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Where wine is on the table everyday

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Day 94: By A Nose . . .

ImageThere is something about Mondays that just makes getting up and going to work a challenge.  It’s not that either of us don’t look forward to work – in fact, we’re both blessed to have terrific jobs with terrific organizations in two separate cities.  But, Mondays are different.  Maybe it’s because we’ve started the “countdown” to Christmas or because in less than two weeks, the road to work WILL become less traveled!  Regardless, Mondays are probably one of the more challenging days . . . from a work standpoint as well as a wine standpoint.  We’ll get to that later.

After a terrific visit from Kris and Veronique yesterday, we pretty much finished last night and turned in.  It was, as we talked about yesterday, a long day filled with work on the interior of the house we’ve been renting since July of 2011.  A really nice place, but in need of an Extreme Home Makeover.  Unfortunately, as tenants, our makeover consists of painting.  As we mentioned last night, the painting went WELL!  It’s amazing what a coat of paint (with primer) can do for four walls!  Anyway, not to harp on a point, but when everything gets painted, the look is “Mah-velous”!

Tonight, we decided that we needed to try one of our Trader Joe’s wines.  Yes, we know . . . the previous choices were less than good!  NEWS FLASH – tonight’s wine isn’t much better, BUT you gotta love the name!  C’mon Man, who wouldn’t stop at a display with a wine named “Nose Dive”?  Seriously, have you EVER thought about buying or tasting a wine with this kind of name?  No, we hadn’t either.

One look at the label and  let’s face it – you aren’t going to buy it.  You might pick the bottle up and look at the label, but the chances of you ACTUALLY buying it? Slim to NONE!  Well, we bit at the bait – a $6.99 price tag.  We thought–NO! Too good to be true?  Such a fun label and from an interesting winery . . .DNA Cellars.  Hmmmm, maybe we should just have said, NO!

But, if you’ve been following us for any length of time, you’ve probably already gotten the impression that we don’t back down from challenges.  Nosedive is a CHALLENGE!  Because it’s a blend of Zinfandel AND Syrah, we’re immediately interested; however, this 2009 Nosedive is YOUNG, YOUNG, YOUNG.  No matter how you slice it–not making it.  Too tart.  No fruit.  No finish.  No fun!  Seriously, why would a store with the reputation of Trader Joe’s offer such LOUSY wine for sale?  We’re guessing that because they’re “Trader Joe’s” that everything they sell is “haute couture”  –  guess what?  NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are some awesome wines for the same or LESS on the market…one of our favorites to this day is from Australia, a 2007 Jacob’s Creek Reserve for about the same (maybe a little more) than this wine and you’ll get REAL fruit, REAL finish and a good value for your money . . . and after all, isn’t that a big part of trying new wines?  All of us are looking for that great wine at a great price, and tonight, we’ve spared you the agony of trying yet another PRETENDER!

When we started this blog back in September, we promised to bring you 365 wines in 365 days.  We NEVER promised you  that they’d all be good (or a rose garden), so part of our learning curve is YOUR learning curve.  Thanks for reading and remember that, as you enjoy your favorite wine, please enjoy it responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.


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Day 79 – We Like Having Options

Since most of our area seemed to be heading north today to enjoy some F1 racing – and Jean having experienced the traffic back ups first hand on Thursday and Friday – on a whim, we decided to head south and meet up with friends at Max’s in SA for a little brunch, wine tasting and walking through the brand new Trader Joe’s .  .  . even managing a stop at World Market near Selma.  As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we’re looking for wines to enjoy and wines to share with friends and family.  We debated buying a case of “Two Buck Chuck” at Trader Joe’s, but just couldn’t pull the trigger – sorry family, you’ll have to drink some good stuff on Thursday.  Today’s stops gave us opportunities to fulfill both!

As this blog continues to unfold, we have tried and are trying wines that we’d never have given a second thought about in the past.  On the one hand, it’s pretty exciting to think that we can come up with 365 different choices to taste and write about, but on the other hand, it’s kind of intimidating to think about the unbelievable number of wines out on the market.   Clearly, some days are better than others – not only in terms of the wine we chose but how it smelled, tasted etc.  We know that we prefer red wines over white wines, but we’ve had a couple of killer white wines already and we know that there are several more in the queue.  So, when days like today afford themselves to us, we keep looking for other options.  Almost all of the wines that we have sampled and reviewed have been acceptable.  Some not nearly as much, trust us, many have ended up down the drain.  Even liking some of the wines, it’s kind of difficult to keep wine fresh for long periods of time.

