There’s something magical in a rainy day and night. It’s even more magical when it’s been several months since the last really good downpour. Tuesday and Wednesday were rainy days in our part of the world and it’s one of those things that changes people’s demeanor. No. . .not for the worse–for the BETTER. You talk with people at the post office or a restaurant or a grocery store and they’re talking about the rain–with smiles on their faces. It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Typically, cloudy-gray days bring about depression and sadness. In parts of the country where winter has set in; cloudy days are a part of the season. Lousy weather is the norm and sunny days are longed for in a BIG way. In our part of the world, rainy days are as good or better than sunny days. You see, rain is a precious commodity, and those of us who live anywhere west of I-35 in Texas understand that rain equals good and too much sun equals drought. For the better part of the last five plus years, our part of the state has been living through drought conditions that have existed only once in the past 55-60 years. A growing population has put further stress on a water system that struggles to maintain–let alone grow.
We have learned to appreciate heavy rains, light rains, downpours and drizzle as gifts from above. Watching the water flow out of the headwaters of the San Marcos River is a daily reminder of the constant need for water. Watching lake levels drop even during slow times of the year is a constant reminder of how precious the commodity of water really is, and there is nothing–and we mean nothing, more frustrating than seeing water sprayed on a lawn and watching it run off–down the gutter in complete waste. Please understand–there was a time in our lives that a beautiful green carpet of grass was a source of pride and the envy of the neighborhood. However, after living in parts of the state where rainfall is a gift and lawns are expendable, we’ve learned to appreciate a low-maintenance or no-maintenance yard. The days of watering your lawn for hours on end are rapidly coming to an end.
Sure, if you live in parts of the country that routinely get their average annual rainfall or more, it’s still easy to turn on that sprinkler and let it run till it runs; but, in our world, that water is WAY too precious to waste on grass when it can go into a thermos for drinking or a pot for cooking. Maybe it’s because we’ve gotten a little older and a little wiser, but the thought of using perfectly good water on a yard is quickly going the way of the cassette tape or the VHS video tape.
Tonight we revisited our friends at Peachy Canyon Winery in Paso Robles, California and tasted their 2011 Savior Zinfandel. Now, we’ve had this laying down for almost four months and knowing it’s still a young wine, we decided that tonight would be a really good night to taste this wine. It’s a pretty wine. . .lighter in color and texture than many Zins we’ve tried but the nose is special. . .it’s fresh, crisp and just a touch of smokiness to go with a vanilla scent. There’s a lot of fruit on the tasting with blueberries at the top of the chart followed closely by cranberries and raspberries. . .subtle but definitely pronounced. The finish is smooth, silky and flavorful; however, our feeling is because of its’ young age, the finish is shorter than we’d normally expect from a wine like this. Peachy Canyon rarely–if ever–disappoints with their Zinfandels. Some of our favorites have come from these folks including Especial, Westside, Vortex and one of our all-time favorites, Snow. While not in our normal price range, if you can get this wine for under $30–buy it, lay it down and make a note to yourself to open in 2015–it’s going to get even better as time goes by.
And, a lot like when it rains, things start to get better here too. . .from greened up roadways and planter beds to reservoirs with plenty of water for livestock, the impact of rainfall makes almost everything better. Can too much of a good thing be bad? You bet–too much rainfall has the opposite effect and flooding can create its’ own set of issues, but for our purposes–tonight, we’re thankful to have the skies open up and the rain coming down.
We hope that when you sit down to enjoy your favorite wine–maybe out on the porch while it’s raining–that you’ll enjoy it responsibly and you’ll remember to recycle whenever possible.
After hearing a comment repeated by a number of our readers, we decided to take action. Yep, a number of you have noted that we’ve hit a bit of a “bad spell” when it comes to our evening wine choice. So, we drew inspiration from one of our all time favorite movies “The Natural” and as Brian headed to “the shelf” to find a tasting for tonight he was urged on by Jean quoting Roy Hobbs telling bat boy Bobby Savoy to ” pick me out a winner, Bobby.” As you’ve probably figured out by now there are a few “sacred cows” in the household – let’s see . . . dogs, the St. Louis Rams, the St. Louis Cardinals, Chopped, movies and of course – BASEBALL. So, when you combine movies, baseball and to Jean’s delight, Robert Redford – you get the trifecta – yep, it just doesn’t get much better than that. For the record, the addition of Glenn Close in the movie is an added bonus. The movie is a classic – if you haven’t seen it, you should – if you have seen it, watch it again. There are such wonderful movies lines – and not to mention, Robert Redford.
Truth be told, we think there is a perfect movie line for almost any situation – think about it. What can you say when something you do goes a bit too far over the top – “think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch“. What do you say when a project is larger than you expected – “think you’re gonna need a bigger boat.” What do you say when somebody just doesn’t get what you are explaining to them – “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Enough already – you get the picture – and a prize of a great bottle of wine to the first person who can name all three movies. So next time you encounter a situation of any kind – stop and try to come up with a movie line to sum up the situation.
As usual, we digress – so on to tonight’s “winner”. Knowing we needed something good – we went back to an old standby – Paso Robles – one of our favorite wineries from both our first trip to Paso AND our second trip was from Peachy Canyon. Tonight’s wine is a 2010 Petite Sirah and we have to tell you . . . this wine is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s as big and bold as they come, and as much as we enjoyed it, this one could lay down for another two or three years and be even better. There is lots of oak on the nose, which if you love those big, oaky wines, you’ll absolutely love this one. If you don’t, well you may want to pass the bottle on to a friend. You’ll get some nice cherry fruit on the front of your palate . . . and you’ll definitely finish with it as well. We noticed that the longer the bottle was opened, the sweeter the cherry taste. If you like spice, you’ll love this Petite Sirah. If you like fruit, you’ll like this Petite Sirah. If you like a dark, inky purple color that is thick with juice, you’ll love this Petite Sirah.
The bad news is that this wine (the 2010 vintage) is priced above our threshold for preferred wines . . . at about $30 a bottle. The good news is that you can find Peachy Canyon Petite Sirah at Gabriel’s Outlet in San Marcos for less than $25 a bottle and it’s an older vintage! We’re big fans of Peachy Canyon; their Zinfandels rock and this year we’re also going to be tasting their 2011 Viognier. A winner . . . picked out – not by Bobby – but by Brian (who does bear a resemblance to Robert Redford in Jean’s eyes)! Until tomorrow, “turn out the lights, the party’s over…”
No matter who picks out the winner or what your favorite wine may be, please remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.