Prosecco Pals

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This is the second part of our Olympic (I can’t let go just yet) meal, which of course mans dessert and sparkling wine!  Here is the link for last week.

Some folks love Prosecco.  I mean, I know people who prefer Prosecco to any other alcohol. And then there’s others I know who don’t love alcohol, but don’t  love wine, but will choose Prosecco, which has been used in place of champagne.  I may have been that guy once.

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But I’ve evolved, or I think I have.  I like anything and everything.  I’ll try anything and everything, within reason.  Maybe there is no reason. However, the bottle I purchased from Tavernello didn’t come as advertised, well sort of.

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My friend and I agreed that it was ok, but nothing special.   The back of the label reads: ‘intense and complex; and ‘fine, fruity, and fragrant’.  I applaud the alliteration (ha), but our friends at Chesapeake Wine Company (where I found this bottle) correctly stated that it was light, refreshing, and with citrus hints.  If the winemakers weren’t as ambitious with their synopsis, I may like it a bit more.  But this wine isn’t for everyone, and at least on this night, it wasn’t for us.

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Thankfully the cheesecake was more than enough to compensate for our glass.  It’s possible that the pairing clashed, and that the flavors of the wine got lost in the mix.

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I think some people are going to love this.  And at $11, it’s going to work for many.  It’s a reasonable price for an adequate label.  Personally, I think this belongs under $10, but that will all depend on where you purchase. And first impressions and encounters can’t always be viewed as the gospel.  I would definitely give them another go.  They have plenty to offer .

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As you can see they are available across the globe and work in concert with many other wineries.

In perusing their website, I love that they are environmentally conscious and show social responsibility.  That’s going above and beyond here.   That will draw me back to try another one of their wines much sooner than later.

Their website is truly accessible and as you can see, their comments box can seen across the bottom of their site, regardless of where else you click.

On a personal level, this same cfriend of mine throws a lot of amazing dinner parties. Some time back I brought a Prosecco that paired perfectly with a particular meal.  As the weather beings to turn (ew), this will be revisited and maybe even recreated.

Have a good one,

Ideen

 

Olympic Dinner Party

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Well it might not be quite that big, but since we’re in the Olympic season, posts with these grandiose titles will exist for now.  I got a few more to go.

I’ve stated this before, if it wasn’t for this blog, there are certain wines that I have never attempted or given a chance.  I’m not one to discriminate but certain grapes haven’t always brought me satisfaction.  And when trying multiple bottles that confirmation (or confirmation bias) would ring true.

This was either a new one for me, or just one that never stood out in the past. That’s going to change for now.

A small and spontaneous dinner (hence why the Olympics post is a bit of hyperbole) with a friend definitely lent itself to some vino.  I brought one bottle (which I’ll get to next week) and she already had one picked out for tonight’s meal.  I went in without knowing what was on the menu, which I prefer sometimes.  It’s fun to be in the dark, it makes it all the more exciting.

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To my delight, I present you the Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2014 from Portugal.  This was a joy to sip.  And sipping was an understatement, I nearly caught myself chugging this thing. Chugging and wine could not be more of an oxymoron.

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That color, that fizz, that crispness, and everything else was so easy to drink.   This was happening even before dinner was served. I needn’t get carried away, but I did.   The conversation was going great that I forgot what I was doing.  That tends to happen.  And at the point the quality of the wine isn’t that important.  But if the energy and company is awesome, and the wine is on par with that, it’s a double-bonus. And at $11.00, my dear friend got a steal.

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Upon second viewing of my photos, I can see a greenish tint of my glass.  If I’m mistaken, please let me know, but that could be part of the youthfulness of the wine itself.  Vinho Verde is its own varietal and not the grape itself.  More information can be found here.

Arinto is the grape.  That’s a new one for me.  But that’s where we get the lemony fresh taste in this wine.  This is fantastic.  Personally, we thought we got some pear and other citrus fruits, so the lemon is identifiable.  Most importantly, this is a great wine.

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My friend made an amazing dish of Tilapia and organic vegetables.  The pairing of wine and food here is second-to-none.   I’m craving and appreciating our feast that just took place hours ago.

For our friends in Baltimore, this bottle is available at Chesapeake Wine Company.  And to fellow pals elsewhere, I found the North American distributor, Evaton USA.   Their contact info can be found here.   And finally, for the rest of the world, hopefully this link can lead you in the right direction.  And here’s one more.

This is a wine that’s meant to be shared with everyone.  Seriously, I may have become a convert.  It’s one with a lot of charm and endearment.

I wish you all a great week and last few days of these Olympics!

Oh and part two of this decadent feast is next week!

Best,

Ideen

 

Opening Ceremonies Party!

