Hi, y’all. I’m on vacation. And I’m tasting wines. Lots of them. All under $10 – okay, I lied. I’m taking some winery wines with me, so not all of them are under $10, but a whole lot of them are.
We’re going camping – yep, even Ms. Broken Leg here. Up to Mammoth Mountain. As a matter of fact, when this gets posted, I’ll be headed home. Sigh…hate to leave the place…
But when I come back, I’ll have lots to talk about and lots of wine to share. And if I get a chance (read: internet connection) to update you, I will, I swear. In the meantime, there are books to write, chipmunks to blast with the super soaker 5000, and wine to sip by the fire.
Not to mention, getting myself lost in the night sky. There are so many stars visible up at that altitude that it fills me with wonder. And tonight the Perseid meteor shower should hit.
Update: Because of the nefarious hackers who cyber-raped me yesterday, I’ve got an update on a wine for you.
Firefly Ridge Syrah 2008 Central Coast (Livermore and Ripon) Alcohol 13.5% by volume. $9.99 on sale at Vons.
On the Label: “Our wines are a symbolic tribute to the mysterious and romantic firefly. The firefly’s brilliant luminescence is reflected in each vintage of Firefly Ridge wines.
“Firefly Ridge Syrah is a smooth red wine with exotic aromas and flavors of blackberry, spice and pepper. Velvety tannins, a hint of smoke and long, spicy finish make this an ideal pairing to grilled steaks or hearty pastas. This Syrah is delicious now or can be put down for up to 5 years to develop additional complexity.
My take: Definitely smooth. It goes well with campfire smoke, the sounds of a guitar, and sons squabbling good-naturedly as they play horseshoes. This bottle, however, was destined for great things.
I took a glass to the hubby to sip between songs. His eyes lit up, however, and he proceeded to transfer all the wine from the bottle to a plastic water bottle. The neck fit his finger – he was eyeing it as a potential slide for his cigar box guitar, as he’d left all his own slides at home.
(To break the neck of a wine bottle: douse approximately 7 inches of twine in lighter fluid. Wrap twine tightly around neck of bottle, tie off. Light the twine on fire, and twist bottle to make sure all the twine is burned and the bottle heated. When the flame goes out, dunk bottle into bucket of cold water for up to 2 minutes. If it cracks, good for you! If not, the bottle won.)
The bottle broke, instead of the neck coming off smoothly; and so we drank the wine in homage to the lost bottle. Being in plastic did nothing to mar the wonderful flavor. We had it with chicken-apple sausages, roasted potatoes with onion, and green beans.
My Rating: ~Very Drinkable~
So, summer’s almost over and I’m finally getting a vacation. If you want more of me today, head on over to Flirty Author Bitches and see my post, also hitting today. You’ll find out just why my family hates chipmunks.
Peace out people, and remember – drink responsibly!
~ Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? Head on over to Crescent Moon Press and pick up your copy today! ~
My good friend Kat was kind enough to invite me to her girl’s wine night a few weeks ago. Since I’d just started this feature here at the blog, I commandeered the night and suggested we each bring a bottle of red wine, under $10 of course. (The next day, I apologized – but the die had been cast and all was set.)
These gals are old friends, and have been gathering on a semi-regular basis for a few years to drink wine and eat nibbles and talk about everything under the sun. I was the beginner infiltrating their ranks. While I had some surprises in store, I think it went very well in the end.
I arrived at 4:30 sharp with my bottle to find Patti there before me and Kat dealing with a passel of kids (Patti and Kat’s daughters are in dance class together). Soon Kelly arrived (who was Kat’s daughter’s kindergarten teacher, if I’ve got this straight…) and all the wine was there. Four bottles. Four women. Lots and lots of yummy finger foods spread out on the table in front of us. I suggested to Kat that we open all the bottles and allow the oxygen to at least start the airing process. I glanced at the clock – almost five.
At any rate – let’s get to the wine, shall we? We went from the lightest to the heaviest.
Wine #1: Estancia Pinot Noir, 2009 Monterey County, Pinnacles Ranches Normally $14.99, on sale at Vons for $9.99
On the Label: “Displays luscious berry flavors, spice and a rich, supple finish.” The winery’s website here.
This wine gave me a handle on the women I sipped with. One loved it – it was light in flavor and easy for her to drink. Another one was so so about it – neither loving nor hating it. The third found it unremarkable, and easy to forget. Me? It made a nice sipping wine. It didn’t need food. All in all, a nice, undemanding wine to start the evening.
