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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 365: In A Word . . . Done

Writer's Block

Today, we fished with dear friends Trail Boss and Edel – two better people we do not know.  We were neighbors for three years when we lived down on the coast of Texas.  We’ve now known them for 13 years and truth be told – they are family to us and we treasure the moments that we spend together on the water, having a cold beverage at Hampton’s Landing while the cooks prepare the fish we caught that day, sitting  by the pool and just hanging out in the kitchen.  The blue water of the Aransas Bay were tough today – lost six Bull Reds at the Fina Docks – for the record, these fish average 40 lbs.  Well, as Scarlett O’Hara said . . . tomorrow is another day – up and at ’em at 5:30 a.m.

Well, here we are . . . finally at the end of our journey.  365 days ago, we thought it would be FUN to taste and blog about a different wine every night for a year . . . well, we came – we saw – we conquered.

It’s funny, but in many ways we feel somewhat like Forrest Gump when he decided to start running . . . because he just felt like it – well, guess you could say that’s why we started this blog . . . because we just felt like it.  And now, much like Forrest said when he decided to stop running after 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours – “I’m pretty tired, I think I’ll just go home” “. . . and my running days came to an end.”  Ditto for the blog.

Yep, to be honest, we’re tired – now, let’s get this straight we aren’t tired of trying new wines . . . just making the daily effort to write about them (trust us, there were many a night that one of us dozed at the computer – BUT, except on a few occasions when “band width” was an issue at the house – we ALWAYS got it done).  Hafta admit, in many ways it has been a blast . . . going into a store and perusing shelves to see what looks interesting . . . talking to employees in said stores about wine and learning what they like . . . talking to friends about wines they like . . . talking to family about wines they like . . . exchanging correspondence with people around the world about wines they like . . . tasting wines we NEVER would have thought of trying (mostly whites – thanks Kathryn for pushing us) . . . learning that we HAVE to go to WA and OR and discover more about the wines there  . . . learning that a trip to Argentina is in our future . . . hmmmmm – think there is a pattern here.

Soooooo – for the final wine, we opened a 2010 Writer’s Block Cab Franc from Steele Winery.  Aside from being the perfect name for our final post, the wine has quite a story.  First of all, we thought this wine would be better in the Fall while sitting next to a fire – not a hot Summer night after spending the day fishing in 100 degree heat.  But, we digress – the color is deep burgundy – the cork popped out with ease.  On the nose, kinda sweet . . . notes of blueberry and strawberry with oak aromas.  On the palate, very thick . . . must be the juicy plum that we tasted.  On the finish . . . initially a tart bomb, but with a bit of airtime it was less explosive – but still on the tart side.  Will have to mull overnight whether it will make the Top 20 List.  Jean picked this wine up about 2 months ago on a lunch time field trip with Margaret and Lance to East End Wines in Austin.  Must admit, when she saw it and sent a picture to Brian – both agreed that it was the PERFECT wine to wrap things up.  The cost was reasonable at $13.00.

As we wind down, we would be remiss if we didn’t reminisce a tiny bit.  Over the last 365 days, we have celebrated the birthday of person we know, and perhaps a few we don’t – celebrated the wedding anniversary of every person we know – remembered the anniversary of those we love who have gone to a better place in Heaven – gone to a wedding, celebrated every holiday and made up a few of our own, taken road trips – gone fishing – made new friends and embraced old ones – in all it has been a wonderful experience.

Want to give a SO (shout out) to D#1 and D#2 – thanks for indulging us while we undertook this journey.  We love you bolth so much and are proud of the fine women you have become . . . we are blessed.

Thanks to everyone for joining us on the ride, it has been real . . . it’s been fun and it’s been real fun – there are many ways to sign off . . . “Happy Trails to you, until we meet again” – “So long, farewell – Auf Wiedersehen, adieu . . . Adieu, adieu – To you and you and you” – “… so glad we had this time, together” – “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash . . . wherever you are” and finally, “Goodnight and God Bless”.

Regardless of your beverage of choice – remember always to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


P.S.  Check back tomorrow for the Top 20 Bondy Deck List – cast votes and help us choose the Top Ten!


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Day 364 – Let’s Roll The Tote Board And See Where We’re At…

Well, here we are…the “unofficial” end of summer—yep, it’s Labor Day weekend, and we decided after getting D#2 off to the airport and an extremely long, hot day at work that this was a great weekend to head to the coast.  As usual, getting out of town was easier said than done since everyone else is thinking the exact same thing.  So, by the time we actually got going, it was well past 7, and there are still plenty of cars and trucks on the highway.

