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Day 234 – Have You Any Wool?

Le Grand NoirThere is enough ‘seriousness’ in the world to go around the globe WAY too many times.  After the events of the past week, we’re ready for some levity and a chance to kick back and have a few laughs.  No, we aren’t going to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep, as the title of tonight’s wine might suggest.  No, we’re thinking about something that was a long time ago but still has humor today.  We’ll paraphrase the actual recording, but suggest that if you want to hear the real thing, you can google it, iTunes it or some other server-it until you find IT!

When Brian was growing up, his brother had a couple of Bill Cosby albums.  For those of you missing for the last couple of decades, albums were made of vinyl and with one continuous groove, music was embedded into the vinyl and played via a diamond stylus on a record-player.  You may have seen a renaissance of record players at Best Buy and other places, but few will compare with the turntables of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Anyway, we digress. . .after we had been married for about three years, we had the opportunity to see Bill Cosby in person at the Music Hall in Houston.  The year was 1986 and he was in the middle of his ‘Fatherhood’ tour.  If you’ve read the book or seen the video, Cosby is at his all time best!  This was right around the time his show, The Cosby Show, debuted on Thursday nights on NBC.  We don’t think we can remember laughing as hard as we did.  The biggest part of his routine was talking about being a parent–which we weren’t and wouldn’t be for another five years–and all of the trappings associated with parenting from birth on—

One of his first albums was ‘Why Is There Air’?  As a Physical Education major at Temple University, Cosby was quickly cast as the typical ‘coach’ in training–his line, “Ha, ha Phys. Ed. you’re dumb!”  Well  it made an impression.  But, so did his routine about driving in San Francisco, going to the dentist and waiting for the novocaine to wear off, and playing football against Hofstra—“Don’t Touch Certain Parts of Your Anatomy”!!  If you have never downloaded, bought, played, listened to or seen this guy in action, Cosby brings life into focus!

Which is why we decided to focus on something fun and different tonight.  Look at the label. . .notice anything wrong?  If wine labels were like minted coins, we’d be ‘in the money’ with a simple little mistake.  But, we digress. . .The Black Sheep. . .From a country renowned for its wine-making tradition, Le Grand Noir wines offer non-traditional blends from traditional French varietals. In a world where so many things look the same, a wine that doesn’t sheepishly follow the herd.  The select vineyards used to produce the wines of Le Grand Noir are located in the notable regions of Minervois and Carcassone. Situated among rolling uplands and broad plateaus between the Pyrennes and “Black” mountain ranges, the diverse soils are comprised of limestone, chalk, clay, granite, and schist. The mild Mediterranean climate provides ideal conditions for producing high quality fruit.  What we LOVED about this wine–in true French fashion–it got better and better as it stayed opened.  For less than $15 a bottle, you’re going to find this wine a little addicting.  It’s got loads of fruit paired with lots of earthy goodness.  This is a wine that should cost a lot more than offered by our friends at Twin Liquors or H-E-B!

Comedians have come and gone over the past 40 years.  Few, if any, have the staying power of Bill Cosby.  His routines transcend time to this day.  His message isn’t lost among multiple generations and his humor is as clean today as it was back in the mid-1960’s.  Yeah, he can deliver an entire routine–have you busting a gut laughing–and not a blue word among his dialogue.  Kind of makes you wonder about today’s comedians who rely on profanity to generate laughs.  Not much material needed.  We think that taking some time to enjoy a good laugh is crucial to maintaining a level of calmness and sanity.  So, the fact that our wine has a black sheep on its’ label should give you a reason why we chose tonight’s title.

We hope that you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly–because if you enjoyed it irresponsibly, there’d be consequences we don’t want to deal with–and please recycle whenever possible.

(BTW—If you stare at the label on the wine bottle, there is a closed parenthesis missing under the black sheep—worth millions?  NOT!  Have a great evening and we’ll talk with you tomorrow!!


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Day 207: I Spy . . .

eye spy cabWow!  So many memories . . . I Spy was a television show that ran in the late 1960’s starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.  Yes, the same Bill Cosby who has entertained audiences for almost 50 years – can you spell JELLO!  Bill Cosby had two albums out before we even knew he existed.  Brian’s brother, Tim had both of them . . . and Brian can still remember getting a hold of those albums and listening to some of his bits . . . The ‘Lone Ranger’ & ‘Tonto’ after a little too much to drink!!  Driving in San Francisco . . . and having to shift gears!  Going to the dentist and having the novocaine wear off!  If ANY of these relight a fire from your past, you’ve probably watched, I Spy.

I Spy was also the name of a book series that was aimed at children.  These books featured AMAZINGLY DETAILED photos of things in a child’s room or things in a play room and the object was to find – among all of the items in the picture specific things that may or may not be easy to see with the ‘naked eye’.  We bought several of these books for the girls when they were growing up and can tell you that we literally spent hours looking at them.  It’s a part of childhood missing for too many kids – that quality time before bed when a book and the pictures with the book, tell hundreds of stories.  Even as adults, we marvel at the detail in books – something that gets lost in today’s ‘translation’.

“I spy, with my eye, something that is . . . ” a familiar sound in car road trips across the country.  It didn’t matter if you were half way across the state of Kansas or in rush hour traffic outside of Denver, when you played “I Spy”, all you had to do was look around – observe your surroundings–to find the ‘right’ answer.  Driving vacations – yet another American institution on the brink of extinction–sad, because driving trips were part of the ways we bonded as family.

So, tonight – purely by accident . . . we came across at H-E-B – and opened a 2010 Eye Spy Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley of California.  Um, this wine isn’t going to take home ANY gold, silver or bronze medals.  BUT, it will bring home some amazing fruit flavors – a nice combination of light and dark fruits here – but a lot of fruit nonetheless!  The finish on this wine is right out of a jar of maraschino cherries . . . it’s scary how after you’ve tasted the wine the aftertaste is . . . well, you have to try it to believe it!  Beyond the finish, we loved the deep, dark color . . . for a Cabernet, it’s a beautiful thing.  It’s not the smoothest wine you’ll ever taste, but still not a bad bottle of wine for the price !

Interestingly, we’ve searched numerous websites trying to find out more about this wine and uncovered an Australian wine maker utilizing the exact bottle design.  Further digging yielded few if any clues as to where this Cabernet Sauvignon is actually made–the bottle clearly says, ‘Napa’ but the websites clearly don’t agree.  It must be a ‘big-name’ winery using a little known name to unload some of it’s product.  This wine is not more than $12 a bottle . . . in fact, you can probably get it on sale for $10 a bottle.  And, if you’re looking for something a little different, but with a good taste and finish, then “Eye Spy” is worth checking out . . . otherwise, you can miss this one.

Whether it was a television show, a book series, a car game or something else, I Spy or Eye Spy is synonymous with past culture.  Keeping it alive for future generations may not be as easy as it was previously, but there are opportunities for families to reconnect – whether it’s through games like “I Spy” or some other means, the time spent together as family – actually helps BUILD family.  But, hey, what do we know . . . we’re just wine bloggers on a mission of our own!

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