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Oz Winery: Emerald City Lights White Wine Blend

Whelp… Less than two months in and the job is officially super-busy.  Never a dull moment!

Meanwhile, I opened this wine the other night; I picked it up on my visit to Oz Winery in Wamego, KS.  Yes, that’s the Wizard of Oz, in case you were wondering.  The winery gives all their wines Wizard of Oz names, and carries all sorts of Oz and wine memorabilia in the tasting room.  You can sample two wines for free and this was one of the wines I chose to try.

The Emerald City Lights is a “proprietary” white blend, which is fancy speak for “they don’t want to tell you what the blend is.”  I disagree with this philosophy, since wines are so different naturally that there isn’t really a need to protect the specific grapes used.  But anywhoo…

This wine is very light, with only the palest yellow color, and tart flavors of lemongrass beneath a floral nose.  It is delicious, and much more than I was expecting from a Kansas wine.

Unfortunately, since I had limited storage space in my car on my trip, I only bought one bottle of this wine.  I wish I had more…

 

 

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2013 Genoa Cellars Flying Colors Red Blend

I got this wine a few years ago when my girlfriends and I went to the Whidbey Island Half Marathon.  We did a wine tasting in a little wine shop in Coupeville, WA, and I fell in love with this wine.  I finally opened it, and it did not disappoint.  It is a red blend, with bold flavors of blackberry and hints of tobacco and cocoa, with medium tannins.

Genoa Cellars is located in Woodinville, Washington, and they focus on Super-Tuscan-style wines made from Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.  They source their grapes from vineyards in the Wahluke Slope and Red Mountain regions in Eastern Washington.

I couldn’t find any information online for the 2013 vintage, but the Genoa Cellars 2015 Flying Colors Tuscan-style Red Blend won Double Gold in the Cascadia International Wine Competition. The blend for the 2013 vintage is 53% Sangiovese, 32% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.

At $29, it is a bit of a splurge, but if I don’t treat myself who will? Happy Monday!

Circus Trip 2018: Idaho, Montana and Tires

Day 2, July 17, 2018

You should probably know now that some days on my road trip weren’t really all that exciting.  Some days had a lot of driving, and less sightseeing.  This was one of those days.

I woke up at 6 and even though I wanted to get a bit more sleep, I couldn’t.  I got up at 7 and got on the road just before 8.  Kim and her husband both work early, so I said my goodbyes to her adorable dogs, horses and cows, and headed out.

I got on Highway 2 and it wasn’t long before I crossed into Idaho.  The sign was on the other side of the road, and I opted not to cross over to pose with it.  I was still getting my selfie-stick legs at that point!

Welcome to Idaho!

I stopped at Albeni Falls and Dam on the Pend Orielle River (pronounced Pon-duh-rey) and checked it out.  The Albeni Falls Dam was completed in 1955; Lake Pend Orielle is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in North America.  It is 68 miles long and 1,237 feet deep at its deepest point.  I saw an osprey nest on top of the railroad bridge there, and managed to get a decent photo!

I also stopped at a viewpoint overlooking the Moyie River and the Moyie River Hydroelectric Project, but it was less than impressive from that vantage point.  I could have gone down to the river level to catch a view of the dam, but that would have meant doubling back.  Some things just aren’t that exciting…

Moyie Dam

The Montana state line was worth a stop though!  Montana had one of the prettiest signs of the whole trip and it was easy to get to!  Of course, I had to pose with it.

Welcome to Montana!

Lunch was at a rest area a bit further into Montana, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, peas and a peach.  You will find I ate a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  No refrigeration required!

The temperature outside was still in the mid-90s, and in Libby, Montana, the tire indicator light lit up.  I stopped at a Les Schwab tire store and they checked the tires, which were all about 5 pounds over their ideal pressure at 40 PSI.  The guy explained to me that tires “bloat” in hot weather, but that they would go back down when the temperature dropped.  As I have lived all my life where it really never gets above the low 80s, this was new to me!  You keep learning new things!

My next destination was my final stop for the day – West Glacier.  I was going to spend some time in Glacier National Park!  I didn’t have a reservation, and it was high season, so when I stopped in at the Timber Wolf Resort Campground and they had one remaining site, I took it, even though it was the group campsite.  They were kind enough to not charge me extra.  All of my friends could have joined me!  It turned out to be a nice campground, even though the roads could have used a water truck (they were so dusty!) and the showers were one of only a few that you had to pay extra for (75 cents for 7 minutes).

A path at Timber Wolf Campground

Dinner was a four cheese pasta box and chicken sausage; it was my first time using my camp stove on the road!  I also had a Black Box Merlot, that came in a 500 ml tetra-pack.  I’ve never been much for wine in a box, but it came in so handy on this trip!  I didn’t have to worry about an open bottle rolling around the car and it is reclosable!