Many a Labor Day weekends of the past were spent watching the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon from Las Vegas.  Remember all of the stars who would come on the show during the 24 hour event?  We remember neighborhood carnivals to raise money to bring to the local television station that was televising the annual telethon.  We can remember trying to stay awake through the night and not wanting to miss anything.  Usually, around midnight, Jerry disappeared for a few hours and Ed  McMahon or some other person would take over the announcing duties.  Each hour, they would roll the tote board to a new dollar amount of money raised and pledges received.  There were rows of phone banks set up to take callers from all over the world, and like a well-oiled machine, when the cut-a-way came to the phone bank, the announcer just happened to be at the exact spot where a phone rings and a volunteer picks up and starts taking a pledge. . .you can’t make this stuff up!  As night gave way to the day of Labor Day. . .the tote board was showing amazing numbers and Jerry and the gang were rallying the troops to raise more before the deadline.  We can remember being at shopping malls and people talking about the new record balance raised.  It was something that actually brought a lot of people together.

 But, here we are in 2013 and the telethon…as a major event…has gone by the wayside.  Gone too would be the phone banks…no longer needed in this smartphone era.  Gone was the need to send in a check…your credit card or your debit card would be all that’s needed.  And of course, we’ve lost a lot of those stars over the years, and the ones who’ve come after them, well, we just don’t see the same level of commitment.  Jerry had a way with a lot of those folks.  So, we move past the events of the past and look at today. . .Day 364.  In some respects, this has been our telethon…more like a marathon…only we’ve been motivating ourselves to see it through to a proper conclusion.  As each day went by, we felt like we were showing the tote board and another day down and only a few more to go!  Our phone bank has been replaced by readers, followers and family and friends who have been as much motivators as consumers of our stories.  Like Jerry’s kids, we just needed a little bit of love!

Tonight we opened a very nice 2009 Innisfree Cabernet Sauvignon from Joseph Phelps. Innisfree…a fictional village in Ireland; the John Wayne film, The Quiet Man was filmed in this village.  Anyway, the grapes for this particular vintage were harvested in September and October and were fermented in stainless steel tanks before settling in a combination of 2 and 4 year old French oak barrels for sixteen months.  The wine is a delicious treat.  Loads of fresh fruit and a slight hint of cedar and tobacco.  This wine really benefited from the time spent in the barrel…it’s mellow, full-bodied and ready for enjoying.  We picked up ours at Twin Liquor’s Dollar Sale and not knowing what to expect, we were really surprised by its’ flavor.

Although the days of the Muscular Dystrophy telethon with Jerry Lewis are gone.  Two things are important to keep in focus: first, the disease is still affecting children to this day and the efforts made in the telethon’s best years need to be continued.  And, two, the world of entertainment, when it gets behind a cause, they have the power to change the world.

We hope you have a terrific holiday weekend – we hope to catch some Reds; enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 363: Family Ties . . .

Soul Sister

Today wasn’t just any ordinary day – TODAY, we actually sat around the dinner table and ate dinner as a family of four!  For years, this was an everyday occurrence – these days, it’s a gift we treasure and look forward to whenever possible.  As you know, D#2 has been in town the last several days and heading back to school in the early a.m., so the fact that D#1 came down after school and Jean left a bit early made for a great rendezvous.  AND, the fact that Brian was able to come home at lunch and stoke up the smoker with the ribs he marinated last night – made everyone a happy camper today.  D#2 was in charge of keeping the coals at the prescribed temperature – in a manner of speaking, she was the “coal man” for the day.  No doubt that without her attention to the thermometer, the ribs would have not been ready at a reasonable hour in order for us to enjoy some family time, enjoy a wonderful meal and finish early enough for D#1 to make it back to Austin before she turned into a pumpkin.  Gonna be awhile until we are all together again – like Thanksgiving awhile.

