casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

Day 153: Gotta Get Down to Swingtime . . .

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Swing Time RedDo you remember the Steve Miller Band?  Stevie “Guitar” Miller churned out some of the 70’s best music.  Now we never saw him in concert, but we know several people who did and the way he plays guitar is something of beauty.  There have been many instances over the years when we’ve played the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits CD and each one is better than the one before it.  That CD–probably one of his most successful efforts sold in excess of 13 million copies…“In 1978, Greatest Hits 1974-1978 was released. The album contained all the big hits from his two most popular albums, Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams (plus the title track from The Joker), which were recorded during the same recording sessions in 1976 and subsequently released one year apart. This popularity also fueled successful concert tours throughout the 1980s and 1990s, often with large numbers of younger people being present at the concerts, many of whom were fans of the big hits and inevitably purchased the greatest hits album. Miller would often headline shows with other classic rock acts, and played a variety of his music, including a selection of his blues work dating from the late 1960s.”

To this day on Classic Rock stations, you can hear the music of the Steve Miller Band, AND, if you’re from “that era”, you’ll immediately be transported back in time to the high school gym and the “Homecoming Dance” or the “Valentine’s Dance” or whatever dance your school called it–way back when!!  All we know is that it was really good music and it’s stood the test of time.  In fact, one of Brian’s favorites to this day is Steve Miller’s ‘Swing Town’.  It starts with a great riff and his vocals…wow, what a terrific combination!!  All of this is a great lead-in to tonight’s wine.  Jean picked up a nice little blend while ‘browsing’ at H-E-B; traveling to the Sonoma County area in California, the 2009 Swing Time Red from Alexander Valley Vineyards is a nice blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel…WOW, imagine that…a red wine blended with our three favorite grapes!!!

The catch in our case was that this wine–doesn’t exist!  We searched multiple sites — and even looked at the Alexander Valley Vineyard site  — only to find nothing about this wine, SO here’s our take.  Beautiful color.  The nose was musty…like it needed serious air-time.  The first pour was musty on the nose and musty on the taste.  We probably should have poured the wine into a decanter, but opted to keep swirling our glasses.  The wine opened up–albeit reluctantly–and their was a distinct note of black berries and raspberries.  Unfortunately, the taste was still controlled by the significant mustin ness.  At the end of the day, there are tons of blends on the market.  In a world where blends — formally the bane of wine makers and now the darlings of the new wine world — we suggest you look elsewhere.  Alexander Valley Vineyards makes some great Cabernet Sauvignons and some truly amazing Zinfandels, like Sin Zin and Redemption…but this blend is a thumbs down.

It’s tough to ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ when you’re trying wine that you wouldn’t serve on a ‘Jet Airliner’, but it’s good to know that you can ‘Take The Money and Run’ to the nearest wine shop and find your favorite red or white.  Don’t be ‘The Joker’; try blends or other varietals that you really like and that make you ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’  Have a great Friday and we’ll be back here tomorrow night, magically, with another choice – – Abracadabra!

Remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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