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Day 272: Lewis & Clark Were On To Something . . .

1805 Cab1805 is a new wine venture that pays tribute to one of life’s great expeditions and the need that each of us has to explore. For some individuals, the need to explore comes from the great outdoors. For others, it is the need to acquire a new interest or language. And for others, it is the discovery of wine. The folks at 1805 Wines have based their brand on the principle of discovery that is rooted in the great tradition of America’s foremost explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. In 1804 Lewis and Clark were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and undertake a scientific expedition across the American continent to the Pacific Coast. On this legendary 18-month expedition with Lewis and Clark were Sacajawea and a host of characters who explored, fought, and mapped the lands and rivers westward from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. The expedition’s “Corps of Discovery” included the Missouri River, the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia River, and finally in 1805, the corps’ ultimate prize, the Columbia Valley in what is now eastern Washington. Within twenty years of Lewis and Clark’s expedition, a hardy group of erudite pioneers had “discovered” the ideal climate and soil of Columbia Valley. This stalwart band recognized the value of the valley’s high-desert plains and well-drained soils for the cultivation of the vine and planted the area’s first grape vines.

You gotta love wines that take their name from a date in the past; and this 1805 is going to grab your attention!  It’s a wine that borders on the line of seduction, but clearly doesn’t follow through in practice.  You’ll be mesmerized by the nose. . .a true cab aroma backed by terrific fruit from Washington.  The essence of blackberries and raspberries are really prevalent when first pouring the wine and with hints of cedar and an earthiness that kind of hides in the background, we were excited for what the taste was going to be like!  The first sip is all about anticipation. . .we thought there was a nice balance of fruit with the tannins, but the finish is where the honeymoon came to an end.  We both were disappointed by the finish of this wine. . .or lack of finish. . .or ANY finish.  For the most part, after tasting fruit on the front of the palate, the finish was nonexistent.  Here we had a really nice wine–good color, good nose, good taste in the mouth–but in the end?  There was no end.  We understand this. . .some wines just can’t deliver all of the keys to a mind-blowing tasting.  This 1805 is an example of hitting on all cylinders until the final call–as most who read this know, we like a wine that will finish long and smooth.  This wine finish short and short!  Now, in fairness to the wine and the wine maker, it’s a 2010 wine and some of these cabs from Washington take a little more time to mature than others. . .could be an opportunity for 1805 to shine in the future.  We picked this wine up while shopping at HEB in Kyle for less than $11 -not quite the expedition that L & C had – but will do in a pinch.

History is pretty cool.  American history is even cooler as far as we’re concerned.  When we think about our country back in 1805; we realize that in a little over 200 years, we have come a LONG way.  One of those long ways is in wine production; wine sales and wine consumption.  But, we said one of those long ways. . .yes, but the key word is wine!

We hope that you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and please remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Dat 269: A Salute to All Veterans . . .

Rare Find Memorial Day. . .a time to stop from shopping, swimming, camping, driving or hiking to pay respects to the thousands of men and women who have paved the way for us to enjoy what we enjoy each and every day.  Looking back over history, we’ve seen so many changes in our world–many of them brought about by armed conflicts–that have made a difference in our lives.  Rare indeed is the soldier who comes back from battle to a job, a home, a family and a way of life that was close to the same existence before being deployed.  Rare indeed is a society that on the surface supports our men and women in uniform, but when it comes to providing a livable income upon return, the tendency is to turn the other cheek.  Rare indeed is the family unit–held together by a spouse on the homefront–so precious to the long term survival of this country.  We live in changing times–change that has been good and change that hasn’t be so good, but change that has been made possible by the sacrifices made by veterans of armed conflicts.

As baby boomers, we grew up with the stories of heroism from World War II, and from our parents mouths we heard first hand of the bravery in the fields, in the air and under water of people who drew together for a common goal.  A common goal.  Hmmmm, something totally missing today.  We’ve lost the ability to seek a common goal.  Unfortunately, as Memorial Day 2013 draws to a close, we’ve become a country that is deeply divided.  We have leadership that seeks to polarize the citizenry and a media that exploits it at every turn.  Soldiers who have come and gone before us seem to have fought and died in vain because we no longer (as a general rule) espouse the values of a country united for a common purpose, but instead have become a nation forged on ‘what’s in it for me’.  Not to be on a soap box, but Memorial Day provides us the perfect back drop of historical significance, patriotic prowess and determination to succeed–all of it compliments of those who have come before us.  And, how do we recognize their contributions?  We minimalize their accomplishments by getting bogged down in rhetoric and shying away from substance.  We’d rather see sound bytes than deal with reality.  We’d prefer to see everything packaged neatly in an Entertainment Tonight segment rather than deal with the fact that the middle class is shrinking; the poor are growing in numbers and the skilled workforce is being replaced by the unskilled without a drive and determination to do better than their predecessors.  It’s a curious predicament. . .but we can’t blame the contributions of our veterans!

