Too Much Wine Too Little Time

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Up coming visit to Chaddsford Winery

Summer is coming to an end and the Fall season is about to begin, and I am excited. Not only for the beginning of harvest and some great weather, now we have a weekend trip set up for the end of September and of course, it involves wine. If you follow our Anything Wine page then you read our day trip story down the page here. We visited Peddler’s Village in Bucks County Pennsylvania, and while there went to the Chaddsford Winery tasting room and were quite impressed with thier wines. Well, we did the write up about them and thier winemaker Eric Miller read it and sent us a nice Email thanking us for the story and suggesting we let him know if we were ever in the area. After our visit to the tasting room we had already decided to research the winery and possibly visit, so Eric made the trip plan an easy decision.
Chaddsford Winery is located in historic Bradywine Valley in the town of Chadds Ford PA. Brandywine Valley has a long history begining with the original inhabitants, an Algonquin Indian tribe who called themselves Lenape (len-ah’-pay), meaning “common people”, and later European settlers.
Brandywine was also the site of a battle between British and Hessian forces, and American Continentals and local militias under George Washington and a young Marquis de Lafayette in the largest land battle of the Revolutionary War, which was lost by the Americans. For more in depth history visit the Brandywine web site at:
http://www.thebrandywine.com/about/index.html
Chaddsford Winery is one of seven wineries on the Brandywine Wine trail so along with a chance to meet with a great winemaker we will get to visit some other wineries. So you can see why I am excited, it has been a while scince our Napa trip so I am ready.
After talking with Eric my take is he is a wine guy who is very knowlegeable and passionate about his wine and on top of that he sounds like a real fun guy. He was more than willing to suggest places to try for our lodging and restaurants to visit. We will be meeting with him Saturday afternoon and I can’t wait. I will definetly provide the detail of our trip when we return.
To visit the Chaddsford Winery site go to: http://www.chaddsford.com/site/

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The holiday weekend is here!

It is time for some wine “babble”! Yea, babble. Just some straight nonsense talk about enjoying some wine.

Well folks it is finally here! Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end to summer, back to school season starting and one last hurrah before the carefree days of summer go away. It is two days until the picnic on Sunday, but already we are starting it out right. We are enjoying a glass of Silver Oak 2003 Alexander Valley Cabernet. I’m not sure how you are starting your weekend, but for me it doesn’t get any better than this. Back to the weekend. Food is being prepared as I type and most of the shopping is done. A few things still need to get picked up tomorrow and hopefully no last minute items on Sunday, but we do have time in the morning. The keg is chilling and the wine has been purchased. As I mentioned previously, we like to serve wine over $10, but under $20 for picnics and parties. We decided on some Smoking Loon Chardonnay and Beringer Chardonnay. We also have Hanna Sauvignon Blanc and Honig Sauvignon Blanc. For Red wine we have the Sly Dog Cellars Red blend, Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon, Sterling Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon and Raymond R Collection Merlot. I think there is enough variety that all wine lovers can find something to drink. If nothing strikes them then possibly they will enjoy a frozen margarita as they will be served too. Whatever your plans may be, have a safe, happy holiday weekend! Stay tuned for more wine babble next week when we may have a ghost writer for a change with some fresh thoughts to share.

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Holiday weekend party plans

Well Labor Day is almost here, the unofficial end of summer. We all know it means back to school and shorter, cooler days, but it’s not nearly over yet. The good stuff is just starting..warm sunny days with no humidity and cool nights that are great for sleeping. Some of the best weather is in the fall. Now, back to Labor Day, it is time to plan our annual picnic. We host it every year, rain or shine and I mean rain or shine. One year it downpoured from a tropical storm that made it’s way up the coast from Florida and we set up tables in the garage, strung some Xmas lights around and probably had one of the best times we have had. Grilling was a bit difficult and it was challenging to not have wet burgers trying to transport them into the house, but again it was fun….maybe not for the grillmaster though. This year if the forecast is for rain, we make oven food only. We have ordered the keg so the beer is set, but we need to decide what kind of wine to serve. We will need some Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet. We try to serve wine that is good, but not too pricey. I mean let’s face it, none of us want to drink jug wine, yet at the same time you are not going to serve your top pick of the cellar. We stay around the $15 per bottle range and try to find the best tasting value for our dollar. It is challenging and fun. We read up on the best buys in Wine Spectator and sample the wines until we find what we like and feel is suitable to serve our guests. Hope your Labor Day planning is going well too! Stop back next week for our final picks on what we are serving.

