Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wine Tasting; Recent Whites

Before Kovas headed up to Penticton for the Wine Bloggers Conference, we tried two different white wines of varying qualities.

Sterling Vintner's Collection Chardonnay

Opened for Chardonnay Day, this 2011 Sterling Vintner's Collection Chardonnay has a lemony yellow color, hint of a lemon scent, with tropical fruit and peach flavors, a round mouthfeel, and a smooth finish. Pleasure to drink.

Quail Creek 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Quail Creek 2011 Sauvignon Blanc: very pale yellow, faint lemon scent and lemony taste, not particularly crisp, but nice creamy mouthfeel,medium-long finish. More like a Chardonnay than a Sauvignon Blanc.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Urban Farm and Forage

Even though I've never done anything about it besides dream, I would love to live with more self-sufficiency. Primarily I'd like to make my own wine, but growing my own vegetables comes a close second, and can be accomplished anywhere. Since we're not moving to a farm anytime soon, urban farming and foraging are the next best thing, and I've started educating myself with the hopes I'll actually put it into practice.

Eat the City book cover

Robin Shulman's Eat the City (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 2012) is a well-written, inspirational book for those that want to grow their own food (or eat more local). if they live in the city. Chapters on Honey, Vegetables, Meat, Sugar, Beer, Fish, and Wine are presented not only historically, but what is happening now. The examples are are all based in New York City, but can certainly be adapted to your own city.

The Feast Nearby book cover

Robin Mather's The Feast Nearby (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2011) spans four seasons of a woman's progress from abject defeat to comfort in her own skin. Sharing recipes made with ingredients purchased or bartered from local connections, this is a nice primer on being cognizant of what's around us and the benefit of eating (and being) local.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Waterman Winery and Vineyards, Waterman, IL

For Father's Day, I got to choose what we would do, so I came up with two of my favorite things: hiking in a forest preserve and visiting a winery. We managed to do that pretty easily by driving less than an hour, ending up near DeKalb, IL.

Waterman Winery and Vineyards, Waterman, IL

Waterman Winery and Vineyards, in Waterman, were established in 1998 by three middle school teachers with agricultural, chemistry and social science backgrounds. They grow 12 acres of grapes with 40 varieties, mostly French-American hybrids, with a limited use of chemicals. The sustainable vineyard has much of the trellis system made of re-used materials, which definitely aligns with my environmental philosophy. The winery offers handcrafted, unique red and white, fruit, and seasonal spiced wines.

The visit also gave me an opportunity to work on my video skills, limited as they are at this point. I hope you'll enjoy the end result, viewable here, on our YouTube channel, or over on Vimeo.

Video montage of
Waterman Winery and Vineyards, Waterman, IL

The Prairie Ghosts, excellent band, song name is "Concussion." We'll be featuring them on future videos as well -- my wife's cousin leads the band, but even without that predisposition to like them, a great sound.

Let us know what you think, feel free to share, and subscribe to one of our channels for more videos!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rosé Roundup

Rosés have always been some of my favorite wines, being festive in color and, depending on sweetness, a crisp accompaniment to food. My personal tastes have varied over the years, though ultra sweet Rosés of the White Zinfandel variety are less palatable to me now. Rosés are usually made by pressing red grape varieties, with a very short period of skin-contact.

We recently had the good fortune of receiving tasting samples of some fine Rosés from the Lodi region, following up with another sample and then a few bottles purchased from our local grocery store (very few options there).

