Greenvale Vineyards

Traveling along the picturesque inlet towns to Greenvale Vineyards on the winding roads on a coastal route amidst fresh sea scents abound from everywhere you point your nose. Don’t you just love the ocean breeze? Again embarking on the proverbial dirt/rock road to the winery portal you slowly trek down taking care not to damage the undercarriage of your car (I knew I should have brought the truck).

The first thing that impressed me when arriving and parking in the driveway was how well kept everything looked. And there was a freshness in the air. The short walk (unlike the long driveways) to the tasting room along a well manicured sidewalk with seasonal flowers gave you the impression of caring. Well, that caring didn’t stop there as I entered the tasting room I was greeted by the sommelier with a good morning (it was 10 till twelve so it was still morning). In the rustic tasting room complete with boutique wine items for sale the wine bar was small only able to accommodate 7-8 tasters but as there were only three other tasters I had plenty of room. The fee for a tasting was $10 for six wines plus you got to keep the signature wine glass. I just checked their website for another purpose and noticed their tasting fee has increased to $12 for 7 wines.

So, on with the wine tastings:

Rosecliff Pinot Gris: Lemongrass and pear on the nose with pear flavors with a hint of lemon (almost a complete reversal from aroma to flavor) and this had a very smooth aftertaste.

Grrenvale 2007 Chardonnay: Fruit bowl aroma much like having a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. The palate found subtle flavors of pear and apple. Although a nice wine this wasn’t to my liking.

Chardonnay 2008 Select: This was much better that showed an abundance of pear on the nose with pear and apple flavors with a subtle apple finish that wasn’t overpowering.

Vidal Blanc 2009: A French/American hybrid was very fruity on the nose with a definitive sour apple aroma lead into mostly apple flavors. If there were any other flavors the apple drowned them out.

Skipping Stone White: A blend of Cayuga and Vidal Blanc grapes with a very light opaque color found a floral nose of fresh cut flowers. The fruity palate finished with a hint of lemon zest. For me this was my favorite wine here (I can tell as I bought a bottle which is a dead giveaway that I really liked the wine).

Cabernet Franc 2006: A medium Bordeaux style wine found plum and spice aromas with a hint of cassis. Plum continued into the flavor with a peppery finish. Stored in French and American oak a blend of 82% Cabernet Franc and 18% Merlot rendered a very smooth medium red wine.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Sakonnet Vineyards

The ride from home to the coastal region of Rhode Island began with a beautiful gorgeous day that was sure to thrill me mile to mile on my trek of New England wineries. First up on my Rhode Island tour and Coastal Vineyards Passport series is Sakonnet Vineyards.

On the back roads of Rhode Island I reached the Little Compton winery via a scenic route indicative of the New England coast. Driving down the long dirt road (yes, we continue to go down long dirt roads) the winery is in the tradition of New England style coastal homes with plenty of room for outdoor seating in a multitude of areas: by the pond, by the vineyard, outside the vineyard tasting room entrance, outside the tasting room under a covered patio. There is a lot of room to sit if you want to spend a bit of time here. The grounds were manicured exquisitely without a tree limb out of place, but of course that was before tropical storm Irene hit so I’m sure they came under some high winds and plenty of rain.

Once inside the small boutique shop, there were many wine items to buy at reasonable prices. You also paid for your wine tasting here which cost $10 for six wines of your choosing plus you get to keep their signature wine glass. Entering the tasting room you immediately realized it was quite large with room for a couple of dozen tasters at a time and along the walls were racks of their wine ready for the taking. Once inside the room, I walked right to the wine bar and patiently waited to begin my wine experience.

Here are the wines I tried:

Vidal Blanc: This wine opened with grapefruit and orange zest on the nose with a nectarine flavor with hints of lemon-lime on the finish. Quite a nice tasting wine that I would tempt to pair with a cedar plank salmon, roasted red potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. And yes, sourdough bread would be nice too.

Gerwurztraminer: The Estate grown, French style dry Gewurztraminer would go well with spicy Asian cuisine as it opened with spice notes on the nose with a lemongrass flavor and nice acidity.

