Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Abstract Nature

There has been a lot of rain here lately and that means usually dry areas are damp and soggy.

The above picture is a prime example.  The blue area at the bottom is actually asphalt  paving a trail through one of the local parks.  The light brown stuff is sand and dirt that is being deposited by the water flowing over the asphalt.  The darker brown sections are the reflection of trees on the surface of that water.  The black asphalt is blue because the water is reflecting the sky.

The right place at the right time.  When I passed this area ten minutes later the reflections were gone and the swirls were different.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


After several days of rain and storms the resident canine and I finally got out this morning for a long walk along the Great Miami River and through several wildlife areas. While she was busy convincing two Canada geese (third picture) that they belonged in Canada and not the U.S. a mallard wandered into camera range.

I took the largest camera and lens because of reports that the bald eagle had been seen in this area again.  No luck seeing the eagle but it was nice to be out and about.

The last picture is not a waterfowl. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


The last wine of the evening was the best, a 2010 Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso.  This was my first experience with this wine, a blend of sangiovese, montepulciano and sagrantino.  This was a big wine in every way imaginable.  The first sip was full bodied and very tannic with dark cherry fruit and some tart highlights.  The tannin kept on giving but the wine was very drinkable.  Swirling helped, but the wine needed time. 

The sagrantino grape is mostly found only in Umbia.  One producer, Marco Caprai,  has said, 
"Sagrantino is exceptionally rich in the polyphenols that give a wine color, and is considerably more tannic than sangiovese....  This is a wine with incredible aging potential, but the tannins are sweet rather than sharp, which makes it drinkable when young."   -  Bastianich and Lynch - Vino Italiano, The Regional Wines of Italy.
 Quite a delicious mouthful.  15% alcohol and $36

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cremant de Loire

The dinner out discussed below started with two wines, a rather innocuous Bourgogne Aligote and a 2014 Soucherie Cremant de Loire, a sparkling rose'.  The wine was a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Chenin blanc.  My first impression at the beginning of the first sip was 'too fruity.'  That changed in mid palate as the expected sweetness never materialized.  Instead it was dry fruit with great acid and body and just the right amount of bubbles to keep every thing in a festive mood.  The 12% alcohol was all this wine needed.  Refreshing and happy, it set the stage for better wines to follow.  At $18 a bottle it's a bargain.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dinner Out

A local favorite restaurant closed temporarily and just reopened with a scaled down menu and a more casual atmosphere.  Like a number of small, non chain restaurants rising rent was a problem.  The food is still wonderful and so is the service, and Tuesday nights feature a wine tasting menu.

I opted for the duck confit pictured above.  Done as a hash with Yukon gold potatoes, a few shallots and a dark sauce, it was finished with a fried egg on top.  Wonderful, rich stuff that totally disappeared from my plate along with every bit of the sauce, soaked up with a crusty roll.

The wine with the confit was a 2012  Bousquet Des Papes, Chante le Merle, Vielle Vignes, Chateauneuf de Pape - a name as mouth filling as the wine itself.   The wine's medium color was not an indication of how rich this wine was.  Bright red fruit flavors sat on top of a dark base of flavor - tart cherries on top of ripe black plums and berries if you will.  There was nothing shy about this wine, and that wasn't surprising considering it's 15.5% alcohol content.  I was most pleased with the acid in the wine as it kept the wine from overwhelming the food.  One glass was enough with driving involved.       

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Northern Whites

This was an off the wall purchase when I wandered through a local wine store last week.  It's a non-vintage, white, table wine from Oregon's Willamette valley.  It's also a strange mix of 34% gewurztraminer, 30% Muller-Thurgau, 28% pinot gris and 8% riesling - or not your every day blend.  It's formal name is Borealis, the Northern Whites produced by the Montinore Estate in Oregon.  The winery makes a delicious pinot gris so I thought I would give this one a shot with some halibut.

The color and the taste were unique.  The color was a pale gold with a hint of rose in it - just enough to make one look twice.  One could definitely taste the funk of the gewurtztraminer.  I've not had enough Muller-Thurgau to comment on that, but I really couldn't detect the pinot gris or the Riesling.  I could get some ripe, green grapes out of the flavors.  The wine was off dry and crisp and a bit oily in the mouth feel, but I loved the acid on the finish.  Nice match for the halibut.

In the end it was interesting and flavorful. I prefer the winery's pinot gris to this wine, but I wouldn't turn down another glass or two.

Montinore Estate Borealis.  12.5% alcohol and $13.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day. Dalai Lama
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Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.  -  Dalai Lama 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Alsatian Riesling

Cellar raiding time again, since there were three bottles of the 2011 Domaine Pfister Riesling Tradition from the Alsace and there was some swordfish to eat.

It was a very interesting wine.  Even though it was a Riesling there was a unique body to it, an oiliness that I usually find in Roussanne.  It was the way it felt in the mouth.  The flavors were true Riesling though - green apples, citrus zest and a bit of not too ripe pineapple.  But its most surprising aspect was the finish.   It was sharp and tart, dry and fresh.  From the mouth feel of this wine I was expecting a lower acid on the finish.  It paired well with the full flavors of the swordfish and the palate cleansing acid at the end was perfect for me.

2011 Domaine Pfister Riesling Tradition.  12.5% alcohol.  $25