Lodi Rosés

Lodi Wines (in no particular order):

McCaycellars 2012 Rosé: Carignane (102 year old vines!), blended with Grenache, dusty rose pink color, faint cream soda nose, peach and citrus flavors, round mouthfeel into dry finish, 211 cases made. ($18 Media Sample)

Sorelle Winery '12 Bella e Rosa: Sangiovese/Barbera blend, palest pinkish orange, faint cream soda nose, grapefruit flavor, bit of bite on finish, only 200 cases. ($16 Media Sample)

Onesta Wines 2012 Cinsault Rosé: light pink, grapefruit aroma, strawberry, peach, citrus flavors, nice balance between fruit and acidity, only 300 cases produced. ($18 Media Sample)

Heritage Oak 2012 Grenache Rosé: Grenache/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend, very light pink, peachy cream soda nose, tart citrus flavors, very dry finish, only 80 cases made. ($18 Media Sample)

The crazy thing about these Rosés was that not only were they incredibly complex, but they were changing constantly, becoming better as they warmed; they were even better the next day!

Los Hermanos Vineyards Rosado

Los Hermanos Vineyards (by Beringer from American grapes) Rosado N/V: "Afrutado y Refrescante," deep coral color, strawberry and melon aromas, strawberry and melon flavors, SWEET! with round mouthfeel, like drinking Strawberry Hubba-Bubba. ($8.99)

Stella Rosa Pink

Stella Rosa Pink Semi-Sweet N/V (from Italy): pretty red grapefruit color, earthy citrus aromas, sweeter than it smells, strawberry, watermelon, and kumquat flavors, many tiny bubbles, creamy mouthfeel, medium-long finish. A bit too sweet, but might work on the beach or other hot location as long as it is served icy-cold. ($11.99)

Waterbrook Winery Rosé

Waterbrook Sangiovese Rosé 2012 (Columbia Valley, WA): fizzy melon aroma, tart citrus and gooseberry flavors, touch of sweetness, effervescent, plusher mouthfeel than expected, minimal finish, 3,200 cases produced. Nice simple Rosé on its own or with food. ($12 Media Sample)

Disclosure: Some of these wines were media samples -- all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vegan No More

Vegan No More

I've gone back and forth on being vegan for much of my life. There have been times where I've been omnivorous, times I've been vegetarian, and even hardcore vegan in college (not even leather shoes or belts). Since last fall, I've worked on being more vegan, though it's been hit or miss, especially when we've done restaurant reviews for 50 States Of Wine

Being vegetarian and/or vegan has always been inspired my manyfold issues: healthier eating, environmental concerns, animal cruelty, and maybe some leftover punk politicalness (against the status quo). Eating vegan can definitely be an answer to all those things, but only if it's done with thoughtfulness and care. I wasn't doing that.

I recently read two books way beyond my comfort zone, Brandon Baltzley's Nine Lives and Berlin Reed's Ethical Butcher, and they got me thinking about my approach to food in a very different life.

One of the things that has always bothered me about eating meat is that an animal has to die so that can happen; I just didn't like that. However, I'm happy to squash a mosquito or kill other bugs who happen to be bothersome in some way, so how do those two mindsets gibe? They don't. And really, is it any healthier to eat a processed veggie burger rather than one from a cow? GMO soybeans are taking over our world and, while I will never condone cheap, feedlot beef, it's certainly easier to defend a healthy, humanely raised grass-fed cow over processed anything.

Am I going to run out and eat a bunch of meat now? Probably not, but I'm not taking it off the table anymore either. Baltzley is opening a farmhouse restaurant, TMIP Restaurant, in Michigan City, IN. The idea is that, apart from beef (which will be raised by their neighbors), all the food in the restaurant will be grown on the very farm it sits on. That is taking locavore to the logical extreme. 

Locavorism is becoming more and more important to me, maybe because we have so little of it where we live. Depending on how you define it (25 miles, 100 miles?), we could probably become true locavores, excepting coffee and spices that don't grow anywhere near us. The area known as Harbor Country (Northern Indiana/Southwest Michigan) is an area we frequent, and there are strong connections growing there between the winemakers, chefs, growers, and public -- it's probably the reason I've been impacted by this so much.

