Xavier bought me a fantastic wine decanter and that is the best part of this review.
A wine decanter helps the wine to open up faster by exposing more of the surface area to oxygen. Aside from that, it looks cool.
Of course you then have to hurry up and drink it before it gets too oxidized, grows bacteria, and turns into an unsavory science project.
The Banished is 19 Crimes’ Dark Red Blend. Once again, no info on the bottle and I can’t get the website to work because, for some inexplicable reason, my computer will not allow me to check the box certifying that I am of legal drinking age. No checky box, no loady website.
In any case, I can tell you that 19 Crimes is located in south eastern Australia and the wine in this bottle was indeed dark red.
I think it tasted alright but I kinda don’t remember because it gave me a red wine headache that lasted for two days.
If you’re prone to red wine headaches, I recommend skipping this one.
The label is curiously devoid of any words to describe the contents and the website won’t load so your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what’s in the bottle.
It’s definitely wine and it’s definitely red.
So there you have it.
19 Crimes is from Australia, home of Shiraz, and so far as I can tell Shiraz seems to be the main ingredient in this blend. I’m guessing the other ingredient to be Cabernet Sauvignon but that is purely a guess.
According to Xavier it, “smells like a whole lotta wood in there”, and it does indeed.
Despite the lack of information, I really liked this wine. It had a unique flavor that I had not tasted before; jammy but not heavy with the oak falling in exactly the right part of the flavor spectrum. Additionally, it tastes exactly the way it smells so the sipping experience is a harmonious and happy one.
Seriously, it’s not even fair to the other winemakers of the world.
While Xavier was switched on by the Menage A Trois Gold Chardonnay, in my opinion there is nothing finer than the Silk Soft Red.
This wine is rated at 90 points. No arguments here.
70% Pinot Noir. 20% Malbec. 10% Petite Sirah
Alchemy in a barrel.
But nothing is simple. To be human is to be caught in moments of conflicting emotions and events.
Earlier in the day Xavier was in a car accident.
Less than a mile from home, on his way to buy me fancy popcorn, Xavier was stopped in traffic when a distracted old lady plowed into the back of his car at 35 miles an hour.
Apparently Mrs. Too Old To Be Driving looked up from her knitting just in time to see to see his taillights and say “Oh Shit!”
She had longer skid marks in her Depends than she left on the road trying not to hit my husband.
She pushed his car 20 feet and into the next lane. Fortunately other drivers were paying attention and no one else hit him during his slide across the road.
Xavier was so excited about this car and had only bought it three weeks prior. It still had the temporary plates and he had not even made the first payment yet.
While not dead or paralyzed, he is definitely hurt and this situation is a long way from being resolved.
In a real time example of yin and yang, we sat on the couch drinking the most delicious wine in the world while he told me the story and showed me the police report and the photos. Being human, in all it’s conflicting glory.
Two of the most important questions in life are: What will you focus on? and What does it mean?
Could something good come of this seemingly unfortunate turn of events?
Without overplaying my hand, I believe there will be a positive outcome and, when that day arrives, we’ll celebrate with another bottle of Silk Soft Red Blend.
Ensure that you are the beneficiary of the victim’s life insurance policy.
Drug victim before drowning them in the bathtub. Wait two hours then call 911.
Marry jail bait girlfriend less than a week later.
Xavier and I watch Forensic Files while enjoying our wine in the evenings. It is our new favorite show and from it we have learned some valuable tips such as: killing someone for life insurance money is a bad plan and that most murders can be avoided simply by getting divorced.
Why is divorce so expensive? Because it’s worth it.
Xavier brought home this bottle of Ravens Wood Merlot as a surprise and, it was indeed surprising.
I had never tried a Merlot because for some reason I thought I wouldn’t like it. Somewhere along the way someone probably told me that they didn’t like Merlot and I just took their word for it.
Ever find yourself in possession of an opinion that is completely unsubstantiated? You know, something along the lines of believing the Earth to be flat or that Jesus rode a pet dinosaur? Yeah, it’s just like that.
So he brings home this bottle of Merlot that I think I won’t like but agree to try anyway and, low-and-behold, turns out to be completely delicious!
Merlot is the proverbial garlic and Corn-Nuts of wine in the sense that if you have some, your date better have some too. This is a thick and juicy dark red wine, smooth and positively decadent, and it actually does taste just a very tiny bit like black olives. I found myself greedily slurping it down like eating grape jelly straight from the jar with a spoon BUT, and pay close attention to this part, it turned the entire inside of my mouth purple.
Not realizing that such a thing would occur, you could imagine my surprise when I went to brush my teeth and found myself looking like Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.
Dude, nothing says “Kiss Me”, like penguin mouth.
Now, this purple teeth business, I don’t mean to portray it as a deterrent but just some useful information for deciding when and where to enjoy a fine bottle of Merlot.
I say at home and preferably in the dark.
NOT in the car on the way to a first date.
My recommendation: Just like not wanting to be featured in an episode of Forensic Files, exercise a bit of discretion before uncorking the plan and everything will be just fine.
When customers think that the fax machine sends actual pieces of paper through the phone lines.
Sunday is indeed the Sabbath and a day for seeking refuge from the general public. During the winter months, Tarara Winery is the perfect gateway for disappearing into the world at large.
Located either on the set of The Walking Dead or on the way to grandmother’s house,
Tarara Winery is a sprawling estate nestled deep in the woods of Leesburg, VA. It’s got a bad case of the creepy trees, sparking a discussion in the car regarding the high probably of the woods being inhabited by witches. Xavier says no but I say he just can’t see them.
In the summer, this place would no doubt have the vibe of a lavish country club, complete with lots of high-roller wine-drinkers, but in the winter we felt compelled to ask the receptionist if they were open as it seemed like we were the only ones there.
