Influencer Status – Reviewing Ravines Wine Cellars

A lovely, 20 something, social media manager of a winery, reached out to me with a desire that I would review some wines for her.

I thought that was funny.

She told me it was because I was a “Wine Influencer”. Yes, she really said that.

I Google’d (ha ha) the definition of an “influencer”. The first thing that popped up was a website focused on “How to Up Your Influencer Game” – spotlighting, or really selling me, Influencer marketing software. I can’t make this up. From what this website was telling me, my opinion now needs a marketing platform, a nice wardrobe, maybe some new boobs, a guide on relationship management, and much much more. I’m semi used to this thought process; starting something from nothing, being an underdog, and speaking a coded language- that is not popular and highly judged- is an every day thing in my world. What I LOVE about social media, or just starting a conversation about wine, is watching the build. When you are the witness of someone developing skills with out TELLING them how to do it – asking open ended questions, being observant, and by holding their hand down the road of discovery – – – – that’s golden. That is causing effect, that is changing behavior, and that is where my heart flutters.

So, I told this lovely social media manager at Ravines Wine Cellars that she could count on me to give my honest opinions and perceptions of a lineup of wines from the Finger Lakes.

And then I called the POD, cooked up a charcuterie board, and made them pose for pictures (I know, I am annoying). Most importantly, I wanted their opinion too.

Here we go:

Let’s take a moment to think – where are we in the world, why is this important, and how is this fun:

Location; In, around, through, and expanding upon Seneca Lake, NY. “Stored heat is released from the deep lakes during the winter, keeping the local climate mild relative to surrounding areas and preventing early season frost. Most vineyards are planted on steep hillsides overlooking the lakes, which help provide the vines with good drainage, better sun exposure, and a reduced risk of frost.” (thank you Wikipedia) Soils in this location – excellent slope and drainage giving wines a leaner profile with pretty floral notes and a racing mineralality – I absolutely love that in Riesling and all white wines in general.

The Ravines Family – European Winemaker with a wife that is a chef. As soon as I read this, I just KNEW I would be experiencing wines of character, and wines that speak to all the senses. Morten Hallgren (winemaker) calls his approach “transparent winemaking”; he looks for a “vine balance”, in this world we live in, through sustainable practices. He is responsible. He is thinking of not just his future but the future of the land he cultivates. Thanks Morten.

What did we taste:

2017 Dry Riesling –

  • Acidity is a bit high here, nice to see on a ’17
  • Medium length
  • Alcohol in balance – “cozy” was the term used…
  • Flavors of lemon/lime curd, hard lemon candy (from the dish in your Great Aunt’s living room), lavender honey, peach, green apple
  • Suggested drinking; “After the Beach” wine when you are showered and sitting on the veranda, in the Spring after work or in your coffee cup on the Zoom meeting! (I never do this…)

2017 Chardonnay

  • We felt the oak tannins before we tasted them
  • Lower in alcohol perception than the Riesling, but higher in acid
  • Medium Body
  • Flavors of honeysuckle, raw honey, sunflowers, slate
  • Suggested drinking; A “sipper” while you are cooking. This was the least favorite, but can still find a place in our drinking life. We did like that the oak was in line with the fruit composition.

2018 Cabernet Franc

  • I was VERY excited about this one. My Rhone Valley ears started to tingle a bit. I didn’t tell the POD any background concerning this grape, or any notions I may have about what would happen when we tasted it. This wine showed a VERY light body – which surprised me.
  • Medium to high tannins
  • The “feeling” of the alcohol was not a desirable situation, but I didn’t mind it. It was a bit obtrusive, but did blow off a bit after re tasting.
  • Strong blackberry nose, which as quite alluring. The jammy-ness got to us. Defined eucalyptus was new for the POD – great point out by someone very observant. Bravo!
  • Flavors of malted chocolate, tobacco, strong steeped tea, and defined bell pepper.
  • Suggested drinking; Pair with stinky cheese, sitting by the fire. Reminded the POD of Fall; defined harvest flavors were definitely present.

Final Thoughts; I like these wines, I like these people, I like their responsible and authentic approach. I also like the idea I could GO there at some time in my life. (not right now friends – Seneca Lake isn’t going anywhere, and can wait for me.) The wines are straight forward, and there is something for everyone. You can’t always say that with a line up. Was every wine a winner? Eh, so so – but what do you expect. I am so happy with this wine discovery, and I thank that 20 something social media manager for bringing these wines into my life. (And look at you creating a new marketing platform for your job. I’m impressed missy) As far as the influencer part, I’m not buying it yet – but, let’s see where this river flows…

Creating A New Narrative With Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay – Which Personal And/Or Wine Story Do YOU Choose?

I’ve been told because I was the one that left my marriage, it made the process easier.

It didn’t.

I’m also told that when individuals are not authentic, are manipulative, and decide that you are obsolete, it is a simple task to leave them behind.

