WBW #43-Round up posted and a Contest!

Joel, of Wine Life Today has posted the round-up from what may shake out as one of my favorite WBW themes in the past year or so since I’ve been participating in WBW. Now, of course, I loved my own theme of Petite Sirah, but I really enjoyed the challenge of thinking about what a wine means to me and why for this WBW. You can read all the details of the round up here, and be sure to click through and read the personal stories that came along with this month’s WBW.

I also wanted to point your attention to El Bloggo Torcido, where once again the Twisted Folks at Twisted Oak are hosting a contest. You may recall this one from last year, the premise is that the readers get the opportunity to write the back label for one of Twisted Oak’s wine bottles! This year it’s for Ruben’s Blend, the details of which you can find here. The deadline is soon, March 18, so pull out those pens and get cracking. Now, I played in this contest last year, and submitted a lovely ditty about a drunkard Miss Muffet and an abused spider….I’m wracking my brain to come up with something even Twisteder, since I wasn’t quite there last year ;)

WBW #43-Comfort Wines

First off, a hearty congratulations to our host for this month, Joel, of Wine Life Today. He and his wife welcomed a brand new baby girl to their family last Thursday, so I can only imagine how hectic things are in their house at the moment! But wine life lover that he is, Joel is pushing forward as our host for this month!

WBW was created well over three years ago now, by Lenn of Lenndevours. The idea is that once a month, bloggers and often non bloggers will come together around a wine theme and all drink a bottle that matches the theme criteria and post about it. Every month is hosted by a different blog, whose owner picks the theme and will do a round up of the posts after the event is over.

This month, Joel set us to an interesting and thought provoking theme for me. He asked us to pick a wine that is a comfort wine for us. Something that we love to drink, that lets us relax, and perhaps invokes something in us that makes the wine and experience special.

The theme required a bit of thought on my part. I love wine. All of it, even the bottles that aren’t particularly memorable, or are even bad. I love the ritual of wine, of slicing off the foil, pulling the cork, sniffing the bottle, and pouring the first glass. Having a glass of wine with my dinner is part of of my life, and I often think my meal is not complete without that glass of wine to complement it, and more importantly, to take that glass and finish it as I settle in for the evening before heading to bed. See, we don’t spend much time at home in the evening. Our day begins well before we leave the house at 5 til 7 and we don’t often return until 7pm or later. By the time I get dinner on the table and we sit down, it’s often 8pm or later.

Wine is an almost daily part of our lives, so picking just one that is a comfort wine, that lets us relax, is hard to do. It could literally be any wine in my cellar.

I finally thought, well, what wine evokes good memories for me, puts a smile on my face, and almost always puts me in a good mood? And when I asked myself that, it wasn’t a single wine, but a kind of wine.

Zinfandel. Zinfandel was the first red wine I fell head over heels for. It never fails to entice me with its berries and cream, spice, vanilla, jam, or juice. And it holds a special place in my heart, as the first time I ever had Zinfandel was on our honeymoon in Sonoma. The first Zinfandel I ever had was was from David Coffaro, a winery I hope to return to this spring. That one is long gone, so I thought about another winery from our honeymoon, and from a more recent trip, that also brings an instant smile to my mind.

And that wine comes from Nelson Family Vineyards and is their 2005 Estate Zinfandel. Nelson Vineyards is a great little family run winery where you are more than likely to run into a family member pouring wines in the tasting room. On our honeymoon, we were driving back from Mendocino and Matt said I could pick one winery to stop at that day (it was supposed to be a non-wine day, which it was until that point!). I don’t know what drew me to Nelson, but I quickly put on my blinker and turned down the road leading up to the tasting room. We walked up to the tasting room to find a very enthusiastic winery dog, and the winemaker, Chris Nelson, pouring the wine. I instantly loved the Orange Muscat, and signed us up for the wine club. We have subsequently returned to Nelson Family Vineyards to participate in their Barn Blending Party, where we had an excellent time playing winemaker for the day!

So the wine cost us $18.40 in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 15.7% alcohol by volume. I don’t so much think the point of this WBW is the tasting notes on the wine, but more the way the wine makes you feel, and why it helps you unwind. But I won’t pass up the opportunity to give you tasting notes! The nose showed fresh berries, spice, and vanilla. It was really juicy. In the mouth dark juicy berries dominated, with more notes of vanilla and allspice. The wine is very approachable now, smooth, juicy, and drinking wonderfully.

And there goes my last bottle of Zinfandel from Nelson Family Vineyards. We are getting a new club shipment in April, so I will look forward to more wines from one of my favorite small family producers. I only wish the barn party this year coincided with Easter again!

Many thanks to Joel for hosting, and I look forward to what everyone decided to open for the WBW. As always, I will post a link to the round up when it’s posted!

WBW #43-Comfort Wines

Our host for this month is Joel, formerly of Vivi’s Wine Journal fame, but currently of Wine Life Today and OpenWine Consortium fame. Not to mention he’s got a new baby on the way within a few weeks! Talk about a busy guy.

