casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 155 – Trying Something Different

 graffigna malbecIt’s always nice to meet up with friends for a glass of wine or two on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Such was the case today with an opportunity to try a new Malbec, taste some good food at Cody’s Bistro in San Marcos and enjoy a warm, sunny afternoon.  For a Groundhog’s Day, it was about the best February 2nd we’ve seen in a long time.  So, if the groundhog saw his/her shadow today and supposedly that means six more weeks of winter, then we guess we’ll take whatever comes our way.  Sitting on the back deck late this afternoon, we had to wonder if the groundhog has any relevance in our part of the world?  Think about it. . .if you live in the northeast or midwest, the emergence of the groundhog could ‘prognosticate’ the potential weather for the next six weeks.  BUT, living in the south and west, we submit that it’s really not applicable.

Consider that for the month of January, we’ve enjoyed multiple days in the 70’s and a few in the 80’s and today’s beauty at 75 degrees was tough to beat.  Yes, we’ll still get hit with at least one more winter blast before turning the corner on Spring, but for the most part–around these parts–once the calendar turns to February, the chances of more winter begins to diminish.  Two years ago, this wasn’t the case.  After a beautiful late January, a very cold front swept through the area on February first followed by snow and a month of way below normal temperatures.  We’re talking highs in the 30’s and lows in the upper teens. . .pretty unusual for this time of year, but not out of the realm of reality.  On February 2nd that year , the groundhog didn’t see his/her shadow which indicated that an early spring was on the horizon.  Yeah, right.

So, it’s even more appreciated when two years later (today) when the temperature hits 76 degrees and there is no wind and lots of sun that we can open a bottle of wine and enjoy it out on the deck.  Our 2011 Graffigna Malbec Reserve is a young wine with a heritage of good quality for a good price.  Available for less than $15 a bottle, this wine has a great nose that screams fruit, cedar and cigar box.  The taste on the front palate is fruity and balanced.  However, the wine falls apart after that with virtually no mid or back palate taste and the finish is flat–almost nonexistent.  It’s a pretty wine with a deep, dark color and when poured into a wine glass we got the sense that this young wine was going to be something worth sampling.  A swirl or two seemed to confirm the initial observations, but the taste just didn’t measure up.  Unfortunately, even as the wine opened up over the course of an hour, the taste didn’t open up with it.  We tasted it with tomato basil soup, a couple of different salads and roasted garlic and chicken pita sandwiches. . .the food was great but the wine didn’t come along for the ride!  Fortunately, this Malbec, like many from Argentina, are low in cost.  This one just misses the mark on taste.  We know that there are a load of different Malbecs to choose from with some being exceptional for the price, we’ll attempt to locate them for future discussions, but for today’s selection, we’d probably suggest finding a different wine.

While the groundhog may have seen his/her shadow today in our part of the world, winter is slowly turning to spring.  As we mentioned, there is still time for one or two more blasts of cold air and even frozen precipitation, but the further into the month we go without this, the less likely it is to happen.  We’ll just sit back and soak up the sunny skies and warm temperatures for as long as we can and do that with our favorite wines.  Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 62 – Sometimes You Gotta Try Something New . . .

Ever get into ruts?  You know, the same routine day in and day out?  We don’t necessarily get into ruts, but we’ve been know to follow routines.  Most of our routines tend to follow getting up at the same time; leaving for work at the same time; having dinner (dinner is a fairly loose term around here some nights – cheese, crackers and salami are a staple – it’s what happens when there are just two of us) around the same time; writing/finishing our blog.

So tonight, we busted out of our routine and after attending an induction ceremony for a Women’s Hall of Fame, we ventured to a new spot in our world called, Cody’s Bistro & Lounge in San Marcos out at the exit for the Outlet Malls but on the opposite side from the malls.  Finally, a much-needed night spot with terrific ambiance, comfortable seating, delicious food and a well-stocked bar.  We zeroed in on their pita sandwiches with Jean enjoying a flat iron steak and Brian tasting a chicken and roasted garlic with mushrooms.  Both of us had a side of fries and a side dish of cilantro ranch dressing (killer good!).  Neither of us are big fans of pita sandwiches, but these were just really delicious .  .  .  not too heavy and not too light, just the right amount of zip.  The menu at Cody’s is upscale pub food – freshly made pizzas, salads and of course, the pita sandwiches.  Besides water, you’ll want to wash your food down with something from the bar, and here Cody’s will quickly make a name for itself – quality bourbon and scotch, select tequilas, vodkas, gins and more.  A nice selection of craft beers and a growing wine list.  On the down side, the only one Zinfandel on the list, but know more will come.  Cody is to be commended for jumping out and opening a great place – we really hope it does well.

Our sample tonight is a 2011 The Crusher Petite Sirah from Don Sebastiani & Sons’ Clarksburg Vineyards.  What a beautiful color – deep, dark purple; almost inky in color but exceptionally fruity on the nose.  A quick peek at the website confirmed much of what we sensed about this wine, “A jammy array of blackberry and black cherry flavors dominate the palate, complemented by hints of vanilla, sassafras, and exotic oaky notes that linger through the finish. Full-bodied, with rich mouth-filling tannins, the wine displays a multi-layered depth and complexity that invites lingered contemplation and enjoyment.”  Fortunately, our food was a perfect complement to the wine and vice versa.  Even as young as this 2011 is, the taste and body are well-developed and we can only imagine that it will get better with a little more time laying down.  The nose and finish were both delightful – we would have had more, but it’s a school night – and the alarm goes off mighty early around these parts.  At the winery, this is about an $18 bottle of wine, but we’d guess at most retailers, you’ll find it for less than $15 which is a great price point for a  young wine that can be enjoyed today or saved for a later date.

After meeting up with our videographer and sound man for next week’s Chamber Gala, we headed home and were both really excited to have Cody’s open in San Marcos.  He’s just getting going – but don’t let that deter you.  The service was excellent – we were served by Alex who is a student at Texas State, and the turn around from ordering to eating was fast.  We’re guessing that they’re still getting their timing down, but this place has an opportunity to carve a niche for itself.  We’re hooked .  .  . and we’ll be back.  For you, not living  here, you’ll need to get a bottle of ‘The Crusher’ and see for yourself – it’s anything but routine!

Please remember to enjoy your wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.