It isn’t.

This time apart from the world – and I’m talking Covid timeline here – has unveiled a whole garbage bag of things. Are they things that were festering – eh, let’s be honest and say yes. Are they un spoken bitch faces, side eyed judgements, deep and tunnel vision love, or big time mistakes that can’t be forgiven – oh hell yeah. Have these all become a forced conduit to my dulled yet inspired for change, introspective, and perky personal character right now? Well, that’s what we seem to be sitting with.

Don’t feel sorry for me, because I don’t feel sorry for one thing that has happened.

Is it because a switch has been turned off concerning my vitality? Just typing that is depressive – this is exactly why, every day, there is a smoke screen of euphoria. Sometimes, just sometimes, I believe my own bullshit. I don’t think it is bad to force your change, and pretend your mind will shift away from your doubt; kind of like sticking your finger in the electric socket and see if you still stand. What can really happen anyway… (We don’t need to try that, we know a lot can happen…)

Why am I sharing the morose depths of my thoughts? It is not for anyone to notice themselves, but for those who should to notice themselves. It is to show that no matter what happens, you still need to make the coffee every morning, pay your rent, and figure out a way to shape the world you live in. The twinge of wanting, guilt, loneliness, or despondency refuses to depart – so why not embrace its energy and flip your lid.

Enter the time of year for giving, consideration, and damn expensive wine. All of which I would like to toss in the pile of “not right now” or “can’t it wait till I’m ready” – you know that isn’t reality. So what is on my side; unfortunately because of the state YOU are in, quite a bit:

  • You have some extra cash; don’t lie, I know you do. You may have lost your job, and I feel for you; mostly because I’ve been there and that is a black hole hun. But you aren’t buying new clothes (where will you wear them?), there are no movies to be seen, eating “out” is basically “outside” of your kitchen, and the trip to Starbucks just doesn’t seem like a great idea right now. So, what to do with those dollars…
  • We all want an experience – my God, any experience, besides the one in our pajamas, will do!
  • We all want a new story, and will take someone else’s. All wine has a story; the history of the winery and the winemaker, at times, a family history – not to mention the story the unveils on your palate.
  • We all want an escape. I’m not talking bout a drunken escape. At 49 years of age, they don’t seem to be worth it anymore. (who can even deal with a hangover?) We want to escape the limbo sense of idolized truth we have talked ourselves into. We want to escape into a food and wine coma not to be woken up from. We want a warm sensation down our throats – tactile impressions will always win.

Here is the first of a few wine ideas of, let’s say – splurges. Would I drink these with pizza? Maybe – but it better be a damn good pizza.

Mendoza, Argentina – Catena Zapata – White Stones – Chardonnay

Some of you may be thinking; “You said an experience, and you dole out a Chardonnay?”. I get it. I was told, numerous times by winemakers, that Chardonnay is a vehicle for a winemaker to fully express his/her self. To place a “thumbprint” on that “wine of place”. I love that. I also love the idea of enjoying a high performing Chardonnay from places like Burgundy, France where the grape has proven it’s worth and desireability. One problem – it’s going to cost twice as much as this lovely. And I don’t get it either; is Burgundy supposed to be my benchmark? Is there a benchmark? I’ve said before that it irritates me when reviewers will say this wine is “So Burgundian” (eye roll) ; letting me know that, before I taste it, it must be good- it’s like saying this “Susan” is so like “Karen” (this happens to be my sister that some say I completely resemble, others say I am a complete opposite) – I’m not bitch – I may have similarities, but I’m my own person and shine brighter every day. Allow this wine to speak a narrative, and then create a “palete narrative” for yourself off of what is naturally given to you.

Get ready for this journey though.

You hear, in the wine business, that certain vineyards are covered with stones. I don’t think you REALLY believe that until you see it, walk it, pick up those stones, get white dust all over your clothes, curse at the fact that white dust is all over your clothes for the rest of the day, and then don’t care and drink more chardonnay. Stones have excellent drainage, retain heat, lift the temperature, and allow the grapes to ripen to full maturity. So, in essence, this is a “terroir driven” wine, or a wine reflective of it’s surroundings; minerality, complexity, lively, refreshing, alluding, seductive. The flavor is that of a white peach, squishy off the tree, and dripping down your chin. Just let it go, we are all friends. A good drippy chin is evidence of wine well drunk.

I’m always amazed at wine that can be delicate but overwhelm me; kind of like the mental adventure I am in right now. Ok, that made me laugh, but it’s true. This is a food wine for sure; it makes all food sing a song. This is your turkey wine, if you aren’t sick of turkey yet. However, I actually enjoy this wine on it’s own. I let it develop descriptors as it goes, I watch the evolution, allow the flirting of expansion on my palate, and become increasingly satisfied with every sip. It’s happy juice.