So I'm vegan no more, not that I was really in recent times. Not sure where this is leading me, but I know that locavorism will play a bigger role for me, as will getting rid of processed foods. Eating less and in a balanced manner will be goals as well. I also want to expose my kids to more of where there food comes from; visits to cheesemakers, butchers, and farms will show them how their food is connected to the land and that, contrary to some peoples' belief, it doesn't come from a box in the store.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WBC13 Video Montage

After some delay, I finally got it together enough to finish my video montage from the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC13). It was originally over 6 minutes long, so I'm pretty proud that, with judicious editing, it now comes in at about 3 and 1/2 minutes! Watch it here or on my new YouTube or Vimeo channels (feel free to subscribe, hoping more videos are forthcoming!).

The song "Cutesy Monster Man," by Iron Chic, has absolutely nothing to do with wine blogging, Canada, or really anything at all, but it is a very cool song, and several spots in the video sync up perfectly with the music. Enjoy.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

WBC13: Day 2

Another beautiful morning -- we really lucked out with perfect weather. ProfessorMerlot and I headed out for another early run, this time heading out of the downtown area to run on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Amazing views of the lake as we ran along the bluffs, through vineyards and then back to the hotel for breakfast.

WBC13 Day 2

7:30 – 9:15 AM Breakfast in the Park with Downtown Penticton Association

The Penticton Lakeside Resort sits at the end of Main Street (actually controversial when it was built as it blocked views of the lake. Gyro Park was where the Breakfast in the Park was set up, with plenty of food options, but only one picnic bench, go figure. Since much of the food was handheld and easily carried, the lack of seating wasn't a problem. Post-second night, a bigger problem was a dearth of coffee -- luckily, the coffee shop was just half a block a way, so they stayed busy shuttling fresh coffee almost as quickly as it was finished. Breakfast was a mix of sweet and savory, all delicious, with representatives from Brodo, Burger 55, and more on hand to share their creations.

I wandered down through the Farmers' Market, hoping to find a carving to take home as a souvenir, maybe a native-inspired mask or similar, but for naught. Plenty of great looking produce, but the arts tended more towards crafts than what I was looking for. Back at the breakfast, just before the morning sessions, one of the locals I had been talking to about my dilemma let me know about a booth that had just been set up, with Meti designs carved then cast in glazed stoneware tiles. Score!

9:30 – 12:00 PM Block Sessions
- Session 1: Wine Country Videography, Photography, and Podcasting Workshop
- Session 2: Learn to be a Wine Judge via an In-Depth Look at BC Wine
While the Wine Judge session certainly seemed appealing, one of my goals as a blogger is to add video to my repertoire (feel free to subscribe to my channels on YouTube or Vimeo).  Monique Soltani, in the time she had, gave us some good pointers on creating video, though it was pretty general and not the in-depth tutorial I had hoped for. The time flew by and then it was time for lunch.

12:00 – 1:30 PM Lunch with Wines of Uruguay

Turns out the Uruguayans make really good wine, but then drink it all in their own country, though production is ramping up to make export a possibility. One wine made it seem like there was a palate split between the men and women at the table, but we all liked some of the others equally, so it must have been an outlier.

1:45 – 2:45 PM Breakout Sessions
- Session 1: Positioning Your Blog
- Session 2: Search Engine Optimization
- Session 3: Drink Them Before They’re Famous
Another one where I would have been happy to attend all three sessions, but the Positioning Your Blog seemed to offer the inspiration I was seeking, and I was not disappointed. From my Twitter notes, Thea Dwelle (Luscious Lushes), Kathleen Rake (Between the Vines), and Megan Kenney (Wannabe Wino) let us in on a few secrets: be credible, network, be consistent, access wine events, make a name for yourself, be in it for the long haul, educate yourself, search, connect, engage, build community, participate, be passionate, have fun!

3:00 – 4:00 PM Liquid Gold: Inniskillin Icewine Tasting

As a scholarship recipient, I had mixed feelings about missing a session, but I simply needed to take a break and lie down. Missing the Icewine session was tough, but I felt better when I heard only one wine was poured, so I didn't miss out on the comparative tasting I had expected.