Chardonnay: Steel fermented this opened with apple on the nose with a slight hint of pear. The apple continued to the palate but the pear was missing so this wine didn’t do it for me.

Rhode Island Red: Their most popular selling wine found black cherry on the nose and the flavor as well with a slight peppery finish.  I had a bottle of their 1999 vintage about  eight or nine years ago and it was much better than their current release, hopefully with cellaring it will be just as good.

Cabernet Franc: One of my favorite wines (well, I guess most wines are my favorites) the medium ruby colored wine found bell pepper and the aroma was almost like standing in a back yard garden. Plus there was a lingering fig aroma too. It was actually quite pleasing. This medium bodied wine found red cherry and pepper flavors complementing the aromas quite well.

Claret NV – 35th Anniversary: Blackberry aroma with fig nuances on the nose with a hint of bacon just starting to cook. Cassis and black currant on the palate. A slight pepper finish most likely white pepper. A nice stand alone wine as well as pairing it with a grilled steak, corn on the cob, and a garden salad with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Dalice Elizabeth Winery

I decided to take the back roads to Dalice Elizabeth Winery traveling on Rte 165 until it intersected with Rte 164 toward Amos Lake on my quest to visit all the Connecticut wineries this year (a feat I will undoubtedly accomplish given good health and other stuff) plus getting my wine passport stamped at each winery as I go along the trail.

Once I arrived the views were spectacular with the rolling hills and trees surrounding the lake and just a short jaunt down the rock driveway was the tasting room. However, on the way I did get to see a few birds and sheep on the lawn in the distance. Just off to the right of the tasting room was a small pond, no doubt to be used by the various forms of farm animals enjoyment. I’ll bet if it’s hot enough (and it was this day) you’d be tempted to jump in to cool off a bit. Something I learned at an earlier winery – take time to smell the roses, take in those little pleasures in life. We don’t always see them but they’re around waiting for us to recognize them. Now, there I go getting philosophical – okay, back to the wine experience.

Dalice Elizabeth’s tasting room isn’t much larger than an overgrown tool shed, however it’s what is inside that counts. The decor was rustic in nature with plants and pictures and a few local products for sale and the ambiance of the small dwelling was picture perfect for a wine tasting. The tasting fee is $10 for four wines plus you get to keep their signature wine glass which was stemless. However, the day I visited the fees were only $8. This is the second winery I’ve come across so far on my Connecticut wine trips that has offered tastings from a stemless wine glass. This wasn’t quite as large as the one from another winery but large enough to really get a sense of what the wine’s all about.

So, here are the wines I tasted. I’ll have to go back and try the ones I missed (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Old Vine Zinfandel, and the Sangiovese) on this trip.

Chardonnay: Lemongrass and dried hay on the nose sort of like being in a barn with a breeze blowing through and you’re enjoying the moment. Tart apple and citrus flavors complemented the aromas with a subtle vanilla finish. A very decent white wine.

Pinot Grigio: Honey and pear on the nose leading into melon and pear flavors. This was clean and crisp. Would go well with Asian cuisine.

Cabernet Franc: Cherry aroma in an earthy tone on the nose. The palate consisted of raspberries and black currant with a smooth finish. I think I would tend to just sip this instead of serving it with food.

Syrah: A deep garnet color yielded blueberry, blackberry, spice, and smoke aromas. The palate had black berry and black currant with hints of semi sweet chocolate. Another great sipping wine but would go great with grilled meats.

And as a bonus the sommelier let me try their dessert wine.

Ice Angel: Peachy aromas with honey and apricot flavor. This was way too sweet for me, but it was good though.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Heritage Trail Winery & Cafe

Located just off of Rte 169 in the scenic area of Lisbon, the Heritage Trail Winery & Cafe tasting room is just in back of the original house with both inside and outside seating areas. The house is the historic John Palmer House – 1790. The outside seating area had ample tables for tasting with a great view into a lawn area leading to the vineyards. Given the right circumstances you could spend a quiet afternoon just sipping wine and tasting the many cheeses they offer at a modest price.