If you can find this wine, you are looking to spend less than $100, more than $80. Sorry, not sorry. There isn’t a lot made, not a lot out there, and finding it is tough. Alas, that is why you have me, and all can be figured out. Drop me a line freind.

Follow me on Instagram for more of this way to pricy stuff. It’s all harmless fun; well, so we think, right? For now, enjoy some glam pictures of White Stones from my life with it….

Sometimes You Just Need A Push

Do you choose to go in a direction, or do you get pushed.

Shoved more like it.

Is it organic for you? Are you content with the idea that things “just happen for a reason” or “this is fate” or “we’ve been through worse”. What comes out of the things you don’t see coming, but even better – what happens to you?

It’s been a few months of this up and down turbulence. Professionally, I’m in. I love it and it makes me drive my priorities like a beast. Personally, I’m shut down. I don’t want new friends, I’m questioning my actions with the hanger ons, I don’t want to converse with a man that finds me interesting, and the eagerness for human contact seems to be fading. (thanks COVID) Yes, this is me talking. Me that can flirt in any situation, the me that will never leave your side, and the me that needs to rub your back while at the dinner table. It’s time for development. Maybe a little modification concerning what makes me great. Revision can be a good thing.

So, what is my message? How can I take an unfamiliar directive and make it shine like a spotlight. And, by the way, I’m not “sad”. I’m frighteningly focused, my mind is awake, I’m expressive and choosing my words wisely, I’m sexy as hell, I’m beginning to make wise choices. Paint your own picture, be the storyteller, glow in a new wonder – all that, and more friends.

Honestly, I’ve been in Zoom calls for a few days – I drank the Cool Aide.

And the Cool Aide is wines from areas that people tell me don’t sell. However, I am seeing them all over retail, so…. someone is selling them, but it’s not me. I know these wines are the unsung heroes, the overlooked for the moment, the value in the heap, the “I remember that” comment. (always a good one). I think there is an expectant STOP from my competitor – but I’m not giving one. I’m not because of my learning, and your shouldn’t be because of your non-learning. That’s the point of the blog buddy.

Can we do this together? I’m asking for help.

Take this for example;

Cabernet Sauvignon – you know it, you drink it, you love it. If you tried this wine, you would taste flavors of chocolate covered cherries, toasty oak, expressive and lingering harvest flavors, with savory underlying secrets. Now I also tell you it is from the Apalta valley of Chile; one of the best places to grow Cab with a climate that produces world class wines. Your face would say “Wines from Chile? Should I drink those? Aren’t they cheap?”.

And then there is this:

Here we go again with the Cab, and you are probably thanking me. And a red blend, thanks again! But what’s with the Shiraz – don’t do that to me Susan. That’s what Yellow Tail is made from. The only GOOD Shiraz I buy is from a winery called Penfolds – now THAT stuff is great. What if I told you this was made from a family that is concerned with the biodiversity of vineyards, the only winery in Australia with it’s own cooperage, creating wine from pre-phyloxera vines, and leading with other varietals like Viogner, fortified wine, and yes, our friend Shiraz here.

I’m pushing, but I need something to push against. I have a bunch of pushing in my new and altered consciousness, but I need it in reality. What I’m asking for is your input. Tell me what you think! Tell me if you think I am nuts, obnoxious, reprehensible, annoying, or just rotten. I can take it. It’s much better than the sneers, lies, or glazing over of heart breaking fabrications that I have witnessed these past few months. I’m releasing myself to the world tomorrow – with the elimination of doubt, deserting my past triumphs and regrets, and just being an authentic mask wearing girl. And I have good wine – I promise.

Hanging Out in Cape May, New Jersey…at the wineries….

Did you know that New Jersey has wineries? That’s kind of a joke. Yeah, I knew; I just never went.

And I didn’t go because I am a snob. I felt like I was better than that. In my mind, wineries in Cape May had nothing to teach or offer me. It’s Cape May New Jersey – have I not traveled, studied, lived the suffering wine life and moved past this?

Well, listen, am I wrong? Sort of. I’m wrong for stopping my quest of discovery. I am wrong for being a self involved, righteous bitch. And I’m wrong for thinking I can learn nothing from sitting with myself and my psyche. (I traveled alone for three days – and whoa, what a great time). I practiced the art of being silent, letting my mind wander- and not feeling guilty about that- and tuning in to my internal rhythm, my palate sensory machine, and the study of how I articulate my thoughts and impulses. I’m performing all the things just mentioned on a “acceptable” level…. (work in progress)

So here you go – here is the unabashed, kind of emotional, complete truth of what I did, what I think NOW. My ego is still racing and stamping it’s feet, wanting to be heard – I can’t stop that chick. But, I’m going to lay it on the table for you, and hope you don’t get to pissed off.

