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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 334: A Mixed Bag . . .

Rock WallWe are a bit tardy tonight (or should we say, this morning) – it was just a wild and wooly day around these parts.  Most importantly, young Master Luke, whom we blogged about the other night, had his skull surgery and to quote his parents . . . “So many things today went “better than expected” (quoting Luke’s awesome surgeon). It has completely changed his outcome. We have learned so much in four years. Praise God for modern medicine and you for some serious love and prayers.”  Thank to each of you for your support of him.

Our day was spent venturing cross-country to Kerrville to spend the day working on our house there.  Gotta tell ya, it is truly amazing to us what little regard some people have to something that really doesn’t belong to them.  As Brian exclaimed at least half a dozen times today as we went through the house, “Really? Why would they do that?”  Even though we were there over the weekend, we really didn’t roam too much since they were still technically living there and in the process of moving out – knew we’d have the chance like we did today.  Probably THE most surprising this was in regards to the dishwasher.  Why does one feel the need to cut the buttons off the control panel of the dishwasher – with an exacto blade?  And, why does one feel the need to peel the other buttons of the dishwasher so they, too, can eventually be cut off?  Why would someone buy drip pans for a two-year old cooktop?  Why would the same two-year old cooktop have MELTED temperature knobs?  Why would you break up a coffee table and leave it in the outdoor fire pit? Why would you use Mop N Glo on laminate…and tile?  Why would you use a filthy rag to clean your windows . . . the list goes on.  These and other life’s questions are difficult to answer . . . causing us to simply shake our heads and move on.

Tonight, being a late night – yes, that drive back through SA seemed extra long this evening, we sipped a new wine when we arrived back in SM.  It’s a 2011 Zinfandel from Rock Wall Winery in Alameda, California.  How appropriate that after a day of spreading mulch, painting tile grout and door frames (hopefully no body at work will notice the paint flecks under our nails that won’t wash off) cleaning floors, wiping down windows and picking up trash. . .we too have hit a rock wall.  This wine is nothing to get excited about.  A fairly blah nose gave way to some fruity taste on the palate, but the finish was too quick — especially on a night when a long, luxurious finish would have soothed us!  The color and texture of the wine is excellent–a deep dark purple and the swirl in the glass was impressive.  There were some hints of chocolate, some slight notes of cedar and other than that, we’d hardly known that we’d opened a bottle of wine.  To be fair, because we had hit our rock wall of work on the house, the 2011 Rock Wall Zinfandel may be better than we’re giving credit.  Pick up a bottle and you decide!

It kinda stinks when something that you own has been disrespected.  It really stinks when something you own has been broken or altered and instead of being told, “hey, we kind of had a problem here and so this happened.”  No, we have to find out about it by ourselves.  It just goes to show that there are all kinds of people in this world.  We are FAR from perfect but have a respect for other’s belongings.  Too bad some other folks don’t.

Have a good day today and enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 324: A Gentle Reminder . . .

Silver Oak 2006

Tonight’s blog was written by Jean’s co-worker, Scott.  Scott has guest blogged for us before and meets all the requirements we have – aka . . . he appreciates good wine and partakes on a regular basis.  For the record, on Day 63 we did blog about 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley – but tonight’s wine was a 2006 from Napa Valley – BIG difference. If you are a constant reader of our blog, you will recognize tonight’s theme as it has played out time and time again – bottom line  . . . every day is the perfect day to open a bottle of “the good stuff”, or as Partick says . . . “Life’s too short not to drink good wine – – – ya just never know”.  So, thanks again to Scott for “taking one for the team” – and to Margaret and Lance for hitting the road and checking out parishes in the Diocese of Austin . . . we are waiting for you to come our way – we’ll open “the good stuff” for you as well

Today was a good day!

It’s not often that we say that anymore. Usually life is filled with getting from one party to another, some sort of sporting event, or even a summer camp. Life at our house is generally fairly busy with five kids.

Today was a good day because it felt like we got a few things done and topped it off with some good family time, good friends and some good wine.

The day started with pancakes for the kids our niece, who is visiting from Alabama. There is just something American with pancakes and a cup of coffee in the morning.

