Piperfield Wines 5k Verdelho, Lodi, CA

10k_verdelho_bottle1-246x772Hi, it’s me, your Absent Wine Blogger. So here are my most recent excuses for not posting:
• It’s too hot to write – ok, this one is a little weak since I’m sitting in the AC.
• I’m too tired to write – this does have some truth in it, since I’m full-time again.
• I’m too brain dead after work to write – Yep, that is for sure.
• I don’t have enough new wines to try to write about – bingo, that’s a big one.
So maybe it’s a combo of all of the above or maybe I’ve just really lost my mojo, my inspiration, my muse… Nah, it’s the above!

So anyway, here I am, I think the last time I posted was in June when our AC went out. I remember when August arrived and all I could think was let’s just fast-forward through this month and onto September. I’m tired of the heat, the humidity and the lack of rain. This summer sucked as far as I’m concerned and I couldn’t wait for the cooler temps that September would surely bring.

Then why the hell is it still so unbearable and it’s the first day of fall. I’m started to wonder if we’re just going to skip over my favorite season and just land in winter. Cue the sigh…

Ok, I guess that just gives me a little longer to sit on the porch, with the fan on high and drink some white wines. Recently I received a sample of Piperfield Wines 5k Verdelho, Lodi, CA. I have to admit, I wasn’t very familiar with the Verdelho grape, so this was a first for me.

Aromas of mango, peach and a hint of lush pineapple. Flavors of succulent peach, hint of melon and citrus fruits with a nice crisp finish. Too bad it was so warm outside, the wine in the glass kept warming up too.

Appellation: Lodi, Ca.
Harvest: aug 15, 2014
Brix: 24
Ph: 3.35
Alcohol: 13.5%

The Verdelho grapes originate from Madeira Portugal and are now grown on 4 acres on Terminous Island, located in the California Delta. The island has the distinction of being the last island on the western edge of the Lodi Appellation. Peat-rich soil, warm summer days and cool evenings help the Verdelho grapes flourish. There are just 3 vineyards in the US currently growing this special variety.

I love wines I can feel good about. Piperfield Wines is the result of a 30-year friendship between two former waitresses whose love of wine and “balance” inspired their 5k and 1k wines. Five percent of all profits from wine sales go to local small charities. If you’d like to submit a cause you support, check out their Grateful Grapes program.

I’m crossing fingers I see cooler temps soon. I mean a break from upper 80’s would be a plus at this point. I’m hitting the Dale Chihuly Exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this weekend. Stay tuned as I may just post some pics!

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Eden Ridge Chardonnay and Eden Ridge Red Blend

I swear it’s been July for at least four weeks now! At least it’s felt like July or maybe evenEden Ridge August. On Saturday my area hit 98 degrees. It’s not supposed to be that hot, not yet! I also learned this past weekend that Liquid Nails melts in high temps. My latest garden art project was holding fine earlier in the week but on Sunday fell apart. All the glue had melted.

We did however get a break two weeks ago; well I guess it depends on how you look at that break. Friday night just before bed, I thought either I’m getting the wine sweats or the AC isn’t working. Sure enough, just warm air coming out of the vents. Next day we realized the fan in the outside unit wasn’t turning. We were able to “kick start” it a few times but this was futile. Every time the air kicked off, we had to go “kick start” it again, until finally even that didn’t work.

Two lucky things happened here. One, is my husband is amazing around the house and after doing some research and a few You Tube videos came to the conclusion it was the capacitor, which I will here out refer to as the flux capacitor! Well, turns out it’s a $16 part which can be ordered off Amazon with free two-day delivery. The other lucky break, a drop in temps and humidity which allowed us to leave the windows open and not swelter until the part arrived.

Since then, we’ve been confined to doing our wine drinking in the nice air conditioned living room. But that’s ok, the wine is good and so is the company.

Some recent wine samples I received include Eden Ridge 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select and Eden Ridge 2013 Red Blend

Eden Ridge 2013 Chardonnay Barrel Select
Aromas of apple and tropical fruits. First sip was a little buttery but more like creamy Hyacinthbutterscotch, then a semi sweet lychee fruit flavor rounded out by peach and pineapple. SRP – under $11.
We were able to enjoy this wine on the porch during are cooler temps. It was nice to look at the process the gardens have taken and watch my Dollar Tree pinwheels spin in the breeze.Gardens from Front Porch

Gardens from Front Porch 2

 

 

 

 

 

Eden Ridge 2013 Red Blend Barrel Select
Plum and blackberry aromas. Juicy ripe strawberry and blackberry flavors. Finish is a hint of vanilla and spice.
Easy sipping after the hottest day of the year as we reached 98. We spent the morning at New Echota, the first Cherokee National Capital. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend. It’s not expensive and has a lot of historical buildings and information.

