casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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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.


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Day 136: Double Dog Dare. . .

WelchesSometimes, you have to do something because the gauntlet has been thrown down – yes, we are talking “A Christmas Story” – “Double-Dog-Dare Ya” kinda throw down – maybe even a “Triple-Dog-Dare-Ya” – nope, we didn’t have to stick our tongue a frozen flagpole (but for the record, it was cold enough here today to do that and get stuck).  Today at work, Jean and her cohorts in crime celebrated the generosity of many who donate to the mission of the Church they believe in – goals were exceeded and the folks who “did the work” deserved to be recognized – Lisa, Elizabeth, Sonia and Margaret perform a yeoman’s job each and every day – especially the last several months during CSA season.

Since it’s at work and all, they couldn’t very well indulge in the real stuff – Scott made arrangements for the next best thing – sparkling White Grape Juice by Welch’s.  The nose was a bit light – not much there except . . . sugar?,  Upon close inspection, bubbles tickled one’s fancy and encouraged sipping this ice-cold concoction – served in ice-cold wine glasses . . . which, for the record, enhances the taste.  Not much on the mid-palate, and the finish was short, sweet and to the point.  Must admit – it was a refreshing way to start the day, but not too sure we’d go back there to cap off an evening.  So – again, a tip of the hat to the hardworking ladies in the Stewardship and Development Office – YOU ARE ROCKSTARS!!!!!!

Skulls A   

Ok, enough of that silliness, it’s time for some over the top red wine!  Yes, we are talking – Niagara Falls in a barrel kind of over the top!  You have a choice of what you see – yes, we’d like to hear from you to see what your eyes depict.  We partook of yet another one of our favorites a 2010 Skulls from Spainthis wine  is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mataro raised in stainless steel.  It is dark ruby-colored and very rich looking when held up to the light – when taking the first sip we noticed how soft and smooth it was –  lingering just long enough on the front and then slowly making its way to a nice long finish –  it offers up a terrific combination of earthiness, spiciness, and cherry.  No doubt a crowd pleaser.  If it weren’t really, really cold (Ok, so Texas’s definition of cold isn’t the same as somewhere a wee bit east of here – say New Jersey, but it is chilly for us thin-skinned types), we’d be out on the deck with a fire going enjoying this wine – actually, we’d love to be out there, but Brian is a bit under the weather – so it’s not good timing.  Perhaps this weekend we can gather until the big Texas sky and put a fire in the pit.

So, back to the wine – we strongly recommend this wine – it is good with just about anything you can throw at it.  Beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or even cheese and crackers – you won’t be disappointed.  Go find it at your local Twin or Specs – it’s well worth the taste.

On another note, it’s a bit quieter in the house tonight.  D#1 and D#2 have both returned to their “home away from home”.  Needless to say, we miss them already – but know in our hearts that they are off where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing.  God’s got the watch now . . .

Until tomorrow – enjoy your night, make the most of tomorrow and remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 80: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose . . .

So, you may have noticed a trend in past blogs – we not only like wine, we enjoy a bargain.  Well, as the old saying goes, “sometimes you win,sometimes you lose” – as a matter of fact, tonight’s wine wasn’t one that was a winner.  But, before we get to that – when talking about “that old saying”, we couldn’t remember if it was a saying, a song, a movie or what.  So, because we are who we are – we looked it up.

It turns out that the phrase comes from a number of places –

A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.”                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kevin Costner in Bull Durham

That’s the way life is, sometimes you win sometimes you lose
Part of it you can’t control, Part of it you choose”                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Poem by Sam Arjomandi

 “Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what on needs.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Rosie Perez to Woody Harrelson in “White Men Can’t Jump”

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And sometimes the blues get hold of you
Just when you thought you had made it”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Lyrics from “Sweet Season” by Carole King

So, now you know, and so do we, that these six little words have quite a history.  Okay, enough already – onto the wine.  While at Trader Joe’s on Sunday, we picked out a wine that looked interesting enough – especially since it was from Barossa Valley in Australia – home  of a number of our favorite wines.  Tonight, we opened up a bottle of 2010 The Black Shiraz from Berton Vineyards, and – to be honest, we thought maybe, just maybe, it would compare to Mr. Black’s Little Book (which by the way, we found on closeout at HEB in North Austin – yes, sister Sara – you are getting a bottle on Thanksgiving).  Well – sometimes you win and sometime you lose – it wasn’t anywhere near Mr. Black’s.  In fact, this one is probably going to be better off cleaning your drain pipes or perhaps peeling wallpaper!  A little harsh you say?  We have to admit when we opened the wine the nose was actually beautiful – lots of earthy, tobacco, with spices and fruit – which made our mouths water for the tasting.  Unfortunately, there was no taste.  There was no finish.  There was just red wine that didn’t make any kind of an impression.  We swirled it – No good.  We aired it out – No better.  We’ve even double decanted it – Nope, not happening.  For a $7.49 bottle of wine, many will say, “You got what you paid for.”  But, we know that there are great wines out there for less than $10 .  .  . we’re working on finding some of them – and  .  . . this ISN’T one of them.

Clearly, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose . . . tonight we kind of felt like the Bears against the 49ers – it wasn’t pretty and we’re glad that it’s over!  So, we move on, but as always, please remember to enjoy your wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.