Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Hello, friends. It’s been awhile.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to restart here, so I’m just going to ramble for a bit.
I intended to have a lot to say this year – was going to revamp things a bit and try to reboot the ol’ blog – but I started a new job at Penn State in October, which drew a lot of my energy, as did the day to day grind of surviving the reign of Der Gropenf?hrer.
2020 rolled around. The Sweet Partner in Crime and I decided to try to reset our respective livers. We more or less successfully completed a Dry January. Admittedly, we cheated a couple of times for special occasions (hey, Holly!) – but we managed to keep to the spirit of things.
Honestly, Dry January wasn’t as tough as I feared…at least for the first two weeks. We whipped up a supply of mocktails that kept us going, but I’ll tell you – the last week or so, until we staggered soberly across the finish line, were a real slog, because there were just some times that a glass of wine would have been perfect. We made it.
I lost some weight. I gained it back. I lost more. I weigh the same now as I did when I was half my current age. I started meditating regularly, which has been revelatory. Charlie and Rosie are still wonderful pups. The Sweet Partner in Crime was named a Fellow by the leading national organization in her field.
Then came COVID.
We went into our homes and, by all indications, started drinking our collective faces off.
Well, except here in Pennsylvania. Because of the crazy liquor laws – beer stores stayed open, but wine & liquor stores were all shuttered. Wine started getting in short supply around these parts. The grocery stores ran out quickly.
Thank goodness for our friends who drive the delivery trucks. Scott, our UPS guy, has been a godsend. Pennsylvania is a much easier place to ship to than our former address.
Which brings us to the actual wine content you’ve come here for, right?
As we were getting hard up for any kind of juice, particularly rosé -- I decided to venture onto Groupon and pull the trigger on a deal I saw for an inexpensive 15 bottle case. I’m happy to report that my experience with Splash Wines was highly positive. My order came with three bottles each of a selection of five rosé:
- Midnight Black Rose (Italy -- Trentino)
- “Rosé All Day” Beaujolais Rosé (France – Beaujolais)
- Maison Williams Chase Rosé (France – Provence)
- Domaine Jacourette Rosé (France – Provence)
- Mazzei Belguardo Rosé (Italy – Tuscany)
|Ah...good to have you back at the homestead...|
Seeing a raft of Italian and French pinkness looking back at me from the box filled me with hope. My major worry when I ordered this grab bag was that these inexpensive wines wouldn’t really be “rosé-ish” – meaning that they’d be overly fruity, slightly sweet, and somewhat heavier in body.
Not the case here at all. I’m not going to do detailed tasting notes on these selections. All of them are fine. Do any of them have flavors that leap from the glass to choirs of angels and transcendent goodness? Of course not. But are they, as a whole, light and crisp with enough flavor to be interesting, perfect for sipping while contemplating (or trying to avoid contemplating) both the excitement of a real social change in this country and the terror of the inevitable pain that will follow as the dying mule of racism kicks back hard? You betcha.
We’ve tried all five of these by now in various contexts. They’re perfectly food-friendly, pull and pop wines that aren’t just plonk. After shipping, the price was about $5/per bottle. At that price point, who’s to complain?
My friends, we’re a long way from the end of our various national turmoils. The levels of dumbassery we keep seeing are only going to increase as people demand that lockdown be lifted so other people can be forced to wait on them. Political ideology is no match for epidemiology, so no matter where you are – be safe, listen to and embrace the experiences of people who don’t look like you, and wear your damned masks.
And, of course, vote against anyone running for office, incumbent or challenger, who won’t do those things. Because not to put too fine a point on it -- they don’t care if you die.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
The Sweet Partner in Crime and I recently returned from a whirlwind holiday trip to visit various family and friends. We started with my fam in Eastern Kentucky, then made our way back to our until-recent home Newport to spend some time with friends, and concluded our jaunt in Dayton to see the SPinC's family.
Thanks to a new Yeti cooler, we were able to pack along holiday meals for both families, including some truly decadent ice cream from the Berkey Creamery and a holiday ham from the Meats Lab at Penn State.
We arrived in Dayton on Christmas Day, only to discover that Pam's brother-in-law, Dapper Donnie, had been hit hard by the flu and spent Christmas Eve in the hospital. Alas, he wasn't able to join us in our holiday feed -- so we sent him a hammy care package. Donnie did send us a gift, though -- a bottle of wine that goes right along with the bourbon-barrel theme we've had running through the site's electrons this year: Barrel Bomb 2017 Red Blend.
Barrel Bomb has a similar origin to some of the 1000 Stories wines I've covered recently. The wine's made from a blend of red grapes sourced from Lodi, California. I'm not sure what the exact blend is, but figure that Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon figure heavily. The wine comes in a stubby bottle with a replaceable cork -- which might make it easy to lose among the bourbons in your liquor cabinet.
Let's start with the truth-in-advertising bit. "Bomb" is an accurate descriptor for this wine. Any wine backboned with Zinfandel has the potential to wind up as higher potency, but the trend over the last decade has been towards more restraint in alcohol content. By contrast, the folks at Barrel Bomb decided to party like it's 2010 all over again. This wine clocks in at a muscular 16.5% ABV.
The winemakers, however, throttled back on the fruit-foward nature of these grapes. The flavor is actually somewhat restrained, if you can believe it. Perhaps the 12 months that the wine spends in oak, with the last 90 days in bourbon casks, mellows it out. The nose is big and fruity, with vanilla riding the back of blueberry and cherry. The body's not subtle -- big fruit, licorice, and smoke over a pretty considerable tannic base that hold on through a powerful but balanced finish.
In my mind, I think this might end up a better end-of-night sipper than a real dinner pairing. There's a little "portishness" here, so I tried it with some really nice brie that we got as a gift from Lady Vertu, and it worked well -- although I'd probably go with even a bigger cheese, like a Stilton. Chocolate is also an obvious accompaniment.
All in all, if you're looking for something to sip on during these colder months -- you might give this a try. Also, if you're giving any more gifts, the aesthetic of the bottle itself is interesting.
Barrel Bomb retails for $16-18. They also make a straight Cabernet Sauvignon, which I haven't tried yet.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Friday, December 20, 2019
Tuesday, December 03, 2019
P.S. Happy Birthday, Sis!