casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 120 – Sometimes You Need to Chill. . .

First TimerNope . . . not us.  We are NOT first timers!  But, anytime we see a wine that catches our eye, chances are good that we’re going to pick it up and give it a shot.  Turns out, we’ve been down this path before, but we’ll try it one more time.

Do you remember the first time you tasted a really good glass of wine?  You know, the one that gave you the ‘aha’ moment?  Or, do you remember your first dance?  Was it in high school?  Or maybe — if you were ahead of the curve — middle school?  How about your first kiss?  Was it in the gym?  Or your parents’ sedan?  There are so many ‘first times’ in our lives that we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate them.  We’ve become a media-driven society and the drive seems to have cheapened the ‘first timer’ mentality.  We don’t think so . . . in fact, we love first timers . . .

When we started this blog, we were first timers – never blogged before, but now, we love it.  Since we’ve started this blog, we’ve helped sort grapes at a winery in California, we’ve helped make our house more of a home and we’ve tried to become better stewards of our time together with our family . . . okay, that’s not a first timer thing, but we think it’s really important.  It’s all good; we know that, even at our ‘advanced age’, there are still plenty more ‘first timers’ yet to be  had, and we’ll appreciate them as they’re given to use!

Tonight, from the same folks that brought us Chain Gang and Guard Shack, we have our 2011 First Timer blend . . . It was a really nice little bottle of wine–young, but it had a lot of pinot noir traits to it – light, fruity and a wine that gets better as it opens up.  There isn’t a lot of structure to the wine, but its’ muscle is in the taste and the finish.  Even though it’s  a young wine, it still has the chops to be a decent wine, and we both agree that, as it gets older in the bottle, it has potential to be better.  In fact, we laughed at the description about the wine, “This won’t be the last time you give in to this captivating blend of classical California varietals.  You’ll find that the deep, dark, intense flavors of blackberry, black cherry and cassis combine with zesty notes of pepper and sweet vanilla to imprison your senses and lock down a finish of lush pleasure.”  What makes it funny is that the other two wines we’ve tried and blogged about have virtually the same description.  So, we’ve learned that labels aren’t always what we think they are, and some wine makers love to put the same product in the same bottles with different labels.  While we can’t “comment”, we can only observe the similarities and wonder . . . D.C.Flynt M.W. Selections has a vast array of labels, varietals and blends from all over the world, and while they are different in name, we can’t help but wonder why they insist on producing lackluster product with the same themed-names.  They’re hardly first timers from our perspective . . . Thanks to HEB for carrying this great wine – and for selling it for under $11.

So, we remember the LAST dance at Homecoming . . .  you know, Stairway to Heaven – a Led Zeppelin classic – back in our day, it was the song to wrap up any dance!!  Yeah, first timers are fun to remember.  As we get close to wrapping up 2012 and are staring the new year smack in the face, we hope that you’ll have a year filled with ‘first timer’ moments – from first kisses to first steps and from first houses to first child and everything in between.  So, you see, even if the wine is less than a home run, the name gives us something to write about!

Enjoy your ‘first timer’ wine tonight – or your multiple-timer wine tonight, but please enjoy it responsibly–we want you reading well into next year–after all, 365 days is quite an endeavor and without you, it won’t be nearly as fun!  Also, when you recycle whenever possible, you help make our world just  a little bit better than it is today!

Until tomorrow. . . Cheers!

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DAy 82: Oh, What a Day . . .

Being parents of two wonderful young ladies is a gift beyond words.  Today was needless to say a wonderful day in that we had the chance to spend time with both daughter #1 AND daughter #2 – not to mention our new “granddog”, Bridget.  So many times we hear the words “life is too short” – and truth be told, these are pearls of wisdom.  Our morning started with BACON – (is there a better way to start the day?????)  Let’s face it – BACON is a life form of its own.  We slept in a bit (ok, so 6:30 a.m. is considered late in these parts, especially when 16 legs are expecting you to giddy up and git moving because they have to).  Daughter #1 arrived last night and we had a wonderful time with her – including dinner at Outback and a nightcap at Cody’s here in San Marcos.  She stirred around 8:30 a.m. when the aroma of BACON hit her room – needless to say “Grandma and Grandpa” had already attended to the granddog, so all was well.

The agenda was sent – our main purpose today was to travel north to Austin around 11:30 a.m to pick up daughter #2 from the airport – keep in mind that traveling from east to west means a VERY early flight to be in Austin by 11:30 a.m.  In fact, the cell phone “barked” at 2:30 a.m. letting us know she (d #2) was up and getting ready to head to the airport for her o’dark thirty flight.  She did her duty and made her flight – zipped through Dallas and landed safe and sound around noon – not bad for travel on the day before a MAJOR holiday. The final stops of the day were “Wally-World” and the outlet mall for some quick shopping – then home, sweet home for some R & R before heading out in the morning for a family rendezvous about 3 hours up the road.

So, after two nights of FAILED wines, we were a bit worried about what tonight might bring – scouts honor (and remember Jean is a lifetime Girl Scout so she can say those sorts of things), we were VERY concerned that the  “strike three – you’re out” rule might take affect tonight.  BUT – luckily for us, the wine tonight did not fail.

Tonight we tasted from a bottle of 2010 Chain Gang, a blend from Sonoma County in California – and while it may not be the best in the house, this red wine won’t disappoint if you enjoy bigger, bolder red wines.  The first thing we noticed was the nose.  It  was a classic scent including a smokiness from the oak barrels and a fruitiness from the vines.  After two previous wines that were major disappointments, it’s nice to get a hold of a wine that will appreciate current conditions and also recognize what’s coming up on the horizon.  This wine did not disappoint.  We loved the pro-active attitude of both the originating farms but also those just mine started.  Like the two previous wines, the nose on this one was forward, fruitiness, and fun.  It was a beautiful opening!  We picked this little gem up at HEB for under $14.

We enjoy good wine–no doubt about that.  We also like to stand behind the wines we’ve talked about . . . and, only occasionally would we go against our own advice!  So whether you’re enjoying a classic like tonight or a classic from the past, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle when possible.