Fear Revisited

Sometimes one works so hard toward something, only to have fear kick in and then it becomes unfinished. I’m sure many can certainly relate. Fear kicks my butt more times than I could ever tell you…just check out a previous blog on the four letter F word.

I’d like to think that I’m pretty fearless, just like a typical last born. Since we grow up getting beat on by our older siblings and many times having to fend for ourselves because our parents are too busy worrying about what kind of trouble our older siblings are getting into! But they don’t know the trouble I’VE gotten into! Kidding!

I never held true to this whole “birth order” thing, but after I read the Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Lehman, my mind was changed. One of the things he said about youngest borns (he being one himself) was that many think we’re just “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of people. In a way he’s right, but when we’re told we’ll never do or accomplish something, the attitude kicks in and we all say “I’ll show them!” And we usually do! Granted for me, my eclectic background has served me well, however, it wasn’t only until about 5 years ago that I really figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I know for a fact that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but I often get so mad at myself for not finding all this out when I was younger! A wise, dear girlfriend has told me more than once, that I am EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be right now in my life. That everything I have done in my past has propelled me to this exact moment. And to think of all I’ve accomplished in the last five years has been beyond astounding, even for me! My husband has often told me that I’m living my dream and leaving everyone else behind. That may be true, but I hope I don’t ever make others feel that way.

With that said, where does my fear come from then? Determined to do the WSET Diploma, then passing all major units, including Unit 3, the big tough exam, passing that was anti-climatic for me, as I didn’t pass the Coursework assignment; aka the Essay. (Unit 1) Ugh. Yeah, I can write, given that I have this blog and all, but writing an essay? TOTALLY different story! And to be honest, I’m struggling with it and I’m afraid I’ll fail it again. Sometimes it grips me with such force, I cannot breathe. Time is on my side though. I’m in final edit stages and this thing has to be handed in on November 8. Can I do this? A resounding yes, and being a youngest born, I WILL do this!  But not without conquering some fear first…

Along with this, I have several cheerleaders, coaches in my corner, participants willing to read and critique (even though it can be hard to take constructive criticism) my essay, and so I forge on and do the best I can, hoping and praying for that passing mark come January, 2017!

In the meantime, I have this amazing glass of wine in front of me…a 2006 Tinto de Toro from Tardencuba Valnuevo (Spain). Complex with a powerful nose of chocolate, raisins, cloves, vanilla, earth, wet leaves…totally balanced on the palate with smooth tannins. I’m feeling fortunate that the rep who brought it to try today, offered to pour a glass for later. Tasting something like this lets me know that yes, I’m here doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Following my passion and living my dream.

I can do this…

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Music & Wine

This whole concept of Music and Wine has really been intriguing me lately. More and more we are seeing these two go together in one form or another. Wine is being associated with world music festivals, I follow some fellow bloggers that associate music with every single one of their wines they write about, and many speak metaphorically of how the wine they are drinking in that moment, is ‘like a symphony’, or the elements are ‘combined in perfect harmony’ or ‘this wine was just singing’! I’m totally into it, and I love the association! Having a musical background myself, I get it. And being an Italian wine lover, I get it even more as many musical terms are Italian.

I remember in my piano playing days, I loved to play forte, or fortissimo, but needed to learn how to play more piano or pianissimo. And when a new piece was put in front of me, I would gasp if asked to play presto, being much more comfortable with allegro, and on occasion, adagio. Little did I know that from the age of 5, when I started taking piano lessons, all the way to age 18, and age 22 for theory, that I already had some Italian under my belt~in the form of music!

And as long as we’re talking about music and wine, I was treated to lunch last week, along with a fabulous 10 year old Italian Merlot that was totally cantado. It was unbelievably outstanding!

2006 Sansonina Merlot may not be known as well as the Zenato Amarone (or other Zenato wines for that matter), but this is a Sansoninaspecial project from Carla Zenato and her daughter Nadia.  The winery’s name comes from the biblical name Samson, the man with super strength because he never cut his hair. In Italian, when you add ‘ina’ to the end of a word, it becomes a diminutive term of endearment, thus the name Sansonina becomes this powerful, yet refined ‘little Samson’. Not only that, but seemingly, many years prior, the same winery was owned by a lady whose strong character gave her the nickname ‘Little Samson”. The bottle itself is a sexy little number, designed to mimic the shape of an oak barrel, and to continue its ageing process right in the bottle. Very clever indeed.

