OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

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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! 

 

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.”

There’s a Circus in the Vineyard: Michael David Petite Petit 2014

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus will be shuttering the Big Top in May. After 150 years, no more clowns tumbling out of tiny cars, Ballerinas poised on galloping horses, Chinese acrobats, Lion tamers or tightrope walkers cartwheeling at death defying heights. The Ring Master’s stage will go silent and the elephants will go into retirement. Personally, I’ll shed no tears over the clowns. They’ve always given me the hebee-gebees. Also not too worried for the acrobats because they can get higher paying gigs in Vegas. So all is well. But the elephants, those majestic beasts of the African Savanna, how will they fare?

Well, no worries. They’ll be happily employed in the vineyard or at least poising on wine labels for Michael David Winery in Lodi, California. Yes, it’s true. They already have a lovely gig representing Michael David’s Petite Petit 2014  which my husband and I had the pleasure of drinking over the holidays. And again, after the holidays because it really is that good. The Petite Petit was recommended by our local wine source and backed up by Lori @Dracaenawines (you can read about her experience at the winery here). Plus, you know me, I’m a sucker for arty labels and this one is arty and entertaining. There’s a lot going on in the picture. The mice are busy opening other bottles from Michael David. One of the elephants has a tattoo. The entire pachyderm demeanor is a mix of tough guy and wine connoisseur. Just relaxing after over a glass of petite Sirah while the mice play cards. There’s even a cute poem on the back label.

Michael David Winery (here’s the website) could revive the Circus with this full-bodied red.  The wine is a blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot. A nice balance of dark fruit, spice, cherries and a touch of mocha. Great for sipping  alone while picking out all the stuff going on on the label or with a pulled pork sandwich smothered in Head Country BBQ sauce and side of potato salad.  I’m not sponsored by Head Country BBQ but if they feel so inclined, I’m happy to oblige. If you can’t get Head Country, I feel for your deprivation. However, Michael David wines are widely distributed so you can stage your own little circus at home. These days, mine includes a dog. I’m looking for a top hat for her.

Thanks, Michael David Winery for keeping the elephants gainfully employed. And thankfully, no sign of any creepy clowns. (No offense to clown lovers. Some childhood phobias last a lifetime).

Welcome to the Big Top,

Allison

Happy Happy New Year!

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s with a grateful heart I wish you all a Happy New Year!

I’m choosing to remember the good over the last 12 months as this tumultuous year ends.

Good bye 2016. You’re a year I’ll probably not remember with much fondness but I will remember these:

  1. All the family, amazing friends, and even strangers, God blessed us through, who’ve given love, encouragement & rearranged schedules to spend precious time with us.
  2. Our first high school graduate and the hilariously terrified look on her face as she crossed the stage to get her diploma. The realization you are actually going to have to grow up can be terrifying!
  3. Dropping off our college freshman.
  4. Running in my first half-marathon
  5. First trip to Seattle. Washington State has a winery on every corner and someday I might visit one.
  6. A new sister-in-law – an amazing woman to put up with my brother 😉
  7. Getting to serve in the New Moms Bible Study in the role of Old Mom. Strange as it seems, those halcyon days of strollers and play dates are about as appealing as a root canal now.
  8. Wine from Mallorca – Thank you, Alaska Cousin!
  9. Meeting up with #winestudio friends while on vacation
  10. Discovering Rías Baixas through fifteen bottles of Albariño from Spain. Thank you #winestudio!

I didn’t want to put too much effort into picking the celebration bubbly so I chose one I can always rely on. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige.

Cheers to your new year and a toast to new beginnings.  Oh yeah, and I just learned we’re getting a dog. As in, Today.  2017 has an interesting start already.

Happy New Year,

Allison

Let’s Play with Wine Like We Play with Food

Happy Sunday!

Just wanted to pop in. Praise God, our weather is turning to Fall. I’m ready. I’ve intended to post on wines we’ve enjoyed lately.  I even made it to a wine-tasting yesterday BUT in between watching our son run in the Cowboy Jamboree (cross country race at OK State), picking up daughter #2 from a band clinic and getting daughter #3 to Band-a-palooza, I haven’t had the time.  This week is going to be short for me because I’m flying to Seattle for my brother’s wedding. My brother happens to live in the middle of Washington Wine Country so I’m hoping to make the most of a golden opportunity and visit a few vineyards. We’ll see. I should get to at least the one on the other side of his back fence. You know how it is at family gatherings, there’s never enough time to do everything you plan.

Anyway, today, after reading a food blogger’s post on how to “break into” food blogging in a saturated niche while simultaneously being mesmerized by a photo of a tomato rainbow, I got to thinking. What if we play with wine like we play with food? Then I realized, we already do. Wine and food pairings are already a hot topic with photos and links to recipes flooding social media. Heck, #winestudio religiously encourages participants to post their wine/food pairings and share, share, share. Therefore, Inspiration is at our fingertips.

photo: smittenkitchen.com

photo: smittenkitchen.com Click for blog – here

I’m inspired to start playing with wine. That’s all. Maybe start a supper club called Playing with Wine.  This could be a new fall goal. If you remember, goals are big in our family. Fall is here so it’s time for new goals. Gives everyone a fresh start.

