casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 338: God Winks . . .

Rockus DockusWhat a whirlwind . . . as we’ve mentioned before, we own a house in Kerrpatch (aka Kerrville) – we’ve had this house for almost 10 years and haven’t lived in it for the last two.  We were very fortunate with our initial “renters” – they took care of our house as if it were their own . . . sadly they had in-laws move to town and needed a bigger place.  Incoming family #2 – well, suffice it to say “not so nice” to our house.  We’ve uncovered a few things that even a week later are still shaking our heads at.  So, decision time – #2 decided to return to the Panhandle, so this was a good thing.  But . . . do we sell or do we lease?????  We hooked up with an old and trusted friend to handle our “listing”.  After a busy, laborious week of painting, cleaning and prepping – – back on the market we went.  Truth be told, we would love, love, love to sell – like most of us, cash flow is equally important and the thought of making two house payments didn’t excite us – so, we knew leasing might be an option.

House went “live” on August 1st – with some minor technical difficulties with the listing – but, BAM . . . August 2nd . . . we had an inquiry – August 3rd . . . we had a lease and an opportunity to have a positive impact on a family that kinda sorta needed a break.  August 4th (aka, today) . . . we have turned our home over to a really great family who we know will take great care of our place.  Funny, how God works . . . He just knows what we need to do – it works best when we just get the heck out-of-the-way and let Him run the show.  We feel so very strongly that things have worked out the way they were supposed to all along.  No doubt, we have what we need . . . someone occupying our house and generating cash flow – and no doubt, they have what they need . . . a place to call home in a short period of time!  Wow – we call these occurances “God Winks” . . .  again, things just fall into the place they are destined to.  We are secure in knowing this is good – no doubt, selling the house would be best in our minds, but God had a different plan and to be blunt . . . it’s perfect.

After another long drive, hard day of “prepping” and a long drive home . . . we are just plain wiped out – who knew a hot shower could feel so great?  Upon arriving home around 7 p.m., we fed the “gang of four” and decided we too needed some substance.  So, Brian fired up the grill and tossed on some Portobello mushrooms that we picked up at HEB yesterday, added in some fresh corn on the cob and opened a super great bottle of wine.

Tonight we opened a wine that we picked up at our Friday Night Fun Night with Margaret, Lance, Greg and Laura at East End Wines in Austin.  Called Rockus Bockus, the wine was a blend of Cab Sauv, Zinfandel, Syrah, Malbec,  Merlot and Petit Verdot from Sonoma.  WOW, WOW. WOW – great lineage and equally great neighborhood to grow up in – we really liked this one.  On the nose . . . hello Mr. Fruit Bomb – dark fruit, but fruit nonetheless.  Through the Looking Glass – deep red and ready for some action.  On the palate – Whoop, there is the fruit we know and love . . . we are talking bold and juicy Blackberries with a dash of spice and perhaps a sprinkle of chocolate (will say that it paired nicely not only with dinner, but the Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups tucked away in the kitchen cabinet).  The finish was super – just enough of the spice carryover to make it interesting, but super all the same.

The winemaker used to be part of the GunBun group of wines, but understand he’s now off on his own.  We are very partial to GunBun due to dear friend John K.  John introduced us years ago and although he isn’t with us here on earth, he lives on in our hearts daily.  He is truly our original wine mentor – Love Ya, John!

So, here we are wrapping up a busy weekend and are gearing ourselves up for a new week fun of promise!  We hope you have a great night and remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 334: A Mixed Bag . . .

Rock WallWe are a bit tardy tonight (or should we say, this morning) – it was just a wild and wooly day around these parts.  Most importantly, young Master Luke, whom we blogged about the other night, had his skull surgery and to quote his parents . . . “So many things today went “better than expected” (quoting Luke’s awesome surgeon). It has completely changed his outcome. We have learned so much in four years. Praise God for modern medicine and you for some serious love and prayers.”  Thank to each of you for your support of him.

