Dracaena Wines

Exploring the Wine Glass

WWHBD February 4, 2015

Welcome to the next installment of WWHBD. If you have been following us, you know this is a bi-monthly post about What WHave Been Drinking. As in previous posts, since we are true believers of “Drink what you like and everyone tastes differently,” rather than including our tasting notes, I have included basic information about each of the wines, or a bit about what was happening in our lives while we were enjoying them.  If you are interested in reading our tasting notes and our ratings head on over to Delectable and check us out @Dracaenawines.

Ah, another Wine Wednesday.  It has been a tough week.  It always amazes me how a short week (we were off for MLK on Monday) can turn into such a long one.  Do you know what I mean?  The week should fly by since it is a day shorter, but somehow, some way, it seems longer.  We spent our long weekend in Atlantic City.  We stayed at Bally’s and I have to say, I was so disappointed.  Although we are really craps players, we do spend quite a bit of time on the slots and unfortunately all our favorite slot machines were gone from both Bally’s and Caesars. There really are only about four slot machines we play and now they are all gone.  But the good news is that forced me to go to a table.  I chose three-card poker, and my oh my didn’t a Straight Flush find its way into my hand.  Not only that, but the dealear had two more hearts so I got an additional flush on the hand.  Hello and thank you very much!

Dracaena Wines, J Lohr October Night

Anyway, back to what this blog is really about, what has been in our glass.  This Wednesday we chose 2011 J. Lohr October Night.  We love these guys and love that we can support our own area.  You can find J. Lohr in local shops, but if you have the chance, you NEED to stop in for a tasting. There are so many wines that are not available outside the tasting room, and this is one of them.  According to their website they started in the Central Cost four decades ago. They were there before it really was considered a wine region.  And there they remain. (Lucky for us!) The vineyards for October Night are found in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County. It is wind-protected and is mostly the Dijon Clone 809 Chardonnay (Musqué Clone.)  This Chardonnay is planted in loamy soil with stones that are known as “Greenfield potatoes” that absorb the heat of the day while radiating the heat during the cooler nights. Keep an eye out for this Chardonnay. We paired it with pasta mixed with fresh mozzarella, onions and broccoli.  

The media had stated that this morning (Sat.) we could expect three inches of snow and that it would all turn to rain and be gone by latesnow afternoon.  Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, we woke up to about 8 inches and although the temperatures rose, it didn’t rain, so the snow is still here.  Now, for those of you not familiar with the wonders of snow, this weather is perfect for horrible ice tomorrow!  I can expect to wake up to some really nasty roads tomorrow. Happy Joy Joy!  But that is tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, snow can be beautiful – don’t you think?  The problem is that it either overstays its welcome or makes too many visits!  

Today Mike left for Europe on a business trip.  He was lucky enough to have a late flight that was not delayed because of the weather. So that left me all alone for dinner.  I decided it was a good night for wine and cheese.  For cheese I decided on a Piave Reserve and a Garrotxa.  I have had the Piave many times but the Garrotxa was a new one to me.  It’s a mildly acidic goat cheese. IMG_3162Although the Piave paired well, I must admit I held off on the Garrotxa because it just didn’t go well with the wine.  For the wine I decided on a 2013 Gascon Malbec.  This wine entered my  radar thanks to Michelle Williams, better known as @fiery01red on twitter.  You can find her review of this wine here. Since Mike was watching movies while he is in the air, I took advantage of a Christmas present he got me.  I used my Apple TV to watch Gone Girl.  I loved this book.  I admit that it started off slow.  But about a third of the way through, holy cow did it take off!  I couldn’t put the book down.  I read like a maniac.  I could not get enough of it.  With loving the book so much, I have waited for this movie and was thrilled to watch it tonight.  Honestly, I’m kind of disappointed.  It’s kind of a weird thing, but when I read a book, if I like it, it’s almost like I stop “reading” and a movie scrolls through  my mind. So if it’s a book I like, it’s like a movie in my mind, while a book I’m not enjoying remains words.  Gone Girl, the book, was definitely a movie in my mind! Although it followed the same suit as the book, slow at the beginning and not taking off until her side of the story, sadly, Gone Girl, the movie, is more like words on a page. 

