MWWC #30: Obscure

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This month’s wine writing challenge was picked by…well, me!  As last month’s winner for my glass-shattering tales in my Winestory, I got the honor of picking this month’s theme: OBSCURE.

wine stain

For full disclosure, Jeff helped me pick OBSCURE–and he was right, it was the word I was looking for in my quest to hear about the often-forgotten grapes.  What I sent to Jeff was a long rambling email about how I was enjoying Lori and Mike of Draceana Wines posts about Cabernet Franc and their push for #CabFrancDay.  I love Cabernet Franc, from the moment that I tasted it!  But a lot of people have not heard of this delicious grape and even fewer know of other Cabernet grapes, like Ruby Cabernet.

Side note: Grape Creek makes a delicious blend of these three Cabernet grapes, Cabernet Trois, which I highly recommend if you’re in Texas and/or can get your hands on some!

This got me thinking: I wanted to hear from everyone that one varietal that they love that perhaps few outside the world of wine have experienced.  Everyone (wine drinker or not) has heard of Chardonnay, Shiraz, the main Pinots (note: any snarky comments about me lumping Noir and Grigio into one will be ignored!), Rieslings, Cabernet, Merlot, and even (shudder) White Zin, but there are thousands and thousands of varietals out there–what about them?

Btw, this was all pretty much in my nebulous (his word, not mine–ha!) email to him.  Thankfully, he recently moved to Texas and was able to decipher my ramblings and come up with a–in my humble opinion–great word.

So it is in that spirit that I wanted to tell you about my favorite OBSCURE wine, actually wines.  There are four in fact, because well, go big or go home.

Gewürztraminer, Viognier, French Colomabard, and Dry Riesling

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: I know Rieslings are not obscure and were in my list above, but DRY Rieslings are a bit harder to find…that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

At the time I introduced to each of these wine I was working at the wineshop.  I was very leery of white wine because I lumped them all (I know, bad Shezza!) into two categories: Chardonnay (gag!) and exceptionally sweet Rieslings (not so much gag as too sweet to drink more than a ½ glass!).

But as I worked my way down the tasting bar, my tastebuds discovered there was actually a wide variety in flavors and sweetness levels of white wines–far more than I ever imagined!  Along the way I found four wines that not only stood out, but that I would actually consider drinking–a HUGE feat at the time because, honestly, if it wasn’t red or bubbles, I did not drink it!

ONE MORE SIDE NOTE: I pulled the first three pictures from each winery’s website, as 20 years ago I never dreamed I needed pictures!

Bell Mountain Dry Riesling  /  Fredericksburg, Texas

bell-mountainWait?  There is such a thing as Dry Riesling?  Growing up in a German town, I was exposed to Riesling very early in life.  Not that I was drinking it, but it was the very first wine varietal that I knew existed (not that I even knew what “wine varietal” meant at that time!).  My first tastes of Riesling were Spätlese and Auslese, so I was delightful surprised when I tried the local Dry Rieling from Bell Mountain (exceptionally local, as the vineyard butts up to the part of the ranch!).  What surprised me was the fruitiness of the wine without the sweetness.  This wine, like many grown in the area, has very peachy overtones–both in the bouquet and the finish, which is dry and crisp.  It pairs well with lighter foods and soft cheeses, but can be enjoyed all by itself.

For the trivia files:  Being the star of German wines, there are many different ways to classify Rieslings based on region and sweetness at the time of harvest.  Wine Folly does a great job of explaining it, if one was interested in jumping into the deep end of the Riesling pool!

Llano Estacado Gewürztraminer  /  Lubbock, Texas

lew-gewurztraminer-webAs you may or may not know, gewurz means spice in German and this wine is perfect for spicy foods or heavy cheeses.  It has a very floral bouquet, with a medium mouthfeel, and tastes of honeysuckle with a bit of warm spice on the finish (allspice, perhaps?).  Personally speaking, I think it is delicious but is on the sweeter side, even for a Gewürztraminer, and best paired with food.

For the trivia files:  Gewürztraminer grapes are actually pink to red in color not white!

