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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 268 – Fiesta San Antonio

Messina Hof ShirazAfter leaving our good friends in Aransas Pass today, we kept an eye on the sky to make sure that the rains (though VERY welcome) didn’t dampen the rest of our weekend with the girls and their boyfriends!  It’s been an amazingly fun weekend with the girls, with friends and enjoying what mother nature has to offer…be it wind, rain or sun…the weather isn’t as important as the friendships!  We understand through well placed sources that the fishing TODAY was much better than the fishing YESTERDAY.  At least one source has confirmed that the Redfish in the Bay were biting today — unlike yesterday.

We did make a stop in San Antonio and hit the Alamo, the Riverwalk and the Mercado – the best part (other than us all just being together) was the people watching.  Amazing how many people were out and about on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after a Saturday full of rain and flooding.  It was special to sit and have a snack on the Riverwalk and just spend time with the girls, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent.  What a treat to laugh the afternoon away before heading home to San Marcos and eventually a late dinner and more laughing around the dinner table – these are precious times.

T0night’s wine is a 2010 Shiraz from Messina Hof and features a great nose, full-body flavor and extras smooth flavors.  You can’t go wrong with this fabulous flavor display of rich, dark blackberry and spice with lingering vanilla tones. Grown in the Red River Valley. Double Barrel Aged in European and American oak, this Shiraz demonstrates the grandeur of Texas and is perfectly suited for our Texas climate. It’s hearty and robust, yet well-balanced. This Shiraz is wonderful with beef, lamb, pork and even grilled salmon. It is a Double Gold medal winner at the Tasters Guild International Consumer Wine Judging, winner of the Grand Star of Texas at the Lone Star International and a gold medal winner at the Indy International Wine Competition.  According to the wine maker, “Planted in 1988 in Denison, Texas. The elevation is at 619 feet , and this vineyard has sandy-loam soil that is four miles from the Red River. A very unique wine featuring smooth and silky flavors of rich berries. Gold medal winner. Perfectly complements beef, lamb, and fowl.”  Needless to say, this wine is a winner and is meant to be enjoyed!

The wine exhibits a terrific nose of fruit and spice; we couldn’t believe how smooth this wine SMELLED!  That’s right—smooth!  The taste was equally as impressive, but restrained because, Texas wines just seem to miss out on what the fruit can actually taste like!  The finish and body of this wine are both top notch.  We can’t imagine a better looking, better tasting bottle of wine from our fair state!  The wine went with kung pao chicken tonight and was a terrific complement to sitting on the deck and enjoying the fruits of mother nature’s rainfalls. . . It’s a wine meant to be shared with family, friends or all of the above – which we did in abundance over the past several nights!!!

Until tomorrow, please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible!


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Day 202: Another One Bites the Dust . . .

Castoro Primotivo

Wow – who’d a thunk it . . . 202 days of blogging about wine!  When we decided to pursue this adventure we hadn’t really thought it through.  There is something to be said about purchasing a different bottle of wine every day for 365 consecutive days (for the record, Jean’s not so good with consecutive day stuff – just sayin’). BUT, here we are. . .moving ahead and staring into the face of yet another weekend.  Weird, but this weekend is the first one of Spring!  Yeah, so this has been happening since last September 1st. . .granted it was late summer, but it means we’ve made it through fall and winter and now we start blogging during the Spring!  Time sure flies–when you’re having fun!

It’s been a long week–same number of days, but just a long week.  You know how that goes—a couple of early mornings combined with several long evenings. . .and the end result is a long week!  Fortunately, we have Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 to keep us ‘entertained’. . .this past week had Daughter #2–camping and sailing along the Eastern seaboard of the US. . .now, before you get too impressed, remember–in THAT part of the world, it’s still winter.  Yeah, like in cold temperatures and cold rain and wet snow.  In fact, that part of the world could go into late April with cold and wet. . .exactly why we chose not to live in them thar parts!!  That said, she’s had a great time sailing and being a part of something that she’ll remember for the rest of her life. . .c’mon, sailing on Spring Break for your College?  How cool is that?