So tonight we opened a really nice wine from Paso Robles, California. . .a 2011 Rare Find Cabernet Sauvignon.  We picked this wine up at the HEB Plus in Kyle, Texas as we watched a “Chopped” showdown between the cooking team from the Kyle Fire Department and the Buda Fire Department. . .the event was held in the store and was an appropriate tribute for the hard working first responders in our area.  This wine–while inexpensive to buy–tastes like wines that are two to three times its price.  The nose was one of sweetness–kind of like trying a raspberry cobbler or blueberry pie. . .a la mode. . .very jammy.  We tasted the wine and were immediately greeted by the berry flavor; a nice oak finish and a long, pleasing after-taste were a surprising combination for this wine.  While still young in the bottle, we felt like it was better than many in its’ price range and could easily be enjoyed in six to nine months without issue.  All in all it was a decent wine to break out on Memorial Day.

As we all head back to our homes for the week ahead, we can’t help but think about–with gratitude–the men and women who have served our country in the past.  The ideals and values that they fought and died for were as real then as the are today–so hopefully, we won’t lose sight of our values and ideals. . .because in losing them,  we do a tremendous disservice to their contributions to our lifestyle.  To the men and women of our country who continue to serve, thank you.  You are shining stars on otherwise cloudy skies of society, and we respect you and wish you godspeed to return home to your families, your friends, your communities and your careers.  YOUR leadership will prove to be the difference in the future and for that WE are a nation that is grateful.

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

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Day 235: The Long & Winding Road . . .

Leese - FitchWe are constantly amazed at the wines available today that are priced well under $15 a bottle and absolutely catch us off guard.  After 234 days, we’re pretty sure that we’ve tried almost 200 new, different wines that wouldn’t have been given a second thought before this year.  Don’t get us wrong. . .not everything that we have sampled has been a home run.  Come to think of it, we’ve had a lot of singles, doubles and triples–a few home runs, but we’ve also had our fair share of strike outs, pop outs and failures to play!  What it tells us as wine consumers, there are so many labels, so many wineries, so many varietals, so many regions, so many appellations. . .so, if that’s the case, the try something different.  Yes, we know ALL about buying our favorites–we were in World Market in College Station, Texas a few weeks ago and they were ‘closing out’ one of our all time favorites (Thank You, Patrick at Grape Juice)…Tait’s Ball Buster.  An almost $20 bottle of wine for $9.47 a bottle?  Are you serious?  Yes, we managed to get our fair share.  BUT, we also found a huge number of wines that have found their way into this blog.  Why?  Because we are staying true to our goal of not only trying and writing about a different wine every night for a year, but we’re also very focused on finding wines that those of us without deep pockets can enjoy without breaking the bank.  Even as we get further into the year, the call for finding wines with a good flavor, good nose, good palate range and finish — in combination with a good price tag is getting more and more difficult.  Jean has commented that each time we go to a store to find the next set of wines to taste and write about, it’s a case of done it, done it, done it, done it…too expensive, done it…etc.  The challenge continued this evening…

Following a Leadership San Marcos event that saw Brian and nine other team members graduate through the program, we were faced with trying something new!  The story on the label is certainly impressive. . .(sorry, you’ll need to find it or buy it, we won’t tell you that story) but the wine in the bottle, that IS the question.  As we’ve grown to enjoy delicious Cabernet Sauvignons, when we come upon new, young wines, we get a little nervous.  But, we shouldn’t have worried, deep purple in color, the 2010 Leese – Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon blend jumps from the glass with aromas of juicy blackberries, ripe blueberries, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts. A lot of great Cab flavor in the mouth; currants, blackberries, dark cherry, milk chocolate, espresso, clove, vanilla and oak tastes.  The finish is truly lingering with a lot of dark fruit notes as well as some great structure and integrated French and American oak flavors.  Oh yeah, this one is going to catch you off guard. . .AND, with a price tag around $13 a bottle, you may want to keep some to drink now and save some to drink in a couple of years.  Even though it’s labeled as a Cab…the actual concentration is a blend…79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Alicante Bouchet, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Sirah, 1% Carignane and 1% Petite Sirah…talk about a wine-lover’s blend!  WOW!

