Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning"....  Alfred Tennyson
Wishing all of you success and much happiness in the coming year.  And tomorrow this tiny corner of the cyber world will begin it's eighth year, and there are still more wines to drink. 

Photo is a glass of 2005 Watervale riesling from the Australian producer, Grosset, taken at sunset on an evening last spring. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Some Progress

A little more progress to report on the recovery of my taste buds -- they are playing mean tricks on me.  There was a sparkling wine tasting two days ago at a local wine store.  I was there for another reason, but they offered a discount since I just wanted a sip.  I liked the all the wines they were pouring but two were my clear favorites, and they were the two cheapest.  They were two wines I  drank before and was not overly thrilled with.  This time they were my two favorites because the subtleties in the higher priced sparkling wines still escape me. But these two I enjoyed.

The two wines were the pictured Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc from California and the Gruet Blanc de Noir from New Mexico.  Both were on Christmas special for $15 and $17 respectively.  They were light and fresh and pleasing.  The Piper Sonoma was more crisp while the Gruet, with it's pinot noir shining through, had a bit more fruit and body.  The Piper will be the New Year's Day sipper here.

So I have progressed to liking cheaper wine.  For the pocketbook that is a good thing, but I'm still waiting for full recovery to get back to drinking better wine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


There were quick and brief interludes of sunshine early this morning while walking at a nature preserve.  I particularly liked this large rock with moss, lichens, staining, and shadows that was sitting pond-side.  Some taller trees reflected in the water from the far side of the small pond.. 

The food was good last night and I can certainly see light at the end of this no taste tunnel.  I'll hold back over Christmas, but I am hopeful that by New Year's Eve things will have returned to normal.  I managed to acquire a few good bottles on sale during this shopping season - but the too will have to wait. 

There is a modest sparkling wine set for Christmas Eve tomorrow, and a slightly better bottle of bubbly set for Christmas day. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

Several things tasted good yesterday, and a breakfast waffle this morning was better than I expected.  I'm planning on two lamb chops to celebrate the winter solstice at 6:03 PM local time tonight, and that should be a good test of how much of my taste has returned.  Along with a small glass of a no expectations red wine with dinner there will be a glass of porto to end the evening.    I believe there is a small wedge of Stilton cheese in the house to go along with the porto.

So - at 6:03 PM a toast to all of you who read this, and a remembrance of good friends and good dogs who aren't here to enjoy the celebration.

In Gaelic, "A h-uile la sona dhuibh ‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!"  --  May all your days be happy ones!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Judgement Reserved

I made my first attempt at something other than a bland jug wine last night with some fish.  The wine was a 2011 Domaine de la Furonniere Muscadet.  The color was bright and clear and inviting and the aromas were wonderful and full of tart fruit, sea spray and minerality.  I was extremely excited because I was in love with the aromas and was hoping for the same with the taste.

Sadly, the taste buds have not recovered to the point that my sense of smell has.   The first two sips were very good, but by the third sip it became mostly the acid that I could sense.  Even the fish, a piece of pan seared Alaskan cod, could not mellow things out.   I'm making progress but still have some time to go to recover my tasting abilities.  I switched back to the thing that tastes the best to me at this point, a glass of San Pelligrino sparkling mineral water on ice with the juice of half of a key lime squeezed in for taste.

Judgement totally reserved on the wine - and there are two more in the cellar.

2011 Domaine de la Furonniere Muscadet.  12% alcohol and $14.

Friday, December 12, 2014

West Coast

Ever so gradually things are beginning to return to normal in regard to being able to taste anything except salt and tannin.  Lighter beers are appealing and a small glass of off dry Riesling was recognizable and good at lunch today.  With luck and another week of being off the medications there should be some serious cork pulling and some wonderful food.

With cold weather settled in here for awhile I am still dreaming of a past California trip.  The photo is the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore in northern Marin County in California.  With huge storms blowing through that area I can guarantee the beach does not look this nice now. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.    Buddha
Taste bud recovery seems to be heading in the right direction.  The nose is functioning fine and a bit of wine came very close to tasting good. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

♪ Winter Has Me in It's Grip ♫

♪ Think I'll take a summer trip.....♫*

At least a summer memory trip back to May of 2013.  Fresh seafood on this deck overlooking a coastal creek flowing into San Francisco Bay. There was a wonderful bottle of 2010 La Chablisienne Montmains premier cru Chablis to wash down the food.  Sunshine, warm temperatures, great location and good friends. 

* from a song by Don McLean

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 2013

An after dinner treat from last December.  Clockwise from the top left: a glass of Warre's Warrior Porto, a slice of cranberry, orange and pecan bread, a small wedge of Stilton cheese, three slices of a medjool date stuffed with goat cheese and a square of dark chocolate with pomegranate seeds.  And in the spirit of this blog, a flamingo night light and a small statue of a Gordon Setter.  The plate is made from a dried banana leaf.

The Warrior port had been something I liked in the past but this particular bottle seemed acidic and lacking in flavor.  After it was gone I moved on to Graham's Six Grape.

Once the taste buds return I will do this again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Season's Greetings

If one can't drink the only thing left is to rearrange the cellar.  While doing so a dried nut and pine cone wreath my mother made in early 1970's popped out.  It's been several years since I last saw it.
It now hangs on the front door for the season with a suitable centerpiece for this blog.

I  also found two lost bottles of 2001 Barolo that were written off as missing for two years or more.  When my taste returns and I trust it again one of them will make for a wonderful evening.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Cellar Door is Closed

For the next couple of weeks this blog will probably be off topic most of the time. The course of medication and treatment for a recently diagnosed problem has temporarily ruined my sense of taste.  I am very good with recognizing salt and tannin, but not much else.  Even a usually lifeless glass of unoaked red wine made me understand what a beaver tastes when it is gnawing on a tree.  White wines taste like sucking on a lemon.   Food is mostly bland and uninteresting.

The cellar door is closed until some sense of taste returns.  There are some notes on wines that never made it into this blog and they may be revised and published, but new bottles are off limits for two weeks.

The good news is that I have been promised that things should be back to normal by mid December - just in time for some good wines over the holidays.  The better news is that the course of treatment is working.  The bad news is that pictures of great food and wine only make me hungrier and more thirsty. 

The rabbit above was several weeks ago.  A neighbor dropped two off at the house and they had already been cleaned and brined to remove the blood.  I vivisected the bunny and it went into the oven with the carrots, olive oil, butter, rosemary, thyme, shallots and garlic for about thirty five minutes.  Good meal.  The rabbit's partner is currently in the freezer.