casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


Day 360 – Welcome Back…

DiMajo Norante SangioveseOkay. . .up front, we’re dating ourselves.  BUT, there was a sitcom back in the 70’s that starred Gabe Kaplan and a little known actor whose character name was Vinnie Barbarino. . .and the actor was?  John Travolta!  Yep, before Saturday Night Fever or Urban Cowboy–before Pulp Fiction or Face Off. . .there was Welcome Back Kotter.  Imagine going back to teach in the high school that you graduated from only a few short years before. . .well, that was the premise of the show.  The catch, of course, was that the names had changed but the game was still the same.

In the realm of public schools, today–in Texas–was the first day back to school.  And Brian had a terrific opportunity to watch kids and parents arriving at a local elementary school, we can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are GLAD that the girls are where they are today!  Parents have changed.  Schools have changed.  Teachers have changed.  BUT, one thing has remained the same. . .kids will always be kids.  AND, no matter how much you prep them, guide them, cajole them or force them—a certain number of kids can’t wait to get into the building.  AND, a certain number of kids are petrified of going into the building!

Parents, on the other hand, well, they look like deer in headlights. . .especially first time parents dropping their child off for pre-K programs.  Uh, they NEVER taught us this in ‘Lamaze’ classes!  Nope. . .and guess what, kids DON’T come with owners manuals!  After watching the proceedings today at one of the schools, we were glad that a the girls were way passed this age and that they were fairly ‘low maintenance’ when it came to school starting!  And the more we greeted parents and kids, the better it felt knowing that in our world, those days were long gone.

So we needed a wine that would be a nice combination of old and new.  And thanks to our friends at World Market, we found the perfect choice.  Our 2009 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese is the essence of what this blog is about.  A terrific red wine with lots of cherries, blueberries, tobacco and cedar just waiting to be opened and enjoyed.  Even as good as this wine tasted, it’s got the potential to be even better–yep, this wine has ‘moxy’ and we think it’s got the ‘legs’ to go the distance.  Italian wines have an earthiness to them that can’t be measured by our standards.  No, not every bottle of wine produced there is a hit, but as good as the wine that we’ve tasted from Italy has tasted, we know that the BEST stuff never leaves the country!  Robert Parker rates this wine at 87 points–which for a $10 bottle of wine is pretty awesome!  They said, “this Sangiovese exhibits fresh aromas of violets, woodland berries, sweet spice and leather. Deliciously smooth, plush and juicy on the palate with loads of ripe fruit, Di Majo Sangiovese is recommended with meaty pastas or pizzas, chorizo and granular cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or aged Gouda.”  We enjoyed it with buffalo chicken tenders in hot and bbq sauce along with fresh steamed carrots and it was the perfect way to “put out the fire!”

We know that there are a lot of parents breathing a sigh of relief tonight.  The first day of school is in the books and the daily routine has just begun.  We remember those days and being welcomed back.  It’s a special time in the kids lives, your lives and their teacher’s lives. . .savor the moments.  Life comes at you way too fast and when you blink your eyes, they’re grown.  We hope that as your kids go back to school that you’ll stop and enjoy the moment, and if that means sipping on a glass of your favorite wine, we hope you’ll do so responsibly and always remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 164: News Flash from Rome . . .

Eberle - SangioveseBy now you’ve may have figured out that we are Catholic, and like so many others, today’s news from Rome caught us a bit off guard.  Not paying much attention to the news this morning, it wasn’t until Daughter #1 called and inquired – “what’s this about the Pope resigning?” that we knew something was up.  As we both jumped in our respective cars and headed to our places of employment the knob was flipped to the news.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, Jean has a much longer commute and heard more about the happenings than Brian. Daughter #2 also heard the news and checked in to see what was up.

Bottom line for us is that our Church continues to evolve and how humbling for the person who heads the Catholic Church here on earth to stop and say “I’m tired and it’s time to pass the baton to someone with new energy and vision to take the Church forward”.  That sure doesn’t happen everyday.  Of course, there is much speculation on why – that’s because we are human and have that insatiable “need to know” – can’t we just accept that a human has recognized that it is time for them to step aside.  Wow, what a concept – no personal gain – just doing what is best for the greater good.

Tonight in honor of Pope Benedict we opened an Eberle 2011 Sangiovese from Paso Robles,and although it wasn’t from Italy, it might has well have been.  The wine . . . yes, that’s why we’re here – the wine was beautiful.  We’ve actually been to the Eberle Winery twice – first time in 2007 and then again this past October.  One of the fun things about going to Eberle is when you drive up, you’re ‘greeted’ by a pig/boar bronze statue water fountain.  It really sets the tone for a place that isn’t too pretentious but whose wine is amazing.  To try Eberle Wines is to sample some really delicious American classics.  Even though tonight’s wine has a bit of an Italian spin to it, the Sangiovese from Eberle is actually sourced from three different San Luis Obispo County vineyards and the result is poetry in a bottle.  Keep in mind that this wine is very young . . . so young in fact that we couldn’t find any tasting notes about it online – so we’re creating our own.

The color is a beautiful, deep burgundy; it’s not so dark that you can’t see through it but it’s darker than you’d probably notice in a Sangiovese.  The nose is out-of-this-world . . . not saying it because we “have to”; it’s true – you’ll LOVE the nose of this wine.  There is so much raspberry and cinnamon on the nose that we almost forgot it was a wine.  The oak plays a part in the nose but it takes a back seat to the dark fruit and spice.  The initial taste is overwhelming – in a positive way.  How could a wine that is so young have so much going for it?  Structure, color, taste . . . they’re all there and prominent!  If there is one thing about his wine, it’s that the wine isn’t shy or hiding behind a label – no, it’s right in the front window for everyone to enjoy.  The finish on this 2011 Eberle Sangiovese is long and luscious.  The sweetness of the berries comes out as does the spiciness and the oak.  For us, as lovers of good quality Sangiovese wines, this Eberle is top drawer . . . the only problem is that we’ve already enjoyed it!  We’re pretty sure that we should have laid it down for another 9-12 months before opening, but life goes on!

With the changes taking place in the world today, we felt it was important to remember, recognize and recall important parts of the past.  It’s not very often that someone, like The Pope, steps aside to let someone else handle the reins.  It’s a lot like leadership – being a leader isn’t always about doing what’s right for YOU, sometimes it’s about doing what’s right for the bigger picture.

Hopefully, the bigger picture for you includes tasting your favorite wine responsibly while at the same time remembering to take the time to recycle whenever possible.