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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

A flavorful love story… #kbrsips

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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With an abundant appreciation of its taste and a constant desire to experience more, I am forever on the prowl for a great bottle of wine.

Experimentation is the norm…. and with many successes, and a considerable amount of fails, the actions of the hunt, are always enjoyable.

Inhale… sip… taste.

Inhale… sip… taste… it is my dance routine with wine.

A dance, that depending upon the wine, varies.  It can be as varied as an electric and fast-paced hip-hop… or, a sultry and seductive tango.  Through these assorted dances, my palate grows, matures and ripens for more.

It has to be obvious…

If not, let me be the first to declare that I am definitely attracted to process of discovering a great bottle of wine.  Haha… a love affair has blossomed, eh?!

With all of my experimenting, the names of wines that I want to remember and experience again, continues to increase.  Too many to commit to memory.  Thank goodness for social media and smart phones, for this is how I have been capturing them… via images… one bottle at a time.

And after a recent scroll through my Instagram account, it appears that I am writing… or should I say documenting, my flavorful love story!

This past weekend, a friend told me that while looking for a wine to bring over to my house, she scrolled through my @kbrstyles Intsagram feed to ensure that she picked a “good one”… one that was sure to please my observant palate.

Her words quickly brought to mind others who have similar sentiments.

Wine posts have sparked people to reach out to me to either say that they used my Instagram feed or Facebook page in the same manner, or to offer a me recommendations based on a wine that was posted.  With social media, the broad and swift reach of a mere picture simply amazes me!  Even with texting… I can’t even begin to tell you about the amount of  texted pics that pour in (and the ones that I send out) –all with the understanding that this is a must;  seek and try!

All of THAT, got me to thinking…

Instead of having to scroll through 1689 (and adding more daily) pictures of an Instagram feed… why not just make it a lil’ easier.  This flavorful love story just became so much easier to read… that’s right…I’ve got me a hashtag baby!  (Suddenly, the hilarious skits with Jimmy Fallon now come to mind…)

Introducing my very own, personalized, nod to my flavorful love story hashtag:  #kbrsips — BAM!

Hashtags… what in the hell took me so long??

Actually, it should have been a no-brainer… especially since with my own social media endeavors, I use them all of the time!   Hashtags are the new and improved way to bookmark your topic and make to so much easier to find… right?  All together now… “Duh!”

Hump… so now what?  I’ve got this snazzy hashtag… and what’s next?

For starters, my pictorial wine journal is now only a click away — quick reference — newly organized and always accessible via my smart phone.  Kinda like an uber personalized wine app, eh?  If you love wine as I do… then certainly you are sending congratulatory kudos my way!

Next, perhaps you too will be checking in on #kbrsips and finding a new discovery… a gem to add to your personal collection… and commenting with your favorites.  Remember… I am always on the prowl.

Why check out #kbrsips?

Well… truth be told, it is because I am not a renowned wine sommelier… I’m real, everyday people… just trying to find something sensational to appease my curious palate. I speak about wine in layman’s terms and love, love, LOVE when others are able to enjoy one of my findings.

Pssst… and I crave the recommendations that come my way.

Yep, it is…

Simple. As. That.

With all of the years that I have been experimenting, I’m absolutely stimulated knowing that there is so much more wine to conquer.  Bottle by bottle I am documenting this journey.  And need I say… the aspiring photographer in me is encouraged… for with each wine picture post, I’m showing improvement!

Hmmmm… now that I think about it further… who knows…

When my children are of age to partake in a fabulous glass of wine, they too might even research #kbrsips for their pick!

Haha!  And THAT would be f#*@ing awesome!

Cheers!

-k

 

…could this be perfection?!

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

IMG_8441Seriously…

WHAT just happened to my senses?!

Thunder!  Lightening!  BOOM!  ZAP!  KAPOW!

Haha… I think I just reverted back to my childhood days of watching Batman & Robin — conjuring images of the fist fights and the bold/colorful graphics that would follow each strike.  Truth be told… it happened just like that.  That luscious liquid contained in that dark glass bottle enraptured ALL of my senses and, as I just mentioned to a friend, I think I just might be marred from enjoying other red wines.

Damn… it was that good!

Since I am constantly on the prowl for my next wine discovery, this is how this love story plays out.

