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2018 Whidbey Island Weekend

March of this year was really busy!  I had my 15K the first weekend, a weekend trip to Whidbey Island with friends, and then at the end of the month a girl’s road trip coming up!  I had to turn down a girl’s trip to Boise since I had so much going on!

My friend Brandon was having a birthday, so we decided to celebrate by renting out another friend’s AirBnB house at the south end of Whidbey Island, in the town of Clinton.

We headed down Friday after work, and since March is still winter, it was long dark by the time we got to the house.  We chose bedrooms, and lit up the gas fireplace on the deck for some chat and relaxation.  I had a glass of wine and just chilled.  It was such a nice evening!

The next day, we were up for some exploration, so decided to choose a winery to try.  The first place we had planned to check out wasn’t open yet for the day, so we stumbled upon Comforts of Whidbey winery a little way down the road in Langley, WA.  What a gem of a place!

Brandon and I did a tasting (Brandon was a sport, even though he isn’t much into wine) and I was very pleased with the wines I tried.  They had some amazing sparkling wines!  I also loved their Madeline Angevine, Siegerrebe, and Syrah wines – delicious!

After Comforts of Whidbey, we went over to the Whidbey Island Distillery.  They gave us a little tour of the distillery – it is a very small batch operation, basically all being operated out of one small room, but the owner really gets into the science of distillation and created a complex, amazing still! I won’t even try to explain it, since I wouldn’t get it right; just suffice it to say that he has made some technological advances in the distillation process.

The distillery is best known for its Rye Whiskey, which contains 51% Rye and 49% Barley.  I am not a Whiskey drinker (I have tried and just continue to fail to like it), so I had a little sample and declared it, “not my thing.”  However, they also make liqueurs…  Blackberry, raspberry, loganberry and boysenberry.  These were absolutely my thing! They also had little recipe cards to make cocktails with their liqueurs – I got the raspberry to bring home.

Liqueurs at Whidbey Distillery

Along the way, a few other friends met us, so our little party was growing!  We headed into Langley and got lunch at SpyHop, a brewery just a few blocks of the main drag.  It was outside of normal lunch hours, so it was really quiet and the food was fantastic!  I had fish and chips – yummy!

Fish and Chips with Iced Tea – Spyhop

We poked around the shops for a bit, splitting off from others as we saw something we wanted to check out.  There was ice cream had by a few, and beer by a few.

The Olympic Mountains through the telescope

As the town was winding down after 5, we headed back to the house to relax and talk and enjoy some beverages.  We walked down to the beach to watch the sunset.  It was a nice day!

Sunday morning I made breakfast for the gang – eggs and bacon, and sliced avocado.  So yummy!  Then I headed down to the beach to wander – I found a huge, intact oyster shell and it posed for some photos for me.  I took it home with me to decorate the garden, but sadly, the racoons at my house found it as intriguing as I did and absconded with it a day or two later!

Before we headed home the next day we headed to Greenbank Farm for a late lunch and pie!  If you have a chance to have the pie at Greenbank Farm, do.  You won’t be disappointed!  We also poked around in the various artisan shops for a bit before saying our goodbyes and heading home.  It was a nice, relaxing weekend spent with friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Rosé

Sparkling wines are some of my favorite things.  Anytime – even any ordinary Monday…  I love this one – but I had a long day, so I’m going to poach the description from the Trader’s Joe’s flyer.  I went with the sparkling rosé, for a pinker, more berryful Brut, as they say.

Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut is a classic Brut. Which is to say, it’s dry in style—having had a smaller amount of sugar added during the dosage (doe-SAZJ) stage of the wine making process. It’s an excellent addition to your holiday wine list, a wine that so well exemplifies the characteristics of its origins, we were compelled to bestow upon it our Reserve designation. The grapes – Chardonnay from the banks of the Russian River in southern Mendocino County, and Pinot Noir from Carneros in Sonoma County – deliver green apple and pink grapefruit aromas, with crisp, clean flavors of Granny Smiths and raspberries. The fruit flavors arrive with a creamy mouth-feel, resulting from 12 months of aging “on the lees” in the bottle. (Lees are the remnants of the yeast added at bottling to activate a second fermentation.) Incidentally, this in-bottle fermentation is also what creates the sparkle. Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine is ready to exhibit its dry, ebullient sparkle at your next holiday gathering. Its sibling, Rosé, is also available for those desiring a pinker, more berryful Brut. 750ml bottles of each are $9.99*

 

Happy Monday – 4 days to go.

