casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 333 – They Say It’s Your Birthday…

no curfew

NOTE TO READERS–Today’s blog could be a little longer than usual…Reader Discretion is Advised! 😉

Birthdays are kind of funny.  When we’re kids, we can’t wait to have them.  It’s a badge of honor to be 5 and a HALF because we know that before too long we’ll turn 6!  We know that when you go from 12 to 13 you enter the ‘Twilight Zone’ called the teenage years!  We also know that as you get older, there is a certain mystic quality with each new level in life that has been ascertained. 

For example, we both have the SAME birthday. . .today as a matter of fact. . .and those of you who know us and read us–for the most part already know this–but for those who’ve been following this year. . .welcome to something cool and amazing. . .Jean and Brian have the same birthday.  Yep, same day, same year–heck, they were even baptized on the same day!  But, part of what has made this day so awesome over the past 30+ years has been sharing this day with others in our lives.  It all started back in 1989–the dreaded 30th Birthday!  The thoughts of being out of our 20’s and into our 30’s was daunting enough, but we decided to meet it head on!  Yep.  It was PARTY TIME!  So, we created Bondy Bash–an annual display of overindulgence on food, beverage and good times.  The first year was held at our rent house in St. Peters, Missouri.  The house had an above ground swimming pool; a basement and a fenced yard. . .other than that, well, it was a creaky, ugly house!  By the time we sent out invitations and heard back from friends, almost 60 people had told us they were planning on joining us!  We fired up the grill; iced down the keg; sliced up the watermelon and were ready for a king-sized birthday bash.  And it went really well until the weather moved in and forced us into the basement.  Fortunately we had the keg with us and all was right with the world.  Funny how that one event led to the next year and the next year and so on and so on!  The birthday bashes continued after the birth of daughter #1. . .thank goodness for friends!  The birthday bashes continued after the birth of daughter #2. . .that year, the rains had been so bad, the mosquitoes looked like 747s and the jello shots were plentiful!  After a move to a new neighborhood, the bashes continued until 1999. . .the BIG 4-0! 

This was going to be the last in a long history of bashes, and with family, neighbors and friends we celebrated long into the night.  It was an amazing way to celebrate-not only a birthday-but life in general.  By the next year, we were looking at moving back to Texas and the bashes came to an end.  Our kids had ‘grown up’ on these fun, amazing parties and for us, we’d grown to love and appreciate a bunch of terrific people who were part of our lives!  In the  ensuing time period from 1999 to 2009, a lot happened in our world.  Jobs took us from St. Charles, Missouri to Aransas Pass, Texas to Kerrville, Texas and when it was time to celebrate our 50th. . .well, we knew that there was only one way to do it RIGHT!  Yep, we brought back Bondy Bash. . .and introduced it to a whole new group of people who’d never known what it was like to party until 2 am. . .grill some bratwurst and burgers. . .sip on some really cold beer and hear the rants and raves from family and friends.  In short, the party was something that our friends still talk about to this day! 

Birthdays. . .they help us to stop and realize how much we really have in our lives.  For the both of us, we are BLESSED beyond belief and don’t think for a moment that we don’t appreciate it.  So, we needed a wine tonight that was out of the ordinary.  A wine that spoke of the independence that having milestone birthdays offers.  A wine that says, “I’m not beholden to anyone anymore!”  Tonight we opened a 2010 No Curfew Red Table Wine from California.  UH-YEAH, Curfew.  Before the 18th birthday, curfews were in effect in both of our houses.  To quote Mr. T, “I pity the fool. . .who misses curfew, BUT I’d like to party with those with NO CURFEW!”  Okay, he didn’t really say that, but it sounded good!  So, this wine is red. . .duh. . .and it’s got a lot of cranberry on the  nose and on the palate.  And, if you’re into cranberry, then you’re going to want this wine.  If not, you may want to try Ocean Spray instead!  There are hints of tobacco and leather. . .and as the wine opened up, we tasted a lot of black raspberries and currants.  According to their notes, “This wine opens with aromas of violets, blackberries and hints of spice, leading to gorgeously fruited layers of blackberry, cherry and blueberry with a dash of mocha. The lush initial mouth-feel leads nicely into a mid-palate with excellent structure and balanced acidity. Dark berries dominate the finish, which is clean and long.”  Hmmm, well, so much for our view versus the tasting notes! 

We weren’t overly excited about this wine.  A cute name with LOADS of potential that fails to deliver in the end.  BUT, a great wine to break out and enjoy for a special day like today.  Yep, we’ve gone a lot longer than expected on this blog, but we are excited to share with you our birthday and our love of wine–good, bad and ugly–and, once again as our good friend tells us each time we’re together. . .”Life Is Too Short To Enjoy Bad Wine!”  Well, enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible!


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Day 268 – Fiesta San Antonio

Messina Hof ShirazAfter leaving our good friends in Aransas Pass today, we kept an eye on the sky to make sure that the rains (though VERY welcome) didn’t dampen the rest of our weekend with the girls and their boyfriends!  It’s been an amazingly fun weekend with the girls, with friends and enjoying what mother nature has to offer…be it wind, rain or sun…the weather isn’t as important as the friendships!  We understand through well placed sources that the fishing TODAY was much better than the fishing YESTERDAY.  At least one source has confirmed that the Redfish in the Bay were biting today — unlike yesterday.

