casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 192: Spring Forward . . .

spanish quarterAh yes. . .Monday night.  The start of a new week; the start of Daylight Saving Time, and that means really dark in the  morning but lighter in the evening.  It’s a trade off, really.  Last fall we lamented about the time change because the evenings would be dark and it would be light in the morning.  There’s something welcoming about ‘springing forward’ each year. . .it’s a sign that Spring and Summer are just around the corner, a sign that Winter is all but gone.  Let’s face it–in this part of the world, we didn’t have much of a Winter.  In a few weeks when the wildflowers start blooming (some have already shown themselves), we’ll have a better idea of Winter’s impact.  Typically, a dry and warm winter doesn’t produce an overly abundant array of wildflowers compared to a cold, wet winter.

Last year, for example, (2011 into 2012) the rains in December, January and early February combined with the colder temperatures in mid-30’s resulted in some spectacular displays of wildflowers–especially bluebonnets–in the Texas Hill Country.  On a driving trip in the Jeep last spring, the fields of solid blue were awe inspiring; truly majestic especially as the winds blew them back and forth.  For those who’ve never seen wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country–we strongly recommend that you put it on your ‘bucket list’.  The drive north of Fredericksburg around an area called the Willow City Loop is THE drive to make to see nature’s wonderment.  On a Sunday afternoon with a convertible or a Jeep, and a picnic with a bottle of wine, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that!

Speaking of a bottle of wine, we uncovered a nice, little blend from Spain on a recent visit to Twin Liquors.  Now, if you haven’t tried Spanish wines, you’re going to need to add them to your lists of wines to experiment with over time.  There are some delicious Tempranillo wines that originate there and other varietals are becoming increasingly popular, and because the market is rebounding, there are some extreme values in Spanish wines, so you get a good bottle of wine without breaking the bank.  Tonight we sampled a 2010 The Spanish Quarter, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.  The combination of these grapes is a deep purple-red color with a nose of dark cherry and blackberry, and hint of spice and chocolate. The full palate reveals layers of juicy ripe berry fruit, dark chocolate, and a touch of sweet oak on the finish.  This is a wine that was made for sitting on the deck as the sun goes down and the warmth of the day starts to give way to the cool of the evening.  It’s a trait of this time of the year when the days are warm and the nights cool off quickly, but this wine makes the transition easy.  Whether enjoying it with a full meal of beef or pasta or sipping it while snacking on cheese and crackers, it’s a wine with some real body, and at around $10 a bottle, you’re going to be surprised how good it tastes for the money.  In fact, according to ‘, “Recommendation:  Grab this if you see it.  A great introduction to Spanish wine, and one that is sure not to disappoint, and not last long in your wine cellar.”  Simply put–a great way to start the week.

A quick glance at the forecast indicates some seriously awesome Spring weather is on the horizon for the next 7-10 days.  It means a great chance to get out and do some driving–maybe even some wine tasting, and hopefully, Mother Nature puts on a show–it’s one of the BEST free things around.

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