After a taxing day at work, my chosen manner for release was the idea of my feet elevated and a robust glass of wine in hand.  At my house, the cupboards were bare, so I knew that I needed to make a pit stop at my favorite wine shop.  “What to get, what to get?  Red or white?”… these thoughts swirled through my head during the drive.  Something new… or do I simply grab a tried and true variety?  From my job, the drive to the wine shop is approximately 13 miles… this internal conversation lasted the entire trip.  But, as I was backing into the parking spot, I decided to just go with the flow and let spontaneity strike.  Whatever “spoke” to me would be my pick!

After a few trips up and down the isles, the combination of a hand-made sale sign and a regal black and gold label caught my attention.  I’m just going to keep it real… the $25.00 now on sale for $11.99 sign made this budgeted “I’ve got a kid in private school and another wearing braces” chick raise an eyebrow.  Upon further inspection, seeing that the wine was from the J.LOHR vineyards — a CONSTANT tried and true for me; one that has never left me heartbroken —  it beckoned me.  And without hesitation, I picked up the bottle to read the description of this 2008 J.LOHR Tower Road Petite Sirah.

Haha… with me, words excite, especially when they are creatively and intentionally composed.  The winemakers comments on the back of that label did just that.  They bewitched me and before I knew it, I was headed to checkout with not one, but two bottles in hand.  With my taste buds alert, the short drive home could end soon enough!

All that is left to say is that my pick did not disappoint!  Could this be perfection?!

As a lover of a hearty and memorable red wine, this 2008 J.LOHR was most certainly all that AND more.  I always feel it necessary to remind readers of this blog that I am not a wine connoisseur.  Although I strive to be, my knowledge is limited — but quickly growing!  So when I find a wine that makes my picky palate sing, I always choose to share.  Other than sharing my finds, the most enjoyable element is the hunt.  Numerous sips, shared with friends and sometimes alone, have afforded me an ample list of great finds.  I always enjoy the hunt…and enthusiastically, I march on!

But back to my new love…

Here is when I call out to my fellow lovers of a plush red wine.  This one right here… will make you never love another!  Or at least make you stray from what you may have already deemed as your favorite.  Haha… if this wine were a female, the Commodores’ 1977 classic song “Brick House” would most certainly apply — “…she’s mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out!

It’s deep inky red color, intensely stirring aroma and BOLD attack on your tongue provides a treat for your senses.  The boysenberries, blackberries and richness that was promised on the label was there — standing at attention just waiting for my arrival!  Sigh…

Have I got you interested… maybe even salivating?!  You know that was the sole goal, eh?!

I’d be interested in your review as well… but for now, as I recall, I carried two bottles to checkout and that second bottle is singing my name!

Cheers!

-k

ssssssssssSANGRIA!

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

Surely you must understand the emphasis on the “ssssssssssssssss” when you speak the word Sangria?

It is all about the anticipation, eh?

This refreshing summer drink requires that added attention — that added stress on the “s” during pronunciation, it whets your palate, heightens your desire and makes you crave that tangy sweet liquid.

Haha… am I alone?!

As a lover of this wine punch, I say that there is something incredibly attractive about a glass of Sangria.  Better yet, a pitcher of Sangria!

The blend of ingredients is so perfect yet mysterious… for any omission or addition of ingredients can yield varieties that differ wonderfully from batch to batch.  Red or white, the flavorful creations are endless… and to be honest, I am perfectly willing to be a guinea pig for them all!

Those lucky citizens of Spain!  Oh how I long to plant my feet on your soil and partake in a glass of your native drink.  Last month, a dear friend sent me an image on my iPhone that immediately made me weak in the knees.  She was celebrating her 40th birthday with her family in Barcelona.  Not only was she was staying at my favorite hotel, The W, she was enjoying a glass of “authentic” Barcelonian Sangria.  Is it possibly to be consumed with loving envy?!  Everything about that glass of Sangria looked tempting — and the slight condensation that was forming on the outside of the glass made it even THAT more mouth-watering.  Haha… all a girl could do was text her back and ask her “was it good?”

Now that summer is in full swing, I am on a mission and determined to perfect my Sangria recipe.  Even prior to receiving my friend’s picture, I had been researching the web and studying the types of ingredients others used.  I would construct a list of contents that suited my palate and then dabble as a pseudo bartender for friends… presenting my concoction to them as if it were some type of witch’s brew — then stepping back to analyze the reaction!

Trial and error pays off, eh?

(insert evil laughter) Bwahahahaha!  I think I have created a masterpiece!

