I beat Comcast! Wine by Joe helped me win.

Newsflash: Moving sucks.

I know you know this, but it’s hard to move things in.  Set things up.  Get boxes down to a manageable size.  Re-wash things.  And then, there is the electronics world.

Comcast–land of the automated voice that keeps replaying on a circuit with a fake computer noise that wants you to believe it’s registering your concerns, even when you keep asking joefor customer service, only to be rerouted to the circuit or led to a representative that said you called the wrong number, “I’ll have to transfer you, but our transfer system is broken.  You gotta pen?” Tonight was that night where the automated demons walked the earth to foil all startup tech projects and eat the living for a snack. In a rush of frustration, I threw caution to the wind, threw the directions to the side, and managed to connect a TV, Internet modem and router, sync the TV with the remote, and change passwords without becoming one of the undead.  In a word, or few, I rocked the tech (knock on wood a thousand times here).

The Wine: With my new-found skills, and time on hold, I opened a bottle of “Wine by Joe” –a 2010 Pinot Noir from Oregon. Unlike a common plumber’s name, the wine was less than common, but like it’s description, not pretentious.  Good, in fact, for a light bodied, light-rubied pinot.

On the nose were earthy, aged cherries, spice of white pepper and a hint of black in the background, a touch of freshly rained on earth mixed with a hint of oak (the edge of the forest, if you will).  On the palette, the fruit came through, as did more of the spice as if an unexpected “welcome basket” showed up at your front door.  It carries with it a gift in a bottle, as It is extremely well-balanced, medium-low on the tannin and medium-high on the finish length and taste.

Bringing joe2joy down to the simplest denominator, it’s taste is like being on the childhood playground and equally balancing the teeter-totter with your best friend opposite you on a spring day.  Cue: rainbows and unicorns, this wine was that for me during a Comcast phone maze contest.

I have to miss the workout in the morning, because, as stated earlier, moving makes you her bitch and you are owned by a force greater than the sum of your zip code.  But, I would definitely pick up this bottle the next time I battle Comcast.  Or even just because I want a nice,  light, enjoyable wine.  If you would like to be rerouted to a red, press 1…or ask for Joe.

3of5

 

 

Oveja Negra: A wine wanting to be a little more bad-assed than it is.

After a hefty day of lawn care in the SoMo (South Minneapolis) and a cold afternoon at that, I was as tired as if I were training for an Ironman. Lawn bags were filled and carried; dead patches were raked and seeded, and just a general, “get it done” mandate was given by current roommate.

Steak and cabernet sauvignon, like a heavy training day, seemed to be called for.  I was like the wet wash cloth by the side of the tub that was cold, tired, and rung out.

Said roommate, however, being the master cook she is, decided to whip up pizza, and I wanted to try the wine I purchased from “Elevated.”–The wine: Oveja Negra, 2011 blend of Cabernet Franc and Carmenere.

It was a wine from Maule Valley, Chile, and while a narrow country, it has a lot of diversity–depending on which side of the Aphoto-91ndes one is on.

“Meh” not “Ahhh” greeted by upon opening.  It was earthy, but not fruity on the nose, with slightly green hints of capsicum.  On the palette it was light fruit in taste, black current, capsicum, smokey wood-chip oaked (just a guess since the taste seemed to linger on the surface rather than rooted in the wine), and was a young, spicy, peppery wine. 13.5% in booze, medium-high tannin and some balance, but I’ve seen pictures of goats (I know, not a sheep) and this wine was not going to balance on any steep mountain tops.

I forgot how much I paid for it, but I like to think a little Black Sheep is good to change up the dynamics of staid and boring.  This wine would never be confused with Yahtzee on the scale of shaking things up.  Will finish the bottle, but put it down after a glass and a half to make the run this morning.  It was a little less blah with some pizza, but attribute that more to the talents of my roommate than the wine.  Make a sweater and move on.

2of5

slightly green, earthy hints, fruit is lost on the nose, earthy,

light, black current, capsicum, smoky–wood chips, young, spicy as in pepper, cedar, light on the fruti

13.5%; med high tannin, some balance

maule valley, coastal and mediterranean temps,

B is for…Bonarda.

It’s been awhile since I moved from DC, but without a place to live and lots of new job stress, I woke up today noting my body didn’t want to be limber and move freely.  Lots of sitting since the drive from DC and one untrained-for 10 mile run later, I decided I was stiff as a straight up whiskey shot (what? this is a blog abbonardaout alcohol, not a forum for tired cliches).