Today is also special for another reason – it’s the day that Jean became the “older” sister and no longer the baby of the family.  Yep, Sister Sara popped out 48 years ago.  Jean can still remember standing outside the hospital with her four siblings waving at the bundle held by her Mom way up on the second floor of the hospital.  Home she came, truth be told all the older girls figured a new toy had arrived and managed over the years to have quite a bit of fun with the little one.  One moment that is forever etched in the memory banks is the time that Margaret (aka Jean’s Mom) was standing at the washer unloading clothes from the box underneath the laundry chute that descended from the first floor to the basement  – – – when lo and behold a pile of bed sheets came tumbling down – only when she heard a screaming baby did Margaret realize that Sara was wrapped in the sheets . . . this is what happens when older siblings entertain themselves with younger ones.  Recollection seems to be that a spanking or grounding followed for the perpetrators.  Oh, all in fun . . . Sara – Happy Birthday!  We love you and wish you’d move back to Texas so we can see you (well, maybe AFTER we come to see you in WA and find all those good wineries we’ve been reading about).

So tonight, we opened up a 2011 Soul Sister from the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company.  Ok, so just the name of the winery is enough to make you want to try it.  For the record, they also make Chardonnay Calling All Angels and Petite Sirah Drops of Jupiter.  Hmmm, now we really are getting just a little out there . . .  Popping the cork was a breeze, and the light ruby color ‘trickled’ very nicely into the glass.  A little light on the nose, but definitely cherry and strawberry notes.  The palate at first was a little too tart for our liking, but about 20 minutes of air time, and it opened up very nicely.  The finish was light, but again the cherry and strawberry flavors hung around just long enough to get noticed.  Probably not a wine we’d add to “the list”, but certainly was worth a look and “tastesee” (don’t think that is a word, but like it).  Picked this one up at World Market for under $11.

So, again Happy Birthday Sara – we raise our glasses to you tonight!  So glad you were born . . .

Now onto business – we’ve been asked about our final “Top Ten List” – a suggestion has been made that we should extend the Top Ten to the Top Twenty – gotta agree, there are SO many we liked out of 365 . . . so, here’s what we are gonna do . . . on Sunday, (the day after we write about number 365) we will have a list of the Top Twenty and your job is to vote on which ones you think are the Top Ten . . . yes, means you might have to do a little research – rumor has it that Twin is having their Dollar Sale for the next THREE days . . . if you live near one – stock up on some of your favorites from the blog.

So, there you have it – we are winding down (Sorry Doug – aka Marvin . . . you got ratted out by P & L) – but, we do have TWO nights left – we will finish with a bang and not a whimper.  Until we meet again, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 362 – Beware of Wines Named Pleasure!

pleasures pinot noirYeah. . .there should be a rule of thumb in wine tasting.  You know, when you taste something that really hits the spot and then you find out its’ name and you’re like, “Oh. . .really?  That’s the wine I just tried?  Dude, I”m sorry!”  Okay, so that conversation may not ever take place, but the result is a wine that gets your attention. . .and NOT in a good way!

It’s no surprise that  we are winding this ‘bad boy’ (AKA The Blog) up in a few days. . .and recently, we received a message from a “reader” named ‘Doug’…not sure, but it may have been, “Dug”;  who was hoping to see the blog go on forever!  Wow!!  Initially, we were caught off guard by Doug’s (Dug’s) praise, and then we started thinking. . .”hey wait a minute, why would ANYONE who reads this blog have any “skin in the game” about us keeping it going?  Clearly, we decided, there must be some wine folks out there who’ve had a few too many…or too few!!  Absolutely no disrespect to wine lovers of all ages and demographics, but we started this bad boy 362 days ago on a promise to taste and talk about 365 different wines in 365 days, and the thought or the request of keeping it going–has never — repeat NEVER — entered our minds. (Thank goodness!)

Finding a bargain, California Pinot Noir is not an easy task, but that’s exactly what we found with a new label, the 2010 Pleasures Pinot Nooir.  Most California Pinot Noir is priced in the $15-20 range, but the Pleasures Pinot Noir takes the Quality to Price Ratio to new heights with its price of just $9.99. As tough as it is to keep any quality Pinot in stock, it’s nearly impossible with one at less than $10 a bottle.  It’s a very nice Pinot Noir–no hash notes, a little thin for our tastes but a great sipping wine nonetheless.  The body is Light/Medium and the wine has a Satin-like texture. It has a short finish but is not unpleasant.

Truthfully, there are a lot better wines on the market that deserve your dollars.  This isn’t one of them.  It’s alright and at 87 points, you can spend that money else where and get a better quality product for virtually the same money.  It’s light, fruity, and full of potential, but realistically, when you buy a Pinot, you’re NOT looking for potential, you’re looking for something to enjoy–RIGHT NOW!

As the days have dwindled down, we’re finding that the more diverse we try in our wines, the more picky we’re becoming.  Having tasted and talked about a variety of outstanding Pinot Noir wines, this one just doesn’t cut the mustard and we’d suggest that you move on. . .with only a few days left in this blog, you’d be better off finding something completely different!!!