Today is Sunday.   I don’t have a wine to discuss, rather I have a wonderful charity to talk about.  Tonight, my friends and I attended “Pinot for Pooches.” IMG_3179We attended this charity event of Special Needs K9   Here, I got to meet Gunner.  You could not find a more adorable and loving dog.  He is such a sweetheart. Sadly, because he is part pitt bull, people have decided he is not worth it.  But the people at Special Needs have taken him on, and I can attest he is a pure love dove!  He was so good thought out the entire time we were there!  I could just eat him up! Anyway, the event was held at Pinot’s Palette in Montclair, NJ and it was one of those places that you go in, and they teach you how to paint a picture.  I have to admit, as a person who can’t draw a stick figure, I was pretty pessimistic.  However, at the end, I didn’t think my painting was “so bad.” I’m not saying I’m an artist, but I think it speaks to the talent of the person who talked us through the painting. What do you think?  Can you tell which one is the professional and which one is mine? I know it is a tough decision. Go ahead and guess! LOL!!!  

IMG_3204Once again our wonderful weather professionals were wrong.  At least this time, it was in the better direction for us.  They talked up “Blizzard Juno” big time.  Some words they used to describe it were, “EPIC!
HISTORIC! CRUSHING BLIZZARD! THUNDER SNOW!  STATE OF EMERGENCY!  BLINDING!  DISASTER!  and CATASTROPHIC!”  Well, they didn’t quite get that right for us in New Jersey.  I have to admit, since Mike is in Europe, I went to the dark side and was willing to believe all the hype.  I was truly nervous when I woke up this morning to look out the window.  Upon awaking, I had a pleasant surprise. We only had about a foot of snow (total including Saturday’s storm, so figure 2-3 inches.)  Easy pease!!! A few hours later, I could see my driveway and sidewalks. However, with the wind, they are all covered again.  Pretty sure I will have to do a quick clean up before the night is over, but I will definitely take that over the alternative.  Vegas, however, as you can see in the picture, is not a cold weather dog.  He is not happy at all. 

Happy Wine Wednesday all!  Tonight I really felt like bubbles.  I went into the cellar and chose a NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs. Just look at those bubbles!

I think it is interesting how Sparkling (can’t officially call it Champagne) makes me happy. Merlot, if you have read previous posts you know, also makes me happy, but in a completely different way.  I enjoy Merlot, but bubbles, make me (dare I say) bubbly! For those not familiar with Sparkling, there are three basic production styles. Other methods include Transfer Process and Charmat Process.  Transfer Process is cheaper because there is no riddling. Bottles are emptied into a transfer tank under pressure instead fo riddling and no carbon dioxide is lost to filtering and dosage.  These bottles can claim “fermented in a bottle” or “bottle fermented.”   The Charmat Process is a bulk process.  It is typically used in inexpensive sparkling .  The second fermentation is done in a tank.  It is very rapid and very uniform and is not aged on lees. It tends to have larger bubbles. The original, Champagne, was done through Methode ancestrale.  This involved only a single fermentation and contained residues. The final method, the way true Champagne is made is the Traditional Method, Method Champenoise.  This declaration means that it was fermented in the bottle you are holding in your hand. (do you notice the difference in language? “in this bottle” vs. “in a bottle”) 

IMG_3207I paired this with a mozzarella broccoli chicken roll.  I totally winged this! I had left over fresh mozzarella.  In my brain, I envisioned it with spinach, but when I opened the freezer we didn’t have any. And there was no way in hell I was going anywhere near a food store.  We had just had the “blizzard of all blizzards” NOT and have a forecast for two more coming up.  I dealt with what I had in the freezer.  Super easy to make.  I just flattened the chicken, put the fresh mozzarella and broccoli on half and folded over.  I put a heck of a lot of toothpicks and baked at 350 for 25 minutes.  This was a big deal for me.  I never cook like this when Mike isn’t home.  I guess I really wanted my bubbles! 

