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Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 225: A Little Help From a Friend . . .

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon bottle Shot5

Thanks to Scott for pinch hitting for us tonight!

So my friend and co-worker Jean and her husband Brian came up with this idea to try a wine a day for 365 days and blog about it. She has been bugging (Jean note here – gently asking, not bugging!) me for about 200+ days to guest blog….I guess one can get tired of a wine a day every day…nah, not Brian and Jean.

So while they were out in Waco tonight for ANOTHER Catholic school gala, I decided to surprise them and give them the night off!

Today was one of those days that you looked at on the calendar and thought, Whoa Nelly! It is a classic Saturday at my house! I have five children twelve and under. The weekend started with a 14 twelve-years-olds at our house for an Avengers party. It was great and I was so happy to see my oldest son cling to his childhood just a bit longer.

Saturday started off with first communion practice for my 9-year old. She is so excited about it next weekend. Then I took two of the kids with me to the ordination of 11 men to be Deacons. What an awesome moment in time to see these Holy men take their vow of obedience and pledge to serve this diocese. Our Bishop remarked on our Holy Father, Pope Francis and his words about service. “Let us never forget that authentic power is service,” he said. “Only those who serve with love are able to protect.”

My wife, Kathryn, met me in the parking lot and we exchanged kids. My second son, John Paul, changed into his baseball clothes in the car and we were off to this game. He went 2-2, 2 singles, scored twice, and 1 2/3 inning of middle relief. He was very happy. Meanwhile, Kathryn, headed off to our daughter’s soccer game that started about an hour later. They ended up in a tie 2-2. Mom said she played great…but she always says that!

We all ended up at home about 4:30 and we all looked at each other and said, “Wanna order pizza?” I ran off to grab the pizza and found this nice little 2011 Cabernet from McManis Family Vineyards at HEB for $9.99. It looked like the perfect compliment for a family pizza night.

Immediately upon opening and the first pour I was impressed the color. Can’t you just tell from the color if the wine is going to be good? It just looked rich and the color was dark maroon (then again, everything is maroon to this Aggie!) Did I mention the Aggies played in the Maroon and White spring football game today? Only 140 days until college football…..but I digress….

I immediately experienced smoke and pepper on the nose. I did sense a hint of berry but not as much as the wine maker said. It had a nice finish and lingered on the palate a good amount of time. All in all, it was a great pairing with pizza and for under $10 a bottle; I could definitely classify this as a deck wine according to the Bondy standards.

Thanks Jean and Brian for letting me crash your party for a few minutes. Y’all have a blessed week and visit www.teamwhitaker.org for more details about this crazy life we lead.

Scott – we are very thankful for the help tonight – one more gala on the docket tomorrow night and our string of four are finished for at least a little bit!  If you get a chance, check out the site above that Scott mentioned – the Whitaker clan is a super neat family and we are blessed to know them!

Enjoy the remaining minutes of this Saturday night and as always – remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

Whitaker Pizza

What a great looking pizza at Scott’s house – sure looks better than the chicken we had tonight!

 


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Day 204: Rounding the Bend . . .

Clos de los liete

For some reason sharing a glass or two of wine with good friends enhances the flavor – no matter how questionable the vintage may be – with friends wine tastes better!  Today, we got a text from our good friends Pat and Liz urging us to come to Kerrville for lunch and a visit not only with them, but expectant parents Elaine and Sam (aka Pat and Liz’s daughter and son-in-law in from the Dallas area).  A quick glance at our social calendar revealed we were available – so once our chores were done for the day into the jeep we hopped and off we went.  We must admit the drive between San Marcos and Kerrville is a nifty one – about 1.5 hours, but a drive of hills, twists and turns.  We could take the highway, aka 35 – but nope, we enjoy the back roads.  It was a grand day once the sun warmed up – we didn’t take the top off the jeep until our return trip.  Beautiful night – deep blue sky that morphed into a wonderful display of stars – a bit chilly, but nothing that the heater and a jacket couldn’t overcome.