Seriously though…

I do believe that I have managed to capture all of the qualities that one would desire in a glass of Sangria.  Delicious and easy to make… this low-key, basic recipe is one that any novice could follow (and for my boy GT,  those exotic ingredients… i.e., agave nectar that you use, have been omitted).  😉

My Sangria is nothing short of sunshine and pure bliss in a glass… and in my opinion, the PERFECT way to relax and cool off after a long day at work!  Perhaps I am being a bit presumptuous in thinking that you might want to try?  But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t provide you with the recipe… and in true kishafwd style, I am insisting that you engage!

All you need is:

3 bottles of your favorite Red wine.  I am constantly altering the types — keeps the Sangria interesting.  This time, I used a Malbec and two Red blends.

A small bottle of V.S.O.P. E&J Brandy (my secret ingredient… by the way — who knew that V.S.O.P. means “Very Superior Old Pale”… Haha – not me!)

Raw sugar or simple syrup.  The sweetness is based on your taste buds… simply add your sweetener accordingly.

Fruit… chopped and/or muddled.  Normally I keep it at a minimum with just oranges, lemons and limes.  But, every now and then you just want to be adventurous, eh?  Muddled blackberries and raspberries work perfectly!

Don’t forget the fizz… ginger ale does the trick.

The rest is a breeze.  Chop fruit. Add your wine, brandy and sweetener.  Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

When it is time to serve, pour wine over ice, add a splash of ginger ale and WHAA LAAA!

Brace yourself… for you will be AMAZED by the sensation!  Deeeeee-lish!

This sssssssssssssSangria is definitely becoming my signature and what is so appealing it that is tastes different every time.

For those that decide to try, I’d love to know your thoughts.  And of course, if you have your own killer Sangria recipe… please send it my way,  I would LOVE to give your’s a spin.

 

Happy sippin’ to you all.  Be safe and stay cool in the summer’s heat!

Cheers!

-k

Captivated by color, then puzzled by a name…

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

As I entered my favorite wine shop, I knew two things:

1.  No repeats — trying only new finds.

2.  My palate craved whites.

With the sun shining bright, my best friend and her daughter arriving in a few hours from Italy, my brother and his wife driving up from VA Beach… AND I was off of work for the next 96 hours — several bottles of wine were a must to toast the occasion!  Keeping it real, I never need a reason to frequent my favorite wine shop… but with a celebration forthcoming, I must admit that there was an extra pep in my step!

Upon entering, it was almost magically.  Every bottle seemed to sparkle and beckon my name.  Haha – my analytical self knows that it was directly related to the approaching events and the elevation in my mood – but seriously – I had to pause at the door to just take it all in!

Surely if you watched my stride, giggles would have been appropriate.  It was a “happy” gait… I was in a zone and thoughts of “find something new… find something new” controlled my movements!  As I walked down the aisles where the white wines were displayed, my eyes gave each bottle a quick yet careful glance — remember, I am a labels girl — they speak to me, eh?!

And that is when…

when…

I saw it!

You know that sensation you get in your stomach when someone jumps from behind a corner and yells “BOO!” — it felt just like that!  That damn label interrupted my pace and literally stopped me in my tracks.  Who knows why it hadn’t caught my attention earlier, especially since I frequent that shop so much.  Hmmmm, to that, my only answer is — better late than never!

But it got me… startled me, raised my heart rate and captivated me.

It didn’t even register that the image depicted was of horses… all I saw was COLOR.  Amazingly vibrant colors.  The poppy, violet royal blue and green were so striking.  So much so that before I realized it, I had the bottle in one hand and was rubbing my fingers over the label as if it were braille – almost as if my touch would intensify what had already tantalized my eyes.

Flip the bottle over and read the descriptive notes about this Chardonnay.  Yep, still captivated.

Flip the bottle back over to recall the name — 14 Hands.  Hmmm… now I am puzzled.

Obviously putting my ignorance on exhibit and outing myself as a non-equestrian, I immediately thought of a more figurative interpretation… 14 Hands in a sensual sense.  14 Hands… the sensation one would receive from 140 titillating fingers — haha — yes, I went there!

Bottom line — this chick was sold!  And now, a week after the festivities with my family and friends have concluded, I have returned to my favorite wine shop to purchase more of the sensational vino that was contained behind such a lively label.