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I love spending time with family.  I don’t do it enough.  I have spoken of my semi-regular gatherings with them, in particular on Thanksgiving, that post can be found here.  We don’t get together enough with the ones we love. A lot of verbiage may sound rehashed and regurgitated but when focusing on the positives, I don’t see it as an issue.

Admittedly, we become so wrapped up in life, we want to keep in touch more, but things happen.  Life happens.  I’ve usually been solid at keeping in touch with close family and dear friends.  Even the ones I’m not too close with I’d give a call or send a message. But I’ve been occupied so much too.  This blog is a part of that but I love it.  It keeps me focused. But I miss the ones I love, so any opportunity to meet up with them, I’m there.

This brings us to last Friday.  It was a mini reunion of sorts.  My cousin wanted to bring a bunch of us together to see some family that was visiting from overseas.  As an added bonus, this was the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

We snacked, we dined, ate some more, drank a little, and were glued to the tv. Well some of us were.  At times, I was engaged in necessary and long overdue conversations with people I care about.

To mark this occasion, I needed to bring a wine that would somehow symbolize the Olympic spirit as well as the joy of family.  That sounds like a lot of added pressure.  It’s almost as if I’m an Olympic athlete or competitor myself. All hyperbole aside, it wasn’t a challenge at all.

Brazilian wines are not the easiest to find in Maryland.  At least that’s been my experience.  It would have been the perfect bottle to find and write about.  I didn’t give myself enough time to track one down but neighboring Argentina always comes through. Their wines have proven to be simple, easy-to-drink, and often affordable.  Take out Argentina and you can put just about any country or region in there.  That’s the true spirit of the Olympics, our world, and our universe.  It shows how even though we’re unique, we’re also all the same. Ah well, enough of my dramatics.

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The winery is not unfamiliar to me but their take on this grape sure is.  The 2013 Perlita Chardonnay from Diamandes Winery is a winner.  Yes I said winner.  I’ll give it any medal you like.  Upon uncorking I could sense it.  You just know sometimes.   And as a close friend pointed out in the past, the label looks like a flag.  The colors may even seem familiar to you. What else needs to be said? But I’ll say some more.

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That golden color is just what I was looking for.   Actually I wasn’t looking for it, more so you can say it gravitated towards me. Of course it would be gold. You can’t plan this stuff if you tried.

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The crispness and apple taste immediately stood out.  This was refreshing, tasty, and throw in other adjectives as you’d like.  The tasting notes tell you everything you need to know.   Lots of summer fruits dominate this vintage.

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I’m not even a Chardonnay fan, but I’d gladly have another glass right now.  Speaking of which, I was lucky to have one.  The bottle was finished in minutes.

For more on this wine you can go to Diamandes’ website right here.   More on their Chardonnay here.  And I gave a hint earlier as to having a wine of theirs before, I will get to that soon.  I will have many good things to say about their Malbec-Syrah as well. Actually I’m suggesting you get both if you can.

DM Vineyards is the domestic distributor here in the states and if you’re looking on where to find their wines, click here.  It’s a label I’ve seen at many wine shoppes in Maryland, so hopefully you won’t have a problem finding it.   And I hope that expands across the nation and across the globe.  It’ll be worth the search.

The price range is $10-$13. That’s worth it’s weight in… I’m here all night ladies and gentlemen, watching the Olympics.

When you have a big family and many that love wine that’s to be expected.  It was gone but not before I got my photos in.  You’ll see a plate of some amazing food my family cooked. I’m of Iranian descent, yet born here. I fully embraced the mix of foods from my family’s homeland and a little bit mixed in from everywhere else. Sound familiar?  Sound dare I say, Olympic like? I may be reaching but this gathering, this meal, and this wine was perfect.   And the gathering by itself was perfect enough.

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I hope we get to do it again soon.

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Like what you see above?  I’ll get to that sometime.

Take good care and enjoy the Olympics.

 

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Exuberant Enjoyment

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I’ll begin this with a bit of amateurish commentary.  I used to think Côtes du Rhône was the actual name of a grape.  I don’t know how long I paraded around like a buffoon saying this to people.  It just sounded so perfectly.  I was calling it my favorite wine for a time. That part remains true but I corrected myself and found the light.  At least I think so.

Grenache is the actual grape, and it’s grown all over the world.  Well I can now confidently say that Grenache is one of my favorites.  It’s extremely popular but one I don’t hear discussed often among peers.  It’s one I don’t have as often as I liked.  That’s on me. There’s so much wine to choose from that some do tend to get lost in the shuffle.

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This leads me to one of the most beautiful and approachable labels I’ve ever come across, Les Dauphins.   Their 2015 Reserve Rose is a winner and a bargain.  Seriously, I’ve seen this and all their wines as low as $8 in many retailers.  This almost constitutes stealing.  The story that this continues to tell is you can get fantastic bottles for under $10.

