Wine Review: Pinot Noir, Hob Nob

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After more than a month of hurry-up-and-wait uncertainty, Xavier and I finally closed on our house this week.

To celebrate, we went to Cacique (Naturally. Where else would we go?)

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Xavier was smart and ordered the Cab from the Devil’s Locker but I wanted to try something different so I ordered the Hob Nob Pinot Noir.

Not the best choice.

I mean, it wasn’t terrible, I still drank it but I won’t be ordering it again. What they call an “elegant bouquet of cherries”, I would refer to “reminiscent of cough syrup” but, you know, tomato / ta-maw-toe. Not much oak either which, for me, is a drawback because I do like the oak.

The glass was $7.99 but the whole bottle is only $8.99 at Total Wine and Hob Nob Pinot Noir is probably not the best representation of French wine.

My advice, spend a few more dollars on something better.

 

Wine Review: 2016 Pinot Noir, Bota Box

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I usually like Pinot Noir, and I wanted to like this one, I really did.

But I didn’t.

Hard to put a finger on exactly what it is. The box says something about tasting like cola. They call it cola, I call it unfortunate.

Something mid palate hits all the wrong notes.

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But that’s just me. Xavier thought it was alright. He drank more of it than I did but we ended up throwing part of it away in favor of something better.

The blessing and the curse of boxed wine is that it comes in large quantities.

I’m generally a fan of Bota Box but won’t be buying this Pinot Noir again.  On the other hand, the RedVolution and Nightkawk Black are both very good!


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Wine Review: 2015 Pinot Noir, Old Soul Vineyards – Lodi, CA

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Yesterday, after wrapping up a fun shopping trip for cactus and gardening supplies at Lowe’s, Xavier says, “Hey, we’re really close to the Frederick Wine Ho”, which is husband-speak for, “I want to go there and buy stuff”, so we did.

Now, the place is actually called Frederick Wine House, but it shows up on my bank statement as Frederick Wine Ho so that has become it’s new unofficial name.

Anyway, a while back we were there to fetch some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Devil’s Locker but, upon entering the store, wine magnets moved my feet in a bee-line to this enchanting bottle of Old Soul Pinot Noir.  I didn’t get it that day but I kept it in the memory banks for future reference.

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Serious question: Is that a tree or a grape vine?

Old Soul Vineyards is actually a sub-brand of a larger company known as Oak Ridge Winery. If you scroll down on this page https://shoporw.vintegrate.com/  you can see all of their brands.

Fun fact: A few weeks ago, Xavier and I took a little road trip out to Trader Joe’s in Reston, VA specifically for the purpose of perusing their wine selection. On that trip we found what turned out to be an excellent Lodi based Zinfandel from Old Vine Zin. A bit of research revealed that Old Vine Zin is also a sub-brand of Oak Ridge Winery.

Old Vine Zin (Old Zin Vine?) will be a post for another day but, sufficed to say, the bottle didn’t last long.

Back to the Old Soul Pinot Noir, which is positively excellent, and not just because of the groovy label…

If dark chocolate and an oak tree got drunk on espresso and had a baby, it would be this wine. Boasting a prominent oak flavor (not unlike Red Velvet from Cupcake) and slightly bitter, though very pleasant, tones of dark chocolate and espresso, this is the kind of wine that makes me want to put a straw in the bottle and refer to the whole thing as “one drink”.  As in, “What?? I only had ONE drink…”

For best results, enjoy by candlelight by the patio on a hot summer evening.

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This is not really part of the wine review but these are the new cacti mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Wine Review: 2015 Pinot Noir, Dark Horse

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Always a sucker for cool names and labels, I just had to try some wine from Dark Horse.

While this method of selecting wine frequently does not work out in my favor, this time I got lucky.

After doing some research on their website, I decided to try the Pinot Noir and it did not disappoint!

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This is a velvety smooth and creamy Pinot Noir that actually does bring to mind rose petals and lavender, cherry and just the right amount of oak. (Y’all know I wouldn’t normally say something like that, right?) Give it 30 minutes or so to breathe and get ready to be impressed.

Xavier and I both got home late on this evening, didn’t much feel like cooking, and we paired this wine with popcorn which is not proper or sophisticated but is the reality of real people out there in the real world.

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I think the wine did more for the popcorn than the popcorn did for the wine but in any case we were out of both by the end of the night.