So here is the skinny…

Stemming from a Washing State winery, 14 Hands Chardonnay is scrumptious!  Refreshingly light and crisp, this Chardonnay’s surprise lies in the unexpected notes of apple and pear — WOW!  Very light on the palate and ideal for just about any occasion.  I would especially encourage those who tend to stray away from Chardonnay due to the overly buttery characteristics to definitely give this one a taste.  14 Hands Chardonnay provides the opposite.  The subtle notes of butterscotch and the touch of vanilla make this wine a far cry from overly buttery — absolutely divine!  My guests loved it as well… it was lip smakin’ good!

As for the name… solely related to the history of the region.  Described as Washington’s best kept secret, an “Unbridled Spirit” is the winery’s  premise.   The name 14 Hands was inspired by the wild mustang that roamed the hills of eastern Washington State.   These mustang measured approximately “14 Hands” in height — with a hand being 4 inches.  Ah-ha!  Thanks to google and the 14 Hands Winery website, I too have been educated!

Truth be told, I am trying to get the secret out.

I am embodying that unbridled spirit and uncontrollably singing its praises to all I know.  14 Hands has got my two hands applauding with approval — I am an admirer!   Looking forwards to tasting more of their wines.  With summer approaching, tis’ the season for Riesling, eh?  Haha – you know that is next on my list!

Cheers!

-k

A vision… captured on a board.

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

After months of chatter with a select group of colleagues, it finally came to fruition – I had a vision board party.

Why?

I’d say  – why not?

The idea of making a collage or board via collected images that depict goals and aspirations isn’t new, it is a practice that stems from our elementary school days, eh?  In our current time — times pronounced by heightened self-awareness and a constant re-evaluation of self, these boards – vision boards – are being revived.  Adults making vision boards is experiencing a reawakening… especially gathering and sharing the experience with those who respect and appreciate the process.

Probably the 2006 release of Rhonda Byrne’s best-selling book The Secret, best captures the board’s intent.  The book speaks on the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking, expressing gratitude and utilizing visualization to attain goals.  Simply put — a vision board acts as your channel.  A vehicle for your short-term and long-term goals.  An artistic daily reminder of your dreams and way of harnessing your energy so that your desires become reality.

Nice, eh?!  Refreshing, innovative… and actually when done as a group, the event can be incredibly insightful.

As planned, the group was small – both colleagues and friends.  Truly a quartet – for instead of song, our melody was the sound of magazine pages being torn, scissors cutting and the thump of glue sticks as they moved about the table.  Foam board, canvases, card stock, and a slew of magazines decorated the floor… some of the guests came prepared with several images to incorporate onto their board, others came simply driven by spontaneity – using the magazines I had on hand to interpret their vision.  Good times…and definitely more than just a night of sophisticated cut and paste/arts and crafts.

The party was a success!

We all were able to create a uniquely motivating vision board.  I’m thinking mission accomplished!  My favorite element — the party concluded with each guest having a platform to explain their board to the group and describe their vision.  How interesting it is to discover the dreams of another… and how humbling it is to see their passion as they share their desires.  At that point, the board takes flight, eh?!  We have given it breath – all that is left is to find a prominent spot in your home to keep the board in your constant sight and work towards your dreams!

Haha — and don’t think that we didn’t have treats!

Yes, appetizers, fresh fruits and sweets … but treats is also code for wine!

Of the several bottles that were on hand, two were a gift to me from my boss.  Two reds from the Tara Winery in Leesburg, VA – Nevaeh Red 2008 and Tranquility 2009.  Absolutely AMAZING!  Especially the Tranquility 2009.  Screaming with flavor and packed with structure, it was the  perfect mate for my “it’s so delicious that IF you ever taste it, you will crave it” spinach dip.  Haha – all jokes aside – SERIOUSLY, it is that damn good!  For me, there is more to learn about these well priced wines… this summer, I’m definitely committed to visiting this winery and scheduling a tasting.

So now perhaps you too are inspired about instituting a vision board in your life?

Take a peek at what our group created —

(a closer image of my board)

I am inspired… and I encourage you to get creative!

Cheers!

-k

The experiment and the project.

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

Isn’t it interesting how your children’s projects can easily evolve into “parent’s” projects?!

Such is the case for me – and my son’s spanish project.

After a busy weekend at work, the reward for myself (since I knew what work with my son still awaited at home) would be a glass (or two) of wine… a glass that would be both invigorating yet relaxing — oxymoron, yes — but attainable nonetheless!