Tonight’s wine is a 2009 A by Acacia – which is a blend from Acacia Vineyards of Napa, California.  Of course, it’s a blend!  85% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 2% Grenache, 2% Petite Syrah and 1% Zinfandel – makes for a tasty wine.  From the nose, we got hints of fruit, earth and spice, while on the palate, we discovered both bright fruit and a certain acidity.  It had hints of strawberry, raspberry and dark cherry that really came to the forefront in the finish. The texture was soft, supple and, to a certain extent inviting.  It was the kind of wine you’d want to break out over the holiday season.  Even though the dominant grape is the Syrah, the others work well to balance the overall make up of the wine.  We enjoyed it so much, we are thinking about bringing a bottle with us for Thanksgiving festivities.  You can get a hold of this wine for under $15 a bottle .  .  . even less if you can find it on sale!  So, it’s a nice blend at a good value – which, this time of year, is a good combination to find!

It’s always cool to visit with good friends; enjoy good food; sample good wine and enjoy a beautiful day – and stay away from traffic nightmares.  Today we accomplished them all, and as we head towards the holidays, it reminds us to stop and enjoy the moment.  Whether it’s spending time with friends or family or both, it’s a realization for us, once again, life is too short (to drink bad wine, as one dear friend would say).  We enjoyed our trip to Trader Joe’s and our stop at World Market, and hopefully, we’ve identified one or two future blog wines with the stops we’ve made today.

As the evening unfolds, remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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Day 57: Pull A Rabbit Out of My Hat. . .

The nice thing about a Saturday is the fact that you don’t necessarily have to get up at the crack of dawn.  You know, Monday through Friday it’s the same old thing .  .  . get up early, fight the traffic, work, fight the traffic and come home. BUT, Saturdays represent the last bastion of relaxation – more so if your kids are off at college and you don’t have yard work to do!  Today was one of those days, our oldest – as previously noted – arrived safely from college late last evening and there were NO time constraints on getting going this morning.  That is probably why we were awake at 6 a.m. this morning – that and the fact that the front door was WIDE open, which with less than 45 degree weather made for a very cold house this morning! (Yup, there is a story – good news is that no one escaped out the door and no uninvited guests came in!)

Anyway, the day was spent in preparation for a visit from Brian’s older sister and her husband from The Woodlands.  It turned out to be a beautiful day with lots of blue sky, a few fluffy clouds and some wind out of the Northwest.  By the time they arrived in our neck of the woods, it was early afternoon and we were ready for just about anything.  Off we went to Driftwood Estates Winery in Driftwood, Texas to enjoy sampling some of their best wines and feel the warmth of the sunshine!  At the tasting room, we met a great couple who are currently living in the Fort Worth area, but who originate from the Kansas City, Missouri area.  As former residents of St. Louis, we always enjoy meeting people from Missouri and having a conversation about the Chiefs and Rams or Royals and Cardinals – and barbecue.  It seems folks from KC love their barbecue – with sauce! YIKES!!!  Here in Texas, we know that the only way to truly enjoy great barbecue is without sauce so you can taste and enjoy the flavor of what real smoked meat tastes like.

We really enjoyed the wines from Driftwood, so much that we decided to enjoy a bottle on their patio – sitting in the sun, with some cheese and crackers – a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  So, when we got back to the house it was time to sample something new and thanks to Brian’s sister, tonight we tried a 2011 Rabbit Trick Syrah from Trader Joe’s and vinted in Healdsburg, California.  Rabbit Trick California Syrah is a 100% Syrah blend from several different California appellations – that’s why it’s labeled “California,” rather than a particular geographic appellation. By blending specific amounts from specific regions that impart specific characteristics, they created a wine that’s a specifically spectacular sipper.   Lots of fruit on both the nose and the taste .  .  . we enjoyed this wine sitting on the back deck with a fire in the pit this afternoon and really enjoyed it.  The combination of great weather, a warm fire and a tasty bottle of wine was the perfect backdrop to enjoy this little gem, and the best part is that it’s available for less than $6 a bottle!  Yep, just when you thought it was impossible to enjoy a wine from California for less than $10, we’ve found a winner!

As you continue to enjoy your weekend and you have access to a Trader Joe’s .  .  . now would be a great time to stock up on this value wine, and take a little time to enjoy what remains of it!  Until tomorrow, please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.