I’ve had several of their reds (wine list can be found here) and found them to be palatable, approachable, and as I referenced before, affordable..  That’s what many of us want from a wine.  We want it simple, endearing, and a great conversation piece.  If part of the conversation is how great a wine is then they’ve done their job.   It’s icing on the cake so to speak.

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Now I’ve brought a red to a dinner or party or two and it’s gone over well.  But on a recent visit to see some my friends, to my pleasant surprise, they had a bottle of their Rose opened.   Actually, I literally made last call.  As you can tell by the photos, the bottle was nearly done.  I’m glad I caught the tail end of this party (actually more wine was had but I just had to be a bit dramatic), or this post doesn’t happen for a while.

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I couldn’t tell you what fruits, etc. were in it and at the time I didn’t care.  The color, the nose, and taste were simple and joyous enough that it doesn’t matter.  It was as easy to sip as any Rose I’ve ever had.  I’m not even a big Rose fan but I would have this again.  And I will be. The great company and being outdoors surely helped.   Thanks for saving a little for me!

Here’s a beautiful history of the winemakers, info on where you can find their wine, and their contact info.   Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen their bottles in many different stores across any different states.  So it should be easy to find.

I’m seriously so in love with their label.  In the next few months it only seems right to chat about them again.  I look forward to seeing you then.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

This One’s For The Girls

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And for the guys too.  Yet you may recognize this title from somewhere.   This is also meant to be uplifting, and more than just a wine review.  That’s the perpetual intention of what I’ve been doing here, since the onset.

The location brings us back to BistroRX and half-priced wine night on Tuesdays.  Yes, if you’re reading this on the day of posting, this bottle is from yesterday evening. Their wine list can be overwhelming, if you let it.  And can lead to indecision which has happened to me in many a restaurant or shopping excursion.

However, I’m learning to relax and agonize less over the simplest of things.  Going out to wine and dine is meant to be an enjoyable experience.  Work should be left to work.  And that shouldn’t be so daunting either if you think about it.

As opposed to going off the menu, in our previous visit, I spotted a name I liked and didn’t think twice.  Well maybe not.   I just can’t help myself.  I’m always looking for signs, for names, and for some sort of inspiration.  It’s not always outside myself. It can be from within.  So this leads us to..

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There’s so much to like about the 2014 Flygirl White from Airfield Estates.  Here is a more elaborate synopsis if you’re so inclined.

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The name drew me in.  I’m almost positive I’ve seen this label before.  Maybe it’s just the pretty girl.  But everything about this label is an artistic joy.  The vintage shown within the star is the kind of detail that’ll keep me coming back for more.   And I haven’t even touched upon the wine yet.

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I smelled some pear right away.  Any tropical and/or citrus fruits that may be there would have me guessing. I’m happy to swing and miss.  I’m also happy that it’s hot enough and sunny enough to be outside.   The view of Patterson Park and the streets of Baltimore make  this experience all the better.

My friend and I agreed the wine was smooth, easy to drink, and then even easier to drink. Pinot Gris and Viognier have never been favorite grapes of mine. Yet as a blend this is solid. Gewurztraminer will likely be revisited during the, umm, I won’t say it yet. No it’s not the best wine I’ve ever had, but as a whole package I would recommend this to anyone, girls along with guys.  I think the beauty of the design works on so many approachable and endearing levels.  And at around $15 retail price, I’m sold.

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The flatbread pizza that we paired with our wine,tasted just as magnificent as it looks. Bistro’s food has never disappointed.  You can read more about this pizza here.

To purchase vino from Airfield Estates, click here.  And here is their contact info.  I imagine their winery would be welcoming and then some.  Finally, here is their full wine list.  I’d love to try some more. Oh wait, one more finally, here is their list of distributors by locator.  This will hopefully lead you to finding their wines in your area.

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And thanks as always to BistroRx.  Visit them if you get the chance.

Stop and Smell the Rose

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I came up with that all my own.  And I’ve been waiting to say that for the longest time. Well for this post it makes sense.   Yes I’ll be talking about a Rose and it’s a teaser for one of the best wine lists I’ve seen by a restaurant in quite some time.

LangermannsThat restaurant would be Langermann’s in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.

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I’ll talk about the wine we had first.  First of all, I didn’t even order it.  But I’m grateful for dear friends who wanted to share their bottle with a friend, either me or someone else. The wine I’m alluding to is the 2015 Roscato Toscana from Castello di Bossi.

We had a wonderful group of friends hanging out.  Some I consider my nearest and dearest, and some that I consider family.  When the weather is gorgeous, the atmosphere is strong, the energy radiates, and the company is all of the above, the day is going to be magnificent.   Notice how I’ve yet to talk about the wine?