Knowing that I wanted to try something new… and not even interested in being the “selector” of this new venture, I decided that my husband would be the one.  The one to choose, based on whatever instructions I gave, the reward that would grace my lips and supply that “ahhhhhh” that I sought.  If you know me, that is not an easy feat… and for him to engage – haha – well, let the games begin.

The experiment.  To see what he would pick based on my instruction and his knowledge of what typically tantalizes my taste buds.  A full-bodied red was my only requirement — the rest, up to him.

The project.  A timeline… “mi Ninez”… my childhood.  A quick, yet comprehensive outline of my son’s 13 years on this earth.  The objective; each year should be detailed by 1 – 2 descriptive sentences and include pictures.  Naturally, since I am the family photographer, supplying the pictures was my responsibility and my after work mission.

Other than the photographs that are stored on an older hard drive and as of late, my mac… I am at the mercy of two very old and incredibly dusty rectangular plastic pins… each with at least 50-60 “old school” paper envelope packs of photographs developed from 35mm film.  Haha — what is that, eh?!  Needless to say, to gather the pictures needed would be mildly cumbersome  — pair that with a day thronged with design and customers looking for holiday bargains — a glass of wine was definitely on my to-do list!

The surprise.

Actually, it came two-fold.

The hunt for images… the sifting through old photographs, it was far from the complicated task that I had imagined.  Some odd 13 years later… images of my younger self… me pregnant… images of me with my children as toddlers — the nostalgia flooded my body.  Speechless, epecially as my husband shared vivid stories that managed to bring the photographed images back to life.  My son’s laughter… his expressions… even his recollection — all too much.  Acutally — it was nothing short of priceless.

The other surprise.

My husband’s selection.  WOW… that shit was dead on!

An Italian wine.  LAGARIA 2009 Merlot.  Not even deterred by the screw top – I just dove in, expecting it to be… well, how does the saying go?  “It is what it is.”  Smacking my lips, I say that this is a bottle worthy of the minimal monetary investment.  As I poured, the scent that radiated from the glass had me intrigued.  Not even disappointed that it was a medium-bodied wine… for it was bursting with a fruity bouquet that grew stronger with each sip.  DAMN… my husband is a diligent student. eh?!  Or do I gloat and think… I taught him well?!  Haha – he would never admit to this – but I think he reverted back to our travels to Italy last summer and selected a wine based on that region.  Trust me, I am definitely not complaining… my empty glass (ok, glasses)  is proof of my approval!

So, if you can imagine… me – 100% in the moment with my son… his project… the photographs and the wine.  At times, the only action that was appropriate to appreciate — rather, be in the moment — was both eyes closed and a VERY deep inhale.  If anything, it was a reminder that time passes oh so quickly.  And, as we all know to be true — Life is short.

Sidenote:  I grew hungry and rummaged the fridge for a snack to accompany my wine.  Who knew that my black cherries just purchased from Fresh Market would make the perfect mate.  Bite the cherry, sip the wine, bite the cherry… that was my routine.  This haphazard paring —  absolutely a dynamic duo — and enough to make one scream “what the ____!”

In case you are curious… there is still a bit of work left to do on my son’s project.  Naturally he will take the lead with the workload – of course, with his mom by his side.  Hmmm…. is it wrong if I get another bottle of LAGARIA?

Hey… I’m just saying!

Cheers!

-k

R E P E A T!

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 at 12:07 am

Once tends to never be enough.

Repetition.

Both my nemesis and companion.  A relationship established as a child… I am certain that it will forever be my constant oxymoron.  Perhaps it can be considered an eccentric habit.  Who knows – it’s just my thing.  When it comes to certain aspects of my life, I am subconsciously drawn into its arms.

Repetition.

I am positive that those in my circle probably chuckle at me. I am the girl who shops for the same tailored cuts in clothing – just in different colors.  I am the one who plays a song over, and over and over – and to me, it sounds just a good the tenth time as it did the first.  I tend to push that repeat button with the types of make-up and accessories I purchase, the kinds of food I eat… even the variety of wine I drink.

It just happens.  Once I discover something new, something appealing to my senses… I just want more and more and more.  Seriously, once is not enough!  I speak the truth when I say that repetition and I have a love/hate relationship.  Haha – there are times I fear that my repetitive quirks make me a bore?  Blah… who wants to get stuck in a rut?  Not me!  I certainly don’t want to deny myself new experiences.  Then again, there are times that I relish repetition.  It floods me with a feelings  – like an old friend coming back to visit.  It just fits… it just fits like a glove.

