A Trio from the Mixed Case

We have had several days, and several wines that went by pretty quickly.  Although I don’t have detailed notes on them, I still wanted to share my impressions.

Atteca Old Vines Garnacha – 2012.  This Spanish red is 100% Garnacha, and luckily I got to taste it at the wine shop when I bought the case.  It has flavors of red pepper and significant peppery spice.  But I only got a few sips because Jon stole most of the bottle – he loved it.  This is certainly a wine we will buy again – $14.99

H-Henriques – 2011.  This French wine from the Côtes du Roussillon region is 50% Carignan, 35% Grenache, and 15% Syrah.  When I first tasted this wine, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It tasted highly of alcohol, with very sharp tannins.  After letting the wine sit for an hour, it settled down a bit and it was much more pleasant, but it wasn’t one of my favorites so far.  Jon liked it quite a bit more than I did though. – $7.99

Scaia Corvina – 2012.  This wine comes from the Veneto region of Italy and is 100% Corvina.  Corvina was a new varietal for me, so I was excited to cross it off my wine century club list.  Sadly, there will be no check mark for me.  Jon snuck in while I was working my way through another wine over the course of a couple days,  and drank it all!  I never even got a sip.  Jon loved it though, so we will buy it again – and next time I’ll get some! – $10.99

Happy Wednesday Peeps!

2013 Linen Sauvignon Blanc

The first white wine that I tried from the mixed case was the 2013 Linen Sauvignon Blanc, by Bergevin Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington.  The wine is a nice, light straw color, with light tropical notes and a lemongrass scent.  On the palate, it is a crisp, clean, wine with flavors of melon, lychee, and crisp citrus.  The flavors are nicely balanced, and the result is a wine that has a lot going on, in a good way.

The first night, I paired this with simple baked fish and vegetables, and it was still fabulous the next day when my girlfriend and I finished off the bottle with an appetizer assortment of fresh vegetables, cheeses and crackers, sushi and hummus.  The flavors in this wine offered something for each food we tried.  And although my friend is a self-professed red wine drinker, she really enjoyed this wine.

2013 Linen Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Linen Sauvignon Blanc

At the $10.99 price point, this was an amazing value.  I will certainly buy this again!  And it is on my list of tasting rooms to visit next time we are in Walla Walla.

Have you had this wine?  What did you think?

The Day the House Trembled

I was four years old on May 18, 1980. It was a Sunday, and my brother and I were playing in our room that morning. Suddenly, my mom was yelling down the hall at us to stop kicking the walls. Only we weren’t. We had been playing quietly, not arguing or fighting and certainly not kicking walls. What was going on?

It wasn’t until later that we learned that Mount St. Helens had erupted at 8:32 that morning. It was the most significant eruption in the United States since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California. And it was only a few hours away from us. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake created by the rumblings under the mountain triggered a huge landslide that morning. Most of the north face of the mountain slid; it was the largest landslide ever recorded.

Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the eruption.   (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, one day before the eruption.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The landslide filled the valley with earth, water and trees that had been flattened by the impact. It moved at speeds between 110 and 155 miles per hour. When the landslide stopped, the debris had moved 13 miles down the North Fork Toutle River; the debris reached heights of 600 feet tall covering an area of about 24 square miles.

The landslide triggered a volcanic eruption within a few seconds of the landslide; volcanic gases, pumice, ash exploded through the landslide, and the blast knocked down all the trees nearby. Over 230 square miles of trees were simply laid flat by the heat and force of the eruption; many more trees further away were killed because of the heat but remained standing.

A second explosion occurred when the superheated eruption material turned all of the water in Spirit Lake and the North Fork Toutle River to steam. That explosion had a “quiet zone” immediately surrounding the mountain where the explosion was not heard. However, areas further away were not within the quiet zone; the second explosion was heard as far away as British Columbia, Canada, Idaho and Northern California. That was the explosion that my mother heard and felt that morning.