We did make a stop in San Antonio and hit the Alamo, the Riverwalk and the Mercado – the best part (other than us all just being together) was the people watching.  Amazing how many people were out and about on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after a Saturday full of rain and flooding.  It was special to sit and have a snack on the Riverwalk and just spend time with the girls, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent.  What a treat to laugh the afternoon away before heading home to San Marcos and eventually a late dinner and more laughing around the dinner table – these are precious times.

T0night’s wine is a 2010 Shiraz from Messina Hof and features a great nose, full-body flavor and extras smooth flavors.  You can’t go wrong with this fabulous flavor display of rich, dark blackberry and spice with lingering vanilla tones. Grown in the Red River Valley. Double Barrel Aged in European and American oak, this Shiraz demonstrates the grandeur of Texas and is perfectly suited for our Texas climate. It’s hearty and robust, yet well-balanced. This Shiraz is wonderful with beef, lamb, pork and even grilled salmon. It is a Double Gold medal winner at the Tasters Guild International Consumer Wine Judging, winner of the Grand Star of Texas at the Lone Star International and a gold medal winner at the Indy International Wine Competition.  According to the wine maker, “Planted in 1988 in Denison, Texas. The elevation is at 619 feet , and this vineyard has sandy-loam soil that is four miles from the Red River. A very unique wine featuring smooth and silky flavors of rich berries. Gold medal winner. Perfectly complements beef, lamb, and fowl.”  Needless to say, this wine is a winner and is meant to be enjoyed!

The wine exhibits a terrific nose of fruit and spice; we couldn’t believe how smooth this wine SMELLED!  That’s right—smooth!  The taste was equally as impressive, but restrained because, Texas wines just seem to miss out on what the fruit can actually taste like!  The finish and body of this wine are both top notch.  We can’t imagine a better looking, better tasting bottle of wine from our fair state!  The wine went with kung pao chicken tonight and was a terrific complement to sitting on the deck and enjoying the fruits of mother nature’s rainfalls. . . It’s a wine meant to be shared with family, friends or all of the above – which we did in abundance over the past several nights!!!

Until tomorrow, please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible!


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Day 219: Coastal Yearnings . . .

coastline cabSo, after two days of road trips we hung pretty close to home today and took care of some of the chores we’d slacked up on.  You know, important stuff like laundry and grocery shopping – not to mention, not one – but two trips to Lowe’s . . . and sadly, almost a third.

Ah, a project in the making you ask?  Yes, after spending yesterday morning reorganizing the garage before heading out to play and hunt bluebonnets (yes, first we work – then we play) today we pulled two items out for some R & R – as in repair and restoration!  Yep, we’ll be busy the next couple of week doing some refinishing – more details as we make progress.

No doubt our favorite place is the coast – whether it’s East Coast, West Coast or even the Third Coast located right here in Texas.  We miss living on the Third Coast, miss Daughter #2 who lives on the East Coast, BUT really miss visiting wineries on the West Coast.

Tonight’s wine, a 201 Coastline Cabernet Sauvignon is from, like our all time favorite place, Paso Robles!  And while not ALL wine from Paso Robles is high-end, vintage quality; tonight’s wine is the definitive tasty, save some money-wine!  The nose on this wine isn’t going to light you up, BUT the taste will completely catch you off guard.  Smoky berry, cocoa, and cedar with a supple fruity medium body and a chocolate covered cherry and spice finish. . .oh yeah, it’s all that and more.  The longer this bottle was open, the better the wine tasted and finished.  For a price point of $8.99, we’ve found another hidden gem from our friends at H-E-B.  Most wine-lovers will turn up their noses at wines that cost under $10 a bottle, and we’ve been known to shun a few ourselves, but after tasting and enjoying this Coastline wine, we convinced that wines need to be tasted REGARDLESS of price points!  A little digging confirmed that this wine has been rated as high as 87 points and is bottled to be enjoyed now!  We completely understand.  It’s a wine that’s got food, or the deck on its’ mind!!  Coastline is made by Adler Fels Winery in Santa Rosa, from vineyards that are a straight shot inland from the famed Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Try it with a cheese platter and some nice rustic breads for a little lighter meal.

Yeah, we love the coast.  Fishing in the bays or offshore down in Aransas Pass; visiting daughter #2 in the Boston area – near so many historic landmarks; or wine tasting in California – either in Paso Robles or Sonoma County!  Each coast is defined by different areas of influence.  We know that Texas and Massachusetts will never be confused with California when it comes to wine production.  In a similar vein, California and Massachusetts will never be confused with Texas when it comes to great barbecue.  Ultimately, it’s a given that Texas and California will NEVER be confused with Massachusetts when it comes to New England Clam Chowder!  Each coast has its own specialty, but Coastline Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner from the start.

As Sunday rolls into Monday, please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible!