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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.

 

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Vet’s Day Weekend 2017: Annapolis

Day 1, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Last fall, I decided I needed to take some time away, so I booked a long weekend to the East Coast.  Flying cross country is always tough; for this trip I had to be on my airport shuttle at 4:10 am, which means getting my taxi at 3:40 am!  I never get to bed before about 10 pm on nights when I am flying out the next morning, so you can imagine the sleep deprivation.  It is so worth it when I get to board that plane though!

My flight was direct – and absolutely uneventful.  I got my car, and made my way to Annapolis; it was only about a 25-minute drive there from the airport.  I stayed at the State House Inn, a historic hotel that was originally a house.  There are only 7 rooms, so it is really more an inn than a hotel – without breakfast though.  They do have an agreement for room service from the Italian restaurant below.  The State House Inn is over 200 years old, and perhaps as old as 300 years; however, there aren’t existing records that show when the house was built.

The State House Inn

The upper stories are home/inn, and the first floor is commercial space (this floor is only visible from the back side of the house).  It has undergone a variety of restorations, with the the most recent addition to the building in 1900. You can see the bones of the original building from Chancery Lane, which they say is the most photographed site in Annapolis because of the view of the illuminated dome of Maryland’s State House (you know I had to see that for myself).  The alley was supposedly used by George Washington returning to Mount Vernon on December 23, 1783, after resigning his commission in the State House (there are stairs, so he must not have gotten on his horse yet).

MD State House, from Chancery Lane

Their website indicates that it is owned and operated by Naval Academy graduate Lieutenant Commander Marc Lucas, but I talked with the manager during my stay and she had indicated that there were new owners, so it is likely that the website is outdated.

For dinner, I headed across the street to the Red Red Wine Bar for a flight of wine and a charcuterie plate.  The wine flights and meats and cheeses were delicious!  They have a huge selection of  wines by the glass and the bottle, and also have an extensive selection of whiskys, for my whisky drinker readers.  The atmosphere was very nice, and the server was excellent, explaining all the flavors on the cheeses and meats so I could choose what I wanted.  After my light dinner, I spent a little time wandering the quiet streets of Annapolis, looking in the shop windows, before heading back to the Inn for bed.  Overall, it was a quiet evening, considering that most of the day was spent traveling.  I was excited to see the sights the next day!

I chose an international red wine flight

 

My flight, with wine details

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!

2018 Wine Walk

My life isn’t all vacations and rainbows – believe it or not, mostly it isn’t.  As such, even though it doesn’t always appear in the pages of this blog, I spend a fair bit of time around home.  Work, yard work, chores, and of course, planning and saving for the next vacation.

I missed the Wine Walk last year because I was in Hawaii (yea, yea, I know you don’t feel bad for me…) – so I was excited to go this year!

Me – Pre-Walk

The event is put on by our Downtown Partnership, who coordinate all the participating shops and wineries – they do a fantastic job.  I met Shelley downtown and we had a blast!  You get your little tasting cup and tickets, and wander all over downtown for wine and snacks at the various participating shops.  There were several other friends wandering around, so we stopped to chat here and there when we ran into people we knew.

Shelley and me with the town flag

(Note: Yes, our town has its own flag.  I think it is a hippie thing.  Or is it a hipster thing?  Either way – it seems weird, but why not do flag selfies!?)

Several Washington wineries participate and get big exposure in a few short hours!  Our local co-op grocery store did an awesome spread of healthy snacks, including veggies with hummus, Greek olives and dolmathes.  As it turned out, Shelley had never had dolmathes.  I said, “Just put it in your mouth.  Trust me – you won’t regret it.”  She didn’t regret it!

All the little shops had their pretties for sale, but I was good and didn’t buy anything, except one bottle of white wine.  I was tempted, but I am trying to save money…  We stopped in at the Cajun restaurant for a late snack, before heading home.

My favorite wine was the Rosé by Eternal Wines in Walla Walla – it was so delicious and perfect for summer!  So, even at home, I try to have some fun!

 

2015 Sleight of Hand The Magician Riesling

Yesterday, a day after getting home from a fabulous spring break road trip down to California on Sunday, I pulled a bottle out of the wine fridge.  It felt like summer in California, even if it doesn’t feel like summer here at home, so I wanted a summer sweet Riesling!

My friends and I visited Sleight of Hand Cellars when we were in Walla Walla last Memorial Day.  It was a great visit, and they had wonderful wines!

The 2015 The Magician Riesling is sourced from Evergreen Vineyard, which located high on the cliffs above the Columbia River in Central Washington. 2015 was a warm year in Washington for wines, but Evergreen Vineyard is a cooler site, which allowed for extra hang time for the grapes.  It has a delicious balanced acidity, with green apple and pear flavors, crisp minerality, and plenty of citrus.

2015 Sleight of Hand Riesling

It is sold out at the winery, but I think it cost about $18.  If you have tried it, let me know what you thought!

 

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!

 

 

 

Walla Walla 2017: Wine on the Way…

Day 4 – Monday, May 29, 2017

The last day of our trip we headed out of town, stopping at Sleight of Hand Cellars along the way.  I had known about Sleight of Hand, but never been, and Lelani had found them and decided that should be where we went.  Of course, she didn’t have to twist any of our arms…

Sleight of Hand has a Magician theme.  Their wines are delicious and have magician themed names!  The tasting room has is brightly decorated in a modern theme, and they have a ton of music posters (many are autographed) and magician posters on the walls.  They also have records – over 2,000 of them – they always have something playing on the record player!

I brought home their Magician’s Assistant Cabernet Franc Rosé and their Conjurer Red Blend.  That isn’t to say I didn’t love all their other wines, because I did, but they are a bit above my price point, starting at $45 for their varietal reds.  I did get a tank top though – which I love!  Lelani found a Prince Purple Rain themed tank top there too!

Me at Sleight of Hand – I’m not sunburned – it’s just the red umbrella above me

 

Lelani took this photo, not realizing I was photo bombing her!

 

After Sleight of Hand, it was time to get on the road and start working our way home.  We stopped in Yakima for Miner’s Burgers – Home of the Big Miner Burger – these burgers are huge!  Trust me, if you go, split the fries.  One order of fries is probably enough for four people if you plan on having a burger to yourself!  Especially if you have a milkshake, and trust me on this too, you should have a milkshake!  Miner’s has been a Yakima institution since 1948.  We left stuffed, and happy.

Waiting for our burgers!

Our next stops were the Fruit and Antique stand in Selah, just outside of Yakima, and the Thorp Fruit and Antique stand.  I love going there!  We all spend some time poking around and checking out the fruit, gourmet foodie items and antiques.

Brandon, me and Lelani waiting for Joel

Soon enough, it was time to hit the pass and get back over the mountains toward home.  The traffic was just as bad on the way back and this time I was awake for it!  It was, however, the end of a really great friends weekend…