Sansonina 2The aroma profile was molto espressivo, constantly morphing and changing in my glass during the course of the meal. Immediately on my nose I got a blast of mulberry, changing into black plums with cinnamon, pink pepper and subtle nuances of mint. Time passed and I got fennel, black licorice and even some leather. Diving underneath it all to get some of the earthy tones of tree bark and moist dirt. On the palate, it was silky soave with piano tannins, vivace acidity, delicato and grazioso, yet with great ostinato all the way to fine.  Tons of fruit left, bursting with plums, blackberries and mulberries, which tells me there is yet time to be had in this wine. This was the 2006, and current vintage is 2012 (which is what I have in the store). I wonder what this wine will be like in another 10 years time. No doubt brio

 

Yes, this wine was indeed cantando. Salute!

 

Glossary of musical terms:

adagio - moderately slow
allegro - fast, lively
cantando - singing
delicato - delicately
espressivo - with expression, expressive
fine - the end of the movement
forte - loud
fortissimo - very loud
grazioso - gracefully
molto -  much or very
ostinato -  persistent
piano - soft
pianissimo - very soft
presto - very fast
soave - gentle; smooth
vivace - lively

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Thirsty Thirty-Something Thursday #24 – Piedmont

I’m very excited about this wine and eager to share it with you! Yes, it was on Instagram and Facebook yesterday, but here I get to talk about it just a little bit more!

There are four wineries from Alba/Asti area in Piedmont that have pooled their resources to share an Export Manager and other expenses such as trade show costs to give everyone equal exposure. Rizieri, Tenuta Montemagno, Bric Cenciurio and Dogliotti work together to bring some great wines into our market. Arturo Verotti from Rizieri paid us a visit in May, and brought with him a Ruché made by his counterpart at Tenuta Montemagno. If you’ve never tasted a Ruché, you absolutely must!

I tasted Ruché at Vinitaly, but nothing can describe being able to taste it again, here on my home soil, and to be able to introduce others at my table to this grape. An indigenous grape from Piedmont, making a great comeback and starting to show itself well in different parts of the world. The best come from Castagnole Monferrato and Scurzolengo.

RucheIan D’Agata in his book Native Wine Grapes of Italy says: “If there is one Italian grape that wine lovers really ought to know, it is Ruché”. I agree wholeheartedly!  He further states: “well made Ruché is a thing of beauty…with a red berry cocktail quality to its aromas and flavors”.  Again, I couldn’t agree more.

The Tenuta Montemagno Ruché  has many of those same attributes with high volumes of lavender, cinnamon spice and sweet red cherry on the nose, along with that true red berry cocktail quality in the mouth with red plums, red cherries and raspberries along with sweet cinnamon spice, lavender and hints of black pepper. High alcohol but balanced well with a high, effervescent acidity. I’m wondering if a slight chill on this wine wouldn’t soften it even further and bring out more of the red berry cocktail quality. So juicy and delicious, and even more exciting, fitting into our Thirty Something category, coming it at $38.95 on the shelf!  Cin Cin!

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Thirsty Thirty-Something Thursday #23- Seguret (France)

I’m sure there are many of you wondering about Seguret…

In the Côtes du Rhône, there are three different levels of quality when it comes to labelling your wines Côtes du Rhône. There’s the basic Côtes du Rhône, then there is Côtes du Rhône Villages, then Côtes du Rhône with a Village name after it.

Close to both Gigondas, Rasteau and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Seguret is one of those villages. One would think that this level of quality would 20160804_123506demand a high price. Not so. These wines from Domaine de L’Amauve offer wines in several different price ranges, but all of them superb in quality. The winemaker, Christian Voeux, is a highly qualified and well respected oenologist from the village of Seguret and has had his hand in making wine at many of the renowned estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I would describe him as genteel. He is very gracious, and recently asked my opinion on the labels of his wines, wondering if they were appropriate for this market and whether or not they would or would not make his wines sell! Seguret got to the Villages level in 1967, and Christian and his wife Monique, have been working tirelessly to bring Seguret up to the cru level of both Gigondas and CdP. And with such a high reputation in both the region and the industry, I’m sure Christian will see his dream fulfilled before too long!

The other wines that he makes, although they don’t fall into the Thirsty category, are just as amazing and I’d like to tell you about them also!