Our day was spent venturing cross-country to Kerrville to spend the day working on our house there.  Gotta tell ya, it is truly amazing to us what little regard some people have to something that really doesn’t belong to them.  As Brian exclaimed at least half a dozen times today as we went through the house, “Really? Why would they do that?”  Even though we were there over the weekend, we really didn’t roam too much since they were still technically living there and in the process of moving out – knew we’d have the chance like we did today.  Probably THE most surprising this was in regards to the dishwasher.  Why does one feel the need to cut the buttons off the control panel of the dishwasher – with an exacto blade?  And, why does one feel the need to peel the other buttons of the dishwasher so they, too, can eventually be cut off?  Why would someone buy drip pans for a two-year old cooktop?  Why would the same two-year old cooktop have MELTED temperature knobs?  Why would you break up a coffee table and leave it in the outdoor fire pit? Why would you use Mop N Glo on laminate…and tile?  Why would you use a filthy rag to clean your windows . . . the list goes on.  These and other life’s questions are difficult to answer . . . causing us to simply shake our heads and move on.

Tonight, being a late night – yes, that drive back through SA seemed extra long this evening, we sipped a new wine when we arrived back in SM.  It’s a 2011 Zinfandel from Rock Wall Winery in Alameda, California.  How appropriate that after a day of spreading mulch, painting tile grout and door frames (hopefully no body at work will notice the paint flecks under our nails that won’t wash off) cleaning floors, wiping down windows and picking up trash. . .we too have hit a rock wall.  This wine is nothing to get excited about.  A fairly blah nose gave way to some fruity taste on the palate, but the finish was too quick — especially on a night when a long, luxurious finish would have soothed us!  The color and texture of the wine is excellent–a deep dark purple and the swirl in the glass was impressive.  There were some hints of chocolate, some slight notes of cedar and other than that, we’d hardly known that we’d opened a bottle of wine.  To be fair, because we had hit our rock wall of work on the house, the 2011 Rock Wall Zinfandel may be better than we’re giving credit.  Pick up a bottle and you decide!

It kinda stinks when something that you own has been disrespected.  It really stinks when something you own has been broken or altered and instead of being told, “hey, we kind of had a problem here and so this happened.”  No, we have to find out about it by ourselves.  It just goes to show that there are all kinds of people in this world.  We are FAR from perfect but have a respect for other’s belongings.  Too bad some other folks don’t.

Have a good day today and enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 333 – They Say It’s Your Birthday…

no curfew

NOTE TO READERS–Today’s blog could be a little longer than usual…Reader Discretion is Advised! 😉

Birthdays are kind of funny.  When we’re kids, we can’t wait to have them.  It’s a badge of honor to be 5 and a HALF because we know that before too long we’ll turn 6!  We know that when you go from 12 to 13 you enter the ‘Twilight Zone’ called the teenage years!  We also know that as you get older, there is a certain mystic quality with each new level in life that has been ascertained. 

For example, we both have the SAME birthday. . .today as a matter of fact. . .and those of you who know us and read us–for the most part already know this–but for those who’ve been following this year. . .welcome to something cool and amazing. . .Jean and Brian have the same birthday.  Yep, same day, same year–heck, they were even baptized on the same day!  But, part of what has made this day so awesome over the past 30+ years has been sharing this day with others in our lives.  It all started back in 1989–the dreaded 30th Birthday!  The thoughts of being out of our 20’s and into our 30’s was daunting enough, but we decided to meet it head on!  Yep.  It was PARTY TIME!  So, we created Bondy Bash–an annual display of overindulgence on food, beverage and good times.  The first year was held at our rent house in St. Peters, Missouri.  The house had an above ground swimming pool; a basement and a fenced yard. . .other than that, well, it was a creaky, ugly house!  By the time we sent out invitations and heard back from friends, almost 60 people had told us they were planning on joining us!  We fired up the grill; iced down the keg; sliced up the watermelon and were ready for a king-sized birthday bash.  And it went really well until the weather moved in and forced us into the basement.  Fortunately we had the keg with us and all was right with the world.  Funny how that one event led to the next year and the next year and so on and so on!  The birthday bashes continued after the birth of daughter #1. . .thank goodness for friends!  The birthday bashes continued after the birth of daughter #2. . .that year, the rains had been so bad, the mosquitoes looked like 747s and the jello shots were plentiful!  After a move to a new neighborhood, the bashes continued until 1999. . .the BIG 4-0! 