By the time the mountain was finished that day, the column of smoke and ash reached 80,000 feet into the air and deposited ash in 11 states. Day became night in cities along the path due to the falling ash; cities were covered with anywhere between 0.5 inches in Spokane to 5 inches of ash in Yakima, Washington.

The immediate area had been closed off for several weeks before the eruption due to increasing earthquake and eruption activity on the mountain.  But even still, 57 people lost their lives, including a volcanologist named David Johnston, who was working for the US Geological Survey. Others killed included Harry R. Truman, a lodge owner, Reid Blackburn, a photographer from National Geographic, and others who either lived or were camping or hiking in the area. Most of the people who died that day died of asphyxiation, although several died of burns. Several bodies were never found.

It wasn’t just people who died that day; researchers estimate that up to 7,000 elk, deer and bear were also killed, along with countless smaller mammals. Bird populations were devastated. Over 12 million young salmon were killed when hatcheries in the area were destroyed.  Yet remarkably, some burrowing rodents, frogs and salamanders managed to survive because they were burrowed underground when the eruption occurred.

And the trees? In all 4,000,000,000 board feet of timber was destroyed. That’s enough to build 300,000 homes.  About 25% of the flattened trees were salvaged beginning that fall, but the majority were not harvested.  Additionally, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railroad track and 185 miles of highways were wiped out.  Massive devastation.

After the blast, the area was acquired by the federal government and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was born. Areas not under federal control (most were owned by Weyerhauser) were replanted soon after the eruption, but the lands of the new monument were left as is; allowed to recover naturally.

The mountain in 1982, with a steam plume, and the now famous crater.   (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The mountain in 1982, with a steam plume, and the now famous crater.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

When you visit now, 34 years later, there are signs of rebirth. Meadows and shrubs have grown, and elk and larger mammals move through the area once again. But you can still see the absolute devastation caused by the eruption. You can see thousands of trees, lying flat along the hillside, remaining where they were blown down all those years ago. And you can clearly see where the landslide raged through and covered the valley, leaving ugly scars and trails of earth and mud.

And my brother and I?  Well, my mom apologized later that day for getting mad at us when she saw the news and realized what had happened.  You really can’t blame her; after all, her conclusion seemed more likely than a mountain exploding.

We visited in June of this year, and were fascinated to see the changes that are occurring on this once beautiful, then absolutely barren landscape. I’ll post about our visit next.

Do you remember where you were when Mount St. Helens erupted?  Were you close enough to feel it?

 

 

Warm Kitty, Fuzzy Kitty

It has been so cold this week!  I know some of you are dealing with temperatures far colder than we are, but for me, these temps in the 20s and 30s are brutal!  So to keep warm, I give you these photos of my warm, fuzzy kitty.

Coraline loves her feather toy

Coraline loves her feather toy

Coraline is just a wee bit pudgy

Coraline is just a wee bit pudgy

Bundle up Peeps!  It is almost the weekend!

HIP 2013 Sagemoor Farms Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Smoky blackberries.  That’s the nose I get from our second mixed case wine. Jon decided to open this wine on a weeknight, and we hoped that it would be better than the first wine from our mixed case of wine.

2013 HIP Sagemoor Farms Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 HIP Sagemoor Farms Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine is produced by The House of Independent Producers (HIP); it is a second label for Hedges Family Estate in Benton City, WA.  The marketing materials describe it as, “a lean, angular, racy, penetrating, crystalline structure is excellent for those drinkers looking for a more conservative fruit approach. Too many times this grape is abused with oak perfume and picked late, like an old man, wrinkled, soft, and complacent. Take your Cabernet Sauvignon young, tight, transparent, and leave the Jam bombs for your sugar drinking friends. It’s time to taste the varietal, not the brand.” 

With that description, I was curious to see if I would like the “young” version with the “conservative fruit approach.”  Not to mention, I don’t think I would enjoy drinking a wrinkled, soft, complacent old man!  Yuck!