I decided to go to yoga, and wanted to go to the first yoga place I started at 10 years ago: BKS Iyengar  in Minneapolis.  By far, my favorite structure of yoga.  However, tonight the instructor was controlling and not very tolerant–she kept calling on and picking on an elderly man who had a hard time with the poses. And she equated us to her forth graders.   Why we were there then, ostensibly, if not because we were imperfect?   The instructor was part Amy Poehler in “Parks and Recreation,” part Kathy Bates in “Misery,” and part bitchy-out-of-this-world “Portlandia” sketch.  Can you say B…onarda?

One could say she drove me to drink.

Or, one could say my great roommate had great pizza that required wine.

Whichever reason, I opened a nice, mildly-bold red wine from Mendoza, Agentina (Not just about the Malbecs, okay?)  The wine: Tercos, 2009 Bonarda.

On the nose, it was fruit forward cherries and black cherries, but not very ripe flavors on the latter.  There was smoke-on-leather notes as if lingering cigarette ash in the library, and all that translated to a lovely, balanced taste–again, fruit forward with smoky leather (not overwhelming), with a medium tannin, medium finish and medium acidity that paired nicely with a tomato-rich deep dish pizza.   Not perfect, but hell, neither are zen masters these days.   I feel like I can appreciate a little rough around the edges tonight more than most.  This is a GREAT wine for Monday melancholia.

I already had the workout, but for $7.99 (on sale, but still a great price from “Elevated”) I would open this bottle up just to enjoy a glass.  Or two.  And all the while, strike an imperfect pose and fidget worse than a forth grader.  Ole!

3of5

Easy like Sunday Morning-And St. Supery

Today is the unicorn fall day in Minnesota: those days that are so beautiful-crisp air, blue skies, fluffy clouds hovering over crimson, gold,  and green-leafed rainbows, verdant lawns and sunlight sure pure, it’s like its been strained through a filter for any lingering debris. But hard to believe they (these kinds of days) are real.

I took advantage of it in full force. (Side note: didn’t know my current roommate substituted real coffee with decaf. I’ve been sad all week.  I had full strength this morning, and think I could have built Hoover Dam.  Glad the day and the jolt coincided).  I first went for a run of 7.5  miles, then a bike ride around town and took in the sites against the many neighborhoods I traveled through.  (Then, I bought the new iPhone and went to Whole foods, and felt bphoto-87roke.)

The day, however, and a good wine, is something that can all of us feel rich.

This is that wine.  St. Supery, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Napa Valley is full of pomp and circumstance.  Or should I say plump and circumstance? It is big.

On the nose, rich cassis that feels like it was liquored in the sun,  blackberry and vanilla.  It is a potpourri of all the best a Cabernet Sauv can offer.  On the palette, it is big–and slightly drowned out by the alcohol at 14.7%, but with a little cheese and some rosemary crackers–it numbed down the alcohol and became much smoother.  The length was a good medium length and medium-full on the tannins. The fruit came out and with a little food, was nice and balanced.

I recommend no more than half a bottle–especially on a Sunday.  But if you can call in sick to work, have at it!

3of5

Pinot Nero: Translating tastes

photo-85It’s a cut to the chase kind of day.

The wine is called hofstatter joshph meczan.  It is a Pinot-Nero-blauburgunder. Alto-Adige, 2011.  The common layman, or rather, any of the poor fools Jay Leno interviews on the street isn’t going to have the faintest as to what this is, let along what region it is.  (Psst: Italy).  It kind of sounds Norwegian, Italian and German all in one–WWII would have been proud to name this the wine of the war, most often picked by the Axis of Evil.  Almost.  Except at the core of this wine is goodness.  Pure goodness.

Pinot Nero, or Blauburgunder, is a Pinot Noir.  This one opened on the nose a little spicier than the last one I had. More pepper, black fruit with cherries.  It was a nice “chill” kind of wine with medium acid, medium-long finish with good balance (13.5% alcohol level).   I am just drinking it to drink it–which is nice, but think it will go really well with some earthy mushroom, well-spiced pork, salty turkey–something that screams, “I CAME OUT OF A FORREST.”  It also soothlingly proclaims, “I’m mellow.”  Mixing metaphors, like sounds of its origins, seems okay to do.

The wine shop I purchased this at proclaimed it was the owners favorite wine.  But then again, I couldn’t find a Sauternes, Riesling, or the usual go-to wines, so you be the judge.  (This might be another Jay Leno moment, I know).  This bottle is very nice, and I would bring this over to a friends, or drink the bottle over two days, but I have new-employee orientation in the morning, so… You can bet your inner evil-superhero I’m making the 5 am workout in the morning.