4:00 – 5:00 PM British Columbia Live Wine Blogging – Red Wines

I woke up just in time for the speed tasting, stumbling downstairs and right to a table as they were starting to pour. As with many cold weather regions, I find the reds don't match up in quality to the whites, but the BC winemakers were game, pouring some decent wines, some actually really good. With the reds, it will take more searching for most people to find a favorite, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

5:15 – 6:45 PM Pre-Dinner Reception with New Wines of Greece

After meeting up with the Banfi Banter crew for a tasting in their suite (Hot Tub Time Machine anyone?), I headed down to the Wines of Greece Reception, excited to add to my Wine Century Club list, hoping to get to the magic number 100. I was not disappointed, adding numerous new varietals to my list. As it happened, Lisa from the Silkameen Wineries group brought me a bottle of Ehrenfelser to try (I had mentioned my quest in the WBC13 Facebook group) and it turned out to be the 100th varietal I needed! Serendipity. (I sent in my list of 100 varietals and am hoping to hear back soon that I have been added to this august organization.) The Reception started in one of the smaller rooms and then spilled out onto a beautiful patio area, allowing us to appreciate the beautiful weather.

6:45 – 7:15 PM Wine Blog Awards Presented by Mutineer Magazine
7:15 – 8:45 PM Banquet Dinner with Destination British Columbia
8:45 – 9:00 PM Announcement of 2014 Conference Date and Location
9:00 – 11:00 PM World of Wines Reception

By this time, after 2 days of wine, travel, and education, I was simply spent. Perhaps it was the novelty of the Conference, perhaps I tried to do too much in my guilt and eagerness as a Scholarship recipient, but I was simply spent. I had no desire to sit in a large conference room and eat lambsicles or anything similar. What I wanted was to drink beer, eat pizza, and watch the Chicago Blackhawks play Stanley Cup hockey. It didn't take much to persuade PofessorMerlot to join me. We headed down to the Barking Parrot Bar, where we ran into like-minded people and settled down into comfortable seats overlooking the sparkling lake. Good food, good conversation, good beer, and a Blackhawks win were a great finale to the Conference. It's a shame the organizers had not moved the Conference outdoors, perhaps renting out the hotel bar, but it didn't happen, so no use worrying about it. We followed along on Twitter as the awards and 2014 Conference location were announced, then bid adieu and headed back up to our room.  I'm sure most of the others headed to After-Hours parties (I WAS very disappointed to miss the Jordan Vineyards and J Winery party), but with a 5:00 AM shuttle to the airport, beauty rest was paramount.

WBC13 Day 3

The Wine Bloggers Conference was everything I expected and more -- the venue was impressive, the area beautiful in a natural and agricultural way, and the food and wines were top-notch. I had a great time meeting people I had only interacted with online, and the educational content inspired me to do more, to strive for more meaningful content. Only time will tell whether I'm successful or not. I do know that I will make every effort to make it to WBC14, with scholarship or not -- hope to see you there!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship

"Congratulations! The WBC Scholarship Committee has awarded you a full or partial scholarship for the Wine Bloggers Conference as outlined below."
Could another wine-related email have set my heart so aflutter as that one? Perhaps, but the excitement and anxiousness I immediately felt would be hard to describe. How would I measure up? What if I got drunk and made a fool of myself? What if no one liked me?

Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Recipient

My fears were groundless, except for maybe being thought a fool, though not a drunk one. Except for some obviously shy people, everyone attending the conference was as nice as could be, introducing themselves and making room at their table when I approached. I'm sure that some people stuck with others they knew, but for me, this was an opportunity to meet and mingle, to network in a way I simply can't at home, so I tried to sit with different people as much as possible.

