casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


Day 246: Betting It All . . .

VolverTonight, we spent the evening with the good folks at the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force . . . out at their hangar in San Marcos, they held a Casino Night Fundraiser.  What a great time and a great venue.  Playing Texas Hold ‘Em and Roulette under the watchful eye of “The Yellow Rose”. . . a B-25 bomber from World War II.  The inventory of amazing aircraft at the Centex Wing is something to behold.  Even if you’re not former military, you’d be plum crazy if you didn’t enjoy the place.  These folks are helping keep history alive by maintaining some vintage planes, but they also have a museum, a tribute to Doolittle’s Raiders and a library . . .along with an Officer’s Club.  When you step into the hangar, you’re definitely stepping back in time, when flying by the seat of the pants wasn’t just a tagline — it was reality!

Kicking the night off with delicious barbecue from Fuschak’s here in town, the gaming tables opened up at 7 p.m. and the craps, roulette and black jack tables immediately filled up.  Jean is the roulette player in the family and she settled in and played at the same table all night, and Brian grabbed a seat at the Texas Hold ‘Em table.  There, the cards were friendly on a few occasions, but not enough to plan any trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City!  What made the games fun was that at both tables, the same folks stayed and played pretty much all night.  It’s a great way to support a great group of folks and we’re proud to have been a part of it.  On the heels of today’s 139th Kentucky Derby, it seemed appropriate to do a little gaming!   Speaking of the Kentucky Derby, a pretty decent race considering the track was muddy, and thankfully, the rains stopped long enough to not only get the race in but get the people outside!  Orb starts on a quest to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. . .could 2013 be the year it finally happens?  And who was the last Triple Crown winner, you ask?  Affirmed, ridden by Steve Cauthen and trained by Lazaro S. Barrera.

A mid-morning visit from P&L yielded our wine for the day. . .a 2009 Volver Tempranillo from a 72-acre vineyard called “Finca Los Juncares,” which was planted in 1957.  This wine comes from a single vineyard, and as such it has plenty of red cherries, blueberries, mulberries and red raisins, depicting grapes pushed to full ripeness without going beyond the boundary into excessive over-ripeness. The oak character is relatively elegant with toasty, coffee hints only, and the balanced wine shows some lingering length as well.  This is a fun, tasty wine without a lot of pretense.  It’s a great value for the money–ringing in at less than $18 a bottle–you may be able to find it for less than $15 if you look real hard.  For us, tempranillo wines are becoming favorites.  And to prove our point, “Robert Parker doesn’t write the Spanish reviews these days for Wine Advocate as he has given that job to Jay Miller. However, Mr. Parker does still drink Spanish wines and reviews them “informally” in his Hedonist’s Gazette. In July Parker wrote about a great Spanish feast where he enjoyed a short list of excellent Spanish wines including Volver 2009. The review was glowing as Parker gave the wine 92 points noting, “A great value that I would unquestionably drink as a house wine, the 2009 Volver from La Mancha. Made from 50-year old Tempranillo vines…” “92 Points–The Wine Advocate.

A great day all around. . .a visit with good friends, an evening of entertainment and a delicious wine. . .all wrapped up in a beautiful Saturday.  We hope yours was spectacular as well and that you’ll continue to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 130: A Zestos For Life . . .

ZestosHow many of you remember buying record albums?  You know, vinyl?  There was a time – not so long ago – that people waited overnight, in lines, for the opportunity to buy the first issue of a certain album.  It really didn’t matter who the artist was . . . Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, The Eagles (ok, so maybe not John Denver – who happens to be Jean’s favorite) . . . they’ve all had their share of ‘groupies’ over the years.  And, those of us who grew up on the album rock craze still have fond memories of turntables with needles set-oh, so perfectly, and a ‘Disc Washer’ that took care of all of the nasty dust and grime on the album surface to make the sound PERFECT!

Another part of the album rock craze was the album cover.  Now, this probably dates back to the sixties and early seventies, but the artwork for album covers was drawn – in most cases-by hand.  Very rare was the photo of the artist used for the album cover, oh sure, you’d see the photography for a hit 45, but rarely for the album.  The more dramatic the look, the more likely sales would benefit.  Brian is still a huge fan of The Moody Blues.  He acquired his love for the band after pilfering – uh, stealing – no, borrowing for keeps, his brother’s “In Search of the Lost Chord” album from 1972.  If you’ve never seen this cover, it’s an artistic genre unto itself.  But, that’s the way album covers were made back then . . . yes, you knew that the music inside was going to be good, but the cover — oh, man — the cover was a big reason why you bought the album.  Unlike today, with all due respect, it’s nothing and we mean NOTHING compared to the golden era of rock.

As a side note, Brian had tickets to see The Moody Blues in late June of 1993 . . . the same year that our youngest daughter was born — in early July.  But, (and this is a shout out to all of the ladies who are pregnant in the summer time), the last thing Jean wanted to do was sit on a blanket – on a hard ground-in the heat of a St. Louis summer listening to a band.  So, Brian went with Jean’s co-worker (hey, Michelle – do you remember??) and that night, The Moody Blues played with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra – and every Moody’s song since then has sounded just like it did that night.  It was perfection multiplied times ten!

Anyway, what caused this topic to come up is tonight’s wine.  Our 2011 Zestos Garnacha from Vinos de Madrid was the wine of choice and if you look at the label above, you’d see intricacy in the design of the label.  Normally, most wines will give you a logo or a photo, but rarely, if ever, will they give you artwork. . .that you’d find anywhere but a wine bottle.  Label art can and should be a medium unto itself, but in the case of tonight’s wine – IT’S A WINNER!  But, don’t let the label fool you . . . this is awesome wine.  Everywhere we looked, it was rated at or above 90 points.  Yep, a very young wine, this Zestos already has a huge fan in Robert Parker, “A staggering value, Patrick Mata brings in 10,000 cases of the 2011 Zestos Garnacha Old Vines, which was vinified in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks. Made from old vine (over 40 years of age), high altitude (2800 feet) Grenache, this head-pruned vineyard planted on granite soils has produced an unbelievable wine for the price. Lots of kirsch, strawberry, black currant and licorice aromas jump from the glass of this medium-bodied, richly fruity, surprisingly intense red. Drink this pure, sexy effort over the next 1-2 years.”

WOW!  And, to add to the enthusiasm, we really liked this wine a LOT.  It’s lighter than we’re normally accustomed to tasting, but the nose, the fruit, the palate and the finish are out of this world!  We are beginning to see the incredible value in wines from Spain; some are so big and bold while others are subtle and sneak up on you.  This one seems to fit perfectly in the middle and we think that you’ll really like it.  It’s kind of cool when review after review reaffirmed our thought that this is a lot of wine for the money.  Yep, this hidden gem is around $10 a bottle, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any wine at this price with this kind of taste and value.

Oh, and the label artwork is stellar.  Great detail in a wine label is hard to come by.  You’ll be impressed with the label, the bottle and most importantly, the wine.  We hop you’ll give this one a try.

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