So imagine the smile that appeared on my face when doing a bit of research…

Comments from a friend regarding a blog that I posted triggered this research.  With my appetite for wine, he suggested that I might do blog on “the finish.”  Hmmm… the finish.  I could deduce from the term what it involved.  Gotta be sure though… especially with my wine skill set only being in the germination stage.  I still consider myself to be a pupil; learning quickly, but still a pupil.  Research pays off – Ah ha!  Found it!  Better yet… experienced it!

The finish is the last component of wine tasting.  It is what you experience once you swallow – the impression, the sensation, the feeling.  In a nutshell, it is the way the wine lingers on your tongue… it’s how long it lingers and its strength.  Mmmmm… quite possibly could be described as the way the wine makes love to your mouth.  And, just like with love-making, the finish of wine is momentous and is often the determining factor for engaging again.

Naturally, the finish of wine is subjective… the variation of palates and the quality of the wine dictates how one experiences that residual treat.  Throughout my research, there was one common thread – something that despite my schoolgirl wine tasting status – I have always know to be true.  According to my online sommeliers, a good finish makes you want to go back for more.  Have another glass.  Purchase another bottle.  Experience the wine again and again…

Repetition baby!  Haha – now you see why I was smiling!

Since I was researching, I had to conduct my own experiment.  So… with friends, I drank of bottle of wine, attempting to focus only on the finish.  You know I got sidetracked… especially since it was a bottle that I had never tried before.  Gifted to me was a succulent French red blend called Chateau Greysac Medoc.

Once I opened the bottle and sniffed the bottom of the berry stained cork, my toes literally curled in anticipation.  Looking at the way it poured into my glass and having hints of the true aroma tease my nose, I was even more anxious for a sip.  “Focus on the finish Kisha, focus on the finish” is what I whispered in my head.  I follow my routine; swirl the glass, deep inhale, sip, move the wine around in my mouth and swallow… in no time, I was greeted with a finish that was remarkable!

Oh Chateau, how you warm my body.  I enjoyed the spicy heat that rushed over my tongue… truly impressed with how long it remained.  I intentionally spaced my sips and paid close attention to the results after swallowing.  Even during conversation, as I inhaled and exhaled in between words, the heat from my breath seemed to stimulate and reactivate the flavors left on my taste buds.  WOW!  Seriously, what was that I mentioned about making love…WOW!

Repetition indeed.

Not only do I now have a better understanding of the finish, I was lucky enough to discover a wine that I will consume again and… I think you get it.

Thanks D!  Haha – your suggestion is getting me closer to becoming a scholar, eh?

For all who are game and want to experience; http://www.wine-searcher.com/wine-35769-2007-chateau-greysac-medoc-france.  Of course I want to know your take.

Cheers!

-k

A rose by any other name…

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

 “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet..”

Well known words taken from William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.  Words that speak to the concept of a name… words, that when interpreted, declare that the importance – what matters – is what something is, rather than what it is called.  Naturally I agree.  Haha – and had you been at my house last night, sippin’ on libations, you would have appreciated  the “is” rather than what it was called!

Nothing over the top… actually, my preferred low-key type of gathering.  Just a lively group of friends, a well-seasoned pot of chili, buttered cornbread, some “get the mood right” music and, of course… wine.

Yes sir – don’t forget the wine!  Over the course of the night, we managed to taste and critique 4 bottles.  One of which was an absolute rose.  Haha – and this rose, by any other name, would definitely smell as sweet!

The name:  booty.

Seriously, that’s what we thought it was called.  Each of us looking at the bottle, reading about this wine that stems from the Walla Walla Valley in Washington state and laughing hysterically because we think it’s called booty.  What do you think happened next?  Do I dare say?  Hmmm… well… as we sipped, we just played around with the word.  Bet you can’t even imagine how many jokes one can create with the word booty… trust me, we all had fun exercising our comedic talents!  “Mmmmm, I sure do like this booty.”  “Hey, can you come over here and give me some booty?”  “Next time you come over, make sure you bring me some more booty.”  “Humph, ain’t nothing like a glass full of booty!”  On and on… so much so that all of that laughing brought on a headache!  Grown folks, acting like children, eh?!