This was going to be the last in a long history of bashes, and with family, neighbors and friends we celebrated long into the night.  It was an amazing way to celebrate-not only a birthday-but life in general.  By the next year, we were looking at moving back to Texas and the bashes came to an end.  Our kids had ‘grown up’ on these fun, amazing parties and for us, we’d grown to love and appreciate a bunch of terrific people who were part of our lives!  In the  ensuing time period from 1999 to 2009, a lot happened in our world.  Jobs took us from St. Charles, Missouri to Aransas Pass, Texas to Kerrville, Texas and when it was time to celebrate our 50th. . .well, we knew that there was only one way to do it RIGHT!  Yep, we brought back Bondy Bash. . .and introduced it to a whole new group of people who’d never known what it was like to party until 2 am. . .grill some bratwurst and burgers. . .sip on some really cold beer and hear the rants and raves from family and friends.  In short, the party was something that our friends still talk about to this day! 

Birthdays. . .they help us to stop and realize how much we really have in our lives.  For the both of us, we are BLESSED beyond belief and don’t think for a moment that we don’t appreciate it.  So, we needed a wine tonight that was out of the ordinary.  A wine that spoke of the independence that having milestone birthdays offers.  A wine that says, “I’m not beholden to anyone anymore!”  Tonight we opened a 2010 No Curfew Red Table Wine from California.  UH-YEAH, Curfew.  Before the 18th birthday, curfews were in effect in both of our houses.  To quote Mr. T, “I pity the fool. . .who misses curfew, BUT I’d like to party with those with NO CURFEW!”  Okay, he didn’t really say that, but it sounded good!  So, this wine is red. . .duh. . .and it’s got a lot of cranberry on the  nose and on the palate.  And, if you’re into cranberry, then you’re going to want this wine.  If not, you may want to try Ocean Spray instead!  There are hints of tobacco and leather. . .and as the wine opened up, we tasted a lot of black raspberries and currants.  According to their notes, “This wine opens with aromas of violets, blackberries and hints of spice, leading to gorgeously fruited layers of blackberry, cherry and blueberry with a dash of mocha. The lush initial mouth-feel leads nicely into a mid-palate with excellent structure and balanced acidity. Dark berries dominate the finish, which is clean and long.”  Hmmm, well, so much for our view versus the tasting notes! 

We weren’t overly excited about this wine.  A cute name with LOADS of potential that fails to deliver in the end.  BUT, a great wine to break out and enjoy for a special day like today.  Yep, we’ve gone a lot longer than expected on this blog, but we are excited to share with you our birthday and our love of wine–good, bad and ugly–and, once again as our good friend tells us each time we’re together. . .”Life Is Too Short To Enjoy Bad Wine!”  Well, enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible!

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Day 332: Prayers for Luke . . .

Cigar ZinAs we go about our busy lives, we often times don’t stop and take enough time to appreciate what we have . . . each other, our daughters, our faith, our extended family, good friends and our health.  To be honest , most of these things we just take for granted and never give a second thought.  Tonight we want to stop and pause for a moment or two (or 400 words or less if you are a blogger!) and just count our lucky stars.

During our almost 54 years we have come across all kinds of people – some whom we relish and some we just tolerate because it’s the right thing to do.  But, we have to admit there is a young fella named Luke – who while we know a bit . . . mostly through his parents . . . we think is a shining example for all of us.  Luke was born premature and from what we know has faced more obstacles in his short 3+ years than most of us will face in a lifetime.  His medical issues have ranged from grandiose to not so grandiose – but challenges nonetheless.  Every, and we mean EVERY time we’ve come in contact with him, we have been gifted a shy smile and an eye twinkle that melts our hearts.  This young man is just contagious – not a water-walker mind you, but contagious in his joy of life . . . while most likely way too young to totally comprehend what he has faced – he lives life to the fullest.  With four older siblings to lead and guide him, this remarkable person named Luke has taken life by storm.