Daughter #1 was back in the classroom this week as Spring Break ended and reality began to sink in–yep, in less than eight weeks, that college experience is DONE!  We’re looking at graduation, new employer and starting fresh.  It brings back amazing memories of our graduation from SFA–how awesome is it to share that same experience with our daughter?

Tonight, we enjoyed a wine from one of our favorite Paso Robles wineries–Castoro Cellars—-as THEY say it, puts out some “Damn Fine Wines”.  From OUR perspective, they are spot on!  From Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels to amazing blends and Petite Sirahs, Castoro has become our favorite ‘house’ wine.  We love their varietals, their wine makers and yes, their wines!  So, in keeping with their really good wine, we opened a bottle of 2009 Primitivo from the Castoro Cellars Whale Rock Vineyard in Paso Robles, California.  We learned last night that Primitivo is the Italian version of Zinfandel in America.  No wonder we like it so much!!!  This is a BIG wine. . .and not for the faint at heart.  From the Castoro website, “The last two years our Primitivo has been the top selling wine in our tasting room and after just one sip you will understand why. From our organically farmed Whale Rock vineyard, this clone of Zinfandel is a fruit-filled wine crafted in an Italian style.”  The grapes for this wine come from the Templeton Gap.  As this vineyard matures the grapes are developing more character and layers of flavors which you’ll notice in the aromas and the mouth.  Primitivo is a clone of zinfandel imported from Italy, thus some of zinfandel’s characteristics will be found in the wine. It’s a lively, fruit-filled wine that has a touch of earthiness that is associated with northern Italian wines.

What we know is that this wine is a terrific option for Zin-lovers.  It’s got lots of body, structure, taste and finish. . .which we’ve come to expect from Castoro!  Whether enjoying with gourmet food or sitting back on a Thursday night after a long day at work, Castoro knows how to make good wine, AND make it ready to show!

Until tomorrow, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

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Day 122: A Gander Back . . .

Hall CabHere we are the final hours of 2012 and we have to ask ourselves the proverbial question – where has the last year gone?  Seriously, has it been 365 days since we were in this same position and asking ourselves the same question about 2011 – the only difference was that we weren’t blogging about it.

Last year we kicked off the year enjoying the beauty of Big Bend National Park and Lajitas with “the gang” – commonly known as P & L and M & D.  Needless to say it was a great time away from the rest of the civilized world.  The hike to the “Window” was downhill and awesome – the view was glorious and the picnic was a perfect – the hike back was uphill and although a few more stops were needed, was equally as awesome.  We enjoyed the stay and came back to reality ready to face the challenges that awaited us in 2012.

So tonight, we figured we take a few and recount the highlights of our year – the best way to start the year was the finding of Jasmine (see, she got out while we were in Lajitas – and turned up on New Year’s Eve – we were so relieved – those four legged kids kinda grow on you)

Next up was Brian’s one year anniversary at the SM Chamber, our 29th wedding anniversary, Daughter #1 turning 21,  Spring Break at the beach, reserving our travel plans to Paso, Dad aka Bill moving back to Texas, Daughter #2 working in Boston for the Summer and turning 19, our 53rd birthday, Jean celebrating one year at the DOA, an offshore fishing trip that yielded 4 sailfish, THE trip to Paso – we could talk about this forever!, Thanksgiving in Stephenville with Jean’s family, Christmas with Bea aka Grams – Brian’s mom at our house – – – not to mention starting this blog and enjoying a number of really great wines (and yes, some not so great) with great friends and family.