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August 2008

Napa Valley Grapegrowers Forcast 2008 Harvest

At a press conference held on August 13th at famous Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga. Napa Valley Grape-growers unanimously that 2008 harvest will be an exceptional vintage with pristine grapes. Yields are expected to be lower than average after a season of extreme growing conditions. Napa Valley Grape-growers Director Jennifer Kopp Putnam said “With the many weather challenges facing the California wine industry in 2008, Napa Valley grapegrowers were prepared with the technology, expertise and experience necessary to navigate a difficult year and produce one of the most successful vintages in recent memory.” A side note, Sonoma County growers are also expecting higher quality grapes with lower yields.

Chateau Cos-d’Estournel Buys Chateau Montelena

As reported by Wine Spectators August issue. ” One of Bordeaux’s top chateaus has bought one of Napa’s most historic estates.” Chateau Cos-d’Estournel owner Michel Reybier completed the sale on July 19th. The purchase price was not disclosed yet sources close with Montelena’s negotiations told Wine Spectator “that owner Jim Barrett had fielded offers between $120 million and $150 million for the winery and 200 acres.” In a statement Barrett said “we could not have asked for a finer team to carry on this legacy.” Many in Napa were not surprised and noted that the strong Euro and weak U.S. economy are helping European vintners looking to expand.
For the full article visit winespectator.com or see their August issue.

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August 2008

Wine of the month for August is appropriately timed with the annual release of this wine which is normally during August. It is Bogle Phantom, a red blend produced by Bogle Vineyards of Clarksburg California. Most of you are probably familiar with the Bogle Vineyards line of wines, they make a wide variety of wines that are usually readily available, but the Phantom is a bit harder to locate on the shelf. Bogle makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, as well as a port in addition to this month’s feature “Phantom”. I love the name as much as I love the wine, it’s mysterious and exciting at the same time. I am currently drinking the 2004 vintage, although I still have a few bottles of the 2003 vintage in my cellar as I put away at least one case per year to enjoy at a later date. We do this because once Phantom is gone, it is gone until next year. The 2004 vintage is comprised of 54% Petite Sirah, 43% Old Vine Zinfandel, and 3% Old Vine Mourvedre. The wine is deep ruby red with lots of fruit forward taste, while finishing with a perfect jammy spicy blend of flavor that is outstanding. The label says it is a deep ruby apparition that personifies the true spirit of the Bogle.. I could not agree more! For those of you that don’t know a Bogle is defined as A Goblin; a specter; a phantom; a bogy, boggart or bugbear. Watch for the latest release that we are so anxiously awaiting and pick up a bottle, you won’t be sorry!

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Grilled Corn on the Cob

Yes…I know I have been slacking off this summer with our BBQ page. It has just been such a great and busy summer, I have not had much time. Well, let me give you a quick and easy trick for corn on the cob which in most of the U.S. is now at in it’s peak season.
Go to your local farm market and get some fresh ears of corn. You can grill just a few or a few dozen depending on your need. To prepare the corn cut off the bottom stem and the pointed tip so your ears have flat ends. Remove any loose outer leaves, do not strip the corn. Fill a large pan, big enough to cover the ears of corn, with cold water and allow the corn to soak for 15-20 minutes. Heat up the grill to medium temp and cook the ears turning frequently. We also use a spray bottle and mist the corn each time we turn it. Cook for about a half hour removing any loose or burnt leaves as they cook. Do not allow the corn to burn too much or catch fire. Remove when cooked, strip the ears and add your favorite spice, butter, salt, pepper or eat plain if you like.
Just a quick and easy way to cook a favorite summer staple while keeping the outdoor grilling going.

