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Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 351 – Saving One for The Girls

3 GirlsSo much coming and going.  Up early in the morning; many times, home late.  New people and other things in the house.  When you’re a dog, we think that life is built around routine.  For our girls, the routine is up around 6 every morning to take care of business. . .followed by breakfast. . .followed by taking care of business. . .followed by their infamous, early morning nap!  By any human account, it’s a schedule made in heaven.  Food, sleep and relief and it’s all repeated in the evening.

Over the past three months, the routine has been somewhat skewed.  As D#1 has settled in with her dog, the routine became–well, less routine, and more like a circus.  Consider that for the past 90 days, we have gotten up at our usual time to try and be as ‘routine’ as possible; however, her dog has begun to adopt our dogs’ routine hours.  So, guess who gets up at the same time?  Yeah. . .the only problem with this is that the puppy wants to play and our brood wants to go back to sleep.  In the evening, the energy level of the puppy was so great that Jean figured out that they could have a certain amount of play time together followed by alone time.  Once this plan was hatched and started, routine started becoming a reality in our house–again!

Now, that D#1 and the puppy have moved to their own digs, we’re left with the 3 girls.  They know something is different and are pretty sure it has to do with that DOG that had been here, but they’re not quite sure.  We know that it will take a few days for them to ‘let their guard down’, but until then we’ll be watching to see if they start to get back into their routine–come to think of it, we’ll probably be up around 6 tomorrow, so we guess that all is right in the dog world!

To mark the moment of returning to the three dogs, we found at World Market a 2011 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvigon from Lodi, California.  It’s from a familiar place in our wine blogs, Oak Ridge Winery.  This wine isn’t going to set the world on fire.  It’s your basic cab–medium body, dark ruby color; earthy, tart cassis, tart plum nose; tart currant, earthy palate; medium-plus finish 87+ points—in case you missed it, it’s tart–but good.  It actually rates higher than we would have thought because it’s so young.  And a mass-produced wine like this typically isn’t one that you’ll cellar for 10-15 years, so buy it and try it. . .available exclusively at World Market, here’s what they say about this wine, “Ripe, dark fruit, smoke and vanilla notes add to the full-bodied sweet fruit and creamy texture of 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from Lodi, California, which is ideally situated between the Sierra Nevada foothills and the San Francisco Bay, the climate features warm days and cool evening breezes. An instant customer favorite, try it with burgers, meat-lovers pizza or simply on its own.”  Priced below $10 a bottle, it’s probably worth at least a try because there are a lot of more expensive options that may not offer the taste of this wine.

Our girls are exhausted. . .after their early morning nap, they had to take a mid-to-late morning nap followed  closely by an afternoon nap.  That was interrupted by a potty break outside and then a late afternoon/early evening nap. . .fortunately, we rescued them from the routine and they enjoyed a full dinner with chew sticks for dessert!  It just doesn’t get much better than this—if you’re a dog!  For us, after a day of shopping at the Outlets in San Marcos, a stop at Target, a run for some furniture shopping, stopping at D#1’s apartment and unpacking — followed by dinner at Dave & Busters—which brought back some serious memories from when the kids were growing up–for us, it’s time for “lights out”.

Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 315: We’re Just Not That Into It . . .

into zinFriday nights are great nights for kicking back, firing up the grill and relaxing after a long week.  Part of the challenge with that ‘process’ this time of year is that it’s still 100 degrees plus at 8 o’clock at night . .  not exactly the kind of weather that’s conducive to deck time on a Friday night.  The grill part, on the other hand, is always a good option and after finding some steaks on sale at our local H-E-B, we decided that tonight would be a good reason to cook them up.  We like to fix roasted potatoes when we grill steak . . . using some nice red potatoes well cut them into bite-size pieces and cut up some red onion and we like adding red, yellow or orange sweet peppers.  Mixing all three together in a bowl with some olive oil and seasoning, put them into a 9 x 12 baking dish – – or if you’ve got stoneware, like is offered from Pampered Chef, use that – a great tool for cooking, and finally into the oven at 375 degrees for–initially–20 minutes.  After the first 20 minutes, stir them up, turn the dish around and put another 25 minutes on the timer.  In the meantime, we’ve picked up some beautiful, fresh green beans…long, great color and they have a great snap – – after cleaning them and soaking them in some water, we like to add just a hint of bacon grease or two or three slices of bacon to the pan with some water just covering the top of the beans.  After bringing them to a boil, we’ll simmer them on medium to low for 15 minutes at which time, we’ll pour in a third of a bottle of Italian salad dressing.  Put the lid back on, turn down the heat to low and let cook for another 20-25 minutes.

