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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 356: It’s About Time . . .

Tappas Wine CollectionAnd here we sit–T-Minus 9 . . . about 12 months ago, we got this hair-brained idea that we, yes . . . we, the then 53 old, self defined “old farts” decided that we should do a wine blog . . . you know, we’d watched Julie & Julia one too many times and, oh, what a great idea – blog about a different wine EVERY night for a year.  Yeah, we know . . . blah, blah, blah – but, truth be told – we were gamers.  Yup, we thought silently — and then aloud. . . . oh, heck – this will be easy, doing something we enjoy (tasting wine) . . . we are so in!

BUT…like all things in life, the truth of the matter is . . . we’ve just ’bout run out of the will to finish.  It was fun in September. . .even better in October when we took a trip to Paso Robles, California.  November was a delight but December just wasn’t right. . .January came and went and February seemed spent.  March roared in like a lion but by April we’d begun cryin’. May and June weren’t easy and July made us feel queasy.  So here we are in August and the finish line is just ahead, all we’re hoping is that when we get there, no one’s feeling dead!!

Tonight we opened a 2009 Tempranillo from Alicante, Spain.  “The Tapas Wine Collection” Tempranillo–it’s got an imposing name and an equally graphic label. Tempranillo is a variety of red grape that is widely grown in Spain to produce full-bodied red wines. It has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since Phoenician times. Tempranillo wines are often characterized by a dark ruby color with aromas and flavors of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla leather and herbs.  Interesting fact: Tempranillo is the most widely planted red grape variety in Spain.  And while the preferred foods would be red meat, spicy foods, cured meats and cooked vegetables, we opted for a more traditional Dominos Pizza!  On a Thursday night, after a Business After Hours for Brian and extended office time for Jean, the thought of cooking something to match the wine–well, it JUST wasn’t happening!  However, that said, the pizza turned out to be the perfect complement to the wine.  A Dominos Extravaganza which DID have cured meat and cooked vegetables was the ideal pairing for us with this wine.  Priced at around $11 a bottle, you’re NOT going to confuse this wine with a bottle of Clio from the same year. . .OH NO, not even close; however, you may think you’ve stumbled upon something because it has a 2009 vintage, and those year’s wines are getting harder and harder to find.  A pick up from our recent visit to World Market, if you’re in the mood for a nice, smoky Tempranillo, then by all means get a  hold of this bottle.  However, if you looking for long and smooth to be a part of the conversation, with all due respect, you’ll probably look elsewhere.

So, maybe–just maybe–we’re a bit melodramatic in our journey.  Surely, if it was that BAD, we’d have abandoned our quest long ago.  And the short answer to that would be ‘you’re right’.  There have been a number of times when we thought that it would be best to stop it in our tracks and be done with it.  What motivated us to continue?  What motivates anyone to continue?  Never quitting!  By golly, we’re going to make this happen!  It’s like the character of General Custer in the movie, “Night At The Museum, Battle of The Smithsonian”…”We’re Americans, we don’t think, we DO!”  Yeah. . .kind of like that!

We hope you’ll stay with us for the rest of the blog. . .actually, you can help us by passing it on to friends and family. . .we’d love to get more folks reading just in time to stop!  No! Not really, but it sounded good!  AND, if you’ve been with us from the start or any portion of the journey, help us by sharing your thoughts about a Top Ten List-if you’ve enjoyed some of the wines we’ve written about, tell us about your thoughts and which ones should be on the BJWINE365 Wall of Fame!

Thanks for staying with us; enjoy your next bottle of wine responsibly and remember to recycle when you’re done.



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Day 240 – Radio Days

radio boca

There is no doubt that times change.  We’ve admitted on several occasions that we’re a little biased towards things in the past.  Now, please understand that even as we ‘age’ we still understand that the future is always going to be about change.  It’s the natural order of things.  However, when it comes to the medium of radio, we’ve seen a LOT of changes over the years.  Consider that in the 1960’s, AM radio was the ONLY radio.  Your choices were AM Radio, 45 rpm singles and 33 1/3 rpm albums…some still remember 78 rpm albums as well.  Reel to reel tape decks were only for the wealthiest of music enthusiasts.  AM Radio. . .when DJ’s ruled the airwaves and a singer or group could make it or break it depending on a DJ’s decision.  Many were the artists that camped out at radio station studios for the ‘chance’ to get on the air.  Depending on where you lived, you could pick up an AM station from miles away. . .say, living in the Chicago area and picking up KMOX out of St. Louis–and those Cardinals broadcasts!  How many can remember listening for the chance to call in to win tickets to this concert or that. . .a chance to go back stage or be picked up and chauffeured to the show?