Tonight we dedicate this post to Luke as he prepares to undergo some very tough surgery on Wednesday.  Part of his health challenges include the need to do some major surgery on his skull . . . so, we ask that each of you take a moment or two on Wednesday morning and say a prayer for Luke to come through with flying colors.  Pray for his parents to be at peace during the surgery and place complete trust in the capable hands of the surgeons whom our Heavenly Father has placed on this earth to perform such medical procedures.  Pray for his brothers and sisters as they anxiously await word on their brother whom they love, dote on and care deeply about – finally, pray for all those who will provide before, during and aftercare for Luke – he will need their attention and skill.

Tonight, after a busy day for Jean helping D#1 move into her classroom and then search for a place to live in Austin and a busy day for Brian videotaping “San Marcos Shining Stars” for his upcoming Chamber business expo, we opened a little wine we found during our “work weekend” in Kerrville for less than $12.  We opened a 2011 Cigar Zin . . . their motto is “grab life by the bottle” – interesting theme . . . and interesting flavor.

In the glass – its’ color was medium body, a little thin on the ruby-red side but a pretty sight to behold.  On the nose, this little gem was classic Zin – peppery, spicy and lots of dark fruit.  On the palate, really . . . really fruity with less spice than on the nose, but a fruit bomb nonetheless.  It’s a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 5% Syrah . . . WOW, what a combination!  This wine was also hand harvested at peak season to ensure quality and flavor, the fruit for Cigar Zin was sorted then fermented for 7 days then prepared the wine in French (50%) and American (50%) oak barrels for 11 months. No wonder its soooo good!  We will add this one to the Bondy Deck Wine list and am thinking it could make the Top Ten list (well, maybe the Top 20).

Thank you for being out there – thank you for reading our blog – and most importantly tonight, thank you for praying with us for Luke.  Have a great night and remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 331: Change Can Be Tough . . .

Brancott Estate

So, by now anyone who reads our ramblings on a regular basis has figured out that we are just slightly a bubble off-center.  Our sense of humor is somewhere between The Beverly Hillbillies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus – oh well, we just like to have a good time regardless of the situation.  After spending the night in Kerrpatch with P & L and having a hearty breakfast on the deck at Taqueria Jalisco (another one of the places we love to dine at when in town) – we popped over to Casa del Vino’s remote location . . . aka “the West Crest House”.  We knew we had a couple of chores to do before our renter was back to finish packing up and vacating the house.

So in we jumped . . . bet you didn’t know that two bedrooms of fairly decent size could be painted in less than an hour and a half – well four hands working together can do just about anything – bamn . . . check that task off “the list”.  Next up – put a final coat of fresh paint on the front door . . . this was painful for Jean – ya see, in EVERY house we’ve ever owned the front door has ALWAYS been painted red – why, because growing up EVERY house Jean lived in (with the exception of the Whittier house) had a red front door compliments of Margaret (aka Mom) . . . it was just a tradition being carried forward – well, the realtor said the red had to go . . . fighting mental tears, Jean painted red to brown (boring . . . but, if it sells the house – acceptable).

Ok, that sad task being done – next up was changing out the mailbox that we had come to know and love . . . yep, another story – ya see, when we purchased the house back in 2003 we thought it was too funny that the mailbox said “MacDonald” – obviously the woman who had lived there since the 80’s was named MacDonald . . . well, most people – which we are not (reference sentence two of this blog) – would have immediately changed out the mailbox . . . well, what more can we say – we didn’t because we thought it would be fun.  And we must tell you that over the years, it was VERY fun to watch people coming to see us pull up in front of the house – look at the address – look at the mailbox – shake their head in confusion – and finally call us from their cell phone to confirm they were at the right house . . . which they were and chuckled when they looked up and saw us waving from the front windows.  But alas (a shout out to poor Yorick) – well, the realtor said the mailbox had to go . . . fighting mental tears, Brian changed out the mailbox (boring . . . but, if it sells the house – acceptable).

So, now our house has a brown door and a nice shiny black metal mailbox – just like everyone else on the block – – – oh well, at least we have our memories to keep us young – and our sense of humor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – it can’t be painted or replaced!