I began at and OK – I’m going to give them a pass here. It was August, it was HOT, and I was a bit on edge from a phone call on the ride over. I’ve been diving deep (in my mind, journals- I really got to get this onto paper) into the ideas I talk about in this blog; where do we start, emotionally, before we even take a sip at wine. Can our palates keep up with the noise we have created in our heads; usually before we even finish breakfast? How can we accept that journey a sip of wine will take us on if we can’t even forgive ourselves for the futile human escapades of life?

I wanted a flight, but I didn’t want to drink Pinot Grigio. I don’t want to drink ANYONE’S Pinot Grigio. I asked to switch out a different wine in the flight, they told me that was not a thing they did. (what the…) I even pulled the “I’m in the Wine Business” card (because you know, why not just act like a complete idiot), and they didn’t care. I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and left.

And, I took a wine note: Varietal positioning correct, is there viscosity here? A LOT of alcohol, good acidity, flavors of lemon/lime pith, candied orange peel, leaner body than expected.

And that is all I’m going to say about that.

I started to drive home, but then remembered that I reached out to @njwinegirl on Instagram asking for suggestions. One of those suggestions was – thank you Ms! First off, how Jersey is it to park, randomly, on the side of the road to enter the tasting room. Kind of loved that. I was interested in tasting their Albarino; sold out. Ok, lets do something funky then and just go for broke with an Orange Wine. Yup, New Jersey is cooking up a skin contact white wine, natural, organic, distinctive, peculiar – I say bring it on! This one is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Catarratto, and Grillo – dense, off dry, light acidity, definite signs of oak fermentation, honeysuckle goodness. I WANT this with a stinky cheese and walnut raisin bread – and then, I did something I never do- I bought a bottle for a friend. Listen Turdo Vineyards; you and your Italian varietals can stop on my street any day.

I decided to end my time in South New Jersey at capemaywinery; I was thinking this would be the mother of them all. OK, Cape May Winery, you are pretty, and your food is amazing (cute little Tapas bar – what you totally want at the moment). I”ll give you that. I can see myself having a dinner party surrounded by your technicolor umbrellas, sprawling trellised vineyards, and sexy mood music – you got that right girl. Your wine…. um, I’m not impressed but I’m not hating it either. What I DID like was your staff; knowledgeable, accommodating (they let me change out a wine in my flight – and thank you) – and they all look like they are happy to be there. I’m sure dealing with the New Jersey public in a pandemic is not an easy or joyful task at times – couldn’t tell. I had a white wine flight that was totally passable – your Albarino needs a bit more acidity, but had a palate of fresh melon, and I could see it being very food friendly. Your rose was incredibly floral, started out to be pretty, but died a bit at the end. I was delighted by the Isaac Smith White blend – unfortunately not available to buy – but this blend of sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio (I allowed this to happen) and colombard was pleasing. Your General Manager treated me to a Cabernet Sauvignon – I LOVED the slight chill on it, smart choice, great acidity, black berry fruit, alcohol in balance.

Will I go back, yes. I am DYING to see the brewery; next trip for sure. I say go, grab some friends to go with, and drink responsibly. Be prepared to spend some dollars; I’m not used to paying for my wine adventures. (again, snobbing it up, but that is the truth)

Some changes are brewing – honestly, July and August were a shit show for a bunch of reasons. But, I survived; a little bruised and confused, but still ready for whatever life will throw at me. New wines to look at with you – I hope you listen and challenge me as well. Help me through this, send me your opinions, and let’s add to our community. We are better together – if this time has taught me anything…

Catena Alta Chardonnay Fantasmas

Last night, yet again, I couldn’t sleep.

This isn’t a Covid thing, this is a Susan thing. I don’t have a problem falling asleep; on the contrary. Once the day is over, once I can sit on a couch with a Nexflix agenda – I’m out. I start to stir at 3 or 4 AM. I’m told that this is the witching hour; the time where the spirits can enter into your ethereal being. (don’t raise your eyebrows; there are stories, trust me) If you are experiencing the same, you know how weird that moment is when you just float around in the wee hours of the morning for no reason – not knowing what to do, coming up with stupid things to do, and all the things to do are lonely, empty, and bizarre.

Want to hear about meditation? I suck at it. Is anyone good at it? I follow @kristy_link meditation moments during the week; a guided flow on instagram that does quite my mind. It’s a help, and thank you to that goddess for her energies. (is LIVE on Instagram beguiling you?) But there is something more creepy; something that shoots cold chills into my core. It’s the meditation apps that I play at 3 AM – the one with the woman speaking to you like she is either going to seduce you, kill you slowly, or give you an inappropriate massage. I’m turned on and relaxed all at the same time. (look, something to do at 3 AM). Last night, my App lover told me to find a word to attach to my meditation intention. A word that embodies what would make my life complete. Hold that word, repeat that word in my mind, make that word my everything. That word for me was secure.

