casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday


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Day 329: A Visit from the Godfather . . .

La SegretaEnjoying good wine can be an expensive hobby – which is why we really, really, really like when we find a good wine on sale.  Tonight we opened one more of the bargain wines that Jean found at Twin Liquors in Kyle last weekend.  That’s right, we are talking $10 closeout shelf wine – and while sometimes this experiment in frugalness (is there such a word?) backfires, tonight we reaped the benefits of a sale wine tasting really good.

After a long and busy week – Brian had a couple of work events and Jean a couple of day drives for work and one night meeting – tonight we decided to just kick back and relax and do a whole lotta nuthin’.  Brian fired up the grill and we enjoyed a link of our all-time favorite sausage from Krolczyk’s in Hempstead.  Tucked away at an Exxon gas station off the beaten path, Krolczyk’s offers up a great line of processed meats and sausage.  We’ve written about this place before and strongly encourage all to stop in for a look-see.  Do not let the fact that they sell gas, bait and tackle scare you off. 

When you open the doors of the market – WOW, WOW, WOW – the smells just jumps out from behind the counter and demands that you take something home.  Our favorite is the link sausage and dried beef jerky – spiced up to perfection.  Brian and D#1 stopped on way home this past Monday and picked up some goodies for Casa del Vino and a few other special people.  Again, stop by next time you are out and about on 290 heading into Houston.

So, we digress – back to the wine.  Tonight we popped the cork on a 2006 La Segreta from Sicily.  Produced by the Planeta family and not just part of one winery, but many.  Since the 1600’s the Planeta family has owned an estate at Sambuca di Sicilia.  Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians – Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta – began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s.  Have to be honest, we kept waiting for Vito or Michael Corleone to knock on the door and demand to come in to partake of a glass or two . . . it’s that Italian.

The wine itself was very surprising.  Initially the color was questionable – a bit of a bronze hue that usually spells trouble for the taster – but given a minute or two, it changed and really turned into a nice deep red (amazing what a little bit of oxygen can do!).  An interesting mix of wines – 50% Nero d’Avola, 25% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc – combined together to create a super glass.  On the nose we were greeted with an explosion of fresh fruit – mostly raspberry, cherry and prune – and something else in the spice world caught our sniffers.  On the palate we got more berry, especially that raspberry with a warm roasted nutty taste tossed in for good measure.  The finish was quite the surprise – a long, smooth taste of chocolate and coffee combined with some acids from the berries made things just darn good.  Have to admit, this one was good – just might have to pop up to Kyle and see if there is any more on the “bargain shelf”.

So, as we check another week off the list – can it really be July 26? – we wish you good tidings and a fun weekend and as always encourage you to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.


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Day 76: A Cut Above . . .

Back in 2008, we enjoyed a superb trip to Napa and Sonoma in California, and one of the tasting rooms we visited was at Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estates Vineyard.  Most people who enjoy wine know that Mr. Coppola has been in the wine making business for close to thirty years.  Let’s face it, wine making takes money and very few people other than those who are extremely successful have the money to A.) buy a vineyard and/or B.) make wine.  Even here in Texas, most of the new wine makers are Doctors – Neurologists – Radiologists, etc . . .  Why?  Because they have the capital assets to make the investment.  Wine making is NOT for the faint of heart.   The weather – rain, or lack of it, wind, sun, or too much of it, too cool, too hot – not enough days above this temperature or too many days below that temperature .  .   .the grapes weren’t harvested on time; they were harvested too early .  .  . we could go on and on.  And we aren’t even in the business.  The bottom line is that it IS a business and it takes MONEY to make the business go.

We digress – – the tasting room at Mr. Coppola’s Rubicon Estates is in a word – AWESOME.  A two-story building right out of – you guessed it, a Hollywood movie!  In fact, it’s SO out of a Hollywood movie, that on the second floor of the building is a late 1940’s model Tucker automobile in mint condition.  You movie buffs may recall a movie that Mr. Coppola made in the mid-1980’s starring Jeff Bridges as Tucker, The Man and His Machine.  We’re pretty sure that of ALL the Tucker’s left in existence, Mr. Coppola owns the majority of them.  The movie, while biographically significant, didn’t fare all that well at the box office.  We’ve watched it a number of times and find it fascinating from a historical perspective.  Imagine .  .  . the “Big 3” Automakers trying to put someone out of business?  Anyway, this film is, in our opinion, Mr. Coppola’s nod to the passion of perfection.  Our guess is that he has used this mantra in the wines that come from his vineyards.

Today, Mr. Coppola has a significant variety of wines .  .  . their basic entries are the “Coppola” labels; their mid-level wines are the “Director’s Cut” and their premium wines are the ‘Rubicon Estates’.  When we enjoyed their tasting room, we sampled the mid-level and premium wines which is what led us to this evening’s sampling.  Tonight we enjoyed a 2009 Director’s Cut Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.  This is a beautiful wine – which is available at H-E-B for less than $17 a bottle.  If you like a good Zinfandel or you’ve NEVER tried a Zinfandel, this may be your wine of choice.  The nose on this one is so subtle–the pepper and spice; the cranberry and currants; the cinnamon and nutmeg – – WOW, what a combination!  The taste was every bit as delicious as the nose was enticing.  An amazing taste of fruit with a hint of oak–a smooth taste that we paired with roasted potatoes and grilled pork tenderloin.  You won’t have to go to Hollywood for this wine or even audition to buy it.

One of our all-time favorite movies – directed by Mr. Coppola – is The Godfather.  It’s a cinema classic that has stood the test of time.  Tonight’s sampling of the 2009 Director’s Cut Zinfandel is a classic that has the potential to withstand the test of time.  It’s delicious, affordable and ready for enjoying right now.

Please remember that whether you enjoy this wine or any others, enjoy them responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.