casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 181 – A View from the Top of the Hill

shotfireSix months.

Not that long in terms of a lifetime.  Not that long in terms of adulthood.  Not that long in terms of waiting for NFL training camps to open!

Six months does equal a lot of TIME . . . 181 days equals 4, 344 hours . . . 181 days equals 260,640 minutes. . .181 days equals 15,638,400 seconds, BUT 181 days also equals 181 DIFFERENT bottles of wine – tasted, reviewed and shared!  AND, the best is yet to come!  Yep, we’re now on the downhill side of BJWine365 – and we’re on a roll to try, taste and blog about a different wine every night. . .we’re heading strong for August 31st and it’s going to be here before we know it!

In the past six months, we started right out of the box with a set of amazing wines from Twin Liquors‘ 75th Anniversary Sale.  That sale gave us an affordable foundation for the first 45-60 days of this blog.  By visiting and talking with Patrick from Grape Juice and Peter from The Main in Kerrville; Nathan from Gabriel’s in San Marcos; Andy from Central Market in Austin and several others, we’ve amassed a wide variety of wines, varieties, flavors and countries in our first six months.  Our challenge is still ahead and our resolve is strong . . . no duplicate wine in the next six months. . .only new wines–some from the same vineyards (hey, it helps spread the word!)–some from brand new sources and some from–well, places we’ve never been to before!  A roller coaster you ask?  You bet–but, if the next six months are as fun as the first six months, you’ll be reading about this blog for years to come!  Each day, more and more of you are kind enough to pass along our blog or a link or a Facebook post, and that helps us garner more views and attention.  We’ve been fortunate enough to hear from some of the wine makers who make the wine that we’ve written about, and our hope is to engage even more as time goes on.

Tonight, we went to the land down under . . . being BIG fans of Australian wines, we came across this one at Twin Liquor‘s Dollar Sale.  Since we’ve had good success with wines from the Barossa Valley – they tend to be big and bold – we thought that the 2010 Shotfire Shiraz would be a good way to wrap up the first six months of our blog.  Their comments, “Deep red color, with a lifted and intense nose of blackberry fruit, sweet spice and dark chocolate. The palate is very rich and flavorsome with blackberry and plum fruit.”  Our comments, Yes, the color ws superb–rich, dark red–and the nose was fruity but had a subtle hint of smokiness.  The taste was rich, full of fruit, a slightness of chocolate, but the finish – well, it just didn’t quite measure up to the rest of the wine.  No, it’s a very tasty wine, but don’t expect a “marching band” on the finish.  It’s big, but not so big that you melt into your chair as your sipping on this wine.  We have enjoyed numerous wines from Australia, and we’ve been pretty upfront about our love for the big, bold, in-your-face wines of not only the Barossa Valley but also McLaren Vale.  Since this wine was on sale for less than $15 at Twin, in spite of its’ finish, this one was a winner.  We’d buy it again, but the sale price is about the value we’d place on it. . .much more than that and it has competitors that are better.  Since it’s a 2010, it’s also younger than some of its’ 2009 cousins, so look, taste and decide!

We hope that you’ll stay with us for the next six months.  We’ve searched the blogosphere as well as the wine internet and haven’t found a wine-lover site that has reviewed 365 different wines in 365 days.  The BIG question is, how are we going to find the next six months worth of wine?  Well, we guess you’ll have to keep reading–and hopefully commenting–to see what wines we find to settle our fancy.

Until then, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 113 – It’s In The Mail

Dead Letter OfficeOne of the staples of Christmas’s past, and to a certain extent present is the Christmas Card.  Time was when millions upon millions of cards flooded the bags of mail carriers between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Growing up, we can both remember THE basket that held the treasured cards.  They were acknowledgments from friends, family, former neighbors, former buddies, teachers, preachers, pastors, and so many others.  Some contained letters detailing the entire year’s activities for a certain family, and others had family pictures as the card.  It was fun to see how people changed from one year to the next–and it DID happen!  We can both remember getting 5, 7, 10 cards a day in the mail.  And, this was all before there was any real package mailing going on, so the main thing going through the post office was CARDS.

Today, the internet has completely changed the world of card giving.  As more and more people send electronic cards, electronic invitations and electronic pictures, the need for Christmas Cards becomes less and less.  Yet another ‘holiday institution’ going by the wayside.  Come to think of it, writing letters or any other handwritten correspondence is going by the wayside as well.  Admittedly, sitting down and signing, addressing, stamping and mailing 100 or more cards is, well, time-consuming.  However, with a database of email addresses, with one ‘click’ your message hits everyone on your list with the same generic greeting. . .not unlike a Christmas Card.  Maybe it’s because the personal part of sending the note is gone.  You know, when you signed the card–or someone you knew signed the card and sent it to you, they took the time to write to YOU!  Electronically-speaking, one simple, repetitive message can be sent to as many people as you have email addresses for.  But, it’s the thought that counts!

We’re not saying it’s bad…on the contrary, it’s pretty cool to think that you can send a message and reach a huge number of people with a single click.  But, tonight’s wine–from Australia–details a different part of hand-addressed mail.  Sometimes, the mail is undeliverable–incorrect address; incorrect return address; no return address; no address–there a huge number of reasons why some mail can’t be delivered, and in Australia, the Dead Letter Office is the place such mail comes to. . .for only here can a postal employee actually open a piece of mail with the sole purpose being to find a clue as to where it is supposed to be delivered.  Obviously, opening someone else’s mail is a federal offense, but in Australia, they’ve got it figured out.  So, we salute those folks who have to translate our ‘chicken scratch’ of handwriting in order to find where the piece should be delivered.

This 2008 Dead Letter Office Shiraz from Henry’s Drive is so big, bold and beefy, we wished we’d have taken it with us for dinner.  This is a widely-recognized wine with most of the better wine reviewers rating this between 89-92 points.  The nose is beautiful–you get a nice aroma of oak with lots and lots of fruit–mainly black cherry, currants and a slight hint of almond.  Swirling this wine in the glass only helped open it more and what an amazing scent there is.  The taste is so silky smooth, you forget that you’re drinking wine.  It’s finish is very long and fruitful. . .this wine is a terrific way to celebrate the holidays!  We only wish we had gotten more!  It’s available at World Market and is under $23 a bottle, but with their sale going on right now, we were in the $18 range. . .well worth the money for a big, tasty wine like this, but you’d better hurry because they’ll close early on Christmas Eve and then you’ll have to wait until after Christmas to enjoy it!

We noted that we’ve received fewer Christmas cards this year; probably because we’ve sent out fewer and fewer as the years have gone on.  Christmas Cards is one of those traditions that is great to remember from the past, but it’s doubtful that it will survive the future.  But, if it does survive, it’s good to know that people in the Dead Letter Office will be there to make sure as many of the poorly addressed cards get to their destination as is possible.

As for you, enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.