OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Author: Allison (page 1 of 11)

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Twenty seven minutes ago, the door bell rang and there stood one of my all-time favorite people.

Dressed from head to toe like a miniature blue Santa with fur lined cap and soot-covered boots,

she had sprung from a shiny, package laden sleigh,

across the lawn and unto the porch making just a slight clatter (I know, cause the dog barked)

Gracefully balancing a box with the festive red label “Adult Signature Required”,

She quickly checked her list once and then twice,

cause I’ve been both naughty and nice.

And with a deft scan of my name and a hurried ‘good day’

she bounded back to her truck

to drive swiftly away.

I love seeing the FedEx and UPS trucks drive into my culs-de-sac. Especially in December. Just makes my heart race cause it usually means good things are on the way. This time it was a hefty bottle of Yao Ming Brut Sparkling Wine from a fellow wine blogger. Very Merry indeed! 

Cheers! 

 

Our Saturday Sips: Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015


Confession. We actually opened this wine on a Wednesday. It was a very good Wednesday.

My middle daughter had begged me to be a chaperone on the annual Classics Day field trip held at the University of Oklahoma. Unbeknownst  to me, my shrewd girl had an agenda.  One, get out of school and two, meet up and hang out with her sister who attends OU. In order to accomplish this,  my daughter talked her Latin teacher into letting us drive separately by using me as Chaperone bait. There’s usually a scarcity of parents for any high school field trips so I was a welcome addition. However, my girl’s ace in the hole was a packed field trip bus.  In the end, she got her wish; the sisters got to meet up for the afternoon and the college girl got a free lunch.

One highlight of Classics Day was the presenter on the history of Greek Warfare. His vast knowledge of Greek history kept the students extremely engaged. However, I think the real reason for their rapt attention was the sharp, shiny weaponry and the fact he was built like a Gladiator.  Turns out, his other passion is body building. What’s that old saying? You can never judge a book by its cover? The combo definitely works in his favor!

 

The other reason I wanted to open a bottle  was the fact I  went on a field trip with my daughter and didn’t do anything  to embarrass her in front of her peers.  This might be silly, but trust me, any public outings where my kids don’t roll their eyes over my behavior is a rare event. This may not be reason enough for celebration in your house, but where I live, Teenlandia, it’s practically a National Holiday.

In celebration, I picked up Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 California.  It’s a consistent everyday wine at around $11 and has a nice smooth blend of cherries, plums and  vanilla.  Plus, Bogle Wines are everywhere so those rare occasions you have an eye rolling-free experience with a teenager, you can celebrate without breaking the bank. Cheers!

Thanksgiving Cheer!

image: sfappstudio.com

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you for reading this ramble of mine and for commenting and sharing wine knowledge and for making me laugh and think and for just taking the time to be kind.  You may not know it but God has used you for good in my life and for this I’m grateful. 

I love Thanksgiving. Unlike Christmas, with the pressure to produce the perfect gifts, or mail a magnificent family Christmas card photo, Thanksgiving gives me an intentional opportunity to reflect on life and give thanks to God, family, friends, even strangers for impacting me in so many valuable ways. 

 

Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1

 

However you celebrate this year, I pray your day is filled with lots of laughter and good cheer.  

And on that note, for those of you like me who stress over the holiday details, here’s a bit of advice from one of my favorite party hosts, Julia Child:

On cooking mistakes: “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the (turkey), you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?” 

Dinner conversation: “Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!”

In general:  “With enough butter, anything is good.”

Our Saturday Sips: Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

The first week of November wrapped up the official Marching Band season with the final football game honoring the Seniors. Our family met our son at the 50-yard line as his name and future aspirations were read out over the PA system. Prior to this honor, Senior son had to fill out a form stating future plans, college, studies etc. He’s a joker and heavily encouraged by his father so this was a golden opportunity. Here’s what he wrote:

 

“Going to Colorado School of Mimes to pursue his dream of silently changing the world one motion at a time.”

 

Yeah.

In the end, I put the ‘mom’ squeeze on him and he put where he hopes to actually go to college to pursue degrees in Jazz and Physics. The traditional and boring answer. Looking back, I should have let him do it. No one ever remembers what’s said but they might have remembered that one. 

For the weekend, I picked one of my favorite producers to commemorate of our ‘Senior Mom and Dad’ titles. After four years of band, I’d say we’ve earned it! Now we only have four more years to go before we’ll be completely done.