Thanks for following us!  We’re working on a Top 25 poll for you to take. . .it will help us rate the best of the blog and confirm what we’ve been trying to accomplish for the past 365 days!  Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.  Have a great rest of the week!

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Day 361: The Day We Learned Something New About Wine . . .

Dubonnet BlancSo, the last couple of days we have been here, there and everywhere – with D#2 in town, we both took some time off and spent it with her.  Yesterday, Jean and D#2 had lunch with Bill (aka Jean’s Dad) and then hooked up with D#1 in Austin to play catch up and have a snack.  It was a wee bit of driving, but rewarding nonetheless.  All party’s seemed to have a grand time and be back at their own Casa’s at a reasonable hour.

Today, Brian and D#2 hit the road to the Woodlands to check on Grams (aka Brian’s Mom).  They headed out in time to rendezvous for lunch – rumor has it and a bit of shopping . . . thank goodness for the Woodlands Mall!  Jean took the day off as well – a scheduled local business lunch was in order, so no road trip for her today.  But, a busy and productive one it was.  Times like these are to be just plain cherished – time is zipping by way to fast, and we all need to just stop and smell the roses every so often.  If you haven’t taken time lately to do so – stop and take a whiff, it does the soul good.

Tonight we opened a wine that has been hanging around for a while – a 2010 Dubonnet Blanc Aperitif Wine that Jean found it on the closeout shelf for $8.00 at the Twin in Kyle a few months back.  Being a Blanc, it was easily shoved to the back of the fridge in the hopes of being forgotten.  But, in our rummaging around last week, it was uncovered somewhere amidst the leftovers in the fridge. So, we had to do it – as they say . . . “for the sake of the blog”.  Trust us, that is the only reason it made it to the front of the line.

So, we must freely admit that we really didn’t know what to expect – and even after drinking weren’t too sure what it was.  The screw top cap (we don’t hold that attribute against any wine – some of our favorites has screw tops) gave way to a very golden nectar.  We say nectar, because it was ever so sweet and had almost a musty taste.  We really didn’t care for it – and actually after a short taste almost added it to the sink, but hesitated and thought – maybe it would be better tomorrow.  In preparation of writing tonight, we looked it up and found out something ever so interesting about this concoction.  It reminded us of a plum wine that we tasted at a Chinese Restaurant in Ballwin, Missouri. . .the owner was an extremely friendly man who delighted in our appreciation of their menu, and when dinner was OVER, provided us with a palate cleanser, Plum Wine.  To this day we’ve never forgotten his service!

From their website . . . “From its origins with the French Foreign Legion to the legions of modern mixologists still using it today, Dubonnet Rouge Aperitif Wine has been a staple on the cocktail landscape since its introduction in 1846. Created by Parisian chemist / wine merchant Joseph Dubonnet as a means to make quinine more palatable for the soldiers battling malaria in North Africa, Dubonnet’s mix of fortified wine, a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels, and the medicinal quinine is a recipe that has earned it legendary status in the world of sophisticated drinks.  Nearly two centuries after its introduction, Dubonnet is the number-one selling aperitif brand in the United States, and still made according to the original family recipe. Its 19 percent alcohol content ensures a refreshing drink in the summertime, while its port-like flavors promise a hint of holiday in the winter months.  In addition to the more well-known Rouge, Dubonnet Blanc also makes a unique cocktail, as well as an excellent cooking ingredient.”  Ok, so WOW – who knew . . .

Just a bit more . . . “What is an Aperitif?  Originating from the Latin word aperio, aperitifs were originally conceived to “open” or prepare the appetite for a meal. While there are different styles of aperitif, aperitif wines such as Dubonnet make up a special class called “aromatized” wines – fortified wines that have been flavored with herbs, roots, flowers, barks and other botannicals.  Though there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians believed in drinking a small amount of alcohol before a meal, aperitifs didn’t peak in popularity until the late 19th century – and caught on in the United States by 1900. By the turn of the century, Dubonnet was producing more than three million bottles a year and was exported throughout the world.”

Now we have to admit, we like what the ancient Egyptians were thinking – what a novel idea . . . a glass of wine BEFORE dinner! Apparently there are recipes – most we found were for the Rouge, but one made with the Blanc sounded interesting:  1940’s Wedding Belle . . . 1/4 Orange – 1/4 oz. Wild Cherry Brandy – 3/4 oz. Burnett’s Gin – 3/4 oz. Dubonnet Blanc.  In a mixing glass, stir well with cracked ice and strain into three ounce cocktail glass. . .turn out the lights the party is over!!!