Secure in my relationships, secure in finding a relationship (yeah, I said that), secure in my job, secure in my finances, secure in lifting heavy objects (sorry, you know Crossfit will make an appearance), secure in my body that keeps changing (49 in two months – what is happening), and just secure in who I will become.

Then I started thinking about the wine I wanted to tell you about, and this moment was shot. I’m not kidding – the meditation turned into great ideas about a blog, a Live Instagram (that is happening tonight at 5 PM EST), and the ultimate selling tool that will change lives as we know it. It’ s all about chardonnay.

Yeah, chardonnay. Chardonnay is not a secure thing to a consumer, or is it? Sure – it’s the number one varietal grown in California, sure – it’s a great example on how a winemaker can put his/her creative thumb print on a wine, and sure – it’s the varietal that you either love or hate. And why the hate friend? I don’t want you to hate chardonnay as much as I don’t want you to hate the IDEA of chardonnay. There are directions to go in, areas of production to celebrate, award winning IDEAS of chardonnay – honor this sweetheart grape, and let’s sip on her together.

What will change your mind? Let’s break down this chardonnay from Catena Zapata and see what new ideas can come to mind:

Name: Alta Chardonnay from Mendoza Argentina.

Special – why: The grapes are sourced from high elevation vineyards; 5000 feet in elevation mind you. With this elevation, there is a diurnal shift (ohhhhh, vocabulary) – this is the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures, and what this means to the life of the grape. Grapes will ripen slower, they will maintain their acidity, there will be balance in the grape outcome, they will mature like they should. Isn’t that what we all want?

Why you need to get over yourself: I know you don’t want to drink this because of the oak. Trust me – it’s there, but it is in harmony to everything else going on in this wine. I love the Burguny like texture – but this is in NO WAY Burgundy – but sure, can we smile a bit in it’s direction. Yes. Elegant without being reprehensible, vibrant in fruit without being cloying, bracing with acidity without throwing me off my chair. Flavors of pears and peaches tipped right off of the tree. There is also a floral quality that makes quaffing this wine delightful. But don’t get me wrong; this wine is rich, complex, and a bit sneaky on how it wins you over in the end.

Tune in to winegirlgonewild LIVE Tonight, June 4, at 5PM – I will be joined by Ann Marie Sgroi (@annmarie.sgroi) – Catena Task Force Master, lover of dogs and fixer of houses, and all knowing of things that make Catena Zapata great! We will be drinking OLD vintages of Catena Alta Chardonnay – ohhhhhh yes. Let’s see what happens then!

The Two Month “Susan Life Reflection” On Where We Should Go Now (While I am Drinking Cava)

It’s not that I havn’t wanted to talk to you.

It’s me – not you. We have a good thing: I dictate my thoughts through a keyboard, I pretend you are there, you giggle at me tripping over my own ideas, whisper “Isn’t she stupid and cute at the same time” to your partner/lover/one night stand/spouse/kitten, and slice a piece of that crumb cake, sitting on the counter, and tell me not to worry – start lifting that expensive barbell you bought (in a hyper sensitive moment) and all this Covid weight will melt away.

All that is a thing, right?

My challenges, beyond being an isolated and lonely girl, may not be as bad as yours. I still have my job, roof over my head, food in the fridge, a backyard I can play in, and money to pay the bills. I am usually the person with NONE OF THESE THINGS crying on the bathroom floor. So why am I back and in a positive condition? (fleeting, trust me, but today is a good day) Completely for selfish reasons: to sell some wine (yeah, admitting is letting go), to show you another side of the wine coin, to share my screw ups and successes, and to remember that I got some good stuff in my head that you may like to hear.

Here is the : Two Month Susan Reflection On Where Life Should Go Now:

  • Read my ass off, and grasp more wine related substance. I’ve been learning from a super smart wine guy the last two months, and I am just over the moon with his education; self taught, experienced, witty, detailed to the last drop in the glass. I want my song to be loud, accurate, and thundering with thought provoking conversation between us, and I know I can up my game.
  • I tried the LIVE Instagram thing. Honestly, it’s weird, and now it’s a saturated platform. Are we really having a conversation about wine, or am I just drinking to drink? It became very empty. What about a podcast? Thoughts? That sounds like fun…
  • Take more pictures. If you spend any time with me, you are now flipping me off. I already take pictures of wine, wine people, wine stacks, wine ideas, wine dinners, more wine…. enough with the wine. I have recently been looking at pictures, and erasing ones that have no relevance to my life now. However, there are memories that come flooding back, tears and laughter that I can touch, and wonderful people and places that remain in my soul. You just need a little nudge with a visual.
  • Reflect on what has happened, absorb what is happening now, acknowledge when someone does you wrong, walk away from that wrong without feeling wrong, find the delight in not being the star (back up dancers build the brand-you remember that hot one third from the right), assemble your team with different energies, evolve, know that a moment can just be a moment, and that a bad thing is just someone else’s idea of “bad” – not yours. This last year has taught me that people that have never met you before can appreciate you and grow to respect you. At the same time, people you have known for years can make you numb OR continue to fight in your army with a crazy vengeance.
  • And watch a movie with John Cusack; I suggest Better Off Dead (a 1985 classic).

