Fàilte! Welcome to the next installment of Exploring the Wine Glass. Mike and I are big proponents of you should drink what you like and you are the only one who can taste like you. We advocate the fact that everyone experiences the wine differently, so in these posts we do not discuss our tasting notes.  Instead we include basic information about each of the wineries, and/or a bit about what was happening in our lives while we were enjoying them. With that said, if you are interested in reading our tasting notes and our ratings head on over to Delectable and check us out. We tell it as we taste it over there.  As always, since as oenophiles we love to celebrate #WineWednesday, our week runs from one Wednesday to the next. 

Week 1

Wednesday again, I can’t believe how that day’s meaning changes during the summer.  During the school year, I love the day. It means the week is half over and the weekend is nearing. (of course it also means that it is #WineWednesday – but that meaning doesn’t change).  However, in the summer, when Wednesday comes around, it means, damn, another week is almost over! September is getting closer.  Now I know many of you are thinking I’m being petty, and that I shouldn’t complain about having the summer off, but teachers do need a break.  I need a break! During the school year I teach, coach, officiate, run the clock and do crowd control for sporting events. That’s a lot of running around and it does take a toll. Summer allows me to decompress.  It allows me to just unwind. So the back to school commercials and the impending September doom are not exactly my happy thoughts.

Dracaena WinesEnough with my self-pity, onto the good stuff.  Tonight we had one of my favorites. Cheese and wine!  I would write more about the cheese, but apparently I lost my receipt telling me what they specifically were. I know one was soft cheese with cranberries throughout. I had to get this one even though I knew Mike wouldn’t like it because it sounded so darn awesome.  And I was right, I thought it was amazing!  The other two I bought with Mike in mind knowing he likes the harder more crystallized cheeses.  One was a Mahón and the other an aged cheddar. For the wine we had a 2010 Columbia Crest Horse Haven Hills Merlot. According to Wikipedia: “The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is an American Viticultural Area in southeastern Washington, and is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. The Horse Heaven Hills AVA borders the Yakima Valley AVA on the north and the Columbia River on the south. Elevations in this AVA range from 200 feet (61 m) above sea level in the south to 1,800 feet (549 m) above sea level at the northern boundary. Grapes planted in the south-facing slopes of the Horse Heaven Hills benefit from strong winds that arrive from the west via the Columbia Gorge, reducing the likelihood of rot and fungal diseases.” I found out this little tidbit on my most recent web search – Columbia Crest is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, who also owns Chateau Ste. Michelle. How did not know this?! [part of me thinks I did and just forgot] At least I did know that Domaine Ste. Michelle and Chateau Ste. Michelle are one and the same.  

Tonight, Mike and I decided to take a wine break and we walked to a restaurant in a neighboring town. The Shepherd and the Knucklehead is just three miles away and we figured the exercise would be nice. It is named after a novel published in 2001 which delves into the subject of the duality in man. The responsible (Shepherd) and the irresponsible (Knucklehead) represent the mental tug of war going on inside each of us. “The main character, Oliver Wendell Tweed (a compilation of Oliver Wendell Holmes Dracaena Winesand Boss Tweed—in other words, a mix of purity and greed) is on a search for the meaning of this duality in each of us. Along for the journey is his sock monkey and constant companion, Francis Bacon.”

With 90 beers on tap, it was difficult to choose what to drink.  I settled in on a Harpoon UFO R.A.Z. It is a Hefeweizen with amazing raspberry flavors. It is an unfiltered beer that is somewhat rosé in color with a semi-dry tart finish.  The second beer, admittedly, should have been my first because of the full bodiness of it, was  a Great Lakes Elliot Ness. This is an amber Lager that is smooth and light on the malt and hops. Great Lakes Brewery, which is in Cleveland, has a unique connection with Elliot Ness.  It is kind of cool.  The co-owners’ mother was his stenographer and there is a bullet hole in the wall above their bar that he supposedly put there. 

