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 https://hawkhavenvineyard.com/ 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 https://www.turdovineyards.com/ – 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 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gravitas

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?

vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty

  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?

There Is A Knot In My Stomach, But A Different Wine In My Glass

“Too bad you never grew a pair”

“I’m tired of hearing how you are the victim”

“Go ahead and blog about this” (rolling eyes)

Yes, we all get judged. We also do the judging. Am I a victim or am I the one laying out the bullshit? That line is blurred, and that line has been crossed many times. I think I’m here now to face commentary and criticism – and maybe it’s time we all did. The above texts are real, painful to type out in this blog, and even more painful to review at their source. They come from confusion, from abandoned conversations, and omitted confessions. All done with purpose, possibly to injure the soul, and to leave a burned mark in my brain. Success for you dear reader/lover/hater/friend/maybe-friend/cynic – whatever costume you wear right now. I wish I could erase your Susan Reflections, but, alas, here you are.

I’m surprised at the control words have. I thought, just for a second, that maybe my blog, and a little of my self worth, was a silly waste of time. Maybe my “voice” was that of a poser, imposter, want-to-be wine goddess. Maybe I use this as an excuse for many things in my life. Further investigation into this dilemma leads me to the verdict – YEAH I DO! I need help and I need help now. I’m facing speculation on what I can deliver every day – and judgement continues and continues. How the heck can anyone balance that? How can anyone survive that? Well, let me tell you, any way you can.

My attempt at balance is not taking myself so seriously. And yes, I am a girl that remembers the wine coolers of the 80’s. I’m not a mixologist, don’t really want to be bothered with that, but do love a cocktail. Thank you Sandara for this wine/mojito goodness. I’ll see you on the beach this summer….https://sandarauniverse.com/en/

Then there are times when I take myself very seriously. I love the study of grape varietals – what makes up their personality, what is their origin, what makes them sing. Grapes like Riesling – so misunderstood and loved in a weird misconceived manner. (read into that if you like) When you are from Germany, to dig deeper, located in the Nahe region of Germany, we can be friends. Aromatic, off dry, almost “Muscadel” in style, juicy, slightly restrained, and made by a freaky dude from Tesch Vineyards, now we are besties. The valleys of the Nahe’s tributaries help foster diverse microclimates, while the rocky foothills to the east help retain heat and moderate rainfall. This grape can not fail. Sure, you can pick up a lovely from the Mosel, but this style reaches out to a different place in me – a different expression that begs me to return.

Love your many faces, and don’t apologize for them. However, know that they are looming, and can pop out when you are backed up against a wall, or are feeling all the feels. Practice “active observation” (thank you shine text), and maybe shut your mouth before you get into a dicy situation. Or don’t – that’s where this gets interesting. That is where your risk will be, but that is where your release will also be. I’m still thinking about you – dear reader/lover/hater/friend/maybe-friend/cynic – and sure, sucks that we can’t figure out a normal human experience. But, my journey continues – new experiences with new wines, new ideas about simple and arduous forms of nature, and how I perceive them.

My Ambivalent Mind and Cakebread Chardonnay

Current Mood: I wake up to uncertainty, confusion, my heart a little in the wrong place, vacancy of comfort, hungry as hell, and making the biggest attempt to go into the hustle of the wine world without tears streaming down my face. Some self help homies would tell me that this is where I should live; figure out how to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. Is this where enlightenment begins? Is this where I begin to refocus life and become the person I always dreamed I could be…

Be a friend and let’s just talk real here – is the expectation of newness all rainbows and butterflies? What ever happened to being honest with the fact that you are miserable? Now, miserable has ebbs and flows. I’ve never been to a point, with business, where I lay my head down and wail, or feel I will throw my computer against the wall. It’s been close, but I’ve learned how to alter a mental state to a point where the flip of my mood is a thing of wonderment. Yes, I’m hiding behind a dirty screen of resentment, sadness, “why can’t you like me” feels, and other really stupid ideas we have about ourselves. It’s all just happening now, and with the speed of a freight train.

Hopelessness leads to wines of contentment. We want to feel liberated, we want to feel satisfied, we want all the pleasure a convenient choice can give us. This doesn’t mean to use wine as a vehicle to alter your mind – that is an unhealthy thought pattern, and just stop that. I’m talking about the luxury and awareness, through our senses, that we can be just “ok” for a moment in time. Is that an organic thing for you? Oh honey, that takes work for me…

I chose Cakebread Chardoanny, at a moment in time, that I needed to stop my mind, and know that my choice would generate the “stunt my brain waves” reaction I wanted. To dig deeper….