The day was just plain grand – you see, Elaine and Sam have announced they will become parents in October.  Loving these two the way we do makes us feel that we are adding to our family and will be grandparents yet again (for the record, Elaine has two sisters with wee ones that we consider our grandkids – that would be McKenzie and Noah – isn’t it great that we have grandchildren without Daughter #1 and #2 having kids!).  Sitting on the patio embracing the sun makes for a glorious day – add in a fantastic spread for lunch and one can honestly say – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Grandpa Pat pulled out a super wine from Argentina – not sure if in honor of Pope Francis or the fact that he and Liz will be travelling there for a vacation later this week.  Regardless of the reason – the bottle retrieved from the BRWC (Big Red Wine Cabinet) was a 2008 Clos de los Siete and was a wonderful wine from fifty miles south of the city of Mendoza.  From what we can gather, the valley of Tunuyan feels less like a valley and more like a vast, kneeling supplicant to the immediate, looming bulk of the Northern Andes mountains. Though the valley floor is massive — sweeping away from the jagged, snow capped peaks in every possible direction as if it were trying to get out of the way of their falling bulk — you never get the sense that it is very flat. No matter where you stand, the world seems to be constantly tipping up towards (or down away from, as the case may be) the peaks above, leaving the uneasy feeling that somehow if you stopped walking or closed your eyes for a moment, you’d fall over — nudged off balance by a world pushed aside by the Andes.

Dark, opaque ruby in color, this wine has a nose of  blackberry, cherry, and a nice complement of slate – ok, what does slate taste like you may ask – well . . . it adds a bit of mineral taste – enhances the wine flavor.  In the mouth, this wine continued the combination of cherry and blackberry that while enjoyable weren’t too overpowering.  The finish wasn’t overally long – but long enough to make an appearance and remind us that it was there.  Overall this was just a fun little wine – went well with the ribs, beans and coleslaw that Liz “threw” together.

We are hoping that during their upcoming trip that Partick and Liz will visit the region that this wine came from and perhaps find out more about its origin and possible bring home one or two new wines for us to try.  But, we have to admit – it was a fun little wine that we will have to add to the “do over list” – you know, the list of wines that we are gonna have to try again.

As we close up for the night, we can’t say enough about those special people we care so much about – we are blessed with wonderful family members and a few dear close friends – both segments are high on our list of just plain special people . . . look around, bet you’ve got a few around you as well!

Ok, enough for tonight – have a super evening and remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

 


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Day 200: So Much to Look Forward to . . .

St Francis ZinWell, well, well . . .isn’t that SPECIAL!!!  Who could POSSIBLY have chosen THIS wine on THIS day?

Could it be  . . . ???

You remember the ‘Church Lady’ on Saturday Night Live?  Dana Carvey was amazing . . . his timing, facial expressions, voice inflection – ALL were perfect!  Finding humor in things seems to be a lost art.  We’ve listened to and watched the likes of Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld and yet we still can’t laugh about life around us.  It’s gotten to the point where PC doesn’t even come close to politically correct – or even personal computer . . . NO, instead it’s come to symbolize “Past Caring”.  Yeah, kind of sad . . . there’s a large and GROWING population that is fed up with media, fed up with politics and fed up with excuses.  There is a coming generation – our kids included – that are so disconnected from what’s going on in the world that it’s kind of scary.

Imagine – millions upon millions of voting age adults opting to stay home instead of going to the polls to cast a ballot.  Imagine – millions upon millions of voting age adults being turned off, tuned out and turned off by what’s happening in society.  Imagine?  It’s already happening . . .

So, today–Jean set the alarm for 3 a.m. to be sure and watched the initial Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.  Unfortunately, Brian was more like a bump on a log and didn’t make it out of the sack, but Jean was there through it all.  And, as the Mass unfolded, perhaps the most telling and important comments came from Pope Francis himself – reminding that we need to take care of the poor as well as our own environment.

As we’ve mentioned previously, we were both in college when JPII was ordained and his reign/tenure as leader of the Church coincided with our life together – how awestruck we were when, in 1999 while living in St. Louis, JPII came to our home city in JANUARY!!  OK, in case you haven’t watched the Weather Channel lately, January in St. Louis is not exactly a ‘Carnival Cruise’!  Actually, WINTER would be better than a CARNIVAL cruise!!!  That year–and we’re serious – for the two days that he was in the city, the temperatures were in the 50’s and  the sun was shining . . .  Shortly after the visit, bitter cold, freezing rain and lots of wind – coincidence?  We think NOT . . . just sayin’!

No coincidence that tonight we’d open a 2009 St. Francis Zinfandel from Sonoma County in California.  Two things come to mind – first, isn’t it cool that we’re enjoying a wine from ‘St. Francis’ on the day that Pope Francis is installed as Pope . . . and secondly, how coincidental is it that our wine would end up with the same name as the new Pontiff – ok, must admit . . . planned.  When at Twin a conscious decision was made to purchase this wine just for this day!