3of5

Molly Dooker returns: Two left Feet Is A Smooth Operator

photo-83Have you ever seen a long long friend turn a corner (after you’ve been straining your head in wait) to have them appear and your head fills up with glee as your pulse races in happiness and expectation?  It’s called being smitten.

That is how I’m starting to feel about a Molly Dooker wine.  “Too Left Feet” is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  On the nose it is baked plums, soft leather, light oak, and spicy chocolate. On the tongue, the tannins are soft (from the Merlot addition) and it tastes like your favorite Christmas dessert wrapped up in a chocolate birthday cupcake (with the same flavor profiles as on the nose). The taste is smooth and balanced and the alcohol (at 15.5%!) is not overpowering.  It has such a bright taste, that I almost expected bubbles.

I would give this high marks easily, especially since you can find the brand anywhere (even in MSP),  and with the right friends (I have) the right dessert (Jill is making chocolate molten cake to go with it), and the right day (can you say stress?), it puts the right spin on the day.  I don’t think I’m working out tomorrow–probably something to do with a coordination problem after drinking this.

4of5

La Dame Rousee roused my spirits

Ever start a new job and think, really? How did I not know it was going to be this busy right away?  In a way, it’s great to wrap oneself up completely in a task, a meeting, conversations and thought.  In another way, the art and practicality of breathing becomes laborious.

Enter a Cotes-Du-Rhone, primarily a Syrah/Grenache blend.   Two or three years ago, I would have thought something ‘unbranded’, or ‘not of a California’ title would have been weak or off in taste.  Now, I’ve come to appreciate a region probably often under-appreciated, except for it’s glittery older sister, the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  Now I know better, as all older women do, that a table wine can be the star of one’s night and help catch up with the day…and breathing.

photo-82

 The wine: The Cotes-Du-Rhone, “La Dame Rousse” by Domaine De La Mordoree  seemed like it would be lackluster in the store.  It was in a bin, it was on sale for $16.99, had a red game bird on its label and displayed the ever popular vintage, 2012. Le sigh.

Opening the bottle up, getting a whiff of the faint fruit, vanilla and cedar notes, I  thought–okay. This is fine for tonight.  On the palette, the red cherries and deep black current came out, as did the spice.  Perhaps it was due to the 14.5% alcohol content, but the flavors seemed as if someone started to draw a blueprint, but then erased it and you can still see the outline and most of the details.  The wine was medium on tannins and on length.  I would have given it a nice 5/10 or on my scale, a 2.5.

Then I read the description of the wine on the winemaker’s website, and noted it said to pair it with deli meats and cheeses (I had not eaten dinner yet),  so I quickly added a smoked gouda to the line-up, and the distant taste and punctuated alcohol all of a sudden become a silky fruit roll up around the tongue, forming a nice lilt around the mouth–like it wanted to frolick in some flowers or chocolate syrup,  but instead, did a small pirouette in silent joy.   Understated, I think, defines a nice CdR.

It was a good, pairing wine (something that perhaps should not stand alone).  I would definitely have a few glasses, but my alarm is going off bright and early to work out, so will not miss the workout for this one.   It was a great chance, though, to catch my breath.

3of5

Converted: St. Innocent, Pinot Noir 2010

Last year, I spent weeks cycling all over Oregon with the rogue Super Tour group (whereabouts: all over), and saw unparelled beauty of great heights, green pastures, rolling hills and rivers that unfolded like silk. It was beautiful and freeing to be on two wheels under the big, beautiful sky for hundred of miles, sloughing off the stress of a technologically-laden world.   Unfortunately, I drank a lot of IPAs (in a region known for its Pinot Noir), and am lamenting that sport took over so much of my sipping capacity.

IMG_1142
Tonight, opening the bottle of St. Innocent from Momtazi Vineyard in Willamette Valley Oregon (2010) brought out that feeling of beauty in a glass.  If I were bigger than myself, I would say opening a bottle is like stepping out of a limo in couture before hitting the lights of the red carpet. It is a light burgundy, but on the nose, it hits you that this wine is bigger than its color.  If art, and unlike it’s origins, I would call it a Goya: lengthy, hints of smoke and stretch wrapped around berries and leather in subtle obscurity.  In literature, I would equate it to a comfortable leather bound edition of any great piece of work, but it feels like F. Scott Fitzgerald–direct like Hemingway, but with a turn of phrase that makes one tilt the head pondering.  Whatever the equation brings you too, it is good.  And is an example of what the wine/grape should and could be.

