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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Wine Wednesdays – Hunt Cellars “Rhapsody in Red”

February 23, 2011 4 comments

 

Yes, I can read your mind and I know you are looking for some wine recommendations.

My friend Eileen, started participating in Wine Wednesdays, the brain child of Alana at Life on the Mom List.  Each Wednesday they selflessly consume bottles of wine to review.  I want to be selfless too!  (Or I just want an excuse to drink wine every Wednesday).

Drink wine?  I am really good at that!  Write about the wine I drink, hmmm… sounds fun.  It also sounds dangerous if I write while consuming, so I may need to work on the logistics. 

You may be thinking, “Paige what qualifies you to review wine’.  My response to this is if experience leads to wisdom, I am very wise about wine.

I must add that I am not being compensated or encouraged to drink any particular wine.  I am going to drink whatever I feel like drinking.  But if someone wants to give me wine to write about… I would love it!  But, be warned – honesty is my best worst quality.

Without further ado, I present my first review:  Hunt Cellars “Rhapsody in Red” Reserve Red Wine (2001)

Description per label: Hunt Cellars is dedicated to producing “Memorable Wines”.  Here is our 2001 Rhapsody in Red Reserve, a meritage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from our estate.

Smooth delicious flavors will dance on your palate teasing you with wild cherries, red, black and Bing cherry flavors with overtones of jammy cassis, vanilla, chocolate, coffee beans and the perfect induction of layered oak.  This lush delicious wine has been hand crafted in small lots and barrel aged 28 months in French and American oak creating perfect balance and concentrated Bordeaux varietal flavors.

Review:  There are two types of days that call for a unique bottle of wine: a fabulous day and a horrible one.  On a great day, you mark the occasion with something special, you want to savor the memory of this day.  On my son’s first day of kindergarten, I drank a good bottle to celebrate not severely warping him… yet.  On a bad day you look for something amazing that has the power to erase the day.  When my daughter emptied my make-up drawer into the bath, it took an exceptional bottle to keep me from giving her away. 

When I sat down to enjoy this wine, it had been a day of highs and lows.  We had new furniture delivered and the sofa was perfect, better than expected; but the rug was an atrocity and the table was damaged.  With each sip, the negative aspects of the day dissipated and I was transported to a dreamy place of gourmet food, flattering lighting and soft music.  My first impression was smooth chocolate, but not sweet.  It is a big, chewy wine that has subtle tannins through the finish.  This deep wine did not smack me with fruit, but rather lulled me with accents of cherry and coffee.  I am confident that this bottle could suit the best or worst day.  Although, the current retail price demands this level of pleasure, so as not to disappoint (price appears at the bottom).

They say that when a person loses one of their five senses, it makes their other senses more acute.  This exceptional wine proves that true.  The winemaker, and owner, David Hunt is blind and it certainly has enhanced his sense of taste and smell. 

On a scale of 1-10, I rate this “memorable” meritage as a 9.

Suggested pairings: Steak, lamb, game and the day you lose your job or win the lottery.

Alcohol Content: 13.9%

Price: Purchased for $35.  Current retail price: $90 *A note about the price, I won’t always review something this expensive.  In fact, my next bottle will be under $10!

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Tribute to My Corkscrew

February 2, 2011 16 comments
You were a wonderful gift on the day of our wedding.
I opened you and knew where this relationship was heading.
 
A Screwpull Elegance Lever Model design
Made of metal and smarter than that dumb guy Einstein.
 
There wasn’t a bottle of wine or cork that you feared
You had great reviews and were truly revered.
 
We hit it off instantly, due to your skillful ways
I could work you bottle after bottle, without issue, for days.
 
You would never falter, I knew you wouldn’t fail
From Cakebread to Margaux to Merryvale.
 
You impressed the wine snobs and the corkscrew challenged
A replacement was never needed or scavenged.
 
You came with us each time that we moved homes
We brought you on vacation, never left you alone.
 
You were more than a tool, you were a close friend.
I thought are affair would never come to an end.
 
And then one day you stuck and required more force.
As I watched your demise, I become distraught of course.
 
I thought no one could ever fill your utilitarian shoes
I instantly started singing the dying corkscrew blues.
 
I knew not how long our partnership would last
Our days were numbered with every glass.
 
Then came the Syrah that broke you apart
When you jammed for good, it broke my heart.
 
Our substitute opener could not measure up
The time had come for me to act like a grownup-
 
To give up drinking wine, ha, you must be on glue
I jumped on the internet to find one just like you.
 
What? What? This could not be true.
You’re no longer made, well who can I sue?
 
But alas, I found a place that knows you are hailed
If I paid through the nose, your replacement will be mailed.
 
I did what I must, I paid the ransom they required
And in return I will get the Screwpull I desired.
 
It won’t be the same as what you and I had
But it will open the wine that I need so bad.
 
So the next glass we’ll toast you and your skill
I’ll never forget you, um… I probably will.
 
 

Treading Wine

January 28, 2011 19 comments

I know what you’re thinking – “Paige, don’t you mean treading water?”

Do I ever mean water over wine? Not unless we’re talking about laundry and I rarely talk about laundry.

