mix to help you in the process and I have used it, and liked it. Now, I didn’t have all the fruit on hand to make it pretty but I can tell you, temps in the high 80s to low 90s and it was refreshing and on point. Pics below don’t do it justice, but the ones after will, I promise:
Due to the Spanish origins, I use a Rioja wine to make the red sangria. Again, we did not have much fruit, so we used limes and grapes. But, I highly suggest you try oranges in the mix. The Cerro Anon Rioja from 2009 was perfect for this blend that had me lounging on my deck admiring the grass that probably needs to be mowed, but it’s hot, so I tell my son, the lawn can wait till manana as I don’t want to hear the rumble of the push engine catching grass. Nor, do I want to hear him whine about mowing the yard, that would get in the way of the only whine I tolerate and that is wine, without an “h”.
Now, if for some reason, you are not experiencing the mercury rising in your neck of the woods, here are some songs that may put that feeling into play for you. In no particular order of heat index, here are some great songs to enjoy your Sangria:
But if you don’t want songs that sing about being hot, or heat or summer, I believe this new song by Justin Timberlake, should be the 2016 song of Summer. What do you think? Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
Now, back to the Sangria. My recent trip to The Columbia, we tried the Sangria Cava, which is Sangria using a Spanish sparkling wine. The pictures will show some of the process and I will attach the link and post recipe to the refreshing blend that made one forget for a brief second that all the temps said, 90+, it felt like over 100 on the thermometer.
This was so yummy! The recipe from their website is as follows:
Sangria de Cava (Sparkling Wine Sangria) Columbia’s sparkling white sangria is great for a fancy brunch. Ingredients 1 375 ml bottle of Cava (or any sparkling wine) ¼ ounce Torres 5 Brandy (or any Spanish brandy) ¼ ounce Gran Torres Liqueur (or any orange liqueur) Splash of lemon-lime soda 1 orange 1 lime Cherries for garnish Simple syrup*
Preparation Cut orange and lime in half. Fill large pitcher with ice and combine the wine, brandy, liqueur, lemon-lime soda, the juice of half of an orange and the juice of half a lime. Stir. Add simple syrup to obtain desired sweetness. Slice remaining orange and lime into thin slices. Garnish glasses with orange, lime and cherry.
* To make simple syrup, combine one part water to one part sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Chill before use. Serves 4.
As I mentioned previously, you can purchase their mix to aid you in the assistance of your perfect Sangria. I suggest you stick to Spanish wines the Riojas, Cavas to make it as authentic and delicious as possible, but as I always say, drink what you like. So, experiment among yourselves. Let me know how it turns out.Click on The Columbia Gift Shop to purchase your mix.
Lastly, my last visit was timed with the timely return of my brother and his wife from Spain and Portugal. My love of wine runs in the family and to let you know how they are using cork in the Mediterranean other than to top off a bottle, I give you the cork shoe. Yes, I am now going to have to get a pair, but for now, here is a picture of cork shoes on my brother’s feet. Salud!
There it stares at me, this blinking vertical line on my computer screen. This place keeper to mark what I have started but deleted and started again to finally end up here. Off, damned blinking cursor, off I say. A slight reference to Lady Macbeth. Act 5, Scene 1.
Can this be really happening to me? Do I have ‘gulp’ writer’s block? Okay, quick google search and I find “How to Overcome Writer’s Block” by Jeff Goins. There are lots of great tips here and so I bookmarked the page but, not one of the suggestions is to drink wine. I know this could be dual edged sword, but this is a wine blog and it seems to me if you want to breakthrough the block, you pour yourself a glass, take a crazy picture of it and start from there.
I do as he suggests and turn on some music. Playing now, “HARD LOVE” by NEEDTOBREATHE. As the song plays, and the wine trickles down I come to reality that we make love so much harder a choice than hate. Since, I am trying to always stay on the positive side especially for this blog, the recent events have it hard to be positive. So, I sit comatose in front of the screen.
When people start believing headlines before the story can even be written, that can be dangerous. It makes tragedies that much worse and incites people’s worst fears. Since negativity is being spread and we, humans want to be included we jump on the negative train. Yet, we should take the time to pause and realize that at our core, all of us regardless of sex, color, religion or any other difference are also part of one race and we are trying to learn how to be unique and the same. Perhaps, we shouldn’t try for the same, just accept the unique and marvel at all the colors that bring into this world.
One of my favorite quotes and I use it often as I am in marketing. I apologize in advance, but, I think you will smile at its honesty. It is a line Tommy Lee Jones says in Men In Black. “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” Since beliefs are based off of the choice to believe, I believe we are better than our recent behavior and although I do not know the tipping point to make us all realize that, I pray it comes soon. We people everywhere still have much to learn.
So, how did I get around the writer’s block? Well, I took silly pictures of the bottle with the bard’s photo on it. I positioned it with several books of no particular style, because I read everything.
Noticing that I like what I read and it is all very different, I even read the labels from the wine. Now, something else different about this particular wine, by the name of Writer’s Block is that it is a Cabernet Franc. Yes, again different but I was willing to give it a try hoping that it would be a little lighter in texture because of the warm weather we have been having lately. It was light, and to a pleasant surprise not sweet but rather more on the peppery side. A very smooth drink that invites you back for more as you continue to sip. I will be looking for other vineyards that produce a Cabernet Franc wine so I can expand the horizons of my taste buds.
Now, I leave you with the quote from one of the great poets of all time and was influenced by William Shakespeare: “Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.” John Milton, English poet, (1608-1674)
So, I listened to music, I sipped some wine, I took silly photos and I celebrated the differences. I hope you take the time to celebrate you!
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?
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.
Mojito giving Chateau La Paws’ pinot noir a good sniff
She gives it a good sniff and was pleased with the decision.