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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 37 – Trouble With The Curve

This afternoon we went to see the Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams film, Trouble With The Curve, with Jean’s Dad ( you’ve met Bill before – he’s a pretty neat guy), Sister and Brother-in-law (these two are great – retired and fulltime RVers) . . . as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re baseball fans, so the picture piqued our interest.  If you haven’t seen the movie, we won’t spoil the fun, but suffice it to say, it’s about an old-school baseball scout and his daughter, whose only real desire is to have a life with her dad.  There is some baseball, and business and relationships stuff in the middle, but we particularly enjoyed the baseball footage.

So, on the way home, we started a “name a Clint Eastwood film” game – the first one for Brian was easy, Firefox, because that was the film he and Bill went to see when he asked Bill for permission to marry Jean way back in 1982!  Jean immediately fired off, ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly‘( 1966)  – one of Clint’s trademark, spaghetti westerns.  Now, this led to a broader discussion about how these movies got their identity as ‘spaghetti westerns’ ( we really should get a life – but these discussions pass the time on the hour drive from Georgetown to San Marcos).  Italian director, Sergio Leone made a name for himself and a lot of actors back in the 1960’s with pictures, largely made in Italy, about the old West.  A quick check of the facts, and did you know that between 1960 and 1980 over 100 of these films were made?  Some of the most memorable included “A Fist Full of Dollars” and “Once Upon A Time In The West“.  Initially, the term, spaghetti western, was a derogatory term for the film genre, but because of their incredible popularity, it rapidly became an accepted form of picture direction.  Eastwood’s western success was parlayed into cult hero status with the “Dirty Harry” movies – one of the most famous being “Magnum Force” which was the follow-up to “Dirty Harry” and the movie with the now immortalized line, “Go ahead, make my day!”  What was/is amazing about Eastwood was/is ability to reinvent himself.  Back in late 1970’s he mad a movie with Clyde the Orangutan, called “Every Which Way But Loose” and it showed Clint’s comedic talents . . .  about as “redneck” a movie as you’ll ever see!!  He has continued to evolve as an actor, as a director and now he has the luxury of choosing roles that he wants (including a rather interesting appearance at the RNC).

As most of us know, movies, television and news shows are produced in two places – for the most part they are either produced in New York or the majority of entertainment is produced in California – affectionately known as the “left coast”, so while tonight’s wine has NOTHING to do with California or Clint Eastwood and it might go really well with REAL spaghetti, we thought it was appropriate to break open a bottle of 2009 The Left Bank from the South African vineyard of Neil Ellis Wines.  Opening a bottle of South African wine can be exciting and tasty or it can (and has) turn out to be a big waste of money!  You’ll be glad to know that this wine is, as a general rule, pretty good.  When we opened it, we were less than excited and the first taste was unimpressive; however, the more this wine has time to air out and open up, the better it became.  We began to smell and taste lots of berries and spice with a hint of licorice, and while the finish left us wanting more taste – over time, it delivered.  We probably would recommend decanting this wine for 30-45 minutes before serving, but the final result is a beautiful, dark purple wine that is a blend of five different grape varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon (46%), Shiraz (34%), Merlot (13%), Malbec (4%) and Cabernet Franc (3%).  Being fans of blends, we thought that this wine would be really nice with, ahem, Italian food!  You should probably try this one for yourselves, but let us know your thoughts because we think for a $12 (or less) bottle of wine, we could start to like this one – A LOT!  The price was right (remind us to share more on Brian’s claim to fame on that game show at a later date).

Which brings us back to the movie today – Trouble With The Curve has two really, really good actors in it, Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams.  Heck, part of the reason we’re doing this blog is because of Amy Adams role in ‘Julie and Julia’ and writing the blog of Julia Childs’ cooking recipes.  So, go see the flick, enjoy a bottle of The Left Bank and tell us what you think.

We’ll be back here tomorrow with another sample and thoughts, so until then please enjoy your wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible!


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Day 34: Ryan Express

34 – it’s one of Jean’s favorite numbers because her favorite baseball player, Nolan Ryan wore that number when he was with the Astros in the early 80’s and with the Rangers in the late 80’s/early 90’s.  Nolan’s pitching prowess is well documented throughout baseball lore.  We have an autographed picture of Nolan following the Robin Ventura fight, several autographed baseballs, a ticket stub that Sister Sara got signed when meeting Nollie in an elevator.   Heck, we even planned a vacation around watching Nolan inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame – one of those trips that sealed daughters #1 an #2 as baseball fans.  We could write a whole blog about that adventure, but for now will suffice in saying it was so awesome to be there on his special day.  When it came to being competitive, there are few in his class.  As the Rangers play game 163 tomorrow for the opportunity to continue in the playoffs, we can’t help but think of their owner’s fiery spirit and hope they do well – just as we hope the Cardinals do well against Atlanta.

But it’s Nolan Ryan that made us think about comparing our wine selection tonight.  Because when you think of him, you don’t think boring, dull, lifeless–instead you think intimidating, overpowering, dominating.  That’s the kind of pitcher he was.  We saw him pitch many times in the Astrodome and remember how his presence combined with a bunch of young pitchers and other players that turned around a perennial losing franchise.  A last note on the Astros – farewell to the National League – you will be missed.  Perhaps lady luck awaits you in the “junior circuit”.

So even though tonight’s wine is a 2010 Apothic Red blend, and before you turn your nose up at this discounted, delicious little wine, consider it’s characteristics.  Awesome fruit  – – – – –  lots of fruit.  Awesome vanilla – – – – – –  lots of vanilla and a finish that wines three and four times the price don’t have.  Available for less than $10 a bottle, you may not serve it to  your boss and his/her spouse, but if you’re in a pinch with folks coming over, then don’t worry about pouring this wine.  It’s available at your local H-E-B.

It’s kind of funny, we looked up the word ‘apothic’ and the meaning was – “Generally used to describe a dull, boring, or depressed person.  Some examples : Quit being so apothic, your killing everyone’s fun.”  We had a pretty good laugh about this.  So Nolan Ryan is NOT Apothic.  But, this wine is Apothic Red and it is NOT dull, boring or depressed.  It’s a good-value, everyday bottle of wine when you’re in the mood to have a bottle of wine.

Have a good night – it is always better knowing tomorrow is Friday – another week under our belts.

Thanks for reading and thanks for enjoying wine – like us, we hope you continue to enjoy good wine in a responsible manner and recycle whenever possible.