Stay at home mom, lover of wine


Wisdom about Wine

My Cup Runneth Over

It is a Biblical saying meaning that I have more than enough for my needs. It is appropriate imagery for wine writing, is it not? At this time of year if feels especially poignant. As we enter into Thanksgiving week, as we are bombarded by imagery of those in unthinkable situations, we are reminded of how much we have.


It is also an image that can have other connotations as a mother. A cup that is running over means a mess to clean up. One more spill, one more unexpected interruption.

It can relate to our calendars. So full of obligations and distractions, the abundance becomes a burden. We say yes even as we feel our necks stiffen under pressure. We say no to things that we know would fill our hearts because we are too busy.

We look for things to fill our cups, more and more, instead of doing the work of fixing the cracks so not so much is needed to satisfy our thirst. Or we give up a get a new cup.

In this season of more, do more, give more, need more, want more, we have a choice. In each of the situations we have a choice.

We can fix the cup.

We can say no, we can say yes.

We can find the lesson in the spills.

We can savor what is our glass.

After a rough morning with my son, after a mom-fail and tears, I apologized and received forgiveness.  I came home to a husband that was willing to take some things off my plate. To a house that is a home. I cleaned up a mess from breakfast I was able to provide for them. I answered emails from people willing to volunteer. And I read words of encouragement from a writer I deeply respect about an article, an article I feel grateful to be a part of.

If you’ve been following for any amount of time, you know one of the things in my cup at this time of year is Gobble, Gobble, Give. I have to make one more plug. If you’re in Austin, LA, Nashville, Vegas, San Fran, Santa Anna, or  NYC come help. If you’re not, consider a donation. It all goes straight to feeding the homeless. The food and containers. No admin costs here.

If you are looking to put something in your cup, check out these links. I wrote a piece about Thanksgiving wines, or should I say the personification of Rhône varieties in Texas, for Texas Wine Lover. Some silliness for your Turkey table.

If you want something special for the holidays, look at the these suggestions on Snooth from some great writers. I used the opportunity to share the love of Texas wine, William Chris’ Enchanté. There are some lovely wines on the list, many I’ll likely never get to try but a girl can dream, right?

This holiday season, try to see the beauty in the messes. Give grace freely, include yourself. Share from your abundance, whether wisdom or warmth. And whatever you pour this holiday season, enjoy every drop. Happy Thanksgiving!





WWJD (What Would Julie Drink?)-Peter Zemmer

the famous scene where she

The iconic opening of The Sound of Music begins with Julie Andrews twirling through the alpine meadows. Her hair and voice like sunshine, the snow-capped cragged mountain sides looming in the background. The range which towers above her extends west through Northern Italy’s Alto Adige so it wasn’t surprising when I was transported to this scene when tasting Peter Zemmer’s Pinot Grigio. Continue reading “WWJD (What Would Julie Drink?)-Peter Zemmer”

Savory and Sassy-Texas Tuesday

I have a tendency to hold on to things. A letter (ok, 20) from high school, jeans that MIGHT fit again (cough, cough), and wine. In some circumstances it can be a good thing. After all, the fashion from middle school is coming back around.  In others, well, what can I say…I’m sentimental. When it comes to wine, some deserve to be held. Some deserve to be enjoyed before the weather changes. Others are just waiting for the right meal.

Last spring we went to Kuhlman Cellars and I’ve held one Sauvignon Blanc and one 2012 Texas Red Wine. Because their wines are fairly new on the scene, one can only guess what will happen in time. Why take the chance? It was Saturday and it was time to clean out. My closets and my body are in need of the bi-annual purge so before it begins, one last indulgence.


Continue reading “Savory and Sassy-Texas Tuesday”

I Never…

Invariably someone would bring it up. In the hours just before curfew, after a few Bartles and Jaymes or cans of Busch.  It might be a gossipy girl wanting a chance to passively spill the proverbial beans.  Rarely, a love-struck guy wanting info on the out-of-his-league Chemistry partner.  Or even the Math League honor roll student wanting to make jaws drops with a divulgence.

I Never. Why we chose to play, I can’t say.  Looking back, it was a self-deprecating ridiculous game in which most people were probably lying. But in the age of self-discovery and wanting to connect, wanting to know you weren’t alone, the game was commonplace.

If you weren’t reared in the 80s, the game was played like this: Someone would say, “I never…cheated on a test.” Or “I never…made out on school property.”  If you had, you would drink. It usually went downhill quickly and ended dramatically.