And I leave you with this:

Chardonnay with a Kraken destroying a seaport on the label.

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Time to pick the most Celebrated Travel wine post. #MWWC25 Time to vote! — the drunken cyclist

It is time to vote! The Remaining Timeline: Voting Begins: Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 (Today!) Voting Ends: Monday, June 6th, 2016 Winner Announced: Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 I am writing this a bit ahead of time as I am about to climb into a car and head off to Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a couple of days. Right now, there are only a […]

via #MWWC25 Time to vote! — the drunken cyclist

The Winds of Modern Change are Blowing

 

vancitybuzz.com

pic by vancitybuzz.com

Just like the strong Spring wind currently rattling the windows, change is blowing in or rather brewing.  This change has been talked about, proposed, and argued over for a long time.

Come November, Oklahoman’s will possibly be given the chance to amend the constitution and take steps toward modernizing our liquor laws. Two legislative bills, SJR68 and SB383, have been proposed to allow grocery and convenience store to sell stronger beer, eliminating 3.2 beer, and  wine. Locally-owned liquor stores will be allowed to sell refrigerated beer as well as accessories associated with alcohol.  Sounds pretty amazing, right? Oklahoma is attempting to clear away some crazy  liquor laws. However, with any change there are always bumps along the way.

I fully support the modernization of our liquor laws but I’m torn between the two groups proposals:  one are the legislators behind the bill pushing to modernize and eliminate archaic laws and the other is the  Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma (RLAO) representing our local wine shop.
The RLAO wants to modernize the laws, too, for it would be in their best interest. But they feel the law favors large out-of-state retail conglomerates such as Walmart, QuikTrip,  etc. who will put locally owned wine shops out of business. The Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association (RLAO) filed paperwork with the Oklahoma Secretary of State to put a question on the ballot in November to allow full-strength beer in grocery stores and convenience stores, but virtually eliminate grocery stores’ ability to obtain wine licenses. In addition, wine would not be sold in convenience stores under their proposal.

Here’s RLAO’s State Question #785:

“Our petition is pro-consumer, pro-public safety and pro-small business. Highlights include:
* Cold, strong beer sold in every outlet that currently sells any strength of beer, including grocery and convenience stores.
* Grocery store wine licenses to allow both locally-owned and chain grocery stores to sell wine.
* Oklahoma breweries could distribute their products directly to Oklahoma retail package stores.
* Oklahoma breweries could serve and sell their product at their own facilities, regardless of ABV.
* Liquor stores could hold tastings inside their store.
* Retail package stores could sell any and all items sold in a grocery store with some restriction.
* Licensing fees from those businesses who choose to sell alcohol would go directly into state agencies whose primary purpose it is to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths in Oklahoma.
* There must be at least 2500 feet between two outlets selling spirits or wine; existing stores grandfathered in.

It also allows the people of Oklahoma, through their legislators, to set the days and hours of operation for retail package stores but only specifically prohibits the sale of spirits on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. We wrote this State Question taking into account consumer demand for convenience along with consumer concern for safety. We feel it is a good balance and that Oklahomans will be more likely than not to vote in favor of it at the ballot box this November.”

Are wine-tastings coming to my local liquor store? (I hope!) Will large grocery conglomerates put my beloved wine shop out of business? Will wine and beer cost more? Can Senators who’ve written the bill and the RLAO find a commonsense compromise? Will Oklahoma move into the 21st  century?

So what do you think? Should Oklahoma open the door wide with full-on enthusiasm and let everyone have a license to sell? Or should limitations be put in place with only those currently selling 3.2 beer able to sell full-strength but nothing else? Honestly, they both sound reasonable but what’s the best way to step into the modern age?

Well stay tuned! Like this current election year we find ourselves living in, it should be one wild ride. The legal jargon alone is enough to give me a headache, however, I’m determined to hang in there and see if we take the steps necessary to modernize.  (I’m applying for my Costco membership right after I post this. JUST KIDDING! We don’t even have a Costco. But we might someday . . . )

Well, happy Wine Wednesday and three cheers to change!

 

 

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

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I just spent the most glorious and productive start to the week I’ve had in a year.  For some unexplained reason, the first Monday after holiday break seems to hold magical powers that propel me out of bed and into a hopeful attitude of activity. Maybe its the fact all the Christmas decorations are boxed and back in the attic and the house is now open and clutter free. Once again, a clear path has opened up around the living room couch and the kitchen counters are pristine and naked of cookie tins, chocolate boxes, stacks of extra holiday dishes and empty wine bottles from Christmas Eve. It gives me a freeing feeling like when you pay off your car or clean out the linen closet.  Why is that? Is it because the kids are back in school? Or life is returning to a more normal routine? What propels me to suddenly yank all the contents of my kitchen cabinets out and start tossing, giving away or packing up  for my soon to be college kids all the forgotten or duplicate housewares?  Or make a copious list of wines to try in 2016? Or weed through the book shelves and alphabetizes my books?

