Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bye Bye Bakersfield! Hello St. Louis! #SilverOak #foxenwinery #kanzler #rusackwines

Now that my oldest daughter and her family are living in Missouri, I must post the next to the last blog about Bakersfield. The last time I went to CA, (in May) was a very busy trip. We watched the packers pack the house, choosing what would go in the cars for the long trip to St. Louis and what would be packed in the moving van for the new apartment and finally what would be stored in the storage rental. I was there ten days and we ate out three meals a day except for the first day I arrived. It was cray cray! We did manage to get some good wine time in though. 

I stopped in at CRU Wine Bar at Dallas Love Field on my way out to CA! What a cool bar to put in the airport! It's about time!

It was early morning, so I opted for a mimosa at the bar. So refreshing! J. Roget American Champagne ($5). CRU Wine Bar is also located in West Village, (Plano and Allen also) and we love to go there. Their small plates are delicious!
Back to Bakersfield! We hit the local Italian food market when I got into town and picked up lasagna, bread, and of course wine! Here's what we chose!

2012 Foxen Pinot Noir ($35) from Santa Maria Valley in CA. Foxen's fruit-forward Pinot with bright red summer fruits of cherries and strawberries with a long velvety finish.

2012 Les Domaniers "Selection Ott" Cotes de Provence ($19). This rose' was absolutely wonderful! A fresh and glanced rose' with exotic fruit and white peach flavors.

And of course, our favorite rose', a must-have from Provence with a beautifully shaped bottle. 2013 Chateau D'Esclans, Cotes de Provence Whispering Angel 
($20) Very pale, fragrant and mellow, with a lovely texture and a hint of toast.

We opened this lovely 2008 Silver Oak, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) and enjoyed this dar, rich full-bodied wine! It's always a crowd pleaser.

We stopped by the Padre Hotel in downtown Bakersfield twice while there to get a bite to eat. One of the luncheons we had a 2012 Rusack Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County ($24). Rusack is a boutique winery we visited in January 2013. There isn't anything made at Rusack Winery that I don't love! This Chardonnay is delicious! It's a crisp white wine with flavors of honeydew melon, Asian pear, orange blossom, as well as citrus notes.

Pic via the Internet

Another day at the Padre Hotel, we had a 2012 Cachette Cotes du Rhone Rose' ($13) from the right bank of the Rhone River in France. This wine displays light strawberry and watermelon notes with sweet spices. It's a shiny luminous pink and is light and refreshing.

Next post will be the rest of this trip to Bakersfield and then that's all from there! Stay with me!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spring Trip to North Carolina #vintuswines #yealands #ironhencafe #CambriaWines #greensboro #hopsburgerbar #printworksbistro

Early April, I gave up a few days of substituting to go see my best friend forever in Greensboro. She and I had just found each other on Facebook five years ago, and although we didn't see each other every day, each time we met, we took up where we left off. She lived in Dallas until last November! :( Boohoo!!!!!

 After Linda met me at the tiny airport, we went straight for lunch on a patio with wine! Oh yeah!

Being a lover of French wines, I chose the 2012 Domaine Talmard Macon-Chardonnay ($17), a white burgundy unmarked by any oak and bottled with a Stelvin closure to protect and enhance its flavor and character. "Complex aromas on the nose-ripe fruit characters with touches of butter and honey. Fresh attack, quite concentrated, with a slight asperity on the finish. Extremely fine wine with a future."

Linda chose the 2012 Yealands Sauvignon Blanc ($11) from New Zealand. This wine won an award in 2013 from the Dallas Morning News. It's passionfruit and guava aromas, stone fruit and herbal notes, with a distinctive mineral finish make this Sauvignon Blanc one that I would definitely buy again. It was delicious. It's reasonably priced and has many other awards-the one in Dallas made me proud because that's where I live!

Linda showed me all around Greensboro, which is quite lovely. I would live there myself! We walked the botanical gardens, the bog, the military grounds, drove through the city, saw the cute outdoor mall near her home, and ate a lot of food!

One place in particular that we dined was The Iron Hen, a farm to table eatery. Everything was fresh, local, and good!

The food was as awesome as the sign said it to be!

I had wine and water! 2012 Cambria Chardonnay ($22) from the Santa Maria Valley. Nicely balanced flavors with a crisp, fresh finish to this Chardonnay. 

