Wednesday, May 28, 2008



x-fact ~ champagne comes from france. sparkling wine comes from everywhere else. it's all delicious.

paid ???
reg. @ 20

yes, this is the same guy that's behind the scharffen berger chocolates. he made champagne in anderson valley in northern california. then years ago he sold the winery to make chocolate in the bay area. damn fine chocolate, too. some of the world's best chocolate.

but what of my favorite champagne? (well, my first favorite. it's like choosing between children)

he sold it and it became pacific echo. i think i remember them saying "oh, it will stay the same." but it didn't. not in my opinion. maybe at first. but over time i remember not being impressed. at. all.

then! he bought it back! the scharffenberger guy (yeah, there's really a scharffenberger) and some big french company with a buncha money bought it back! and brought back the old name! and it tastes just delicious! just like always!

it might just be in my head. but i don't care. i'm happy.

so champagne. yes, there is a grape called a champagne grape. in fact we've got some growing on our weed farm. (no not that weed, cheech. weeds. as in they are tall and big and fast growing. as in i need to garden and dig and, you know, weeds)

but no, sparkling wine is not made of them. but that is the last time i'll use the term sparkling wine. because champagne is what i call it and champagne it will be.

this champagne is made roughly of a 60/30 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay.

i don't know what we paid for this bottle. the forever designated driver bought it nearly six months ago. on sale though, that much i remember. i know i know it lasted that long in my house? i must have forgotten about it, right?

really, i was saving it because not long after that bottle was purchased some people who shall remain nameless suddenly had no more work. self-employed and no more projects.

and then continued to have no more no more work.

and as the months went on and job prospects dead ended i realized that the only way that bottle of my favorite champagne was going to be drunk was by me on the porch with the bottle, weeping and swigging while the mortgage company tacked a foreclosure notice to the fence and the sheriff tossed our belongings in the yard, OR if someone who previously remained nameless got more work, a job, won the lottery, etc.

you will be happy to know this bottle was consumed right and proper like, in glasses, at our own dining room table. no sheriff or pink notices in sight.

(for now...this is still america, one nation, under w.)

this is a great champagne. it really is.

it's dry and crisp. a little appley at the edges, a little bite of sweet at the back of the tongue.

and it's a great looking pour, too.

tons and tons of perfect. tiny. bubbles. swirling gracefully all the way from the bottom up of the glass through the very middle of the glass and breaking continuously at the top of the glass. (that's why you use a proper glass. give those bubbles room to groove.)

the color is absolutely classic. pale and pretty and classic.

this is a real celebration champagne. not only delicious, but photogenic and ready for a close up.

but a celebration need not be all pomp and circumstance. celebration can just be a sigh of relief on a weekday evening.

in this case, the celebration consisted of a glass of champagne and a huge platter of macho nachos. crisp tortilla chips covered with melting cheese, spicy ground beef, saucy beans, topped with fresh red onions, sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, and juicy red tomatoes. and to finish it off, because it wouldn't quite be "macho" without them, home made guacamole, chipotle salsa, and cold and creamy sour cream.

champagne and nachos? are you mad? high? "weed" farm, indeed.

oh, but it's a classic.

as a young lass with daily dramas and disposable income, champagne was always an integral part of therapeutic practices.

when i was sad or morose, dumped or feeling blue for whatever manufactured reason the young feel is important, i would drink champagne and eat boxed chocolates. in bed. at home.

and when i was feeling happy, ecstatic, in love or lust or whatever manufactured emotion the young feel is important, i would go to this place on capitol hill, in the mall (not a "mall", they just called in that) and order a huge platter of macho nachos and a glass of champagne. by myself. happy.

both were perfect pairings both gastronomically and soul wise.

in this case, the champagne was perfect with the homemade version of the macho nachos. the crisp and cool cutting right through the crunchy and melty. the bubbly rounding out the salty and spicy.

to me, champagne is a live food. all moving around in the glass and then the blood stream. there's just a happiness that cannot be described with the mention of and even more so with the POP! and pour of champagne.

and saving a bottle for a special day, or a rainy day, or any day is a wonderful idea.

but even better is to just pick up a bottle and have it that very evening just because. or bust out one you've been "saving" for a "special occasion because otherwise it would be wasted on the ordinary and we can't have that" just because.

because you can. because it's fun. because it's frivolous. because it's just not done.

pishaw! i say! it is done and it's fun.

and if you don't have the ingredients for the "perfect" meal, or fixin's for nachos, macho or otherwise, just see what's in the fridge, the cupboard, the drive thru.

because a celebration isn't made of what you have on the table, it's made of what you have in your heart.

cheers! and congratulations to the forever designated driver!!

(and, um, whew.)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

“All things in moderation, with a few glorious exceptions.”