In other words, it was perfect!
At the bar, we sampled six different wines. As usual, my imagination got the best of me and I insisted on trying the one called Magic Dragons from the Boneyard Collection. Unfortunately, I found the name preferable to the wine.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Magic Dragons was bad, it just wasn’t as good as the #SocialSecret White 2012. Now, that – my friends, was the bomb diggity ding dang. If you’re going to spend $30 on a bottle of white wine, get this one!
Fruity, but still smooth and definitely dry, this is a Chardonnay-esque white wine that I highly recommend drinking while sitting in a big chair by the fire because, at 12.5% alcohol, you won’t feel like getting up anytime soon.
With regard to socializing, the secret is, that after the first glass, your guests will feel like Alice In Wonderland. While they may hear voices, walk funny, and smile at imaginary cats, they will most certainly tell their friends that you have thrown the best.party.ever.
Who doesn’t want to throw the best party ever?
I wanted to talk about the #SocialSecret because I have already reviewed a red wine from Tarara in a previous post. That being said, it is absolutely worth mentioning that the Tranquility 2014 is outstanding and will probably make your clothes fall off. No joke, if there is a such a thing as a wine erection this wine would cause it and, at $45 a bottle, it is money well spent.
The Tranquility is very, very good.
Let’s walk around the grounds and sober up a bit before getting back in the car.
I was looking for grape vines but found these fruit tree orchards instead.
The shot of the day is this abandoned house that we passed on the way back to civilization.
I got snagged in a barbed wire fence to get the photo below. I have no idea what this structure used to be. Let’s call it Mystery Of The Day.
Twenty years ago I had dinner at Olive Garden with Monique. We were there to celebrate (Thank God We’re Not) Mother’s Day and I wanted a glass of wine because it seemed like an adult thing to do.
Despite living in sin city, I had grown up on a dirt road and had no idea what to order. Monique’s family, on the other hand, was in the habit of attending cultured events like the Santa Fe Opera and she was somewhat better equipped to differentiate between a decent wine and a bottle of cough syrup.
Burned in my memory for all of time because, at the tender age of 21, I had notably fewer things to keep track of.
Which brings us to the present moment.
Xavier and I made an afternoon adventure out of visiting Costco in Leesburg, VA. We live in Maryland but in these parts packaged liquor can only be sold in state regulated liquor stores, ergo not Costco.
Hence the drive to Virginia.
We bought two wines on this trip. I have already reviewed one of them, the Sofia Rose’, and the other – based on the recurrence of an old memory, was 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Kendall-Jackon Vinter’s Reserve.
I had meant to pair it with food, take some nice photos and to write something eloquent about it, but that’s not what happened.
I came home from work on a Friday night feeling exhausted and fed up with the steady stream of idiocracy that had filled my shift. Poor Xavier got home and asked how my day was.
Now faced with wild gesticulations and an ongoing rant, Xavier silently opened this bottle of wine and poured me a glass because he’s a good husband like that.
It worked like a charm and by the the second glass I had calmed right the fricky-frack down.
How was it? I would call it a solid “pretty good”. A far cry better than the yellow tail Cabernet Sauvignon, though not quite as smooth as the one from Tarara Winery that started this whole wine review business in the first place. It’s worth noting that the Kendall-Jackson is about $14.50 at Costco – as opposed to the $45 price tag on the Cabernet from Tarara.
For $14.50, I think this wine is a good buy. If you want me to say that it tastes like cedar, vanilla and cherry…. um, sure. Yes, it tastes just like that.
My review: A fairly smooth red wine with a pleasant woody aftertaste and enjoyable sedative qualities. May save a marriage.
I suppose I should’ve know better but I decided to live cheap and dangerously.
This is Cabernet Sauvignon from yellow tail.
The price: $6.59.
That means no Mircale Gro for the grapes.
Now, to be honest, it’s not terrible, not pond water by any means, and it does start to taste better by the 2nd glass.
That first glass though.. it punches you in the throat on the way down which means it’s not very smooth and I figured out that this characteristic is what determines whether or not I like the wine.
It’s 13% alcohol so after the first glass, with the throat numb anyway, the punch is nearly painless.
While my review of this wine could double as zen wisdom for surviving a bar fight, it’s not all bad. If expendable income is tight and this is what you brought home to have with dinner, drink it fast, the pain is short lived.
Since I decided that I need something new to talk about, a fresh project to take on, and an excuse to get out and visit new places.
This idea was born today at lunch. I said to Xavier, “I want to visit wineries, take creepy pictures of their vines and talk about their wine.”
I had him at “wine”.
We were in Leesburg, VA with a car full of groceries when this happened so a winery trip has yet to occur but I do have a wine to review!
I received this bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Tarara Winery for Christmas.
Being absolutely candid, this is the best wine I’ve ever had……ever.
That being said, I’m hardly an educated wine connoisseur but what I can tell you is that it’s silky, rich, and smooth; lacking that feeling of being punched in the throat right at the moment of swallowing. It is very good when paired with dark chocolate.
Prior to this, I believed that I did not like red wine and mostly drank $7 bottles of Moscato.
Adam Conover claimed on his show, Adam Ruins Everything, that there is no difference in taste between cheap wine and expensive wine and, to be clear, Adam is wrong.
The Cabernet Sauvignon from Tarara Winery is a $45 investment and, take it from me – a drinker of cheap wine, you can absolutely tell where the extra money goes. I mean, I can’t say precisely where it goes; fatter grapes, Miracle Gro, aged longer in better barrels, more fairy dust and magic beans for all I know, but the difference in quality is undeniable.
In fact, it was this wine that peaked my interest in doing something creative on this blog that involved wine and writing and photography.
So stay tuned, more wine reviews are coming and very soon we’ll get out to visit a local winery!