With an airport shuttle snafu making it too late to head to Thursday night's opening reception, I missed out on a good opportunity to meet the other scholarship recipients and our generous donors (I donated, but it definitely wasn't generous, but I had to "Make Tom Wark Pay!" and then Amy the Wine Sleuth matched Tom's generous matching donation). Thus, over the course of the conference, I looked out for folks bearing the 'Scholarship Recipient' and 'Donors' badges and introduced myself as I could. If I missed somebody besides Tom (sorry Tom, but we'll be meeting in the future for sure!), please don't take it personally. As a first-time attendee, I was pretty much in over my head most of the time, and meeting a couple hundred people was somewhat blurry at times.

Beyond the obvious benefit of meeting all these great people and sessions on being a better blogger, drinking the amazing BC wines, and being surrounded by natural beauty that was, at times, unbelievable, it was the passion that will most stick with me. Sure, people were there to have a good time, but, ultimately, people were there to immerse themselves in the experience, to drink good wine and eat good food, to educate themselves on the area and the culture, not for themselves, but for their readers.

I came home with mixed emotions. I never expected to make friends or have such a strong desire to go back, to make plans for WBC14 -- I'm working hard on convincing Laima that next year's conference simply must be in our travel budget. I know she would be positively overwhelmed in much the same way I was. There have been criticisms leveled at the Wine Bloggers Conference and wine bloggers as well, calling the whole shebang irrelevant and perhaps unprofessional (both pejoratively and in the sense of not being paid professionals), but I'd be surprised that someone could attend a conference such as this and not feel a desire to improve one's writing and be more engaged. That kind of bitterness doesn't have a place at events like this, so it's good those naysayers stayed home.

This trip simply would not have been possible without the generous support of the Scholarship donors and the Committee itself, so thank you again. The application process starts January 1st, so I have some time to ponder whether Laima and I will need to apply for Scholarships or if we can find room in the budget. Whether you plan on applying for a scholarship or not, please consider being a donor -- I'm a big believer of the need for the Wine Bloggers Conference and a huge fan of the Scholarship.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WBC13: Day 1

Even though I had come in too late Thursday night for the opening night reception at the See Ya Later Ranch (great name), I popped out of bed bright and early, spending some time on the balcony watching the sun over beautiful Okanagan Lake. Not too soon after, my WBC13 roommate, Byron Marlowe of @professormerlot fame and I headed out for a quick morning run to explore the Penticton downtown, After dead-ending along the lakefront, we headed up some steep hills for trail running, with the most amazing lavender scent permeating the air. We headed back down after some great views of the lake from the bluffs above, then ran around the downtown area to see what we could see. Breakfast ended up being at The Bench Market, a great little cafe (everything on their healthy and fresh menu is made from scratch on-site), the only place in Canada that I got a decent latte, strangely enough -- not sure what the problem is with Canada and soy lattes. The Penticton area is incredibly gorgeous, a nice mix of nature, agriculture, vineyards, residential areas, and the downtown area itself -- all this within eyeshot of Okanagan Lake. The lake is 76 miles long, seemingly going on forever.

Post-breakfast, the day began.

WBC13 Day 1

10:15 – 11:15 AM Keynote speaker – James Conaway

As I wrote in my post yesterday, WBC13: Passion, Responsibility, Engagement, and Fun, Conaway started the Conference off with a bang, exhorting attendees to go beyond, to research and dig and expose, to not be content with surface prose. It's not enough to review the wine, but to look at the environment that it is made in - it is our responsibility to expose the truth: "Writers aren't supposed to be liked. The more you are, the less effective you are as a journalist." I'll admit to being disappointed a bit in that he read his remarks rather than off the cuff or from memory, but the content was powerful, stirring, and made me excited to become a better writer.