RIP Robert Mondavi

from the robert mondavi winery website;

Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley, the founder of the modern US fine wine industry and a global symbol of American wine and food, passed away the morning of May 16, 2008. He was 94. The Mondavi family stated that the legendary vintner died peacefully at his home in Napa Valley.

robert mondavi was a pioneer and a maverick. he was larger than life. he believed in wine and its rightful place on the table, in the diet, in life. i have enjoyed many of his wines, and the winery's more value priced label, woodbridge, has long been a house wine here.

in honor of his passing, i would like to share a bottle of his with you.

x-fact ~ another quote from mondavi, "drink what you like, like what you drink." amen.

robert mondavi private selection 2005 vinetta
paid 9.99
reg. 11

vinetta? this is a bordeaux inspired wine. technically you cannot call a wine a bordeaux unless it comes from the bordeaux region of france. this is mondavi's answer to that.

what it is is 68% cabernet sauvignon 14% merlot 11% petit verdot 5% malbec 2% cabernet franc.

and 100% delicious.

it's smooth and dry, yet slightly juicy. it's not overly sweet, pretty balanced, with just a little ooch of sweet at the finish.

it's a beautiful color and has great legs. the flavor gets deeper, a bit of a plum taste, and stays just as complex a few sips in. it really seems to fill the mouth with flavor even after you've swallowed.

even so, it remains light and drinkable.

i had this wine outside in the waning afternoon of a long day. gonzo gardening, a long drive, a walk in the wetlands, a lot of sun.

sitting outside under the dense shade of the four apples trees that escaped the drastic pruning of 2008 with some wine, a few crackers found in the cupboard, some cheese off the end of the block, an olive or two leftover in the jar, and i finally felt at peace with the heat, the aching legs, the world.

a few sips in, and life seems so simple. a little nosh when you feel the need, the breeze just at the right moment, carrying the smell of the lilacs that are just now blooming, another sip. i couldn't be happier.

i am in the right place at the right time with the right wine.

enjoying life and all that it offers.

ah, the good life. it does exist. sip, munch, sniff, lean, relax. rinse and repeat.

thank you, mr. mondavi, for your contribution to the world of wine, the world of food and wine, and overall for your tireless dedication to promoting the good life.

this girl found it at 4:18 pm on a sunday in her backyard.

where do you find the good life?


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

red table wine.

Vin Ordinaire Ltd.

x-fact ~ this is another of those don't judge a bottle by its label deals.

red table wine california
paid 4.99
reg. @5

yes, you red that right. cheap red wine is the name of the wine. and yes, you read that right, i bought this for 4.99 on sale, and listed the regular price as @5. aren't those the same, you say. sure, but not really because it's anywhere from 4.50 to 5.50 depending on where you purchase it.

so, i've seen this wine for awhile now. another one of those "ironic" wine labels that made me just look away without even picking it up or checking the price.

cheap red wine stamped in stenciled lettering on a plain brown label, like a box marked for shipping. or a cheap grocery bag. frankly, it irritated me.

whatever, i said.

oh, and as an aside, i do talk to myself OUT LOUD in the wine aisle. i've come to terms with it.

and that whatever meant i've missed out all this time! all this time i could have been enjoying something so delicious! so smooth! so CHEAP!

this is a great wine for the price. even for a pricier price. and it took the forever designated driver bringing it home to me for me to try it.

"here's a cheap wine for your blog."

i waited until he left the room to roll my eyes.

oh, the eyerolling! i was so wrong! forgive me, cheap red wine. i will make it up to you. mainly by continuing to drink you. which really just benefits me. but...where was i?

this wine is smooth from first sip throughout. it's got a bit of the jam, but around the edges at first and then really rounds out and blooms on the tongue a few more sips in.

it's deep and rich. the kind of deep and rich you'd expect from a pricier wine. and it's not that heavy or cloying that you sometimes get in a cheaper wine to mask the well, cheap. and did i mention how smooth it is? i did? well, it is.

and you know how i do love a red table wine. and this is just the red table wine i'm talking about when i describe what i love about a red table wine.

straightforward good taste, drinkable, affordable.

i'd say unpretentious, but that would make me pretentious.

it's just damn good.

there's this thing about being snobby about wines. not with price even, just with the look of a bottle. when you've decided they're trying too hard to appeal. or not appeal, and that's the appeal.

so much lately in the marketing of wine are the twists on the names, the clever and snarky descriptions, the ironic labels.

and if you're gonna be weird about that you're gonna miss out. trust me.

it's like NOT trying the 1.00 hot dog at the little league snack shack because it's a 1.00 hot dog at the little league snack shack.

but one day, you're sitting out there on those cold metal bleachers for the umpteenth time that week, wondering where in the sam hell spring is for the umpteenth time that month until you can stand the cold and the hunger no longer.

you cobble together a buck in change and head to the snack shack. feeling foolish, knowing your disappointment before it comes, plunking down the change and rolling your eyes in your head because it would be rude to do so to the parent volunteer.

and then they put that puppy, oh sorry, dog, in your hands and you slather on the ketchup and mustard and take a bite and it's the best thing you've had in so long you can't remember enjoying a hot dog more.

the hot dog is hot and snaps when you bite into it, the bun is warm and a bit toasty on the top. the ketchup is sweet and the mustard bright yellow and tangy just the way it should be.

it's delicious and you hardly believe it when it's already gone. too soon! you wish there was more.

as you toss the napkins and that little white paper tray in the trash you think to yourself how satisfying that was. how damned good that hot dog was.

all for one dollar.

right there at the snack shack all along.

it really is a good idea to put aside what we think might be and see what actually is.

sure, not every dollar will bring a damned good hot dog, nor will every bottle of wine we pick up be something to blog home about.

BUT, life would not be living if we didn't find that out for ourselves.

(or have a fairy blogmother to tap us on the shoulder and tip us off)

bippity boppity boo!