Instead of taking ‘the road more often traveled’–trying wines that were well known or had pedigree; we’ve opted to take the ‘road less traveled’ or as our title suggests, ‘the long and winding road’ of new and different wines. . .these Leese – Fitch wines fit the bill to a tee and are priced right, taste right and ready for enjoying now!

Whether or not you try this wine is up to you, but just remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 225: A Little Help From a Friend . . .

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon bottle Shot5

Thanks to Scott for pinch hitting for us tonight!

So my friend and co-worker Jean and her husband Brian came up with this idea to try a wine a day for 365 days and blog about it. She has been bugging (Jean note here – gently asking, not bugging!) me for about 200+ days to guest blog….I guess one can get tired of a wine a day every day…nah, not Brian and Jean.

So while they were out in Waco tonight for ANOTHER Catholic school gala, I decided to surprise them and give them the night off!

Today was one of those days that you looked at on the calendar and thought, Whoa Nelly! It is a classic Saturday at my house! I have five children twelve and under. The weekend started with a 14 twelve-years-olds at our house for an Avengers party. It was great and I was so happy to see my oldest son cling to his childhood just a bit longer.

Saturday started off with first communion practice for my 9-year old. She is so excited about it next weekend. Then I took two of the kids with me to the ordination of 11 men to be Deacons. What an awesome moment in time to see these Holy men take their vow of obedience and pledge to serve this diocese. Our Bishop remarked on our Holy Father, Pope Francis and his words about service. “Let us never forget that authentic power is service,” he said. “Only those who serve with love are able to protect.”

My wife, Kathryn, met me in the parking lot and we exchanged kids. My second son, John Paul, changed into his baseball clothes in the car and we were off to this game. He went 2-2, 2 singles, scored twice, and 1 2/3 inning of middle relief. He was very happy. Meanwhile, Kathryn, headed off to our daughter’s soccer game that started about an hour later. They ended up in a tie 2-2. Mom said she played great…but she always says that!

We all ended up at home about 4:30 and we all looked at each other and said, “Wanna order pizza?” I ran off to grab the pizza and found this nice little 2011 Cabernet from McManis Family Vineyards at HEB for $9.99. It looked like the perfect compliment for a family pizza night.

Immediately upon opening and the first pour I was impressed the color. Can’t you just tell from the color if the wine is going to be good? It just looked rich and the color was dark maroon (then again, everything is maroon to this Aggie!) Did I mention the Aggies played in the Maroon and White spring football game today? Only 140 days until college football…..but I digress….

I immediately experienced smoke and pepper on the nose. I did sense a hint of berry but not as much as the wine maker said. It had a nice finish and lingered on the palate a good amount of time. All in all, it was a great pairing with pizza and for under $10 a bottle; I could definitely classify this as a deck wine according to the Bondy standards.

Thanks Jean and Brian for letting me crash your party for a few minutes. Y’all have a blessed week and visit for more details about this crazy life we lead.

Scott – we are very thankful for the help tonight – one more gala on the docket tomorrow night and our string of four are finished for at least a little bit!  If you get a chance, check out the site above that Scott mentioned – the Whitaker clan is a super neat family and we are blessed to know them!

Enjoy the remaining minutes of this Saturday night and as always – remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

Whitaker Pizza

What a great looking pizza at Scott’s house – sure looks better than the chicken we had tonight!


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Day 222: Now That’s a Match . . .

match book tempranilloTwo things come to mind as we write about Day 222. . .the first dates us a little (or a lot) depending on your age and whether or not you paid attention to such things.  There was a television show that started in the late 1960’s and ran through the mid-70’s called Room 222 and it starred, Karen Valentine and Michael Constantine, both of whom won Emmy’s in 1970 for their roles in the show.  The series focused on an American history class at the fictional Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, California, although it also depicted other events at the school. Located in Room 222, the class was taught by Pete Dixon (played by Lloyd Haynes), an idealistic African-American schoolteacher.  Pete Dixon delivered gentle lessons to his students in tolerance and understanding. Students admired his wisdom, insight and easygoing manner. The themes of the episodes were sometimes topical, reflecting the current political climate (the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s such as the Vietnam War, women’s rights, race relations and Watergate). However, most plots were timeless and featured themes still common to modern-day teenagers.  As youngsters during this time, we still remember Friday nights and Room 222 . . . so it’s appropriate to remember the show on Day 222 of our blog.