Vin de Pays de Vaucluse -light ruby in colour with a blend of 80% Grenache Noir and 20% Syrah, it has some great red and black fruit notes with just a hint of pepper. A slight chill on this wine makes it even more pleasing! $19

Séguret Côtes du Rhône Blanc la Daurèle – oh my…one of the prettiest French whites I’ve ever had. Great acid structure from the Ugni Blanc, but roundness, creaminess and lightness from the Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier. Lots of stone fruits and floral notes. C’est bon! $24

Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages Laurances- a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, this wine is deep and delicious with aromas and flavours of blackcherries and plums with a spicy finish. $26  

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Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Merrelies – For the headliner, the Les Merrilies is also a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, that Christian is allowing to ferment spontaneously and in temperature controlled small vats. We are certainly seeing more and more of this trend, as with Christian farming both organically and sustainably, it certainly makes sense. Great aromas of black fruit with pepper and sweet spices underneath. The tannins are silky and smooth and the wine is excellently balanced with high acidity and integrated alcohol. On the shelf for $31! Santé

 

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What’s YOUR Favourite? – Part 2

Many of you took the time to read and comment on the lineups posted from my post earlier this week. I thank you and appreciate your comments! I loved that the choices were a little of everything.

Today’s lineup will prove to be somewhat geeky with varietal wine that some may have never heard of. If you get a chance to try any autochthonous grapes from Italy, do it! (there’s only two in this lineup!) If anything, you could be one of the few people that can say “Hey, I tried that!” Have fun with this lineup and choose wisely…🙂

Lineup 2 with other countries

Adriano Adami Prosecco – one of the cleanest, brightest, most classic Proseccos I have ever had. Would make the Bellini shine for sure! – $26

Braida Brachetto d’Acqui – if you’ve never had Brachetto before, you need to find one NOW! This one is frizzante in style, and I’m not kidding, it’s like a red fruit salad in a glass. Slightly sweet and tart all at the same time with that slight sparkle, this is a dangerous wine. At only 5.5% alcohol you might drink the whole bottle before you know it! And then you’ll want a second…and maybe even a third… – $35

Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay – If you’re looking for a big, buttery, oaky, coconut, full mouth feel Chardonnay, this one’s for you!  From a reputable producer, this product remains pretty consistent year after year – $58

Greywacke Pinot Noir – From winemaker Kevin Judd, who uses mostly ambient yeasts, this wine is not only delicious, it would be great for those with allergies. Nothing but natural in this wine with true cool climate Pinot Noir flavours and aromas or raspberry, blueberry, flint and smoke. A solid choice – $52

Settaporte Nerello Mascalese – from the region of Sicily, where the wines are hot, hot, hot!  Hot as in trendy, and if you’re wanting to step away from Nero D’Avola, the Etna wines are busting a move all over the place with this grape grown on its slopes and tasting of dried herbs, sour cherries and fresh volcanic soil minerality. I love this grape so much I’m getting it tattooed on my arm! – $47

Henschke Henry’s Seven – no it’s not Hill of Grace, but from the same iconic producer, is this solid GSMV( grenache, shiraz, mataro, viognier blend) that exhibits the typical dark berry flavours and aromas as well as the violet and pepper hints. Not for the faint of heart though as it’s big, rich and full bodied – $66

Cuvelier Los Andes Grand Vin – wondering if I might throw a Malbec in there? Well kind of. Although Malbec is least likely to be any choice of mine, blend it with other grapes and it has a fair chance. Although this is 69%  Malbec, it’s balanced by Cabernet Sauvignon at 19% and a little of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Merlot, it’s very Bordeaux like with some significant time in French oak- $58

Easier lineup? More difficult? For me this is kind of a no brainer…I’ll pick the Nerello Mascalese every single time. Seriously. I love this grape. People have often asked me what my favourite wine in the store is. My standard answer is “whatever is in my glass”. But if I had to choose one…just ONE, it’d be this one. A haunting ethereal nose with dried Italian herbs, a sour raspberry/cherry and ashy, wet rock, stony minerality. It’s really unforgettable.  I think I would pay pretty much any price to try different producers. Love it!

Happy long weekend and happy rest of the summer everybody! My shameless plug for my blog happens right now: I’m seriously close to 1000 followers which is a huge milestone for me. Make it happen peeps! Always and forever grateful for your following! Cheers!

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