These two vegetables combined with the steak made for a nice way to wrap up the week – along with daughter #1 and Bruce Wayne(who is in for a weekend visit) –  but it wouldn’t be complete without some wine, and tonight we opened at 2011 Into Zin Zinfandel from Oak Ridge Winery…the same folks that make one of our favorite everyday Zins, OZV and Maggio!  They’re located in Lodi, California…a superb part of the state for growing zinfandel grapes.  While this Zin isn’t going to set any records for awards or get rated by Parker, it did earn a gold medal at the 2012 Alameda County Fair…not sure if that means anything, but even as a value-priced entry, it’s not bad.  But, it’s probably not going to make us go out and scoop up mass quantities of it either…the nose is certainly typical zin…peppery, dark fruit, a little leathery.  The taste was –well, just a little too tart for us.  We like a zin to have that warm, spicy taste and a finish that allows you to taste the fruit and other characteristics of the wine.  Even as the wine had some time open up, it didn’t deliver anything that made us jump for joy.  So, while some of the Oak Ridge products are among our favorite everyday-type wines, this one won’t be joining them.

Fortunately, good food is just that…good food and we enjoyed the meal immensely, but the wine, while disappointing, is a great way to enjoy good food.  We hope you have a terrific weekend and as you enjoy your favorite wine, we hope that you’ll do so responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 299 — Everyone Is Equal…But Some Are MORE Equal Than Others…

Reds-Wine for the peopleDid you ever read the book, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell?  “The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders, but also the ways wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed, and myopia corrupt the revolution. It portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution, rather than the act of revolution itself. It also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved,” according to Wikipedia.  Perhaps the most telling line in the book was, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.  As a historical nod to post World War II Europe and Russia, Orwell was disgusted by the alliance between Britain, the US and the new Soviet Union.  Even worse, was his dislike for Stalin, whose power only grew stronger as a result of the successes in the War.  A commentary on socialism/communism, Orwell’s allegorical novel clearly paints a picture of mistrust, misuse of power and lack of leadership in a post-Lenin world.

If you’ve never read the book, it’s a true classic in American literature.  Orwell actually wrote the book during World War II–from November 1943 through February 1944.  It’s not a particularly long book, but it’s packed with innuendos, suggestions, thought provoking idealisms and down right attacks on a post World War II society.  NOW, why on the face of a beautiful earth, would we bring up such an ‘ancient’ piece of literature?  It seems that regardless of what side of the aisle you prefer, there are leaders who are trumpeting that everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.  Take for example health care. . .Congress passed the mammoth bill–over 1200 pages–but opts out for itself and governmental employees.  How convenient–but we are all equal.  Of course, the other key component in any society based on equality is that laws are passed for the people but not for government.  Agencies in government run unchecked, uninhibited and completely funded to do what ever they wish to whomever they wish…but government is immune to such ‘oversight’.

So it seems that art imitates life or was it life imitating art?  Hmmm, well, at least we found a nice wine to discuss matters of literature this evening.  Among our finds recently at Central Market South in Austin is this 2011 Reds a blended red wine that promotes itself as being “For The People”! With a name like ‘Reds’ and a tag line like you’ve just read, there must be some substance to this wine. . .Zinfandel, Carignane, and Petite Sirah from pioneer vineyards in the heartland of California.  We noticed a lot of dark fruit on the nose and front palate.  There were hints of pepper, coriander and spice that came through on the finish after it had been opened for about 45 minutes.  This is a young wine but full of flavor and well worth the $11 a bottle price.  Here, once again, is a great example of wine with a great body, taste and structure for a price that leaves you speechless.  Good wines at prices that won’t break the bank are becoming the rage–threatening higher priced lower quality wines–but only a few have jumped on the bandwagon.