For the last several weeks I have been struggling to tread wine.  You see, if I was struggling to tread water, I would have simply gotten out of the pool (or lake, or ocean).  But wine is complex, sometimes surprising, occasionally corked, but usually delightful, just like life.  So therefore, treading wine is worth the struggle.

So what I have been struggling with that has kept me off-balance (and writing very little) for the last few weeks?  I think I have it mostly figured out (how’s that for confidence and conviction?).  I have shared on occasion that I haven’t always been happy in my job.  The thing is, I love what I do and I am good great at it.  But I am a perfectionist and it had gotten out of hand.  I had gotten to a point where nothing felt good enough.  My confidence was slipping and my self-critical side needed a beat-down.  It had started to spill in to my personal life.  Everything felt hollow and I had stopped trusting my own instincts.  Very few people knew how it was affecting me, because, like my dramatic diva of a three-year old, I can put on a show.  The irony is during this time, I received a promotion, a raise and several accolades and still didn’t feel like my work was good enough.

But I am very fortunate, I am surrounded by smart, caring people (and a few paid professionals) who have helped me get things under control.  By examining my perfectionist tendencies, I realized that perhaps I am a wee bit… off-balance, unrealistic and um… crazy.  As I thought about the standard I was holding strangling myself to, I had to laugh.  It was absurd and not the level I hold others to.  My higher self-bar was not because I thought I was better than the average person and could deliver more, it was because of that pesky perfectionism.  This may confuse you since I talk about mold in my shower and all of my follies, but there are parts of life where I feel safe being “normal” and parts where I wasn’t giving myself that same luxury.  (Trust me, the mold is still in the shower and I think the whole house needs dusting).

So I have perfectly cured myself in about two weeks.  (When you’re done laughing, feel free to continue reading).

Welcome back, need some water or a kleenex?

In lieu of an instant cure, which I was dismayed to discover does not exist, I am being more thoughtful about my goals, my decisions and my feelings.  I am letting myself off the hook a bit.  I am taking risks again and know that sometimes I will… eek… fail, and gulp… that’s good for me.   I am also reminding myself that my job is only one facet of my rich, tannin filled life.  I am treating myself the way I would treat any of my precious friends and family members: with support and encouragement.

I know that I will have to keep an eye on that bothersome perfectionist side and I may have to occasionally smack her around, but just being aware makes me feel so much better!

So I am again successfully treading wine and enjoying it.  Not to mention that cabernet-colored skin is more attractive than some of my spray tan debacles in an effort to avoid my natural pasty white color!

Thanks to a Mad Women who inspired me to share the hard, not always funny, parts of life.

Lesson from My Polygamist Same-Sex Date

January 10, 2011 24 comments

I have been having a polygamist, same-sex relationship.  Online, no less.  What would my grandmother say? 

Who is this group of women?  Fellow bloggers. 

My expectation of blogging was simple: to have a creative outlet for myself, a personal playground.  I did not expect to make friends online.  And then I did.

Yesterday, I took the next step in the relationship.  I met some other bloggers for lunch and wine tasting in Napa.  Whitehall Lane hosted us for a fabulous wine tasting that was delicious and educational (ask me about glass corks).  Who doesn’t bond over wine???  We then had a fabulous lunch at Brix.  There was singing, mooning and threats of motor-boating.  It was right up my alley. 

As I drove home reflecting on my afternoon, I felt blessed to have spent a day with exceptional women.  But as I chatted with a close friend about my experience, she said I sounded numb.  She said I was saying wonderful things, but lacked my usual animation.  I thought about it and realized, I lacked emotion because I had some deep thoughts brewing.

Somewhere along the way, my blogging expectations became more complex.  I started watching my blog stats and wondering what it would be like to be one of those celebrity bloggers.  I started thinking that turning my hobby into something more might be my next goal.  After meeting these amazing women I was ready to go home and go after that goal. 

But here’s the problem with me and goals:  I am a crazy overachiever.  My competitive spirit can cloud my judgement, reaching the goal becomes more important than the journey.  I often say I could never be on the Bachelor, because I would want the rose even if the guy was a creep.  I set goals for myself and when I achieve them, I feel lost.  I expect that the next achievement will keep me satisfied.  And it doesn’t.  I end up failing to fully appreciate the experience.  I fear that I could diminish my passion for writing if I take it too seriously.

I think it is great to turn passions into careers or have goals for your hobbies.  I met women yesterday who, for them, this is more than a hobby and I revere them.  But for me to have balance in my life, I have to catch myself.  Motivation is good in moderation.  I need an area of my life where I don’t push my hardest.   

Does this mean I don’t have secret dreams of turning writing into something more?  Of course I do.  Would it be great to make a little wine and lunch money while doing something I love?  Uh, yeah!  But I need to slow down, take time to smell the cabernets and enjoy my new polygamist same-sex relationship.

Do you have something that gives you pure joy without stress?  Is the journey or the destination more important to you?