 

Well folks, Fourth of July is just around the corner. Grab some burgers, hot dogs, apple pie and watermelon. And don’t forget the wine!

Cheers!

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Peace, Love and Light

I did have a post prepared for this week but in light of the tragedy in Orlando, I’m left heart 2wondering what happened to the innocence we once enjoyed in our country. It has been years since I’ve felt that security that nothing could break us but I remember it well as a kid.

Wearing red, white and blue on July 4th, eating rocket pops, swallowing a watermelon seed and wondering if a watermelon would grow in my stomach, playing outside until the street lights came on, going to the playground without parents, riding bikes up to the local mall, slumber parties, Friday nights at pizza parlors, these are the childhood experiences that make me happy.

I’ve really had a chance to stop and think about all the little things that make us whole and happy.

For example, yesterday as I looked at the flower garden my husband and I spent so much time on, not to mention money. Labored over for six weekends and still putting in time. I was just beginning to think we were doomed, that we just don’t get enough sun light, I put the seeds and bulbs in the ground too late, etc. All that work and not a single flower blooming. But today, I walked through the garden and saw one Morning Glory, walking further on, I saw one small bud on one of my Cosmos, then another small bud on a mystery stem. And I thought, maybe there’s hope yet.

Now my story can’t compare with heart breaking stories, the loss of a loved one or traumatic event but it’s these small things that make up our lives. We’re not just one faceted beings, there are things that shape us almost every day. The decision to hold the door for a total stranger, even when they’re several feet away (what is the appropriate amount of feet from the door that justifies holding it for others anyway?), the stranger in front of us struggling to pay for all of their groceries so you offer to help or the decision to try to stop in time from hitting the squirrel that ran out in front of your car.

Each day, the way we interact with others, family, friends, co-workers, even strangers, creates little chinks in time that make up our day and ultimately our lives.

Today, three of the victim’s funerals are being held in the Orlando area and there are groups moving in to riot and create nothing but hate and commotion at a time when the world could use a little more love and compassion. I’m not going to go more into this group because frankly, I just don’t want to waste my time and energy on them.

I don’t really have much of a point to this post but maybe just take a little time to stop and look around at the beauty, the ones you love and the freedoms we have.

Just a note on the title. I recently  began meditating and while my mantra changes on occasion, I tend to use peace, love and light pretty regularly. Feel free to use it for your own centering.

Peace, love and light to you all.

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Dearly Beloved I Thee Red

Summers always make me nostalgic. It starts around the time the seniors are getting out ofDearly Beloved school and graduation is approaching. I remember the feeling of freedom after my last exam, the excitement that life was about to change. I didn’t think about how I wouldn’t see some of my friends for months at a time or ever again. There was still summer.
Then I think about my summers as a kid. My mom was a teacher so she stayed home with me during the summer and we’d go to the beach, vacation two weeks on Sanibel Island (just a mere 30 minutes from our home), go see relatives in Illinois, or just spend the what seemed like endless days in our backyard pool.

I was allowed 3 hours of TV time from 8-5. I remember watching, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan’s Island and the Monkees. Around 10:00 AM, I’d go out to the pool where I’d remain for the rest of the day. I ate lunch in or beside the pool, I got out to use the bathroom and if there was an afternoon thunderstorm. If it was just raining, with no lighting, I stayed in the pool.

I made forts out of towels and lawn furniture, my Barbies and Fisher Price people went on “vacation” each summer and the pool was always a big hit with them. So were tours around the living room in their shoe box car (my Barbie apparently couldn’t get a car loan for the sports car).

Those long lazy days of reading, swimming and playing are something I wish I could have again. And this summer, I vow to have just a tiny bit of those days.

Over Memorial Day a chain of events prevented me from sitting lakeside, so I got my beach chair, attached the oscillating sprinkler head and read a book in our river rock by the driveway. After a while I decided I better put some sunscreen on and the scent of Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Lotion took me back to my beach days.

Even the smell of the moth balls used to keep Rat Snakes away from where our chickens like to lay eggs brings back memories. Now the porch area smells like my Great-Aunt Gladys’ bathroom.

Well, in case you couldn’t tell by the temps and the occasional tropical storm, summertime has arrived!  You know what else arrived…some new wine samples! Yes, I went to check my wine mailbox, I think it had been close to a month since I checked last and what to my wondering eyes should appear but 6 shiny bottles full of my favorite fruit.

One of the bottles is one of my favorite go to wines. Easy to find, easy to drink and very easy on the wallet, Dearly Beloved.
Smokey and robust berry aromas. Dark black cherry and mocha flavors. Medium bodied and a suitable red for porch sipping in the warm summer months. Smooth, easy drinking and affordable, winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I think on Sunday, I’ll do a little gardening and then drag out my chair and book and and turn on the sprinkler.