All of that is really good shit.

But what you really want to know is what have I been drinking.

The first month of isolation; a whole lot of wine. Man, I became a very round lady. What a bloated mess. That had to stop friends; and it did. But you know, your girl likes her wine. A few new things needed to enter this picture; something lower in alcohol, quaffable, easy on the liver, and satisfying after a week not having ANY alcohol to drink. I’ve always liked a bubble; Champagne, Cava, Prosecco (eh, not as much but it will do), Brachetto – anything with a little spritz and I’m ready. I PURCHASED (you heard me) a case of Cava and was instantly hooked. Here is why:

  • 11.5 percent alcohol. That made much more sense.
  • Cava is from Penedes; one of the most important viticultural areas of Catalonia in Spain. I sell wines from Spain. Support yourself woman.
  • The grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, Xarello; Macabeo being the dominant in this blend. This grape is so elegant, has complexity, shows pretty acidity, and has the bang of fruit needed without being obnoxious.
  • There is a Brut, there is a Rose, and I know you are going to want to rock this as a mimosa – how about you DON’T! This wine is perfect without all the additional crap you want to feed it. Sure it’s your brunch wine, your after work out wine (don’t judge), a “Is it time to drink in a pandemic” wine (if you have to ask…) – all are acurate.
  • Bubbles make you happy, they just do.
  • This wine’s name? Los Dos Cava – Brut or Rose – affordable goodness; can’t leave that part out, by the way. Grab a bottle, send me a picture of what you are drinking and how you are drinking it, or send me a new suggestion! Anything with a sparkle!

2020 Gravitas; My Life Now, And Dim Sum

The definition of “gravitas”:

high seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject)had the gravitas of a deep thinker

Thank you

I was asked if I had the gravitas to take a conversation further. I was then told to look up this definition by someone I respect, compete with, detest at times, love deeply, want to change, want to become, makes me sick to my stomach, makes my body ache at the thought of him – and I’m perplexed. All of those above emotions don’t pair with this person I know; don’t pair with this person, that I believe, holds the most gravitas, and is also asking me to bare my soul. So, should the question be – what makes me think deeply, what arouses me, and what makes me want to hold on and ask for more.

I don’t blog to blog, I don’t blog to self promote, I don’t blog to throw shade. I blog mainly because I’ve felt something, and that something is usually brought on by the wine experience. I’ve been absent, and I think it is because I was overwhelmed by the wine experience, as well as the people experience; the emotions were all caught in a net that I wasn’t in control of. The wine stuff caught me by surprise; I’m in the place where things need to happen, they needed to have happened yesterday, I need to report on it, spreadsheets, recaps, and oh yeah – make sure you can pronounce areas of viticulture in Portugal correct. (as well as knowing what the hell I’m talking about) The “Life of Susan” stuff went off a cliff – weird friend shifting, a romantic pop up, as well as a feeling of, well, silence. Silence of the chatter that happens when things “pop up”, a gravitas of knowing and believing that I can emotionally figure things out. All in all, I am over taking things tooooooo seriously.

Secret; I’m a pretty serious person. I have about 4 journals on rotation, planner is open on my desk right now, lists for the day were made yesterday, actually – 2 months ago, and I have at least three scenarios in the case of heartache for the guy that is dangling a carrot on the end of a string. Micro-management has nothing on me. But, I’m seeing that this gravitas needs the silent treatment, and needs it before my head combusts. Plan; do something that I don’t like to do.

Trust a man; check. That isn’t working out so well, so let’s move on. Explore a situation that you don’t think you will enjoy; enter Dim Sum. Let my friend Merriam-Webster define once again:

traditional Chinese food consisting of a variety of items (such as steamed or fried dumplings, pieces of cooked chicken, and rice balls) served in small portions

Listen, this is an event, this is a sit down gravitas moment, this is a whole Asian experience that I just didn’t want to do. Chinese, Japanese, Thai – I’m not a fan. I have my “go to” dishes, but texturally – nope. That was my American brain, that was my “turn it off” brain, and my serious attitude to what I think my life participation in Dim Sum should be. I threw judgement aside, met friends in NYC, sat down in a bat mitzvah kind of setting, and let the food journey begin. I was jostled by the stinky food carts, didn’t understand most of it, loved the conversation around the table of traveling, falling in love, falling into holes of life, and all the free flowing laughter. This place called for that, the food experience called for that. Afterwards, I took a walk through China town – no really, WALKED into it, not through it. Spoke to people on the street, bought a sweet bun at a bakery, and felt a life deviation.

