Thursday, July 31, 2008
x-fact ~ this wine is from lodi. yes, that lodi. and no, i wouldn't mind being stuck in lodi again thank you very much.
abundantly rich red california 2005
we made a special stop in lodi for this wine. you can order it on the interwebs or ask your store to order it for you. the store we like in lodi has it at 10.99 a bottle (steal! yeah, um, except it's like two tanks of gas and a day down to lodi from here so....) but regularly it's anywhere from 14.99 to 17.99 on the interwebs or in a store.
we actually first had this bottle last year on my birthday at this fabulous local restaurant. one sip and this girl was hooked! not since i first layed my eyes on michael hutchence have i been as easily smitten!
well, okay, to be fair, there was bono and then johnny depp, most recently colin firth and so many countless others... but! i digress. and more importantly, though sweet elixirs in their own right, they weren't wine.
okay, where was i? oh yeah, so we asked about it at the restaurant and where to acquire it locally, and the sommelier said oh they don't sell it locally and blah blah blah.
well, it just so happens that the forever designated driver had a business trip in lodi the. very. next. week! i know, right?!?! what are the odds?!?
i say there aren't any odds because this was fate. and for a year now this has been my absolute favorite wine. i know i know, i do love the flirty grenache. sigh.
but sometimes a girl just wants to let her hair down without having to wash and style it first. and sometimes a girl just wants to not feel the need to suck in her stomach, even at a flirty memory. sometimes a girl just wants to drink the wine. so as far as just a straight red wine goes that's as fabulous as all that but you don't have to be, this is it.
can i just say, drinking this wine is just like drowning in the sea of love where everyone would love to drown. (thank you, stevie nicks)
it's rich and smooth and juicy all at once on the first sip. it pops on your tongue and pulls at the roof of your mouth. it's got the innocence of the best grape juice you ever had as a kid and the experience to make you put the glass down and look at it and say, "wow. "
it just takes over. with the mouth feel at first and then hits the stomach gradually and firmly. it stays smooth and juicy, but the flavor gets a bit more layered and complex after a time.
and if you let it sit a bit after pouring and before sipping you will be rewarded with the most beautiful of aromas. like a juicy berry kiss all grown up and right on the nose.
when i had it before it was with a very wonderful meal full of complementing flavors and expertly executed dishes. it was just as enjoyable with the starters, through the main, to the dessert. except, i guess, technically, the rest of the bottle was dessert! happy birthday to me!
it's just bold enough to be drunk with food, but subtle enough to be enjoyed on its own or paired with small bites rather than a big meal.
i love that in a wine. and i guess that's why i love a red table wine or red blend so much. but you knew that. i love to fold things into my life. i don't have time to do it any other way right now.
that being said, i intended to review this bottle with a wonderful meal of my own construction. i had it planned down to the fresh thyme and last pool of melting compound butter.
alas, the best laid plans of sillymortals and all that.
an extra play date here, another day of a young visiting house guest there, an overheating car and subsequent 11th hour vehicle swap in a parking lot to get to the ferry on time here, and a summer cold ridden minor child there, and all ideas of a complicated dinner went out the door with the young guests back to their respective homes and the car to the mechanic.
instead, i sip this wine on a quiet afternoon, sans the fabulous and complimenting meal, but no less enjoyable. instead of lit candles and clinking glasses and cloth napkins i'm sipping to the sounds of spongebob in the background, fielding questions and random thoughts that plague the 7 to 11 year old set, and refilling juice and soup requests.
not too hot! can i have a different straw? he got more crackers! sip sip. happy happy.
the thing about enjoying wine, though, is the thing about living life. be flexible and you will see the world bend to your will.
and hell, everyone needs a day off from being fabulous. even the house chef can be happy to heat up a can of soup. and voila! it still tastes like love. even the drove 600 miles to get you wine can sit unceremoniously on a messy desk and be sipped in the middle of the afternoon by the girl who still hasn't gotten a shower from morning yoga. and voila! it still tastes like a million bucks!
don't wait for the perfect moment to fully enjoy your life. overheating cars, canned soup, and all.