I was able to finish that lingering bathroom project, mow the lawn, talk to my boys on the front lawn about sports and attend Mass this evening at our local parish.

Mass was special, it always is though with Jesus present, but tonight was way cool since my office assistant and her husband made it to Mass at our new church. It was great to see their smiles when we walked into the sanctuary. After a brief hello after Mass, we caught them on the way out and asked if they wanted to come over for a drink. Uh…..YES!

We arrived back at our home and immediately opened up a bottle of 2006 Silver Oak. Yeah, Yeah….we know this is a good bottle of wine and we all know what people say about it…it’s pricy….probably would make the Bondy deck wine list (if you could find it on sale)…you can really taste the spiciness…it lingers on the palate…

This post is not about the wine tonight but more about the sharing of good wine with good friends. You see, wine is meant to be consumed…preferably with friends. In the brief moments we shared together, the wine was really an afterthought, it was all about LIFE! We told stories, laughed, talked about the kids, discussed Aggie football, shared our faith and just enjoyed our time together.

So please, don’t save that good bottle of wine for a special day. Today is good day…open that bottle of wine some friends and enjoy life. It is always way too short.

Scott, thanks again for your help – remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.  Look out Monday, here we come . . . ready or not!

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Day 232: Sometimes You Gotta Slow Down . . .

cote EST catalanSpringtime is probably the favorite season around here.  The trouble is that for the last few years springtime has been interrupted (rather rudely) by summer.  Temperatures in the 90’s in April is no way to ‘enjoy’ spring.  Fortunately, this year has given us a pause for celebration.  Yes, we’ve had some days of heat–but you expect that living in Texas–but we’ve been blessed with some cool fronts that have been coming through lowering temperatures to spring-like degrees!  Today was one of those days.  A very cool start to the morning–gave way to an amazing day of full sunshine, a nice breeze, no humidity and virtually no bugs!  If it got above 74 degrees (F) we’d be surprised and quite frankly, we could care less.  When you can sit on the deck for the better part of the day, listening to music and enjoying conversation.  Well, it’s really tough to beat – especially after the week that it has been.

Last night, Sam and Elaine came into town . . . Elaine is presiding over a friend’s wedding tonight and they needed a place to crash for the weekend.  Elaine is the youngest daughter of fellow wine lovers and travelers, P & L . . . we consider their family like our family, so if they need a place . . . we are ready to host!  For all of us, the day was lazy – but relaxing, and relaxing – but just enough things to keep us occupied!  A little yard work, a little television, a little reading, a little nap – they all played a part on a beautiful Saturday in San Marcos – which was of course followed by a nice evening on the deck – with finally . . . a fire in the pit!

Since we were sitting outside and enjoying a beautiful day, we pulled a really, really nice white wine – yes, that’s right Kathryn – and we automatically thought of you, a White Wine!!  Lafage Cote Est Catalan is a delightful white wine gem from the Roussillon wine region of southwestern France. The wine’s official appellation is Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes. Deep in this Catalan region of southwestern France, Domaine Lafage blends juicy, aromatic wines that deliver the rare combination of distinctiveness and affordability. Although only in his thirties, Jean-Marc Lafage already has almost 15 years of world-class winemaking to his credit.  Lafage Cote Est Catalan is an unoaked blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Marsanne. Super crisp and tank-fermented, this racy white is bursting with citrus, white flowers and minerals. Juicy on the palate, dry but ripe with good apricot and yellow peach fruit character. It is long and flavorful on the finish.  Pure and simple this wine rocks!  We enjoyed it on the deck – by itself, but it could easily have made chicken or fish or grilled veggies taste even better.  Priced under $12 a bottle – and available at H-E-B . . . you can afford to buy 6 or 12 of these gems and save them for your friends.  We couldn’t stop raving about how good this wine tasted.  It’s a white wine . . . that because of this blog – we’ll enjoy many more times (Leah, yes another one for the “do-over” list).

Speaking of enjoying . . . we hope that you got outside today – wherever you are.  And, whether it was raining, snowing, windy or sunny, there’s something special about April.  The rains last week-though sparse-have paid huge dividends in greenery around town . . . and when things are green in the spring, you just feel better.

