OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Month: September 2016

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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World Peace with a Bottle of Champagne #MWWC27

image: pinterest.com

image: pinterest.com

Alive, effervescent, whimsical, fragile, temporal, celebratory, mirthful, joyous, bright, spirited. Fills you with anticipation. All this from something that appears dainty and fragile and yet wields mesmerizing power.

For the new #MWWC27 word, the current winner, Jim of JVB Uncorked, chose Bubbles. In a flash, my mind traveled from childhood bubbles to Champagne. Utterly captivating and mesmerizing like the opening scene of the movie “Father of the Bride”.  It’s just a screen shot of champagne and bubbles steadily ascending with the promise of something good about to happen. wine-stain1-3

Why are Champagne bubbles so captivating? They sparkle. They shine. There’s a promise of a giddy, tipsy good time. Make a great moment, Greater. Champagne. Champagne has a powerful effect on people. I believe God created bubbles with the sole purpose of making us smile. It just took a while to embrace it.

According to Wikipedia, the loosely accurate Encyclopedia Britannica for the 21st century, the 17th century Champenois wine makers, such as Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon (1638–1715), tried to actually rid their wines of bubbles. The Champagne region longed to emulate their Burgundian cousins. Unfortunately, the long winters suspended the fermenting wine in ice only to have it thaw in spring and produce carbon dioxide. Today, there’s a heady rush at seeing bubbles but in the 17th century, the combination of unbridled bubbles and weak bottles only produced a feeling of anxiety. Bottle explosions were common. Job related injuries and death ranked high among cellar rats. Their vigilant efforts to get rid of the bubble blight left them with nothing but a pale, pink still wine both bitter and strongly acidic. It would take another century for Champagne winemakers to embrace their “flaws” and become who they really are; wine with an ethereal bubble. Sometimes our flaws are what makes us the most interesting.

Fast-forward a couple centuries to modern times. As in today.

Ponder a moment life’s celebrations crowned with a bottle of champagne. Bubbly foam shooting a foot into the air and spraying over everything as the cork pops. Cheers and laughter. Glasses raised in a toast to the future and salute to the past. Why is it that historic occasions are better punctuated by opening a bottle of Veuve Clicquot than a bottle of Jack Daniels? What makes it the copula for life’s momentous occasions? Why not fire up the tea pot or crack open a case of beer to crown life’s victories? Tradition? Or something more powerful? Ironically, the wine flaw monks tried in vain to eradicate now transcends cultures and links mankind in a type of global unification. Champagne goes beyond language, culture, and social mores. Open a bottle and notice how quickly you have everyone’s attention. It’s riveting.

It got me to thinking about our current state of affairs both domestically and internationally. Strife, unrest and tension seem to rue the day. But what if there was one shining element to supersede all this? Maybe there’d be less conflict and war if when a General whipped out his sword and instead of heads, he sabered a few bottles of Champagne? A burst of golden bubbles is a far more pleasant sight than the swift blade of a guillotine or bomb. Maybe if we offered a glass of Champagne to our neighbors there’d be more harmony in the world. Besides, who’s ever felt cross while sipping Champagne? Giddiness. Relaxation. Generosity. But not aggravation. Maybe Champagne is a God-given peace offering. Just think what might be achieved if we shared its powerful, bubbly magic? Now, I’m not naive to believe Champagne will cure all the world’s ills or instantly change men’s hearts. I’m just being fanciful for the moment. But wouldn’t it be nice if it was that simple?

World Peace. With a bottle of Champagne.

A Month of No Wine and a Trip to Planet Oregon

 

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I just spent the entire month of August practically wine-free. Well, there was one glass of Chambourcin from Missouri I drank by myself and the very last bottle of Boulevard Wheat in the fridge, I drank by myself, but that was after spending the day moving our oldest to college.  I say “drank by myself” although technically my husband was on the couch with me watching the Yankees at the time. Other than those two, we wine fasted. The self-imposed hiatus couldn’t have come at an odder time after reviewing everything that happened in August. I compare it to someone going on a diet in November. Just call me Kamikaze and yet, we survived.  

And now the calendar says September. College football started last weekend and the Sooners have decided to keep us in suspense as to their game-winning strategies for the season. Hopefully by the first home game, they’ll warm up to winning. In the meantime, I continue to chant the mantra, “It’s only one game.” I’m praying they start playing like the top ten team I know they are before the September 17th game against Ohio State.  Such is the life of a college football fan. You enjoy the good years with the bad and remember there’s always the next game, unless your quarterback has a torn ACL, then the only thing a Sooner fan has left is to root for the team playing against Texas. We’re mature like that.

Anyway, the month of no wine was short and long simultaneously. Short because it was busy with school starting and we moved a kid to college. I mentioned that, right? Long because there wasn’t time to sit and drink wine on the patio even if we’d wanted to, so I guess in the end it really was a good month to halt wine consumption. 

With September, wine is back on the menu and we celebrated by opening a $25 bottle of Planet Oregon Pinot Noir 2014. The label was silent on producer or vineyard but after a long break I really didn’t care. With lightening speed, it was all ‘twist and pour’ then aaahahhhhahhahhaahhh! 

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My confidence was high for this wine being a perfect drought breaker after sampling it earlier in the summer at our favorite restaurant, Upper Crust. Great pizza. Delicious wine list. There was no disappointment with Planet Oregon’s deep, dark fruit, cherries, earth and bitter chocolate. If you’re curious, the winemakers are James Cahill and Tony Soter of Soter Vineyards in Dundee, Oregon. The wine is their sustainability project which you can read about here

For the start of Labor day weekend, we opened a Rosé. img_9167

img_9169La Châsse Côte du Rhône Prestige 2015. The rosé was the usual floral, spice and shy red fruit which nicely complemented the 80° evening we enjoyed as we sat gazing into the clear sky and tried to forget the Sooners had just played like a 2A directional school for the season opener. 

Rounding out the weekend was a bottle of Domaine la Millière Châteauneuf-Du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique 2012. Wow. I wished I had grilled a filet for this bottle but it was just as lovely alone. How is it that a light/medium red can cause an assault of spicy herbs, hints of tobacco and delicious plums that start to speak up as the wine breaths? It was a treat. Oh la la. 

 

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I have to admit the wine break had a positive effect beyond giving my liver a rest. I had to contemplate other aspects about wine as I lived vicariously through other’s wine blogs. The result: I was forced to think and ask questions instead of blissfully remaining content to only enjoy  and I even expanded my vocabulary. I learned the term ‘tight’ which means “the fruit usually needs more time in the glass or additional aging in the cellar.”  

Cheers to your college team opening the season well (unless you’re Texas. Yes I know they won against Notre Dame).

Until we meet again, Cheers!

 

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