Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winey Tasting Notes: Finally Some Time For Wine

You know those days when you are running around catering to the needs of your very busy children who cannot drive yet? You coach, you carpool, you run a bake sale, you carpool, you volunteer at school, you carpool. It seems as if you never leave the car or get a chance to relax at home. Multiply this statement by the number of children you have.

I remember thinking that once my two Winey Children were old enough to drive, life would get so much simpler. And for a while, it did. Winey Son drove himself to golf matches and baseball practice. There was still Winey Daughter to drive around. But there were advantages to it. You will never get a better chance to hear about what your children are doing than when you are playing chauffeur to a carpool of 12 year old soccer players. Don't think of it as eavesdropping, think of it as keeping up with current events.

But then Winey Son went away to college, and eventually Winey Daughter entered her senior year in high school. And the SENIOR YEAR STORM hit our household. I must have forgotten about it: the unwritten rule that high school seniors will be so busy that they will suck you into their vortex of busyness, thereby denying the entire family any chance at all of 1) eating dinner together 2) eating dinner at a table, any table or 3) relaxing with a nice glass of wine after a long day.

Aurora High School Girls Varsity Senior Soccer Night 2013
Senior Soccer Night (insert bittersweet tears here)
I must admit I didn't see it coming. Sure, she's a soccer player. And it's a busy season. And she's the captain this year. But then BAM! College visits (my forced recovery from spinal surgery did not allow me to accompany her on these long hauls so Winey Hubby made the trips because heaven forbid she be interested in a college within a 2 hour drive of our home). BAM! Senior college info night. BAM! College nights at local venues. BAM! Senior Soccer Night. (sob) BAM! SAT's & ACT's. BAM! College applications. Let's not forget that the Winey Hubby and I might have lives to live. During soccer and football season, he can be found most evenings running the scoreboard at the high school football field. BAM! Playoffs. I signed on to help a good friend run for mayor of our town. BAM! Debates! BAM! Candidate meet and greets. And we still served as presidents of our local West Point Parents' Club. BAM! Go Army Beat Navy. ahem.

Is it a wonder we joked about not seeing each other except to fight for shower time (which really translates to hot water time - I think our hot water heater is getting old, but that's another post)?

And then one happened. We were all at home. It was a Saturday. It was raining. Without hesitation I ran to fridge and yanked out a bottle of Bixler Vineyards Union Island White. (2009, No ABV given, Lodi, CA). If ever an autumn evening called for a crisp white and a bunch of new magazines, this was it.

label of Bixler Vineyards Union Island White Wine
Union Island White is a blend of Viognier (58%) and Chardonnay (42%). Upon first sniff, you'll get some green apples and some mellow pear. The taste is tart, with those green apples showing up, along with some kiwi and some lemon-lime flavors. It finishes off with an apple-y oakey taste, but I'm not sure how, because it's aged in stainless steel and not barrels. But who am I to argue with my taste buds? The Viognier shines at first and Chardonnay shows up later. This is a very easy drinking wine. It could pair up with lots of different foods (chicken, pasta, fish - just stay away from the tomato sauces). I must say it paired very nicely with two October home magazines and one fall fashion mag.

I have always said what a big fan I am of red blends, but will confess to finding most white blends a bit too sweet. This one proved me wrong. It was tasty! I may need to get busy and try some more white blends real soon. But I'm going to wait til after soccer season.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Winey Tasting Notes: Barking Good! Portrait of a Mutt Zinfandel

I have a confession to make. Don't judge me. But -- I have been buying Christmas gifts since August. OK, I know that sounds horribly annoying. And I would happily choke someone who says "I've had my Christmas shopping done since Labor Day". And yes, I would choke them with a string of Christmas lights.

But there is a reason I've been collecting Christmas gifts since then. I am a member of a Secret Elf gift exchange. This group is made up of West Point Moms from all over the country, and starting on September 1st, we put on our pointy ears and jingling elf hats and send our designated giftee an ornament each month until the big reveal on December 1st. It's so much fun and it gives you total permission to creep on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest accounts to find out what your Giftee likes. So lots of us get ornaments or decorations that are personalized with our Cadet's name and year, that celebrate the breed of doggie we have or highlight our home state.(I can't go into tooooo much detail on this or I may give myself away!)

Winey Mom post spine surgery with walker
Well of course I decorated my walker.
My September ornament proved that my Elf knows I have a little white doggie! So cute. But it was my October gift that pretty much brought tears to my eyes. You see, it has been a rather, well, let's say interesting summer here in Winey Mom land. To make a long story short, I kind of blew a gasket in my spine and wound up having some major (translate: OUCH!) spinal surgery in August. Even if I wanted to, which I didn't, I wasn't allowed to drive for 7 weeks. (On the plus side, I was also banned from housework. Not that I suggest it as a way to get out of cleaning..) Many of my West Point mom pals knew this because I arrived at our son's Ring Weekend (Bully for My Firstie & Ring Weekend at West Point) with a walker. And lots of pain pills.

Well my Elfie did her homework, because my "Christmas" gift for October was a bottle of wine! And not just any wine - it was a doggie themed wine. The card read "This little Elf heard you were not feeling well." Just what the doctor ordered!

picture of Portrait of a Mutt Zinfandel, Mutt Lynch winery,The wine was Portrait of A Mutt Zinfandel (2007, 14.5, California) from the Mutt Lunch Winery. (I'm loving this!) Keeping with the mutt theme, some Carignane is blended into it. It's a very autumnal dusty red color and brings oak and raspberry and some earthy spices to your nose. The taste is doggone wonderful! Warm oak and raspberry and blueberry flow through your mouth when you sip it. There is a tinge of that spice again  at the end. It finishes up with warm berries and spices and a some pepper (Mutt says that's the Carignane showing through). When I was making notes to review this wine I wrote "SMOOTH, VELVETY" in really big letters. Obviously, this mutt made quite an impression on me, huh? ( Shopping note: Mutt Lynch is a smaller winery
so the easiest way to get your paws on this might be to order directly from them.)

bottle label, Portrait of a Mutt ZinfandelI have become a big fan of California Zinfandels and this wine just helps to seal my approval. It's really everything you want in a Zinfandel - fruity, but with layers of spice and a kiss of oak. I love the wine, love the doggie theme and love the Elf (whoever she is) who sent it. It was the perfect pick me up after a long and achy summer.

As the label says, “Just because I’m not pedigreed doesn’t mean I’m not a good dog!” VERY good dog! Very wonderful Elf!


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