It has been a while since I last visited here for a couple of years and under the new management they have brought this winery up a couple of notches. If you choose to stay indoors for the tasting they have eight or nine tables to accommodate quite a crowd not to mention the air conditioning which is quite pleasing in hot weather although I tend to be like an iguana on a rock – just love that hot weather. If you haven’t visited this winery yet then be sure to put it on your list as I’m sure you will have an enjoyable time.

The wine tastings are $7 and you can buy their signature wine glass for $5 which is stemless. It took me quite a long time to warm up to stemless wine glasses. I prefer the stemmed ones but there occasions when stemless is the way to go such as when you’re having a cook-out, the stemless glasses have less of a chance of being knocked over and breaking. Can’t tell you how many stemmed wine glasses I’ve broken over the years. It really hurts when you break a Riedel. They’re not cheap and more expensive than some of the wines I have in my cellar. Anyway if you’re looking for an extra wine glass this one had a large bowl to swirl and get the ‘ol schnozzola in there to savor the aromas. For me, it was worth the $5 cost.

Here are their wines:

Quinebaug White: Made from a blend of Cayuga and Vidal grapes this wine had crisp notes of citrus with pear flavors. I’d like to try this with pesto whole wheat pasta and bay scallops. Or even a fish chowder, not to mention a few cheeses.

Chardonnay: Both pear and melon aromas and flavors were abound in this yellowish colored wine but the best part was the buttery finish at the end. I love a buttery finish in a Chardonnay.

Winthrop White: 100% Cayuga grown entirely in Connecticut yielded ripe pear and apple aromas with a hint of lemongrass. The apple and pear was also found on the palate. A really nice crisp white wine. Probably good with spicy Asian dishes.

Sweet Reserve: A 70/30 blend of Cayuga and Seyval white grapes with nuances of dried fruit. Sort of like when I’m at Whole Foods market and I walk down the dried fruit aisle. A little tough for me to pick out the specific aromas but found apricot, orange, and pineapple to be the more dominant ones.

Shetucket Red: Made with the Rubiana grape which is a creation from the cross of Buffalo and Baco Noir grapes. This wine had deep ruby colors and very fruity both on the nose and palate with a hint of cherry. Yeah, have this with pasta.

Rochambeau Red: This garnet colored wine is a blend of Villard Noir, Chambourcin, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Black berry and smoke aromas with black currant flavor with a hint of dark chocolate. I love blends. Have this with a Filet Mignon seasoned with Worcestershire pepper and sea salt – nothing more.

Cabernet Franc: A delicious red with typical cherry aroma and flavor with a hint of chocolate. I don’t care what you have this with just make sure you have it. Maybe a chocolate cake!

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Stonington Vineyards

Driving down a rock road (I’ve come to realize that many of the Connecticut wineries are on rock roads) you can view the vineyards off to the left and on a beautiful afternoon the sight is just gorgeous. After parking the car and walking down to the tasting room door I was greeted by a myriad of bees. They were out in full bloom and although I didn’t get stung I was glad when I entered the tasting room.

Once inside there were two tasting areas and I was directed to the one in the back area which provided a lot more room. The bar area consisted of several wine barrels standing on end with a table top connecting each wine barrel. It was very simple but provided a great atmosphere to talk not only about wine but whatever comes to mind. The day I visited there were two other couples and the sommelier would pour our wine samples and would give us her rendition of the wine. Then something magical happened – all of us started conversing with each other about travel. We talked about Europe, China, national parks within the United States, weekend trips to Canada. We had a great time talking and the wine was good too. Anyway, the tasting fee was $10 for the six wines they were offering plus you got to keep their signature wine glass.

You never know what will happen when you are on a wine trip. You never know who you’re going to meet, what you’ll talk about, or if you’ll even enjoy the wine. But I do know that wine trips are very interesting because “stories” make it all worth while. It’s a pleasure to be part of the “stories” and I’m sure the same “story” is never told the same way twice.

Here are the wines I tried:

2007 Sheer Chardonnay: This was a very good Chardonnay that had floral and apple aromas. The flavors consisted of freshly cut apple with a mineral finish.

