Dinner with the Don

2009_2[1]Last fall I was invited to a dinner in Houston hosted by Concha Y Toro to introduce their 2009 flagship wine, Don Melchor.  The winemaker, Enrique Tirado, would be hosting the event which included a vertical tasting of the wine.  It sounded like a fabulous event, but without much notice, I couldn’t get away.  Fortunately for me, the company representing *Don Melchor, Gregory White PR, knows how to make a great impression.  As a consolation, they sent me a bottle of the 2009 to try at home.

So I did what any food-loving, wine-loving person would do.  I researched the menu from the event and did my best to create a meal worthy of the wine.  I invited some friends, those friends, that I knew would really appreciate the wine and we made our own event.

Grown in the Puento Alto Vineyard in the Maipo Valley of Chile, on vinestock that hails from the Bordeaux region, the fruit in this wine has the potential to rival any Cabernet from around the world.  Enrique Tirado’s natural talent and dedication to research have elevated the wine to cult status.  Each final blend is tasted with Jacques Boissenot, one of Bordeaux’s most well-respected consultants.  Old world vines, new world soil, old world methods, new world research.  It is truly an expression of the best of both worlds.

According to the Examiner article, the wine worked really well with roast lamb with fennel.  So, I headed to the local Farmer’s market to get a couple of racks of French cut grass-fed Lamb rib from I.O. Ranch, well worth the extra stop if you are in the Austin area.  And if you don’t, they ship!  From Johnson’s Backyard, I picked up fennel, turnip, and carrots.  My goal was to use what I knew about the wine and to bring out earthy notes with the root vegetables.  I used my brother-in-law’s rack recipe.

20140129-113950.jpgSear the lamb rack on high heat, 2-3 minutes per side.

Coat the rack with a combination of goat cheese and Dijon mustard.  Then coat in seasoned (rosemary, salt and pepper) Panko bread crumbs.

Cover the tips with foil so they don’t burn.  Roast on a rack at 400 degrees until medium rare. (20min depending on size)

20140129-114010.jpgFor sides I boiled and mashed equal parts turnip and Yukon gold potatoes with horseradish, milk, butter, salt and pepper.

I roasted whole carrots with sliced fennel, leeks, olive oil, salt and pepper for about 45 minutes.

When the lamb was roasted, we pulled it, let it sit for about five minutes, sliced it and then drizzled it with au jus, frozen from the Christmas Prime rib, which I reduced.

We decanted the wine for about an hour.  Aromas of black fruit, cassis and berry.  Spice, tobacco, and cocoa.  The flavors echoed the aromas with big, smooth fruit, velvety mouthfeel, layered finish.  The elements of spice and tobacco were there but in balance with the fruit.  It paired beautifully with the dish.  The earthy lamb and turnip, the sweet fennel and carrots, the richness of the au jus with the soft tannins.  It was fantastic.

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This wine is in the very special Weekend Wine (or holiday) category with a price point of $125.  As I’ve said before though, if you are cooking at home, you can justify a splurge in the wine realm.  Rack of Lamb and Don Melchor at home or a crowded Prix Fixe chicken dinner and paying $75 for a $25 bottle on Valentine’s Day?  No contest.

It is hard to rival the experience of delving into new wines with the winemaker, especially wines of this caliber.  Of course I wish I had been there.  But I will also say, it is hard to compete with dinner at home with those you love.  Many thanks to the people at Gregory White PR for the invitation and for allowing me to “join” from the comfort of my crazy home.

*This wine was provided as a media sample by Gregory White PR.  The opinions are my own.

Less is More-Clean Slate Riesling

There was a time when a meatless meal would be cause for a mini-revolt.  But I’ve gotten better at creating delicious, satisfying vegan meals and my husband’s gotten better about not complaining.  Less meat is just better for your health and the environment.  It’s a win-win.  Less is more.

There was a time when my day was so crazy and I was so overwhelmed that I wanted a glass of wine every night.  Now I get a break during school hours and am more in the groove of the SAHM thing.  So instead of having a Monday wine on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I generally have one or two glasses of something tasty, once or twice a week.   Less is more.

I have had a few samples of wine that I have been meaning to try, but when you drink less, you drink less.  So yesterday I opened a bottle of Clean Slate Riesling that has been in my refrigerator for weeks.  I’m glad I did.  The wine hails from the Mosel region of Germany which is known for producing some great Riesling.  While choosing most German Rieslings can be intimidating because of their classifications, this one is straightforward.  A look at the label will give you a good hint about what you are getting.