Anyway, he’s come up with a new twist for this month: Comfort Wines. Your task? Simply pick any wine you love to unwind to and tell us about why it’s a comfort wine for you on March 5! This one will be a bit difficult for me…I don’t really return to the same bottle over and over again. So I’ll think on this one for the next few days to figure out what to drink!

All the details are over here on the Wine Life Today blog.

Also, don’t forget that the new WBW logo contest is still ongoing. Details here.

Open That Bottle Night is tomorrow! So dust off that bottle you’ve been hanging onto and drink it tomorrow night (or day or morning, whatever your inclination)! You can find more details here.

And, one more reminder, the Wine Book Club’s first “meeting” on Vino Italiano is next week, Feb. 26….so get reading. Details here. I’m getting there. I’m over 300 pages in, and the real meat of the book is 385…the rest is sort of an appendix, so if I can mange 85 more pages in the next few days, I’m golden!

A Blog I Rediscovered Today, with a Great Post

I was browsing on Wine Life Today this morning (see, I promised to get better about that!) and I came across this great post over at Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine. I highly suggest you go read it yourself, but to summarize in a quick, short and sweet manner, it’s about why the point system for wines used by Robert Parker sucks. Clearly, it’s much more detailed than that and goes into depth on 8 separate reasons as to why it sucks. (Much more eloquently than I am doing at the moment.)

However, this post jogged my memory to an event that happened to us this past summer while we were out in Sonoma. And I thought I’d tell you about it here, since it’s wine related, and apropo to the point system.

While in the Sonoma area, we stayed at a cute and excellent Bed and Breakfast called the Vintage Towers in Colverdale. We chose it because it was a little off the beaten path, the pictures were pretty (yes, we are discerning travelers) and the breakfasts sounded delicious. Now, the downfall, or the upside, depending on if you like to talk to strangers, about B&Bs is that you generally all eat breakfast together and inevitably end up making idle chit chat over your meal.

On our second day at breakfast a couple came down and started talking about their numerous trips to Sonoma and how they love coming there and they make their own wine in their garage at home and blah blah blah. They then asked where we were planning to go that day and immediately started criticizing our choices and making suggestions of thier own. Now, this instantly caused me to bristle, because I don’t take unwarranted criticism well, especially from strangers. And for all they knew, there could be gems at any winery, even if they would never deign to go there.

The sound-byte from them that made me write them off completely (and still causes Matt and I to chuckle, because it was one of the more absurd statements I’ve heard anyone make about wine) was as follows: “We don’t even bother with wines that haven’t scored at LEAST a 93 from Parker. They just aren’t worth our time or money. It’s simply the threshhold at which the wine becomes drinkable for us.”

Now, I’m sorry to anyone who will follow a critic to such an extreme, but grow a pair and learn to taste for yourself. One, Parker does not rate every single freaking wine that has ever and will ever be made. Not being rated at all makes it totally unworthy of being consummed? Well, I better just stop drinking wine then. Only wines that get a 93 or better are drinkable? Pish posh. All these people managed to do by spouting off like that was to convince me that they were sheep, they had no desire to think outside the box (I wonder if their homemade plonk would rate a 93?) and they were lazy.

Needless to say, we smiled and nodded at them (and thought condescendingly, we may be younger, but we certainly think we are wiser than that) and went on our merry way to the places we intended to go to and discovered wines that we loved, 93 points or not.

At Long Last, Success!

What seems like ages ago, but was apparently only 2 months ago, I spent a very frustrating weekend attempting to add an RSS subscription button from FeedBurner to my blog in case any of you readers like it here enough to want to subscribe. :) At the time, I managed to add the Toast This! feature from Wine Life Today (though I admittedly rarely remember to actually put what I write up there, or maybe I just feel a little self-serving in doing so…nonetheless, I should be more diligent about it) and was quite proud of myself.

I haven’t actually tried since that day to add the feature again, since html code is really not my thing and I get easily frustrated with it (I was, at one point, a webmaster for an organization I belonged to in college and I won’t even begin to tell you what a disaster that was….HTML for Dummies was lost on me and I had to farm the work out to someone else who actually knew what she was doing).

However, apparently the computer language gods were smiling on me today and I did it! And more! You will now notice the handy RSS Subscribe to WannabeWino in the sidebar, along with a Fave Technorati icon! Also, down at the bottom of the sidebar you can see a link to get to all the blogs that link here and a search my blog feature! (Or was that there before?) I also added a new section for Helpful Wine Related Links, which I will update as I remember more and/or find more. Finally, I’ve added a link on the sidebar to my CellarTracker cellar so you can see what’s in there waiting for me to drink (even though it’s significantly smaller than it used to be, and apparently I drink obscure California wines that NO ONE else drinks….literally, there are maybe 12 of my wines in there that anyone has ever written a note on).

Please enjoy, and now that I *think* I’ve figured out how to manipulate the template around here, let me know if there are any other features you think I’m lacking and I will take a look!

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