Last month, we had the privilege of joining our good friends, and former neighbors, on a fishing trip down in Aransas Pass. Fishing in this area usually means redfish, trout and maybe an occasional shark. On this particular weekend, we were given the opportunity to go offshore with the awesome, 55 foot boat–appropriately named Happy Hour. As offshore trips go, the summer time is typically the best with regards to lower tides and less rockin’. This weekend, the seas were supposed to be no more than 1-2 feet, which even for the queasiest of stomachs is a tolerable level. The thought of catch Ling, Wahoo, Shark and Sailfish was alluring to be sure, and the sheer beauty of the weather made the decision to switch from bay fishing to offshore fishing all the easier. Now, one of the down sides to offshore fishing is that you HAVE to get up earlier than most people understand – we’re talking 5:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning? Really?
After the initial rush of adrenaline fades away, we are on a boat for, roughly, the next two to two and a half hours. We go from stark to light and the rise of the sun – we go from a smooth ride on top of the water to a rough ride with the increase in winds. Upon arriving at a spot – literally in the middle of nowhere – the boat all of a sudden loses power and the captain, the owner, and crew are scurrying about to the engine room. A fuel filter is busted, and diesel is spewing all over the engine room. If you’ve never been in close or confined quarters and had the opportunity of inhaling diesel fumes – DON’T. It is probably one of the nastiest, most caustic and nauseating smells your schnoze is ever going to deal with in a closed cabin. When members of the crew start losing it, you know it’s NOT GOOD. To magnify the problem, the 1-2 foot seas that had been predicted, turned into 4-5 seas with a stiff breeze. SO, you factor in the obnoxious odor of diesel fuel combined with the pitch and roll effect of stronger than anticipated winds and you get a situation that is not necessarily good for fishing.
However, this trip was to be an incredible adventure. Between Jean, Brian and daughter #1, and thanks to a tenacious crew who obviously knew the waters like the back of their hands, we caught and released – not one, not two, not three . . . but FOUR sailfish! The rush of sitting in the chair holding the fishing rod and watching this magnificent fish jump out of the water three times – whew – it makes us want to go and do it again! In addition to the beautiful sailfish, a wahoo and two dorado were caught. All three of them make for good eating . . . which brings us to tonight’s post.
A trip like that, with unexpected consequences, was the perfect background for one of our favorite wines from Australia first introduced to us back when Grape Juice was a little shop in Ingram, Texas! Patrick Wilt, a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, (axe ’em Jacks!) and his wife, Keri (also a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University – axe ’em, again, Jacks) opened Grape Juice and began to teach the Hill Country about wines. They have done, and continue to do, this exceptionally well. Tonight’s wine was is, and always will be, one of our ALL TIME FAVORITES! Fresh from the land down under is the 2010 Ball Buster! It’s a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – and it’s BIG, no we mean REALLY BIG! Each year we try it and it’s always BIG, DELICIOUS, A FRUIT BOMB! There is something about a wine that is thick and juicy but stands up to a really nice piece of grilled dorado from off the the coast of Texas. The smooth vanilla notes are just all the way to the right finish to this gem. Add in some sauted vegetables and you have a perfect combination for enjoying good food with really good wine (which is what it’s all about). Priced around $15 a bottle, it’s a bargain and a perfect everyday wine – dinner time or deck time – it’s the right choice.
We aren’t going to bore you with tasting notes and all sorts of mumbo-jumbo because the simple fact is – if you try no other wine in the 365 wines we’ll review, then this one MUST be at the top of your list. It’s that GOOD, and after all, Patrick isn’t going to steer us in the wrong direction – he hasn’t yet. So, go out there and do some fishing because really nothing tastes better than fresh fish – ESPECIALLY, when it is accompanied by a great wine.
Enjoy this one responsibly and please remember to recycle whenever possible.