Don’t have any of the ingredients, but will give it a try and let you know.  Bottom line, it’s not just for drinking solo . . . AND you can teach old dogs new tricks.  Post got much longer than expected tonight – tune in tomorrow for how to submit your Top Ten Bondy Deck WinesUntil tomorrow, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


Day 360 – Welcome Back…

DiMajo Norante SangioveseOkay. . .up front, we’re dating ourselves.  BUT, there was a sitcom back in the 70’s that starred Gabe Kaplan and a little known actor whose character name was Vinnie Barbarino. . .and the actor was?  John Travolta!  Yep, before Saturday Night Fever or Urban Cowboy–before Pulp Fiction or Face Off. . .there was Welcome Back Kotter.  Imagine going back to teach in the high school that you graduated from only a few short years before. . .well, that was the premise of the show.  The catch, of course, was that the names had changed but the game was still the same.

In the realm of public schools, today–in Texas–was the first day back to school.  And Brian had a terrific opportunity to watch kids and parents arriving at a local elementary school, we can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are GLAD that the girls are where they are today!  Parents have changed.  Schools have changed.  Teachers have changed.  BUT, one thing has remained the same. . .kids will always be kids.  AND, no matter how much you prep them, guide them, cajole them or force them—a certain number of kids can’t wait to get into the building.  AND, a certain number of kids are petrified of going into the building!

Parents, on the other hand, well, they look like deer in headlights. . .especially first time parents dropping their child off for pre-K programs.  Uh, they NEVER taught us this in ‘Lamaze’ classes!  Nope. . .and guess what, kids DON’T come with owners manuals!  After watching the proceedings today at one of the schools, we were glad that a the girls were way passed this age and that they were fairly ‘low maintenance’ when it came to school starting!  And the more we greeted parents and kids, the better it felt knowing that in our world, those days were long gone.

So we needed a wine that would be a nice combination of old and new.  And thanks to our friends at World Market, we found the perfect choice.  Our 2009 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese is the essence of what this blog is about.  A terrific red wine with lots of cherries, blueberries, tobacco and cedar just waiting to be opened and enjoyed.  Even as good as this wine tasted, it’s got the potential to be even better–yep, this wine has ‘moxy’ and we think it’s got the ‘legs’ to go the distance.  Italian wines have an earthiness to them that can’t be measured by our standards.  No, not every bottle of wine produced there is a hit, but as good as the wine that we’ve tasted from Italy has tasted, we know that the BEST stuff never leaves the country!  Robert Parker rates this wine at 87 points–which for a $10 bottle of wine is pretty awesome!  They said, “this Sangiovese exhibits fresh aromas of violets, woodland berries, sweet spice and leather. Deliciously smooth, plush and juicy on the palate with loads of ripe fruit, Di Majo Sangiovese is recommended with meaty pastas or pizzas, chorizo and granular cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or aged Gouda.”  We enjoyed it with buffalo chicken tenders in hot and bbq sauce along with fresh steamed carrots and it was the perfect way to “put out the fire!”

We know that there are a lot of parents breathing a sigh of relief tonight.  The first day of school is in the books and the daily routine has just begun.  We remember those days and being welcomed back.  It’s a special time in the kids lives, your lives and their teacher’s lives. . .savor the moments.  Life comes at you way too fast and when you blink your eyes, they’re grown.  We hope that as your kids go back to school that you’ll stop and enjoy the moment, and if that means sipping on a glass of your favorite wine, we hope you’ll do so responsibly and always remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 359: Drive for Dough, Putt for Show . . .