Clean floral and fruit notes with little residual sugar and a lot of minerality.  Just as the photo indicates.  Citrus, stone fruits, and a little spice.  When people ask about minerality in wine, I always think of the smell of slate.  I think of climbing on slate river beds as a child and the taste of your hands after.  No, I didn’t go around licking my hands as a child, but it happens, right?  If you’ve ever done it, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, open a Mosel Riesling.

With a price point around $10, it is a great Monday wine.  I wish I’d opened it on Monday, in fact, because it would have been perfect with the meal I made.  I was in clean-out-the-fridge mode so I used what I had and it turned out to be, in my husband’s words, the best vegan combination I’ve made so far.

I cubed and roasted some butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and then added mint.  I made brown rice with sautéed leeks, currants, cilantro, cumin, cinnamon, and a little lemon juice at the end.  I also roasted brussel sprouts which I finished with a little Sriracha and lemon juice.  It was delicious.  The warm, fall flavors with a little heat would have paired perfectly with the wine.

You may have read that I was cutting out this, that, and most things in between.  I was really strict at first, then I loosened up on the weekends.  But after two months without the weight budging, I got discouraged and my husband started to complain.  Understandably.  So I adopted my sister’s 80/20 lifestyle.  Eat in the anti-inflammatory way 80% of the time, but when I’m at someone’s home or on date night, I’ll loosen up.   And if I have a sample begging to be opened, I’ll open it.  I’ll just pair it with something healthy.  I’ll still make overall health the goal, but I’ll lighten up on the rules.  Less is more.

Here’s the Skinny

And by “skinny” I mean the low-down, the nitty gritty, the scoop. Not my waist-line.

So I am now at day 13 of being wheat-free, dairy-free, nearly sugar-free. You’ll notice that I did not say alcohol-free. I have done a little imbibing on the weekends. Coffee and a drink or three have been my weekend treats. But overall, I have been a clean-eating fool. I’ve basically been doing the anti-inflammatory diet and I think I feel better and the scale is showing some results. It hasn’t been as hard as I imagined and I have found some tricks that are worth sharing. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

1) I can actually have coffee without milk

I’ve used So Delicious coconut creamer and it’s not bad. It’s not milk, but I will survive.

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2) Detoxinista

She has some great Paleo and Vegan recipes. The Harvest Breakfast Cookies saved me the first week. Easy to make, delicious, and healthy.

3) Vega One shakes

A vegan protein powder with tons of great stuff- maca, probiotics, omega 3, greens, antioxidants. Good stuff. The Vanilla Chai with frozen blueberries tastes great and lasts. It’s not cheap, but it is on sale at Whole Foods right now.

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4) There’s usually an alternative

Swap Brown Rice Syrup or Maple syrup for sugar. Swap coconut oil for butter. Swap Coconut/Buckwheat/Spelt(related but different from wheat, not for celiacs but fine for someone like me) flour for wheat/white flour. The internet is such a wealth of inspiration and information. It has given me a new challenge in the kitchen that is actually enjoyable.

5) Cashew cream sauce

Makes a great alternative to peanut sauce, salad dressing, cheese, etc. Delish. I made Veggie enchiladas with brown rice tortillas, cashew cream in lieu of cheese for me, cheese for the fam.

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6) Chia pudding pops

Blend chia seeds, cocoa powder, almond butter, coconut milk, banana, sea salt. Pour in popsicle molds. Healthy fix for the sweet cravings.

7) I can have a glass and still lose, but not more.

Whether it is the inflammation, the calories, the dehydration factor or all of the above remains to be seen but the scale goes up or stays the same when I have more than one. Regardless, I know that I can stay on this long-term as long as I can have a glass of wine here an there. Which means I will have more to write about. On that note…

8) I’ve got another writing gig

Starting next week I’ll be doing some guest writing for Living Direct’s wine blog, blog.winecoolerdirect.com. I’ll send links or you can check the site directly. Next week I’ll start with a piece on South African wines. We will be drinking them (and more) with “those friends.”  Stay tuned.

Happy weekend!

Going Out with a Bang

Ok, so I am doing it.  Trying it.  Ok, starting it anyway.  I eat healthy.  I exercise (sometimes more vigorously than others).  And I can’t drop the last ten from my now 3-year-old “baby.”  My sister has been eating the anti-inflammatory way since she discovered it, for the most part.  She was motivated by arthritis but the weight loss is a welcome “side effect” so I am going to try.  Which means no dairy, gluten, sugar, booze, etc.  Which means that I won’t be 100% long-term, but I can be strict for a while and then do some figuring out what works for me.