7 Deadly Sins – Gluttony

November 25, 2010 7 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I mentioned last night, I am going to do seven posts about my seven deadly sins.  Last night I covered vanity.  In honor of the tens of thousands of calories I plan to consume today, I am covering the second sin: gluttony.  Here are my seven guilty pleasures – narrowing it down to seven will be tough!

  1. C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E
  2. Wine
  3. Any cocktail with rum, but not Malibu rum – too sweet!
  4. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
  5. Jaeger
  6. Carnitas
  7. Pizza and beer

And what makes me the most gluttonous?  That I would gladly attempt to eat and drink all of the above on the same day! 

I feel compelled to dedicate this post to several friends.  You know who you are and here’s why:

  • Most people think of Napa for its wine, but we know it’s just a beautiful food fest with wine on the side. 
  • CRACK CAKE!  This cake is more addictive than any drug I have ever heard of.
  • We won’t drink the whole bottle tonight… (famous last words about wine)
  • Hmmmm – the universal sound of gluttony.
  • She has hidden candy bars in her couch!  Really!

 

10 Reasons Mommy Loves Wine

September 23, 2010 4 comments

Mommy needs a glass...

This post is brought to you by Markham 2005 Petit Verdot 

So some crazy lady posed as me and wrote a post about breaking up with wine a while back!  Do not be alarmed, I have found said crazy person and contained her in a bottle with a good cork.  To cabernet, I mean commemorate my love of wine (proven by the fact that I have drank it 10 times in the last two weeks) I want to share with all of you some of the many reasons why I love wine: 

  1. All I have to do is un-cork a bottle to erase the longest of days.
  2. I don’t have to share it with my kids (unless I want them to sleep better).
  3. I feel sophisticated when I swirl it my glass (and I feel like a dumb-ass when it spills out).
  4. Wine goes good with my one true love: food.  Yes, any food.
  5. Wine and chocolate.  Period.
  6. Wine is complex, temperamental and will spoil if not cared for properly, just like me.
  7. The antioxidants in wine make me a better mom – it’s science people!
  8. Wine gets better with age, just like moms and children.
  9. Having a glass of wine to cope sounds more civilized than drinking rubbing alcohol.
  10. Wine doesn’t talk back, wet the bed or throw temper tantrums!

Cheers!

Cocktails and Passion, Hold the Books

September 13, 2010 11 comments

Since the beginning of time, women have had diversions: bridge club, garden club, Bunko, book club, and the myriad of at-home parties – Stella and Dot, Pampered Chef, Cookie Lee, Southern Living – you get the idea.  Let’s be honest: these are all excuses to get a few hours away from the kids, husbands, boyfriends, pets, whatever and enjoy some time with the girls. 

These events are a time to catch up on each others’ lives, share parenting horror stories and exchange beauty tips, recipes and laughs.   The theme, activity or reason for gathering is arbitrary, as long as we come together as women to blow off steam.  I remember my shock the first time I attended book club, with my book in hand, to find that half of the women don’t read the book and we rarely discuss it. (I, being an avid reader, was slightly disappointed, but the second cocktail made me feel better.)  In summary, our gatherings are the male equivalent of grabbing a beer after work (or so I suspect).

To my knowledge, all of these female gatherings include wine, cocktails or other appropriate alcohol (I’d go to Spanish Club if they served Sangria).  Maybe that’s just my group of friends, but I remember my grandmother pulling out the terrifying jug of Chablis (that poured like maple syrup…) to offer with the iced tea for her bridge club.  (Emily Post had nothing on those women who were steadfast enough to drink that with a polite smile).  Depending on if the gathering is day or evening dictates how much consumption is socially acceptable.  Occasionally, there is the added thrill of a gutsy gal exceeding the quota and being the entertainment for the evening.

This last Saturday night I attended a Passion Party.  This is the pinnacle of the secret female gatherings.  A consultant comes in to provide ideas and products to make life more interesting in the bedroom.  *If you are conservative, stop reading, but may I remind you that if you’re a mom, you likely had sex to have a baby and if you’re not a mom, your parents likely had sex to have you – get over it!

Glad you’re still with me.  But, lucky for you, the Grapefruit martinis make the evening just fuzzy enough not to articulate.  (But I do believe we made the party consultant blush with our comments!)  Therefore, if I am not going to provide details of the evening, why do I bring it up?  Because it highlights all that is perfect about girls evenings.  They are uninhibited, real and can bond perfect strangers. (I can now tell you – but I won’t – who has handcuffs in their homes and who is the most knowledgable about toys).  As women, we openly discuss menstruation, children’s’ poop and weight; how is sex any more taboo?  We are empowered to speak the alcohol induced truth and share our “wisdom”, humor and most embarrassing stories.  We laugh so hard we understand the importance of Kegel’s. 

After such an evening, we are rejuvenated – we have the smug smile of somebody holding a juicy secret and some of us anticipate the arrival of unmarked package, while dreading the visa bill.  For me, I felt more romantical (it’s my favorite made up word) towards my husband and was more patient with my children.  I feel closer to my girlfriends and somehow feel like a stronger woman in general.

So I am huge supporter of female gatherings and all the “secrets” shared there.  I also like pages 6-9 of the summer catalog, but that’s another story…