The 70’s brought about the advent of ‘album rock’ and on the FM side of the dial, there was more music with fewer interruptions–mainly because so few people had FM radios–and less ‘personality’ than their AM brethren.  Some of the most remembered music of that generation was played on FM–Steely Dan, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones. . .and so many others that had followings found their fan base growing because of repetitive play on FM.  Added to the mix during this time was the wildly popular–but short-lived–eight track tapes followed closely by cassette tapes.  As FM grew in popularity, AM’s stronghold on the listening audience waned–significantly.  FM Radio would go on to dominate listener appeal. . .until Compact Discs arrived.  Suddenly, that crisp, studio quality sound was available in home and automotive audio.  Something that was originally reserved for only the wealthiest of listening affecionados was now available to anyone that wanted it.  An amazing transformation that has continued to evolve to this day.

Tonight we opened a 2011 Radio Boca Tempranillo from Valencia Spain.  This is a young fruity wine; it’s a medium-body but has nice color and a wonderful nose upon opening.  Priced at less than $11 a bottle, we were surprised by the taste, the structure and complexity of the wine.  As fans of tempranillo, we thought that as young as it is, we probably weren’t going to get a lot of the fruitiness, but instead were extremely impressed with what we tasted.  There is an earthiness to the wine as well, it’s something you’d expect from a well vinted Spanish wine.  Clearly, this wine isn’t going to wind up in cellars for the next 50 years, but it is going to make a great Sunday afternoon even better!  We served ours with grilled Portobello mushrooms and sautéed vegetables, and it was a great combination.  We picked this little wine up at World Market in Bryan – while a light wine – we’d more than likely pick up another bottle at the sale price of under $10 . . . probably wouldn’t pay much more than that.

With iPods, iPads, iPhones, Smartphones, MP3 players, Sirius/XM Satellite radio and SO MANY other choices available for music, we harken back to the days of AM Radio and the beginnings of FM Radio.  Sometimes, you can have too many choices. . .leaving you without a clear preference . . .and the choices may not be what you really want.  We remember–going to SFA in Nacogdoches–Nocturne 92.1 FM–the mellow sound in a college town!!  Wow, that’s WAY too much information!

Here’s to a new week – Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 108: It’s Called Comfort Food For A Reason . . .

Piggy Bank Tempanillo 2011

It’s kind of funny . . . truth be told, take turns writing our blogs because it keeps our perspectives fresh, and the stories we tell come from our hearts – as we know them.  So, for tonight’s blog, the story is about one of Jean’s favorite dinners.  We have to admit that when you cook a roast in the crock pot with carrots and potatoes and onions all simmering in a beefy onion soup mixture for eight or nine hours, and you come home after work – open the door. . .oh, my goodness, the aroma!  Yep, there is something very comforting about the aroma of a crock pot roast with vegetables, corn and lots of gravy.  While it’s not a dish that  we’d prepare in the middle of summer, it’s ideal for a winter dish, and with winter set to begin this Friday, well, we jumped the gun – but with good reason.

Crock pot roasts are the stuff of legends in our household – both of the girls have, at their own times, wanted to have friends over to share in this amazing culinary delight.  No, it’s not something that requires a lot of preparation (unless you can’t peel potatoes!), but it does need a lot of time to cook.  For a two pound roast with potatoes and carrots and onions tossed in, you can count on a minimum of eight hours of cooking time . . . which is why the slower the cooking the better the meal.  In the case of the crock pot roast, it gets better and better as the hours tick away . . . tonight’s version/meal was started before 8 this morning and the gravy was made around 6:30 this evening.  It was, in a word, DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

So, we decided to open a wine that came from our H-E-B collection of discount wines, and is widely available, thus a little-known wine from Spain – a 2011 Tempranillo from Piggy Bank!  We have to admit, the name got us first, but the wine was no laughing matter.  Even as young as this tempranillo is, it has a lot to offer wine lovers.  We agreed that this wine was Deep purple with a crimson rim. On the nose, this wine has pronounced red summer fruits with warm, well integrated vanilla notes. The palate is medium to full bodied with lush red fruits, creamy oak and smooth tannins. All in all a succulent and satisfying wine with a long finish.  Admittedly, this is a young wine.  The nose is good, and the taste is – well, it’s just plain young!  But, we know that it has the ability to get better as time goes on.  The wine maker, Norrel Robertson MW, is in fact Scottish and the bodegas know him as “El Escocés Volante” (The Flying Scotsman). He is the one and only Master of Wine based in Spain.  We were interested enough to try this wine and while it was a good wine – it wasn’t a great wine.  We think that it needs more time in the bottle to smooth out the tannins, but both of us agree that this wine has a lot of potential.  However, in all fairness, we’d probably opt for a California syrah over this wine – – BUT, if you’re looking to try something ‘outside the box’ then you should try this wine.  If you’re a traditionalist at heart, then go to a different aisle and pick out something else!

It’s funny how we find comfort in certain things.  Food.  Wine. Clothing. Home. The Holidays.  For us, all of those comforts are converging at one time and we’re pretty excited about it!  We hope that whatever food that provides comfort for you, can be enjoyed with your favorite wine.

And as the holidays approach at a blistering pace, we want you to not only enjoy your favorite foods, but also your enjoy your favorite wine, but please enjoy it responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.