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!
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.”
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.
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!
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!
Thank you LORD for the fun piggy. Adieu, dear boy.
In a effort to regain balance in our life, we’ve decided to make a few changes and lay down a few new hard and fast rules. Someday, when I’m at liberty to share, I’ll explain. But for now let’s just say important areas in our life were spiraling out of control and changes needed to be made before we found ourselves as big as hippos and living in a van down by the river. Therefore, one of our new “lifestyle” changes is limiting our wine to the weekend. Our bodies thank us. Our budget thanks us. And to be honest, the anticipation of what wine we will try is once again fun and enjoyable.
Our Saturday Sip:
Boneshaker 2014 Zinfandel Lodi
The bottle claims it’s named for a teeth rattling thrill ride. Ha! Not much teeth rattling occurred but overall it was a nice dark, full-bodied wine with blackberries and spice. It was also on budget at $20.02. I’d get it again. Boneshaker Zin is produced by the Hahn Family Wines with the grapes sourced from 40 year old vines out of the Bruella Vineyard in Lodi, California.
The past weekend was tremendously enjoyable as I got to experience two of my very favorite pastimes: college football and wine. We actually opened the zinfandel on Friday night because the Oklahoma Sooners were to play Ohio State in football on Saturday night. The stinging memories of last year’s loss required all our energy to be focused on the game. Smart move on our part, since this year’s game was incredible and required lots of jumping up and down, nail biting and high-fiving. And in the name of good, clean, slightly disrespectful fun, according to Siri, Ohio State stadium now has a new owner. Who knew?