It is not the recommendation of this author for two people to kill entire bottles of wine in one sitting but, you know, sometimes shit happens.  Let’s call it a science experiment.

Here are some other relevant facts.

For those of you who fear the dreaded red wine headache, after three hefty glasses of Dark Horse Pinot Noir I slept like a (comatose) baby and woke up with no headache or hangover. In my personal experience, I have found that higher quality red wines do not give me the ice-pick-through-the-temple, while lesser quality wines leave me reeling from what feels like an open head wound.

For me, taste and headache factor are the measure of money well spent.

Speaking of money, Dark Horse wine is very reasonably priced. I think I paid $8.50 for this bottle. Normally I would consider that a big yellow CAUTION flag but their website claims that renegade wine maker, Beth Liston, has mastered the method of producing top quality wine at affordable prices.

All I can say is: Claim Substantiated.

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Dark Horse Pinot Noir is Murphy dog approved!

Wine Review: 2014 Pinot Noir, Robert Mondavi Private Selection

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“Will stay in a situation well past the point when a sane person would have quit.”

That’s (always been) me, in a nutshell.

I don’t know if the picture on the label is supposed to be light house or a church but either one seems appropriate for pondering a moral dilemma.

Shelly recommended the Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi and it did not disappoint.

Xavier and I killed a bottle of this dark and swirling smooth red wine while debating the following situation.

For the past two years I have been teaching a group fitness class called Strength And Balance For Seniors. After all that time I still only have three regular participants. They each only pay $35 a month for the class and it meets twice a week.

Of the three participants, I like two of them well enough but one of them, a women named Sally, pushes me like a sore tooth. Every conversation with her is like chewing on tin foil.

Further complicating matters is that I’ve recently started a new job which is consuming quite a bit of my time and making it increasingly inconvenient to keep the class going, in part, because that class time comes out of the precious few hours I have left of “me time”.

Hold on, let me pour another glass wine.

The problem isn’t that she’s not nice and it’s not that we have opposing political views. She is a nice person who agrees with me on most things. She even loves animals but this is not the problem.

The problem is two-fold, well, actually three-fold if we’re being honest.

The #1 problem is that she likes me a little too much. She stalks me on facebook, digging back through years of my photos and posts, and then announces her findings during class as if she has solved some great mystery. This habit alone makes it hard to keep my cool.

Problem #2 is that, bless her heart, but she’s just a god damned idiot. Literally every word that escapes her mouth is without forethought or reason. I have often wondered how it is that husband hasn’t drowned her in the tub – not for the life insurance money but just to shut her up.

Problem #3 is that, after working on the same exercises with the same simple explanations twice a week for two years, she still stumbles through them like a drunk baboon.

Honestly, by now I could’ve taught monkeys to do these exercises better than she does them.

I spoke to my life coach about it. Kim is pretty blunt. She said, “You need to work smarter, not harder. Cut ’em loose.”

And I had just about decided to do that when….

Wait, need more wine.

I had just about decided to end this class when the Sally’s 38 year old son died of a drug overdose.

Well, fuck.

How am I supposed to fuel this decision with righteous indignation when now all of a sudden I am forced to consider her as a real person with real feelings? Forced to consider what she lives with on a day to day basis, terrified that her worst fears will come true and she will have to bury her own son. Remembering a conservation from the previous week where she shared with the class that her disoriented brother-in-law had called her the night before to ask for her sister’s phone number.  Her sister died five years prior and he is the widower.

An old woman trying to make the best of her remaining years, latched on to me as someone she sees as wise and brave, maybe like the daughter she wished she had instead of a drug addict son.

Maybe the most difficult people in our lives are the ones who need the most compassion. Maybe each of us is the most difficult person in someone else’s life and we don’t even realize because we’re just trying to show affection in the only way we know how. Maybe someday we too will be old and sad.

Maybe I allow guilt to cloud my judgement.

About this latest update Kim said, “Showing support for her situation and keeping the class going are two different issues.”

Xavier said, “This is not what you signed up for. Your job is to teach the class, not to get sucked into these personal situations. If you want to stop teaching the class then stop. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Due largely to it’s deliciousness, the Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi is a wise and gentle wine, allowing my mind relax just enough to be reasoned with. Shelly’s recommendation was spot on and I would absolutely serve a glass of this delectable wisdom to my mother and to all of my friends.

I canceled the class.