We also hope that you’ll enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and as always, please recycle whenever possible.

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Day 225: A Little Help From a Friend . . .

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon bottle Shot5

Thanks to Scott for pinch hitting for us tonight!

So my friend and co-worker Jean and her husband Brian came up with this idea to try a wine a day for 365 days and blog about it. She has been bugging (Jean note here – gently asking, not bugging!) me for about 200+ days to guest blog….I guess one can get tired of a wine a day every day…nah, not Brian and Jean.

So while they were out in Waco tonight for ANOTHER Catholic school gala, I decided to surprise them and give them the night off!

Today was one of those days that you looked at on the calendar and thought, Whoa Nelly! It is a classic Saturday at my house! I have five children twelve and under. The weekend started with a 14 twelve-years-olds at our house for an Avengers party. It was great and I was so happy to see my oldest son cling to his childhood just a bit longer.

Saturday started off with first communion practice for my 9-year old. She is so excited about it next weekend. Then I took two of the kids with me to the ordination of 11 men to be Deacons. What an awesome moment in time to see these Holy men take their vow of obedience and pledge to serve this diocese. Our Bishop remarked on our Holy Father, Pope Francis and his words about service. “Let us never forget that authentic power is service,” he said. “Only those who serve with love are able to protect.”

My wife, Kathryn, met me in the parking lot and we exchanged kids. My second son, John Paul, changed into his baseball clothes in the car and we were off to this game. He went 2-2, 2 singles, scored twice, and 1 2/3 inning of middle relief. He was very happy. Meanwhile, Kathryn, headed off to our daughter’s soccer game that started about an hour later. They ended up in a tie 2-2. Mom said she played great…but she always says that!

We all ended up at home about 4:30 and we all looked at each other and said, “Wanna order pizza?” I ran off to grab the pizza and found this nice little 2011 Cabernet from McManis Family Vineyards at HEB for $9.99. It looked like the perfect compliment for a family pizza night.

Immediately upon opening and the first pour I was impressed the color. Can’t you just tell from the color if the wine is going to be good? It just looked rich and the color was dark maroon (then again, everything is maroon to this Aggie!) Did I mention the Aggies played in the Maroon and White spring football game today? Only 140 days until college football…..but I digress….

I immediately experienced smoke and pepper on the nose. I did sense a hint of berry but not as much as the wine maker said. It had a nice finish and lingered on the palate a good amount of time. All in all, it was a great pairing with pizza and for under $10 a bottle; I could definitely classify this as a deck wine according to the Bondy standards.

Thanks Jean and Brian for letting me crash your party for a few minutes. Y’all have a blessed week and visit for more details about this crazy life we lead.

Scott – we are very thankful for the help tonight – one more gala on the docket tomorrow night and our string of four are finished for at least a little bit!  If you get a chance, check out the site above that Scott mentioned – the Whitaker clan is a super neat family and we are blessed to know them!

Enjoy the remaining minutes of this Saturday night and as always – remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible!

Whitaker Pizza

What a great looking pizza at Scott’s house – sure looks better than the chicken we had tonight!


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Day 91: Break On Through To The Other Side . . .

barbed wireThree months ago, we had this wild idea of tasting and writing about 365 different wines in 365 days.  Oh sure, when you’re all in the rage, it’s easy to say, “C’mon, we can DO this!”  But, as time begins to flow through the hour glass, one realizes that perhaps we’ve bitten off just a bit more than we can chew.  But, here we are 90 days plus one into our drive to try an amazing 365 different wines.  For those of you who have been reading with us from the beginning, we have — for the most part — stayed true to our word.  Yes, we’ve had a few days where the post was JUST  A BIT late – through no fault of our own, of course.  But, if you look at the calendar, there have been 91 days since this whole thing started and there are –soon — to be 91 different wines.  It’s like negotiating through a barbed wire fence.  If we stop for even a moment to lift our heads up to see where we are going, who knows what kind of havoc we could wreak!

