Here we are . . . 22 days until Christmas. That means that there are only 21 shopping days left. We were talking last night that you don’t see commercials for some of the classic Christmas ‘gifts’ anymore. Norelco – not sure if they’re even still in business – used to advertise their electric shaver with Santa riding down the ski slope on one of their razors . . . with the tagline, “Even our name (Noelco) says, ‘Merry Christmas’!” And, although we’re dating ourselves, we still remember Joe DiMaggio pitching the latest advancement in brewing coffee with the Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker. Now, they cost $9.99 at “Discount-Mart” BUT, you can get a one cup per portion, Keurig for ONLY $129. At Christmas, we rarely, if ever, saw car commercials. It was almost a joke to advertise a car for Christmas, so most of the automakers – back in the day – turned over the airwaves and the pages of print to consumer goods. Today, you’ve got “The Reason for the Season” Sales Event, the “December To Remember” Sales Event, the “Sign Then Drive” Sales Event . . . and countless others. Don’t know about you, but the thought of putting $30k or $40k into a Christmas present, well, it doesn’t ring our bell.
Wine . . . on the other hand, makes a terrific gift. It’s important to know your recipient – what they like and don’t like – but even winemakers’ offers can get out of hand. Gift baskets with cheeses and crackers and sausages and chocolates with a bottle of wine for ‘only’ $300. Nice. $20 worth of food items and a $50 bottle of wine . . . that’s a NICE basket! Sorry, sometimes we get just a bit cynical. What we do know is that as the years go by, we become less and less consumed with consumerism and more and more appreciative of friends, family, good food and good wine. What makes this kind of weird is that this now means that as the years go by, we’re becoming more and more like our parents – which is something we SWORE we’d never do! In the circle of life, everything does come back – some with more of an impact than others!
Well, tonight we were kind of at a loss as to which wine to sample and write about. Truth be told, the sample menu is getting a little thin, so we pulled out the one of the wines that we bought from Max’s Wine Dive in SA . . . it’s a 2009 Wire Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s from the same folks that brought us Guard Shack and Chain Gang Wines . . . and this wine is probably the best of the lot. It’s from their Paso Robles appellation and it’s aroma upon opening was pleasant, fruitful but with a hint of spices and kerosene. It warmed up very quickly and really turned fruit-forward. The taste was smooth, luscious and long-lasting. While we didn’t sample it with a specific meal; suffice it to say that we enjoyed it with some excellent snack items so theoretically, it should be terrific with beef, pork or salmon! Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any reviews, tasting notes, comments or other postings about this wine in any of our online research . . . which means, if you’re willing to go out on a limb and try something without proven appeal – then this is your opportunity. While we probably wouldn’t go out and buy a case of this wine, we wouldn’t mind having a bottle or two available for either enjoying on the deck or some other “special occasion”. At less than $22 a bottle, there are some better wines for less and some really bad wines for more!
We know that the holidays are about bringing the family together to share good times and memories. We also like to think that the holidays are about enjoying something you really like and sharing that with your closest loved ones. Hopefully, you’ll have some ideas of wines to try since after tonight we’ll have talked about 95 different wines. Thanks for catching up with us tonight and we’ll look forward to another tasting tomorrow.
Until then, please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.
We couldn’t help but notice, and since no one else even bothered to comment, we blew the whistle on ourselves. Yep. Yesterday, we were out of sequence. It happens to the best of folks; when you’ve made the commitment to sample and write about 365 different wines in the same number of days, it was going to happen. We didn’t write a disclaimer before we started, so now is probably as good a time as any to note that, occasionally. . .and we mean occasionally. . . there may be discrepancies in the numbers of days reported compared to the actual number of days reviewed. Through no fault of our own, the “numbering system” gets flawed and we may, inadvertently, skip or duplicate a number–which is EXACTLY what happened last night! So, just to be clear–tonight is Day 86 and tomorrow will be Day 88–it’s all part of the NEW MATH! Any questions?
So, the sales totals for the first full weekend of shopping for Christmas is starting to come in and the numbers are pretty impressive. We really wonder how many people actually hit the streets to shop on Black Friday or Saturday or Sunday, or the real number of people who wait until – – – CYBER MONDAY – – – to do their shopping. Since all we’ve heard about today is the amazing number of deals available for cyber-shoppers, we thought that maybe online sales could eclipse in-person sales this year. We saw an estimate this morning that seemed to conclude that today’s sales could exceed $1.5 billion! On the one hand, that is an impressive amount of business–tough to imagine anything but success with those kinds of sales. However, the pie is only so big which means that sales from traditional ‘brick and mortar’ retailers is probably going to suffer. It only stands to reason that if you buy something from Retailer A online instead of buying it from Retailer A’s store in your town, that Retailer A does just fine but the store and the sales tax to the local community – – well, NOT SO MUCH.
We wanted to have some fun on a Cyber Monday, so we chose a blend that we bought at Trader Joe’s . . . tonight’s wine is a 2009 Guard Shack from Sonoma County, California. . .it’s a blend from DC FLYNT MW SELECTIONS who specialize in varietal blends from Napa and Sonoma Counties. This particular wine delivers a blend of spice, sweet, rich, black and red notes that range from cassis to wild red berries all deftly supported by the smell of warm earth and tannins. What we immediately noticed was the amazing nose of fruit, smoke and cedar that was parlayed into a taste of all of the above and then some. We were pleasantly surprised by, not only the amazing taste on the palate, but the long beautiful finish. Certainly not what you’d expect from a relatively ‘no-name’ wine available at Trader Joe’s. We like big, inky red wines and this one fills the bill. Just to be sure, we grilled some beef with sauteed mushrooms and red onions along with garlic mashed potatoes. Needless to say, the food and the wine paired exceptionally well together.
The hardest part for most wine lovers is to break outside of their ‘box’ – a comfort zone of two or three labels of wine that are just too ‘easy’ to give up (please note, this is not to be confused with BOXED WINE). We encourage you to “call in the guards . . .” and try this 2009 Guard Shack. It’s a nice little change of pace from your ‘normal’ varietals and you may just like it. If wine places like, Max’s Wine Dive, has it on their menu, one of two things comes to mind – A). They must like what Guard Shack has to offer in value and taste. . .or. . B). They are looking for a few good suckers to buy something that will make them extra money. The cynics will opt for ‘B’, but the answer is clearly ‘A’ which is your cue to give this wine a taste.
And, whether you’re a Cyber Monday freak, geek or sheik . . . the key is to ALWAYS remember that life is too short to enjoy BAD wine. Until tomorrow, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.