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Confessions of a Foodie and Wino

For years now I’ve been struggling with my weight. Actually I’ve struggled with it all my

These are a few of my favorite things.

These are a few of my favorite things.

life. In high school, I stayed thin by not eating. Sure I’d faint or come close to it several times a week but at least I was thin. In college I only gained 5lbs vs. the freshman 15, this brought my 5’10 frame up to a whopping 122lbs. Yes, still very much underweight but I felt fat and would deprive myself on a regular basis.
But something happened after college, I stopped going to dance clubs and dancing off my alcohol calories and started going to bars where I’d sit for hours with friends drinking and just having fun. But now the calories had nowhere to go except my butt, hips and stomach.

Oh I’d do diets and lose some weight but like so many others I’d soon gain it back and more. I exercised, took up running, which I never enjoyed much at all, and I would lose inches. Weight stayed pretty much the same but I’d go down in clothing sizes. But work got too hectic and I stopped going to the gym and never picked it up again.
For the past few years since we’ve had our dog, Rooster, who requires daily walks my weight has stayed the same. I guess it’s better than going up but I really want it to go

More of my favorite things

More of my favorite things

down.
I’m not a gym person, I know I won’t go so I’m not going to buy a membership. So I need to figure out how to incorporate just a little more exercise, I’m thinking weights/strength training and more importantly how to cut out the empty calories, that stick to your butt, hips, thighs and everywhere else, and here’s the big one, how to cut down on my beloved wine…gasp (cue dramatic organ music).
I don’t mind telling you the thought of giving up my nightly wine time with my husband saddens me. I truly consider wine to be a food group and one in which I enjoy several servings of nightly. Some nights, I enjoy a few more servings than others but lately we have kept it to one bottle, so what if it’s a 1.5 liter. Ok, just joking.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to be accountable and somewhere to record by successes (hopefully I have them) and my failures (hopefully there are less of these). I specifically did not make this a New Year’s resolution because I think that just sets a person up to fail. I need to make small changes so it doesn’t seem like a punishment and will become more of the norm rather than a big change. So the date I’m choosing is Feb 1. My birthday is on the 22nd, so hopefully I’ll see just a few pounds difference by that date.
Here are the things I will struggle with consuming less:
Wine
Pasta – I know whole wheat is better but I literally have dozens of boxes and bags of pasta in my basement pantry.
Bread – I’m fine with buying wheat for everyday sandwiches but my husband bakes our baguettes, rolls and specialty breads.

Here’s what I won’t have any problem giving up:
Sweets – any kind. Chocolate, ice cream, cookies, etc, not my thing. Sure I have them occasionally but it’s rare.
Junk food – not my thing either.
Fast Food – ugh, it’s barely food and I don’t eat the crap anyway.

So there you have it, the things I love have made me fat! Stay tuned, I hope to have some successes to share in the upcoming months!
Until then, I’ll be enjoying some wine, cheese and pasta.

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The Absent Wine Blogger

I think I should change the title of my blog to “The Absent Wine Blogger”, because that’s

View of Yonah Mountain from The Cottage Winery - Cleveland, GA

View of Yonah Mountain from The Cottage Winery – Cleveland, GA

just what I’ve been…absent. I don’t know how other bloggers with full time jobs do it. After spending 8-10 hours on a laptop, I’m toast at the end of the day. My creative juices are all used up and it’s all I can do to make dinner.

On the weekends I’m trying to play catch up on house work, projects and spending time with my husband. My hats off to those who seem to do all of it because I’m truly failing at doing it all.

So what have I been up to? Well I’m still drinking wine, of course but now it’s an even bigger challenge for me to source affordable wines. If you read my blog you know my husband and I moved to NE Georgia in 2011. Having come from Tampa I was spoiled with the ample places to buy good wine at good prices. The area I live in now has one wine store with a limited number of wines and unfortunately none of them at everyday drinking prices, at least not for my budget. We do have the big box grocery stores but the wines are so overpriced they typically go for twice the price they would be at other large wine retailers. The liquor stores offer a few opportunities but are still limited…sigh.

So what’s a wine drinker on the cheap to do? Well once a month I trek down to Alpharetta and spend a couple hundred dollars on wine. I always get the same question, “Are you having a party?” My response used to be, “No, just stocking up.” Now I try to make it a game to see what kind of responses I can give. My favorite is, “My parents are coming for the weekend” and I don’t offer additional info. Sometimes they laugh and other times they have a somewhat concerned look.

My other new source is Aldi. The selection is very limited but is better than nothing and they do have a few that are very drinkable and priced right.

Outlander Meritage – $8.99 – Blackberry aromas with flavors of blackberry, dark plum and a hint of vanilla in the finish.

Lil’ Koala Shiraz – $4.89 – Spicy aromas with plum and dark berry flavors. For $4.89 it’s not something I would take to a nice dinner party but it is drinkable when you just can’t spend $15+ on a bottle of wine every night.

Burlwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon –$4.89 – Flavors of dark fruits and a hint of spice in the finish. Flavors are a little flat and truly benefits from proper chilling but still not too bad in a pinch.

Los Andicos Malbec – $7.99 Flavors of plum and black cherry with a spicy vanilla finish. We had this one this past week, not bad really.

Herres Brut Sparkling – $4.89 – my go to every night sparkler. Fresh apple flavors, listed as a brut it tends to be on the drier side but there is just a touch of sweetness. Light and good for the price.

Don’t have an Aldi? Don’t worry; they’re expanding into markets just like their sister company Trader Joe’s. Owned by Germany’s Albrecht family they are listening to US consumers who are listing both stores as their favorite grocery stores beating out Safeway, Kroger, Wholefoods and even the south’s beloved, Publix. For an interesting article on the two stores, published by Time click here.

Well kids, that’s all the time I have this week.

Happy drinking!

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Applesauce, Not Just For Pork Chops Anymore

DSCN3166We’ve all seen the Brady Bunch episode where Peter Brady tries to reinvent himself and gives his horrible yet now well-known impression of Humphrey Bogart. Peter walks into the Brady’s burnt orange and avocado green kitchen and asks “What’s for dinner?” Carol and Alice respond with pork chops and applesauce. Peter: “You say we’re having pork chops and applesauce. That’s swell.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve uttered this phrase when telling my husband what’s for dinner more times than I can count. Problem is, we really don’t have the applesauce because my husband’s not a fan, until now.
Our neighbor came back from Iowa with bags full of apples which they happily shared with us. My brain started thinking, what can I do with all these apples? I don’t really like apple pie and apple butter just sits in my fridge, so applesauce they became.
I didn’t puree, I left the apples chunky which got my brain going again, this applesauce is more than just a mere side dish, this applesauce can be the star of the show.
Think holiday season, parties, dinners with friends or just dinner with your family.
Just a few ideas:
Water crackers topped with Gorgonzola, applesauce and chopped almonds
Crustini with applesauce and smoked almonds.
As a chutney served over ice cream or well just about anything.
Crumble bacon on top and just eat!
Or as the usual applesauce with pork chops or brats

Here’s my quick and simple recipe.
Apple Sauce
Ingredients:
Apples – amount depends on how much you want to make, cut into bite size chunks
Peeled or unpeeled, the choice is yours
Liquid – I used faux moonshine* but you can use apple juice
Sugar – I didn’t add any since the shine was already sweet but add to your liking
Ground cinnamon – healthy dose

Place apples in sauce pan, pour enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan. If your liquid is dissipating before your apples are cooked, add a splash more. The apples will add a little of their own liquid
Cook on medium heat
I continued to cook the concoction and stir for about 20 minutes. Once the shine began to thicken, it was done. The house will smell amazing.
I store mine in Weck jars in the fridge and should keep for about 2 weeks.

*Apple Pie “Moonshine” – given to us by our neighbors
Ingredients:
1 gallon apple cider
1 gallon apple juice
3 cups white sugar
8 cinnamon sticks
1 liter bottle of 190 proof moonshine or grain alcohol – neighbor used Everclear
Directions
In a large pot combine the apple cider, apple juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.
Bring it to a boil, then take it off the heat and allow it to cool.
Add the liter of liquor.
Pour this into mason jars, put the lids on, and let it “age”.
Can be cut in half or ¼ to make smaller batches.

My husband and I drove up to Blue Ridge, GA last week. We took the scenic route up through the winding mountain roads and through Chattahoochee National Forest. This road used to scare the crap out of me, I still don’t want to drive it but I don’t have to shut my eyes now and can enjoy the beautiful scenery. We stopped at Woody Gap to take a look at the Yahoola Valley below and a pee break. The ridge gap is 3,160 ft above the Yahoola Valley and where the Appalachian Trail crosses Highway 60. There’s a small shed with trail bathrooms and let’s just say it was very windy, cold and well there were drafts hitting places on me that I don’t think have ever felt a draft.
After a nice day in Blue Ridge, albeit a very crowded day with leaf peepers, we headed home but went the other direction and through Gilmer County, the Apple Capital of Georgia. We stopped at one apple barn but I passed on getting more apples, instead we went for 3 huge heads of cabbage and huge bunch of turnips all for $5. Well can you guess what one of my upcoming posts may be, that’s right how to get rid of, I mean use sauerkraut and turnips. I know you’re excited.
Stay tuned. Oh and maybe we’ll talk about some wine again too.

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