Mike and I built our current home about 11 years ago. Hard to believe it has been that long already, but I digress. The development has 24 homes in it and since we were all building at the same time, we went through the same headaches and it helped to forge a friendship among the neighbors. Many of the Dracaena Wineshomes have been sold but we still keep in touch.  Every so often we all get together for a night of fun. We alternate who hosts the party, choose a theme and everyone brings a food dish that fits the theme and whatever their beverage of choice is. Last night, the theme was Mexican so I had planned to make nachos, however, I saw in an email Saturday morning that someone else was going to make them. Having to think quickly on my feet, I questioned what makes Mexican, Mexican? I answered myself with “the spices and a.  (I know there is much more to it, but I was time constrained)  So I went into the garden and picked some cucumbers [not Mexican], some tomatoes [again, nope] some cilantro [ oh, yeah] and a [jackpot].  I chopped it all up, and drizzled a little EVOO on top and voila [French, not Mexican] cucumber salad.  It was a hit!  For the wine, we had Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz. Lindeman’s is located in the Hunter Valley of Australia. Dr. Henry Lindeman planted his first vines in 1843. In case you are not aware, Shiraz is the Syrah grape, the name just changes depending on the location. It is called Syrah in Europe, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and the U.S.A., while it is known as Shiraz in Australia. Interestingly, it was also called Hermitage up until 1980’s.   But since that name is also a French Protected designation of origin, it caused problems and as ultimately dropped.

For entertainment, we played some poker.  I love the game.  I was a huge fan of Gus Hansen and was thrilled when I met Chris “Jesus” Fergurson. Both Mike and I follow Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu.  We watch the World Series of Poker on TV every year and never turn down a game.  Last night started poorly, I got bad hands and then when I tried to go in with mid-pocket pairs, I got side-winded by a full house.  My chip count dropped quickly and it didn’t look promising.  But I held on, played my normal strategy and in the end….victorious! As they say “There is always a chance as long as you have a chip and a chair.” 

Week 2

This week’s Wine Wednesday wine is my favorite.  We opened a 2012 Ferrari Carano Fumé Blanc. About two weeks ago, I was in our local wine shop and I couldn’t Dracaena Winesbelieve my eyes.  There on the shelf was my favorite winery on sale! Let me correct that, the wine was not on sale, it was “someone totally messed up” on SALE.  What was the price of the liquid gold you ask? It was marked $7.99. Trust me, I didn’t care who was watching me, I did my “happy dance” right there in the middle of the store and then proceeded to empty the rack positive that I was going to get to the cashier and they were going to say, “Oh, I’m sorry this was mislabeled on the shelf.” As I placed the wine on the counter, the cashier picked up one bottle and counted all that were there, then looked at me.  I smiled casually, trying not to sweat, positive a comment was coming, but nothing. I blew out a sigh of relief. I watched, as her hand moved as if it was in slow motion as she swiped the bottle over the scanner, I held my breath, heard the little ding that means the price was registered and timidly peeked at the price. A warm and fuzzy feeling came over me as a huge smile emerged on my face. $7.99!

This Saturday we made our meal and chose our wine that we were using to participate in this month’s #WinePW. This is a monthly chat that occurs on the second Saturday of each month at 11am EST.  This month the theme was Portugal.  It was a great learning experience  because I had never had any wine from Portugal other than port and truth be told, I am not a fan of port.  For those reading this that may not be familiar with port, it is a fortified wine made exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern province of Portugal. Fortified means that  a proportion of grape spirit, or brandy is added to the wine at some point during the production process.

The wine we chose, was from the Dão DOC, which is one of the oldest established wine regions in Portugal and is the region of the origin of the Touriga Nacional vine that is the principal component of Port wine.  Casa de Santar is a dry red wine (Vinho Tinto) that is a a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrochiero, and Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo). According to the winemaker’s notes “This wine is a distinctive and elegant wine as a result of the careful vinification of Dão’s Ex-Libris three red grapes. Just right with red meat dishes, pasta, wild game and cheese.”  Many Portuguese meals consist of turkey, tomatoes, rice or peppers.  So we decided to combine those ingredients and make a ground turkey chili. We pulled some fresh tomatoes and jalapeño peppers from the garden.  We de-seeded and smoked the  jalapeño peppers before adding them to the chili. We then put it on a bed of rice. It was a perfect pairing.

Dracaena WinesDracaena Wines

 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.


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    1. Thanks Michelle. It was a nice pairing. Have to love when simple is also good!

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