I’m going to ask you to play an “I Never” of sorts, with  improvements. Continue reading “I Never…”

A Crisis of Identity- #MWWC18

Know Thyself.  The imperative has been circulating since the togas were in fashion and still remains an ideal.  For some of us, the desire to please, the pursuit of acceptance still trumps more often than we care to admit. For others, the footprints are well caked in the path.  Living “authentically” in each breath and decision.  There is no crisis of identity, only a daily unfolding and refining.

In the Finger Lakes, people have been making wine for decades.  It is a region where people expect to find great Riesling, and they will.  As the growers and winemakers try their hand at different grapes and processes, they are forming their own identity. With each year, the grapes share more of their story. The winemakers refine their personal style.  And yet, in the two tasting experiences I have had while here, there were some definite surprises. Continue reading “A Crisis of Identity- #MWWC18”

The Test of Time-Emilio Moro Wines

“Winemakers who wax poetic about wines from a new vineyard hope the qualities they see early on will continue throughout that vineyard’s life. Others believe that the truest expression of a vineyard comes when it has endured the test of time. I believe both viewpoints may be correct.”

-Kirk Grace, Vineyard Manager at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Two weeks ago, we compared and shared three wines from Ribera del Duero with dear friends from down the street.  A virtual interview was taking place that night, three bottles were to be opened.  As with many things, the pleasures derived from a glass of wine are increased exponentially when shared. And like many things, the complexity and value of these wines increased with age.

The tasting coincided with one of my oldest and dearest friends’ birthday. Toasting with new dear friends, I began thinking of the layers or friendship, the value of those old and new, and how they correlated with the wine.  I found the above quote while reading about how the age of the vine impacts complexities in wine and as I read, I found myself replacing the subject, friendship for wine. Continue reading “The Test of Time-Emilio Moro Wines”

A Surprise in Any Package-Monday Wines with Banfi

One of the joys of writing about wine is, indeed, the packages that arrive requiring a signature.  Some are expected, others are not.  Each time, it is a little like Christmas.  You may have a good idea of what is inside, but there is always a little flutter of expectation with the slicing of the tape.  Sometimes the surprise comes, not with viewing the bottle, but what happens when you open it.

I recently received three wines from Banfi: a Rosso di Montalcino (always a bit of comfort), a Prosecco (always a bit of fun), and something unexpected. I read the description of 2013 Fontana Candida Terre dei Grifi Frascati DOC and thought, hmmm.  Composed of  50% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, I thought it may be a little a little sweet for me.  I read on.. 30% Trebbiano Toscano, 10% Greco, 10% Malvasia del Lazio.  I love Trebbiano, great acidity and citrus usually.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was recommended with Thai or Asian (read sweet) but described as dry.  Now I was really confused.

And that, my friends, is why I always try to taste with an open mind.


I brought it to my parent’s as an appertif (as recommended) for my father’s birthday. That way, if it were indeed too sweet, I had just the people there to enjoy it. It turns out, that was everyone.

Light and tropical, fruit forward without too much residual sugar.  It was bright but not biting, refreshing and easy to drink. And at around $13 it is great for summer parties with a little something for everyone. Surprise!

The Rosso and the Prosecco were as expected. The Maschio Brut Treviso is festive, citrus and stone. 100% Glera it is classic Prosecco in style and composition and another great Monday wine ($13). The Rosso is fruit, and spice, and everything nice.  Just enough tannins to give it structure while remaining versatile. I never say no to either.

Let’s face it, I don’t say no to wine very often.  I always like to try something new.  Sometimes it is hard to check my expectations at the door. But, now I know, even more definitively, that surprises come in all sorts of packages and packaging.

Balance, Bubbles, and Bertolucci

Nearly two decades ago, a film set in the Tuscan countryside provided my first wine-related epiphany.  Not through her teenage prattle or any life-changing plot, but through one scene in particular.  The rich golden rays on a rustic table, wildflowers and clinking glasses, laughter and debate beneath the branches. I remember so clearly thinking: THAT.  That is what I want in my life.

Perhaps the memory is idealized, it has been half a lifetime ago, but the sentiment remains strong. It is a moment I’ve chased, and caught several times.  Outside of Rome, on the hills of Sonoma, the Hill Country of Texas, and even whispers of it in downtown Austin.

Whether it was the breadth of the table, the diversity of the group, the lively conversation or the Old World wines, something about a recent wine lunch reminded me of that movie. Gregory White PR held a lunch at Second Bar and Kitchen with representatives, writers, and winemakers from some of their brands: Codorniu, Scala Dei, and Artesa.


