Monthly Archives: May 2010

Raise a Glass to Our Fine Soldiers!

A big hat’s off to the women and men who are and who have served our country.

In a few months, my nephew Nick  is headed for his first tour in Afghanistan as a Marine. 

A toast to our finest who will meet him there!

Photo – this is the best I could find

Sex and the City Girl Wines

As high heels swarm theaters for the opening of Sex and the City 2, I asked Kyle MacLachlan to step back into Trey MacDougal’s shoes – and recommend a wine to personify each of the girl’s personalities.  Yes, Kyle played Trey MacDougal, married to Charlotte in Seasons 3 & 4. Here we go!

Carrie Bradshaw is Champagne because she’s high-spirited and a little giddy.

Charlotte York is a white wine. Elegant. Graceful. I’d go with a Chardonnay. Something from winemaker Mark Aubert in Sonoma.

Miranda Hobbes is a rich Cabernet. Something that goes well with food from Napa like Harlan or Colgin.

Samantha Jones is a Pinot Noir, because it’s a challenging grape, but if handled well, can produce marvelous wine! I like something from Panther Creek in Oregon. Spicy with cherry notes. And it’s a great name.

Cheers!

Here’s the Wine Country Minute story I wrote on Kyle’s wine Pursued by Bear — and his partnership with Eric Dunham in Walla Walla.

Photo credit.

More Bad Wine Please!

There’s not ENOUGH bad wine in the world to wash away the sweaty funk of Chelsea Girls – the first film in a series shown at the SAM in support of gay pride month and the Andy Warhol exhibit

I decided to get artsy last night, against the better judgement of my artist friends.  My friend Gail warned, it’s like watching someone sleep for 15 hours. Well yes.  And way worse. Agonizing in fact.  What does this have to do with wine?  Nothing, other than to say, there’s a shitload of bad wine out there and it’s still not enough!

Ugh!

Photo Credit

The Velvet Devil Strikes

Last night at the Four Seasons bar, I was enjoying a glass of The Velvet Devil by Charles Smith – pondering the ideas of dark cherry, dark chocolate and debauchery, when my girlfriend read a text she received right then from her husband:

I THINK THE CAT MAY HAVE BEEN HUMPED.

Ok, well then. Have a nice weekend.

What the Stars Tell You to Drink? May Wine Signs

Spring has finally sprung in most area, and with it comes all sorts of new releases.  Bottled treasures are waiting to be discovered.  Go crazy! Come undone! Try something you’ve always wanted to, but just haven’t had the balls to.  Is it Cinsault? Carignan? May is the month for pleasure I’m told, so reach, pour a glass, grab a big hat and enjoy the view from the veranda…

Horoscopes provided by Jeff Jawer, co-author of Barnes & Noble’s ‘Your Astrology Guide 2010.’ A professional astrologer since 1973, his articles have appeared in astrology journals, magazines and Web sites around the world.  For more on your horoscopes, go to http://www.tarot.com
Reprinted from Cork’d

