casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

Day 323: A Trip Down Memory Lane . . .

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Balius

While Brian and D#1 continued to stay with Grams in Houston for the weekend, Jean decided to spend some time going through boxes and deciding what could really be thrown out.  For the record, this is no easy task for Jean – although not quite hoarder status, she does tend to hang onto some things for a long time (just don’t ask about the tubs of Happy Meal toys in the garage).  It’s usually best that nobody is around when she decides to go on a binge cleaning spree.  The side benefit of days like this is coming across pictures from the past.  It’s safe to say that a good majority of her day was spent taking pictures of pictures and sending them to Brian, D#1 and D#2.  It is really fun to take a trip down memory lane – as they say, you can’t live in the past – but it’s a good place to visit from time to time.  There were stacks of photos from college, from pre-marital times, pre-children times, births, weddings, kids growing up, and of course our menagerie of pets over the years – clippings, yearbooks and a bunch of other things gone through – all in all, it was time well spent, and yes some things were discarded.  Not much else was accomplished, in fact the car never left the driveway . . . wow ! (a load or two of laundry did get done and the vacuum cleaner made a surprise visit), but other than that – nuthin’.  As a matter of fact – – – it was a great day!

As result of her Twin Liquor visit yesterday, Jean was able to open up a bottle of “on sale” wine (translation under $12).  She popped the cork on a bottle of Balius 2009 Chardonnay – yes, a Chardonnay . . . don’t see many of those around these parts, but it just seemed like the thing to do today.  When checking out the winery website, Jean discovered there was a great story (yep, there’s ALWAYS a story – but this one is kinda neat).

Apparently, Achilles and his two immortal horses, Balius and Xanthos, were legendary and heroic figures on the battlefields of ancient Greece.  The warrior and his fearless horses were often depicted with black paint on clay wine vessels, or amphorae, as a celebration of their heroic triumphs.  The Balius label is a nod to the fabled heroes represented by the black figure pottery of ancient Greece, and all Balius wines are reflections of the world-renowned appellations throughout California.  So, who knew what Achilles horses names were? – probably something learned way back when studying Edith Hamilton’s famed book on Mythology . . . think that was a must read in high school. At any rate, it is a fun fact to know and tell – we will plan to toss that one out at the water cooler in the office come Monday.

So, we’ve mentioned before that the reason Chardonnay’s don’t get invited to Casa del Vino very often is because of their buttery, sweet taste.  We do very much like the “unoaked” Chardonnay’s.  Which is the reason Jean even picked this one up – 42% of the blend was aged in 100% French oak barrels, 16% new. While in barrel the wine was kept on its lees and hand-stirred two times per month. The balance of the blend was aged in stainless steel. All of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was fined and polish filtered before bottling.

The cork popped right out and the nose was a very intense aroma of pear, pineapple, and a smidge of vanilla. On the palate the wine was fairly beefy with a great combination of  peach, nectarine, and pineapple.  The finish was super – it was mineral-laced and was the perfect balance to all the sugary sweet fruit.  The bottle is pumped up and back in the fridge waiting for Brian’s return so he too can enjoy.

Chilled and served with some nice cheeses, this wine would make the leap to the Bondy Deck Wine List – Top 20 on a hot summer day.  Boy, it is going to be tough to narrow down the list.  This is a must buy again wine.

As we slip into Sunday, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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