casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 215 – Bookmark This One

BookmarkHard to imagine living in an area where it rarely rains.  After watching weather reports all winter of these monster (named) storms (Thank You Weather Channel),  we wondered if our part of the world was ever going to see any measurable precipitation.  Those who live in the west, midwest and certainly, northeast have been inundated (pardon the pun) with wet winter weather this year.  Moisture in the winter time is the baseline for a spring growing season. . .more rain=a longer spring growing season.  Less rain= a shorter spring growing season or in some cases, no growing season.  As is the case here in San Marcos, the drought of 2011 had a profound affect on trees in this area.  Numerous long-time growing live oak trees have died as  a direct result of the drought.  2012 brought rain in the early part of the year followed by hot, dry temps in the summer. . .and virtually no rain in the fall.  This winter has been drier and warmer than expected. . .similar to 2011.  The impact?  Again, more trees–stressed to the max–are showing signs of succumbing to Mother Nature’s wrath.  And all the while, other parts of the country are buried in snowfall, have rain storm after rain storm to deal with and are greener than green heading into spring.  Amazing

One of the wine regions of the country we have yet to visit it Washington State.  And, before we started this blog, you could count the number of times we had Washington wines on our hands.  Not so much!  Since we started; however, we have tasted some amazing wines from that state and are really starting to enjoy trying new, tasty varietals.  It also means that at some point, we’ve got to have a road trip to the Great Northwest!  Until then, we’ll keep trying something different and, at least until August 31st, we’ll keep writing about them!  And tonight’s wine is a wine that you will want to bookmark!!  Oh, wait, that’s the name of it, tonight’s wine is the non-vintage Bookmark Red from J. Bookwalter Wines in Columbia Valley.  This wine–available at H-E-B–is less than $12 a bottle and it’s worth every penny!  The color, the nose, the taste, the finish–all of these are amazing for a wine in this price point.  But beyond the technical aspects of the wine, it’s just plain nice to drink.  We can see this as an everyday wine–you can serve it with big dishes or cheese and crackers, you can break it out for a party or keep it for a special evening.  This is a versatile wine that–along with others–is why we’re doing this blog…to talk about wines that aren’t on most folks’ radar.  Bookmark Red absolutely needs to be on your radar. . .hey, the price alone is a trigger for many wine lovers, but the taste–oh the taste, wow, what a cool wine!

The wine has toasty notes followed by espresso, chocolate, red fruit, dark fruit, and cracked pepper. The nose are attention getting indicating an oak program obviously intended for a much more expensive price point. And, as we mentioned before, the palate is soft and silky, lush, rich and fruit filled with ripe dark fruit and abundant chocolate flavors and a sweet, lingering finish. It’s a GREAT combination of grapes. . .33% Syrah, 31% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% mixture of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Roussanne.  Seriously, have you ever tried a blend like this for a price like this?  We didn’t think so. . .find out where it is in your local area and try Bookmark Red.  It’s a wine worth noting. . .a wine worth bookmarking!

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


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Day 149 – A Foreshadowing of Things to Come . . .

foreshadow cabCan you believe that we are entering the final week of January?  We just turned the calendar on the new year yesterday, and now we’re coming to the end of the first month of the year.  While one month hardly makes a year, there have been some interesting things taking place during the beginnings of the year.  A deep freeze in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast has yielded some record-setting snowfall amounts and frigid temperatures that haven’t been seen in this country for a number of years.  Another phenomenon that has taken hold—we still laugh about it—our ‘friends’ at the Weather Channel have determined that we need to give ‘names’ to winter storms.  Yes. . .and they have such mythological names on top of that!

Dating ourselves once again. . .we remember when hurricanes only had the names of ladies.  In fact, a LONG time ago there was a joke that went something like–“Do you know why they only name hurricanes after ladies?”  Because no one knows what a ‘himmicane’ is!!!!  Get it?  Her-icane?  Him-icane.  Never mind.  We digress–again.  Seriously, have we gotten to the point in marketing that we have to name a winter storm?  Like it has its’ own personality?  Hurricane Sandy–or was it Super Storm Sandy–was kind of the poster child for naming storms beyond the normal ‘season’, so we’re guessing the folks at the WC needed yet another reason–besides Storm Stories–to get and keep your attention.

And with our Congress now in full session and The Pres starting his second term; one wonders what kinds of new and exciting things are on the horizon for honest, hardworking citizens.  We won’t go back to a previous blog, but we have enough reason to think it’s not going to be good for those of us who WORK for a living.  Stay tuned—we’d love to be proven wrong.  It is also amazing to see two completely different teams vying for the NFL Championship.  Whether you’re a Ray Lewis-diehard Ravens fan (Like Father Leo from this past weekend) or a Colin Kapernick-new era 49ers fan. . .next week’s BIG GAME promises to entertain and provide a great reason to smoke some ribs and grill some wings along with family from Seattle!

Going back out to Washington, we came across this beautiful 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon called, Foreshadow from J. Bookwalter Winery of Richland, Washington.  A product of the Columbia Valley A.V.A., it’s 96% Cab and 4% Syrah–while it doesn’t officially qualify as a blend, the addition of the Syrah adds a certain richness to the wine together with a smooth taste.  Truthfully, we stumbled upon this one at Gabriel’s in San Marcos this past Saturday, and since we were looking for something different–it was one of our selections.  After a little research, we realized that we  had a full-bred winner on our hands.  Wine Spectator has given this wine 93 points–“the wine displays a medley of dark fruits led by plums, blackberries, blueberries and figs. Secondary and tertiary notes are more subtle and offer hints of truffles, violets, baking spices and sandalwood followed by a warm cola bath. The wine enters the palate sweet and round and finishes with polished, fine grained tannins. The lush, long finish is complimented by the natural sweetness and acidity of the wine.”  Wow!  We figured that we were buying a pretty good blog wine, but had no idea it had garnered any significant amount of press.  As good as this wine was upon opening, we actually pumped it up and saved it for today, and were rewarded with intense fruit flavors, a beautiful nose of coffee and chocolate–and such a smooth, long finish that it was downright disappointing to see the bottle empty.  While not in our ordinary price point, we got this for a little more than $25 a bottle, we can tell you that it retails at the winery for $45 a bottle.  The reviews on this wine are consistent and continuous–great wine, better than higher priced cabs, another winner from Washington.  Somehow, we figured that we were going to find this wine because of our last Washington tasting. . .it’s like—Foreshadowing!

As the last week of January unfolds, there is much going on in our world.  We imagine that there is much going in your world as well, and that is EXACTLY why it’s good to have options when it comes to wine tasting. 

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