A classic old vines Zinfandel that pays tribute to its heritage, this wine offered up a great nose . . . so spicy and truly pepper – a bit of cigar box, pepper and spice!  The flavors on the front of the palate are cherry, vanilla, and tobacco. . the finish is a bit “puckery” but still full of flavor.  Imagine this wine in a decanter to 1-2 hours?  Yes, it’s got that kind of potential!  For the price of $16 it is so very worth it!!!  We decided this wine is much like our new Pope – calm looking on the outside – but once opened is full of spice, smooth and cordial, and full of a Bamn on the finish.  Will be buying lot’s of this wine in the future.

We know that not everyone is interested in or pays attention to things going on in the World.  The Mass, celebrated by Pope Francis started around 3:30 a.m. today – our guess is that moost of America was asleep “at the wheel”, but there were a number of Americans that stayed up, got up or were awakened to watch History this morning.  The Pope’s message is clear and simple  – take care of those in need.  This is something we can all get our arms around regardless of of faith.

So, needless to say it was a historical day – a new leader of the Catholic Church installed – and we finished Day 200 – only 165 to go!!!!  Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible!


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Day 194: Where There’s White Smoke . . .

la puerta malbecThere’s a Pope!  What a great day to be a Catholic – our Church has a new Shepard to lead the flock!  Or simply put, history was made today.  It’s hard to wrap your arms around a concept like—Pope Francis will be the first ever from the Western Hemisphere.  That he takes a name that has NEVER been taken before.  That he will leave his mark on millions of pilgrims looking for his leadership, guidance, acceptance and spirituality.

No wonder when he stepped out this afternoon (or evening if you happened to be in Rome) it was almost like a ‘deer in the headlights’.  As we now know, he was waiting for the band to finish playing before addressing the crowd.

Clearly, there are challenges before any leader of a massive population.  And, whether you’re leading a great nation or a church of the people, one thing is crucial–the ability to be firm, yet decisive and the desire to be fair but true to your roots and convictions.  It’s a leadership concept lost in society.  Our hope and prayer is that this leader can truly set the example of servant leadership. . .of and for the people.  If his humble roots are any indication, we’re in for a spectacular run.

Okay, our next conversation settled on what wine could we open to celebrate the New Beginning?  Let’s see there’s St. Francis wines. . .their Zinfandels are pretty tasty; or how about Franciscan?  They have a couple of Cabs that have previously knocked our socks off.  Hmmm, the only catch with either of those two options was a trip to actually purchase them.  Not exactly on the radar screen. SO, a scan of the blog wine shelves uncovers one of our latest Twin Liquors’ Dollar Sale purchases.

In honor of the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere, and more significantly, the Country of Argentina, we opened and tasted a 2012 Valle de la Puerta ‘La Puerta Malbec’ from Famatina, Argentina.  At $10 a bottle, it isn’t a wine of the ‘upper crust’ but more in keeping with the humble roots of the new Pontiff.  La Puerta is a very young wine with lots of energy and potential.  There is a load of fruit on the nose and on the palate that really transcends what a good Malbec is all about. . .the fruit and living for today!  This wine took some time to open up, but after about 30 minutes or so, it offered up a terrific bouquet of fruit, floral and earth that, for Malbec lovers, is at the heart of what the grape is all about.  We did some research on earlier vintages of this wine, and found that they are typically rated at or above 85 points and noted for their fruit forward aroma and taste!

Perhaps more significant than the grape is the growing region where the grape is grown! From our friends at wine-searcher.com, “Famatina is a remote wine-producing valley in the La Rioja region of Argentina. Concentrated in a river valley in the foothills of the Andes, Famatina’s vineyards follow the course of the meltwater river closely, as it flows north to south towards the lower-lying lands in the east.  The Famatina valley is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks of between 3,000 and 9,000 ft (1000 to 3000m). This topography creates a rain shadow, making the valley’s agriculture and viticulture highly dependent on irrigation from local rivers.”  Among some of the most fertile areas of the country for growing grapes, La Rioja (not to be confused with its’ Spanish cousin of the same name) is much smaller than the heavyweight region of Mendoza and despite being the longest-established of Argentina’s wine growing regions, La Rioja produces less than a 1/10th of wine compared to Mendoza.

For us, this wine was a pleasure to try and enjoy.  Very fresh and fruity.  It has an earthy essence to it.  And, the finish is in true Malbec fashion. . .lots of fruit.  As vintages go, there are probably better wines out there, but as prices go, you could enjoy a lot of this wine without breaking the bank!  Since being frugal seems to be an initial part of Pope Francis’s lifestyle, perhaps La Puerta is an ideal wine to not only open and sample tonight, but one to hang onto for the months and years ahead. . .only time will tell.

Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.