casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 359: Drive for Dough, Putt for Show . . .

Stone CapSo, as you may recall – Jean played golf on Friday and had a wonderful time and a couple of pretty decent shots during the round – her team didn’t win, but had a wonderful time.  Not that she and her sister Sara are the least bit competitive when it comes to the links, but . . . Jean now stands in awe of six year younger sister for her incredible feat today.  You see, Sara in a very gifted athlete – she’s ridden the MS150 numerous times, has been known bowl a 300 game and today accomplished a feat that few people do once, least of all twice in one day.  While on a business trip to Denver, Sara took up her clubs and hit the course and proceeded to shoot a 50 on 18 holes . . . made possible by TWO, yes . . . count ’em TWO Holes In One!  Come on now – that just doesn’t happen.  We’ve checked the record books and can’t find any comparison to this feat.  Upon reading the news on Facebook, we had to know the details – but Sara didn’t answer her phone.  What was her secret?  A new club – some new super charged golf balls – has she been secretly taking something to improve her strength and accuracy (don’t think she knows A-Rod) . . . what could it be?  Perhaps the altitude in Denver makes the difference – we’ve heard that on a humid night a baseball actually travels farther than on a cold night . . maybe it’s something like that or she had the wind at her back (there is a bit of Irish on Jean’s side of the family) . . . Regardless of the who, what, when, where and how – we ARE impressed.  Yep, tonight Sara took home the crown!  Job well done – Jean is super jealous!

To celebrate this feat, we opened a wine from Sara’s neck of the woods – a 2010 Stone Cap Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley. . .as in Washington.  We know we need to make a trek out that way for a visit and will be sure to make this winery a stop on the tour.  The wine comes from Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard which is located on the ridge of Goose Hill, across from Red Mountain in the Columbia Valley where the Yakima River converges with Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills. The vineyard has gentle, south-facing slopes and warm temperatures. The Monson Family planted the vineyard in small blocks to produce high quality estate-grown wines. The 1,600 acre vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, and Pinot Gris.

Upon opening the wine, we loved what was on the nose.  An amazing fragrance of dark fruit and a floral.  On the palate, we were excited to find a full-bodied wine with black cherry, raspberry and currants that combine with toasty oak, chocolate and spice.  According to the wine maker, grilled pepper steak or herb-roasted rack of lamb are favorites with this smooth and powerful wine; however, we opted for a spice mix of kung pao chicken and steamed white rice.  A terrific combination that highlighted the sweeter notes of the wine as well as the deep structure.  It’s yet another example of food and wine working very well together!  At around $8 bucks a bottle, you’ll think you’re enjoying something far more sophisticated, but you’ll love how little the cost is compared to the flavor!  We’ll definitely add this wine to our list of deck wines to be enjoyed on a moment’s notice.

So, back to the golf game.  We are still in shock and awe!  Two holes-in-one. . .on the SAME DAY and the SAME COURSE!  Even the guys on the PGA Tour can’t muster this kind of performance.  Finally got an update – it seems that Sara might have had some assistance from a guy named Don Quixote on the Windmill hole – but other than that . . . she gets full credit for her feat tonight!

Quick reminder – please continue to send in your votes for the Top Ten Bondy Deck Wine list – time is getting short until Day 365!

As always, please remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 357: Five is a Great Number . . .

Five WiseToday was a great day, especially for Jean – she got to play golf . . . AND support San Juan Diego Catholic High School in Austin – WHAT a GREAT job!  She and two co-workers (Lisa and Scott) plus a wonderfully supporter and friend (Ron) took to the links in order to help raise funds for the school.  Now, normally the idea of playing golf and not being in the office would be tough for Jean, BUT – her boss (aka Scott) pretty much said she HAD to play . . . so, rule of thumb in our house is NEVER go against what the Boss has said.  Ok, ever so slight exaggeration there . . . Jean signed up and coerced Scott and the others to play (for the record . . . the arm twisting really wasn’t all that tough).  Nonetheless, a wonderful time was had by all – yes, it was a wee bit hot – but as the saying goes . . . a bad day on the golf course beats a good day in the office.  Anytime she plays golf, Jean is reminded of the days as a young girl heading to the course on Saturday mornings with Bill (aka Dad) and his buddies to play a round – Jean was allowed to hit a ball with a shortened 3 Iron – to this day, one of the clubs she hits the best.  She would be negligent if she didn’t mention all the fun times she and sister Sara have had on the course as well (yes, Jean can hit a tee shot further than Sara – just setting the record straight).

Ok, on to other things – – – the number FIVE(5) is a really important number at Casa del Vino – ya see, we are BOTH (or as D#1 and D#2 like to say BOLTH – gotta love those inside family jokes) the FIFTH (5th) child in their families.  We think that’s pretty special . . . BUT WAIT – it doesn’t stop there —- we were born on the same day / same year (approximately 45 mins apart . . . . yes, for the record, Jean is older).  Brian was born at St. Joseph’s and Jean was born at St. Mary’s (pays to be Catholic to make that connection) – we were baptized on the same day – both our Dad’s worked for Shell Oil their entire careers and finally (yes, just one more – sorry P&L . . . didn’t mean another bottle) – when they got married that both had sisters who were nurses living in Denver.  Call it what you will . . . we call it both Divine Intervention and a God Wink.  Makes for lively conversation, especially when doing legal work and date of birth is involved.  Oh, and one last coincidence – we were married on the same day.