 

 

 

Becker Vineyards Viognier  /  Stonewall, Texas

becker-viognierI think it took me three glasses of Viognier to be able to properly and without hesitation say Viognier (as opposed to my German heritage which allowed me to say Gewürztraminer without any issues the very first time!).  What I found in this Viognier was a dry wine that I could truly enjoy without all the oaky/buttery flavors that are synonymous with Chardonnay.  While you would expect to find peach, this Viognier smells of apricot and honeydew.  It is full bodied, with a honeysuckle and apricot finish.  I think this a perfect wine for red wine drinkers who hate Chardonnay but are looking for an occasional white wine to enjoy.  Honestly, I can’t say what food this pairs well with because I usually just pair it with a glass 😉

For the trivia files: Viognier is genetically related to Nebbiolo and was nearing extinction in 1965 when only 8 acres were planted in the Rhône.

Dry Comal Creek French Colombard  /  New Braunfels, Texas

IMG_0993-1Like Viognier, French Colombard was a wine I had never even heard of prior to tasting it.  I was actually introduced to Dry Comal Creek’s French Colombard several years after I started working at the wine shop, but given its obscurity in the wine world except as a blending grape, I thought it worth a mention.  Dry Comal Creek make two versions of this, although I believe the Bone-Dry isn’t always available.  What I enjoy about the French Colombard is the long lingering flavors of tropical fruit.  It is medium-to-full bodied and has a touch of sweetness while drinking.  However, the sweetness does not linger–just the fruitiness (which probably doesn’t make any sense until you try this wine).  The Bone-Dry version is just that: less sweetness while drinking and a much drier finish with less fruity lingering.  Both versions are very mild and easy to drink.  I think they both pair well with light snacks, appetizers, fish/seafood (especially the Bone Dry) and just drinking on the back porch.

For the trivia files:  It was traditionally grown in France to distill into Cognac and Armagnac and because of its natural sweetness is used to sweeten baby food (presumably before it’s distilled…)

So that’s my tale of venturing into the world of the more obscure grapes, and in so doing, I even learned how to enjoy white wine.

Cheers y’all!

 

60 Questions.

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Happy New Year!  Okay, okay I know I’m a taaaad bit late, but…it’s still January, so I’m not that late, right?!?!?

gym

In an effort to not scream down the house or throw things at the television during today’s Cowboy game, I thought during halftime I might share one of those “getting to know you” quizzes circulating around the inter webs.

And because I know that 98.76% of the population hates filling these out, I won’t tag anyone…but I love reading your answers, so if you’re in 1.24% who also loves them, feel free to share 🙂

The original quiz is 100 Getting To Know You Questions (but I thought I’d spare you all 100 questions!  okay, okay, I just got tired of answering all of them…halftime is only so long, after all)

