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Day 285 – Cover This One!

Cover Drive CabIn the sport of cricket, batting is the act or skill of hitting the cricket ball with a cricket bat to score runs or prevent the loss of one’s wicket. A player who is currently batting is denoted as a batsman, while the act of hitting the ball is called a shot or stroke. The terms batsman or specialist batsman are also used generically to describe players who specialise in batting (as opposed to e.g. bowlers who specialize in bowling).  During an innings two members of the batting side are on the pitch at any time: the one facing the current delivery from the bowler is denoted the striker, while the other is the non-striker. When a batsman is out, he is replaced by a teammate. This continues until the end of the innings or 10 of the team members are out, whereupon the other team gets a turn to bat.

Forward and Back, Leave, Vertical Bat Strokes, Defensive Shot, Glance and Drive are a few batsman terms that describe different batting techniques.  A drive is a straight-batted shot, played by swinging the bat in a vertical arc through the line of the ball, hitting the ball in front of the batsman along the ground. It is one of the most common shots in a batsman’s armory and often the first shot taught to junior cricketers. Depending on the direction the ball travels, a drive can be a cover drive (struck towards the cover fielding position, an off drive (towards mid-off), straight drive (straight past the bowler), on drive (between stumps and mid-on) or square drive (towards point). A drive can also be played towards midwicket, although the phrase “midwicket drive” is not common usage. Drives can be played both off the front and the back foot, but back-foot drives are harder to force through the line of the ball. Although most drives are deliberately struck along the ground to reduce the risk of being dismissed caught, a batsman may decide to play a lofted drive in order to hit the ball over the infielders and potentially even over the boundary for six.

You know. . .we’ve read this over and over and still don’t get it.  Cricket may the be forerunner to our American baseball, but we ‘Yanks’ don’t get it.  The terminology, the equipment, the scoring. . .it’s, well, tough to cover!  And, because of that exact reason, we found and tried a 2008 The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon from Jim Barry out of Coonawarra, Australia.  Surprisingly, this wine is well-known among wine lovers with ratings consistently in the upper 80’s.  Parker’s rates this wine a solid 90 points which explains a lot. . .the fruit for The Cover Drive comes from 50% Clare Valley and 50% Coonawarra. Deep garnet-purple colored, it gives pronounced aromas of eucalyptus, blackberry and blueberries with some cinnamon and cloves plus a hint of cedar. Medium to high level of finely grained tannins support the ample body in the mid-palate of this full bodied style.  We were impressed with the nose…a very full aroma of scents, but were disappointed with the initial taste.  A little too much green pepper for our tastes; however, the finish was classic Australian Cab. . .big, bold and full of fruit!  Normally priced around $20 a bottle, this one was available at Central Market for $15.  If you can grab a bottle of the 2008, you can enjoy it now through 2018.  And, the good news is that the 2009 and 2010 are both rated at 90 points or above!  Not bad for a value-priced wine from down under!!

We’re typical Americans. . .give us baseball any day!  You know, the St. Louis Cardinals kind of baseball!  Yes, yes, we know–the “Muts” beat us tonight, but over a 162 game season, we like our chances.  Whether they hit a straight drive in the gap or loft a line drive to the power alleys, we’re all about baseball.  However, we respectfully tip our caps to the thousands of cricket players here and across the pond. . .and whether you’re setting up a slog or a slog sweep—or—a scoop or reverse sweep, you’ll be batting away and trying to score runs!

As we wrap up the middle of the week, and with only 80 days left before we complete 365 days of different wines tasted and talked about, we hope that you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 181 – A View from the Top of the Hill

shotfireSix months.

Not that long in terms of a lifetime.  Not that long in terms of adulthood.  Not that long in terms of waiting for NFL training camps to open!

Six months does equal a lot of TIME . . . 181 days equals 4, 344 hours . . . 181 days equals 260,640 minutes. . .181 days equals 15,638,400 seconds, BUT 181 days also equals 181 DIFFERENT bottles of wine – tasted, reviewed and shared!  AND, the best is yet to come!  Yep, we’re now on the downhill side of BJWine365 – and we’re on a roll to try, taste and blog about a different wine every night. . .we’re heading strong for August 31st and it’s going to be here before we know it!

In the past six months, we started right out of the box with a set of amazing wines from Twin Liquors‘ 75th Anniversary Sale.  That sale gave us an affordable foundation for the first 45-60 days of this blog.  By visiting and talking with Patrick from Grape Juice and Peter from The Main in Kerrville; Nathan from Gabriel’s in San Marcos; Andy from Central Market in Austin and several others, we’ve amassed a wide variety of wines, varieties, flavors and countries in our first six months.  Our challenge is still ahead and our resolve is strong . . . no duplicate wine in the next six months. . .only new wines–some from the same vineyards (hey, it helps spread the word!)–some from brand new sources and some from–well, places we’ve never been to before!  A roller coaster you ask?  You bet–but, if the next six months are as fun as the first six months, you’ll be reading about this blog for years to come!  Each day, more and more of you are kind enough to pass along our blog or a link or a Facebook post, and that helps us garner more views and attention.  We’ve been fortunate enough to hear from some of the wine makers who make the wine that we’ve written about, and our hope is to engage even more as time goes on.

Tonight, we went to the land down under . . . being BIG fans of Australian wines, we came across this one at Twin Liquor‘s Dollar Sale.  Since we’ve had good success with wines from the Barossa Valley – they tend to be big and bold – we thought that the 2010 Shotfire Shiraz would be a good way to wrap up the first six months of our blog.  Their comments, “Deep red color, with a lifted and intense nose of blackberry fruit, sweet spice and dark chocolate. The palate is very rich and flavorsome with blackberry and plum fruit.”  Our comments, Yes, the color ws superb–rich, dark red–and the nose was fruity but had a subtle hint of smokiness.  The taste was rich, full of fruit, a slightness of chocolate, but the finish – well, it just didn’t quite measure up to the rest of the wine.  No, it’s a very tasty wine, but don’t expect a “marching band” on the finish.  It’s big, but not so big that you melt into your chair as your sipping on this wine.  We have enjoyed numerous wines from Australia, and we’ve been pretty upfront about our love for the big, bold, in-your-face wines of not only the Barossa Valley but also McLaren Vale.  Since this wine was on sale for less than $15 at Twin, in spite of its’ finish, this one was a winner.  We’d buy it again, but the sale price is about the value we’d place on it. . .much more than that and it has competitors that are better.  Since it’s a 2010, it’s also younger than some of its’ 2009 cousins, so look, taste and decide!

We hope that you’ll stay with us for the next six months.  We’ve searched the blogosphere as well as the wine internet and haven’t found a wine-lover site that has reviewed 365 different wines in 365 days.  The BIG question is, how are we going to find the next six months worth of wine?  Well, we guess you’ll have to keep reading–and hopefully commenting–to see what wines we find to settle our fancy.

Until then, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.