Wine recommendations for the Presidents’ Day? Which also falls on Monday? In the other words, wine recommendations for Monday? Really?
I can see that you might be surprised, but why not? Monday is as perfect day for a glass of wine as Sunday. Or Saturday. Or Friday. I hope you are okay with wine on Monday, so let’s move on.
First of all, especially if you don’t live in the United States, let’s me briefly explain the holiday. Presidents’ Day commemorates birthday of the first president of United States, George Washington, and it is always celebrated on the third Monday in February. While the original holiday was linked to the actual birthday of George Washington on February 22nd, some states also celebrated birthday of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th), and some even add Thomas Jefferson (third President) to the mix, thus the holiday is collectively called Presidents’ Day (if you are interested in exploring the subject further, here is the link to Wikipedia article). Presidents’ Day is an official Federal holiday, which means that all the branches of the US government are closed – however, it is typically a regular work day for most of the companies.
Now, let’s talk about wine choices for the holiday which always falls on Monday. Does Monday calls for a special bottle of wine? Well, it is the first day of the week, which often is difficult enough in itself, so may be we need a bottle of wine on the lighter side? I happened to come across the wine which I think would be perfect for any Monday, but it is incredibly fitting this special Monday – and I will tell you why in a second.
Let me introduce to you The Federalist – the winery in California, founded in 2007 with the goal to commemorate our Founding Fathers. The first wine produced by The Federalist was called Visionary Zinfandel, and it is dedicated to Alexander Hamilton, who pioneered The Federalist Party. Currently winery offers 5 different wines, all of them dedicated to the people who defined The United States of America.
Now, for the holiday at hand, I would like to offer you two wines – Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, both from Lodi in California. Zinfandel is dedicated to … very conveniently, I have to say … George Washington, the first President of the USA and the man who’s birthday we are celebrating on the Presidents’ Day. The Cabernet Sauvignon bears the picture of Benjamin Franklin – while I’m sure many of you are familiar with Ben Franklin as the man who’s face emboldens the $100 bill, Ben Franklin is often called The First American for advocating unity of the colonies, and he was one of the key participants in drafting The Declaration of Independence.
Here are my notes on the wines:
2014 The Federalist Zinfandel Lodi, California (14.5% ABV, SRP $17.76, 93% Zinfandel, 7% Syrah, 12 months in 25% new American Oak)
C: dark ruby
N: fresh, open, medium intensity, blackberries, ripe raspberries
P: delicious, clean, round tobacco and raspberries, perfectly clean Zinfandel profile, smooth, clean, perfect balance
V: 8-, outstanding rendition of Zinfandel, good for everyday drinking with this QPR
2014 The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi, California (13.9% ABV, SRP $17.76, 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Syrah, 1% Sangiovese, 15 months in 35% new Oak)
N: eucalyptus, cassis, restrained
P: bright, fresh, delicious, red currant, cranberries, crisp acidity, medium body.
V: 8-, quite atypical of traditional California cab – much lighter style, but very delicious
So, have I convinced you to raise the glass to honor first American Presidents on Monday? I hope I did, so grab a bottle of The Federalist and let’s celebrate! Cheers!
As many of you know, I got the bug of The Wine Century Club for the endless quest to try wines made from as many different grapes as possible – yes, you can call me a grape geek, I don’t have an issue with that.
Back in August of last year I wrote a post about reaching the 500 grapes milestone and submitting my application for Pentavini level at The Wine Century club. Two days ago, I got a suspiciously promising envelope in the mail, and there it was:
Well, it is nice to get an acknowledgement for your geekiness in the form of this cool paper; it also reinforces desire to continue the quest. You can see my grape count in the right column of this blog page – yes, I got a long way to go to get to the next level, but it is a fun journey. At this point, The Wine Century Club doesn’t have a designation for the 600 grapes level – but it doesn’t make the process any less fun.
To look at things seriously, this is nothing more than a form of an adult fun, just another way to collect the experiences. There is no need to congratulate with this achievement, really. But I will be happy to be a source of encouragement for all the grape aficionados out there; if you want to leave comment, tell me about your own journey in the Wine Century Club quest, no matter how many grapes you tried so far. Grape geeks, rejoice! Cheers!