I’m here to tell you I’m becoming more daring. That is 2020 Susan. I may say things now you may not like, I’ll probably go to far, and I may loose more “friends” in the process. (that may be the blessing in disguise; the authentic ones are rising as we speak) The positive is that I may get better at writing, I may fill a void in my soul, I may sharpen my facilitation and education sword, and I may know I am doing it all for the greater good; me.

So, sorry, not a wine post. Kind of a food post, but not really. The good thing is that I am back, I AM posting, I am thinking, and I am telling. I NEED to talk to you about wine though; we need to explore on another level, and we need to do this together. You help me figure this stuff out. My tastes have changed, my focus has changed, and my desire for a higher level of a tasting experience is looming. Please tell me you are ready for this….

If not, just enjoy my attempt at food styling and photography…..

All Talk And All Unfiltered

I shot a gun once. In a controlled environment, but I did it. I first said no, became shy of the idea and wanting to understand why these feelings were coming up in my chest. The sight of it sitting on a table frightened me, so why would I want to use it. I received instruction, I cried a bit, body shaking, focused and let go. That is the best way to describe it. It was a feeling of desperation, release, and complete power that I’m here to admit – I enjoyed and could do again.

I try to use my presence as my power, and in my 40’s, have tried to use my words just as much. But even holding a weapon was alluring; the thought that I could do nothing with my mind or persona yet be influential. Yes, it thrilled me, and then emptied my soul. My consciousness won and made me realize that I can’t control that kind of control, nor have the desire to give any effort. Target practice is not worth the high.

How can I now go on to write flowery images of wine? Even before this blog, I was dealing with news of a death, sadness, a little broken heart, a little weight gain – I’m not going on. I’m feeling selfish that I think of how MY world is effecting me, but that is what lays in my lap. I have a new job, a failed relationship, a market work day with a winery representative haunting my crappy planning, and a pressing waist line. That is what I see when I look in the mirror, and it’s not pretty. Add to that an upset stomach every time my innocent nephew walks out the door to go to school, or the fact that grocery shopping could be my last breath on this earth.

I know we aren’t giving up, but we can be sad for a moment as well. But wake up, put on your party dress, and get out the door – there are things to do, and there are ways to be happy.

I’m not giving you a review, I’m not selling a damn thing to you in this blog. I’m here to show you my happy moments. To share with you how I am FORCING myself into a joyous life. Do I do this with wine; sure. Not to get drunk and forget, but to learn and savor someone else’s passion, history, and love for what they do.

And I want to blog, but I’m not in the mood. There is a lot to say, but I got to think about it all first. I’ll let you look at pretty pictures. Pictures are my golden ring, my tooth under the pillow, my first kiss. They wrap me back up in what I think may have happened. Maybe they can shed a little honey and butterflies on your day as well.

While writing this, I received a text trying to pull me back into drama; is it drama if you have created it? It’s going to constantly happen, but just be ready. The text made me dive in at first; a little racing in my chest, my thoughts swimming on how to be witty, reflections appeared on my pillow. This is what I want, this is what I want, this is what I want. But then, vacant. So, who, in the end, is the looser? More on that soon.

Lapostolle Life Vest – Thanks For The Save

Sometimes, you just need to keep going. Keep your head down, be introverted as all hell, do what is necessary, and hope that your magic carpet will appear very soon.

My carpet has just arrived; but stuff happened, and stuff was real.

What about that – the in between? What happens to you when you are just the blah of the pack – because you know you aren’t lighting the world on fire when you are just existing. For me, hanging out influx makes my mind itch. I don’t just make bad decisions professionally, but I seem to sway into a reckless seesaw of living life. Wanting and knowing that the wanting is becoming brash can screw a girl up. How do you keep your head on straight? How do you become happy with the now when you know the now is not an outline of your identity?

You just go –

That is completely not original, and I know it. The word “go” is something I consistently see flashing in my brain. Not every day mind you, and there are lulls and dips into the abyss of depression. I’m not perfect. The consistency of the “drive” for me is knowing I have done good things, I have worked harder than most, and that something will eventually find me – personally and professionally.

Now it’s time to be silent – if that is possible – be serious – with a wit about me – and release the personalities of new wines I am collecting to share with all of you. Every wine has a story to tell, we are aware of that, but what more can we dive into? How do we return to what we know in a varietal, and to what degree do we stand vulnerable to a new wandering? My salesgirl tricks are running thin, and the impression is that I should know what I’m talking about; the truth is I don’t always do. Can any of us admit we have all the answers? Especially in this world of wine where everyone is a critic, a novice, a expert, a magician, a sommelier, and in the end, an asshole.

So I’m going to start with what I know, and surprised at how so many wines seem to find you in your profession time and time again. I can remember drinking Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc when I knew very little about wine, and was confused on how a white wine could be tingling with acidity, full with fruit but not overwhelming, textural with a weight that was there but not there, and just lovely to drink and drink and then drink again. It is a staple in so many refrigerators – what I mean by that is that it is a wine that you KNOW everyone will enjoy, that you will enjoy, that the dog will enjoy….