Last night’s Naked Chardonnay post garnered a lot of attention – it seems that a gauntlet thrown at the feet of Kathryn W. garnered us a few readers – thanks for posting up.  And, another one from earlier this week, received a nod from our good friend (and resident Kerrville historian) Joe Herring, Jr.  Thanks for sending the poster of the “Fab Four” . . . great memories.  Over the past 90 days, we’ve tried some amazing wines – both red and white.  We’ve also had some DOGS!  Before the 365th day has come and gone, we’re pretty sure that there will be more dogs, probably some cats and who knows what other animals that may be out there!

Tonight we opened and tasted a 2010 Barbed Wire Meritage . . . thus the previous mention about the barbed wire — ;-)–everything ties back to something, right?  Anyway, this little doozie came to us from our recent visit to Max’s Wine Dive in San Antonio.  You probably would never guess that this wine is from the folks at Sutter Home – that’s right, the same folks who bring  you the immortal, Sutter Home White Zinafandel!  Overall, this wine has a beautiful color; dark purple, very thick and juicy.  The nose gave us toasted oak – almost an almond scent which partnered with an earthiness.  The initial taste was green peppery but that gave way to a fruitiness of black cherry, raspberries and currants.  The finish was, well, it was just there.  Nothing to write home about.  In fact, as we researched more about this wine, the 2009 reviewed almost identically to the 2010.  For a wine that retails right at $20 a bottle, we’d probably opt for something else, especially if we could find something from a boutique winery as opposed to a monolith.  Don’t get us wrong, the wine tasted fine, but for the investment, we’d probably opt for something bigger, bolder and NOT as well known.  A nice Zinfandel from Adelaida is a good starting point.  Anyway, this wine is yet another reason why we feel compelled to sample so many different wines . . . we won’t even scratch the surface in 365 days compared to the sheer number of wines on the market.

However, should you run into the proverbial “brick wall” or as we’re calling it tonight, the “barbed wire fence”, then having a wine that recognizes what’s ahead is very important.  This Meritage is worth trying; especially if you’ve never had it before.  We think that if you’ve had it in the past, you’ll probably opt for something different–which we’ll deal with tomorrow night.  Thanks for being with us during the past 90—we mean, 91 days.  Three months down and ONLY nine more to go!  We can do this with your help–please feel free to pass this blog on to folks you know that enjoy wine.  We aren’t saying that we know a lot about wine, but we ARE saying that we’ll tell you exactly how we feel about a specific wine.  It’s a tough job, but SOMEBODY’s got to do it!

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

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Day 90: For Kathryn . . .

Today was a GREAT day – mainly for Jean because of the way a late afternoon work meeting fell she was home not only before dark, but well before 5:30 p.m. – YEAH!!!!!  This is a rare occasion given her daily commute to Austin.  Even better was the fact that Brian shut his office down early to make the Chamber parking lot available for “Sights and Sounds of Christmas” here in San Marcos.  Indeed a great way to start a Thursday evening – a prelude to the weekend.

As you have probably figured out, we like wine – specifically red wine – but, we know that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and try something new – for the team . . . or in this case, Kathryn.  You see, Jean’s boss’s wife is a HUGE fan of white wine and has been known to in recent months to give us a rasher for not trying enough white wine.  In fact on Day 17 we featured a requested wine by Kathryn (after a throwdown challenge of putting on our big boy and girl panties and tasting a white wine – still waiting for your input on another – perhaps at Vino Vino later this month?) and decided that tonight we should venture back into the land of white wine.

We plucked a 2009 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay out of the rack to sample this evening.  We must admit, we’ve had this one before on numerous occasions and actually consider it one of our all-time favorite white wines.  Kathryn – you should try this one, although it might be a little non-too sweet for you.  Scouts honor, we will sample a major sweet type wine for you before Christmas arrives.