2008 Chardonnay: Aged in oak for about a year this wine opened with apple and pear aromas leading into an apricot flavor with a hint of vanilla. This was quite nice as it was slightly chilled. I usually drink Chardonnay at room temperature. Guess I’ll have to start experimenting with this a bit. Ah, experiments – takes me back to my science labs back in high school. Scary!

2008 Vidal Blanc: This grape varietal is one of my favorites and this wine didn’t disappoint. It opened with citrus and floral notes on the nose with a hint of lemongrass. This dry white wine also had citrus flavors.

Seaport White: Upon first raising the wine glass to the nose I got a concoction of fruit aromas which was hard for me to distinguish the differences so we’ll just go with fruit aromas. However, on the palate I found a nice apple flavor with a subtle hint of pear. This is one of those wines that will go really well on a hot summer night with or without food.

2008 Triad Rose: The wine is a blend of 20% Cabernet Franc, 40% Vidal Blanc, and 40% Chardonnay. I detected fruity aromas with crisp apple with hints of red raspberry and spice on the palate. Again, this wine would be a good sipping wine on a hot night.

2007 Cabernet Franc: Black raspberry, black currant, leather, pepper, and tobacco aromas – wow, I was surprised to pick out so many aromas in this wine but they were there. The flavors consisted of red raspberry with mocha. Personally, this is one of the top three red wines produced in Connecticut. The Connecticut wineries are not famous for their reds, whites – yes, reds – no, but this wine is exceptional.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…


Saltwater Farm Vineyard

Driving onto the rock road leading to the winery you really do not know what to expect as the winery is in a converted hangar. However, after parking my car and just before entering the tasting room you get a view of the vineyards and the ocean inlet just pass the vineyards. It is a spectacular view but the views from the balcony and the bridal suite is breathtaking. From here you get a better view of the ocean and the vineyards (don’t forget to look at the vineyards) and of the landscape beyond with picturesque homes and of course, a train trestle. These are the small things in life you’d like to capture on film. I didn’t have my camera so some pictures are better left to memory.

Once inside the hangar there are two tasting areas, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. I was on the upper deck and was able to view the stainless steel barrels in the hangar. The first floor is rustic with a fireplace and inside seating for around 40-50 people, more if they added additional tables and chairs as they definitely have the room. The second floor you could not only taste wines but view the bay and vineyards. Oh, and the bridal suite had a fireplace also. The tasting fee is $8 and it includes their signature wine glass.

Saltwater Farm Vineyard is a fairly new winery, a new kid on the block amongst the many Southeastern Connecticut wineries yet the quality of their wines makes you believe they have been in business for decades. Yes, Saltwater Farm Vineyard is a diamond in the rough. Look for great tasting wines in the future especially if they remain consistent. They have one of, if not the best, Sauvignon Blancs I have tasted. This is clearly one of my top five Connecticut wineries. If you haven’t visited them yet this year plan on going, it will be a real experience. And if you want to spend the afternoon here and enjoy the view, by all means, do so either on the patio furniture available outside or on the picnic tables under the trees. Bring a picnic lunch and buy a bottle of your favorite Saltwater Farm wine and let life slow down a bit. I for one love the smell of the ocean air. Their logo is simple yet exquisite of an egret silhouette in flight. Sit on the picnic table long enough and you just may see one.

Okay, here are their wines:

2007 Estate Chardonnay: This wine opened with melon aromas with a pear flavor with just a touch of citrus. Nice mouth feel and decent balance.

2008 Estate Chardonnay: This had floral and melon notes on the nose with a bit more balance than the 2007 Chardonnay. The flavors consisted of pear and apple with a slight mineral and melon finish. This would go well with fish or a creamy pasta dish.

2009 Estate Cabernet Rose: Floral and apple aromas with tart apple and pear flavors on the palate. This would make a really good summer wine when it is hot outside.

2007 Estate Cabernet Franc: This wine opened with boysenberry and wild mulberry aromas on the nose. A smooth cherry, black raspberry, and blackberry flavors finished with a hint of mocha. A great anytime wine but I may try this with grilled chicken.