The second thing that comes to mind is a game show that had numerous reincarnations from the 60’s to the 70’s to the 80’s, the 90’s and beyond . . . yep, we’re talking about The Match Game.  As game show junkies – well, not really, but it sounds good – we’ve actually spent time watching the Game Show Network!  Yep, there was a time not that long ago when the whole family watched Chuck Woolery hosting Lingo!  Anyway, The pilot for the original version of The Match Game, created by Goodson-Todman staffer Frank Wayne, bore little resemblance to its more famous descendant.  Taped December 5, 1962 with Gene Rayburn as host, Peggy Cass and Peter Lind Hayes each headed a team of two non-celebrities who attempted to match answers to simple questions.  Part of what made it famous–and saved it from cancellation–was the addition of certain questions…in 1963, NBC cancelled the series with six weeks left to be recorded. Question writer Dick DeBartolo came up with a funnier set of questions, like “Mary likes to pour gravy all over John’s _____”, and submitted it to Mark Goodson. With the knowledge that the show couldn’t be cancelled again, Goodson gave the go-ahead for the more risque-sounding questions – a decision that caused a significant boost in ratings and an “un-cancellation” by NBC.

It’s a classic to this day and the re-runs are even better . . . but it’s the name that brings us to tonight’s blog wine.  We found this wine while hunting through a West Austin HEB.  Tonight’s wine is a 2009 Match Book Tempranillo from Crew Wine Company in Zamora, California.  This wine is amazing–another California wine find for less than $13 a bottle and worth a lot more than the price suggests.  An award winner, this wine has earned 91 points in the California State Fair and is a Best of Class and Gold Medal winner at other competitions.  We found this wine to be absolutely beautiful upon opening.  We love that deep, ruby look when we pour it into a glass and then we get the first glimpse of what’s to come by smelling the wine.  An amazing array of berries, earthiness, oak and vanilla tempt the nose and made us want to taste–this wine shows its California upbringing in the aromas of blueberries, spice and herbs of Provence. Rich flavors of red and black berries, cinnamon and clove are followed by toasted oak, vanilla and cocoa powder. Tannins hold it all together in this seamless, well-balanced wine. Serve with a beautiful crock pot roast with brown potatoes, carrots, onions and corn, it was the PERFECT wine.

So, whether it’s Room 222 or The Match Game, we’ve found something that crosses both generations . . . a wine called Match Book from the state of California. . .yet, another example of wine production in a state where new varietals are exceeding expectations.

We hope that you’ll give this one a try, but remember to enjoy it responsibly, and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 120 – Sometimes You Need to Chill. . .

First TimerNope . . . not us.  We are NOT first timers!  But, anytime we see a wine that catches our eye, chances are good that we’re going to pick it up and give it a shot.  Turns out, we’ve been down this path before, but we’ll try it one more time.

Do you remember the first time you tasted a really good glass of wine?  You know, the one that gave you the ‘aha’ moment?  Or, do you remember your first dance?  Was it in high school?  Or maybe — if you were ahead of the curve — middle school?  How about your first kiss?  Was it in the gym?  Or your parents’ sedan?  There are so many ‘first times’ in our lives that we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate them.  We’ve become a media-driven society and the drive seems to have cheapened the ‘first timer’ mentality.  We don’t think so . . . in fact, we love first timers . . .

When we started this blog, we were first timers – never blogged before, but now, we love it.  Since we’ve started this blog, we’ve helped sort grapes at a winery in California, we’ve helped make our house more of a home and we’ve tried to become better stewards of our time together with our family . . . okay, that’s not a first timer thing, but we think it’s really important.  It’s all good; we know that, even at our ‘advanced age’, there are still plenty more ‘first timers’ yet to be  had, and we’ll appreciate them as they’re given to use!