I was familiar with the Cava of Codorniu, a staple for everyday value and one I’ve recommended before, so it was a pleasure to meet Bruno Colomer Marti.  Marti has been the head winemaker there since 2008 and his dedication to quality is evident.  Before the lunch, I had only sampled the entry-level wines ($8-12) and was blown away by Reserva and Vintage Pinot Noir sparklers.  Delicate, fresh, complex.  The Gran Codorniu Pinot Noir was a favorite with the fresh berry notes and long, lively finish and at an excellent value at $20. (It is in my refrigerator now, in fact.) Effervescent, approachable, and complex: a reflection of the winemaker.

All dinner parties should have a few surprises.  Ricard Rofes of Scala Dei took on that role. Perhaps it was the language barriers, perhaps the size of the group, but he seemed to be more of a quiet observer at first. Friendly and warm, but reserved.  However, when it was time to discuss his beloved Priorat and his wines, his passion was evident. He explained the history, the unfamiliar grapes, the process and soils. And when we tasted, we understood.  We tasted a Garnatxa and two blends, Prior and Cartoxia. Each wine was intense, but balanced.  Deeply saturated color which is typical of the region. The Cartoxia was strength and spice, incredibly elegant. Powerful, but subtle. Sound familiar?

Representing the domestic line was Artesa from Napa.  The Chardonnay was fresh citrus and baked apple.  The Pinot Noir had great clarity with red berries and spice. Very tasty wines. If asked about what wines from Carneros taste like, this would be a top contender for examples.  Well made, well-balanced, and a classic representation of the region.

The name “Scala Dei” translates to “Ladder of God.” This rings true to me on many levels.  The region’s beauty is dramatic and awe-inspiring.  The fruit it produces tastes like a gift from above. Most importantly, the collective enjoyment of the resulting products brings people together in a unique way.  Sharing a glass leads to sharing a story. Sharing stories brings connectivity. Connectivity provides the rungs of the ladder; it is what this life is about.

Many thanks to Patricia Clough at Gregory White PR and Aveniu Brands for inviting me and the opportunity to meet such wonderful people. Thank you Bruno and Ricard for taking the time away from your families and your work to share your wines. Thank you to each person that brought a piece of yourselves and shared with us all.  I will always drink to that. Cheers!

BTW-I made a last minute jump into the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge with this piece.  If you liked it, please vote. I haven’t entered in over a year!

{I was invited as media to this lunch.  I received no additional compensation.  Thoughts and opinions are my own.}

Taste the Memory- Brunello di Montalcino and Snooth Virtual Tasting

I had been once before.  My parents and I weaved and wandered through Umbria to the hills of Tuscany.  It was the year 2000.  They carefully planned our route to highlight loves from their previous visit. Assisi, Montepulciano, to Montalcino.  We nibbled on Ricciarelli as we combed the cobbled streets.  Although we visited a few tasting rooms that day, I did not know much about what I was tasting.

When I returned seven years later, I came with both a husband and a love of wine. Not an abundance of knowledge, but a well established affinity.  Our course was defined by both a desire to share what I had seen years before and epicurean exploration.  When we entered the medieval walls of Montalcino, we were met with crowds and signs indicating and food and wine festival that was about to begin.  Luck was on our side.  When the booths opened, there was one thing I wanted:a glass of Brunello di Montalcino.   We found a bench overlooking the hills of Tuscany and toasted.

In 2007 with Brunello di Montalcino
In 2007 with Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese grown in one of the warmest, most arid climates of Tuscany.  It is fermented  and held in Slavonian Oak.

Fattoria dei Barbi was established as a winemaking estate in 1790 making it one of the oldest estates to continually produce wine in the region. Colombini is the 20th generation heir. With new technology and respect for tradition, the name continues to well represent the region. These grape are hand-harvested and given a “cold-soak” for 48 hours before fermentation.

Tonight I will join Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth’s Editor-in-Chief and Fattoria dei Barbi’s owner Stefano Colombini to discuss five examples of Brunello that are currently available.

When the invitation to participate in tonight’s event came, I was thrilled.  When I opened the shipment, I was taken back.  As I turned over and inspected each label, I couldn’t help but smile.  One of the bottles we will be tasting tonight is from the 2007 vintage.  The same grapes that were just breaking on the vine as we meandered through the back roads of the region, were potentially the grapes in the bottle I was holding.  And I can’t wait to taste them.

Join us tonight, April 27th at 8:30est, 5:30pst for a discussion of Brunello.   We will be tasting:

  • 2013 Brusco dei Barbi
  • 2011 Rosso di Montalcino
  • 2008 Brunello di Montalcino
  • 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
  • 2007 Vigna del Fiore

For more information on tonight’s tasting, please visit Snooth and grab a bottle of Fattoria dei Barbi to join the discussion.  Salute!


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