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MAN Family Wines: 2016 Chenin Blanc

The MAN Family Wines 2016 Chenin Blanc is one that I picked up a few weeks ago at Cost Plus World Market, when I was on my way home from my business meeting.  It is South African, which is a country whose wines I haven’t explored that much.

I opened it several days ago, my pre-Thanksgiving wine to enjoy.  On the nose, this wine has aromas of pineapple and lemongrass.  The flavor is similar, beginning with a tart flavor of lemongrass, then settling into tropical fruit and pineapple, and finally, a floral note on the finish.  It certainly meets the winery description of a sweet and sour wine.

MAN Family Wines 2016 Chenin Blanc

Interestingly the winery uses only free run juice – they do not press the skins.  I don’t really know how that is supposed to make a difference, as it doesn’t seem common to have a wine made exclusively from free-run juice.  At any rate, it is a steal at only $6.99!  Delicious!

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A World Tour Bucket List Checkoff!

People who follow this blog know that I have a horse.  Not only that, but I grew up with horses.  My parents were foolish enough to ask me if I wanted to go to Pony Camp when I was 7.  Umm… Yeah!!!!  It was just that quick.  The horse fever was in my blood.

Growing up around stables and horse shows pretty much guarantees you will either love country music, or you are going to die trying.  Country music is all over in the horse industry, so you are going to hear it everywhere.  And so I love it.

I first heard Garth Brooks when I was in middle school, as his first album came out in the spring of 1989.  Between 1989 and 2001, when he announced his retirement from country music, I am sure I have heard and know the lyrics to every single song…  He is now back from retirement, and has released a few new albums since 2014.  I know these albums less, but he’s still got that way of singing that draws people to his music.  It is raw and approachable, and he sings from the heart.  So many of his songs bring a tear to my eye when I hear them even now.

So imagine my excitement when a friend asked if I wanted to go see him live in concert on his World Tour!

Me waiting for the Garth Brooks World Tour!

 

Waiting for the show to start

We made a day of it with friends, leaving home around 9 am, getting lunch when we got there and then finding our way to the stadium around 12:30 for the 2 pm show.

The show was amazing!  He is such a showman.  He is funny and jokes with audience, and he has such great appreciation for his fans.  He is so high energy!  He sang mostly old songs, and rocked the house!  I sang along to all of them, and had so much fun, even though my friends were much more subdued than I was.  I was standing almost the whole time!  His wife, Trisha Yearwood, also performed, both with him and on her own, and seeing her was awesome too!

Trisha Yearwood Live

 

Garth Brooks Live!

After the show we started for home and stopped for dinner at The Beach Cafe in Kirkland.  We had the Roasted Brussels Sprouts appetizer, which came out under cooked and very firm.  We asked about the dish and they were so kind to re-do it for us and took the entire thing off the bill!  You don’t see service like that much anymore…  The second batch of Brussels Sprouts was amazing!  I also had the Blackened Shrimp Tacos and clam chowder with an Italian Pinot Grigio called Prendo.  It was delicious!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts at the Beach Cafe

 

My shrimp tacos at the Beach Cafe

I got home about 10 pm, tired but very, very happy!  This was such a bucket list thing for me!

And if you have the chance to see Garth on his World Tour – do it!  It is amazing!

 

 

German Monkey Wine

I was away at a quarterly business meeting for the last few days…  On the way home, I stopped by Cost Plus World Market to check things out.  I love a visit from time to time – candles, home decor, cute girly stuff, those awesome stuffed green olives.  And wine!  You know – necessities…

Unbeknownst to me, they had started their holiday wine sale!  What’s better than wine?  Wine on sale!!!  So I stocked up and bought a bunch of wines I haven’t tried before.

This one I bought purely based the the label.  Because well, it’s awesome.  I mean really, a gold embossed monkey wrapped around the bottle – when are you going to see that?!  Oh, and my friend told me I had to get it too.  That.

Without further ado, I bring you German Monkey Wine…

Affentaler Valley of the Monkey Pinot Noir

Otherwise known as Affentaler Valley of the Monkey Pinot Noir.  I will admit that when I first opened this wine, I was not impressed.  I was prepared to write it off as simply a cool bottle to turn into a holder for my tealight tree.  But after it had a chance to breathe for a bit, it got better.  It has flavors of dark cherry, earth and tobacco.

For $10.99 a bottle, it was a decent Pinot Noir.  At that price I would probably get it again…  If you do, remember to let it breathe for a little while…

Grapefruit Mimosa!

I have been on a little bit of a grapefruit mimosa kick…

I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, and picked up this bottle.  Not knowing what to expect, I put it in the cart…  I think it was $5.99.  I opened it early last week, and wow…  Grapefruit mimosa in a bottle!  It was a little sweet, a little tart, with that slightly bitter grapefruit kick.  Delicious!  I would absolutely get it again, for morning mimosas – easy peasy!

