Contests Abound!

Farley (of Behind the Vines and Wine Outlook) is hosting a contest over on Behind the Vines. She is once again participating in Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) and is highly encouraging everyone else to participate as well.

The premise behind OTBN is to go ahead and pop the cork on one of those bottles you’ve been saving for a special occasion and just haven’t gotten around to opening yet for whatever reason. The evening to open? Saturday, February 23. All Farley wants you to do is head on over to her blog and leave a comment about what bottle you think you will open by February 20. And in return, you are entered into a contest to win two bottles of wine from Rosenblum Cellars! You can read all the details, and tell her about the wine you will drink here.

Next, over on El Bloggo Torcido, El Jefe has announced “Take your Rubber Chicken to Work Week.” He’s asking everyone to pick a day between Feb. 4-10, and take your rubber chicken to work with you and document it with pictures. Then submit the pictures to Twisted Oak and everyone will win something. He will be announcing further details and prizes over the coming week, so keep your eyes open. You can read his initial announcement here. And, if you don’t happen to have an actual Twisted Oak chicken, you now order one for only $6.95 or you can bring whatever rubber chicken you already own (?) or can get your hands on before the deadline.

A Gift from Farley

You know that we met Farley of Wine Outlook on trip to California. What you might not know is that she was absolutely darling and brought Matt and I wine as a house-warming present on account of our new home. In addition to the two bottles she brought that we took home with us, she also had this bottle of Thomas Fogarty 2002 Lexington Meritage that she had opened in the tasting room earlier that day. Hardy any was gone from the bottle and she brought the rest of it for Matt and I to enjoy that evening. And, we even got our very own Thomas Fogarty glasses to drink it out of. I don’t think I can thank Farley enough for her very thoughful and delicious gifts!

You should go get some. This was an absolutely delicious blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, clocking in at 14.5% alcohol by volume with a real cork closure. The nose on the wine was incredibly complex. Layers of currants, blackberries, plums, a toasty note with cedar, spices also coming though. In the mouth this wine was tart and juicy, with raspberries, currants and blackberries.

Overall this wine was smooth and drinking incredibly well right now. Though, admittedly, that could have been due to the fact that it was open for at least 4 hours before we drank it since it had to travel an hour or more with Farley to the restaurant, then it sat for over two hours while we ate and chatted and then had to travel an hour back to our inn! I pictured serving it with the bacon-wrapped cornish hens I made earlier this year.

Thanks again Farley for sharing this incredibly tasty wine with us!

Tag! I’m It!

I was tagged by Farley of Wine Outlook the other day to participate in my first meme. Farley in turn was tagged by Winehiker, which leads back to this tree showing who tagged whom and where the meme has been. The question at hand is: Why do I blog? From checking around, it appears the popular format is to answer in a list of 5 reasons. Why 5? Color me clueless, but I’ll play along!

Why do I blog?

1.) A long time wino: I spent the first part of my 21st birthday celebration(or maybe the second, give me a break, it was my 21st birthday and the night is a bit foggy) with my best college girlfriends, Lindsay, Mer, Sarah(who shares my exact birthday and thus was my only 21-year-old buddy at the time as we were quite a bit older than our classmates) and Sonja, drinking flights of wine at Zins, a wine bar in our sleeply little college town. It was more an indication of our habits at the time than a harbringer of things to come, but it became the official place for our little group to begin our 21st birthday celebrations and served at the time as a great place to try lots of different wines and my first experiences in an “official” tasting setting. From my college beginnings I’ve only grown to love wine more and the blog is an extension of that love.

2.) A trip to Sonoma: By a set of circumstances mostly beyond my control, Matt and I had to rearrange honeymoon plans that were initially set to take us to Ireland and Scotland. For practical travel reasons we ended up looking to North America for our honeymoon and set our sites on the Northern West Coast: Vancouver, Seattle and Sonoma. I had always wanted to visit wine country and our honeymoon suddenly presented the perfect opportunity. I already loved wine and had by that time instilled a taste for wine in Matt, so off we went. We visited 26 wineries. We talked to many winemakers. We toured barrel rooms and vineyard facilities. I was more and more intrigued by wine, the process of making it and the people behind it. I use the blog to learn more about all those aspects of wine and others.

3.) Abject boredom (we’re being honest here, right?): During long periods of crushing boredom at my new job when they first hired me and then cut my entire department within days of me arriving, yet kept me on and simply shuffled me into a corner for a few months, I had very little (read:absolutely nothing) to do. And I discovered wine blogs, Wine Blog Watch and a wealth of wine information on the internet. As I explored these blogs, I realized that I drank just as much, if not more, wine than some of the authors, and I was drinking a lot of wines that I didn’t see reviewed anywhere. I may not be terribly computer savvy, but I figured I had something to add to the wine conversation, and thus Wannabe Wino was born.

4.) Continuing education: I keep blogging for several reasons, one of which is that I truly believe wine to be a subject I will never stop learning about. The next new wine region is always popping up, there are new values to be found and varietals to explore. The blog helps me keep track of where I’ve been with wine and where I’m going. Even in the short 6ish months that I’ve been keeping Wannabe Wino as a record, I can already see how far I’ve come in developing a palate and in my general knowledge about wine.