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Just wine

I was thinking today while I was shopping around on my lunch break just how big the wine market has become in the last few years and I don’t mean just wine. We all know the wine market itself is huge and the vast selection of wines there are to choose from when visiting the local liquor store, but I am talking about the wine related items. I am truly amazed. Years ago if there was one type of wine cooler at the store, maybe a 12 bottle cooler that was a lot, now you have 30, 40, 50 bottles with dual zone cooling readily available. Yes, larger units can be purchased too, just not at every retail store where the smaller versions are available. And what about the variety of corkscrews? Today I saw a vertical opener? Never saw that one before. And the decor too, just about everything from artwork to dishtowels, rugs, clothes, you name it, you can find it. Another item that has become huge are the cocktail napkins. A favorite of mine, I like to find a new wine design I haven’t purchased before to use at the bar in my wine cellar. It’s a quirky, but fun habit and fairly inexpensive too. So, next time you are at your local home store, stop and take note of just how much wine related stuff is out there.

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Weekend fun

We hosted a gathering at our house this weekend in honor of a family engagement. What a great time! We met a lot of fantastic new people that we look forward to spending time with in the future. We had gorgeous weather, lots of terrific food and best of all; we had such help from everyone. Folks manning the grill, cooking the clams, cleaning up, helping in the kitchen. It all just ensured a smooth event. Just need to take a few minutes and tell you about the homemade sangria that the father of the bride to be made. A huge vat of red sangria, it had to be 7 or 8 gallons of liquid… well, let me tell you it had to be one of the best sangria’s I have had in a long time. Restaurant quality and then some.
It was a huge hit and only about 2 gallons were left. Of course, we had the usual red wine, white wine, beer, and mixed drinks, not to mention the Jimmy Buffet Margarita station, but we also got a special treat from one of the guests…home made red wine. Now, can I tell you I have not really been a fan of homemade wines in the past, but this one was different. An uncle of the bride to be has been making homemade wine for many years and I can tell you he has perfected his process. The wine was made from a blend of Cabernet and Zinfandel grapes. Deep ruby red in color with a long smooth silky finish and a hint of oak. If you want my opinion this wine would definitely compete with some of the big boys. Well the uncle will be making more wine late in September so I asked…OK maybe begged him to give me a call so I could watch and maybe help out. What a great party it was and the home made wine was an unexpected treat.

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End of the day

What is better than the end of the workday? Maybe the end of the workday on a Friday? The end of a workday on a Friday and you are on vacation for a week? Now I am talking, except today is Monday. Yep, Monday, but I still enjoy the end of the day. There is something to be said about the end of the workday, no matter what day of the week it is and being able to come home, relax and wind down with a nice glass of your favorite wine. Completely different than a weekend, just a glass to wipe the bad parts of the day away. Kick up your feet, relax and remind yourself, I work so I can indulge in a nice glass of wine once in while and forget the rat race. Now that’s what I am talking about!!

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Summer is flying by

Wow, can you believe how quick summer is passing us by? It is August already. I know there is still a whole month before September and even then the official start of fall is still a way off, but there is something about August that starts a landslide effect. I remember being a kid and panic setting in that school would be starting before I knew it. The reminders are everywhere in August, the back to school sales, the shorter days and the dates on the calendar moving faster than they did last month. Well, I guess I am glad I am an adult now, not just because I don’t have to go back to school, but because I have a passion and appreciation for wine in my life. I had no idea that wine would be such a fascinating hobby. There is so much to learn, such a vast selection of wine on the market that one could become overwhelmed if they did not establish an appreciation early on and determine what they like in a wine. We know we like plenty of different wines, but deep down we are and always will be Cabernet Sauvignon fans. Not just any Cab, it has to be a bold, yet smooth, silky Cab. Tonight as I sit here typing I know why I have such an appreciation for wine and I know why I am such a Cabernet Sauvignon fan. Two words…..Silver Oak. Need I say more? I think not. A Cabernet such as Silver Oak that has perfected the art of making Cabernet can quite easily turn a bad day into a good day. That is of course an original quote from my husband, but the Silver Oak slogan is “life is a Cabernet.”
Simply stated and 100% true. If you have never tried Silver Oak, I know it may not be in your price range, but pick up a bottle for a special day….you will appreciate it’s quality. I’m off to enjoy mine.. bye for now.