Stone CapSo, as you may recall – Jean played golf on Friday and had a wonderful time and a couple of pretty decent shots during the round – her team didn’t win, but had a wonderful time.  Not that she and her sister Sara are the least bit competitive when it comes to the links, but . . . Jean now stands in awe of six year younger sister for her incredible feat today.  You see, Sara in a very gifted athlete – she’s ridden the MS150 numerous times, has been known bowl a 300 game and today accomplished a feat that few people do once, least of all twice in one day.  While on a business trip to Denver, Sara took up her clubs and hit the course and proceeded to shoot a 50 on 18 holes . . . made possible by TWO, yes . . . count ’em TWO Holes In One!  Come on now – that just doesn’t happen.  We’ve checked the record books and can’t find any comparison to this feat.  Upon reading the news on Facebook, we had to know the details – but Sara didn’t answer her phone.  What was her secret?  A new club – some new super charged golf balls – has she been secretly taking something to improve her strength and accuracy (don’t think she knows A-Rod) . . . what could it be?  Perhaps the altitude in Denver makes the difference – we’ve heard that on a humid night a baseball actually travels farther than on a cold night . . maybe it’s something like that or she had the wind at her back (there is a bit of Irish on Jean’s side of the family) . . . Regardless of the who, what, when, where and how – we ARE impressed.  Yep, tonight Sara took home the crown!  Job well done – Jean is super jealous!

To celebrate this feat, we opened a wine from Sara’s neck of the woods – a 2010 Stone Cap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley. . .as in Washington.  We know we need to make a trek out that way for a visit and will be sure to make this winery a stop on the tour.  The wine comes from Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard which is located on the ridge of Goose Hill, across from Red Mountain in the Columbia Valley where the Yakima River converges with Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills. The vineyard has gentle, south-facing slopes and warm temperatures. The Monson Family planted the vineyard in small blocks to produce high quality estate-grown wines. The 1,600 acre vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Gris.

Upon opening the wine, we loved what was on the nose.  An amazing fragrance of dark fruit and a floral.  On the palate, we were excited to find a full-bodied wine with black cherry, raspberry and currants that combine with toasty oak, chocolate and spice.  According to the wine maker, grilled pepper steak or herb-roasted rack of lamb are favorites with this smooth and powerful wine; however, we opted for a spice mix of kung pao chicken and steamed white rice.  A terrific combination that highlighted the sweeter notes of the wine as well as the deep structure.  It’s yet another example of food and wine working very well together!  At around $8 bucks a bottle, you’ll think you’re enjoying something far more sophisticated, but you’ll love how little the cost is compared to the flavor!  We’ll definitely add this wine to our list of deck wines to be enjoyed on a moment’s notice.

So, back to the golf game.  We are still in shock and awe!  Two holes-in-one. . .on the SAME DAY and the SAME COURSE!  Even the guys on the PGA Tour can’t muster this kind of performance.  Finally got an update – it seems that Sara might have had some assistance from a guy named Don Quixote on the Windmill hole – but other than that . . . she gets full credit for her feat tonight!

Quick reminder – please continue to send in your votes for the Top Ten Bondy Deck Wine list – time is getting short until Day 365!

As always, please remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 358: Home for a Visit . . .

Spanish White Guerrilla

As parents, there is NOTHING better than when a child returns home for a visit – albeit a brief one.  Today, D#2 flew in from the East (and boy, are my arms tired . . . ok, sorry about that – it’s a very old joke).  Anyways, she arrived safely from Boston a wee bit after Noon today – so after we snagged her from the construction zone at Bergstrom Airport, off we headed to inner Austin and a rendezvous with D#1.  Based on her early arrival time, all seemed right in air flight land today – doesn’t always happen.

We got to D#1’s place and our course all had to go in a spend a few minutes with Bridget Jones (aka, the Grand Dog) – no visit is complete without paw prints on your shorts and shirt and a wet sloppy kiss – not to mention the tail-waggin’ going on.  The “love” we received was well worth the visit.  Off we headed to Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant – gotta tell ya – they have some of the best food in town . . . especially their refried beans!  We left there stuffed and popped over to the Mall for a bit of walking – and maybe a purchase or two.  All in all, it was fun to all be together and yuck it up for awhile.  A drop off of D#1, a quick stop at HEB in Kyle and BAM, we were home.  A short afternoon rain created a slight alteration of plans for tonight . . . but, Brian was still able to grill up some Salmon and asparagus – along with some Mustard Potatoes (to die for – just saying) and, at the end of the day – ALL was good.

So…we had NEVER heard about a 2010 Spanish White Guerilla Verdejo wine. . .nope.  Not on our radar screen until a visit to our local Twin Liquors and BOOM, there it was on CLOSEOUT!  Not being ones to shy away from something completely different and out of the ordinary, we decided that if there was ever a reason to blog about a white wine, this was it!  The 2010 Spanish White Guerrilla Verdejo is 100%  Verdejo grown in a single vineyard located in the Valles de Sadacia growing area, which is a white wine only DO (Denominacion de Origen) located inside the Rioja district, in Spain. The wine was aged in large stainless steel vats for two months, and the color is pale butter yellow with green apple highlights. The nose is pear and apricot, peach and creamery butter. The Verdejo has a full, rounded mouth-feel, pear and lime lead the way, the mid-palate has a slightly medicinal edge that also adds peach and papaya. The acidity is well balanced and helps the finish last for a very respectable time.  We opened it chilled, but found that the taste was improved as the temperature of the wine warmed.  When it was cooler, the taste was flat and non-distinguished.  When the wine warmed, it was as fruity and crisp as we’ve enjoyed.