So I went shopping yesterday for some new supplies but when I got home I realized I had one “last supper.”  I should have planned ahead and made it more exciting, but I did want it to include wheat and dairy with a dash of decadence.  So I did a play on Pasta Carbonara and popped open a wine I’ve been waiting to try all summer, Dane Cellars 2009 Chenin Blanc.  I met the winemaker, Bart Hansen, at SXSW last spring and he sent me a few samples.  I was trying to wait for other wine writers to taste them with me but summer schedules have not permitted any get-togethers.  I got tired of waiting.

In typical fashion, I popped the cork while I was cooking to taste while my palate was clear. And just because.  I think of Chenin as a summer wine, but last night I tasted early fall.  Growing up near MacIntosh apple country, I have a weak spot for a crisp, slightly tart apple.  That is exactly what I tasted when I tried the wine.  Clean, tart early harvest MacIntosh apples.  Add a touch of acid and floral and there you have it.  The recipe I used suggested Sauvignon Blanc but this pairing worked well too.  Basically what you want with Carbonara is some acid to cut the richness of the pancetta and cheese.  The Chenin had that in spades. And at around $15, it nearly qualifies as a Monday wine.

I also didn’t have pancetta since this was on-the-fly gluttony, so I used olive oil and a touch of bacon grease I had in the freezer.  While the pasta was cooking (no spaghetti, just wheat gemelli), I sautéed the garlic and thin ham strips until the garlic was soft and the ham was crisp.  While that was happening I grated about a cup of parmesan cheese and mixed that in with two whisked eggs.  When the pasta was just out of the water, I tossed it in the pan and added the egg/cheese mixture.  (If you want to thin the sauce,add some pasta water).  At the very end I added about a tablespoon of thinly sliced green onion, a touch I adopted from La Traviata.

It wasn’t fancy, but everyone loved it and it paired really well with the wine.  The hubs even ate anything that was left on the kids’ plates.  I’ll make it again, I think?  Or if you know of a good vegan gluten-free version, let me know. (Or any other favorite adaptations).

So I won’t have a lot of new wines to share in the next couple weeks, or maybe I’ll have time to write about ones I’ve already had.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Either I lose that stubborn ten or I get to go back to Pasta Carbonara.  I call that Win-Win.

“Simi”lar stories, Fabulous Pairings

They have similar backgrounds and similar goals, so it is not surprising that Simi Winery and Chef Kolin Vazzoler make a great pair.  Both from Italian heritage, the winery and Chef Kolin focus on producing high quality wines and foods that are sourced locally.  Kolin learned about the culinary arts from his mother and grandmother.  Now he teaches others in the industry about pairing the Simi wines and mentors those new to the profession.

kolinI had the opportunity to talk with Kolin yesterday at the Austin Food and Wine Festival.  Kolin grew up in British Columbia where he earned his culinary certification and began his career.  He moved to San Francisco to work with Gary Danko and spent eight years honing his skills in the city before heading to Healdsburg to work at Simi Winery.

I asked him how working at a winery differs from the restaurant world.  If you’ve spent any time in the industry you know that the hours can be daunting, so that is one benefit the winery offers.  In a restaurant, the chef creates the dish and then you seek out the wine that will work best with the food.  At the winery, the opposite holds true.  He is creating a dish that will best highlight the wine.  In the creative process, adjustments often have to be made, but Kolin has learned a few tricks that we can easily apply.  For example, if the wine is coming across “hot,” add some acid, lemon or salt.  If the wine seems to be falling flat, add savory notes, herbs perhaps.

appeAt the festival, Kolin was pairing the 2010 Sonoma County Pinot Noir with Crispy Chicken Skin, Mushroom Purée, and Dried Cherry.  And what a pairing it was.  The mushroom puree accented the earthy notes in the wine.  The dried cherry echoed the red fruits and the ginger salt highlighted the spice.  Delicious.

So what food and wine combinations have surprised Kolin?  He now enjoys pairing seafood with reds.  Catalan stew, Cioppino, Acqua Pazza all have ingredients which create depth and spice and they need something heavier, spicier to compliment the dish.