60 Questions About Me:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Italy or Hawaii or a beach somewhere (not that they’re mutually exclusive, so perhaps a beach in Italy or Hawaii!) 
  2. What is your biggest fear? Disappointing those I love
  3. What is your favorite family vacation? Going to visit Family & Friends and Going Somewhere I’ve Never Been
  4. What would you change about yourself if you could? I would ban the nagging, negative voice in my head
  5. What really makes you angry? ignorance, injustice, and hypocrisy 
  6. What is your favorite book to read? I don’t think I could even narrow it down to 10, but here are a few The Jungle Books, Children of Men, I Know This Much is True, Harry Potter (all of them, of course), To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Parasol Protectorate Series., The Spellman Files Series..
  7. What makes you laugh the most? My friends
  8. What did you want to be when you were small? Pediatric Surgeon (yes, I was that specific).
  9. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Road Trip!
  10. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? Football, of the American variety.
  11. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? It depends how far I’m going, as I enjoy all three of those modes of transportation
  12. What would you sing at Karaoke night?  Nobody wants to hear that…and I’d like to issue a blanket apology for all those who have
  13. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house? It’s a draw between wash the dishes and mow the lawn.
  14. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Cleaning and de-Addy-hairing my life (if you have a labrador, you understand)
  15. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? TACOS!
  16. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? A nickname?  Try many nicknames: Shez, Shezza, Fezza, Sheshie, Sherbear, Sherrybelle, Sher, Hey you
  17. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? I do because I think it takes a lot of work to pull off a surprise and I’m always appreciative of that
  18. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?  Hawaii.  No diss on Alaska, it’s beautiful and I enjoyed visiting, but I looooooooooove Hawaii!
  19. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Travel the world, eat, write, and pet my dog.
  20. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I don’t know about a specific year, but I think the 1920s would be fun
  21. How would your friends describe you? You’ll have to ask them, perhaps crazy (in a good way), adventurous, loyal, and secretive 
  22. What are your hobbies? Traveling, reading, scrapbooking, not killing people
  23. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? As long as coffee is considered a necessity, I’m good
  24. List two pet peeves. People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop and people who hold the train doors open
  25. How many pairs of shoes do you own?  about 20 pairs of shoes and perhaps 30 pairs of flip flops.  That might be a slight exaggeration….on the shoes.
  26. What would you do if you won the lottery? Pay off my bills, buy a house, make large donations to charity, travel the world, have an awesomely stocked wine cellar/beer cooler/pantry, and help family & friends
  27. What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.) call me crazy, but I love taking the ferry (and seeing the Statue of Liberty twice a day is an added bonus!)
  28. What’s your favorite zoo animal? tigers, elephants, and giraffes (oh c’mon, surely you didn’t expect just ONE answer??)
  29. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be? Not to sound hokey, but I don’t think I’d go back and change anything.  I’d be too scared that if I did, I might miss out on meeting some of the most amazing people ever.
  30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 3…although in total fairness, the cat usually sleeps on one.
  31. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in? uhhhh….I think the Empire State Building
  32. What’s your favorite holiday? It used to be Halloween, however, now it’s Thanksgiving
  33. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Packed up everything and moved to another country….twice.  Oh and I have walked over hot coals.
  34. What was the last book you read? Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni
  35. What’s your favorite type of foreign food? Sushi
  36. Are you a clean or messy person? I’m a clean, but clutter person…aka I like things to be clean and look orderly, but don’t open the closet or you risk dying under a deluge of random objects I didn’t feel like organizing
  37. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Actual getting ready time, about 20-30 minutes, but I need a good hour to sit on the couch and drink coffee before that process can begin or it gets ugly…very ugly.
  38. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Coffee maker.  duh.
  39. What’s your favorite fast food chain? Sonic, Whataburger, and Taco Villa
  40. What’s your favorite family recipe? Ome’s Peach Cobbler
  41. Do you love or hate rollercoasters? I’m terrified, but I ride them (and usually enjoy it)
  42. What’s your favorite family tradition? Driving around on Christmas Eve, looking at Christmas Lights…of course, this has morphed into going to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center
  43. What’s your favorite movie? The Sound of Music, Steele Magnolias, Miracle on 34th Street (original) and of course, there’s always Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter (and no, you don’t need to comment the last three are series)
  44. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out? Wait, what?!?!  Santa’s not real?!?!?!?
  45. Is your glass half full or half empty? If this is an analogy for life, half full.  If it’s an actual glass of wine or beer (or mug of coffee), then half empty
  46. What was your favorite subject in school? Biology
  47. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? Chocolate covered worms (and no, I don’t mean gummy worms!)
  48. Do you collect anything? Hilarious travel stories
  49. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?  Jeans that aren’t skinny
  50. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Extrovert, who likes a lot of alone time
  51. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? Taste
  52. Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise) Yes…I was very discombobulated for the first few minutes
  53. What do you do to keep fit? hahahahahahahahaha….ahem.  what was the question?  oh yeah, uh…..well, I live in NYC and do a lot of walking, especially up and down subway stairs as well as yoga about twice a year
  54. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken? The Supreme Commander is always right.  You’re welcome, Auntie K! 😉
  55. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Do Not Approach Without Coffee…or Wine…or Beer…or Tacos
  56. What song would you say best sums you up? I’ve Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings
  57. On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? 9.125
  58. What was your first job? A frozen yogurt & sandwich shop….long before FOYO was cool.
  59. How many languages do you speak? Fluently?  One  but I dabble in about 4 more…
  60. What is one thing you will never do again? Due to the gag order, I cannot legally answer this question.

If you’re still reading, you rock!!  Now, back to yelling at the game…

Happy New Year–here’s to a great 2017!