After our chores were finished we popped back to our “B&B” and were greeted by P&L with tall glasses of ice water to rehydrate – not sure about where you are, but it was VERY hot here today – we worked up quite a sweat and had two glasses of H20 before L pulled some homemade epanadas out of the oven and we cracked open a bottle of wine that was picked up at Western Beverage in Ktown for less than $8.00 – yes, we were a bit concerned a) it was so cheap and b) it was a white . . . BUT, we must admit it was not so bad.  Our tasty treat was a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Brancott Estate in Auckland, New Zealand.

On the nose, it was crisp and citrus all the way – kind of like having a grapefruit at the end of your sniffer.  At first sip we recoiled from the tartness – almost overpowering – but, as it warmed up, the zing eased up and some really nice flavors came shining through.  Would definitely buy again and have with some salmon, creamy cheese or some asparagus.  And the price can’t be beat . . . a bargain – will need to swing by and get some more of this puppy.  One other really cool thing about this wine is that it has a QR code on it – you scan, download an app and what fun . . . you get to go to some really neat virtual landing pages with information about the wine, food pairing, the winery, climate (you can make it rain on your phone) and facts about the region.  It made for a great time before we climbed into the car and headed back to San Marcos.

As you look around your house – what special touches have you added?  A crazy rug, a loud room color, some funky decorations (we have a lava lamp tucked away somewhere) – whatever it is . . . make your abode speak volumes about who you are!  As you decorate, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

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Day 330 – Crimes Of The Past

19 Crimes

No doubt…we are big fans of Australian wines.  Now, granted, some are WAY better than others, but as a general rule, we’ve come to appreciate big, bold Australian wines.  When we started our red wine sojourn several years ago, we remember trying a wine from Australia made by . . . and thought we had died and gone to heaven.  We could only buy it at Specs and would go out of our way to buy it…and at less than $9 a bottle, we thought that we were living life large!  Uh, that is until we tried a different wine from Australia that was better.  WAY better!

Tonight we also give a SO to Scott and Kathryn – congrats on 17 years of bliss . . . you two are a great example for all of us!  Here’s to 17 plus more !!!!

Fast forward a few years and we meet Patrick Wilt from Grape Juice and he introduces us to a big Australian wine called, Ball Buster.  If you’ve been following this blog for any time, you’ll know that we’ve talked about Ball Buster and to this day, it remains one of our favorite wines. . .hands down!  The memory of the previous Australian wine was gone the minute we tried this wine.  It had so much taste and smoothness, that the other wine didn’t. . .we KNEW that we’d “graduated” to the next level of wine enjoyment.

Push to button to go forward to today and we’ve once again found an Australian wine that knocked out socks off.  The name alone was enough to stop Jean in her tracks. . .along with a VERY cool bottle. . .19 Crimes from Australia.  If you read the label, the story details how criminals in Britain—back in the late 1700’s—instead of being sentenced to death, were sentenced to transportation.  Yes, transportation. . .as in transported from Britain to the colony of Australia. . .along the way, many criminals died, but those who survived became the founding families for that land.  It’s a great story and the wine that is named after it is equally up to the task.

This bottle of 19 Crimes features the picture of John Boyle O’Reilly. . .an Irish poet who was arrested, tried and convicted of mutiny and was sentenced to 20 years in the Australian penal colony.  Even though Mr. O’Reilly has a relationship with the daughter of a constable, his escape was arranged through cooperation with a Priest on the island.  The wine, on the other hand, is hardly criminal. . .in fact, it’s almost like royalty.  The nose wasn’t overly attractive, but gave hints of raspberry, cocoa, and even hints of strawberry.  The taste was smooth, fruity and had a nice kick on the finish.  While we’re pretty sure that other reviews would give totally different information than what we’re writing. . .we really liked this wine. And for the money, we’ll definitely try to get more.  We picked it up at Western Beverage in Kerrville for around $12, , ,not bad for the money  . . . a new addition to the Bondy Deck Wine list.

Speaking of Kerrville, we spent the day getting the house ready for the market.  So, if you know someone looking to buy a great property in Kerrville, let us know, we’ve got a great place—2,200 square feet—and we’d love to show it to you.  From a fresh coat of paint to weeding the planter beds, we spent a busy summer day. . .and really enjoyed and were rewarded by tonight’s blog wine. . .19 Crimes.