Don’t be scared off by one of Sponge Bob Squarepants friends on the label or a grape varietal that you may not be familiar with, this Spanish White Guerrilla Verdejo is a well-made, delicious, refreshing, change of pace, summer wine. . .no one was more surprised than us!  The Spanish White Guerrilla Verdejo should sell for around $10, if you like your white wine with a bit of body and strong, fresh flavors, this is a wine you should consider.

Family. . .it’s a LOT like wine. . .it gets BETTER with age.  We relish the time we spend with our daughters.  Each moment is a snapshot that will forever be imprinted in our brains. . .we aren’t sure if our parents ever felt this way, but as they get older, smarter and ready to take on the challenges of the world, we see two incredible ladies who have gifts that are ready to take them places!

Enjoy your favorite wine–responsibly, of course, and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 357: Five is a Great Number . . .

Five WiseToday was a great day, especially for Jean – she got to play golf . . . AND support San Juan Diego Catholic High School in Austin – WHAT a GREAT job!  She and two co-workers (Lisa and Scott) plus a wonderfully supporter and friend (Ron) took to the links in order to help raise funds for the school.  Now, normally the idea of playing golf and not being in the office would be tough for Jean, BUT – her boss (aka Scott) pretty much said she HAD to play . . . so, rule of thumb in our house is NEVER go against what the Boss has said.  Ok, ever so slight exaggeration there . . . Jean signed up and coerced Scott and the others to play (for the record . . . the arm twisting really wasn’t all that tough).  Nonetheless, a wonderful time was had by all – yes, it was a wee bit hot – but as the saying goes . . . a bad day on the golf course beats a good day in the office.  Anytime she plays golf, Jean is reminded of the days as a young girl heading to the course on Saturday mornings with Bill (aka Dad) and his buddies to play a round – Jean was allowed to hit a ball with a shortened 3 Iron – to this day, one of the clubs she hits the best.  She would be negligent if she didn’t mention all the fun times she and sister Sara have had on the course as well (yes, Jean can hit a tee shot further than Sara – just setting the record straight).

Ok, on to other things – – – the number FIVE(5) is a really important number at Casa del Vino – ya see, we are BOTH (or as D#1 and D#2 like to say BOLTH – gotta love those inside family jokes) the FIFTH (5th) child in their families.  We think that’s pretty special . . . BUT WAIT – it doesn’t stop there —- we were born on the same day / same year (approximately 45 mins apart . . . . yes, for the record, Jean is older).  Brian was born at St. Joseph’s and Jean was born at St. Mary’s (pays to be Catholic to make that connection) – we were baptized on the same day – both our Dad’s worked for Shell Oil their entire careers and finally (yes, just one more – sorry P&L . . . didn’t mean another bottle) – when they got married that both had sisters who were nurses living in Denver.  Call it what you will . . . we call it both Divine Intervention and a God Wink.  Makes for lively conversation, especially when doing legal work and date of birth is involved.  Oh, and one last coincidence – we were married on the same day.

So, as you can see the number Five (5) is a big deal ’round these parts.  So tonight we opened a Five Wise Meritage Blend.  A wonderful combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.  We picked this little number up at World Market last weekend – during halftime at Dave & Busters – it was less than $12 and a BARGAIN.

This wine has some really nice characteristics.  The nose is pure fruit. . .lots of berries with hints of tobacco and plums.  The palate opens up to a nice oak and tobacco taste along with some black raspberries and black cherries.  The finish is long, smooth and memorable. . .all of the flavors stay on the finish making this wine smooth to the taste from start to finish.  We enjoyed this with some smoked sausage and potatoes as well as a spinach salad. . .all in all a really nice find for not a lot of money.  We’re intrigued by the wine because there isn’t a lot of information available about it.  From Greenfield, California which is in Monterrey County; Greenfield is located in one of the developing wine grape growing regions of California with over twenty vineyards and wineries within a thirty mile radius, several of which have tasting rooms and offer a wide selection of wines for sale. Some of the Vineyards and Wineries located nearby are Hahn Estates Smith & Hook, San Saba, J.Lohr, Hess Select, Estancia, and Graff Family Vineyard.  Having driven through this area back in October, we learned that it’s also the area know as the “Salad Bowl” for the country.  There was an unbelievable amount of produce being harvested at that time. . .truly amazing.