After pouring it into the glass, the color is dark garnet red.  It is quite beautiful actually.  Nothing like a wrinkled old man.  The nose is blackberry and smoke, making me a little bit nervous that it would be a big heavy Cab that I wasn’t going to like.  But the first sip eased my mind, with flavors of black currant and earth.  It has medium tannins, which I liked, because it doesn’t overwhelm.  But it has enough structure that someone looking for a big Cab will still be able to appreciate it.  In my opinion, this is a wine that does it right.  It makes me want to try more from the HIP!

And at $12.49, it is a perfect wine for a week night – you don’t need a special occasion!

SW National Parks Trip: The End

In my last post, I described our drive back to California from Williams, AZ.  Once we arrived, the focus shifted from Jon and I being alone in the National Parks with seas of strangers, to being surrounded by loved ones.  The masses were converging on the Marriott Marina del Rey to celebrate Jon’s cousin’s wedding.  Other than the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, the last two days of our trip were unscheduled.  We had some time to relax, and enjoy the company of family.  And relax we did.

Our hotel was located within walking distance (about a mile) from the famed Venice Beach, so we walked down to check it out.  Over the two days we were there, we walked to the beach three times.  The pier seemed bland, a hulking concrete structure that seemed to have no purpose.  The beach was beautiful, with lovely sand and gently lapping waves.  California really does have amazing beaches.  I collected some tiny seashells, and we walked along talking and soaking up the sunshine.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

 

Jon and Me at Venice Beach

Jon and Me at Venice Beach

We also were treated to a Brown Pelican visiting.  He was just hanging out on the beach, unfazed by the crowds.  I was able to get some nice pictures of him, and when I zoomed in, I could get just him without all the people who were nearby.

A Brown Pelican on the Beach

A Brown Pelican on the Beach

We also checked out the famed Venice Beach Boardwalk; I was completely and totally unimpressed.  In fact, I was more than unimpressed – I was really put off by it.  It was just shop after shop of souvenirs, and block after block of young men hawking black market CDs.  Yuck!

The wedding was great – the reception was a blast!  It was fabulous to be a part of Jon’s cousin’s new start in life; his bride is wonderful.  I’m sure they will have many happy years together.  I got to do a little swing dancing to Brown Eyed Girl (one of my absolute favorite songs) with Jon’s uncle, who is a really good dancer.  I just hope the video never makes it to YouTube!  Because while he is a fabulous dancer, I’m sure my dancing is cause for much laughter among the audience!

On Sunday afternoon, before heading to the airport, Jon and I made a visit to my uncle who lived in Los Angeles.  He was battling colon cancer, and the diagnosis was terminal.  It was a wonderful opportunity to spend a few quiet hours talking.  We talked about travel, family, love and loss, and he told me stories about growing up with my grandparents, father, uncle and aunts.  My uncle passed away in August, and although I did get to see him again only a few weeks before he left us, this visit is the one I treasure.

After our visit, Jon drove us back to the Long Beach Airport, to drop off the car and take our flight home.  We were more than relieved to hear the rental agent say “no damage” after the dirt road beating we had inflicted on that poor little car.  And I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they had to realign it after our trip.

The flight home was uneventful, and a great end to a trip that made memories to last a lifetime.

The First Wine from the Mixed Case

Bright cherry red with a hint of carbonation?  That’s usually not the description for a wine…  But it was how I describe the first wine from the mixed case I purchased last weekend.  I let Jon pick the first wine to try, and he chose the 2012 Trentadue Old Patch Red.

The color was more bright cherry red than I was expecting from a wine that is primarily Zinfandel, and it was less opaque than I was expecting too.  On the palate, it has a medium body, but the first taste of this wine was odd.  It made my tongue tingle, almost like the wine was lightly carbonated.  Once the tingle dissipated, I figured it was very strong spice that was causing the sensation.  So weird!  Fortunately the tingling on the tongue went away after the wine sat in the glass for about 10 minutes.

This red blend from the North Coast of California is 85% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane, and 4% Syrah.  This wine was meh… Not bad enough to pour down the drain, but… in short, not every wine is a winner.

Have you had the 2012 Trentadue Old Patch Red?  What did you think?