I heard about snow storm targeting East Coast of the USA on Wednesday. As I was at the meetings in San Diego, my first thought was “I have to make it back home to Connecticut”. Originally, I was supposed to take the red eye flight on Friday, come home for a day, and then leave for the conference in Florida on Sunday. I called travel agent right away, and moved my flight back to Newark to the middle of the day on Friday, and Florida flight to Monday morning – and felt pretty comfortable that I dealt well with upcoming storm.
Only on Friday, when I was practically ready to start moving to the airport, I got a message on my phone any air traveler is dreading the most: “your flight had been cancelled”… The thought of my family dealing with the snow on their own was practically unbearable. After talking to the travel agent, the truth settled in – I will not be able to make it home for the weekend, no matter how hard I will try. And yes, I will simply have to go directly to Florida without stopping in New York – no other options.
Coming out of the stupor, I realized – I have very close friends living close by in Irvine, which is about hour and half from San Diego – visiting them for the weekend would be a lot better than sitting by myself at the hotel – so Irvine it was.
My wife kept me updated on the snow situation back at home – this is what they will have to deal with today, and even for a while:
My day looked quite different – I discovered a Farmer’s Market in California. In the United States, there are two primary sources of fresh fruit and produce all year around – California and Florida, this was of course known to me. And farmer’s market is something which is not difficult to find in Connecticut, where I live – but only during the summer, mostly offering vegetables and a bit of fruit, and somehow always inciting me to challenge the authenticity of the actual “local farm” origin of that produce, seeing it sold from the pretty big trucks.
Thus farmer’s market we visited in Laguna Beach in California on Saturday in January was absolutely mind boggling experience for me as a foodie. All the citrus fruit you can imagine – grapefruit red and white, oranges, blood oranges, mandarins, Satsuma mandarins – to be honest, I don’t think I ever tasted a grapefruit which was as sweet and delicious as the one I tasted at this farmer’s market. Then you got strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, pears – lots of them. Everything tastes fresh, delicious and almost unreal for someone from the east coast. All sorts of vegetables, of course, almonds with lots of different preparations, walnuts, dried fruit – I can go on and on – I’m sure you can tell that I can hardly contain my excitement. So here is simply an extravaganza of colors for you, in the form of the pictures – unfortunately, blogs can’t convey taste and smell – not yet, at least:
And then of course there were flowers:
Also, you never know then the Universe might strike back, so someone always have to be ready:
If you are on the East Coast, I hope your digging out was successful and not super-tiring, so you can now relax with the glass of wine or whatever your heart’s desires. I’m off to continue flying. Cheers!
This post is an entry for the 22nd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC22), with the theme of “Second Chance”. Previous themes in the order of appearance were: Transportation, Trouble, Possession, Oops, Feast, Mystery, Devotion, Luck, Fear, Value, Friend, Local, Serendipity, Tradition, Success, Finish, Epiphany, Crisis, Choice, Variety, Pairing.
Let me describe to you I’m sure a very familiar situation: the bottle of wine is opened, wine is poured in a glass, you take a sip and … you don’t like it. Too sweet, too acidic, too sharp, too tannic, too “biting” – it is not always that you follow a sip with “wow” or “ahh”. What do you do next? Of course I understand that this question doesn’t have a single answer, as everything depends on the context. And as a side note, it is also implied that the wine is not spoiled – not corked, not cooked, not oxidized – it is simply not to your liking.
Let’s assume that you opened the wine in the comfort of your home. You can simply put the glass aside and decide to wait and see if the wine will change (you of course hope for the better). If this happened in the restaurant, your choices are limited – if you just ordered this bottle out of your own will, in most of the cases you can’t send it back (remember, we said it is not spoiled) – you can ask for the wine to be chilled or decanted, but that is about all you can do. If you are at a friend’s house, you probably have only one choice – to smile and to say that this is delicious, unless you grew tired of that friendship long time ago, so then it might be a good opportunity to end it on a high note.
No matter what setting it was, let’s assume you didn’t get to the point of liking the wine, and now it is in your memory as the wine-I-never-want-to-touch-again. Would you ever think of giving this wine another chance?
Yes, I know. There is such an abundance of wine around us that if we don’t like something, why bother with any “second chances”? It is humanely impossible to taste all the wines produced in the world, so why bother with something which you were done and over with? Yes, by all means you have a point. But is there a tiny little voice inside your head, which says “may be that wine needed more time to open up”, or “may be I was just in the wrong mood”, or “may be my food overpowered the wine”? Do you ever get any of those “may be”s, so you would actually go and try the wine again, just because you are curious?