11:15 – 12:00 PM Current State of Wine Blogging – Survey Results

Not surprisingly, most bloggers don't make money from their work, though this is somewhat misleading, since many of us receive samples, which obviously has cash value. There were some surprises for me, especially the number of Twitter followers and unique visitors; I lag FAR behind in these two, so I wonder where some people are getting their numbers (or there's some serious number inflation going on). Since people self-reported, it would probably behoove the survey to be based on a single source, such as Google Analytics. For a complete look at the results, head over to the 2013 State of Wine Blogging Report.

12:00 – 1:30 PM Lunch with Wine Country Ontario

Not to toot the host area's horn for them, but, while the wines of Ontario were certainly drinkable, they did not have the crisp acidity, fruit, and balance when compared to the BC wines. Great spread though, and really nice to see vegetarian options for most of the courses.

1:45 – 2:45 PM Breakout Sessions
- Session 1: Google Plus Workshop
- Session 2: Creating Compelling Content
- Session 3: The Secrets of Chenin Blanc from South Africa
The Compelling Content session was one I was really looking forward to. While tasting wine is fun and educational, ultimately sharing one's tasting notes is not altogether useful, as each person's palate is so distinct. This session was about telling the story, about being passionate, educating oneself so that one can educate the readers. This is the very thing I had in mind when I started blogging, but I feel like I strayed from that, becoming formulaic. Hopefully changed moving forward.

3:00 – 4:00 PM British Columbia Live Wine Blogging – White, Sparkling and Ice

Just wow. Even though these speedy exposures to wine aren't the best way to appreciate them, these BC wines were spot on, really a shame that most of the wine-drinking world will never get to try them. From my tasting notes, characteristics that were repeated are acidity, stone fruit flavors, citrus, honey, balance, pleasant mouthfeel, the positives just kept coming. If you're travelling through Canada and can get here, get here. If not, buy some of these wines in the duty- free shop or another store, then check them as baggage or carry them on. Your cellar and palate will thank you.

4:15 – 8:00 PM Excursions to Penticton-area wineries (departures from the front lobby)

Five local winery associations put together excursions for Friday afternoon with different themes and fitness levels, not to mention great BC wine and food. One I dismissed out of hand as paella was dinner, but all the others sounded pretty fun.

WBC13 Similkameen Wines

The theme I chose was "Vineyards and Geology," because I was interested in learning about the "unique geology, terroir and environmental differences that help create the award-winning wines of the region" (which turned out to be the Silkameen). The Silkameen is an area that is known for its commitment to the sustainability of the land and the organic focus of their grape and fruit wines. On the way to the winery for the tour and dinner, we stopped at the Old Grist Mill and Gardens, a BC Heritage Site. They are currently growing their own wheat, with plans to refurbish the mill and actually bake bread onsite. Also on the property is an apple orchard with multiple heirloom varieties -- visit there in the fall and you can get a taste. Seven Stones Winery was our final destination and the reason I chose this outing ("head underground for an earthy, down-to-earth dinner?" yes, please!). After a tour of the winery, the vineyards, and the newly built cave and barrel room, we met with area vintners for wine tastings - to a person unfailingly nice, sharing their stories and wines, both of which were compelling and attractive. Then underground we went, where Chef Chris Van Hooydonk (of Artisan Culinary Concepts) created a feast to please all palates, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options that paired perfectly with the local wines. Kudos to all!

9:00 – 11:00 PM Evening Reception with the Oliver-Osoyoos Wineries Association (You will be transferred directly from the Excursion to the Reception)

Flat out too much for me. After a day of drinking wines and travelling on the bus in the afternoon, I was simply too tired to appreciate this reception. After one more glass of bubbly, I headed downstairs and got on the first available shuttle. No after-hours parties for me; instead, to bed and some much-needed rest.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

WBC13: Passion, Responsibility, Engagement, and Fun

My first Wine Bloggers Conference, and what an amazing introduction to this amazing event! I entered the arena with trepidation, intimidated by everyone else seemingly knowing each other, best of bosom buddies. But like cold water, best just to dive in.


