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Day 341: Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger . . . Raft!

heart & soul moscatoOn this day in 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.  Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians.  While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia.

WHAT?!?!?  Are you serious?  A Balsa Wood raft?  Today’s explorers ain’t got nuttin’ on those from yesteryear!  Before there was carbon fiber . . . before there was even fiberglass . . . before there was GPS, and so much more – there were explorers who literally risked their lives on the open water.  Think about it . . . Peru to Tahiti.  Daunting even in a Carnival Cruise Ship – hopefully the power stays on, but imagine the trek in a raft.  Amazing . . . heroic . . . and CRAZY!  We understand that Hollywood has latched on to this story and will be bringing another version of the story to the big screen.  While we’re skeptical, we’re looking forward to the story they tell – Jean likes to collect old books and has a first printing of the novel recording these historic events and has been a huge fan of this story for years.

With 25 days left in our blog goal of trying 365 different wines in 365 days, tonight we’ve locked into a wine that brings out the sweetness in life.  A birthday gift from Misty at Jean’s office – who like us, sometimes picks wines for their names.

A non-vintage moscato from Southeastern Australia called Heart & Soul.  Think of fresh grapes and that’s what Moscato tastes like. The color is pale yellow and there are very fine bubbles. The palate is fruity with a crisp finish.  We enjoyed it as a ‘before dinner’ wine . . . and after a day of 104 degrees, we thought that it was delicious.  Priced at less than $12 a bottle, this crisp, smooth wine will be a perfect welcome for guests dropping by or sitting out back — preferably when the temperature is much lower.  This wine could equally be served with light fruit and dessert.  One of the things about this wine is its crispness in the finish.  Very clean and little or no aftertaste.  All this being said, we’re not totally sold on the varietal; however, if they are starting to make wines like this, we’re going to sit up and start noticing them.

Imagine for a moment that you and four of your friends have just started out on a deep sea adventure on only a raft crafted from balsa wood.  All you have at your disposal are your navigation skills, a compass, some rations and water and the moon to be your guide.  Even the most salty veterans of the ocean will tell you that the voyage of Mr. Heyerdahl is beyond legendary – it’s historical!  So tonight . . . as we continue to enjoy – not Malbec Week, but Shark Week, think about a true explorer, a true adventurous spirit who 66 years ago today landed — for the most part — where he wanted to, just to prove a point.

Kind of like trying 365 different wines  in 365 days–sometimes we have to do things to prove a point!  Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 340: Shark Week . . .

Bass Creek

*Note:  Due to technical difficulties, we weren’t able to publish last evening; so here is the Tuesday evening blog–and we’ll be back tonight with another!

So, do you hear the theme from JAWS playing in your subconscious??? dadadadadada – BOO!  Yessiree Bob – it’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel…OMG, it’s Shark after Shark after Shark.  Must admit, having Daughter #1 under our roof has literally hooked us on SHARK WEEK!!!  What a fun time watching all the movies and docudramas playing out on our TV.

We SO remember going to see JAWS at the theater – Jean had read the book and was mentally prepared for just about every scene……EXCEPT (if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want a spoiler . . . leave the room).  So – onto the scene . . . yes, Jean was so prepared for everything except the head popping out in the middle of the underwater boat scene.  And, Brian went to see it by  himself and was fine until the kid next to him grabbed his arm when the underwater boat scene came around. . .which in turn caused his blood pressure to spike. . .which in turn created a huge rush of adrenaline. . .and the rest of the movie was — well — predictable.

There aren’t many films that end up with their own attraction at Universal Studios–but we’ve been on the ride and had the experience of meeting “Bruce” aka Jaws first hand–it’s actually kind of cool because the exact place where the tram took us was the exact place where “Moses parted the Red Sea” in the 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston.  BUT, in this case we were stranded tourists on a tram from the studio and we got an up close and personal visit from ‘JAWS’!  Brian was holding the camera as we rode through the waters and the picture–while timeless–doesn’t give full appreciation to the moment of ‘impact’!  You can’t make this stuff up!

And so tonight we busted open a fine Zinfandel from the state of California! Yep, who would have thought that we’d open a Zin route, but there seemed to be enough demand that we moved on to different sort of zin…one that isn’t quite as big and bold but still had some flavor.  And since it’s Shark Week, we decided that it was ‘appropriate’ to try Bass Creek Zinfandel from California!  Yep…and you can almost here the theme from JAWS playing in the background.  The wine isn’t going to set you on fire. . .at least it didn’t do that for us.  The nose was a bit bitter. . .not what we’ve come to expect from good Zinfandels.  The initial taste was a bit tart…even tangy…and with little or no fruit to the taste.  As the bottle stayed open, we noticed a green pepper taste packaged with some earthiness and a bit of cedar.  Maybe it was just us but we also picked up on a serious chocolate note. . .and so, we had to pull out some dark chocolate covered almonds!  Ahhh, what better way to enjoy a so-so wine than to enhance with chocolate covered—ANYTHING!  Overall, not the greatest bottle of wine, but at the same time, it did get better as we enjoyed it.

Whether it’s SHARK WEEK or just another manic Tuesday, you’ll want to surround yourself with family and friends and share the good times.  Here in our part of the world it’s hotter than blazes. . .104 today and upwards of 107 to 109 before the weekend. . .whew. . .take a break and enjoy the coolness of the air conditioning!

Remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible – and don’t leave your wine in the car during this heat wave ….. not good for it.

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Day 318: Just When You Thought it was safe . . . Malbec Week Continues!

santa julia malbecDun-ta—Dun-ta—Dun-ta, Dun-ta, Dun-ta. . .AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH — okay, a bit melodramatic, but it illustrates another week of working our way through the Malbec wines that currently are living on the the blog wine rack.  Ya see, as we are out and about we pick up wines that either look interesting, sound interesting or just catch our eyes (yes, sometimes price points and sales do play into our decision to purchase).  As it turns out, we have apparently collected a number of Malbecs – we must admit we don’t necessary keep a record when we purchase . . . but from time to time our history does catch up to us and we find ourselves in a predicament such as this.  Regardless,  we plow forward and make the best of the situation.

So, today wasn’t anything other than just a plain ol’ Monday.  The heat of the last several days came to a short-term end and with wonderful afternoon rains came lower temps – a welcome relief.  Our plans to cook up some fajitas on the grill were dampened by the wetness – but again . . . no complaints – we need this moisture.  It was a great sight to see water rushing down the creek and even a waterfall upstream.

As usual, we digress and spend more time talking about the day than the wine of the day – tonight we opened a 2011 Santa Julia Malbec.  There is no doubt that we love a good Malbec and this little number from Mendoza, Argentina is 100% Malbec.  On the nose it had pleasant aromas of plum, ripe fruit, a little spice and a bit of floral.  On the palate, the wine shows lots of blackberry and plum flavors to create a real fruit bomb.  It’s a pretty soft and smooth wine with a finish that ends with a bit of spice along with lingering blackberry and chocolate notes that seem to go on for an incredibly long time – the chocolate was enhanced by munching on a couple of Hershey’s best.   As it aired out, the flavors – especially the spices seemed to get better and more pronounced.

The price was the best part – under $10.  Again, while it was a good little number – and we’d pick it up on sale – not so sure we’d drive a mile or more out of our way to repurchase.  But – – – if at HEB and it’s still on sale . . . yup, would pick up a bottle or two and share with friends and family.

Welp, more rain on its way and we’ve got an early and busy Tuesday in store.  Have a good evening, and as always, remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.