Not sure about you, but we’ve been watching the weather maps pretty much all weekend. A hurricane in the Gulf or in the Atlantic isn’t news. A hurricane in the Atlantic at the END of October is BIG news. Add in the ‘big dog’ cold front working its’ way to the East Coast and you have the makings for a nasty storm. The media have drubbed it “Frankenstorm” . . . and after watching ‘The Perfect Storm’ with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg (way too many times), to say that we’re concerned might be an understatement. You see, one of our own, daughter # 2 is up at a university in the Boston area, and our experience with weather and Boston hasn’t exactly been great. In 2011 when we packed up the car and took her to school for the first time, we were greeted by the arrival of Hurricane Irene. Yep, the EXACT same weekend that the students were to move in to their dorms and begin orientation, the hurricane put an end to that. We literally sat in a hotel room without power during the storm (enjoying wine, of course – what a surprise to find out that the licqour stores are open on Sunday, and during a hurricane . . .) while the daughter was safely on campus with power and plenty of things to keep her occupied. Brian’s return flight to Texas was cancelled that Sunday night which meant trying to get a different flight out on Monday – Jean drove home solo and saw virtually no impact from the hoopla. Irene turned out to be a minimal bother in the Boston area which is why we’re really watching to see what unfolds over the next few days.
One of the first pieces of good news was a forwarded email that classes have been cancelled for tomorrow which gives a certain piece of mind knowing that students won’t be walking (or blown all over) to classes. The next part of the equation is watching how the storm unfolds and what kind(s) of precipitation falls or how bad the wind blows. Actually, that’s the part that we think about the most – the wind. It’s a ‘crap shoot’ because you don’t know how bad the gusts will be; how prolonged the wind speeds will be and what kind of damage the combination of the two will evoke. So, for us, there is comfort in tasting and talking about a really great bottle of wine that we originally tasted on our recent trip to Paso Robles, California.
We had a great meeting of Robert Hall’s wine maker-extraodinaire, Don Brady, and he took us on a terrific tour of their wine making facility in Paso Robles. At every turn, there were oak barrels – some from France, some from America and some from Eastern Europe. Each of them have specific purposes in the wine making process. Some of them have been a part of the Robert Hall wine making for a decade! At Robert Hall, not only is the wine delicious but the tasting room and grounds are beautiful and relaxing. Today’s wine is the 2009 Robert Hall Pape de Robles – a gorgeous blend of Petite Sirah. 35% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah, and 17% Mourvedre. While wines with Grenache, tend to be on the lighter side, this wine with its’ four big-grape cousins is an awesome blend with a beautiful, fragrant nose of cranberry, vanilla and spices combined with a fruit-filled finish of black raspberries, currants, cedar and spices. It ends up being the perfect wine to wrap up this weekend . . . a weekend full of family, fun and food. We’ve sampled other Robert Hall wines previously, but this 2009 Pape de Robles is a special wine from a special wine maker . . . Don Brady has roots here in Texas, so we’re happy to not only enjoy his wines but also to give him a shout out as well!
As the weather unfolds over the next few days, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Boston area as well as the Washington D.C. area – no, not because of any last-minute campaigning, because we also have a niece attending American University there. The East Coast has OUR full attention this week, and if it doesn’t have yours, that’s okay . . . break out a bottle of your favorite wine and when you do, please enjoy it responsibly. Please remember to recycle whenever possible.
We’ll be back here tomorrow night with a follow-up to the weather and thanks to all who have called, sent a text message or left a Facebook post asking about how things are going up there. Until tomorrow, Cheers!