I made a meal!

Even with the high temperatures that day, it cooled off quickly after dark.  I walked down to the gazebo at the campground, where they had wifi and I did some blogging and relaxing.  By the time I was ready for bed about 10, it wasn’t too hot to sleep in the car!  I did put the screens on the car door so I could sleep with the windows open without letting all the mosquitoes in.  Those things came in handy!

Elk, WA to West Glacier, MT

Lyrarakis 2015 Assyrtiko

I have had this wine for a while; it was one that I bought in 2016 after a tasting of Greek wines at our awesome local wine shop.

For those of you who don’t know Greek grape varietals, like I didn’t, Lyrarakis is the winery, Assyrtiko is the grape.  The grapes were grown in Crete, and harvested in 2015.  I was excited to try it, since I had never tried the Assyrtiko grape.

Lyrarakis 2015 Assyrtico

I couldn’t find much online about this wine; it seems that the winery started making the wine under a different label after 2015. I have no idea if they are using the same vineyards either.  Than means you get my impressions exclusively.  Aren’t you lucky!

The wine is a very golden amber color, more golden than a lot of the white wines I drink.  On the nose, it smelled very floral, so much so that I wondered if I would like it, although clearly I had enjoyed it enough at the tasting to buy it.  It has been a couple of years though and wines change over time!

On the palate, it has a very syrupy mouthfeel, a much heavier white than I am used to.  It has a sweet flavor of lychee and passion fruit.  So delicious!

I would pair it with something a little spicy, like Thai food.  You’ll notice that I did pair it with my Spam Museum stemless wine glass, that I picked up on my road trip!

This was a very nice wine.  I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but I think it was about $20.  I would certainly buy it again!

 

 

London 2018: Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Day 4, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

We continued our tour of Greenwich with a brief walk through of the historic Greenwich Royal Naval College.  The buildings here were built between 1696 and 1712, and were originally the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, or more generally known as Greenwich Hospital.  The hospital was built on the instructions of Mary II, who was troubled by the lack of care for seamen returning from the Battle of La Hogue.  The chapel and the Painted Hall were both built at this time.

One of the buildings at the Naval College

Eventually the hospital was closed and the site was converted to a naval training center; it served this purpose between 1873 and 1998.  It is now managed by the Greenwich Foundation, which opened the site to the public in 2002, and does a variety of events, movie filming, and other activities there.

The fountain at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich

The Painted Hall is an artistic masterpiece; the work of Sir James Thornhill, between 1707 and 1726.  During this period, the United Kingdom was created, and the murals on the walls and ceilings depict the political change occurring at the time.  Other themes include cultural and scientific achievements, naval accomplishments and commercial enterprises.  The murals and ceilings are currently being restored.

Our visit was a little confusing; the guidebook and the Painted Hall’s website indicated that the site is free to visit. However, when we went in, there was obviously an admission charge of 11 pounds.  We decided not to pay, as we had a lot of other tourist activities we were doing, so we checked out the entryway artwork and exited.  I think that the site is technically closed because of the restoration, but you can choose to have a guided tour of the ceiling, and that is what the admission was for. It would have been nice if the Greenwich Foundation made this more clear.  If you can shed some light on this, please let me know.

One day I would love to see the Painted Hall, in all its restored glory; the art in the entryway was pretty amazing…  In the meantime, you can see photos at the Painted Hall website.

The entry of the Painted Hall

We did walk across the way to the original chapel, which is also an architectural and artistic masterpiece and dates from the time of the hospital.  I love seeing old churches, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Both the art and the woodwork here are beautiful.

 

Costs: Old Royal Naval College – Painted Hall – 11 pounds? (not included with London pass), Chapel – free

12 Corners Aromella

When I was in Michigan visiting my family, my cousin and I took a day to head over to Lake Michigan.  We had lunch at a brewery, did a little bit of shopping, went to a couple of the wineries in downtown South Haven, and checked out the lighthouse too.

We stopped at 12 Corners Winery tasting room in downtown South Haven, named for the Twelve Corners neighborhood where the vineyard makes its home, and did a wine tasting.

The Aromella intrigued me.  It is a hybrid grape; a cross between Traminette and Ravat 34, developed at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY in 1976.  It was renamed Aromella in 2013 (that took a while!).  I have had Traminette, and like it, but I have never had, or even heard of Ravat 34.

The result is a sweet (but not overly so) white wine that tastes similar to Moscato, but with more floral flavors.  The 12 Corners Aromella is estate grown, the residual sugar on this wine is 5.5 percent and the alcohol content is 11.8 percent.  It was delicious and a great opportunity to taste a new-to-me grape!  It is also reasonably priced at $14.99 a bottle.

If you have tried it, let me know what you think!