Tonight, from the same folks that brought us Chain Gang and Guard Shack, we have our 2011 First Timer blend . . . It was a really nice little bottle of wine–young, but it had a lot of pinot noir traits to it – light, fruity and a wine that gets better as it opens up.  There isn’t a lot of structure to the wine, but its’ muscle is in the taste and the finish.  Even though it’s  a young wine, it still has the chops to be a decent wine, and we both agree that, as it gets older in the bottle, it has potential to be better.  In fact, we laughed at the description about the wine, “This won’t be the last time you give in to this captivating blend of classical California varietals.  You’ll find that the deep, dark, intense flavors of blackberry, black cherry and cassis combine with zesty notes of pepper and sweet vanilla to imprison your senses and lock down a finish of lush pleasure.”  What makes it funny is that the other two wines we’ve tried and blogged about have virtually the same description.  So, we’ve learned that labels aren’t always what we think they are, and some wine makers love to put the same product in the same bottles with different labels.  While we can’t “comment”, we can only observe the similarities and wonder . . . D.C.Flynt M.W. Selections has a vast array of labels, varietals and blends from all over the world, and while they are different in name, we can’t help but wonder why they insist on producing lackluster product with the same themed-names.  They’re hardly first timers from our perspective . . . Thanks to HEB for carrying this great wine – and for selling it for under $11.

So, we remember the LAST dance at Homecoming . . .  you know, Stairway to Heaven – a Led Zeppelin classic – back in our day, it was the song to wrap up any dance!!  Yeah, first timers are fun to remember.  As we get close to wrapping up 2012 and are staring the new year smack in the face, we hope that you’ll have a year filled with ‘first timer’ moments – from first kisses to first steps and from first houses to first child and everything in between.  So, you see, even if the wine is less than a home run, the name gives us something to write about!

Enjoy your ‘first timer’ wine tonight – or your multiple-timer wine tonight, but please enjoy it responsibly–we want you reading well into next year–after all, 365 days is quite an endeavor and without you, it won’t be nearly as fun!  Also, when you recycle whenever possible, you help make our world just  a little bit better than it is today!

Until tomorrow. . . Cheers!

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Day 100: Savor Your Freedom . . .

Mother's Milk!

Well, here we are at day 100!  It doesn’t seem possible that WAY back on September 1st, we started this blog as a way to talk about 365 different wines.  We laughed and we joked that we could do it without thinking about what really lay ahead.  In the scope of the world, 365 days is a mere blip on the radar screen.  After taking in Steven Spielberg’s, Lincoln with Dad/Bill, today, we totally believe that our blog isn’t even a blip on the radar of history.  From now until the end of time, only those whom we’ve touched or have touched us will ever know that this blog ever happened, BUT Abraham Lincoln – wow, he answered to a much higher calling and after watching Spielberg’s mastery in story telling, we are convinced that history got it right for him.  Lincoln was the “people’s President” even though his contemporaries refused to see it that way, and because of an assassin’s bullet, history never knew what could have happened in Lincoln’s administration post-Civil War.  We, as wine lovers – hope that our current President will take two and a half hours out of his day to see this film to give himself a better perspective of the cliff that he’s looking off . . .

While we don’t want to nor choose to get into political discussions, if you haven’t seen Spielberg’s picture, you really owe it to yourself . . . Daniel Day-Lewis is a show-stopper as Lincoln and Sally Field – well, let’s just say that if Mrs. Lincoln had a twin, Sally Field was IT!  But perhaps the most dramatic, well-acted, and believable part belonged to Tommy Lee Jones.  His talents are beyond most of us.  He is an actor of the highest regard – even if he did room with Al Gore!!!!  We won’t give away the story; nor will we divulge the characters, but rest assured that if you care the LEAST about our country’s history, you’ll spend the time to see this most OUTSTANDING movie.

And, a movie that is as outstanding as Lincoln, deserves a wine that is equally outstanding.  While we searched high and low for a wine from the State of Illinois in his honor, we came up empty, so we did the next best thing.  We went to the land down under, Australia to find a Shiraz that paired with our history and passion!!  Okay, so “Mother’s Milk” doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of wine you’d bring home to enjoy with family, BUT this is an Australian Shiraz – those two words typically mean –  “Big Wine”!  Now, we are a bit biased after enjoying a number of nice wines from Australia – which is exactly why we bought this wine at Central Market in Austin(yo Andy – this one’s for you) this weekend.  You gotta love the name, right?  But, wait until you taste the wine . . . this is 93 points-type wine.  Yep – serious Shiraz with boldness and beauty on  it’s side.  The raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry on the nose and the front of the palate are gorgeous as are the spices and ‘woody spice’ on the finish.  It’s amazing how a wine can offer such supple tannins with incredibly robust fruit flavors.  This was a $20 bottle of wine before the Central Market discount which brought it down to $17.  We’ve decided that with the holidays coming up; we’re going to get over to Central Market before the end of the day this Tuesday, December 11th and get some more of this wine (good thing Jean works in Austin and about 5 miles from Central Market on N. Lamar).  WOW. . so much flavor packed into one bottle of wine.  It’s like our taste buds have been set free!