To finish off the year, we opened a bottle of yet another one of our favorite wines – Hall 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.  We really love Hall (rumor has it that sister Sara has a membership and we are waiting for a bottle of Darwin to grace our doorstep) and really enjoy the great wines they produce.  This Cab did not disappoint – a snoot full of tobacco greeted us and the taste was long and strong with flavors of black cherry, cranberry. . .all coming together in a long, smooth finish that treated the front, mid and back palates.  This wine was clearly meant to be enjoyed with food–rich food, scrumptious food; however, being that it was New Year’s Eve, we chose to sample it for our blog–save some smoked venison sausage, cheese and crackers provided by P&L while waiting to gather Daughter #2 and return back to San Marcos – – – – it’s been a long road tonight, but wonderful NYE.  This is a terrific wine and while the price is a little more than our preferred pricing category, when a New Year’s Eve comes around, you want to do things right!  With Hall Wines, you’ll do things right every time.

So, as we move into 2013, we hope that you’ll continue reading our blog and hope that each of you has a terrific year filled with many glasses of your favorite wine – let us know about more of your favorites – Red or White or Other.  If you like what you’re reading, pass it on to people you know.  And, if you’ve followed us and commented to us since we began this endeavor, thank you . . . we really appreciated hearing from you, whether it’s a good friend from Kerrville or another cool wine blogger from somewhere else around the globe!  It’s part of what makes this medium so cool, so portable and so informative!

Have a terrific year and remember to continue enjoying your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 65 — Only 300 more to go!

The first night after the end of Daylight Saving Time is always a little strange .  .  . it feels like 7 p.m. but it’s really 6 p.m.  It’s not that late, but it ‘s dark outside.  we’re tired, but it’s only 7 o’clock .  .  . what’s up with that?  When friends come to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we kind of expect that they’ll be here for a long afternoon of football, fire in the pit and good wine, but not leave until – say, tomorrow.  What a beautiful afternoon it turned out to be, with clear blue skies and a light wind to go with warm temperatures.  We call this kind of day, ‘Chamber of Commerce’ kind of weather, and judging by the number of people out and about, we’d say it was exactly THAT.

Kris and Veronique came from Kerrville today and we really enjoyed seeing them.  We’ve known these guys a long time – and really love when they come to visit.  They make an afternoon of watching football a fun time – First Down! Our “girls” love to see them as well – greeting them with tag wags and kisses and even a jump into the lap.

So, today, they brought an  American Merlot from the winery of a friend of ours.  The 2009 American Merlot from Kerrville Hills Winery is a treat and a bit of a surprise for those of us who have come to  love California wine.  In our world the combination of ‘Texas Wine and Merlot typically is met with a turned up nose and a glance to the side as to admit that we’d be sampling something inferior.  When we popped the cork; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful aroma.  We immediately enjoyed a nose of oak and lots of black cherry.  The pour was intriguingly beautiful – a dark purple hue that seemed almost too dark for a Merlot.  The nose was awesome for  this little Texas wine and the legs on the glass confirmed that our taste buds were going to be enjoying something completely different.  The taste was full-bodied and finished with a nice smokiness that we weren’t expecting.  The wine was bigger and bolder than we expected – both for a Texas wine and for a Merlot.  Very enjoyable – Wayne, ya done good!

Kris does incredible work with the Hill Country Chapter of the American Red Cross – we both remember when she took over a dying chapter that was living on  fumes and since her arrival to the organization, we’ve seen huge steps in response to crises as well as community members stepping up to support the chapter.  Like so many non-profit organizations that we’ve been a part of or have supported, a large part of their success is the people who run them – as donors and supporters, we ‘buy’ into the mission of the organization NOT because of the mission of the organization but because of the PEOPLE who are a part of the organization.  Those people are what gives the MISSION A FACE.  Unfortunately in our society, and we’re already seeing this on the East Coast – certain nonprofit organizations struggle to get their aid to the right people because the people in ‘charge’ have to be the ones at the forefront even though – in most cases – the ones at the ‘top’ haven’t lifted a finger in a long, long time.  We feel that organizations with national roots, like the Red Cross, need to let their local chapters run the show in disasters and put their collective egos in check when it comes to ‘taking credit’ for getting supplies or aid to those in need.  Veronique is a classic example of someone who is taking their skills on the road – she has created a company who is teaching Red Cross life saving skills – no better teacher can be found – if your company is in need of such skills, let us know –  we will put you in touch.

