casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


Day 249 — In Preparation

Lapostolle Cuvee AlexandreAs parents, we’ve grown accustomed to doing things for our kids.  We’ve gotten used to the comings and goings of teenagers and young adults who absolutely HAVE to see their friends!  It’s actually pretty easy when you stop and think about it; we did the EXACT same things to our parents when we were their age.  Whether it was borrowing the car to go and meet someone at a restaurant, bar or bowling alley or having five or six other kids over for ‘dinner’, the reality is that times haven’t changed.  When kids come ‘home’ from school, they’re ready to continue the lives they’ve carved for themselves in school. Uhhhh–yeah, right!

The catch is that parents have different rules than their kids realize.  Rules that include specific times home at night; regular check-ins while out with the family car and no texting or drinking and driving.  While some of those are ‘no-brainers’, it’s a hard lesson for college kids who’ve enjoyed limitless opportunities while at school–and now to deal with the reality of being back in their parents home–NO WAY!  And so, the preparation begins for the arrival of both daughters.  One, who will have graduated from college, and the other, who will have completed two years of college. . .now descend upon us with two and four years of ‘independent living’ under their belts.  How does one ‘prepare’ for such an arrival?

What makes this kind of cool for us is that this will be the first time since they were both in high school that we’ve been together as a family.  Yes, there have been breaks, but Christmas and Spring Break…summer and Thanksgiving are all different than what’s about to take place.  It’s kind of like the calm before the storm…the reality of our kids–now young adults–coming back home to live for a period of time.  It’s exciting–it’s invigorating–it’s family!

With all of that in mind, we opened a well-respected bottle of Chilean wine tonight…a 2009 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Syrah.  Priced at less than $20 a bottle, this wine has a nose to beat the band!  Hints of anise, cocoa, earthiness and tobacco are what we got out of our first sniff of this beautiful, dark purple wine.  It’s big and it’s bold, and the taste on the front of the palate was oh so pleasing. . .tastes of vanilla and black cherry consumed the taste buds leaving us with expectations of an amazing finish.  BUT, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. . .(Name that movie) the finish was mediocre at best.  It kind of evaporated before you could taste anything.  The wine had all of the trappings of a major winner–good value for the money, good taste for the vintage and great lineage in the fields and in the winemaking. . .a winning combination from where we sit!  Given the price point and the beautiful color of this wine, if you’re looking to impress people with your knowledge and nose, then buy this wine and serve to family and friends; HOWEVER, if you’re looking to try out your wine-tasting prowess on unsuspecting vintages, then leave this one alone.  We’d even suggest decantering this wine for 30-45 minutes before serving. . .it may enhance the characteristics and taste of the wine.

Nothing is more exciting to parents than to have their kids from college coming home.  It’s certainly no different in our case. We can’t wait!  From home-cooked meals to visiting on the deck and EVERYTHING in between, we’re ready to take on the challenge of family living back at home!  It’s moments like this that confirm why we became parents and why we want our kids to be the best they WANT to be!  Please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly—maybe even share it with one of your adult children—and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 226: The Right Attitude Makes All The Difference . . .

happy chardonnayWhat a day!  Seriously. . .it actually started last night when our good friend, Scott covered us on a great wine and shared a little light into his world by blogging for us while we helped celebrate the 50th Anniversary of St. Louis Catholic School in Waco.  It’s ALWAYS nice to have folks that ‘have your back!’  Thanks, Scott!!

Today, well it was a GREAT day because we had the opportunity to meet up with Daughter #1 in Bryan, Texas to deliver—drum roll, please—her SENIOR ring!!  Now, for those of you who may be just starting to follow us, we are actually 24 year old, young professionals. . .and Daughter #1 is–well, NO–we can’t go down that path!  Hard to imagine that the little bundle of love that came into our lives a little over 22 years ago is preparing to graduate from college.  If you have grown children, you already understand.  If you have young children, cherish EVERY moment with them because life will come at you fast, and you’ll forget to love, appreciate, value and cherish their lives within yours!

All of that GOOD STUFF was followed up by a phenomenal dinner hosted by Catholic Charities at the Austin Renaissance Hotel tonight.  Former Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz was the speaker, and he didn’t disappoint.  As a side note, Jean was helping with the Sponsor Reception, so Brian sat in the lobby and watched The Masters (along with about 75 other guys – including Holtz who stepped out just for a moment from the reception to catch a piece of the action), and really enjoyed getting to meet and talk with John and Zack from San Jose, California who were in town with Apple.  It’s a great reminder that technology is a huge part of the Central Texas economy, and Austin is a great place to bring Californians that have NEVER been here!!!  We enjoyed the golf tournament together until Brian got up, excused himself and went to find Jean. . .only to come back later and see Coach Holtz in his chair.  Brian went over to Zack and John and said, that the current company was WAY better than the previous–to which they replied, wow, that Brian is pretty cool, he sent Coach Holtz over to visit with us!!!  Ah, ya gotta love it!

If there is one thing that Coach said tonight that really stuck out–it’s that our attitude (and WE determine what that attitude is going to be) defines how we take on what’s in front of us.  If we decide it’s going to be a ‘suck’ day–guess what?  It IS!  If we decide that it’s going to be a GREAT day–guess what?  It IS!  Our attitude defines who we are and what we are to become.  Some of the best players that Coach Holtz has ever been around still thank him for the simplest of lessons.  WE decide our attitude, and our attitude can make the difference between a good day, a bad day and a GREAT day!

We decided that we needed to bring out a wine that had a positive attitude written all over it. . .Happy Face Chardonnay, from Oreana Wines was a ‘value purchase’ at Trader Joe’s, and we’ve been holding onto it for a few months just waiting for the ‘right’ opportunity to add it to our list.  At $6 a bottle, we had low to no expectations of this wine, and thank goodness, we weren’t disappointed!  Yeah, there’s a reason that they sell it for $6–as in, not worth much more than that!  In fact, we kind of think that we were ripped off–it should have been three or four dollars less!  The wine had no discernible qualities that created a stir in our tasting.  There was a lemony-grass taste on the front of the palate, but beyond that–not much.  Still, we remained positive that the wine had several redeeming qualities. . .The acidity was good and it was no oak monster so those were the plusses.  Overall, it was an easy-drinking, simple wine but had an artificial sweet character to it, sugary as opposed to fruity.  A quick visit to the Oreana website found NO mention of this wine–hmmmm, perhaps a family member that isn’t really part of the family?  Regardless, it wasn’t what we had hoped for in light of a terrific speech by Coach Holtz.  We kept our attitudes positive and decided that because we’re such red wine lovers that perhaps we were just being too harsh on it.

Regardless, we agree that the RIGHT attitude makes all the difference in how you see the world and in how people see you.  We had a GREAT day—did some driving—visited one of the loves of our lives and got the chance to hear a legend.  THAT’s a pretty good day!  AND, we finished it with wine–what  a deal!

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