The temps are going up so it’s time to bring out some nice white wine. I picked up some wine last year when I was in Australia and New Zealand and want to open it for the right occasion. I also had to strategically remember which wines these were by scribbling over the SKU on the back with an orange highlighter.

Was going to visit some friends the other day for dinner, but we also had all afternoon to relax. I decided to grab the 2015 Redbank Pinot Grigio from Victoria. A relatively light wine with nice fruit and citrus notes. We enjoyed this perfectly while lounging by the pool on a hot spring day. It was nice, but nothing overwhelming that I would return to New Zealand to get. But, the perks of having friends with a pool — don’t have to wait until Memorial Day to jump in the water.




Eat, Drink, Arbory

When in Australia, one must do what hosts dictate.  So, when arriving in Melbourne a few weeks back, my friends picked me up at the airport and provided a city tour.  Then, because they knew of the long day of travel that had taken place, they just let the fun begin.  We visited a place right on the water, Arbory.  On the front of the menu it says it just right EAT DRINK.


This is one of the fun places that serves their wine on tap. Around the table we tried Arbory Shiraz, Rose and Pinot Grigio.


This came with some fries and hummus. Great way to start vacation!


Ultimate Pinot Party

I’m part of a Meetup group that is in love with wine and hosted an event last night with the theme — Ultimate Pinot Party.  Guests had to bring a wine related to Pinot — Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinotage, Pinot Gris/Grigio/Blanc, etc.

Quite the selection came to the table.  I think the breakdown was roughly

3 Pinotage (my favorite, love South Africa)
Many Pinot Noir (Mendocino, Napa, Willamette Valley, other)
Pinot d’Alsace a blend of 3 Pinots: Blanc, Gris, Noir and Auxerrois
Pinot Meunier
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Blanc

There were likely a few others.  Some of them were empty come the end of the night!  Amazing to smell and taste the differences in vintages and regions, and of course varietals.  Cheers!






Wine Class #4

I posted about my first couple wine classes and got lost in a shuffle and wasn’t able to share the next couple.  I am indeed posting about #4 here (will backtrack to 3 eventually).  In class 4, we learned about ‘other’ varietals, spending a lot of time in Italy.  Some good, fun stuff to take home:

-DOC — great wine, DOCG — AWESOME wine, in layman’s terms

-Trebbiano is almost all bulk and per our instructor is boring2

-Barbera is just a fun wine

-Zinfandel producers are renagades

Our tastings for the night:

1) 2012 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio, Dolomiti, Italy, about $20


2) 2008 Serra “Paitin” Barbaresco, Piemonte, Italy, about $40


3) 2010 Vietti Barbera D’Asti, Piemonto, Italy, about $22


4) 2008 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscant, Italy, about $27


5) 2012 Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi, Marches, Italy, about $13


6) 2010 Masciarelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy, about $14 (this was one of my favorites of the night)


7) 2010 Terredora Dipaolo Aglianico, Campania, Italy, about $18


8) 2005 Lan Rioja Gran Reserva, Rioja Spain, about $25


Saturday Wine Tasting

Saturday is a great day.  It’s the weekend, (hopefully) you don’t have to work, and many wine shops have tastings.  It provides the opportunity to sample a new wine — you can explore new regions, new varietals, new everything.  You tempt your palette and might realize there is a whole world of grapes out there you never knew about!

Right down the street from me I visited Cork & Fork this weekend for their wonderful sampling.  We had five to enjoy.

#1 Kaltern Pinot Grigio.  *Note – this is the closest site I could find to link to for info because they don’t have their one.  Pretty sharp and heavier than most Pinot Grigio.  Very good.  You could serve this alone, with appetizers or chicken, shrimp or pasta for dinner.



#2  Bebe Sparkling Rose (scroll to bottom).  While seeing it in the bottle I had my doubts about the sparkle.  But once it’s poured, wow.  Those bubbles were definitely there.  The first thing I tasted was strawberries.  After that ‘just’ berries.  Perfect for summer.  And, it’s in a great bottle that doesn’t have a traditional champagne cork, you just flip it off, so you can easily re-use the bottle for olive oil in the kitchen or something of the like.