2007 Estate Merlot: Most of you know I’m not a real fan of Merlots unless they’re bold and brassy. However, this Merlot had red berries on the nose with earth, spice, and pepper on the palate. I might try this with the proverbial Filet Mignon.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Taylor Brooke Winery

Traveling through the scenic roads of Northeastern Connecticut along the rolling hills you eventually come across a gray New England style building enticing you to drop by. In back of the tasting room you can take some time from your trip to enjoy a self-guided tour of the vineyards amidst the many outlying trees and a gentle breeze. Then you are ready to embark on a wine extravaganza.

Taylor Brooke’s wine tasting fee is probably one of the best I’ve come across so far on my Connecticut wine trips. You can taste any two wines free of charge or eight wines for $4 or everything on their wine menu depending on the season for $6 which includes the tax. This is the first winery on my trip not to charge the CT sales tax as they have opted to incorporate it into the cost of the tasting fee. You can purchase their signature glass if you want to.

Upon first entering the tasting room you get a sense of New England at its best. The bar area would easily accommodate 12-15 tasters at a time without being crowded with enough room to swirl and sip your wine. They also carry local products from the area. The owners, Dick & Linda, are two of the friendliest people you’ll ever come across. Dick was a wealth of knowledge citing facts about residual sugar, brix, and of course, bud break.

I’ve never seen anyone so excited about “bud break” and after looking at some of the vines afterward I could see where “bud break” would be exciting. You see, bud break is when the bud breaks and begins the process of becoming a grape and you can guess what happens after it becomes a grape. Well, bud break is like stopping and smelling the roses or taking time to smell the coffee or watch the sun go down in the evening or watching the sunrise in the early morn or going to the beach at dusk and take a leisurely stroll just where the ocean hits the sand and you don’t care if the water gets your pants wet. It’s just a small aspect of life but it’s those small happenings that make us who we are. I think I like “bud break”.

Taylor Brooke winery has also set up a scholarship fund for a Woodstock Academy senior that will be entering the field of agriculture. They also have an “Adopt A Vine” program where you receive a certificate and for three years you get one bottle of wine from the previous harvest.

If this winery isn’t on your wine tour you should make a point of adding it. Usually when I visit a winery there is at least one wine that just doesn’t sit right with my palate and I wish I never tried it. Well, that didn’t happen here as I enjoyed all eleven of the wines I tasted and the wine quality was exceptional. Okay, on to the wines I tasted in the middle of spring:

Riesling: On the nose was a floral and fruity aroma sort of like a bowl of fresh fruit. The flavor was also like a bowl of fresh tropical fruit with a hint peach.

Traminette: This wine is a blend of Gewurztraminer and Seyval grapes and very similar to the Riesling.

Green Apple Riesling: What can I say, the aroma and flavor said “apple” but it’s unlike an apple fruit wine I’ve ever tasted. You can definitely tell the difference between the two. Try this on a warm sunny afternoon. It will cool you down with crisp clean flavors of apple. Try it with ham, chicken, or pork. Better yet cook these meals with the wine, the apple gives the pork and ham a great flavor.

Summer Peach: This wine is what the name implies – peach, pure and simple. Although I have not tried this with food as every time I open a bottle the temperature is usually above 80 degrees and slightly humid and between my wife and I this bottle is gone in seconds flat. Not really seconds flat but it seems that way as this is a great wine to sip on a hot sunny day. I should try this with grilled chicken and asparagus.

St. Croix Rose: I really questioned if this was a Rose as it was as dark as a Merlot but was not a Merlot. I’m not sure if it was a Rose either. Gee, I’m confused – think I need to go back and try this again.

Cabernet Franc: Lighter than most Cabernet Francs I’ve tasted with lots of fruit on the nose and palate with a hint of chocolate, my favorite part of tasting Cabernet Francs. Almost reminded me of a Pinot Noir.

Woodstock Valley Red: This medium bodied wine was full of cherries, with hints of bell pepper and spice. I could picture having this with grilled upland game such as pheasant or quail with wild grain rice and a medley of pearl onions and peas or perhaps Brussels Sprouts cooked with bacon.

Roseland Red: This is a blend of St. Croix, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the flavor of blends and this one didn’t disappoint. Both red and dark berry aroma and flavor took my senses into another world with a spicy finish. Yeah, you read my mind – pair this with a juicy steak.

