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Day 123: A New Beginning . . .

Dreaming TreeSo, here we are – 2013.  Wow, seems like just yesterday was 2012 and a dozen years since we sweated the Y2K scare – reminds us of an old Barry Manilow song . . . “Looks like we made it” – there we go, dating ourselves again – but for the record . . . we aren’t really Barry Manilow fans – whew, that felt good to say that.  But, for the record . . . we are Dave Matthews fans (even more now that we’ve found out he is into making wines – more on that in a minute).

Ok, as we said – we’ve survived another year and are looking forward to a new one at our doorstep – we haven’t made alot of resolutions that we aren’t going to keep – that was our resolution this year.  We are going to stick it out with this wine blog and make it to August 31st come rain or shine.  We know the year has some milestones ahead – shortly, Bill aka Jean’s Dad will clock in birthday #85 – this hardly seems possible and we are so blessed to have him a bit closer; in a few weeks, we’ll hit the big 30 (nope, not in age, but in wedded bliss) – that’s a big accomplishment these days and truth be told we’re pretty proud of that; also looming on the horizon is Daughter #1 graduating from college – it is amazing to us that she has gotten older, but we are frozen in time . . . truly a miracle.  We are certain that there will be all kinds of exciting things out there waiting for us, and we know that we are equipped to handle whatever comes our way.

So, to kick start the new year we opened a bottle of wine suggested by Cheryl at Steel Branding (by the way, if you need a great PR/Website/Marketing firm – give them a call) – we really, really like Cheryl because like us, she enjoys good wine (especially reds).  Tonight we opened a North Coast 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Dreaming Tree.  As it turns out Dave Matthews is very involved with this wine (which as mentioned above, makes us like him even more).  In collaboration with Steve Reeder, Dreaming Tree Wines is producing the Cab, a Chardonnay and a blend.  This Cab is value-priced at around $15 a bottle–less if you can find it on sale–but don’t let the low price fool you.  It’s a full-bodied red wine built with food in mind–specifically, grilled food or oven-fired pizza.  We enjoyed it with Brian’s chicken fajitas – a definite bonus!

The nose is subtle, but noticeable, with hints of nutmeg and spice along with bright fruits–primarily, raspberries and cherries.  The taste is smooth, fruity and delicious and the finish is quick, dry but still pleasing.  We’ve had wines that cost double this bottle and don’t deliver the flavor or aroma that Dreaming Tree enjoys.  Clearly, this is a wine that we’ll stock for deck time or family time.  It’s easily available from a wide array of retailers and is now one of our favorites for an everyday wine.  Here is another example of trying a wine that we’d probably never give a second look at, but after trying it, we’ve found another one to really enjoy.

As your New Year gets off to a fast (we hope) start, one of the things that keeps us grounded in not looking too far ahead is in remembering the past.  As mentioned above, there a number of milestones slated for this year, but in order to achieve milestones, we know that you have to “put in your time”.  Translated:  nothing comes quickly or easily.  It’s a hard lesson to learn, but when we turn the page on another year, it’s a great thing to remember.  Enjoying wine is something that we’ve grown to do. . .it wasn’t that way in our younger years, and we’ve visited with a lot of other folks who say the same thing.  So, here’s to 2013 – put on some Dave Matthews Band, open a bottle of 2010 Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, and remember how you got to where you are today – along with where you hope to go tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, we’ll be back with another wine and a story or two leading into it (bound to be one or two since we both have to go back to work after a nice break).  In the meantime, enjoy your wine responsibly and please remember to recycle whenever possible. 


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Day 112: No Place But Texas . . .

Woodrose wineryYep, living in Texas is like a whole different lifestyle.  It can be as frenetic as the metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio or it can be laid back like Luckenbach, Fredericksburg, Kerrville or Stonewall.  There is a mystique about the State because Texas is way more than meets the eye.  We both “grew up” in the Houston area – products of, you guessed it, the oil boom of the early 70’s.  Jean grew up on the west side of town and Brian grew  up on the northwest side of town.  We were in the majority back then – the majority of us had parents transferred to Houston from other areas because of their involvement with oil.  When you come of age in a place like Houston, you adopt certain places, things, ideas, and other parts of life as part of your own.

One of the favorite places for barbecue in Houston is Goode Company.  Jim Goode started his business in an old gas station on Kirby Road.  It was small, cramped and the parking was atrocious, but the barbecue was (and still is) out of this world.  A lunch at the picnic table with a cold bottle of beer or two and back to the office – yep, those were the days when it was acceptable to enjoy a ‘beverage’ at lunch . . . for that matter, we can still remember the “three martini” lunch – it’s gone by the wayside, but it was a real and expected part of business back in the day.  Houston was a great place to grow up in the 70’s – construction was going on everywhere – from Memorial at Dairy Ashford to FM 1960 and Champions Forest Drive, there was something new almost every week.

Back before the baseball season ended, we drove to Houston after work to catch the Cardinals playing the Astros.  Coming in on I-10, we both were kind of blown away – 8 lanes on each side of the freeway!  When we were growing up, especially Jean on that side of Houston, I-10 was two lanes in each direction and three when you got closer to 610!  Times change – today’s I-10 eats up a tremendous amount of real estate that used to be service roads or businesses.  Such is the price of progress . . . that day we drove in for the game, we left San Marcos at 4:28 p.m. and walked into Minute Maid Park at 7:05 p.m.–not bad for a ‘congested’ freeway, and one of the best parts about living in Texas!

So, tonight – on the recommendation, and a gift,  from Cheryl at Steel Branding, we are sampling a 2010 Lone Barrel Reserve from Woodrose Winery of Stonewall, Texas.  Woodrose is one of a significant number of wineries that have opened along the 290 corridor from Fredericksburg to Austin.  It has become it’s own little wine zone which brings people from all over the State to the region.  This bottle of wine is a blend of Merlot and Tempranillo.  An interesting combination – and when you open the bottle, you’re going to be a little surprised.  It’s not deep dark purple.  It’s not a beautiful burgundy.  It’s not even mildly pink.  The wine’s color was almost copper which in typical wine-speak means bad wine.  But, a sniff of the nose cued us into the fact that this wine had some chops.  It’s fruity nature has long since passed – a nose of tobacco and oak was the prevailing aroma with the wine.  A sip and swirl on the palate reveals an amazing amount of dates, the tobacco comes through as does the oakiness.  It’s not a full-bodied wine but it’s not light or medium either – the swirl in the glass showed virtually no legs (sugar).  Clearly, this wine has spent a significant amount of time in oak barrels and for us, oak is a great way to enjoy good wines.  At $21.95, you’re probably going to find a better wine from California, Washington, Oregon or France – BUT, because it’s from Texas, you should at least give it a try.  After all, the Eyes Of Texas Are Upon You!!  Guess we are going to have a make a visit to Woodrose and check it out for ourselves.

Cheryl, many thanks for the gift and recommendation – we were not disappointed.  Until tomorrow, please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly, and remember to recycle whenever possible.