Wine Review: 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel, Zen Of The Zin

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This bottle was one of the goodies from our trip to Total Wine yesterday.

Now, to be fair, Xavier and I opened the Zen Of The Zin on the heels of the Carnivor Zinfandel, which leaves it staring up at a might high bar. That being said, it was still pretty good. I’d drink it again.

Smokey with undertones of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. Vaguely reminiscent of expensive leather. Pleasant finish. Pairs well with multiple episodes of Supernatural.

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Additionally, it’s the way to Zinlightenment, so there’s that.

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13.5% alcohol, no red wine headache. Overall, a very pleasant Zinfandel!

Wine Review: 2012 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, [yellow tail] Reserve

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[ yellow tail ] Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon.

By “Reserve” they mean it cost $8.99 instead of $7.99 so, you know, high rollers only.

While I’m not convinced that the extra dollar isn’t just spent on the fancy-pants label, this Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t bad. It’s definitely full-bodied with some upper-cut to the upper palate, gets ya with ole one-two if you know what I mean.

[ yellow tail ] reds are typically in your face, lacking volume control and the finesse of an indoor voice. It doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them bold.

Very woody with loud dark fruit. The label reads “… and a hint of mint”.  Apparently someone’s been chewing some super funky gum if they think this wine possesses a hint of mint which, clearly, it does not. But even if it did, “I like this wine because it’s refreshingly minty”, said no one ever.

14% alcohol and a touch of red wine headache.

Certainly not for sissies. Proceed with caution.

Wine Review: 2015 Merlot, Fish Eye

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I thought it would be worse….

Actually, I read some reviews saying that Fish Eye wine was pretty tasty and a good value for the price. Plus I’m a sucker for anything with a cute label.

Nonetheless, $4.99 is a very low price. So, you know, expectation management.

Truth be told, I liked it.

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This 2015 Merlot from Fish Eye was surprisingly nice. It’s a medium bodied, mellow semi-sweet red. Little bit of oak, little bit of plum, pleasantly smooth finish. Convenient screw cap saves a cork tree. 13.5% alcohol. No red wine headache. Xavier didn’t even get a headache from it and he is extra prone to them.

I paired it with a burger and calabacitas and since you probably don’t know what calabacitas is, let me fill you in.

Calabacitas is a southwestern dish featuring sauteed zucchini, onion, corn, GREEN CHILI, and cheese. It’s hella good with Fish Eye Merlot.

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Wine Review: Limited Release Double Down, Dark Horse

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It’s been one hell of a week. My counterpart at work is on vacation and it is only her presence that brings order to the madness. The minute she leaves, it’s like ordering a late night pizza and a sparkling water for the mogwai. The chaos that descends over everything as she walks out the door is not the result of anything I’m doing wrong, but rather the awakening of gremlins who have been hibernating since her last vacation.

I’m not even kidding. The random shit that goes awry when she’s not there is enough to rattle even the calmest of chains.

By Friday, I was torn between going to work or jumping off my balcony. I opted for work but only because I promised myself a bottle of Dark Horse Double Down as a reward for walking on hot coals all week.

Bring on the wine!

Double Down is a delicious Limited Release from Dark Horse; a red wine blend consisting of Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Tannet, and Teroldego. I don’t even know what the last two are but it’s really beside the point. I mean, you don’t need to be familiar with all the components in the remote control to que up the next episode of Midnight, Texas.

Speaking of which…

Last night Xavier and I killed a bottle of Double Down, paired with Chipotle (the rich man’s Taco Bell) and caught up on the last three episodes of Midnight, Texas. I love Midnight, Texas because, while they try to pretend that the show takes place in Texas, it is obviously shot in New Mexico. I watch it because it reminds me of home and because Charlaine Harris’s supernatural novels are cool.

So, about the Double Down…

Bold and full bodied. Luscious and full of toasty oak. Mellows to a pleasantly smooth finish. All too easy to keep refilling the glass, would be very dangerous if it came in a box. 14.5% alcohol. Pace yourself.

Wine Review: 2015 Malbec, Black Box

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I keep thinking that wine from Argentina should be better than it is.

I mean, this Malbec from Black Box isn’t bad. To the contrary, it’s far better than the previous bottle of Argentinean wine that I bought, but it’s not particularly special either. I wouldn’t walk a mile for a Camel if you know what I mean.

It’s a solid glass of “ok”.  Xavier and I enjoyed it while binge watching Supernatural.

A little tangy, a little fruity, pleasant finish, woody but not overtly oak. You could certainly do worse for the price. On the other hand, you could also do better.

Future New Mexicans

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My Dad and Xavier standing on the site of our future home.

Our time here in Maryland grows short. Big transactions are taking place and in a few months our new house (from Clayton Homes) will be delivered to this land near the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico.

It is what keeps me going day after day.

I grew up on this land and it’s time to go home and be near my family.

I can’t wait to visit all the local wineries and be able to buy wine at Costco and Trader Joe’s (can’t do that in Maryland). Did you know there is a winery in Albuquerque that has both red and green chili wine?

Most importantly, Xavier and I want an actual home that is not an apartment. We want to have our own space, our own yard, a workshop; our very own hippie homestead with wind turbines, solar panels, and rain collection barrels. (And Wi-Fi… don’t forget the Wi-Fi)

But we want a certain type of lifestyle too.  We want to fly light.

That means living with low overhead. Buying a home that is easily affordable instead of barely affordable. We’re minimalist in that regard. We want to spend our money on adventures and experiences instead of on unnecessarily inflated bills.

At first we had planned to buy a tiny house but that proved to be impractical for a whole host of technical reasons, like zoning laws say for instance. As it turned out, it made a whole lot more sense to buy a manufactured home. It’s still small but not so tiny that it has a weed sprayer shower or an electric hotplate for a stove plus I won’t have to be hoisting my dog up a ladder every night when we go to bed.

I really didn’t want to hoist my dog up a ladder.

Anyway, New Mexico awaits, the wheels in the sky are turning and all we have to do is stay the course.

September

October

November

So long Maryland and hello New Mexico!

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Wine Review: 2015 Sea Of Stones Red Wine Blend, Layer Cake

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“Somebody’s poisoned the water hole…”

Confirming the theory that grapes don’t grow well in salt water and rocks, this Sea Of Stones Red Blend from Layer Cake is unfortunate to say the least.

Easily one of the worst wines I’ve encountered.

They say conflict occurs when expectations don’t match reality.

I wanted to like it. I expected to like it. I was fully prepared to like it.

Xavier said it tasted like a mix of Day and NyQuil.

I guess that’s one way to put it but first, let me ask a question. How do you know when sour cream has gone sour? I mean, it’s already sour so how do you know when it’s past it’s prime?

There was something off about this wine.  It smelled off. It tasted off. How do you know when fermented grapes have started cultivating something funky?

Now, to be fair, their own website claims that the Red Blend smells like pencil lead, the problem is that it tastes like pencil lead too.

This bottle, and $15, went down the drain.

I don’t know if the Sea Of Stones Red Wine Blend is just not a good ensemble or if I got a bad bottle but, in any case, I doubt I will be brave enough to try it again.


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