Most of you know me well enough that I am not real fond of dessert wines especially with them being so sweet. Well, the following dessert wines are in a different class of dessert wines.

Late Harvest Riesling: Although this was sweet it seemed more to have sweetness without being too sweet. I got a whole lot of fruit on this from nectarine, peach, pineapple, honey, and apricot to name a few. A real delectable concoction of fruits.

Chocolate Essence: When I first heard this was a chocolate infused Merlot Port I had to make sure I heard correctly so I said “Chocolate infused what…?” Well, I’ve been told by some that the chocolate reminded them of a Tootsie Roll and others have said it reminds them of Dove chocolate. The first time I tried this was quite the experience and each time I try this it never ceases to amaze me how they even got three distinct flavors in a wine. On the first sip it was like a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss exploding on impact with my taste buds. Let that mouth feel sit for a spell before taking the next sip. When you feel adventurous enough take a second sip where you’ll get a fruitful concoction of raspberries and cherries (flavors indicative of many Merlots). Again, let this sit for a while and when you get brave enough have a third sip of the Chocolate spirit and you get the pungency of port. How the wine maker got three distinct flavors and at different times of the sipping wine cycle is magical – is his name Merlin?

Raspberry Rendezvous: This is a raspberry port style wine and yeah, you guessed it – raspberry, raspberry, and raspberry in this. It reminds me of a raspberry sundae. Get the picture? I wonder if I mixed the Chocolate with the Raspberry – Hmmm, I don’t even want to think of the possibilities.

If you’re not a fan of dessert wines you will be after you’ve tried these. They also have the following wines but were sold out and I’ll have to wait for their next release: Woodstock Hill White, Autumn Raspberry, Winter Pomegranate, and Cherry Riesling. Taylor Brooke will be coming out with an inaugural release of 100% Connecticut grown Merlot  from the Dave Brown Vineyard sometime in the fall. I have already marked my calendar for the weekend I think it will be available.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Jones Winery

Jones Winery was the third winery I visited on the Connecticut Wineries Tour #1 and the farm was a typical New England farm setting, complete with the red barns. After I parked the car I took a leisurely stroll about the vineyard and winery grounds and then went to the tasting room. Upon entering the tasting room you get a sense of enormity as the room could easily fit approximately 100 people in it with around fifty at the wine bar. A very rustic stone wall and glass enclosures gave it a very rustic yet modern look to it. Nice place to have a family reunion as it would accommodate most families comfortably.

The tasting fee was $6.75 plus state sales tax and you tried six of the nine wines they had. Plus you got to keep the signature wine glass too. Off the tasting room was a gift shop with wine paraphernalia, t-shirts, and other such stuff plus a few wine racks displaying their wines. The wines available for tasting were: the Pinot Gris Vintner, Stonewall Chardonnay, Woodlands White, in the white wine category. For red wine they had a Cabernet Franc Vintner Select, a Merlot, and Ripton Red. One fruit wine called First Blush. The dessert wine list had the Black Currant Bouquet and the Raspberry Rhapsody.

I chose the following wines:

Pinot Gris: This opened with floral notes and citrus on the nose. Honeydew melon was the dominant flavor. I would have liked to pair this with steamed shellfish such as clams or oysters (although I prefer the oysters raw) or maybe mussels. If not steamed then a hot grill would work well too.

Woodlands White: Made from the Cayuga grape this semi-sweet wine had floral notes and melon aromas and flavor. This should pair well with sharp cheeses, grilled chicken and asparagus, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich – hmm, I’ll have to think about that a bit more.

Cabernet Franc: Opening notes were of earth and spice. Red berry fruits on the palate with a raspberry finish. A very decent Cabernet Franc.

Ripton Red: A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Estate Grown Connecticut grapes. This was very earthy  (or as one of our oenphiles said: “It’s like chewing on sticks!”). However, this reminded me of a decent Chianti. And yes, I would pair this with Grandma’s spaghetti and homemade marinara sauce with plenty of Italian bread to soak up the extra sauce you put in the bowl.