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Even if the wine was half-way decent I’d be raving about it.   With that being said, I thought our Rose was tastier than I expected.  I don’t know if ‘tasty’ is a proper vino term and I don’t care.  I didn’t care at the time.  I did notice a tart or bitter taste that I haven’t grown accustomed to from Rose.  I thought the sour flavor might have been grapefruit. The tasting notes mentioned cranberry and cherry.  I could see that, especially the former.

But at the time none of that mattered.   I was admiring the label, the color of the wine, and how great our day was going.  I mean look at that salmon-like color.  Does it get any better?  It looks as beautiful as a cup of pink lemonade.   If I wasn’t careful, I would be drinking it just as quickly.  But that defeats the whole purpose.  A wine like this, or any other, is to be sipped slowly and savored with good company.  I was with some of my favorite.

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If you look in the distance, in some of these pics, you’ll see folks relaxing by fields of grass. I didn’t take the most obvious of photographs but it’s possible to spot a bocce court in the distance.  Yes they have free bocce!

Most importantly I was at Langermann’s to support a few friends that have ties to this restaurant, either from working there or from hanging out there for a significant period of time.  That to me is the most important part of all.  We need to look out and support each other whenever we can.

For those who have been, you know the interior is large but quite cozy concurrently. And the outside dining area has a tranquil vibe that can only be experienced to understand.

Aside from a few entrees, I haven’t explored the menu too much.   But that’s all going to change soon.  The few appetizers and bites we’ve shared have all been top notch.  I expect more of the same down the line.

However, their wine list is one for the books.  And speaking of which, I assume it’s been vastly expanded then what I just posted.  There is one I can’t wait to talk about.  I hope to get to it later this summer or by the latest, early fall.

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I’ve rambled on long enough.  Check out the place if you’re in the area.  I highly recommend it.   I do recommend the Roscato Toscana.   Personally, I haven’t seen it in a store.  My one time was here at Lang’s, so you’re getting an exclusive as well.

Hopefully this link or this one will help you locate this charming Rose.  Looks like it’s around $15.00 retail, which is a great value for what you’re getting.  Did I mention that immaculate shade?

Hope your Summer has been stellar.  More to come from one of the coolest hangouts in the city.

Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the, well you know.  Enjoy one another.  That’s the most important thing.

Best,

Ideen

 

Shining Star

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After last weeks stirring post on Sauvignon Blanc, I figure I’ll get as much mileage as I can, and while the weather cooperates.  No I’m not hitting the panic button yet.  We’ve got plenty of Summer to go.   And I’m going to enjoy squeeze every drop out of it I can.   Well, at least I’l enjoy some great vino in the process.

I’m working in reverse order here.  The meal and wine for this week actually took place before the 4th of July Holiday, which was written about a week ago to rave reviews.  Or maybe that’s all in my head, oops.  Well anyhoo, here we go!

A dear friend of mine, who has hosted dinner parties in the past, was preparing a decadent meal of chicken stir fry.   This always leads to great adventures in wine pairing.  After a brief discussion we both instinctively and in unison Sauvignon Blanc would complement this dish to its fullest.

Because a lot of green and vegetables were going to be used, the Blanc was the correct choice.   I did a bit of research as to why, which confirmed what we were thinking.  You want the wine to contain at least some of the herbs, greens, and potentially even some fruits that were being used in the dish.  This is simple enough and a user-friendy aspect of wine and food pairing.

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And to keep the simple theme going, the first bottle I spotted was an old reliable, the Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  Try saying that a few times without getting tongue tied.  Admittedly, that label drew me in the first time I grabbed this bottle, going on 5+ years ago.

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The 2015 version tasted the same as I remember.  It’s smooth, easy to drink, and I tend to forget or not care about what might be in it.   But as my knowledge and curiosity gradually expands, I want to learn more.  At the time of our meal I didn’t care.   However, I did sense some grapefruit and to my pleasant surprise, I was right.   Summer fruits such as kiwi, guava, and passion fruit are mentioned but, I was hard pressed to detect those as I was sipping.  Maybe next time or maybe in the next life.  But fresh cut grass?  I got to sip on this again.

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As we had our dinner, I wasn’t doing any research.  That would be poor form and lacking in manners.  I did snag a few pictures before I ate just to get that out of that way.

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The meal was stellar as usual.

The wine pairing was spot on but it was almost too easy to drink.  It’s a discrepancy I’ll get into briefly.   I paid $13.99 for this bottle at a local wine shoppe.   I think it drinks for no more than a $10.00.  Why do I say that?  Because I’m so used to standard labels that you find in many stores, that cost $9.99 or less.  It’s just an observation and a few dollars in the grand scheme things is not the end of the world.  But it’s the principle.  I think that makes sense.

What makes absolute sense was the great company and great food prepared by my pal.   It’s the simple times with good people and good conversation that make this life worthwhile.  And it makes this one of the easier posts to do.

If you’re interesting in purchasing this wine, this link will be your friend.  The lower the price, the better.

More to come.

Best,

Ideen