It’s Friday.  It snowed AGAIN!  I honestly think we got more snow last night than we did for Juno. So  after my FINAL swimming practice IMG_3227of the season (woot! woot!) I came home and let Vegas out while I shoveled once again.  This however stunk because under the snow there was a sheet of ice.  I hate ice.  I am just waiting to wipe out. I always do – it’s just a matter of time.  As I shoveled, Vegas stared at me to let him in.  As you can see in the above pictures, he is NOT a fan of the cold.  He truly hates the cold weather (more than I do-if that’s possible.)  After shoveling and throwing the melting salt down, I took Vegas for a walk.  We both froze our butts off and ran home quickly.  Then my parents came to pick me up for dinner. We went to Mike’s and my favorite BYOB, Nadie’s.  I know, we go there a lot! I can’t help it, the food is so good.  I ordered their Rigatoni in Vodka Sauce with peas and all their meals come with an amazing salad.  I felt like a Merlot, so I opened a 2010 Jessup Cellars.  They are located in Yountville just up the road from the infamous The French Laundry.  It is a smaller, modern mediterranean (if that is possible) tasting room that has a beautiful art gallery attached.  People rave about their Manny’s Blend, but I prefer their Merlot.  Anyway, it was a nice evening with mom and dad.  I enjoy being able to spend time with them.  I love them to death and love being with them.  I know I’m lucky to have such an awesome relationship with my parents.   I hear people talk about how they can’t deal with theirs, and it just makes me appreciate them even more.
IIMG_3236t’s Saturday and I had to wake up early.  We had our league championships this morning. They were suppose to be on Tuesday but with the dreaded forecast for Juno they cancelled it prematurely.   After the leagues, I bolted to my friend Donna’s because this was a big day!  For Christmas, she was insane, and bought us tickets to see Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man on Broadway.  I LOVE Bradley Cooper! To be able to see him live is beyond amazing.  We drove into the city and had some time to kill.  We stopped into a bar and had a drink. I settled on a Byron Chardonnay. We then went to the theatre. She had purchased the box seats for us.  The Waldorf and Statler seats, as I like to call them. (if you don’t know what I mean, google The Muppets)  We were so close to Bradley Cooper, I kept saying to Donna that I could make the jump from the seats and easily get on stage. Just before the show began, I posted the picture of Donna and me on Instagram along with the stage. When the show was over I checked my phone and noticed that no other than Bradley Cooper “liked” my photo.  Yeah, I’m guessing he saw me in the audience, and knew to check his feed.  He is so appreciative of how big a fan I am that he HAD to like my picture! LOL!
Mike had just came home from a week in Europe.  On the way home I called for pizza.  Nice and easy dinner.  When I walked in the door, Mike had a 2010 Calcareous Cabernet Sauvignon from York Mountain.  According to their website,  “The one thing that makes for the creation of uniqueness amongst wineries is the exact place the vines reside.  The singular mix of soil, water, sun, and air in each vineyard creates individual wines as snowflakes formed in the chaos of storm clouds.  That is why we here at Calcareous celebrate above all other factors, our place.” And what a place it is.  The views are beautiful.  If you are in the area, you do not want to miss Calcareous’ views or wines!
Wine Tasting Room Calcareous in Paso Robles

acquired from Calcareous’ website

Well, another Monday night is upon us. Typically, this is not a wine night for us. eberle But since we had another snow day today we were home and we cooked dinner.  Actually, Mike cooked.  He made peanut butter pasta.  It is sort of like cold sesame noodles, but warm and with no sesame seeds.  He doesn’t have a recipe, so every time he makes it, it is a little different, but always good.  We paired it with an Eberle Viognier. We found Eberle vineyards on our very first trip out to Paso Robles.  Being sports fans, we had to visit.  In case you didn’t know, Gary Eberle played football for Penn State on a scholarship.  He graduated with a BS in Biology and attended LSU (I won’t hold that against him being a Razorback fan) where he studied cellular genetics.  This is where he fell in love with wine and decided to change career paths and become a winemaker. He is just one of several athletes that have decided to enter the wonderful world of wine. And it just so happens that I wrote a blog post on some of my favorites which you can read  here.

Hope you have had some great wines and times these past two weeks. Remember, always Pursue Your Passion.  We would love for you to leave a comment telling us what your favorite recent wine was. 

~Slainte!