and if you're in an imperfect moment, pour a glass of red and pretend that you aren't. and pretty soon, there's no more pretending.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
x-fact ~ garnacha is grenache in spain. and from wikipedia; In Oaxaca, it is an actual cuisine: a small corn tortilla fried with shreded meat, cheese, lettuce or a prepared type of cabbage topping.
tapena garnacha spain 2006
yes, another gift! and not only was this bottle a gift strictly for the blog, it was one of TWO bottles gifted. one to drink right then, one to review later. you know this girl does love a gift of wine, but TWO bottles? my heart is bursting. if there was a little grinning icon i'd insert it here.
well, you all know how much i love a grenache. so flirty! so fun! a date in a bottle!
i really do.
though i don't know that i've had a spanish grenache before that wasn't blended in a rose. but i have now and it's delicious!
it's smooth and jammy and lush right at first. and it just fills your whole mouth with flavor, bursting on the tongue at the finish.
it's light and juicy, yet commands complete attention at first sip and doesn't let go. in fact it very much reminds me of my new favorite wine of the year which i will review for you closer to my birthday. just that juicy, shamelessly bursting quality that one usually reserves for the ripest of stone fruits and sun warmed berries.
grenache also looks great in the glass. if a wine could be called sexy, this would be it. beautiful legs that start at the top and slowly make their way down the sides. the smell is luscious, nearly perfumed in its hit to your nose, yet in a good way. the best kind of way. like you remember it from somewhere and the memory is good, yet you can't place it. a sweet ache follows as you attempt at recall.
and the color is perfect. rich, deep, ruby red, with a just pink enough tone. all glossy and gorgeous.
in fact, there's this wonderful nail color called prudence and the prune. god i loved that nail polish. it was perfect. deep red and yet a kiss of pink, it was gorgeous. and perfect. no matter the season or the outfit or the mood, it suited.
this wine is that color.
and as sips give way to a second glass, the flavor only gets deeper and rounder. it practically begs you to drink more.
and that's the magic of grenache. subtle, yet intense, definitely not coy. like a prince song liquefied and bottled and poured right into your glass.
and that's what i love most about this wine. there is a quality to it that brings one's mind elsewhere, a transportation to the decadent memories of our past, or to desires yet unfulfilled. to sunnier climes on distant shores, to more romantic pursuits if you will.
a small table street side where perhaps your language is not the native tongue but it couldn't matter less. the fluttering market umbrella above you, a warm day, perhaps a new love. or better yet, an ancient one.
the hours of an afternoon pass and you hardly have noticed. the wine makes the light just right, the sun just right, all the colors seem brighter, time stills, gazes linger...you could be a painting.
a grenache pairs well with small plates and a long meal. a little nibble of this, a nibble of that. a sip. disparate flavors that enmesh on the tongue in gastronomic consummation, you hardly notice where one stops and the other begins. the grenache finishing it off nicely to the end.
it's a slow wine meant to be adored at each sip.
i did not have the luxury of a romantic lunch al fresco while drinking this wine.
but at 2:30 on a tuesday afternoon, in the back pasture under the aspens, just a girl and a glass, well, i couldn't be happier.
the aspens whispering above me in the slightest breeze while i rest atop their roots. imagining all the while them holding hands and playing footsies below, those most connected and entertwined of trees.
this is a bottle i'd keep around if a bottle could actually survive in this house.
though, i cannot say this would be a house wine, per se. for if you've ever read one of those stories or seen one of those movies where the soul and the spirit and the innermost desire of the food and its chef bleeds into the finished product, well then you'd know why.
this is a dangerous wine, a vixen if you will, eager in its attempt to seduce you away from what you should be doing and encourage you to while away the afternoon, either avec amour or solo, watching the sun and entertaining thoughts that rarely get entertained in the workaday world.
and all the better for it.
and that's why, whether shared or appreciated alone, grenache is a date in a bottle. and this is a particularly good one if i do say so myself.
so if you haven't, try a grenache. find a sunny spot and invite a friend, or clear off the couch and put in a movie for one.
do, and you won't regret it. i guarantee you will be most satisfied either way.
just remember, you have been forewarned of the magic of grenache and of its charms. the rest is up to you.