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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Wine Review: 2014 Essential Red, Bogle Vineyards

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Supernatural: Eleven seasons of wine and demons…and Negan.

Xavier and I have been watching a lot of Supernatural lately. It’s what we do.

To celebrate Friday night I picked up this bottle of Bogle Essential Red. At $14.99, it cost a little bit more than I usually spend but it is immediately evident where that extra $4.00 went.

Essential Red tastes expensive. 

A step above what we’re used to.

Whatever they do, they do it well. This wine is fer-damn delicious.

A blend of Old Vine Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, extra Miracle Gro, and some kind of witchcraft, Essential Red combines the best qualities of all the varietals to create a masterpiece.

Velevet, leather, tobacco, chocolate, cedar, juniper and, you know, grapes.

Actually, it’s just grapes.  The other stuff is all in your head.

But damn, it’s fine.

The bottle survived three episodes of Supernatural and a romantic cuddle on the patio.

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Whatever wine you were planning to buy for tonight, put it down and go pickup a bottle of Bogle Essential Red instead.


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Wine Review: Old Vine Zinfandel, Bota Box

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It feels like fall in Maryland tonight and, to be honest, I’m not a fan. Summer is my season. That being said, the impending autumn brings with it significant and exciting changes. By the time the snow gets here, I’ll once again be a homeowner in New Mexico. So, you know, maybe fall isn’t so bad after all.

Admittedly, a glass of red wine is nice on a chilly evening. Or a hot evening. Or pretty much any type of evening. Hell, it’s doesn’t even have to be evening. Whenever is fine.

Anyway…

For the most part, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my explorations into the world of boxed wine. Bota Box did well with this Old Vine Zinfandel. We liked it. A lot.

Xavier has become fixated on the show, Supernatural, and since it is now in it’s 12th season of production that means there are eleven seasons available on NetFlix.

Wine disappears at an approximate rate of two boxes per season so, consumption being what it is, it will be necessary to find many more boxes to try before we get to the end of the show.

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Old Vine Zin and Iris kitty are almost the same color.

This is a dark and jammy Zinfandel. A lovely glass of plum, licorice, sage, and a whole lot of oak. I do love me some oakified wine.

Xavier, who is especially enamored with the Old Vine Zin, claims that this one has an upward inflection at the end and that drinking it is like conversing with a Valley Girl.

You know?

Because all statements end with question marks?

He’s funny like that.

I say it tastes like a whole lot of empty box because it disappeared posthaste. No red wine headache either, always an endearing quality.


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Wine Review: 2016 Rose’, Dark Horse

I keep trying to like Rose’ while also trying to be frugal.

Generally speaking, Rose’ and frugality don’t play well together, but this one’s not bad.

For $8.99, Dark Horse makes a Rose’ that maintains enough smooth and buttery qualities to make it perfectly drinkable.

Initially, a very bright and crisp wine, I noticed that it mellowed out considerably by the second day. I prefer second day Rose’ and it is excellent paired with a big spinach salad topped with Chipotle Ranch dressing.

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I call this my homework wine, for obvious reasons.

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Smooth and easy sipping, a little Rose’ helps to drown out the residual bad music that eight hours of stapling idiocracy has left in my brain. Even now as I write this on a Saturday morning, snippets of the insufferably bad music played all day at work still rattle around in my head.

Right now it’s Rachel Platten. Now, let me warn you, I only share this link as a cruel joke. Misery loves company and I think that if I should have to live with the ghost of this horrifically bad song in my head then someone else should too.

Thank you for calling the suicide prevention hotline. Please enjoy the music while your party is reached. And by the time a representative finally picks up the phone, there is only dead silence on the other end.

So anyway, back to the wine. Xavier did not like this one at all so that just meant more for me, which is fine because I have a lot of homework.

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Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Smoking Loon

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I picked this up on Friday night to celebrate another week of not killing anyone at the nations largest retailer of staplers. One can only take so much stapling idiocracy before it becomes necessary to turn the down the volume on the situation.

Enter stage left: Wine, wine, and more wine.

Xavier and I killed this bottle during the pilot episode of Game Of Thrones (we’re starting over from the beginning), which was so enthralling that I forgot to get any photos of the wine in a glass until the show, and dinner, were over.

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You can bet it was good though. We paired it with  bread-less cheeseburgers and asparagus.

The tasting notes describe it as having an aroma of spearmint but whoever wrote that was clearly chewing gum at the time. Give this Cabernet Sauvignon a few minutes to air out and open up and it is a wonderfully full bodied and smooth, slightly smoky, cab that tastes like gone.

To be clear, there is nothing minty about it.

Xavier said it gave him a bit of the red wine headache. I, however, slept the night away unscathed.

Smoking Loon is located in Chile as are many of my recent favorites. I think I’m beginning to see what Kricket was saying about other parts of the world tasting better than California.

In any case, Game Of Thrones reminded us that winter is, in fact, on it’s way and on Friday Xavier told the head Staplers that we are moving to New Mexico at the end of the year, effectively letting the cat out of the bag and bringing us one step closer to making our exit.

I won’t mind leaving this place before winter arrives.


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