Pedal & Pour @SteamboatWineFestival 2016

 

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Good Morning Steamboat Springs

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.

To say that I am excited about this event is an understatement.  I want to ride my bicycle–you can sing along with me – I want to ride my bike.   I mean I posed my bike like children in anticipation and right before the event because I proved wine gives you strength. At least that is the phrase I told myself going up the “low” rolling hills.

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.

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.

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, his winery produces the #1 selli20160812_130143_resizedng 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. 

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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!

Hace Caliente or It’s Hot!

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: 

The Heat is On by Glenn Frey

Hot, Hot, Hot by Buster Poindexter

Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas

Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family Stone

When Your Hot Your Hot by Jerry Reed

Summertime Blues by The Who

In the Summertime by Mungo Cherry (1 Hit Wonder)

Some Like it Hot by Power Station

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!

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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!