I understand that this is matter of personality and an outlook on life in general, but more often than not, I find myself in the “may be?”, a “what if?” group. This is especially true when it comes to the wines which I open at home. If I take a sip of wine and don’t like it, I often put it aside, to try it on the next day. Or may be the day after next. Or may be even after that. One of my favorite examples is the bottle of 2002 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which opened up only on the 5th day (the wine was 11 years old when it was opened). When I took a first sip after just opening a bottle, the wine was tannic and literally devoid of fruit – there was no pleasure in that wine. Pumped the air out, put it aside for a day. Next day – literally no changes. And so was the story on the next day, and the next day. But I was not not ready to declare the wine a failure and just pour it out – kept giving it second chances. And the reward came on the day number 5, with layered fruit and delicious, powerful wine.
I have another example from literally 2 weeks ago, when we opened a bottle of 1980 Lamborghini Colli del Trasimeno Rosso (I can tell you that I bought the wine strictly on the basis of the fun name – Lamborghini – a car which I’m sure anyone would be happy to drive at least once). The wine was opened, went into a decanter – and for the whole evening nobody liked to drink it, as it tasted more as brine than the wine. I can’t tell you if I was giving the wine a conscious second chance, or was simply lazy to pour it out. Next day before clearing the decanter I decided to take a little sip – why not? And it appeared that the wine actually developed into delicious, mature wine, with the nose of tertiary aromas and palate full of sweet plums. Not the most amazing wine I ever had in my life, but perfectly delicious, mature wine which delivered lots of pleasure.
I could go on and on with similar examples, but I’m sure you got my point – the wine could’ve been discarded as “bad” and the great pleasure would be missed, if it wouldn’t be for the second chances.
So, what do you think? Do you have any “second chance” wine stories of your own, maybe with the happy ending? Do you think wines deserve their second chances? Cheers!
I’m sure you guessed from the title and the timing of this post that I want to talk about past year 2015 and freshly minted 2016. Yep, I’m predictable like that, you are correct.
So how was 2015 for 2015 for Talk-a-Vino in my own eyes? Great, but challenging. Very challenging. 2016 will be equally difficult, with great potential to be even more challenging, a lot more.
Sure, I will explain. Nothing happened with my love of wine or passion for blogging – both are as strong as ever. What I had (and will have) a problem with is time – my main line of work (the one which pays the bills, you know) is incomparably busier than two years back, and finding quiet time for the labor of love is now not easy at all. No, I’m not complaining, just explaining the change in cadence of the posts coming out.
Talking about 2015, there were few new things which I started doing. During the year, I was offered a few opportunities to meet with the winemakers, and was unable to find time – this is how the concept of virtual interviews came to life. I realized that even when I can’t sit down with the person in the same room, I can still ask questions – and get great answers. I also offered to profile wine apps for any of the app producers who would be interested, and so far had 3 posts in that series – by the way, the offer still stands if anyone is interested.
From the things which I didn’t like so much, but they still happened in 2015, was stopping the series of the Saturday wine quizzes. I had lots of fun creating those, but reached the point when it became very difficult to create challenging, but fun questions, so I had to stop the series, at least for the time being.
What should you expect in 2016? I definitely will continue the virtual interviews – as a matter of fact, one of them is coming out very shortly. I also have good number of posts which I really should’ve written last year, but did not. There were wine dinners, there were tastings, there were winery visits which never made it into the posts. However, the subjects are still worth taking about, so you should expect to see some of those “posts from the past”. I don’t know if I will make a series out of those posts (as an engineer, I like to organize things, may be even more than necessary), add short intro to those posts, or simply put them out without any regards to the “past” – no matter, they will still appear on Talk-a-Vino pages.
2016 is on, so let’s raise the glass to all the fun things which are ahead of us. Cheers!
I would like to wish you and your families wonderful, healthy, happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2016, full of new experiences and great little moments which comprise life. I wish you to have just enough failures so you can grow and move forward in your life. And as this is the wine blog, I wish you lots of wonderful, life changing and emotional wine moments.
2016 is the year of the Monkey – in the Chinese calendar, of course, so it will actually start on February 4th. it is also a year of the Fire Monkey – but the monkey you see above was the only I had handy for this picture (and I really don’t know how fire monkey should look like). The wines you see in the picture is what will be opened over the next few days – I will tell you later on what I think of them.
Happy New Year and let’s raise a glass to life! Cheers!