The next time that you care to make a donation or contribution to an organization with national ties, we’d like to suggest that you specify that your contribution be used specifically for the local area where you live.  Once your contribution becomes ‘restricted’, then it can only be used for the purpose which you – the donor – intended for it to be used.  Which in most cases means it won’t be used by a large national organization to fund their large national organizational salaries.  Many organizations in Texas are working hard to take care of emergency needs and deal with life saving situations .  .  .  isn’t it nice to know that when you make a contribution to one of these groups that the money stays here and does EXACTLY what it was intended to do?  We couldn’t agree more – thank you Kris and Veronique for joining us today and thank you to Wayne for a really nice American Merlot from Kerrville Hills Winery.

The next time you enjoy your favorite wine; please remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 63 – Taking Time to Remember . . .

In our faith, we celebrate two special days this time of year, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  While many think these two days are one in the same, they are not.  While both commemorate those who have passed from this world into the next, there is a difference between the days.  Rather than go into great depths and try to explain the two days, we’ve chosen today to stop and remember those that have left the confines of this world and moved to the next.  Ok, so by now you’re thinking this might be a bit too heavy for a wine blog – but sit tight as we just take a minute to say howdy to some pretty wonderful people that have been part of our lives.

Margaret, Hugh, Pat, John Joseph, Spud, Bernard, Ernie, Betty, Virgina, Dorothy, Lawrence, Sid, John N., Bucky, Joe, Annette, Greg, Homer, Sister Mercia, Carr, Peter, Chris, John K., Mark S., Hozie, Ray, and so many others, some we knew well – some not well at all – we are thankful for the time we had with you, albeit too short.  You touched our lives, made us better people and for that we are thankful.  You made us laugh, made us cry, gave us life, gave a reason to be – in short, you left a thumbprint on our hearts that will remain forever.  Thank you for being you and a part of us.

In honor of these special people, we broke out a very special wine.  From Rutherford, California, we opened 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was a gift of thanks from a close friend – what better wine to give thanks to those we love and miss.  This is a wine that has been known to put others to shame.  And, while we’ve been pretty free with the word ‘big’ in describing our wines thus far, BIG is an understatement tonight.  This wine was meant to be sipped and not gulped – which we did, reluctantly!  The nose was all oak .  .  . medium toast – just guessing.  When you get a wine like this, well, you know you’re in for a bottle full of life.  It’s WHY we chose this specific wine – if we’re going to celebrate the lives of people who have been important to us, then we needed to celebrate with one of the best.  The fruit on the front of the palate is magnificent, like tree ripened fruit at the peak of sweetness but made subtle by the hints of spice, nutmeg and pepper.  The mid-palate for us was flavorful, fruitful and inspiring.  And, the finish – like so many full-bodied wines we’ve had in the past, this one finished for a long, long time.  The finish is like throwing a rock into the water and watching the rings grow out from where the rock went in .  .  . they just keep going and going and going – just like this wine.  Tonight’s wine isn’t in the pricing category of what we normally like to write about, but because it’s a special wine in remembrance of special people, we felt like it was a good time to enjoy great memories of people who meant a lot to us.

In less than three weeks, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and then just a few short weeks after that Christmas followed by New Years, so before things got going at a crazy speed, we thought that tonight we’d share our personal thoughts along with a terrific wine that means a lot to us.  We hope you’ll indulge us by stopping for a moment and thinking about the special people in your lives who have come and gone all too quickly, but their impact on your life remains true to this day.  This is what will make your next glass of wine that much better because you’re celebrating those people who helped get you where you are today .  .  . and in our book, that’s a cause for celebration!!

When you do open that special bottle of wine – whether it’s a 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon or not – please enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.  One last request – next Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day.  Who you vote for is your choice, but voting gives us ALL a voice.  Please take time to vote.  Until tomorrow, CHEERS!