Aries
Brave New World
May might open on a frustrating note, you can still make progress as long as you play by the established rules. This is a time to tie up loose ends and honor previous commitments so you’re ready for what lies ahead. Instead of cultivating resentment about what’s delaying immediate gratification, though, realize this month is about setting yourself up for long-term gains.
Playing by established rules can be challenging for you, dear Aries.  You’re not exactly one who colors in the lines.  But as a shift is imminent, Syrah is going to get you through this one.  Dark and spicy with a bit of lust on the finish.  That’s what we look for when immediate gratification is delayed.  So tie up loose ends with bright red suppleness and plenty of backbone, as your option to be an adult is the only one you have this month. Good luck.
Taurus
Shifting Landscapes
Steady growth and staying on top of your responsibilities may not be easy this month — it’s going to take an extra dose of flexibility to work through the shifts from heavenly highs to earthly lows and the contrasts between dreams and necessities. While daily tasks and limited professional growth may overwhelm you, these feelings are simply the first step in a process of reassessing your long-term goals.
The earth really is moving under your feet, and some Bulls may feel it more than others. Bed-spins suck, but don’t despair.  A steadfast Merlot will mitigate those highs and lows – and even sprinkle earthly dust between the dreams and necessities.  Besides Riesling, Merlot is one of the most flexible players you can have on your side.  So get your helmet on and get on the field.  Pair up with a big bar of chocolate and you’re good for the game, set, and match!
Gemini
On the Launchpad
What begins as a general malaise can turn into a challenging situation this month as you experience simultaneous stop and go signals. You cannot escape your personal obligations, yet doors are opening now to exciting new opportunities. There are great rewards around the corner if you’re willing to take a cautious approach. This is a lesson of balance – too much change, too fast is as dangerous as trying to avoid change completely.
The countdown started, Gemini, and you are standing on the high dive above a pool of optimal essence.  A bottle of Barbera is that shadow behind you, willing to push if you don’t have the guts to jump.  To be clear, Barbera is a door opener – and a door slammer.  Italian varietals are rubbed in emotion – passionate both in love and furry. I know the stars are encouraging caution but a cautious Barbera is like a taste of bitter sweet. Take the reigns and steer the ship.  Be smart, be balanced and finish with perfect depth.
Cancer
Occupational Hazards
Professional matters and public responsibilities are in the spotlight now, and may be subject to reevaluation and revision this month. Frustration at work could reach a critical point, yet there is plenty of time to adjust your priorities and redirect your resources to realize and capitalize on your full potential. Professional breakthroughs are likely if you can let go of the past and let your instincts lead you in an entirely new direction.
What a crock, Cancer!  Someone (by someone I mean you) needs a moment.  How about a supple, velvety one that writhes in Cinsault.  This is one of those grapes that rarely gets the spotlight. It’s the back up singer, the supporting actor, subsequent to all, yet second to none. Bright strawberry fades to deeper raspberry, red currant and cherry – a softness not to be underestimated.  Let go of the frustration and let your instincts take the lead.  It’s rare that they’re ever wrong.
Leo
Waiting in the Wings
Although you may be lost in confusion as May begins, clarity rolls in like well-formed waves to give new purpose to your life. Having the courage to question your core values is healthy now, yet don’t be surprised if the malaise grows as you dig a little deeper.
A little heavy on doldrums naturally requires a happy wine.  The happiest wine I know is a velvety smooth, Sparkling Shiraz – rich on red and high on bling.   Once you were lost, but now you’ve been found.  What’s the big deal?  The big deal is being found with a bottle of sparkle and sizzle.  Embrace black bubbles with ripe juiciness.  This wine’s got your number and looking for action.  Remember, it’s the wine that gave the Lion courage. It should have been, anyway. Indulge!
Virgo
Wide, Wide World
Reshaping a long-range vision to fit your current reality can turn this into a highly productive month, Virgo. Opportunities come when you cast your mind beyond the limits of your daily routine to see yourself in a wider world of meaning and purpose. While some fantasies may be unreachable, let inspiration take you as far as it can, but allow the dust to settle before taking action.
Cast far and cast wide!  And toast it with a blend of somethin’, somethin’ plus Carignan.  It’s your super fruit this month.  Why?  Because it’s the most widely planted grape in France, and it wouldn’t hurt you to cast your net big…BIG!  Opportunity abounds and there’s nothing wrong with a little lush body, deep hue, ripe fruitiness, and long length a-la Carignan.  Lusher, deeper, riper, longer -now there’s a fantasy to reach for.
Libra
Ready to Fly
Following your dreams may seem impossible now, as this month is wrought with constraint. You struggle to strike a workable balance between your spiritual pursuits and your daily responsibilities, and may find it difficult to get your point across. There is a significant shift occurring now that places your focus on the inner work you must do before you can clean up your outer life.
Step off the platform and grab hold of that bar.  Libra, you are ready to fly.  Things complicated for you so why not partner right up with another positively misunderstood varietal.  Primitivo, step forward. Yes, people think it’s a not-so-distant relative of big Zin.  Similar, yes, but made differently, in different places is what makes them – well, different.  Talk about not so workable balance….  Meanwhile, Primitivo continues to soul search on the outside and laugh outloud on the inside.
Scorpio
A Tangled Tale
The month gets off to a slippery start as you get caught between your obligations to others and a desire to pursue your own dreams. Relationships also remain in the spotlight now, yet change is stirring that pushes you to break patterns rather than simply support the status quo.
Scorpio, you never struggle! It’s nice to see you flailing among us inchworms at least once in awhile.  I love a tangled up scorpion – it’s very sexy and frankly makes the rest of us feel that much better about ourselves! Cabernet Sauvignon is here to pick you up and sweep you away.  Strength and structure pushes you further beyond your limits, beyond your beautiful nightmare.  Deep and intense – black currant, black berry and black velvet.  We’ll meet again someday on the avenue!
Sagittarius
Waiting for the Right Moment
You may be having second thoughts about some recent professional decisions, especially if your job isn’t supporting your dreams. Opportunities for personal growth do arise this month, yet also place obstacles in your path. This is a time to scale back your vision and tend to the business at hand.
Waiting for the perfect moment is like waiting for the perfect partner. Ain’t gonna happen, dear Sag.   I highly recommend blowing out that vision with an all-business Chardonnay.  Nothing crazy buttery, nothing super steely; just something simple, crisp and balanced.  Chardonnay is a good stool to stand on – lovely and lean, it’s reliable and even.   When passion flows and dreams are supported, the right moment just might come along.  Have another glass so you know what it looks like when it gets here.
Capricorn
Seeds of Love
You are challenged this month to find ways to grow without damaging your firm foundation of security. Passion strikes that pushes you to express your individuality now — this could be the start of a lasting new relationship between you and pleasure, as long as you pace yourself on the road to personal satisfaction rather than trying to race to the finish line.
Looks like a lusty month for you, dear Capricorn.  I recommend something vibrant, juicy and long lasting. A full-bodied Zinfandel is what gets your goat and keeps it quintessentially satisfied. Given I’m a Cap myself, I’m curious about this lasting new relationship. This is very exciting – pleasure paired with a rich, chewy mouthfeel is nothing short of divine.  Get in the car fellow Caps.  We’re being pushed by passion on the road to personal satisfaction.  Pace yourself indeed!
Aquarius
Dazed and Confused
Relationships turn complex this month as stress arises around the idea of intimacy and your connections to those around you. Tension is also growing between your need for financial freedom and the limits that come from your commitments to others. Finding solutions is more difficult now, as cold, hard facts turn fuzzy, yet you can rest assured there is a positive light just around the bend.
Key words here: cold, hard and fuzzy – sound familiar?  I hope not.  Here’s the deal Aquarius.  As I see it, stress and intimacy should never be used in the same sentence. In the event that they are, a big, bold Petit Verdot is needed STAT! It’s a stiffening wine and that can only mean one thing for structure – the lead in your pencil, the leather in your strap.  If that doesn’t help you find some solution…well then, buddy, you’re on your own.
Pisces
From the Ground Up
Observation, study and conversations with experienced individuals help you build a solid base of information that can support your growth this month. Increased effort and patience are necessary, as it may take a while to find your footing — you are being challenged to maintain a sense of control over your life now, especially when it comes to relationship.
Do you ever feel like life is a Dojo? Wax on, right hand, wax off, left hand.  Who can blame you, Pisces?  You’ve got a lot going on! Class it up some and reach for a glass of earth-rooted Pinot Noir. Something shroomy, dirty and moist.   This requires a masculine wine – big, meaty and hard wood; the perfect complement to a cigar bar and steakhouse.  Talk about maintaining a sense of control – or at least appearing to.