After we settled down, I was off to get my mac – gotta research this… because no one in their right mind is going to market booty in a bottle!  Think about it… would you rather have a glass of booty, or beauty?  You got it.  Our wine, Buty, is pronounced:  beauty.  The key when pronouncing – make sure you put extra emphasis on the “youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” and you won’t look like a ninny when requesting it at your favorite restaurant or wine bar.

Thanks to www.butywinery.com and a savvy friend’s dissection of a red circle on the label, with a sculptural depiction of the letters b-u-t-y… we were saved.  Saved from our silliness!  But the truth… even when we assumed the pronunciation to be booty, the taste was just as sweet – just as delicious – as when we realized our mistake.

Call it what you may — Buty is a true beauty!  This blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon was rich, full-bodied, had a stop you in your tracks bouquet… and as my girl (who I deem to have an amazingly diverse palate) stated last night, no sticky-teethed tannins to get in the way.  Here is the real truth — we were all sad to see the bottle of booty, I mean Buty empty.  IT WAS THAT GOOD!

The debut of Buty on our table made for it very difficult for the other wines to stand out.  Haha – poor other bottles.  Buty was the super star!  The other wines… they were enjoyable, yet when compared to Buty, we all found them to be meager in their performance.  I was probably alone with this one, but the Ripasso Valpolicella was a very close second — that spicy black cherry treat immediately took me back to my summer visit to Italy.  If you enjoy anise – a licorice/clove flavor, this is definitely for you!

The other two – a Coppala Malbec and Maipe Malbac – not enough body and way too oaky.  Simply put — blah!

As always, I’m making it easy for you.  Wanna try them?  Just follow the links:

http://www.empirewine.com/wine/allegrini-corte-giara-ripasso-valpolicella-2009/

http://www.internetwines.com/gz2010515.html

http://www.allendalewine.com/?iVar=1134

And don’t forget to share your reviews as well!

Cheers!

-k

From me, to you – GHOST PINES.

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

Pinus sabiniana.

Hope you have better luck than I, for I struggled with the pronunciation.

Second try – with some assistance from my favorite site, Wikipedia – Pinus sabiniana, the scientific botanical name for a sparsely needled tree native to California woodlands, that reaches heights from an impressive 35 feet to a stunning 105 feet.  Pinus sabiniana has several common names that are offer a much easier pronunciation – gray pine, foothill pine, digger pine and my favorite, ghost pine.

Striking, eh?  I would think… especially since tall, towering trees generally do capture our attention.  Am I alone?  Haven’t you ever stood or laid down under a tree and stared up into the branches?  Gazing… getting lost in thought?  Surely you have – it’s the perfect spot. I find it hypnotizing.  An ideal location for relaxing, daydreaming and achieving what comedian Martin Lawrence calls “woosah” when trying to find that inner peace!

Backtracking now… thinking about a busy Saturday at work.  The day consisted of me scurrying from one designer to the next, helping with clients, closing presentations and even covering the front desk for the receptionist’s lunch break.  Whew… at the end of the day, exhausted!  What’s a girl to do?  Haha – stop by the wine shop on the way home from work!

That night, in the mood for a red.  Could have grabbed an ol’ fav but a tall, slender bottle with an eerie label caught my eye.  Barren branches on two tall trees, one in the foreground, the other slightly fading in the distance (I was even attracted to the placement of the trees, intentionally off-center)… the haze of the sky, the darkness of the hills, the crisp font and the name… GHOST PINES.  After reading the descriptive notes on bottle, I was a sure and easy sale!

Naturally, I am eager to uncork.  Even more of an adrenaline rush… my husband, who is wedded to his imported beer and cognac, decided to join me for a glass.  So, here I go… uncork, pour through my aerator (blog on that forthcoming), inhale and sip.  Woooooooosaaaaaah!  And not just me – my husband as well!  Kudos to Michael Eddy, the winemaker and visionary behind this innovative blend — GHOST PINES Cabernet Sauvignon steps outside of the box and is absolutely marvelous!

www.ghostpines.com is your official resource, but let me just break it down for you…

Simply put, Micheal Eddy decided to be unconventional and integrate grapes grown in different winegrowing regions (his term – appellations) to create a diverse and notable blend.  GHOST PINES is the name of a historic vineyard where they find the grapes for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – the website also gives a nod to the ghost pine tree, listing the unique characteristics of the tree to pay homage its namesake.