My Rating: ~Drinkable~
Wine #2: Clos du Bois, 2007 Shiraz, North Coast Regularly $14.99, on sale for $7.49 at Vons.
On the Label: “This spicy, peppery Shiraz tastes of wild raspberries and blackberries with expressive layers of ground pepper and licorice. An approachable wine that pairs well with grilled pork or roast duck.”
The pepper was there, the color was gorgeous – a nice, deep ruby. We didn’t taste the berries in the wine, but it went great with cheese and crackers. A good food wine.
The consensus: Three of us really liked it, especially at almost half price. The fourth found it too big and bold a wine.
My Rating: ~Very Drinkable~
Wine #3: Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Do. Valle Del Maipo – Chile, 2008 I don’t have a cost on this, but I know it was under the $10 limit.
On the Label: “Superb quality and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Santa Rita, one of Chile’s most admired and innovative wine estates. Ripe black fruit, plums and herbs.”
By this time we’d gotten comfy. Shoes were kicked off, hair let down, and we were chatting nine to the dozen. The wine got a critical reception and I’m not sure if it was because I kept dragging the conversation back to it, or because of the topic I’d interrupted (something about men, of course). At any rate, it wasn’t as well received as the Shiraz. It needed more airing, said one person. It had a funny aftertaste, said another. It’s better with food – especially meat, I said after stuffing a slice of salami in my mouth.
The consensus? Perhaps it needed a couple more years, or an aerator, or a big meal of steaks and potatoes and candlelight. But I got the feeling that none of us would necessarily rush out and buy a bottle.
My rating: ~Drinkable~
It wasn’t until after that third wine that I looked around. Six p.m. Kat’s hubby had come and gone, wrangling their sons. Patti’s hubby came to take the girls to dance, and vowed to be back to pick her up so she didn’t have to drive. We were even more comfy, dug deep into cushiony couches or chairs, sipping and nibbling for all we were worth. I sent out a tentative feeler. “So how late does this go? I’ll need to make dinner for my family tonight.”
Three people sent me shocked looks. “Dinner?” “No way.” “They can fend for themselves for one night.” “We’re here until about nine.”
Gulp. Nine? As in p.m.? I’d told my family I’d be home around 6:30p. Seriously? These were hard core wine night gals, for sure! I knew then I couldn’t begin to keep up. I also felt like I’d stepped in it, but as I poured the last wine I was totally forgiven as the conversations started up again.
The fourth wine we tasted was from Kat’s special stock and I believe was the reason they got together to drink wines to begin with, to share the wine. She belongs to a couple of wine clubs, and a good bottle of wine is a terrific reason to have a wine night. Can’t say I disagree with her! So, for the first time I will profile a wine that is over – WAY over – $10 a bottle.
Wine #4 Bridlewood Zinfandel 2005 Santa Ynez Valley – approx $40
On the Label: “Located in the emerging Santa Ynez Valley, Bridlewood Estate Winery is an artisan winemaking facility focused on making award-winning, Rhone-style wines.”
My first taste of the wine was heaven. I stopped writing words down. Everyone, even the gal who prefers lighter wines, liked this wine. Maybe it was the years on it – a 2005 bottle is hard to find in the grocery store. Maybe it was the Rhone-style production. Maybe it was because by this point, I’d had a full glass of wine? I’m not sure. But we all loved it. LOVED it. The expensive wine got the Wine of the Night designation.
It was a wowser and unfortunately, since I didn’t write down any distinguishing characteristics of it, I can’t pass those on to you. I don’t think you can even find Bridlewood at the local wine shop. I believe it’s one of those boutique wineries, the wines available at the winery or through their wine club exclusively.
While this was a very very good wine, it was not yet in the “slut” category for me (as in, “This is MY wine you slut, get your own!), but I’ve got a post coming up on wines that do hit that category so be on the lookout!
My Rating: ~Very, very drinkable!~ I guess I now have a new category, lol!
Recap: It was wonderful if a bit overwhelming to share four totally different bottles of wine with four totally different personalities. I think, if I’m ever lucky enough to be allowed back, that I won’t schedule anything silly like dinner for the family. And I’ll never again suggest we each bring a bottle of wine – my mouth went on overload.
As usual, this is my opinion and my taste buds. Your taste buds may vary. If you do choose to pick up a bottle on my recommendation, please remember to drink responsibly!
~ Christine ~
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Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press orAmazon.com. Happy Reading!