 

“The Everyday Wine for the Well Informed” ~ Decoy

Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2015

 

I really like this young Cabernet with it’s blackberries, tangy cherry and spice. Very satisfying. Decoy is under the umbrella of Duckhorn Vineyards and Wine Co. and has grown into a well established Sonoma County winery. It’s the affordable cousin among the Duckhorn wine brands with ‘ready upon release’ wines selling for around $20. All of Decoy wines are Sonoma County appellation-designated and thankfully, widely available. 

 

 

Band Mom Corsage. It was as big as my head.

 

Homerun or Strikeout? MLB Swings Into the Wine Bizz

Recently, my sister-in-law, who is an ace at finding unique and interesting gifts, brought us a bottle of New York Yankee Cabernet Sauvignon from the MLB Club Series Reserve. She thought we’d have fun trying it out and as usual, she was right.

I immediately had thoughts of gimmick wines like Marilyn Merlot and Game of Thrones Blend but since the Yankees brand themselves with the image of ‘Old Money’, there was a chance the wine would be quite drinkable.

Apparently, Major League Baseball and wine is a fairly recent marketing venture dreamed up by the company Wine By Design and its founder Diane Karle. The offerings started in 2014 with 7 major league baseball teams who signed up to serve and sell their own ball club branded wines. To get past the novelty perception, each team uses either winery-specific partnerships or generic region-based wine holdings. The largest source for most of the team wines is from Plata Wine Partners with their vast California Central Valley holdings.

A few teams are fortunate enough to be located in well-known regions and have access to solid producers such as the San Francisco Giants Sparkling Brut which partners with Mumm Napa and the Seattle Mariners in Washington wine country. The Philadelphia Phillies bottle Reds from local Chaddsford Winery and the NY Yankees offer Finger Lakes Riesling by Anthony Road Winery.

As the 2017 MLB season wrapped up, there were currently 20 teams sporting their own club labels with many of the MLB Club Reserve wines priced between $20- $35 a bottle.

So, did the Yankees hit it out of the ballpark?

Um, not really. But my sisinlaw did score in the fun category. The wine was more like a sacrificed bunt for the run than a grand slam. For the $25 price tag, it was just  so-so and probably more suited as an accent to a great memory like sitting behind home plate in the Yankee Moat than served at home with a weekend dinner. Or to be given as a nice gift for baseball fans who collect Team memorabilia.  

We still had fun trying it, though, since anything is possible before you actually open the bottle. Cheers! 

Oklahoma Skies #7: Sunset & a 500 year-old Blogpost

There are approximately a thousand pictures on my iPhone of the Oklahoma skies. Apparently, I’m infatuated with them. Some days, they can be fairly spectacular. We might not have much here in tornado alley, but more often than not the skies are saturated in a range of glorious colors. 

 

Today marks the 500th anniversary of church reformer, Martin Luther and his ‘blog post’ of 95 Theses.

Luther nailed his post to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. His ‘blog post’ would change the Christian church forever. Happy Reformation Day! 

 

Sunset – December 16, 2016

 

 

As a bonus, I wanted to share Martin Luther’s famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” that he wrote in testament to the work of God Almighty in his life. Hope you enjoy!  

 

“One of The Best-Kept Secrets of France”: Bugey Appellation

I love this time of the year! Our local wine shop hosts an abundance of wine tastings in prep for the coming holiday season so it’s an excellent opportunity to be exposed to wines all for free! I guess it’s not totally “free”.  The tasting and learning are free. However, I usually do come home with at least a bottle or two so you get it. Plus, there’s the opportunity to chat with a wine rep who’s sole aim is to help you get to know their wines. They are always amiable and enthusiastic talkers!

Once again, we found ourselves squeezing in a tasting  on a crowded Wednesday evening but it was well worth it.  Our local wine shop was throwing a Fall Wine Tasting hosted by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants. The wines were all from France, food-friendly and geared towards holiday gatherings.  Our favorite was the sparkling wine Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey-Cerdon Rosé. It was the last pour in the line up and the one that elicited the most smiles from everyone.  The color alone brought a great reaction and coupled with it’s very heady fragrance, the crowded back corner bar where it was being served quickly turned into a lively party.  A few of us may have circled through a second time while the rep spun stories about the Bottex family and the Bugey appellation.

Bugey-Cerdon is actually a blend of the grapes Gamay and Poulsard. The wine is low in alcohol content, vibrantly pink, bubbly, slightly sweet, and fabulously fragrant. Extremely festive. And from a region that according to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, “… is one of the best-kept secrets of France.”