Depending on where you live, Animal Farm may be happening before your very eyes. . .state, county, local. . .all jurisdictions that tax and collect to fund their operations but without much oversight.  Over time, they may come to be viewed as Snowball and Napoleon–who felt the need to prepare for the revolution–but ultimately use their power to secure more power for themselves and less for the people. (pigs.)  We hope you’ll try Reds. . .the 2011 version is ready to enjoy today.  Thanks for reading and remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 139 – They’re Coming To Take Me Away. . .

Stark RavingOK, we’re REALLY dating ourselves, but tonight’s wine inspired (reminded) us to recall a song from Dr. Demento back in the sixties. . .of course, we were just children and thought it had a funny beat and a strange score, but other than that, the teens of the day loved it.

And, who wouldn’t. . .after almost 45 years, tonight was the first time we’d actually READ the lyrics!  Wow, no wonder our parents’ didn’t like us listening to the music back then.  Wait–that’s what we said to our kids not once, not twice. . .but TONS of times over the past 6-7 years!  It really is true–what goes around comes around…and you’ll grow up to become your parents!!

For those of you who have forgotten Dr. Demento’s song, it’s called “They’re Coming To Take Me Away!”–and it goes something like this,

“Remember when you ran away
And I got on my knees and begged
You not to leave
Because I’d go berserk?
Well!
You left me anyhow and then
The days got worse and worse
And now you see I’ve gone
Completely out of my mind And
They’re coming to take me away, Ha-ha
They’re coming to take me away, Ho-ho
Hee-hee-haa-haa
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I’ll be happy to see those
Nice young men in their clean white coats and
They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha!
You thought it was a joke
and so you laughed, you laughed,
when I had said that losing you
would make me flip my lid.
Right?
You know you laughed
I heard you laugh
You laughed, you laughed
and laughed and then you left but
Now you know I’m utterly mad
And
They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha,
They’re coming to take me away, ho-ho,
hee hee, haa haa
To the happy home
With trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket-weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away, ha-hahaha…”

Yeppers, they don’t write lyrics like that anymore!  Actually, depending on the kind of music you choose to listen to, it may be a lot worse!

We’re  a little mesmerized by tonight’s wine, “Stark Raving, Red”–from the Rosenblum Cellars folks.  The Stark Raving Red is a non vintage blend of 34% Tannat, 28% Zinfandel, 18% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Sirah and 6% Other (why do they just say “other,” it’s not a field blend, they know what grapes they purchased) sourced from 80% Central Coast AVA and 20% Lodi AVA (which is inside the Central Coast AVA). The wine is produced by Rosenblum Cellars and should retail for under ten bucks…at Twin Liquors in San Marcos, we picked this wine up for under $9. . .of course, it was on sale.  And, even though it’s a non-vintage, we have to tell you the combination of dark cherry and plum shine through, there are layers of flavor that carry through from the mid-palate (especially the plum in mid palate)  to the back and the finish is better than several wines we’ve tasted that cost double the price.

Would we bring it out with special guests?  Probably not, but we’d sure use it as a deck and fire pit wine.  With fajitas, it was a nice complement right down to the rice and beans.  But the name. . .oh, the name, it’s a winner!  And, the graphic on the bottle looks like something out of “Back To The Future!”  Look, we know there are tons of wines out there to choose from, and trying whimsical wines is part of what we wanted to do this year.  Give this one a shot; we think you’ll be surprised. . .or is it ‘Stark Raving’ Mad–er, Red!

As we wrap up another week and head into a three day weekend, we hope that Dr. Demento isn’t on your doorstep singing, “They’re Coming To Take Me Away!”, but that you’ll continue enjoying your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.