So, back to tonight’s WOC (new term – Wine Of Choice) – when we made our first trip to Paso many, many years ago we discovered Four Vines winery – in fact if memory serves us, it was our FIRST stop on the trip and most memorable.  As mentioned, we are not fans of sweet and buttery wines – so this wine caught us a bit off guard since it was a Chardonnay.  “Naked” as we quickly learned meant the wine was aged in stainless steel barrels and not oak – thereby giving it a non- theater popcorn “buttery taste” and much more of a crisp note on the palate.  The nose on this little gem is best described as a crisp, concentrated Chardonnay with all its natural acid.  The taste is pure apple, white peach, and pear, finishing long with hints of citrus and mineral.  It won’t disappoint whether serving with food or just sipping on a warm afternoon.  Make sure you chill it beyond belief and then enjoy as the flavors change as it warms up.  This is a great little wine for the deck, the dining room table or even the living room couch – it just works anytime – anywhere.  We’ve sampled it with pizza, fish, beef and just cheese and crackers – anything goes.

The cost for this wine is very reasonable – we find it at World Market for under $11 a bottle, and with our nifty thrifty discount card the price goes down even more.  So, our advice to you is pick up a couple of bottles to keep in the fridge and have handy when the “white wine” mood strikes you – we promise you it’s a refreshing wine that  you won’t regret buying, opening and pouring.

As we wrap up Thursday and zip into Friday and the end of the week, please remember to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.  And more importantly – be willing to take one for the team and raise a glass to good friends who encourage you to try new things – tip of the hat to you, Kathryn!

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Day 49 – Friday Night Whites . . .

In this part of the world, Friday night means high school football – and LOTS of it.  From the time  you’re in school, it becomes a part of your life.  Oh, there are those who want nothing to do with it, instead saying that they don’t like football or don’t have a reason to follow football, but in reality, football is king.  Brian still remembers as a high school freshman (back in the ‘dark ages’) the early dismissals for pep rallies.  Being new to Texas, he thought it was a chance to get home early, only to find out that the bus didn’t leave until the pep rally was over!  By the time Junior and Senior years came around, it was get to the pep rally early to get the best seats!  Along the way to the gym, he still remembers seeing the freshman heading for the buses!  And, while Fridays mean football around here, so do Saturdays and Sundays.

There are big games on tap for college football including Texas A & M against Louisiana State (Bring home a winner Scott and Kathryn); South Carolina at Florida; Arizona at UCLA; Texas State at San Jose State and a myriad of others.  And of course, Sundays bring the pros to the forefront where the Rams (the only game on in this house) host the Green Bay Packers .  .  .  and many others.  It’s a special time of the year when the sun goes down a little earlier and the time is ideal for enjoying another great pastime – baseball.  Now, you know we’ve blogged about the St. Louis Cardinals before, but when we get to October, baseball becomes a totally different game.  Who would have thought that the Detroit Tigers would sweep the weak-hitting New York Yankees in four games for the American League Championship?  At the same time, no one expected the Cardinals to even make the postseason let alone a three games to one lead in the National League Championship Series.  It’s part of what makes baseball such an amazing game–you really don’t know what’s going to happen.

So tonight we’re enjoying a 2010 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay (a white in your honor Kathryn) from Mendocino County, California.  This inexpensive wine is a perfect way to wrap up the week and sit back to watch some championship baseball.  It’s nose is fruity with a tropical flare – lending some apricots and papaya notes.  On the taste, there is a juicy, lemon and grapefruit combination and the finish is crisp and clean.  Amazingly, we’ve enjoyed this white wine on a number of occasions and really enjoy the taste .  .  . as we aren’t your traditional Chardonnay lovers.  We’d prefer to skip the buttery madness of most Chards and go right to the fruit – typically fermented in stainless steel instead of oak barrels.  This wine will run for less than $12 a bottle and is on sale for $9-$11 depending on your favorite wine shop.

As you settle in for your Friday night white, you’ll want to try this unoaked (meaning it was aged in stainless barrels, not oak)  Chardonnay.  As we settle into our Friday night white, we’ll enjoy it watching the Cardinals battle the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLCS and unabashedly, we are hoping to see the Cardinals head back to the World Series for the second year in a row .  .  . (update–) but unfortunately we’ll be waiting until Game 6 on Sunday night from San Francisco.

Have a great evening and day tomorrow, and remember to enjoy your Friday night white (and reds) responsibly and please recycle whenever possible.