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Day 95: Wired for Sound . . .

wire ridge

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.


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Day 91: Break On Through To The Other Side . . .

barbed wireThree months ago, we had this wild idea of tasting and writing about 365 different wines in 365 days.  Oh sure, when you’re all in the rage, it’s easy to say, “C’mon, we can DO this!”  But, as time begins to flow through the hour glass, one realizes that perhaps we’ve bitten off just a bit more than we can chew.  But, here we are 90 days plus one into our drive to try an amazing 365 different wines.  For those of you who have been reading with us from the beginning, we have — for the most part — stayed true to our word.  Yes, we’ve had a few days where the post was JUST  A BIT late – through no fault of our own, of course.  But, if you look at the calendar, there have been 91 days since this whole thing started and there are –soon — to be 91 different wines.  It’s like negotiating through a barbed wire fence.  If we stop for even a moment to lift our heads up to see where we are going, who knows what kind of havoc we could wreak!

Last night’s Naked Chardonnay post garnered a lot of attention – it seems that a gauntlet thrown at the feet of Kathryn W. garnered us a few readers – thanks for posting up.  And, another one from earlier this week, received a nod from our good friend (and resident Kerrville historian) Joe Herring, Jr.  Thanks for sending the poster of the “Fab Four” . . . great memories.  Over the past 90 days, we’ve tried some amazing wines – both red and white.  We’ve also had some DOGS!  Before the 365th day has come and gone, we’re pretty sure that there will be more dogs, probably some cats and who knows what other animals that may be out there!

Tonight we opened and tasted a 2010 Barbed Wire Meritage . . . thus the previous mention about the barbed wire — ;-)–everything ties back to something, right?  Anyway, this little doozie came to us from our recent visit to Max’s Wine Dive in San Antonio.  You probably would never guess that this wine is from the folks at Sutter Home – that’s right, the same folks who bring  you the immortal, Sutter Home White Zinafandel!  Overall, this wine has a beautiful color; dark purple, very thick and juicy.  The nose gave us toasted oak – almost an almond scent which partnered with an earthiness.  The initial taste was green peppery but that gave way to a fruitiness of black cherry, raspberries and currants.  The finish was, well, it was just there.  Nothing to write home about.  In fact, as we researched more about this wine, the 2009 reviewed almost identically to the 2010.  For a wine that retails right at $20 a bottle, we’d probably opt for something else, especially if we could find something from a boutique winery as opposed to a monolith.  Don’t get us wrong, the wine tasted fine, but for the investment, we’d probably opt for something bigger, bolder and NOT as well known.  A nice Zinfandel from Adelaida is a good starting point.  Anyway, this wine is yet another reason why we feel compelled to sample so many different wines . . . we won’t even scratch the surface in 365 days compared to the sheer number of wines on the market.

However, should you run into the proverbial “brick wall” or as we’re calling it tonight, the “barbed wire fence”, then having a wine that recognizes what’s ahead is very important.  This Meritage is worth trying; especially if you’ve never had it before.  We think that if you’ve had it in the past, you’ll probably opt for something different–which we’ll deal with tomorrow night.  Thanks for being with us during the past 90—we mean, 91 days.  Three months down and ONLY nine more to go!  We can do this with your help–please feel free to pass this blog on to folks you know that enjoy wine.  We aren’t saying that we know a lot about wine, but we ARE saying that we’ll tell you exactly how we feel about a specific wine.  It’s a tough job, but SOMEBODY’s got to do it!

Until tomorrow, please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 79 – We Like Having Options

Since most of our area seemed to be heading north today to enjoy some F1 racing – and Jean having experienced the traffic back ups first hand on Thursday and Friday – on a whim, we decided to head south and meet up with friends at Max’s in SA for a little brunch, wine tasting and walking through the brand new Trader Joe’s .  .  . even managing a stop at World Market near Selma.  As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we’re looking for wines to enjoy and wines to share with friends and family.  We debated buying a case of “Two Buck Chuck” at Trader Joe’s, but just couldn’t pull the trigger – sorry family, you’ll have to drink some good stuff on Thursday.  Today’s stops gave us opportunities to fulfill both!

As this blog continues to unfold, we have tried and are trying wines that we’d never have given a second thought about in the past.  On the one hand, it’s pretty exciting to think that we can come up with 365 different choices to taste and write about, but on the other hand, it’s kind of intimidating to think about the unbelievable number of wines out on the market.   Clearly, some days are better than others – not only in terms of the wine we chose but how it smelled, tasted etc.  We know that we prefer red wines over white wines, but we’ve had a couple of killer white wines already and we know that there are several more in the queue.  So, when days like today afford themselves to us, we keep looking for other options.  Almost all of the wines that we have sampled and reviewed have been acceptable.  Some not nearly as much, trust us, many have ended up down the drain.  Even liking some of the wines, it’s kind of difficult to keep wine fresh for long periods of time.

Tonight’s wine is a 2009 A by Acacia – which is a blend from Acacia Vineyards of Napa, California.  Of course, it’s a blend!  85% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 2% Grenache, 2% Petite Syrah and 1% Zinfandel – makes for a tasty wine.  From the nose, we got hints of fruit, earth and spice, while on the palate, we discovered both bright fruit and a certain acidity.  It had hints of strawberry, raspberry and dark cherry that really came to the forefront in the finish. The texture was soft, supple and, to a certain extent inviting.  It was the kind of wine you’d want to break out over the holiday season.  Even though the dominant grape is the Syrah, the others work well to balance the overall make up of the wine.  We enjoyed it so much, we are thinking about bringing a bottle with us for Thanksgiving festivities.  You can get a hold of this wine for under $15 a bottle .  .  . even less if you can find it on sale!  So, it’s a nice blend at a good value – which, this time of year, is a good combination to find!

It’s always cool to visit with good friends; enjoy good food; sample good wine and enjoy a beautiful day – and stay away from traffic nightmares.  Today we accomplished them all, and as we head towards the holidays, it reminds us to stop and enjoy the moment.  Whether it’s spending time with friends or family or both, it’s a realization for us, once again, life is too short (to drink bad wine, as one dear friend would say).  We enjoyed our trip to Trader Joe’s and our stop at World Market, and hopefully, we’ve identified one or two future blog wines with the stops we’ve made today.

As the evening unfolds, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.