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Day 52 – Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Lose – the Elements Don’t Always Help . . .

Well, it happened .  .  . and NOT in a good way.

You knew we’d have to write about this regardless of the outcome, so let’s get it over with!  The Cards blew a three games to one lead in the NLCS to the hard-charging, good pitching San Francisco Giants.  Their comeback is the stuff that legends are made of – down to a ‘must win’ game or go home.  As fans of the game for the past 40 plus years, we’ve learned (though reluctantly) that good pitching typically stops good hitting.  And in the case of this series, it’s a fact.  When your pitcher can move the ball around the strike zone, change speeds and keep hitters off balance, the chances of the pitcher’s team winning goes way up.  What we’ve seen over the final three games of the NLCS has been nothing short of amazing.  Dominating pitching performances from three different pitchers–admittedly combined by three listless line-ups of hitters who lost their patience at the plate and seemed to be swinging at anything and everything thrown at them with dismal results.

Now, this blog isn’t going to be about baseball, but as the game was coming to an end, it was cool to see the rain begin to change the dimension on the game.  Weather has a way of doing that in sporting events .  .  . baseball, football, soccer – all of them are weather-dependent sports, so when the elements change, so do the results.  How many times have you watched an NFL game in late November or December and it’s snowing like crazy?  You think the passing game is going to be the same in a blizzard as it would be in sunny weather?  Not a chance.  You think the footing for a running back is going to be the same on artificial turf in snowy or rainy weather as it is in sunny weather? Nope.  The elements will always play havoc with you when you least expect them.  Kind of like driving home at rush hour when it starts to rain .  .  .  you think traffic is going to pick up speed when it starts raining and is starting to get dark?  We become very dependent on the weather and knowing whether or not the elements are going to be influencing our day – or our team.

Tonight, we opened a bottle of 2006 Elements from Artesa Vineyards in Napa.  This is a blend from Napa and Sonoma that has been one of our favorites for a long time.  In fact, we first tried it after visiting with some friends in Kerrville and realized how delicious the wine was, and after finding it at Gabriel’s for less than $15 a bottle, we’ve enjoyed tasting this wine with friends and on the deck.  Amazingly, the wine has an awesome nose – lots of vanilla and black cherry.  As you taste it, you’ll find the fruit coming through loud and clear but the vanilla finish is a big winner.  It’s not a full-bodied wine – probably more medium bodied but full of flavor and a great finish that keeps going and going and going – making the ‘bunny’ seem slow in comparison.  Another thing about this wine is its’ value price .  .  . you can spend A LOT of money and not get a wine with this kind of taste or you can spend less than $15 and get something that you’d be glad to share with friends or family.  It’s your call, but we won’t steer you wrong – nor were we steered wrong by Ed and Lori who introduced us to this wine last January when we spent the night at their home – thanks again for a wonderful time!

And so, for those of us who love to follow Cardinal baseball another year has come to a close – no repeating as World Series Champions, but in a transition year, they proved their mettle and were not influenced by the elements (or the loss of a certain ego that now plays ball for a team in CA).  We sometimes sit back and marvel at the privileged world of professional sports until those days when it’s raining cats and dogs or snowing, windy and cold – then we realize that sometimes it’s better being a fan who watches from the “cheap seats” rather than having to deal with the elements.  Unlike professional sports, our wine tonight is a great way to enjoy the Elements.  We hope you’ll give this wine a try the next time you’re looking for something with structure but not so big that it overwhelms.  The 2006 Elements from Artesa is a great way to beat the weather at its’ own game!

Please remember to enjoy your wines responsibly and recycle whenever possible – and for what’s it’s worth . . . GO TIGERS!


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Day 49 – Friday Night Whites . . .

In this part of the world, Friday night means high school football – and LOTS of it.  From the time  you’re in school, it becomes a part of your life.  Oh, there are those who want nothing to do with it, instead saying that they don’t like football or don’t have a reason to follow football, but in reality, football is king.  Brian still remembers as a high school freshman (back in the ‘dark ages’) the early dismissals for pep rallies.  Being new to Texas, he thought it was a chance to get home early, only to find out that the bus didn’t leave until the pep rally was over!  By the time Junior and Senior years came around, it was get to the pep rally early to get the best seats!  Along the way to the gym, he still remembers seeing the freshman heading for the buses!  And, while Fridays mean football around here, so do Saturdays and Sundays.

There are big games on tap for college football including Texas A & M against Louisiana State (Bring home a winner Scott and Kathryn); South Carolina at Florida; Arizona at UCLA; Texas State at San Jose State and a myriad of others.  And of course, Sundays bring the pros to the forefront where the Rams (the only game on in this house) host the Green Bay Packers .  .  .  and many others.  It’s a special time of the year when the sun goes down a little earlier and the time is ideal for enjoying another great pastime – baseball.  Now, you know we’ve blogged about the St. Louis Cardinals before, but when we get to October, baseball becomes a totally different game.  Who would have thought that the Detroit Tigers would sweep the weak-hitting New York Yankees in four games for the American League Championship?  At the same time, no one expected the Cardinals to even make the postseason let alone a three games to one lead in the National League Championship Series.  It’s part of what makes baseball such an amazing game–you really don’t know what’s going to happen.

So tonight we’re enjoying a 2010 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay (a white in your honor Kathryn) from Mendocino County, California.  This inexpensive wine is a perfect way to wrap up the week and sit back to watch some championship baseball.  It’s nose is fruity with a tropical flare – lending some apricots and papaya notes.  On the taste, there is a juicy, lemon and grapefruit combination and the finish is crisp and clean.  Amazingly, we’ve enjoyed this white wine on a number of occasions and really enjoy the taste .  .  . as we aren’t your traditional Chardonnay lovers.  We’d prefer to skip the buttery madness of most Chards and go right to the fruit – typically fermented in stainless steel instead of oak barrels.  This wine will run for less than $12 a bottle and is on sale for $9-$11 depending on your favorite wine shop.

As you settle in for your Friday night white, you’ll want to try this unoaked (meaning it was aged in stainless barrels, not oak)  Chardonnay.  As we settle into our Friday night white, we’ll enjoy it watching the Cardinals battle the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS and unabashedly, we are hoping to see the Cardinals head back to the World Series for the second year in a row .  .  . (update–) but unfortunately we’ll be waiting until Game 6 on Sunday night from San Francisco.

Have a great evening and day tomorrow, and remember to enjoy your Friday night white (and reds) responsibly and please recycle whenever possible.