We also ate at the almost world famous Dame's Chicken and Waffles one evening! I had chicken and waffles with a 2012 Acacia Chardonnay ($12). This wine has fresh flavors of peach and apple with hints of minerality leading toward a crisp finish on the mid palette.

We also ate at two other amazing places, but drank no wine. After a day of traveling to three wineries, I had iced tea from then on!

Print Works Bistro, a Parisian inspired restaurant, was top of my list as far as fine dining goes in Greensboro. Beautifully decorated with a french theme, surrounded with gardens outside, it was an elegant place to dine.

Before heading to the airport and after touring the beautiful homes and neighborhoods of Greensboro, we ate at Hops Burger Bar. Oh my goodness! This food was so delicious (but I'm sure not good for you too often!) I didn't know when I'd eat next, so I had the Hops classic hamburger, truffle fries, and iced tea! The menu is amazing. Check it out!

Well, that's my trip to North Carolina. The next time I blog will be about the wine tasting day we had.

Thanks Linda and Dan for a wonderful four days in your hometown!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sucker for Pretty Packages! #truetthurst

I have always been fascinated by unique designs when it comes to retail shopping bags, storefront window displays (like Anthropologie), and generally anything that catches my eye the way a graphic designer desires it to be. I recently went to an awards event for the Dallas Society of Visual Communications with Don and his crew. The room was full of graphic designers, which leaves me feeling inadequate because they are so stinking creative! But hey, somebody has to do it, right?! Anyway, I saw the most unique, clever, creative ads, books, posters, menus, etc. You name it, they designed it!

The emcee kept referring to this as the $90 Ding Dong! It was fabulous though!
What does this have to do with wine you ask? Well, I'm very sure that someone has to design the labels and of course the cans, boxes, bottles, or whatever you drink wine from (hopefully a glass bottle/wine glass, right?). I was strolling through the wine aisles at my local Tom Thumb not too long ago and noticed several bottles of wine wrapped in innovative paper packaging. So I got out my trusty iPhone and began taking photos of each bottle I could find. 

Here's what I found! (I haven't bought any of these bottles yet, so I can't speak as to how the wine tastes.) Don was given the one below as a present because it's related to PAPER! Don, the Paper Boy!

This is a 2012 Paper Boy Winery ($15), a red blend from Paso Robles, bottled by Truett-Hurst. The packing is 85% lighter than the traditional glass wine bottle. They're promoting a new packaging to help our environment by leaving no footprints. After the wine is drank, open the packaging to see that there is a plastic bladder inside which holds the wine. The point being to separate the two and recycle them.

So this bottle can be taken anywhere-the pool, the beach, Mt. Everest, and the deep blue seas. You can like them on FB and find out more, or just google Paper Boy Wines. This is a great article from Bloomberg Businessweek about the wine. There is also this great blog about the packaging/wine here in the Gray Report

The picture above also has a 2012 Chardonnay ($14) bottled in Mendocino County by Truett-Hurst. Let me say here that we have been to the tasting room in Healdsburg and their wines are amazing. We've bought many a glass bottle from them. But I'm reading that the wine in these packages are not so good. I'll have to see for myself. Maybe it has to do with.... the packaging?! 

Other innovative packaging of wines by Truett-Hurst do include glass bottles, but are wrapped in paper. Here are the ones I found that day! I will definitely buy some of these this summer to try!

2012 Supper Club Chardonnay ($13) from Mendocino County
2011 Bewitched Chardonnay from Russian River Valley ($20). There's also a Bewitched Pinot Noir.
2011 Schucks Chardonnay ($12) There's also a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinot Noir.
2012 Chateau Crisp ($16) from New Zealand. This is a Sauvignon Blanc bottled and imported for Truett-Hurst.
2011 Curious Beasts ($25), a California red wine. This would be fun to have at a Halloween party!
2011 Wine With No Name ($27) This is a red blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Merlot.
Fuchsia 2011 White Wine ($12) is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier.
Fuchsia 2011 Rose' ($12) is a blend, but I couldn't find anywhere online what is in it.

These bottles are titled the Evocative Wrapped Bottles Collection. The paper used is made in the United States and is a pulp-based paper, made with a poly layer between two sheets of traditional paper. This gives the wrap a tear-resistent quality. These wraps are 100% FSC certified and recyclable.

Congratulations Truett-Hurst for caring about our environment and not just talking about it, but doing something about it!

What a fun day of research at the local market!