casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 124 – Snap To It

Snap DragonWow, who would have thought going back to work after a restful vacation would be so . . . so . . . challenging?  No, there weren’t any ‘fires’ to be extinguished, but – okay, do you remember when you were a kid, and you couldn’t wait for Christmas vacation to start?  It seemed like it took four years to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas . . . and THEN, freedom for the best time of the year.  Oh, how we relished those days – they went by so SLOW!  Each day getting us closer to the magical day of Christmas, and then POOF, that part of the vacation was over – BUT, we still had the New Year’s celebration to look forward to and still no school.  But, like it always does, the day comes – it’s New Year’s Day!!  Woo-hoo . .  .parades, football, dinner, bed, time to get up for the first day of school.

Oh my gosh, those were the WORST days to be a kid – c’mon, you know that you dreaded having to go back to school after the Christmas break.  Well, okay, maybe not ALL of you, but we did.  So, it was with our break this year.  We both enjoyed time off starting at the end of the day on December 21st until the end of the day yesterday.  Oh, it was like magic had somehow transported us back to our school days – don’t have to get up and get ready.  Don’t have to be somewhere at a specific time . . . and then Christmas came – and went – and POOF, that part of the vacation was over . . . BUT, we still had the New Year’s celebration to look forward to and still no work.  But, like it always does, the day comes – it’s New Year’s Day!!  Woo-hoo . .  .parades, football, dinner, bed time to get up for the first day of work.

We’ve always been taught that the more things change, the more they stay the same . . . so even as time has flown by, some things in life are still the same.  And since we’re talking about things changing (or was it staying the same?), we decided that tonight would be a perfect night to enjoy a Pinot Noir.  Yep, the same folks who love those big Australian wines, those big California Cabs and Zins are breaking down and sipping on some beautiful Pinot Noir.  We decided to open a 2009 Snap Dragon Pinot Noir from Snap Dragon Winery of Sonoma, California.  Challenge #1:  the winery has no website of its’ own.  So, those in the business can probably tell us the reasons why; however, those of us NOT in the business call this a bit of a problem when trying to help the wine gain some identity.  This wine is fruity.  Pure and simple.  It’s light, airy and ready for easy drinking.  At less than $12 a bottle, it’s not going to be lining the racks of your wine closet, but for something that’s out of the ordinary, fresh, fruity and easy to sip, it’s not a bad choice.  Would be buy it in quantity?  No, probably not, but for our friends who enjoy Pinot Noir, is it something worth trying – sure, why not.  It’s best described as, “Juicy and fruity with ripe raspberry, fresh strawberries and spicy oak notes. This wine gets along with pretty much any dinner companion – from roast chicken to spicy pasta to difficult in-laws.”  Put in that context, pretty decent!!!

In the big picture, we’d probably find a different Pinot to enjoy.  There are some AMAZING wines from California, Oregon, Washington and other areas, that would and should offer better Pinot Noir’s than this one, but at least we’re ‘branching out’!  And, speaking of branching out, as your New Year unfolds, we hope it’s easier getting back in the saddle whether you’re going back to work, back to school or back to the basics.  Having gotten today out of the way, it ‘should’ be easier getting up tomorrow . . . and we both know that there will be plenty of work to do once we get back into the swing of things.

We hope that you have plenty to keep you in the swing of things as well, and as you enjoy your favorite wine, please do so responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 121 : Brought to You by the Letter E . . .

EYou know that time is flying by when you headline your article with, “brought to you by the letter ‘E’…”  So, it wasn’t that long ago that we had two little, precocious girls who happened to love Christmas, Sesame Street and Elmo!  And with all due respect to current events, their parents agreed on all accounts!  Yep, we have terrific memories of a cup of cheerios and some juice in a ‘sippy’ cup and a Sesame Street video entertaining not one, but both kids.  Yes, we admit that perhaps we weren’t the best parents in the world; however, the lesson taught in those Sesame Street videos teaches all of us a lesson!!!!

The single hardest part about all of that is knowing that our kids grow up.  It’s what’s supposed to happen.  If we’ve done our job, then they will make their mark in time.  While both of them are still carving their niche in time, we can say–unbiased, of course, that these are two amazing young women.  Regardless of the curves that life will throw at them, we’ve grown to understand and believe that they will not only handle the curve but also drive it into the gap!  This only comes from THEM finding the confidence in themselves.  All of this being said, we still have fond memories of watching Sesame Street–especially the end of the show when they tell us that the show was brought to us by the numbers. . .(whatever) and the letter, ‘E’. . . which is where we begin tonight’s wine blog!

We opened and enjoyed, from Orin Swift, a bottle of ‘E’ which is from Spain; this wine is a cousin to a previously reviewed wine, ‘F’. . .unlike its’ cousin, ‘E’ is a fruit bomb waiting to explode.  You’ll love this wine if you love lots of fruit from your wine; lots of tannins with plenty of oak, fruit and earthiness to go around for everyone!  If you’re the kind of wine lover that likes to try new varietals, the Orin Swift’s ‘E’ needs to be on your radar.  We’ve had the opportunity to taste a number of wines from Swift, and this one may be at the top of the chart.  Swift’s winemaker, Dave Phinney has gone above and beyond the call of duty in creating a Spanish wine with depth, breadth, and taste.  Our tastes seem to have been confirmed because according to ‘’, “The wine has a vibrant ruby color. The aromas are a blend of ripe berry, fruit, spice, and a hint of oak. An intense and concentrated mid palette that leads to a lingering finish of ripe, soft tannins will leave you longing for the next sip. This juice is well balanced and is ready to be drunk. This wine is incredible, and..was going to give it a five-cork rating and mention that it was more deserving of a six-cork. Orin Swift never seems to let me down.”  We picked this little gem up at Central Market on North Lamar – way to go Andy!  The price was good – and on sale made it less than $14 – we will buy this again.

Yep, we couldn’t agree more; but this wine is a terrific wine with food as well. . .tonight we had a spicy, shrimp stir-fry with rice and the wine was a terrific complement to the dish.  In fact, we agreed that for the money, this wine could be paired with a variety of food and it would continue to hold up well.  We love wines like this; they’re delicious, fruity, structured and value-priced.  If you’re craving a wine that delivers on all cylinders, then, this is your bottle. . .’E’ is more than just another letter, it’s a new way to enjoy great wine, and regardless as to whether your day is brought to you by the  numbers 1, 2 or 3 or the letter ‘E’, you’ll want to get a bottle of this wine.

Now that the kids have advanced beyond Sesame Street, we still have videos (yes, as in tapes) of many episodes of their shows.  It’s kind of funny, but they NEVER get old!  Kind of like good wine–it only gets better with age.

As the year winds down and the New Year is on the horizon, we hope that you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly–we really want you to continue following us in 2013.  Recycling is as easy as returning your empty bottle to a location that offers recycling–we’re extremely fortunate to live in a community that offers single stream recycling. . .regardless, please try to recycle whenever possible.

Until tomorrow – and our FINAL blog for 2012–CHEERS!