The winestinn is deep cherries, leather, vanilla, subtle oak and a deep woods sense of flavor and smell.  The tannins are soft and the acid is medium–it can stand up to the gamey dish, fish, or something light that its paired with (for the record, I don’t need food with this wine at all!)  It’s finish is long and gentle on the palette.  The smell alone wooed me, and I want to go back to Oregon to roam among the vineyards as much as I did the road.

Priced a little higher than other everyday wines ($39.99), it is worth it to treat yourself after a hard day, to celebrate an unexpected sunset, or to remind yourself and the senses what it is like to breathe and drink something soulful and liberating.  Enjoy. Buy a case, a couple bottles or one.  But I would gladly give up a workout for this wine.

 

 

4of5

Foe or Friend of Boredeaux: Baron De Fontsegur 2011

Bordeaux is the largest, and some argue, the most popular wine producing region of France.  I personally love it and am willing to forgo a year of Ironman (and maybe all long distance sports) to travel and explore the region in more, intimate depth (a bike, however, will be involved).  My background in working with the US budget has always left me impressed with numbers, and Bordeaux is no less impressive in the wine world.   Known for the wines on  the Left (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant) versus the Right Bank (dominated by Merlot), the region has more than 50 appellations on nearly 300,000 acres of land.  That’s a lot of wine.

And some of it is really, really good.  Beautiful.  Artistic, even,like a Shakespearean sonnet, an aria by Mozart, or a simple sunset over a quiet Minnesota lake.

This wine, however, from the Entre-Deux-Mers region near St. Emilion (Merlot dominated, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc added) is not one of those masterpieces.

If you’ve ever forgotten to put sugar into a pie or a pancake mix, or have had orange juice after brushing your teeth, this wine is reminds you something important has been forgotten, or perhaps forged (and forced) in the wrong order.  It is a shallow blackberry and cherry pie where the fruit has been picked too early–and converted to wine before the sugars have matured.  It is tart and absent of fruit-forward flavors, let alone complex ones.  Even with aeration, this wine is looking for something to open it, but like the poem’s of a teenage girl just on the other side of puberty, the soul and painstaking formulaic beauty of age is missing and its expression is limited by its core ingredients.

Because fruit and depth are lacking, I had trouble finishing the glass.  However, I did venture to a region that does sophoto-79mething right: Wisconsin and beer–and turning to the Spotted Cow was just the right touch to turn the tide from a bad glass of wine.  But more on that beer later.  The wine may have been tonight’s foe of Bordeaux, but the Cow showed itself to be a true friend.

Drink the wine.  It is a fine for a night around the table.  Fine to share. But, savor any beer from the New Glarus Brewing Company.  (Again, more on that later, especially as friends and family work on getting to and finishing Ironman Wisconsin).

1 out of 5

End of Week Attitude from “Altitude 2401”-Perry Creek

Whether there is great cause for celebration, or it’s Friday night and you have made it through another dog-eat-dog week, I have one wine to set the week apart and recommend, “Altitude 2401” Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Perry Creek Winery in California.

I don’t need much fanfare to tout this wine.   It is a dark and brooding Renoir painting that you pick up at the garage sale down the street on a sunny afternoon.  In short, it is complex without being hard to understand.  In a word, it is deliperrycreekcious. 

The Wine: has deep notes of blackberry and baked plum, paired with your favorite leather jacket from high school that has mellowed and crackled with age. On the sidelines are soft, smokey oak notes that blend into the inner depths of this wine that makes it relaxed, approachable, and probably the best table wine you will drink all week.  The tannins are soft (I would say like the petal of a rose, but don’t wan’t to wax too poetic) and the finish is a medium long finish. It’s a drink now wine–and drink it as much as you can. 

I drank this wine during a dinner party tonight, so it had to be shared, and because there was only one bottle, I will make the workout.  But if I were alone, I would have hermitted away to finish this wine by myself.  “Live today, for tomorrow we ride” seems appros pos for opening another bottle (if I had had one).

Perry Creek has a number of good–and great–wines.  I found this during a trip to visit the family and have since joined the wine club.  And the in-between-wine-deliveries club (I started my own group, you could say).   But if you don’t live in California, and can’t get there soon–I would say troll online for a bit and find one to suit your taste. 

4of5