MWWC #26: Solitude

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This month’s wine writing challenge is SOLITUDE, as selected by last month’s winner Beth of Traveling Wine Chick.  Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit at a loss with this topic, as I’ve spent quite a few previous MWWCs talking about how wine is best paired with great friends.  But even the most extroverted extrovert needs to reset sometimes, so with George Thorogood playing in my head–click on his name if you need background music!–here goes:

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I think one of the best things about summer is sitting outside and drinking wine.  Sure it’s a lot of fun with others, but it is equally enjoyable by oneself–sitting on the porch reading a book or lounging on the beach listening to the breaking of the waves.   It gives you time to relax, to enjoy, and to appreciate everything around you, like the delightful syrah-viognier blend you randomly picked out a few weeks back.

The thing I enjoy most about drinking in solitude is that it is very decadent. Opening a bottle of wine simply because you love it–not having to think about catering to anyone else’s palette or worrying that the food pairing is not quite right.  Taking your time to really get to know the wine.  Trying new styles and tastes you might not dream of trying in front of others (I mean, I know very well that my friends drink merlot when I’m not around!).

Plus you get the whole bottle to yourself.  Not that I’m telling you to drink the whole bottle (for legal disclaimer purposes).  I’m sure you can look up on Pinterest 846 things to do with leftover wine.  Personally, I always thought “leftover wine” was a myth or a horror story told to oenophiles…but if it is really a thing feel free to share your “friend’s” leftover wine horror stories suggestions.

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If the thought of a bottle is too daunting, find a great little restaurant with a spectacular view and start with a glass.  Take your time to enjoy all the sensations of tasting the wine without expectations or boundaries and just allow yourself to enjoy.  Order food.  Enjoy it more.

Several years ago, I found myself with a free afternoon in Sydney.  In need of a bit of respite, I happened across a little cafe near the Opera House with a fantastic view of the Harbour Bridge.  Fresh oysters were the special and I just couldn’t resist (I never can!).  The waiter recommended a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and while I’m not a big fan of the ol’ sauv blanc, I decided to give it a go.  BEST. DECISION. EVER. (or at least at that moment in time).  The crisp apple finish of the wine enhanced the creaminess of the oysters; the lapping of the waves and the cool breeze coming off of the water provided the perfect setting for allowing myself to just relax and indulge.  While I don’t remember the name of the aforementioned New Zealand sauvignon blanc (I know, epic fail!),  I vividly remember wishing I could bend time and make that moment last forever.

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That is the beauty of drinking in solitude: making an experience and enjoying the moment…of you.  I think in this day and age of technology we expect–no, we demand–to be entertained 24/7, when in reality what we need is more unplugging and appreciating not only what is around you, but what is you.

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Do yourself a favor and try it–you might like it.  I’m not asking you to make it nightly habit (for legal disclaimer purposes), but as a treat for yourself.  If you want to be even more decadent and celebratory, pop the bubbly (trust me you won’t be disappointed!)!

Still not convinced that drinking in solitude is for you?  Before I go open that blanc de blancs chilling in the fridge for a special occasion (you know, like Monday night), I leave you with this final thought:

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Cheers!

Sunday Comics #57 Happy &%*$^# Father’s Day…

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fathers day

Have Wine? Will Travel!

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This month’s wine writing challenge is TRAVEL, as selected by last month’s winner: the hilarious and enlightening Loie of Cheap Wine Curious.

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Of course, my first thought was to write about Napa, the first place I traveled for wine–but then I remembered I’ve already written about my trip and since I haven’t had the chance to go back, there’s nothing new to report.

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Then I thought about allllllll the places in France and Italy I passed through many, many moons (aka decades) ago that I’d love to go back and visit now that I have a true appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of champagnes and burgundies and amarones (ohmy!)–but then I realized that this post may never end.

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So then I thought about all the amazing Texas Hill Country wineries around where I grew up, which seemed apropos since I’m traveling (see what I did there?) down there at the end of the week–but then I realized that I should wait and do a bit of exploring of all the new wineries that have popped up since the last time I visited.

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Then I thought about cleverly describing how going to the wine store is like traveling around the world–but about the same moment that idea popped into my head, so did another:

Hawaiian Mead.

I know, I know you’re probably thinking “no, no…go back to writing about the wine store/traveling the world idea!”  But nope!  Hang on to your hats, we’re traveling to Hawaii!

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If you know me in real life or follow me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook (shameless plug!), you will know that last September I went to Hawaii with some amazing friends.  While on the stunningly picturesque island of Kauai, we stumbled across the Koloa Rum Company.  By stumble, I mean April quickly learned she was traveling with lushes people who enjoyed sampling local adult beverages and she was trying to keep us appeased.

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But of course, this writing challenge is about wine, not rum (although THAT would be awesome!).  Having had a great time at Koloa, we (aka April, who was quicker with her google-searching fingers since she was giving away her rum samples) looked for other local places that made adult beverages.

While on the Big Island we visited the Kona Brewing Company, and so despite having not seen a grape growing anywhere in Hawaii’s lush and volcanic landscape, we were hopeful that we could find a winery.

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Alas, no grape winery…but BINGO! we found Nani Moon Meadery!  Now I will confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of mead, however, when in Rome…

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Nani Moon is in the back of a shopping center in Kapa’a.  We pull up, walk in, and, well, started tasting!  It seemed pointless not to try the full line-up, so we did.

For those of you out there who are unaware, mead is wine (although it can also be beer) made from honey instead of grapes.  It’s been around since…forever (and I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate timeframe!).  Much more sustainable, when you’re smack dab in the middle of the Pacific ocean and you have access to local apiaries.