#3  Barnard Griffin 2013 Rose of Sangiovese.  Need to serve very cold.  Crisp, fresh with citrus notes.  This might be a bit too heavy to drink just alone.  Would definitely need something to pair it with, even if just some simple appetizers.


#4 Les Allies Sauvignon Blanc.  *Note – no site available to provide more info.  This white was so light, its color was close to water vs. some other whites (Chardonnays) that are very dark yellow.  Crazy how clear it was.  All I can say about it is give me a peach, then a peach, then can you please hand me another peach.  Very nice!


#5  Maestrale Barbera D’Alba.  Save the best for last — red.  Start with some currants then finish off with some black licorice.  Interesting how the flavors changed as it went down/through the palette.  Very, very nice red.


Another great wine tasting to expand knowledge of wine, taste new varietals and see what else is out there to fill the wine rack.  I love going to these because I have my love of Pinot Noir and Shiraz/Syrah and I have become so much more educated about what is out there with a simple sip.  All is takes is a walk down the street or a couple mile drive to expand the love of wine.  Sip on my friends, sip on.

Fly Away With More MD Wines

And the fun continued with more Maryland wines.  This time I was fortunate to have them be only a block away with a tasting at Vino Volo (that’s where part of the title came from).  The mostly airport-known wine chain is expanding and Bethesda, MD (suburb of Washington, DC) was the first town to be fortunate enough to not require a boarding pass, standing in endless lines (unless they are super packed), taking your shoes off, putting your bags in plastic bins, having everything scanned and walking through the security gates.  So much better — you just get to enjoy wine right away!  You don’t drink away the pain.  You enjoy it just to enjoy it.

Every week they have a tasting, from well known vintners (tears were rolling down my cheeks in a good way when Silver Oak was there…) to medium size ones to local ones that are working to make a name for themselves.  After visiting MD wineries last weekend, I was able to taste wines from another one that is less than an hour north of here — Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard.  They sampled four varietals and all of them blew me away, white and red.

The first one sampled was the Pinot Grigio.  Had some nice fruity notes — pineapple, grapefruit.


Next was a Viognier — crisp, sharp.  I can’t put a finger on the flavor, I just liked overall how powerful, yet subtle, it was for a white.  Another sip, please.IMG_1414

Now, on to the big business, reds!  That is my favorite color.  I didn’t know there was good reason for this when I was under 21.  The first was a blend…AMAZING.  Yes, bring me my wine!  This was the best wine of the night…Comus.  Five varietals packed a huge punch to give amazing flavors and tastes that surround your nose and mouth with endless wine happiness.

At this point as I write this, the great Tim McGraw song “Fly Away” comes into my mind because of how good wine is, those non-country lovers, just fly away with Vino Volo, and all of us, just love our wine!  Go pour yourself a glass if you don’t have one, or at least picture yourself with one.  Ok, back to grapes…











Last but not least was one of my least favorite varietals that I will say, is totally growing on me.  Good things come with age, right?  Both wine and intelligence, perhaps?  Anyway, it was a Cab(ernet Sauvignon).  Very deep and complex.  The couple next to me was torn between this and the prior as to which was their favorite, but opted for the Cab.  Many people were split.  But as mentioned, when I find a Cab I enjoy, I love it and I could have had much more of this, so I was thrilled, Cab and MD?  Dang!!!


So to wrap up, Maryland, you are setting a name for yourself!  Two weekends in a row, I am beyond impressed.  I am not a national reviewer or commentator but I haven’t normally been a fan of this area.  This is not a political comment in any way, shape of form, but I might start leaning a bit right…geographically, when I drink my wine.

Cooking…4,5,6…Lobster Tail

After making biscotti last night I wanted to treat myself to a nice dinner.  A grocery store had lobster tails on sale so I couldn’t resist that!  Decided to just steam one, saute some spinach with garlic, get some tomatoes and a nice baguette to dip in olive oil & balsamic with Artisan Salt and pepper.  Served all that with a very nice Pinot Blanc from Chateau St. Jean.  Perfect dinner for a Friday night.

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