And what is his current favorite pairing with the Simi wines?  The Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon is both bright and rich.  Great fruit is balanced by fresh earthy notes.  Full, but not heavy, he enjoys pairing this wine with one of their specialty pizzas with charred radicchio and gorgonzola.  Yum.

My brother is also a chef in the Bay area and about the same age as Kolin.  I’ve watched him go from creating complicated, multi-ingredient works of art to a much simpler approach.  Find good food, in season, locally sourced and you don’t need to do much to it.  The food speaks for itself.  Your job is to find the combinations that work well together and let the natural beauty of the food shine.  From talking with Kolin, it is apparent that he has gone through a similar transition.  Eat what is available, fresh.  Play with it, but keep it simple.  Returning to his roots, this style of cooking is a natural fit for Kolin.

Although the restaurant is not generally open to the public, they do have private events and are working to make his dishes more accessible.  During summer weekends, pizzas and other rustic Italian fare are available.  They are looking into creating dishes to be enjoyed at home and “pop-up” dinners as well.  If you can’t make it to Healdsburg, Simi Wines are readily available and Chef Kolin has shared many of the recipes for his favorite pairings on the website.  Now to find the time to execute them…Cheers!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a pass to the Austin Food and Wine Festival in order to write this piece.  The opinions and thoughts are my own.

Transitions- Part 1

Spring is a time of transitions.  Some are surficial: purging closets, boots to sandals.  Some are botanical: bud break, the emergence of a crocus.  Some are spiritual: an awakening, a yearning.  All around, there is a renewed energy, a pull.  All week-long I have felt the need to write, a to-do list of pieces that need to be written, but I haven’t had the focus or time.  I awakened this morning after ELEVEN hours asleep, with the idea of transition.  It is the theme that is both pulling me to write and connecting the jumbled ideas, which cover the aforementioned range.  To spare you the crazy of my thought patterns, I’ve decided to break it into two parts.  I’ll start with the surficial.

It has been a brutal winter for many of you, so I hesitate to share that we have had a few days in the 80s.  When the thermostat begins to hit that range, it generally means I get my first cravings for Sauvignon Blanc.  Our grill died last fall and my husband finally had time to go pick out a replacement on Saturday.  So, I headed to the store for something to grill and some SB.  I don’t know about you, but I pick fish based on what is wild and what looks the freshest.  I had a preparation in mind, so I had already gotten the sides.  My shopping buddy also thought the Coho salmon was the “shiniest” so that’s what we chose.  (BTW, I didn’t even tell him what to look for, he’s got the instinct.  His uncles would be proud.)   He also did well with the Sauvignon Blanc label picking.

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I started with the Israeli couscous so it had time to cool to room temp.  I browned it in sunflower oil for about 5 minutes, boiled for 15, then drained.  I added olive oil and salt so it wouldn’t be sticky, then started on the fish.  I  drizzled with olive oil, added salt and pepper, chopped rosemary and oregano, and lemon zest.  For the salad, I used bibb lettuce, toasted pine nuts, shaved parmesan, and grilled raddichio.  While the boys grilled the fish and raddichio, I tossed parsley, oregano, lemon juice, and the extra pine nuts in the couscous.  On the side, I had Castelvetrano olives.

Since my brother-in-law moved here, we’ve shared many meals and he’s been very complimentary.  It means a lot to me since he went to culinary school.  This was the first time, however, that he’s said, “If you gave this meal to professionals, they would not tell you to add one thing.  It is perfectly balanced and complimentary.”  Who-hoo!  Love it when that happens.  Especially with a meal that is healthy and easy to throw together.

The wine I paired it with was a 2012 Doña Paula Los Cardos Sauvignon Blanc.  Bright fruit, a bit of herb and a lot of grapefruit.  This paired perfectly and, priced around $12, it is a wine you can drink anytime.

If you want something a little more elegant, the 2010 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc would work nicely too.  It has the lively citrus and herbal notes, but the addition of 6% Semillon and 5 months in oak soften the wine a little.  The wine has some briny, savory notes that would play well with food.  This wine retails around $20 and was provided as a sample*.

Saturday was in the eighties, Wednesday was in the fifties.  Transitions are like that.  A few steps forward, a few steps back.  Progress, regression.  They can be slow and daunting, or immediate and undeniable.  Regardless of the results, the process, the learning, the discovery often has its own rewards.  Some are intrinsic and some are as simple as a delicious meal with people you love.

*{Disclosure: I was provided with the Robert Mondavi wine from PR Firm, Folsom & Associates. All statements and opinions expressed in this article are my own.}

Amigos Especiales-Gun Bun Tempranillo

Last Sunday we had an afternoon dinner with THOSE friends.  You know, the ones.  We used to travel to Sonoma together and make Bacchus look like a monk.  Those weekends translated into all day food and wine festivals in our own backyards, almost every weekend. Corks flying, pans frying.  Until we added to the brood.  Now we are lucky if we can get together twice a year.  And until recently, one of the ladies was left out because of maternal matters.  But, we are coming out of that phase and their birthdays (one week apart) served as the perfect excuse to get together, even though it looks a little different now.  (Fewer) Corks flying and (more) pans frying and the occasional baby crying.

It was a beautiful day here in Austin so we decided to plan around the weather.  I thought we’d go Spanish.  I picked up some Manchego, Brazos Valley Eden brie (with vegetable ash-divine), olives, peppers, salami, and some veggies for appetizers al fresco.  I’ve learned to make a separate snack plate for the littles or my cherubs will devour all the olives and cured meats.  That’s just not good for anyone.

While the kids ran wild in capes and gowns, blowing bubbles and having tea parties, the adults were able to sit under the pergola, sipping Tempranillo and catching up.  It was wonderful. 

For dinner, I planned Flank and Flap steak with Chimichurri sauce, Patatas Bravas, and asparagus.  I marinated the steak in olive and sunflower oil, garlic, and salt. The good thing about this dinner is tha can do most of the work ahead of time.  For the Chimichurri I used a ton of parsley, oregano, olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and a little crushed red pepper.   I made the tomato sauce with a bunch of garlic, olive oil, choppped tomatoes, chicken broth, smoked paprika, and a little cayenne. 

Many recipes call for frying the potatoes, but I roasted them in sunflower and olive oil at 450.  We did the steak in a cast iron pan.  I blanched the asparagus and then quickly sautéed them in the pan I had used for steak while it sat.  For wine, we broke out a Tempranillo with a story.

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Gundlach Bundschu has a special place in our hearts.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how instrumental they were in my decision to start writing.  While on a tour there, we heard a great story about their Tempranillo.  I won’t name names, but somebody may or may not have snuck some rootstock back from Spain.  They may or may not have had some a stinky cheese wheel in said bag that may or may not have been confiscated at customs, allowing the rootstock to find a new home in Sonoma.  Legend has it, anyway.  No matter where this rootstock came from, it is doing great things in its current soil.

This wine is beautiful in the glass and its color represents it well.  Red and blue fruits, acid and earth.  Bright and smooth.  Complexity in the tobacco and cocoa notes.  I love this wine and it paired perfectly.  It was like they were made for each other.  Well, in fact they were. 

I guess you could say the same about our friends.  You know, THOSE friends.  The ones you can come to when your face is puffy and tear-stained.  The ones that you can tell anything to and know you are safe.  The ones that can make you laugh, let you vent, and tell you when to zip it.  Friends that are worth celebrating.  Cheers to that.

Forbidden Fruit

So, it is time for a cleanse of sorts.  Too much fun, too much stress, the holidays, and lots of celebrating with company have left me with more than a few posts. Ahem.  Time to lay off the booze and get back to the gym, so this week, I will write a few food posts or maybe repeat a past piece.

I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian and vegan meals in our home.  My sister’s success with the Anti-inflammatory diet, some inspiration from blogs I love (yes, you Lauren), and general health practices are great motivators.  Tonight’s dinner was delicious and one worth sharing.

049I picked up some forbidden (black) rice at Whole Foods, although I’ve never used it.  In an attempt to use the veggies I had, I made this salad.  Even the kids loved it.  To quote my daughter, “Are you kidding me?  This is delicious!”  I’ll make it again.  Even though I didn’t pair it with anything, a Riesling would have been great.  Next time, I’ll add some cilantro, too. And the hubs and I put a little Siracha on at the end.

Forbidden Rice Salad

1 Red Bell Pepper, diced

2 Purple Spring onions (from Pa’s garden), thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage

1/3 cup cashews

2 cups cooked forbidden rice (while warm I melted some coconut oil over it)

Top with avocado and mango

Dressing:

1 Tbsp. Sunflower oil

1 Tbsp. Rice Wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. Lime juice

Tsp. Sugar

Salt and pepper

Need a ‘Rita?

Today is National Margarita Day, a holiday which I am sure you will not mind celebrating.  If you live here in Texas, I am sure you are well-versed in all things agave.  Before I moved here I had only experienced very harsh, very gold, and very dangerous tequila.  I had not yet had a Mexican martini or learned how to mix a proper ‘rita on the rocks.  If you have not yet seen how tasty, clean, and versatile a margarita can be, today is a great day for experimenting.

You may have heard about the snow in Arizona this past week.  Because of that, the PGA tournament has had its share of delays.  So, this week on Back9 Network, I decided to do a cocktail with egg white and tequila, “Snow Falling on the Agave,” based on a Prado.  Head over for a brief tutorial on tequila and a few other recipes.

To try out the recipes, I had some ladies from our neighborhood over for a taste test.  We also sampled some locally made mixes and played with them.  If you have been reading long, you know that I am not keen on mixes, generally.  I would rather start from scratch and adjust.  However, when we had company this past weekend they wanted to try the Central Market fresh margarita mix.  Since the only ingredients were lime juice, simple syrup, and orange juice I was in.  I also picked up some locally made pineapple and jalapeno mix.  Made by Carter’s Select, the only ingredients are water, lime juice, lemon juice, cane sugar, pineapple and jalapeno.     

The Central Market mix was a hit.  I only added El Jimador tequila.  It was a very classic, very tasty drink.  I had them sip as is, then we added some Blood Orange San Pellegrino.  Yummy, but too sweet.  I would, in the future, either just squeeze in some fresh blood orange or have just lime juice and the Pellegrino.  Finally we added some bitters to the blood orange.  That was the favorite.  The bitters cut some of the sweet and added a nice dimension.

For the Prado, I couldn’t find maraschino liqueur, so I substitued the juice.  I have a feeling is was not a good substitution because the drink was rather forgettable.  I think adding some cinnamon would help.  I will keep an eye out for the liqueur and try again.

The Carter’s was rather tasty for a bottled mix.  A good amount of warmth from the jalapeno and it could not have been easier.  I would, if time allowed, still prefer fresh juice and steeping the jalapeno in the tequila, but in a pinch, this is a really good choice.

Today, I plan on trying another version.  Cucumber.  I’ll try Espolón Tequila, agave, lime juice, and muddle some cucumber slices.  Perhaps garnish with some cilantro?  I’ll let you know.  

What margarita will you be enjoying today?  Cheers!

Greatest Hits of 2012

At the end of the year, WordPress sent me a summary of my year.  Sort of a year in review for the writer.  How many visitors, which posts were the most viewed, et cetera.  They invite you to share the information with your readers.  At first, I thought, “How Silly.  That is like Justin Bieber releasing a Greatest Hits.”  After all, I’ve only just begun (I hope you heard Karen Carpenter just then).  But then I looked at my top five posts from the year and I thought, “Yes, that is a pretty good cross-section of what I have done.”  So I am sharing it with a little back story.  Think of it as a pathetic version of Storytellers.  Cheers!

1 “Hey Girl…I love SAHMs” October 2012

Don’t you love new friends?  Especially those that share your affinity for all things Gosling?  And can make you laugh out loud with a text?  And inspire silly posts?  Me too.  It is no wonder this got a lot of views.  He’s impossible to resist. 

2 Grief and Gratitude  September 2012

I was due to write a new post, but it was September 11th, and I could not write about anything but.  I asked a group of ladies that write about wine if it was okay to venture outside that box.  With their encouragement, I did so.  This is my tribute to a dear, dear friend.

3 OTBN- A Gift from Gundlach Bundschu  February 2012

The first piece of writing I ever put out publicly was a 3rd place poem for a poetry contest at Gundlach Bundschu.  The second piece took first.  It was their encouragement that inspired me to write.  This was a post in which I “shared” the 1997 Cab Franc I received as a prize with my readers.

4 Trends, Schmends-I never gave up on you, Merlot January 2012 

If you have read for very long at all, you know that it is not uncommon to get a hint of psychology in the front and some introspection in the finish.  In Vino Veritas.

5 Molto Bene, Y’all  April 2012

I have loved, loved, loved getting involved in the Texas wine scene.  So many great things being produced, so many great people, and still so much to learn.  Thank you for welcoming me in and for your generous spirits.  This is a piece on a local winery that I grow more fond of with each visit.

So, there you have it.  A little personal stuff, a little humor, a lot of wine.  Some paired, some shared.  Yes, this is a blog about wine, but it is really so much more to me.  Thank you for reading and giving me a place to share, to grow, to learn.