5.) Wine bloggers and wine blog readers rock: I still marvel at the fact that anyone reads what I write. Really, I do. And that so many people leave comments on things and indulge my seemingly never-ending stream of questions about how you drink wine, what I should drink with a certain dinner, where I should go in Sonoma, etc. Plus, everyone I’ve interacted with is so willing to share their knowledge or their time (we so wished we could have connected with Russ for a hike!) or even their wine. Just on this recent Sonoma trip, I had dinner with Farley who was so friendly and even brought us wine and Ken and his wife opened their home to Matt and I and had us over for a delightful evening of wine tasting. Not to mention the many recommendations I’ve gotten for wines that turn out to be great, recipes that are fabulous (have you checked David or Leah’s blogs for recipes lately??) fun contests to enter, such as El Jefe’s, vineyards to visit (thanks Tim, John and others!) or even wine shops to visit when I leave my own area (thanks Dr.Debs!). So I keep writing because people read, I’ve met some great folks, hope to meet many more in the future and I simply enjoy the culture that exists among this population.

Okay, that turned out longer than I anticipated. But now I get to tag people to tell us why they blog.

David of Cooking Chat
Sarah of August and Everything After (Best wishes to her too, as my newest engaged friend!)
Rob of 365 Corks
Huevos Con Vino
Joe of Joe’s Wine

Tag! You’re it!

Meeting Farley

Now, I know all of you who haven’t yet had the absolute pleasure of meeting Farley of Wine Outlook will be jealous, but Matt and I got to have dinner with her during our Sonoma area trip. At first it was a little hard to pin down a place…Farley’s not too familiar with the area that was half-way between our Inn and her winery and clearly I was lost as anything trying to find something. I finally settled on Novato, a little over an hour for each of us and a brewery called Moylans.

I think it turned out to be a decent choice, Matt and I arrived a bit early as the night before we had hit some brutal traffic driving in the same direction, but that gave me some time to flesh out the meager notes I had made during our whirlwind tastings during the day.

We were seated relatively quickly at a nice big table and soon had, gasp!, beers in front of us. Though we did talk blogs and wine quite a bit!

In any case, Farley was just as cute as could be and has the most darling Southern accent. She was also incredibly sweet and easy to talk to. We chatted all evening about wine, her moving to CA, how I manage to read and post on so many blogs every day, how awful Uhaul can be, etc. She even brought Matt and I some housewarming wine, including the famous Fogarty Gewurztraminer she is always raving about! I can’t wait to try it in our very own Thomas Fogarty wine glasses! We had a lovely dinner and I was sad when I realized it was after 9 and we should probably wrap it up as we had fairly long drives ahead of us. It was just great to meet one of the people behind a blog I read all the time and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future.

Stay tuned for a post about the lovely evening we spent with Ken of Ala Wine and his wife.

Just a quick update!

It’s been a busy few days here what with traveling and all, but fear not, I have been drinking lots of wine and enjoying the break from work.

I have many great things to tell you about, including a wonderful visit for tasting with Ken of Ala Wine and his lovely wife.

Tonight we are heading to meet Farley of Wine Outlook for dinner. It’s been great to actually meet the people behind the blogs!

We’ve already been to Seghesio and will be heading to several other vineyards today.

Not to mention a stellar $6.95 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that I found at Chronicle Wine Cellar in Pasadena, on the recommendation of Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20.

So stay tuned for some great reviews and hopefully beautiful pictures from the vineyards. It’s a gorgeous day in the Sonoma area and we are certainly ready to taste after the delicious breakfast here at the Vintage Towers.

Wine with Dinner Challenge Results.

First, the soup was excellent! I ended up subbing fresh bacon for the bacon bits, adding some chicken stock and putting in more cream so that I had a bigger batch! Much thanks to Roz for the recipe! Secondly, I took Farley from Wine Outlook‘s advice and paired it with a Rose because it was the “fruitiest” wine I had on hand and it seemed the recommendations were leaning toward that (both Cooking Chat and El Jefe from El Bloggo Torcido suggested fruity reds). We have plenty of leftovers though so I will try it with some of the other suggestions, I just need to get to the wine store. My picture doesn’t look as pretty as Roz’s, but you’ll have to excuse me since our light went out in the kitchen and we were working by candlelight.

The bottle I chose was a 2004 Wilson Winery Merlot Blushing Flamingo. We picked this up at Wilson Winery on our trip this summer. The bottom picture was taken overlooking their vineyard. This was a sharp, dry rose, quite different from many of the sweet ones I am used to and much different from the one we consumed a little later last night.

At 14% alcohol, this is no small wine; it also had a real cork closure. It paired really well with the creamy soup and the spicy sausage, thanks Farley! Strawberries on the nose and in the mouth, with melon and oddly enough a hint of lime. An interesting rose, we have a bottle or two more hanging around. I’m sure it makes a great summer wine (though it may as well have been summer here with temps nearly in the 70s!

Wine Cork Wreath


Thanks to Farley of Wine Outlook for the idea of a wine cork wreath. And to Roz of Beadimus for searching out this picture for me. This actually looks pretty cool and I think it will be my next wine cork project (considering it will probably take me until next Christmas to actually finish it…..). Plus, I think I will need quite a few corks to actually make this look good or else it might look a touch skimpy….I wonder what other things are out there that people have come up with to do with their corks? I’ve seen a table top, the standard corkboard kits, trivets and trays from Wine Enthusiast and of course the cork reindeer ornament my mom found this season. Not to mention my placecards of course. :)

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