Author James Conaway (if you haven't read Nose, you should, a lighthearted skewering of so many in the wine world) started the Conference off with a bang, exhorting attendees to go beyond, to research and dig and expose, to not be content with surface prose. It's not enough to review the wine, but to look at the environment that it is made in - it is our responsibility to expose the truth: "Writers aren't supposed to be liked. The more you are, the less effective you are as a journalist." Whew.

It's not just enough to report, however, you must create compelling content. As Michael Wangbickler  (Through the Bunghole) said in the Compelling Content session, know your audience, do the research, tell a story; preparation + passion = compelling content. How do you know and connect with your audience? By positioning your blog. Thea Dwelle (Luscious Lushes), Kathleen Rake (Between the Vines), and Megan Kenney (Wannabe Wino) let us in on a few secrets: be credible, network, be consistent, access wine events, make a name for yourself, be in it for the long haul, educate yourself, search, connect, engage, build community, participate, be passionate, have fun!

Having fun is the key. While we often think of what we do as serious business, ultimately it's about life and people and the interaction of the two. And, at the end, it goes beyond wine. Sometimes pizza, beer, the Blackhawks game, good conversation, and looking over a sparkling lake surrounded by beautiful nature is a way to remind ourselves just that.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking Off for WBC13, eh?

As you read this, I'm winging my way up to The Great White North (or more likely sitting in an airport -- it's a LONG way). It's been many years since I've visited our northern neighbor and I've never tasted Canadian wine, so it's win-win on so many fronts. I'm also so grateful that, as a WBC Scholarship awardee, I'm able to make this trip -- could not have done it without the generous sponsors. Thanks to each one of you!

WBC13 prep

We watched "Strange Brew" recently, to make sure I was up on the local customs and knew the proper way to act. I hope it's enough preparation...

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pour de France Infographic

I know my brother (of Winecycling notoriety) is planning a bicycle trip in the Loire this summer -- seeing this infographic made me think of him and how much fun it would be to cycle through France.

Headwater's Pour de France
Image source: Headwater Holidays

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wine Tasting: Recent Reds

Memorial Day Weekend we headed for Union Pier in Michigan, one of our favorite family destinations. Along the way, we stopped at an Indiana winery to finally get our first taste of Indiana wine. It was not to be, however, as the winery made wine from Michigan and California grapes. Oh well.

Lazy Bones Cabernet Franc

After unpacking and settling in at the cottage, it was time to unwind with some wine. We had stopped at Trader Joe's along the way and Laima picked up a few bottles of the Lazy Bones 2011 Paso Robles Cabernet Franc. We had this before dinner and with a pizza (broccoli and onions for me) and for me this was better with the food. The wine has some black cherry on the nose, with smoky plum and black pepper flavors, a decent mouthfeel, and a plush finish. (Retail $6.99 at our TJ's)

Other recent reds:

Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Estancia Winery Paso Robles Keyes Canyon Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque inky purple color, black cherry and plum aromas, dark berry and cocoa flavors, a bit of tannin, medium finish.

Guenoc Victorian Claret

Langtry Estate and Vineyards Guenoc 2010 North Coast Victorian Claret: light ruby in color, dusty pomegranate and red berry aromas, started off very dusty tasting as well, dark chocolate cherry flavors, slight tannins, medium body and finish.

HRM Rex Goliath Giant 47 Pound Rooster Free Range Red

HRM Rex Goliath Giant 47 Pound Rooster Free Range Red: Deep purplish red, cocoa and dark cherry aromas, earthy plum and bright red berry flavors, round mouthfeel, smooth finish.

 Gnarly Head 2011 Old Vine Zin

Gnarly Head 2011 Old Vine Zin: Nice garnet color, soil and dark berry aromas, earthy plum taste, nice round mouthfeel with a peppery tang on lingering finish. We are loving Old Vine Zinfandels at the moment.

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