You’ll be pardoned for enjoying it!  For the record, enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.

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Day 319: The Well Runs Dry . . .

pascual toso malbecWhat a day. . .a ‘quick’ trip to Kerrville to have an appliance repaired turned into an all day–wait and see–and thus absolutely killed what promised to be a busy Tuesday.  You know those days. . .they start full of promise and high energy.  You’re focused on what needs to be done.  You’re “relatively” excited about getting them done, and you know that the sooner you get them DONE, the sooner you get to go home.  Today was that day. . .Brian and D#1 were going to meet a repair technician with a window of 8 am to Noon.  Since very rarely does a repair person actually arrive at 8, we knew that there was some time to kill before getting to the house.  A very good use of time was stopping at Rita’s for some awesome breakfast tacos.  Yep, nothing better than starting your day with a couple of bacon-egg-potato and beans breakfast tacos washed down by a cup of coffee!

Getting to the house a little after 9:45, we knew that the window of waiting was only going to be a few hours more–of course,there’s always a chance that the repair person came before, but highly unlikely!  When 10:00 gave way to 10:30, we suspected that something was up. . .a quick call to the customer service hotline confirmed that they were running behind schedule. . .new time was 1:00 pm.  So, it gave us the opportunity to run some errands and make lunch arrangements.  Daughter #1 with a friend from high school and Brian with good friend and former co-worker, Guy.  It’s always a good meal at Mike’s Mencius Chinese Restaurant, where the conversation was dominated by the upcoming NFL season and the approaching fantasy football draft.  We were joined by Guy’s son, Connor who has become a fine young man–graduating from college and getting ready to move forward with his life.

After a delicious lunch compliments of Guy (always love it when ‘debts’ are paid off!) and back to the house by 12:45. . .we figured that gave us plenty of time before the repair tech would be arriving.  1:00 came and went and so did 1:30…now the day was bordering on being lost.  A 3:00 appointment had to be rescheduled because even with perfect conditions, we weren’t going to be back in San Marcos in time.  2:00 came and went and finally at 2:30 the knock on the door.  They immediately went to work; they knew what needed to be done and had all of the tools to get the job done, BUT, this unit is not the easiest unit to repair so it took longer than anticipated to pull it out of the wall, make the necessary repairs, test the unit to make sure it worked before putting it back in the wall.  It’s now 3:30 and the afternoon has just about disappeared.  We jump in the car–make a quick stop to see L–and we’re on the road again.  About this time the rains and winds hit the interstate and when you’re driving a Jeep, wind is the LAST thing you want!  We finally drove into the driveway at 5:30–but for the repairs on the appliance, the day was kind of like a well running dry…

And tonight, we wrap up Malbec Week with our final Malbec (of the week – chances are another will sneak into the basket before August 31st and we put a bow around this puppy!)  Now, we’ve had this one several times before over the past couple of years and it has a really great track record of flavor, full-body and quality for the price.  Previous vintages that we’ve enjoyed include the 2009, 2010 and 2011, and tonight we sampled the 2012 Pascual Toso Malbec from Mendoza Argentina.  Priced below $10 a bottle, you might be fooled into passing it by on the grocery shelves. . .those who only prefer high-priced wines from wine or liquor stores might want to stop–look around to make sure no one is looking–and drop a couple of bottles into your cart!  The Reserve is amazing but this wine is still one of the highest rated malbecs under $20.  Pascual Toso is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina and has a long history of making excellent wine. For the Malbec, the winery combined its efforts with legendary winemaker Paul Hobbs whose wines usually retail in the 100s.  The nose of this wine greets you with notes of plums and a hint of oak. The wine is fruit forward with a finish that brings blackberry, licorice and vanilla towards a sweeter, soft finish. Words like smooth and elegant spring to mind as you contemplate having another glass. It does go down easy so you might as well pick up a bottle or two.  But, at the end of today. . .there are no more malbecs for the reviewing. . .at least not for Malbec Week!

While we accomplished one goal, many were left untouched which brings us to the end of another day.  Ultimately, we’ll either get the others done tomorrow or not, but it’s a reminder that we don’t always get everything we want–or need.  We hope that as your Tuesday night fades to black, you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.