Black Currant Bouquet: A dessert wine, and you guessed it, black currant aromas and flavors abound in this nice after dinner wine with hints of plum on the finish.

Raspberry Rhapsody: Sweet with everything raspberry as the name suggests. This would go well with European chocolate or for that matter, any chocolate. The sommelier remarked that this wine “was a party in a bottle” and I couldn’t agree more. This wine really popped.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Quick, Call Me A Cab…

The holidays are kind of blue for a lot of people what with making jolly and getting Christmas gifts for everyone in the family plus a myriad of friends and neighbors. Many become melancholy and stress that the holiday season is in full bloom. While others survive just to get by and yet others are full of the festive spirit (no pun intended). Well, the Christmas holidays are some of my favorite times during the year. I have so many memories of past Christmases.

I remember one year in particular when good Old Saint Nick brought me a replica red Farm-All tractor. I think this was prior to my Zorro days and I couldn’t wait to get this work horse tractor to the full test of its capabilities. Have I failed to mention that I thought demolition derby was real cool too? Well, what do you get when you combine a Farm-All tractor painted candy apple red and demolition derby? You’re about to find out.

After breakfast and opening all the other toys Santa left (what were those other toys by the way?). I finally got the tractor out on the front porch and looked down at the twelve steps I had to carry this. So, I travel back into the house to get Dad to carry my candy apple red Farm-All tractor down the steps so I can peruse the driveway in my new wheels. That wasn’t happening as when I got to the living room, Dear Old Dad, was sound asleep. And you know Mom wouldn’t be able to carry such a heavy piece of equipment. Heck, no this was farmer’s work. Moms cooked and smelled nice but they didn’t know anything about machinery.

You remember I mentioned demolition derby…and the twelve steps on the front porch… and Dad was sleeping…and Mom was cooking and smelling pretty. Yeah, you guessed it. Me and the candy apple red Farm-All tractor went flying down the stairs and did the demolition derby stroll and roll. Do you also remember when doctors made house calls? Well, when the doctor arrived he suggested we take a trip to the emergency room. All I remember about that Christmas was the psychological and physical scars but it sure was a beautiful candy apple red Farm-All tractor I’ll never forget. What is your favorite Christmas story?

Anyway, getting back to the reason I started this post was about cabs……

Quick, call me a cab…those famous words around the holidays for a number of good reasons. Such as – from getting from one store to another in the big city…and you need a cab. Or you have visited one too many wineries…and you need a cab. Or your car just broke down…and you need a cab. Or you’ve missed the last bus out of the station…and you need a cab. Or maybe you’re just Merlot’d out…and you need a cab.

Here are three cabs for your enjoyment!

St. Francis 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of fresh rhubarb & cherry awaken your senses in preparation of the delectable flavors about to slide over your tongue and a multitude of taste buds. Cassis & pomegranate delicately dance to complement the aromas you just found. Finally, a pleasant smooth finish climaxes the total experience. This wine was paired with a turkey pot pie with Romaine salad. Then for dessert we had warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. This was sooooooo good! $16.99 and an 88 rating.

Rodney Strong 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackberry, cocoa, and black currant aromas led perfectly into black cherry and cassis flavors with good tannins. $16.99, 89 rating. I had this stand alone but venture to say it would go well with a vast array of grilled meats such as a pork roast, beef tenderloins, a porterhouse steak, venison burgers or a great beef stew. Garlic mashed potatoes with a hint of horseradish or baked potatoes, green beans, sweet peas with pearl onions or garlic asparagus. Gee, I’m starting to get hungry! What’s for dessert?

Hahn Estates 2001 Santa Lucia Highlands Cabernet Franc. This wine decanted for thirty or so minutes developed intense aromas of blackberries and clove. Upon tasting this wine I experienced black cherry, cherry hard candy, pepper, and mocha on the palate. These aromas and tastes finally succumbed to a long chocolate finish. If you find this wine buy all they have and don’t forget to give me one of the bottles. I’ve had several bottles in my wine cellar for a number of years and that was my last bottle. $15.99 and a 91 rating. Please tell me you have a bottle of this hidden in your cellar! I’d certainly call a cab to get to your place.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends….