Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Year in Review

I can't believe its been almost a year since my last blog post. Its been a pretty crazy year, a year where I have had notions of blogging almost daily for at least the last 6 months, but just haven't been able to get around to it. Here's a rough rundown of 2010:

1) Had a fantastic trip to Idaho (via Walla Walla) for a friend's 30th birthday. Then went to Hawaii for the first time. Within one week I was in 3 ft of snow in a mountain resort town and in 80's on the beach in the middle of the ocean.
2) Got laid off from my job in March, with 60 days notice (wasn't a suprise).
3) Got a new job (with a much more stable company) after 62 days, meaning I didn't have to actually get unemployment, though I did fill out the online forms. Filled out the forms on Monday, got a job offer on Tuesday.
4) Opened a tasting room at a winery, and spent the weekends during the summer pouring and talking about wine.
5) Got married in August, which means I was planning a wedding while dealing with the prospect of unemployment.
6) Spent 3 days fast-tasting through Walla Walla on our honeymoon, and found my second favorite wine region (behind Willamette Valley), along with some really fantastic wineries and winemakers.
7) Went back to Walla Walla in November for Fall Release, and honed in on the wineries we really love there (and realized a good portion of my yearly wine budget will be going there).

Its been a good year overall. I've spent the last month or so really thinking about what I want to really be doing, and what I should be spending time doing. I fell like I waste a lot of time, which could be put to better use, which is what I'm planning on doing next year. More time at the gym, more time meditating, more time with friends, and more time blogging.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Appreciating Good Stemware

On our recent trip to Maui, we made the decision to bring a case of wine with us instead of buying wine or beer there. This was a great decision, except for the fact that the stemware in the place we stayed was horrendous. Olive Garden has better stemware. They were small, maybe holding 4-5 oz total, and very heavy and durable. I probably could've thrown one of these on the ground and had it not break, which was probably the point. There was no opportunity to swirl or sniff, unless I wanted to refill my glass after every taste. At one point, I even poured some wine into a keg cup to see if it was any better. It wasn't.

The trip really made me miss good stemware. Good stemware (like the Riedel Oregon Pinot glasses we have at home) really changes how a wine tastes, and definitely alters the level of enjoyment derived from drinking the wine. We took 3 bottles of Archery Summit Premier Cuvee with us. Drinking it out of the little glasses provided, it tasted like box wine, and was almost undrinkable. There definitely wasn't any enjoyment derived from drinking it, and you couldn't decipher any of the depth or complexity that the wine has. As soon as we got home, we opened a bottle of wine and drank it from our glasses, and there was an immediate reaction of "now this is how wine is supposed to taste."

Going forward, unless I know there is going to be at least adequate stemware, I'm not going to be bringing wine on any trips we go on. I'll just have to be satisfied with either beer or a cocktail. It just doesn't make sense to take a good bottle of wine and not enjoy it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maui Trip

We're taking a week-long trip to Maui starting tomorrow. Because of the limited wine scene there, we've decided to take a case of wine with us.

What we're taking with us:

2 - 2005 LaVelle Pinot Gris
2 - 2006 Sokol-Blosser Pinot Gris
1 - 2007 Chamisal Vineyards Edna Valley Chardonnay
1 - 2008 Archery Summit Rose
3 - 2007 Archery Summit Premier Cuvee
1 - 2006 Archery Summit Red Hills
1 - 2007 Purple Hands
1 - 2006 Pine Ridge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

We've got a deep sea fishing trip planned, and have thoughts of going snorkling at some point. Is there anything we can't miss while we're there?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wine & Philosophy

I've started reading a book that combines two of my great loves: "Wine & Philosophy: A Symposium on Thinking and Drinking", by Fritz Allhoff. After reading the introduction, I felt like putting my thoughts down, and this is going to be a good medium for that. It is a collection of essays, organized into six general themes: The Art & Culture of Wine, Tasting & Talking About Wine, Wine & Its Critics, The Beauty of Wine, Wine & Metaphysics, and The Politics & Economics of Wine. The first essay, Wine in Ancient Greece, will be the subject of an upcoming post.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sharing Wine with Wine Geeks

I'm finding that it is much easier to pick wines to drink with friends that aren't big wine drinkers. They're easy to please, and knowing that my palate is more experienced than theirs, I know that anything I've liked enough to purchase is probably going to taste just fine to them.

On the other hand, picking wine to drink with our wine geek friends is much more difficult. I'm constantly critiquing myself on my selections, and always feel like I need to impress them with what I bring. If its not old, foreign, or a cult wine, it just doesn't feel like its good enough.

Now, I'm sure that this is pressure I'm putting on myself without reason. When I think about it logically, it makes no sense. My wine geek friends aren't a judgemental group, and its not like I'm picking Yellowtail or Two-Buck Chuck (which have their place in the market). I guess its just that I've been impressed enough times with what I drink when in their company, that I want to be sure I bring the same amount of "thunder" to the table.

To alleve this pressure, maybe I should bring some "secret" bottles to share. Wrap them in paper so what they are cannot be deduced before tasting, and see what kind of reactions I get. Maybe that's the way that wine should be shared between friends, with only the wine speaking for itself and my palate, not the label or reputation.