My take…

GHOST PINES Cabernet Sauvignon is overflowing with substance and bite.  I prefer full-bodied reds and this one doesn’t let me down.  Filled with noticeable flavors of black fruit, nuts and pepper… this wine leaves your mouth craving — better yet, YEARNING for the next sip!  It is a meaty, chewy, rich treat that entices every taste-bud on your tongue — basically, the wine is packed with tang!

Needlees to say, we finished the bottle.  Haha – believe it or not, he was drinking it faster than I!  We both found the wine to be amazing – and with each sip, we continued to be satisfied and surprised.  The taste of GHOST PINES just kept getting better and better.  Most definitely the perfect ending to such a hectic day.

Your turn to try… and at a price point of $15, this one will not even brake the bank!

Pssst… since it is the season of giving, this wine make the best hostess gift – especially if you are visiting me!  I’m just saying…

Cheers!

-k

Cranberries and a cab…

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Yep…

Initially what I thought to be an unusual partnership has quickly transformed into a perfect marriage.  Cranberries paired with Cabernet Sauvignon – delicious – and most definitely my new thing!

I have to thank Google for this discovery… or… maybe it is my curious appetite for always wanting to tweak things and take them to the next level.  Bottom line, I simply wanted to mix it up a little this Thanksgiving and put an unexpected twist on the cranberry sauce that I plan to serve.

As uncomplicated as it is to make, and with the ingredients sparse, it might be difficult to believe that my  recipe has evolved over the years.   Trust me… it has.  Until now, it has consisted of the following… 12 oz. bag of cranberries.  1 cup sugar.  1 cup orange juice.  Boil until berries pop.  Chill overnight and serve.  Simple, eh?

But now, thanks to chowhound.com and an online user named “Candy”, her cranberry sauce recipe is now mine.  Disclaimer here:  if “Candy” ever stumbles upon this blog – in an effort to be honest and fair, I promise to always reference you when I serve this side dish – that is until I tweak your recipe and truly make it mine!  Haha – I’m just saying!

Hmmmmm, out of all of the recipes that I found, I bet you can’t even fathom what made this one stick?  Ok… maybe you can.  It was the wine!  The W-I-N-E!  Hey… blame it on a weak spot, an enjoyment, a fondness… better yet, an appreciation.  It just tastes good.  Soooo, what better way to elevate a dish that I already relish?  Yes sir!  You guessed it — add wine!!!

I am sure that if I continued my search, I would have turned up a plethora of recipes which included wine – but something about this one was appealing, especially since it stipulated the use of one of my favorite reds – Cabernet Sauvignon.  With various notes of plum, cherry, blackberry and blueberry, I find the spicy rich flavor of cabs attractive.  I generally prefer the full-bodied cabs – the taste seems to linger on my tongue longer… which for me, heightens my enjoyment.  Nonetheless – I was intrigued and gave the recipe a spin!

Paying homage to “Candy” her recipe is as follows:  12 oz. bag of cranberries.  1 cup sugar.  1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon. 2 tsp. of tangerine zest (ummm, can I say how difficult it was to retrieve this zest – obviously I am not a great “zester”) 1 cinnamon stick.  Bring to boil.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  Discard cinnamon stick.  Serve warm or cold (as I type, mine is chilling in the refrigerator so that the flavors set for tomorrow’s consumption).   Again… easy, eh?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and in true fashion, we all tend to pace our menu and prepare dishes early as to ease the process.

Tonight I made the sauce — all I can say is DAMN!

The most noticeable difference was the aroma.  The scent of the cab heating up, combining with the tangerine zest and the cinnamon was intoxicating.  At some points, it was so aromatic that I pulled away from the pot to offer my senses a break – how could something so simple smell so divine?!  The intense color of the sauce was equally as brilliant – a deep burgundy… much more vibrant in color that sauces made in previous years.  But the pièce de résistance was the taste!  Mind you… I only tasted the spoon – what a difference!  There was this zing… literally!  The tartness of the cranberries is more noticeable while the sweetness is subtle… it is absolutely fantastic!  Need I say how much I am looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner… for me, it is definitely going to be all about the sauce!

The beautiful part about the recipe is that you can continually alter the cab that you select… this year hats off to Chalone Vineyard 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – it is dynamite – 1 cup in the sauce and the rest… well, let’s just say that the bottle is empty!

Check it out at:  chalonevineyard.com.

Wishing you all a sensational Thanksgiving filled with friends, family and laughter.

Cheers!

-k