  • Chardonnay is so “ordinary” – I’ll give you that. It’s usually a grape, besides Pinot Grigio, that Ladies That Lunch shovel into their gullets by the bottle. Ok then why; I love the “idea” of citrus and melon flavors hitting my nose before I take a sip. When done well, like this wine was, there is structure, subtle tones of minerality and waves of changing fruit flavors. Chardonnay can develop in the glass, in the bottle, during your experience. It can help evolve your pressured state into that of lightness and affinity.
  • Napa Valley, really? – I’ve been running, no speeding, away from Napa wines; I just know there is more to life than Napa. However, I can’t deny how Carneros can deliver. Foggy mornings, cool afternoons (thank you San Pablo Bay) – this is text book chardonnay territory. That kind of climate will deliver acidity, an elegance, full fruit bowl goodness, and incredible balance.
  • What, Why, and Why – Honestly, it was the most trusted bottle on the wine list that was in front of me. My choice had nothing to do with the weather; it was cold as hell outside. I was at a cozy bar, sitting in the nook (you all know what I’m talking about – that place in the bar where you can just cuddle up to), and wanted a weighted wine without feeling weighty. Red would have been “too much”, Sauvignon Blanc would have been reprehensible; this chardonnay, with its notes of spiced apple and vanilla complexity, ended a very lovely evening. If I had a bite in front of me, I would choose a oily piece of grilled salmon; perfect balance of food to wine ratio, oaky flavors combining with toasty grill smoke, with both food and wine finishing with a subtle tone of richness in texture.

The Glass of Everything

At this moment, I feel as if I’ve stayed in the bath tub too long; pruned up, drunk on steam, and trying to balance on jelly legs.

This is what happens when you try to do and be everything; and what American isn’t guilty of just that. Why can’t we breathe through our day rather than screaming down a tunnel, naked and raw in your dirty car, while chewing on that turkey leg of wanting and progression – ok, where did that come from, but I couldn’t help painting the picture in my head for you. (and what a picture, right?)

Sounds like I’m loosing my mind, but I’m actually taking a moment. Yes, taking a moment – this is a thing. Compare it to the idea of working smarter not harder. However, isn’t “harder” how you push ahead from the pack? So now I’m confused. How can I be the best version of myself, stay smart, not fry my mind, still be a caring human, retain relationships, and learn more about my craft? Yo, that’s a lot of stuff.

Is it easy for you to step away from yourself and observe? I’m obviously not good at it, and now, for my career, I gotta figure out what wine to bring to whom to sell something to someone. Goodness, what a mess. So here is my plan for the moment; find a wine EVERYONE, that I am selling to, will raise an eyebrow at.

When I first started researching Bodegas Ego, the first thing I see on their website is this:

If you listen closely, the wine will tell you many things…

Ok, you have my attention. I have believed that since I’ve begun in this business; the wine will dictate who buys it, what experience I will have, where my mind will go. You can learn, study, pontificate – listening can open that wine storybook full of colors and textures.

What gleamed from the lineup was the Monastrell/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot blend called Infinito:

  • Hailing from Jumilia Spain. Hot as hell there. However, with enough elevation and a specific style of soil, the wines can really sing.
  • This grape Monastrell (also called Mourvedre) does so good here; a very small and thick skinned grape, which produces those intense and layered big boy wines we love. And Petite Verdot – cmon, it just pulls you right into the core of this wine. Mixed with the backbone of a Cab, just delightful.
  • In the glass, it’s all here. There is a rooted blackberry jam component at the bottom of the sip, overlaid with spicy holiday currants and – this is crazy – my uncle (Uncle Red mind you) had this chair that he smoked a cigar in – you didn’t just smell the cigar, you felt it, and now that felling is present in the wine. There is structure, there is power, and it again, just makes you happy.
  • Surprise to me – this is matured in American oak. I’m not usually a fan of American oak; to awkward and clunky, but when used correctly…. I just read a descriptor that American oak can give flavors of cream soda – and YES you nailed it Mr. Internet. That is the secondary flavor I’m picking up and LOVING.

Listen, I’m going to bed. I’m beat. What a nice feeling it is to be exhausted, and done with the day. Tomorrow is creeping though, and right at the rim of my dreams.