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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 187: To Blend or Not to Blend . . .

SorrelWhat makes this blog so much fun is when we stumble upon a hidden treasure that absolutely rocks the house.  In the span of the first 186 days, we’ve tried some good wines, some bad wines and some wines that we tasted, wrote about – but couldn’t bring ourselves to buy again.  We started the blog as die-hard Zin fans and in the 186 days since we started, there is a case being made each and every day for blends.

It used to be that blends were considered left overs.  They were made from the grapes that the premier vintners never used and so they became expendable.  Wine makers would buy the left over grapes and create blends depending on the quantity and variety of grapes they had . . . some of the most famous from California wines are blends – ike T.J. Swan, Annie Greensprings and MD 20/20!  Yep, sad as it may be, blended wines have a ‘tainted’ past. BUT, there are wine makers who understand the value of and the potential for future business, and thus are willing to take a chance on ‘leftover’ fruit.

We aren’t sure if tonight’s wine is made with leftover grapes or if it’s just an opportunity for a vintner to truly make inspired wine!  We opened with and enjoyed a 2008 Sorrell from Canyon Cellars.  This 2008 Meritage from the North Coast region of California is a special wine.   The reality is that this wine is spectacular.  From the nose to the finish, it’s a clear winner.  A terrific aroma of oak, berries and cassis; the taste was oh so smooth and sultry – each of the nose elements played through – in a big way during our tasting – in fact, we were surprised by its’ complexity – much more than expected.  And, at less than $12 a bottle, you’ll be getting one heckuva value or as Bob Barker would say “The Price is Right”.

Review after review commented on the wine’s incredible structure, taste, nose and overall appearance and is consistently ranked as high as is possible, but it’s the taste that’s going to catch you off guard.  How can a wine that costs so little, taste so BIG?   At the end of the day, this wine is a winner.  Priced at the lower end of the scale, don’t let that scare you away from trying it.  We purchased during the Twin Liquor Sale earlier in the week and enjoyed it very much.

So as we head into Thursday with a weekend on the horizon, we hope you enjoy your favorite wine responsibly—and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 112: No Place But Texas . . .

Woodrose wineryYep, living in Texas is like a whole different lifestyle.  It can be as frenetic as the metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio or it can be laid back like Luckenbach, Fredericksburg, Kerrville or Stonewall.  There is a mystique about the State because Texas is way more than meets the eye.  We both “grew up” in the Houston area – products of, you guessed it, the oil boom of the early 70’s.  Jean grew up on the west side of town and Brian grew  up on the northwest side of town.  We were in the majority back then – the majority of us had parents transferred to Houston from other areas because of their involvement with oil.  When you come of age in a place like Houston, you adopt certain places, things, ideas, and other parts of life as part of your own.

One of the favorite places for barbecue in Houston is Goode Company.  Jim Goode started his business in an old gas station on Kirby Road.  It was small, cramped and the parking was atrocious, but the barbecue was (and still is) out of this world.  A lunch at the picnic table with a cold bottle of beer or two and back to the office – yep, those were the days when it was acceptable to enjoy a ‘beverage’ at lunch . . . for that matter, we can still remember the “three martini” lunch – it’s gone by the wayside, but it was a real and expected part of business back in the day.  Houston was a great place to grow up in the 70’s – construction was going on everywhere – from Memorial at Dairy Ashford to FM 1960 and Champions Forest Drive, there was something new almost every week.

Back before the baseball season ended, we drove to Houston after work to catch the Cardinals playing the Astros.  Coming in on I-10, we both were kind of blown away – 8 lanes on each side of the freeway!  When we were growing up, especially Jean on that side of Houston, I-10 was two lanes in each direction and three when you got closer to 610!  Times change – today’s I-10 eats up a tremendous amount of real estate that used to be service roads or businesses.  Such is the price of progress . . . that day we drove in for the game, we left San Marcos at 4:28 p.m. and walked into Minute Maid Park at 7:05 p.m.–not bad for a ‘congested’ freeway, and one of the best parts about living in Texas!

So, tonight – on the recommendation, and a gift,  from Cheryl at Steel Branding, we are sampling a 2010 Lone Barrel Reserve from Woodrose Winery of Stonewall, Texas.  Woodrose is one of a significant number of wineries that have opened along the 290 corridor from Fredericksburg to Austin.  It has become it’s own little wine zone which brings people from all over the State to the region.  This bottle of wine is a blend of Merlot and Tempranillo.  An interesting combination – and when you open the bottle, you’re going to be a little surprised.  It’s not deep dark purple.  It’s not a beautiful burgundy.  It’s not even mildly pink.  The wine’s color was almost copper which in typical wine-speak means bad wine.  But, a sniff of the nose cued us into the fact that this wine had some chops.  It’s fruity nature has long since passed – a nose of tobacco and oak was the prevailing aroma with the wine.  A sip and swirl on the palate reveals an amazing amount of dates, the tobacco comes through as does the oakiness.  It’s not a full-bodied wine but it’s not light or medium either – the swirl in the glass showed virtually no legs (sugar).  Clearly, this wine has spent a significant amount of time in oak barrels and for us, oak is a great way to enjoy good wines.  At $21.95, you’re probably going to find a better wine from California, Washington, Oregon or France – BUT, because it’s from Texas, you should at least give it a try.  After all, the Eyes Of Texas Are Upon You!!  Guess we are going to have a make a visit to Woodrose and check it out for ourselves.

Cheryl, many thanks for the gift and recommendation – we were not disappointed.  Until tomorrow, please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly, and remember to recycle whenever possible.