Pompelini Grapefruit Secco

This weekend friends were visiting from down south, so brunches!  This morning I had an amazing Grapefruit Mimosa at brunch…  Our server apologized for having run out of flutes, but I was perfectly happy to see the pint glass full of tasty mimosa goodness.

Grapefruit Mimosa deliciousness

 

What a great weekend!

 

Powers 2016 Rosé of Malbec

I purchased this wine when I stopped at the Thorpe Fruit Stand on my way home from Yakima this last May.  I had a business meeting combined with a conference, so I was on the road a week, and my visit to Thorpe was a nice treat on the long drive home.  I decided to get the Powers 2016 Rosé of Malbec without knowing anything about it – at $14 it was worth the risk on what could be a great wine!

It is made from 100% Malbec from the Alice Vineyard, Wahluke Slope.  The skins were pressed off the juice after 6 hours of cold soak contact in the traditional method of making Rosé, and it was aged in stainless steel for four months.   It packs a kick at 13% ABV and was released on February 1, 2016.

The tasting notes for the wine say, “a sensory garden of layered aromas of fresh rose petals and strawberry, rhubarb, and hints of jasmine and lemon rind on the nose, this Rosé explodes on the palate with springtime flavors. Fresh balanced essence of watermelon and strawberry, lime zest and rhubarb, this wine is very lively with a great balance of acidity on the finish.”

I opened it last night and paired it with salmon rubbed with a Meyer lemon balsamic vinegar rub, asparagus and sweet potato fries.

Powers 2016 Rosé of Malbec, Wahluke Slop

I definitely picked up the floral nose, along with quite a bit of watermelon on the palate.  It is a delicious wine that will I enjoy even though the weather is turning crisp and cold.

The Bet…

The last couple of weeks have been difficult.  Work stuff, which escalated to a whole new level. Personal stuff too, which I’ll get to in a different post. Meanwhile, during some of the worst days, someone important to me made a commitment, and I questioned whether it would be kept…

I was chatting with a dear friend and mentioned the commitment, and how I was skeptical that the promise would be kept.  A bet was born.  My friend was more hopeful than I was that the commitment would be kept.  If the promise was honored, I lost the bet, and owed my friend a bottle of whisky.  If the commitment were to be broken, then I won a bottle of wine (while still sadly losing).  The specifications were either a French Champagne, or an Oregon Pinot Noir, chosen by my friend.  My favorites!

I won the bet, while sadly still losing, because the commitment was broken.  A few days later a bottle of St. Innocent 2014 Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir arrived.  My friend chose the bottle based on the name of the winery, without knowing that this is a winery I have been wanting to try for years…

The Tasting Notes:

This is a complex wine that reflects the heat of the afternoon sun, the cool, windy evenings, and the rustic soils of the McMinnville hills while retaining the dark beauty of its intense, ripe fruit. It is aromatically complex with layers of blue and black fruit, Indian spices, coffee hints, and pepper. In the mouth the blue/black fruit flavors and eastern spice notes are layered with a “sauvage” sense of wildness. Texturally layered, its flavors vary in intensity and quality over your tongue and palate. Ample ripe tannins balance with its acidity.

The Technical Details:

Our Momtazi Vineyard grapes come from four blocks at the top of the vineyard on steep, exposed hillsides that become quite windblown. The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in small stainless steel and Burgundy oak fermenters. After gently pressing and settling the wine aged in French oak barrels, 28% which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity.

Crop Level: 2.4 tons/acre
Harvest: 9/27/14
Bottled: February 2016

 

 

I opened it last night, when the work stuff had settled a bit…  I opened it while chatting with my friend – a virtual toast from thousands of miles away.  This wine turned out to be everything a perfect Pinot Noir should be.  Delicate cherry, with lots of smoky, earth tones.  The light tannins balance out the acidity.  It is very smooth, and at 13% ABV, it packs a subtle kick that creeps up on you just a little…  I think it is my new favorite Pinot Noir.

The only disappointment?  I didn’t get to share it with my friend.

Cheers.  To dear friends and a clean slate…

 

2014 Amancay Red Blend

It was a long, tiring week with a ton going on both at work and personally, so Friday night when my weekend finally got started after 8 pm, I opened up the 2014 Amancay Reserva Red Blend from the Uco Valley in Argentina.  It was a Trader Joe’s pick at $6.99.

It has some terrible reviews on the internet, but I thought it was pretty good.  It is a nice, medium body red wine for a very good price.  The tannins weren’t too heavy and it has a nice balance with the fruit.  Not a lot of oak, and that’s what I like.  Plus it has held up well both nights, I feel like it tasted a bit bolder on the second night.  There’s still more in the bottle, so I am interested to see how it changes over the next couple of days too.  I’m not really sure why the couple of reviews that were there were so bad.  I guess it just goes to show that wine is always a personal taste.

I didn’t take any notes, because well, exhaustion, but I would definitely buy this again.

Happy Sunday Funday!