As students of American history, we have a deep appreciation for films that connect with our past.  Whether you’ve seen Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 or Lincoln, each of these films offer a glimpse of our past.  Part of growing our future – as we’ve been taught – is understanding our past and not repeating the mistakes of that past.  We certainly hope that our current leadership has a bigger vision than personal or political gain for the future of our country.  Lincoln had the “big picture” in mind when he fought for what he believed in – let’s hope and pray that our current leaders are able to do the same for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

So, tonight as you settle in with your favorite wine, please remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

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Day 81: Not So Much . . .

There is something about this time of year that makes us smile.  Whether it’s the thought of spending time with our daughters or visiting family – or stopping for a bite to eat and a night cap at a local business – the atmosphere spells “HOLIDAYS”.  Thanksgiving has always been the ‘traditional’ beginning of the Christmas season.  There was a time (we know, we’re dating ourselves) when you didn’t get to see ANY holiday decorations until the day AFTER Thanksgiving.  It was a ritual, and an unwritten  law, ‘thou shalt not promote thy Christmas until thouest hath finished Thanksgiving.’  A little over the top?  Perhaps, but true.  Ask anyone born in the 70’s or before and they’ll tell you that rarely  –  if ever  –  did a store ‘reveal’ it’s Christmas displays – let alone their after Thanksgiving specials–a week, a month, a half year before the actual shopping day . . . AFTER Thanksgiving.

Something happened in the early 1980’s – we were newly married and remember walking into one of those “supercenters” and being amazed and astonished by the sheer volume of Christmas decorations and “deals” for the holiday shopper.  It has only gotten worse since then.  We know that’s a matter of opinion, but from where we sit, it’s become LESS about the HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS and more about getting stuff.  Don’t get us wrong – we LIKE stuff, especially if it’s red and comes in a wine bottle . . . BUT, and we’re kind of on the same path from earlier this week, if all we are doing is opening early to make the sales that we would have made the next day at a much more reasonable hour – then what gives?  Is this what the Holidays have degraded to?  Not so much.

Thinking back to the days of no shopping malls – no outlet centers – no regional strip centers – just good old fashioned Main Street businesses that supported their community; worked hard for their customers and gave back to their community.  Today . . . not so much.  Just like the retail business, it’s more of a ‘what do I get out of it ‘ mentality – as opposed to what can WE do to make the place better.  Times sure do change – for the better?  Mmmm–not so much.

Tonight we sampled a 2009 Forefront from Pineridge Vineyards.  Now, what’s cool about Pineridge Vineyards is that they are not set in the status quo . . . in fact bringing reduced vine spacing from Burgundy to the Napa Valley and introducing Dijon clones to Carneros established a new level of winemaking excellence in the States. The experimentation with clones, rootstocks and winemaking techniques, which continues today, allowed for constant learning and improvement. From vineyard to bottle, the winery has continually embraced innovation in the pursuit of ever higher quality.  They challenge the status quo with ForeFront. Their adventurous spirit joins decades of knowledge and expertise to produce an array of intriguing, high quality wines. Wines that are modern and distinctive. The nose of this wine – very nice; fruity but not too much with lots of oak . . . you can’t be misled when you get a snoot full of oak and black cherry!!

The taste; however, turned dark and ominous – could it be?  Two nights in a row with a thumbs down?   The taste was missing something – fruit, oak, smoke, cedar, tobacco . . . anything please, but NO, the taste and finish of this wine was a big “THUMBS DOWN” –  which is really a bummer because the fruit for this wine was sourced from two different and distinctive appellations. The lush taste and bright characters of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Lake County elegantly balance the dark berry fruit and deep complexity of the Napa Valley Cabernet and other Bordeaux varietals.   BUT, it just doesn’t deliver.  Too bad . . . we were really thinking that this could be a magnificent wine.  This wine we got at HEB for $13 and don’t think we will purchase again.

Alas, just like the early shopping times this wine falls short on our list and it’s ‘Not So Much’ when it comes to a recommendation . . . so as you get ready to enjoy your Thanksgiving with your favorite wine, please remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.