So, as you can see the number Five (5) is a big deal ’round these parts.  So tonight we opened a Five Wise Meritage Blend.  A wonderful combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.  We picked this little number up at World Market last weekend – during halftime at Dave & Busters – it was less than $12 and a BARGAIN.

This wine has some really nice characteristics.  The nose is pure fruit. . .lots of berries with hints of tobacco and plums.  The palate opens up to a nice oak and tobacco taste along with some black raspberries and black cherries.  The finish is long, smooth and memorable. . .all of the flavors stay on the finish making this wine smooth to the taste from start to finish.  We enjoyed this with some smoked sausage and potatoes as well as a spinach salad. . .all in all a really nice find for not a lot of money.  We’re intrigued by the wine because there isn’t a lot of information available about it.  From Greenfield, California which is in Monterrey County; Greenfield is located in one of the developing wine grape growing regions of California with over twenty vineyards and wineries within a thirty mile radius, several of which have tasting rooms and offer a wide selection of wines for sale. Some of the Vineyards and Wineries located nearby are Hahn Estates Smith & Hook, San Saba, J.Lohr, Hess Select, Estancia, and Graff Family Vineyard.  Having driven through this area back in October, we learned that it’s also the area know as the “Salad Bowl” for the country.  There was an unbelievable amount of produce being harvested at that time. . .truly amazing.

This wine is different, unique and not on a radar screen, and it’s for these reasons, you should try it.  Might just sneak onto the BOndy Top Ten Wine List . . .

With so many commercial labels (heck this may even be a commercial label), it’s kind of refreshing to find one that doesn’t have 91 points or lengthy vintages in its’ history.  We’re open to hear from you; maybe you know something about Fivewise Meritage that can shed some light for us.

Anyway, it’s Friday!  Time to enjoy the weekend and your favorite wine.  Please do so responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 126: Drive For Show, Putt For Dough . . .

Ben HoganNow that we have your attention with our headline and the bottle of wine that we’ll talk about in a bit, we’d like to take a moment to remember six years ago when Daughter #2 was in junior high in Kerrville, Texas.  On first inspection, not all that important—however, as she points out, that year, she–and a number of other junior high kids ran track at the middle school.  It turns out that one of the kids running track with all of the others was one of the football players named, Johnny Manziel.  Just to be clear, there are no skeletons in the closet from this story other than a tangible reminder that we ALL come from humble beginnings and what makes US great is what WE do.

With tonight’s Cotton Bowl shellacking of the Oklahoma Sooners, the rest of the country had the opportunity to see why the Heisman Trophy went to a redshirt freshman from Kerrville, Texas.  The kid can flat out play.  BUT, one of the side notes from the game was that Manziel was a three-sport player in high school—football, baseball, and golf.  Golf?  Really?  Some research has uncovered a common denominator in athletes; many football, baseball and basketball players in high school and college have an affinity for golf.  Go figure.  As many times as we’ve been on the course and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings–spoiled by the little dimpled ball, who would have thought that athletes love this game.

Golf is a game of honor and honesty; it’s also a game of skill and mental toughness.  It’s a perfect game for those who aren’t built like a brick wall, but it’s also a game that can be played by people built like brick walls.  As we have followed major league baseball players, it’s amazing the number of guys who love to play golf on their days off.  The same goes for hockey players and football players.  We still remember playing in a charity golf tournament in St. Louis and former St. Louis Blues hockey player, Kelly Chase was on the course–the whole place couldn’t wait to see him. . .and he was a pretty cool guy to talk with.

Anyway, tonight we broke out one of our favorites from our trip to Paso Robles this past October.  It seemed appropriate for a number of reasons–mentioned above–and for the fact that today was the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, for today’s players, rain washed out the round and it will be played from the beginning starting tomorrow, but our wine was good from the start–today!  The 2008 Ben Hogan Carnoustie Tribute Series wine seemed like a perfect fit for the first Friday in January, and the minute we opened the bottle, we knew that this was a special wine.  A beautiful cork unveiled a beautifully scented wine – the pour yielded a deep, dark purple and the nose was amazingly fresh with a hint of oak.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, and each offered its own attribute to the blend. Syrah is rich, ripe and forward with a mouth-filling texture while Cabernet lends strength and ‘backbone’ to the wine. The addition of Merlot binds this wine together with its ripe middle palate weight and length of flavor.  The finish was smooth as glass and just melded into your palate.  What makes it special from our viewpoint is that it’s a big, bold, flavorful wine that–until today–was only going to get better!  Accompanied by a garlic pasta, roasted red pepper and chicken dish, the wine seemed to melt its way around the food for a perfect compliment to the meal.

Wow, a great way to start the weekend.  A great game of football at the Cotton Bowl–Johnny ‘Football’ proved to the country that his Heisman Trophy wasn’t a fluke–this kid’s the REAL DEAL.  But, he’s also just a kid whose enjoying a ride on the ‘game of life’ and whether he played high school football or ran middle school track, he’s just another kid.  He also happens to love playing golf, and with the start of the 2013 PGA Tour season, another challenging tournament schedule is underway.  We certainly enjoyed our salute to all of the above with our 2008 Ben Hogan Carnoustie Series wine and hope that if you have the opportunity to drive for show and putt for dough, you’ll make it happen.

Until then, enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.