Even my children seem to be touched by this energizing force. They were all up early this morning which is a miracle in itself considering all four stayed up late every night of the “break” watching vines and movies and playing on Animal Crossing: Happy Home Makeover. Backpacks were loaded, band instruments sat by the door, lunches made. For the first and probably last time of the new semester, they had breakfast together at the table instead of the usual revolving bar stool action I know we’ll go back to when the “New Year” magic wears off. In the meantime, it’s a pleasant memory.

via daydreamerchic.com

via daydreamerchic.com

In the midst of all this  activity, I decided to cook up this weeks meals in advance. I love to cook. However, I’m the type that likes to plan the menu, shop for it but still keep it loose encase the food mood strikes in different direction for dinner. Mid-morning, some  crazy renewed energy came over me.  I put Etta James and Willie Nelson on the player with my favorite George Strait song, “All My EXs Live in Texas” to tie it together and  began pulling out all the ingredients for Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pie and the filling for Spinach Mushroom Enchiladas.

I spotted my breadmaker in the pantry and  debated with myself the merits of fresh baked bread while chopping garlic and onions. The smell of sauteing garlic and onions in olive oil and butter is like a rallying cry to plan 6 more dishes so I wound up pulling ground beef and sausage from the freezer for Italian Meatloaf and found a jar of roasted red peppers to make sauce for lasagna rolls. In the middle of all the culinary outburst, I found a blackberry cobbler I’d buried in the back of the freezer before Thanksgiving that would go wonderfully with dinner.

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There is a time limit to this turbo burst of extraordinary, hyper-productive energy.  By next Monday, I’ll have forgotten the feeling of flying effortlessly through recipes and the desire to  cleanse the closets buoyed by the soul songs of Etta James. These moments are sorta like Cinderella before it all turns back into a pumpkin. In the meantime, I’m going to start on some fresh pasta cause I haven’t used my pasta maker in 6 months and if I don’t it’ll sit there another six and possibly get rusty.

I love the New Year! Happy Monday!

p.s. Feel free to add any wine suggestions for my 2016 list cause that’s one area I never run out of energy. Cheers!

 

 

 

Govino Wine Glasses Winner!

Well the comments are in and the winner of the “Go AnyWhere” Govino wine glasses is (drum roll, please) . . . 

shez@epicurioustexan

The festive location –

Toasting at the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC. 

pic by nydailynews.com

pic by nydailynews.com

An amazingly beautiful sight! The first time my husband took me to see it, we had to stand on tippy toe, straining over the crowd to catch a glimpse. But then the knit hats and fur coats parted and we stood transfixed. No matter the weather or fridged temperatures, just a glimpse of the bright twinkling giant immediately captivates your attention. What a magical place for sharing Christmas cheer!

 

by nydailynews.com

by nydailynews.com

Fun Facts about Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • A Norway spruce 69 to 100 feet (21 to 30 m) tall, has been put up every year since 1933
  • The unofficial tradition began during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a smaller 20 feet (6.1 m) balsam fir tree with “strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans” on Christmas Eve,December 24, 1931
  • In 1944, during World War II, the Rockefeller Center trees were not lighted because of blackout rules (nydailynews.com)
  • The 550-pound Swarovski star is made of 25,000 crystals, 720 LED bulbs, 44 circuit boards, and 3,000 feet of wire. The crowning jewel is estimated to be worth $1.5 million (mental floss.com)
  • The tree is tall, and it’s in Manhattan, so naturally, people have tried to climb it over the years. One guy succeeded in 1979.  (mentalfloss.com)

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Well, have yourself a Merry little Christmas! And Cheers to All!

Tis the Season to Give: Govino Glasses GiveAway!

 

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Recently, I won a variety pack of Govino glasses and decanter.  It’s an outstanding collection of shatterproof reusable “Go Anywhere!” drink ware that can go literally everywhere: Christmas Sleigh rides, Yule log bonfire, Christmas light sightseeing, hottubs in the snow, romantic ski picnics, Christmas cookie exchange parties, Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve, Christmas Caroling . . .

 

courtesy of govinowine.com

courtesy of govinowine.com

Well, in the spirit of the season I want to share from this lovely set so you too can enjoy some Christmas cheer at a festive location. All you need to do is tell me where you would use Govino glasses  for the holidays in the comments of this post. Then, two lovely individuals will be randomly selected for either Govino beer glasses or Govino Wine/cocktail glasses. Feel free to mention your preference for beer or wine or even ginger ale. That way you won’t have to serve the Cabernet Sauvignon from beer glasses.

Beer, wine or ginger ale?

Beer, wine or ginger ale?

Anyway, Govino specializes in shatter-proof ultra-thin drink ware. You can throw them in the dishwasher to use again or toss them in the recycle bin. I’ve already tossed mine in the washer a couple times and the glasses are like new. To learn more about their flexibility and durability, you can read my previous post or go here for Govino.

See! perfect for afternoon picnic

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!  Leave your comment by Friday, December 4th. I’ll notify the winner by email.

In the meantime, cheers!

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