Cheap Dates to What the Heck!

In the event you’re starting your summer wine club like I am — here’s a short guide from serious juice to hussy wines!
It doesn’t take a fall down a rabbit hole to land you in a wonderland of wine. Walk into any wine retailer, and the sensation is often similar. While question marks abound, one simple block and tackle strategy is to start a wine club.

Ok, you’re right – nothing simple about that. Everyone approaches wine clubs differently – from blind tastings to elaborate rating systems; to starting out with a formal structure and ending informally exhilarated. I mean we are talking about trying multiple wines. The best advice I have is to find or define a framework that works for your group. Here are a few ideas…

Where on the Globe — Choose a different country, region, or AVA; or stick with one country and explore the many regions within:

  • German Rieslings, Mosel
  • French Burgundies, then Bordeaux next month…

Cheap Dates — Choose a fixed price point and change the varietal or blend:

  • Sexy Syrahs under $15
  • Naughty Nebbiolos under $15

World Cup — One varietal, two countries. Score!

  • Pinot Noir: Oregon vs Australia
  • Riesling: Washington vs Germany
  • Malbec: France vs Argentina

What the Heck! — Theme drinking at its best! Choose a topic and find wines that match:

Critter Wines

  • Charles Smith “Holy Cow” Washington
  • Fairview-owned “Goats do Roam” South Africa
  • Le Grand Noir “Black Sheep” France

Hussy Wines

  • Sine Qua Non Roussanne “The Hussy” California
  • “BrayZin Hussy” Bray Vineyards, California
  • “Shameless Hussy” Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards, Chelan, Washington

Quick Tips

  • Start with 5-7 people (you can always grow)
  • Set up a calendar and agree to meet weekly, monthly, quarterly
  • Decide on the group’s focus
  • Choose a price point (or not)
  • Invest in glassware to accommodate everyone and the wines you’re tasting

Re-Printed from Wine Country Minute .

A Twinkly Star Lays to Rest

My very first post  Today I Met Little Feet featured Star, our Collie.  Sophisticated and inspiring, she would have drunk from lead crystal with a pinky paw lifted.

An Eskimo Legend says:

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

RIP Little Star

1995 – 2010