As Stephanie (the owner) took us through each wine, she paired it with an appropriate snack and talked about where she sourced the honey (they weren’t all the same!).  I think my favorite was the Laka’s Nectar, which was the driest and most crisp of the wines.  While a little too sweet for me, the Cacao Moon was a big hit–understandable, given its chocolate undertones and velvety chocolate finish.  Stephanie definitely got bonus points for her Deviant Beehavior, which packs a kick as it is not only made from honey, but also chili!

We finished the tasting with some of the local honeys that she used, which was great–not only because they were delicious, but because you could really taste how much the nuances in the honey affected the taste of the wine.

If you’re interested in learning more, visiting, or throwing caution to the wind and just buying a bottle, contact Stephanie and tell her what you like.  I’m quite confident she will find you something you’ll truly enjoy and give you suggestions on pairings to help you enjoy it more!  She even has a cocktail section that encourages you to “bee inspired and mix it up!”

It was a great way to spend a couple of hours–and I think that if you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on a tiny island named Kauai, you should go visit Stephanie and try her meads.  I’m not going to say that meads are now my favorite type of wine, but I did walk away with a better appreciation for just how versatile a wine made from honey can be.  And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Aloha!

Sunday Comics: #56 Easter Chocolate

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I know this has been around for a long time, but it still makes me laugh…every.single.time.

Happy Easter! -xoxo-

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Btw, if you’re looking to up your Easter chocolate game, check out this recipe the BFF found on FB for Drunken Bunnies from delish.com  you’re welcome.  I meant, enjoy*!!

 

*totally meant you’re welcome

Sunday Comics #55: Brackets

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Here’s to everyone out there who is actually still in it…

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Pot of Gold

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Thirsty/Throwback Thursday, I thought it only appropriate to re-share this lovely gem….because let’s just be honest, your pot of gold is much better when filled with Guinness!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!:)

The Epicurious Texan

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now THAT is a true pot of gold😉

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Sunday Comics #54 Springing Ahead…

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Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep talking, but this is a genius plan…

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MWWC #23 New Favorites

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It’s that time of the month again: The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge.  This month’s theme–as chosen by as month’s winner, Chad of (Un)Common Grape–is NEW.  Of course, I’m getting this in just under the deadline–there’s certainly nothing new about that!

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In light of that new theme, I thought I would write about the one of the scariest things in the world of wine: buying a new* bottle of wine.

*by new, I don’t mean replacing your favorite bottles of wine that you repeatedly drink with the same stuff, I mean a  new-never-been-tasted-but-you’re-hoping-and -praying-all-the-way-from-the-store-to-the-glass-that-this-is-going-to-be-worth-it new.

While working at a wine bar/tasting room, I was quite adventurous with wine.  With reckless abandon I would try new wines and would be open to randomly picking out something I’d never tasted before and running with it.  Of course, it helped that I got a discount and had some amazing wine reps that would bring samples of things they knew that I would adore.

Fast forward to leaving my cushy wine job and moving to New York City, where I was/am on a very tight wine budget.  Suddenly trying something new seemed too great a risk to take.  Better to stick with what I knew would be tasty and worth not only full retail price, but the added expense of buying it in New York City.

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Every time I would go to the wine store, I would go in with weak promises to myself that I would try something new.  But every time push came to shove and the wallet was opened I found myself sticking to my old favorites.

Oh sure, I’d politely listen to the wine shop workers’ suggestions and reasons, but I often wondered if they truly enjoyed whichever wine they were trying to foist upon me or was it just a spiel?  In typical me-fashion, I would start talking to them, asking both specific and general questions and working their full knowledge of wine because, well, having switched professions, I missed talking about wine.  We’d compare tasting notes, likes and dislikes of wine regions, I’d take up way to much of their time, but in the end it was a very rare event that I would leave with something new.

I just wasn’t willing to take the risk. I know, I know…I was being crazy.  After all, it’s wine–the likelihood of it not being drinkable was exceptionally low.  But it’s not about drinking wine–it’s about enjoying wine.

Over time two things changed this:

The first was wandering into the  Trader Joe’s wine shop.  It is a bit of a trek from work or home, so it took some time to actually motivate myself to get there. Additionally, the only thing I had heard about Trader Joe’s wine was Two-Buck Chuck–so I must confess to being a bit skeptical as to what I might find.  Once I did, though, it was like Christmas had come early!  I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting (perhaps all Two-Buck Chuck?) but what I saw when I went in was a delightful surprise–a wide variety of wine at very un-New York City prices.  Although, if you’re looking for Two-Buck Chuck in NYC, I must warn you it’s $3!  With much lower prices than anywhere in the city and a staff that seems knowledgeable, it makes it a lot more justifiable to my brain–and wallet!–to venture outside of my wine safe box and try new things.  I’ve even found a couple of varietals of Charles Shaw (aka Two Three-Buck Chuck) that I rather enjoy!

The second thing was finding the fabulous website Cheap Wine Curious.  If you are unfamiliar, CWC is authored by the lovely Loie, who uses her sharp wit and extensive palate to help you navigate your way through less expensive (aka cheap–her word, not mine) wines.  Whether you prefer reds, whites, rosés, or sparkling, Loie has diligently tasted and dutifully reported a wide variety of inexpensive wines to add to your wine cellar without sacrificing taste or budget.

I’m not going to pretend that current trips to the wine shop are only for new bottles of wine, but at least now I can say that it is a generous mix of both old favorites and new wines that have the potential to achieve old favorite status.

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Sunday Comics #54: Vacuuming

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I mean, it is a bit ridiculous when you think about it…

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Sunday Comics #53: Presidential Prankster

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Calvin Coolidge a prankster?  Who knew?!?

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