This wine is different, unique and not on a radar screen, and it’s for these reasons, you should try it.  Might just sneak onto the BOndy Top Ten Wine List . . .

With so many commercial labels (heck this may even be a commercial label), it’s kind of refreshing to find one that doesn’t have 91 points or lengthy vintages in its’ history.  We’re open to hear from you; maybe you know something about Fivewise Meritage that can shed some light for us.

Anyway, it’s Friday!  Time to enjoy the weekend and your favorite wine.  Please do so responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 356: It’s About Time . . .

Tappas Wine CollectionAnd here we sit–T-Minus 9 . . . about 12 months ago, we got this hair-brained idea that we, yes . . . we, the then 53 old, self defined “old farts” decided that we should do a wine blog . . . you know, we’d watched Julie & Julia one too many times and, oh, what a great idea – blog about a different wine EVERY night for a year.  Yeah, we know . . . blah, blah, blah – but, truth be told – we were gamers.  Yup, we thought silently — and then aloud. . . . oh, heck – this will be easy, doing something we enjoy (tasting wine) . . . we are so in!

BUT…like all things in life, the truth of the matter is . . . we’ve just ’bout run out of the will to finish.  It was fun in September. . .even better in October when we took a trip to Paso Robles, California.  November was a delight but December just wasn’t right. . .January came and went and February seemed spent.  March roared in like a lion but by April we’d begun cryin’. May and June weren’t easy and July made us feel queasy.  So here we are in August and the finish line is just ahead, all we’re hoping is that when we get there, no one’s feeling dead!!

Tonight we opened a 2009 Tempranillo from Alicante, Spain.  “The Tapas Wine Collection” Tempranillo–it’s got an imposing name and an equally graphic label. Tempranillo is a variety of red grape that is widely grown in Spain to produce full-bodied red wines. It has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since Phoenician times. Tempranillo wines are often characterized by a dark ruby color with aromas and flavors of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla leather and herbs.  Interesting fact: Tempranillo is the most widely planted red grape variety in Spain.  And while the preferred foods would be red meat, spicy foods, cured meats and cooked vegetables, we opted for a more traditional Dominos Pizza!  On a Thursday night, after a Business After Hours for Brian and extended office time for Jean, the thought of cooking something to match the wine–well, it JUST wasn’t happening!  However, that said, the pizza turned out to be the perfect complement to the wine.  A Dominos Extravaganza which DID have cured meat and cooked vegetables was the ideal pairing for us with this wine.  Priced at around $11 a bottle, you’re NOT going to confuse this wine with a bottle of Clio from the same year. . .OH NO, not even close; however, you may think you’ve stumbled upon something because it has a 2009 vintage, and those year’s wines are getting harder and harder to find.  A pick up from our recent visit to World Market, if you’re in the mood for a nice, smoky Tempranillo, then by all means get a  hold of this bottle.  However, if you looking for long and smooth to be a part of the conversation, with all due respect, you’ll probably look elsewhere.

So, maybe–just maybe–we’re a bit melodramatic in our journey.  Surely, if it was that BAD, we’d have abandoned our quest long ago.  And the short answer to that would be ‘you’re right’.  There have been a number of times when we thought that it would be best to stop it in our tracks and be done with it.  What motivated us to continue?  What motivates anyone to continue?  Never quitting!  By golly, we’re going to make this happen!  It’s like the character of General Custer in the movie, “Night At The Museum, Battle of The Smithsonian”…”We’re Americans, we don’t think, we DO!”  Yeah. . .kind of like that!

We hope you’ll stay with us for the rest of the blog. . .actually, you can help us by passing it on to friends and family. . .we’d love to get more folks reading just in time to stop!  No! Not really, but it sounded good!  AND, if you’ve been with us from the start or any portion of the journey, help us by sharing your thoughts about a Top Ten List-if you’ve enjoyed some of the wines we’ve written about, tell us about your thoughts and which ones should be on the BJWINE365 Wall of Fame!

Thanks for staying with us; enjoy your next bottle of wine responsibly and remember to recycle when you’re done.