This is not your Napa Sauvignon Blanc – no sir – let’s talk Chile shall we? This wine is specifically from an area called Cachapoal (within the Rapel Valley), nestled beneath the foothills of the Andes Mountains. This area is really know for reds, but the closer you get to the Andes, the cooler the viticultural area will become. Expect elegant minerality with the natural abundance of fruit; this is where that textural thing comes around. If you are looking for the New Zealand grassy conversation….eh? Yes, the varietal will express some of that passion fruit and zest, but not in the agressive nature of other growing areas. This is delicate, grace, and slight restraint – a pinch of the grape Semillion will generate more of that citrus sexy fruit we all love in a wine like this. And yes, I will be drinking this wine this weekend in my backyard….

Wish me luck, come along on this journey, express your opinions on my campaigns, walk the path to new and exciting flavors, help me learn and speak Spanish, laugh at my bumbles out there in the market, but most of all, let’s just be entertained at what can happen in our lives. Stay open, stay resilient, and stay kind – doesn’t that sound like a good way to be?

Armour Of The Vulnerable Wine Mind

Can you direct me into what I should desire right now – because I’m confused.

This goes for life and wine. In my mind, I have organized a check list of qualities, attributes, “what am I getting back” (let’s be honest, if I’m not winning then why be in it), back door escapes from bad decisions – all to lead me to benefiting from desires, wanting, and working towards the greater good in my life. I’ve mastered the brick wall against vulnerability – to my demise.

Let’s look at a definition, shall we?


  1. the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

I’ve dated and married men out of my race and/or religion, I’ve traveled the world with little money or focus, I’ve had great jobs and lost great jobs, I’ve gained weight, lost weight, gained weight, probably had a small drinking problem – all to avoid being vulnerable – or to put myself in a complete vulnerable state. In the end, I still have no idea what to desire, or if all that crap was worth it. Is it the “being attacked” part that I am trying to dodge and weave from? Then there is that “harm” word – who the hell wants that in their life?

For instance, I believed, and was told, I should like this:

Classic Napa Valley Cab, right? Is the American palate so boring that we simply accept voluptuous and gobby depictions of California fruit? Do we, as consumers, search out the wines that won’t offend, but generously lay on our palates like wool blankets? I don’t mean to be crass, and kudos to Freemark Abbey for their continued pursuit at being a stand out in iconic wines from Napa: I’m here to tell you – eh (and shrug of shoulders, pursed lips, furrowed brow). California was known for highlighting the art of the grape, the “specialness” of a wine of place, a celebration of winemaker’s outlook and artistry – are we still there, are we vulnerable to 2019, has the consumer attack on our silent mind of creativity dulled our passion?

Whew – sorry about that rant. I’m just confused on where to go with my own palate, and how colleagues judge my wine direction at the moment. I watch as lesser developed palates taste my wine (by the way, not putting down the wine taster/buyer/judger/want to be – we are all babes in the woods at one point. Keep at it) and watch as their faces get perplexed. I know the wonder of “am I supposed to like this” looms in the room. Not all grapes you drink SHOULD be a noble grape (Cab, Merlot, Chardonnay – the usual suspects), and you are not cheating on your Sauvignon Blanc if you try another white varietal out. For example:

  • Anares, Terra Nova, Verdejo – a white grape varietal grown in the Rueda region of Spain. Looking for an alternative to Pinot Grigio? You just found it. Flavors of peach, melon, balanced acidity, enjoyable to the last sip. Simple yet not simple, enjoyed with just about anything at a meal, Sauvignon Blanc -ish but better.
  • Cartuxa, Eugenio de Almeida “EA”, Roupeiro/Antao Vaz/Arinto Blend – ok, what? Portuguese wines are not just oxidized port my friends. This blend has beautiful tropical flavors, stunning acidity, Myer lemon and tangerine peel notes, while retaining a medium body and pleasant structure. Sure it’s weird and maybe off the beaten track – don’t you just love a palate surprise?

Listen, I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my Freeemark Abbey hate; I’m being a hard ass on Cali wines, and picked that one from the bunch I’ve tasted lately. Maybe it’s a thought that, as wine drinkers, we are using Cali as our tasting ruler. And I understand that, and can appreciate that a consumer measurement can exist. I don’t want vulnerability – in wine OR in life. Can I avoid it though? Can I grow without it? Am I sacrificing a deeper scoop of my soul by sidestepping it? And what have I left in the past because of the chance of harm from this feeling? Can I suggest a direction in wine for you – sure I can. Can I suggest how to evade facing your true desires – hell yeah I can. Both are confusing, delightful for the moment, fading, and don’t do YOU justice. Is it where I am living now? What do you think?