 

La Granja 360 – Cava Brut

A quick shop at Trader Joe’s revealed this sparkling wine in the chilled section – it was almost dinner time so chilled won me over.  Plus that label, with the flustered goose!

Light delicate bubbles and a light yellow color, this wine has creamy flavors of yeast and pear.  I picked up a floral nose, but that largely went away after the first glass.  The bubbles were mostly gone on the second day, but the flavor was still solid.

La Granja 360 Cava Brut

The price point – $6.99 is perfect for no-fuss, everyday drinking.  I paired it with the scent of green grass on my clothes after mowing the lawn…  It is a wine I would certainly buy again!

Analemma Blanc de Noir

In astronomy, an analemma is a diagram showing the variation of the position of the Sun in the sky over the course of a year, as viewed at a fixed time of day and from a fixed location on the Earth.  It can be a diagram, or a composite photograph.

In wine, Analemma is a winery in Eastern Oregon that produces a variety of wines, including sparkling wines.

I was introduced to Analemma Wines at the BubblesFest Sparkling Wine festival hosted by Anne Amie Winery in the Willamette Valley.  It was the first time I had ever seen Analemma wines or this wine, a 2011 Blanc de Noir.  I purchased this bottle at the last BubblesFest I went to in 2016 – I need to get back there again!

Analemma Blanc de Noir

The 2011 Blanc de Noir is 100% Pinot Noir grown in the Columbia Gorge AVA; the wines are some of the oldest in the state’s wine industry, over 40 years old.  The wine is produced in the Methode Champenoise, and aged sur lie for 42 months. The color is a golden yellow, with flavors of creamy yeast and butter.  It was so smooth, and was easily the best sparkling wine I have had in a while…  I drank it over three days. Although the bubbles didn’t last until the third day, the wine was still delicious!

If you have had their wine, please let me know what you thought!

 

 

 

Art Brut 2011 Blanc de Blancs

As it is just a few days before Christmas, I wanted to treat myself, so I got a lobster tail and cooked it up alongside a medley of baked vegetables.  And what goes better with seafood than sparkling wine!

The ART BRUT 2011 Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling wine made in the methode Champenoise style by winemaker Chris Berg at Roots Wine Company.  It is named after the art genre Art Brut, also known as Outsider Art, Raw Art or Visionary Art.  It is a Blanc de Blancs, made from 100-percent Chardonnay sourced from the Sienna Ridge Estate in Red Hills.

Art Brut 2011 Blanc de Blancs – Roots Wine Company

Upon first opening the wine, there was a heavy taste of yeast and I worried that I had waited too long, but it settled down after about a half hour.  It is delicious – with just a bit of tartness balanced with the creamy Chardonnay light butter flavors.  The bubbles had mellowed after years in the bottle, but it still had enough to give that sparkling wine effervescence.  It paired very well with the lobster too!

I don’t remember the price I paid, but I think this wine was about $30.  I purchased it at the Bubbles Fest sparkling wine festival hosted by Anne Amie Winery in the Willamette Valley a few years back. It’s an awesome wine event, if you have the chance to go!

If you are a fan of charitable giving with your wine drinking, you will be pleased to know that a portion of the profits from all sales of ART BRUT wines were donated to the American Art Therapy Association.  Plus, it has horses on the bottle, and that is always a positive (even if they are heavily stylized)!

This wine is sold out, and I’m not sure that the winery is making sparkling wine anymore; all the sparkling wines on their website are from 2010 and 2011 and seem to be sold out.  Perhaps it is a wine I’ll never have again, and that’s too bad!

Happy Holidays – I hope you are all well…

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!

 

Jaume Serra Brut Rosé

It’s been a day…  A couple of them actually.

To make a long story short…  Jerks.  The accidental setting off of alarms.  My eardrums could use some time in a padded room.

I got this wine to try, but honestly I like their regular Brut Cava a lot better.  This one just has a little something that reminds me too much of White Zinfandel.  That said, it has flavors of light strawberry and little bubbles.  Quaffable, but it isn’t something I would get again.

Here’s to tomorrow being better.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rosé