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Day 174 – Remember Hi Fidelity!

FidelitySo, taking a walk on memory lane, we were looking at our vinyl albums recently wondering if we’d ever play them again?  Some of our favorite artists’ albums were in the stack – – Jean has a John Denver album . . . Brian has a Moody Blues album – but without a turntable, they just sit around collecting dust.  We’ve been to a couple of Half Price Books – here in San Marcos and in Austin – and the number of albums for sale is growing.  It’s a throw back to when they were at their peak in entertainment.

Each of our families had their own version of record players as we were growing up.  In fact, the one that Brian’s parents had in their living room back in the mid-1960’s is still at our house today.  Does it work?  Don’t know – haven’t tried . . . not sure that we’d want to do that!  But, what makes it cool to at least look at is the fact that it was stereo, BUT. . .it was stereo hi-fi–otherwise known as high fidelity.  A little history from our friends at Wiki, please. . .High fidelity—or hi-fi or hifi —reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound to distinguish it from the poorer quality sound produced by inexpensive audio equipment, or the inferior quality of sound reproduction characteristic of recordings made until the late 1940s. Ideally, high-fidelity equipment has minimal amounts of noise and distortion and an accurate frequency response.” All we know is that when we put our albums on the ‘hi-fi’, they just sounded better.

It goes on to say, “In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the development of the Westrex single-groove stereophonic record cutterhead led to the next wave of home-audio improvement, and in common parlance, stereo displaced hi-fi.  Records were now played on a stereo. In the world of the audiophile, however, high fidelity continued and continues to refer to the goal of highly accurate sound reproduction and to the technological resources available for approaching that goal. This period is most widely regarded as “The Golden Age of Hi-Fi”, when tube equipment manufacturers of the time produced many models considered endearing by modern audiophiles, and just before solid state equipment was introduced to the market, subsequently replacing tube equipment as mainstream.”  Today, well everything is digital–somewhat impersonal–and quickly outdated.  Perhaps–just perhaps–the reason that albums and turntables are making a comeback is because lost in the technology–has been the hi-fi!

It’s appropriate that we talk about hi-fi tonight, and on top of that, we revisit a wine maker that we enjoyed previously.  It’s kind of cool to try different varieties from the same wine maker and see if their touch is still working.  Tonight we sampled a 2009 Fidelity from Goldschmidt Vineyards.  Having previously enjoyed (and blogged) about their Katherine Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon, tonight’s wine is a blend of 73% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon.   We already knew what good wines were made by Goldschmidt, but were blown away by this blend.  At less than $15 a bottle, it’s an amazing value for the money.  Thanks to our friends at Twin Liquors, they’re smart to be bringing such variety and choice to their stores and Fidelity rates right up there.  The nose was rich, dark fruited and hints of spice; the taste was well-rounded, supple, fruity and smoky . . . the finish was quick but full of flavor.  In short, for a wine priced at this level, we felt like we were tasting a wine that was much older and more moderately priced.  You may want to stock up on this 2009 while you can, but the good news is that the 2010 is just as good if not better . . . the blending is a little different but the result is quality through and through.

Just like listening to hi-fi, you know quality when you hear it; tonight’s 2009 Fidelity from Goldschmidt Vineyards was quality to the taste.  As the week winds down and we’re at the front door step of another weekend, we hope that you’ll continue to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 158: In A Word . . .

Alexander BeckNo – not gonna happen. . . sometimes you just know it’s not right.  From the minute we popped the cork on this bottle, we knew something wasn’t on the up and up.  As all good wine drinkers know, “musty” is a no-no . . . albeit, there are times when “earthy” is misconstrued as “must” and once a bottle is uncorked and sits while the wine has a chance to open up a whole new taste unfolds.  Sadly, tonight the hopes of “musty” turning into “earthy” just wasn’t there.  We could ramble on about the wine – but just can’t do it – it’s just a waste of time.  Summation – Don’t waste your time or money.

So, we’ll have to find something to jabber on about to kill time (and word count) – today was a quiet day, Jean has battled a sinus headache to beat the band since yesterday, so stayed home and succumbed to medicine, napping and not even straying out of pj’s.  Was a good, quiet day and hopefully with a weather change, this too shall pass.  Forecast calling for rain tomorrow which means whatever cedar pollen is left out there gets washed away – yes, yes, we need it badly!!!

So, one small advantage of not driving to / from Austin is the fact that we were able to eat dinner at a reasonable hour and well before dark…Brian picked up some fresh Portobello’s from HEB and tossed them on the grill after a light layer of olive oil and his secret spice, and some garlic sautéed veggies in the cast iron skillet.   Add in a spinach salad with home concocted ranch dressing and winner, winner chicken dinner (no chickens were harmed in the making of this dinner) – it was a home run.  Sadly, the wine didn’t add anything to the meal…come to think of it, the wine didn’t make it to the meal, it ended up down the drain!!

So, this blog could go down in the record books as the shortest in the books – but you just knew we’d find something to chat about – and this is kinda big to us given our passion for baseball – On this day in 1934, Henry Louis Aaron Jr., the baseball slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers, is born in Mobile, Alabama.