Patrick Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey Cerdon Rosé NV

I really enjoyed doing research on this wine region. Not many of the region’s wines usually flow past their local dinner table but a few are making their way to foreign shores. The region of Bugey is tucked at the foothills of the Jura mountains between Savoie and the Rhone. It received official appellation status in 2009 but has been around since Medieval times.

“Today, Cerdon is considered one of three crus within the appellation of Bugey, and the only one whose entire production consists of sparkling wine.” ~ KermitLynch.com 

I’m thinking they’ve mastered the old adage, “Focus on one thing and do it well.”

“Le Cueille” Picture courtsey of Bottex Website

The 5 hectares of the  Bottex vineyard lies in the hamlet of Le Cueille.  According to French law, the wine has to be made in the Mèthode Ancestrale which is an ancient process that pre-dates Champenoise. Basically, the wine only goes through a single fermentation in vats and finishes up in bottle. Fairly simple. In my opinion, the results are wonderful! 

The wine tasting was so festive that just looking at the picture I snapped in haste (before getting back in queue to ask a question and maybe a drop more wine) makes me excited for the holidays. The “best kept secret” is now out but I’m confident I can get a few bottles during the wine shop’s Fall Sale this week. (Thank you,  Alexander Graham Bell

Rest assured, if you’re coming to my house anytime in the next two months, this is what I’m serving! Cheers!

Our Saturday Sips: Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

It’s the end of the monthly budget with a few pennies to spare. So what’s a thrifty wine drinker to do? You bring home that trusted, consistent, widely distributed wine under ten dollars and you celebrate the fact there’s a decent inexpensive wine you can enjoy for under a ten-spot.

For us it’s Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio California 2016 –  Retail $8.65.

The name Gnarly Head reminds me an ’80s surf movie despite it really representing their old gnarled vines in Lodi.  The word actually means gnarled, challenging, disgusting, and gross. I couldn’t stop thinking about the word ‘Gnarly’ which led to the word ‘dude’.  And then that made me think of gnarly dudes dropping acid because the Pinot Grigio was acidic and I’m back to the 80s surfing movie again probably starring Sean Penn.  Which would be a huge letdown cause I think Nicolas Cage fits the role so much better.  Welcome to my stream of consciousness.

“BOLD. SOPHISTICATED. WITH A HINT OF GNARLY.”

The Pinot Grigio was not gross or challenging but refreshing and citrusy with some stone fruit and melons.  The Gnarly Head website states they’re part of the Delicato Family Vineyards portfolio.

The label suggested pairing with spicy Asian dishes, but in reality,  we paired it with a late night nosh of junk food and Netflix. The long week had ended with an evening  of high school football and marching band. The 8th grade band had been invited to join the high school band (they were recruiting for next year), so our youngest daughter got to perform with her older siblings on the bleachers in band heaven.

Meanwhile, my husband and I enjoyed a small taste of empty nesting. We’d sat in the upper deck  where the kids wouldn’t be able to find us (sort of) but I swear they have radar like an AWACS when they need cash. I’m half-joking. I’ll miss these years after they’ve all flown away. But seriously, how do my kids vanish when it’s time to load the dishwasher yet easily find me in a crowd of 10,000 when the trombone section is heading to IHOP and they need money? It’s just Gnarly.

Cheers to those reliable, cheap sips!

Madeira: My ‘Wow’ Wine Moment

Last evening, we attended a tasting at our local wine shop hosted by The Rare Wine Co. They specialize in old vintage wines and were pouring 6 offerings with the help of their rep Master Sommelier Anthony Anselmi. I throw his name out there encase anyone knows him. I adore name dropping whenever possible. 

All of the wines were Old World which gives me immediate recall issues on the where, whom and why but once I get my bearings on a wine I can sometimes remember. My brain picks up New World better. Anyway, my poor memory became irrelevant once I tasted the last wine poured. 

 

The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Charleston Sercial Madeira NV

19.5% Alc. Retail $50

This was my first Madeira and it hopefully won’t be my last. It’s produced by Vinhos Barbeito from the Island of Madeira, Portugal. 

It’s deep golden in color and powerfully aromatic.  So powerful on the nose that bourbon came to mind and I hesitated in tasting. Strong drink gives me a tummy ache. I braved it and took a sip.

And time stood still. I’m not joking. You all felt it right? Who else has experienced this after one sip? 

