Stay at home mom, lover of wine

It’s Legal!-#CarmenereDay

Well, sort of. Although the grape has been around for much longer, it was mistaken for Merlot. Twenty-one years ago, they correctly identified the variety and have been adjusting the growing practices since. Like all grapes, there are expected characteristics and then there are nuances that come from a combination of terroir, climate, growing practices, winemaking and other variables.

I recently sampled a few bottles of Carmenere from Chile, courtesy of Nonni Marketing. And since today is #CarmenereDay on Twitter, it seemed the perfect day to share them. Each wine images[3]was made from grapes grown in the Colchagua Valley, one of the best known regions in Chile. There, Carmenere is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in acreage.

Apaltagua, Gran Reserva 2013 – From start to finish, this was an enjoyable wine. Jeweled tones, great clarity. Juicy cherry and tobacco notes with smooth tannins. A red that can go from turkey to pasta, not overly complex, but interesting and a pleasure to drink. $13

images5QOM94JDCasa Silva, Los Lingues Vineyard 2013 – Nonni’s notes state that this label is one of the few brands with 100% of its vines certified under the Wines of Chile Sustainability Code. Always a plus. This was much more intense and rustic than the Apaltagua, more of what I think of with Carmenere. Rich, stewed fruit and cigar box, tobacco and cedar. Had I tasted it first, I would have paired it differently. Our vegan dinner was not quite enough but it was fun with the butternut squash and pomegranate.  $14-$21

Francois Lurton Hacienda Araucano, Alka 2011 – This wine became my husband’s birthday wine. A gem. The deepest hue of 11890432_is[2]black plum, so dense it was nearly opaque. Incredibly fragrant with notes of blackberry and vines, smoky cocoa. Brambly fruit, green and earthy, roots and stems, pepper. Intriguing, complex, delicious. We paired this with filet mignon with mushroom sauce; it worked very well together. $50

Regardless of menu or price point, Chilean Carmenere can work and wow. Priced to share, easy to pair or rich and reserve, there is something for all of our holiday meals. But well worth the risk. What are you opening for Carmenere Day?

{These wines were provided as media samples. I received no other compensation. Thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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 and 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!




Gobble Gobble Give- Potluck with a Purpose

We are now in our 5th year here in Austin. If you’ve participated before, thank you. If you are in any of the cities we have Gobble, Gobble, Give, consider volunteering. This year we are returning to straight potluck (we had started buying meals) which means we can’t do it without you, without each other.

Here is how it works:

1) Sign up for food item
2) Want to deliver or assemble? Sign up for that too.
3) Show up on Thanksgiving morning.
4) We will assemble meals in separate to-go containers.
5) Delivery teams do their thing, assembly line continues until we run out of food.
6) Clean up, go home, and be grateful.

If you are able to bring more, toiletries, socks, and blankets are always needed. That’s it!

I wrote this about the founder, my brother-in-law, and my experience with the charity three years ago. Our world’s needs are changing, different struggles are at the forefront of our minds.  It has grown but the heart remains the same.

At this time of year, many of us are rushing around, trying to decide on the perfect appetizer, on table settings and decor, and pairing wines that will fit the budget but still impress our guests. And some are trying to figure out where they will get their next meal. Or how to pay the electric bill. Or wishing they had an electric bill to pay. Between the destruction in the wake of the hurricane and the current unemployment across the country, the needs we see around us can be overwhelming. How can we help? How can we possibly make a difference when the need is everywhere and so much bigger than us? Continue reading “Gobble Gobble Give- Potluck with a Purpose”

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”

Meeting of the Minds-Indaba Wines

In most places the season is wrapping up, in South Africa it is just beginning and here in Central Texas it never ends: grilling season. Although it may look different, the spirit is the same. And though many of the current celebrity BBQ kings hail from Texas, South Africa boasts the oldest archeological evidence of the pastime. They too know their que.

In celebration of their National Braai Day, Braai4Heritage, on September 24th, Cape Classics sent our Braai packs so that we could sample a bit of their heritage. This included a sample of their Indaba Chenin Blanc, a red blend Indaba Mosaic, and a Peri-Peri rub, Rub with Love.

Continue reading “Meeting of the Minds-Indaba Wines”

Holy Halloween Party, Batman!

From the moment they opened their eyes, my children were ablaze. Crackling with expectation for the evening’s festivities, feeding off of one another, they ran with their neighborhood friends until I could rein them in, briefly to transform. I wasn’t far off.

Wielding a hot glue gun and green fabric, I channeled Batman’s villains to counter my heroic son. Since “Batman” wanted muscles, I reluctantly bought them. Catwoman and The Riddler were a breeze, and the “Mom” version of Poison Ivy was a fun challenge. We were ready to hit Gotham City, or rather the Block Party.


Continue reading “Holy Halloween Party, Batman!”

Giving Back, Coming Home, Going out #SHAREANNA

When we think of wineries, we think of festive gatherings.  Wine conjures the idea of celebration, warm-hearted revelry. Behind the scenes there is more: back-breaking labor, heartbreak, and trying days.  What you may not initially think of is philanthropy. It was not until I began writing about wine and receiving press releases about the programs sponsored or lives changed that I became aware of the great work that some of these wineries are committed to doing. I don’t typically pass a long press releases, but these are worth sharing.



Continue reading “Giving Back, Coming Home, Going out #SHAREANNA”

Re(de)fining Texas Wine- #Thesip

Refine (v)

: to remove the unwanted substances in (something)

: to improve (something) by making small changes

Define (v)

: to explain the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.)

: to show or describe (someone or something) clearly and completely

Last night was about defining, refining, and redefining Texas wine.  It was about what we’ve learned in the last ten years and where we are going in the next ten. It was about challenging the preconceptions, the misconceptions. And it was about good wines. Very good wines. Continue reading “Re(de)fining Texas Wine- #Thesip”

Fake it Till You Make It-Fall Recipes and Wines

This is the time of the year when I most miss my childhood home.  Glossed and changing leaves, tips curled, blanket the path and create a quilt of color.  The air, sweetened and chilled, hangs with a bit more weight. Bins of Macintosh line the path to the pumpkin patch and cider doughnuts punctuate most hikes.  The golden before the grey, the crisp before the bitter cold.  Autumn in the Adirondacks is hard to beat.


Here, the calendar says fall, the forecast argues, and we learn to fake it. Continue reading “Fake it Till You Make It-Fall Recipes and Wines”

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