Aaron began his professional baseball career in 1952 in the Negro League and joined the Milwaukee Braves of the major league in 1954, eight years after Jackie Robinson had integrated baseball. Aaron was the last Negro League player to compete in the majors. He quickly established himself as an important player for the Braves and won the National League batting title in 1956. The following season, he took home the league’s MVP award and helped the Braves beat Mickey Mantle and the heavily favored New York Yankees in the World Series. In 1959, Aaron won his second league batting title.

Season after season, Aaron turned in strong batting performances. “Hammerin’ Hank” hit .300 or higher for 14 seasons and slugged out at least 40 homers in eight separate seasons. In May 1970, he became the first player in baseball to record 500 homers and 3,000 hits. Aaron is best known, however, for breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714 career home runs, which he established in 1935. On April 8, 1974, in front of a crowd of over 50,000 fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Aaron hit his 715th career home run in the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sadly, in the months leading up to the new record, Aaron received piles of racist hate mail and death threats from those unhappy about seeing the Babe’s record broken, especially by a black man.

Aaron, who played for the Milwaukee Braves from 1954 to 1965 and the Atlanta Braves from 1966 to 1974, spent the final two seasons of his 23 years in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers. When he retired in 1976, he left the game with 755 career home runs, a record that stood until August 7, 2007, when it was broken by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants. Aaron still holds the records for most career runs batted in (2,297), most career total bases (6,856) and most career extra base hits (1,477). After retiring as a player, Aaron became one of baseball’s first black executives, with the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982…and still very much alive at 89 years of age.  Now THAT is hitting it out of the park!!

Ok, there you have it – it was, after all a historical day!

While waiting on whatever tomorrow shall bring, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


Day 140 – Thank Goodness for Katherine

Katherine GoldschmidtWoah, dude. . .seriously, you could hurt someone with that thought!!!!

Man, we caught some grief after yesterday.  It seems that A.) We’re off our rockers in recommending  a wine that doesn’t even have a vintage, and B). We’re nuts for reviewing wines under $15 a bottle.  Really?  You’re joking, right?

We know that there are more than enough wines for the ‘well-heeled’ at $35, $50, $60, $90 a bottle, but are they that GOOD?  Just because a wine costs a lot, does it guarantee that it’s going to be an unforgettable bottle of wine?  Please understand that we’ve had one or two of those higher end wines. . .and in the final analysis, only a few can stand the test of a good tasting bottle of wine for the price.  Many are priced because of their label, their name, their marketing or their ad agency.

We have sought to find wines that don’t typically get the press they deserve because they’re in an industry–like Hollywood–that only lives for image.  Substance is long forgotten in return for plastic and silicon!  Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but we’re trying to tell you that there are a TON of really great wines out there for LESS than $20 a bottle that people turn their noses up at because it ‘can’t be that good if it costs that little’!  Really?

Have we descended so far as a society to really believe that hogwash?  The answer is ‘YES’…we have lost–to a certain extent–the ability to look at something and take it at face value.  NO, we have to ‘peel away the layers’ because surely there’s a greater issue hiding behind the surface—when in fact, it IS what IT IS!  Do we have you confused?  Tonight’s wine is a little gem we picked up at Twin Liquors for LESS than $20 a bottle (for shame), and because it’s from one of our favorite parts of Sonoma County—Alexander Valley—we felt a kindred spirit to sample it and write about it.  Tonight we tasted a 2010 ‘Crazy Creek’ Katherine Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon.  The only other Katherine (sp). that we’ve known in wine making was Kathryn Hall–and believe us, there is no wine there under $20–or was it $50?  “According to Wine Enthusiast – This is really one of the best values in Cabernet on the market. It’s so deliciously rich in blackberry, currant and chocolate, you’ll want to drink the whole bottle right now. Kudos to winemaker Nick Goldschmidt for producing a wine this good at such a good price.”  Uh. . .yeah!  We get the fact that Wine Enthusiast gives this wine 91 points. . .HELLO!!!

We noted, blackberry, black pepper, and plum flavors with a sweet oakiness. There was a round and fleshy middle palate, with nice concentration and good structure. The finish was full of silky tannins and really nice hints of spice.   Yeah, this is a sweet little gem…hidden from view by the ducks and oaks of the trail.  More importantly, the wine got better and better as it was open and for us, that’s a complete game.  All of this goodness was purchased (on sale) for $17 a bottle.  Most references for this vintage gives you $18.50-$20.00 a bottle so we’re feeling pretty good about what we’ve found.

So many things in society have hung their reputations on being a higher priced item and because of the higher price have been deemed a better value.  When it comes to wine, we’ve learned that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what you think is awesome at $10 a bottle, may not resonate with someone else.  Conversely, when you think a wine is awesome at $85 a bottle, there are those folks who’ll disagree from the word ‘GO’!  Contrary to popular belief, wine tasting, wine reviewing and wine blogging is NOT a scientific discourse; rather, it’s an opinionated odyssey through the lenses of individual tasters who enjoy tasting wine.  What you CHOOSE to get out of it is ENTIRELY up to YOU!

We really liked yesterday’s wine–Stark Raving Red, un-vinted.  And tonight, we really like our 2010 Crazy Creek Katherine Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon.  Hey, at less than $20 bucks for a good bottle of wine—what have you got to lose?

Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.