In that moment, I had my first ‘Wow’. It was magical. I’ve been fortunate to taste a few good wines over the years. Nothing of the famous cult variety but still very good. However, that little sip topped them all. Stupefied and stunned, I just kept looking at the glass.  Sniff and look. Sniff and look. I was clueless at that point as to where Madeira was located but I knew I was in love. The taste was nothing like the nose. Soft and dry with what I first thought was butterscotch but turned out to be caramel and a touch of saltiness. Delicious.

We had crammed the wine tasting in between a busy work day and rushing to a class at church but once I sipped the Madeira all thoughts of hurrying were gone. I wanted to draw out finishing it as long as possible and savor the moment. I’m making a note for future wine tastings to keep the schedule clear just in case a wonderful wine happens.  

This particular bottle is part of The Rare Wine Co. Historic Madeira series produced by the Barbeito family. The wines are named for U.S. cities where Madeira was super popular in the 18th and 19th century. They chose two cities in the south, Charleston and Savannah, which are drier Madeira and two cities in the north, Boston and New York, which are sweeter. Having a southern mama, I would have picked Charleston for sweet but historically the South preferred dry. 

Here’s a few info-bites I hastily gleaned about the wine I am now designating as the gift to give for all future weddings I might get to attend:

  1. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Madeira is a fortified wine which means it practically lasts forever making it a great anniversary tradition to save and sip each year. 
  2. High in alcohol. It can have between 19 – 22%. Another reason you might not finish the bottle in one sitting although it’s tempting. 
  3. As a landmass, Madeira is a mountainous island with mild temperatures. 
  4. The four current global Madeira wine producers survived by buying and stockpiling vintages during a 13 year phylloxera outbreak. The one we tasted was in barrel for 22 years. 
  5. Apparently, Japan really likes Madeira and buys lots of it. 
  6. It goes well with duck. (Thank you, Amy) 

Actually, it apparently goes well with lots of dishes for that matter. I’m thinking for Thanksgiving it’s goodbye Prosecco and Hello Madeira. The only thing stopping me is the price. Well, and the alcohol content. Other than that “if I were a rich man . . . yada yada yada” 

Cheers! 

Our Saturday Sips: Wheelhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

If the weekend is here that means there will be wine. And I plan on making it a good one! (Hopefully) Now let’s pour. 

 

Picking the wine fell to me this past weekend because my husband was out of town till Sunday afternoon. He came home to the privilege of opening the bottle and burying our beloved guinea pig.  Thankfully Rumble passed away Sunday while we were at church and not earlier in the week while my husband was gone. My husband manages these life events better than me. Fat hairy spiders? No problem. Dead pet? I get squeamish. In the end, our middle daughter, the reason we adopted Rumble 7 years ago, and my hubby held a sweet memorial service and buried him in the back garden. RIP Rumble. I’ll miss your loud whooping while I grind the coffee in the morning but not your droppings under the Lazyboy.  If interested, you can read about his brief career as a wine critic here

Anyway, for some reason, I had a hard time choosing the wine for the weekend. Here’s my predicament: We have a rule of one bottle a week and only on the weekend so I want a great bottle. Absolutely unrealistic, I know, but I’ve only got one chance. This dilemma is easily solvable by picking an old reliable. Except, I love to try new wines and I’ve been thinking lately I should test my wine knowledge and not ask the clerk every time for a suggestion. Why gather all this wine experience if I’m not going to use it? But that raises the odds of picking a dud and being disappointed. Oh, my first world problems!

In the end, I decided to just go for it and picked a Napa Valley Cabernet by a producer I’ve never tried since Napa is known for producing lovely Cabs. What’s Ms. Frizzle always say? “Be brave. Take chances. Make mistakes.” Besides, I can comfort myself in picking an old reliable next weekend, right?

Our Saturday Sip: 

 

Wheelhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Napa Valley

Overall, Wheelhouse is nice although slightly boring. It turned out to be a pleasant pour while we caught up on the week. If you’re looking for safe, nothing super exciting but drinkable then it’s a decent pick up. Although, in a blind tasting it’s not particularly obvious it’s a Cabernet Sauvignon with it’s lighter body and shy dark fruit. I probably won’t buy it again because I like Bold Cabernet. Also it’s a bit pricey at $17 for moderately boring. My guess is because of it’s location – Napa Valley.  Oh well. Still it wasn’t a dud! 

Happy Sipping, 

Allison

 

Thank you LORD for the fun piggy. Adieu, dear boy.

 

 

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