Expressions From A Woman’s Wine Glass – Volume One

Women, men, mentors, co-workers and friends – wow, it’s been quite a few months, hasn’t it. What a bucket of uncertainty.

This morning, a very popular performer, that needed to defend his/her self regarding a social media post, stated “If you follow me, you know I support women.”

This blog came to me in traffic – that is how long the statement stayed with me. I only write when the kettle is ready to blow:

“If you follow me” – I don’t want you to follow, see, listen, watch, desire – I want you to KNOW me. I want you to know me so much that you want to crawl inside of me, take a seat, and say “What are you doing today Susan?”. I want you to wake up at the thought of me making you breakfast, and smile. In your desperation during the day, I want you to see my face or hear my voice saying “Cmon, it’s just a moment. We have tons more moments.”. Don’t follow anyone. Don’t expect anyone to follow you. Earn a someone’s craving to be by your side. Do the things that build a hunger in others, and do them with responsibility to yourself.

“you know I support” – I don’t know anything – SHOW ME. I just had someone in my life that would perform speeches – no, verbal lessons – that made sense at the moment, that stirred the mind, that made you want to pursue this line of thinking, and that made me happy. Happy because I was being told, and being led to believe, I was supported. The intent was there; don’t get me wrong – but life changes, doesn’t it. I chased this person down when our circumstances changed. I called. I texted. I stalked. I would have appeared (and teased years before that I had this action in me) on said person’s doorstep if I wouldn’t get arrested. Then I stopped – took a breathe – and saw what I was being shown. This isn’t an unfamiliar story; you are nodding your head now at your own memories. Support is all around me – I’m now trying to arouse the support that shows up when the parade is gone.

“I support women.” – Isn’t that timely. Well, I don’t. I reinforce individuals that move through life with their heart. Male, female, animal (not a big fan of animals, but there are a few that I can hang with) – show me your glimmer. Your sex, as if I had to tell you, doesn’t define you. And yes, I can’t wear a tight dress without being undressed by coworkers as I present wine, I have to push a little harder, I have to study a little longer, I have to prove a little better – because I’m a woman? Because I know I can? Because I know you won’t? (that last one though…)

My opinion about women and what is going on in our society today is not a popular one, and I want to tell you all about it; in time. Don’t expect glorious female reviews, burn your bra statements, or pledges on protecting the “taken advantage of’ woman from the board room. If you think that is new, will go away because we are NOW talking about it, or if anyone REALLY wants to make changes – maybe you should stop reading. What I do want to explore is how the female form, or being, or aesthetic, is used to influence. Are we capable in appreciating the beauty, strength, sass, allure, and poignant idea of a woman being powerful without being a dope about it?

Below are excerpts from Wine Girl Gone Wild Posts on Instagram. They outline the meaning behind the label from The Catena Zapata Family’s wine; Argentino Malbec. Listen. Absorb. Think about what anyone has to do to change, grow, enhance, and learn during our time on this earth. But mostly, consider the journey that was, is and will be through the Malbec grape – all complimented by the idea a woman could be involved:

Dated August 31 – DECLINED- that is what I woke up to- my meeting, which I was hesitant in organizing, was DECLINED- I felt defeated, lesser than, fooled, embarrassed- glaring at me from the computer screen- DECLINED- similar to the depiction of #phylloxeraon this label of #malbecargentino from @catenawines – this woman is empty at the belly, her core is gutted, she is refused- but wait, I also see that she is standing with redemption – sure, she demolished vines (ok, not very nice), but she also gave us the knowledge of what can work. We sat on her shoulders and followed her lead: and now can celebrate in her reveal. LEARN SUSAN-learn from history- ALL history. I’m going to reveal the other women on this label when the time is right- all responsible for the CHANGE in their environment- all responsible for how we receive the juice in this bottle. Dense and sweet, black and blue fruits, gripping and enticing. Want to hear more? Want a taste? How could you not….

Dated September 7 – Last night I watched a movie where a woman’s desire came to life in a fantasy- typical- but is a man creating imagery in his mind the same way- and why can’t I watch THAT happening? I asked my inner Moon Goddess- whom is living her best life right now- for some inspiration, and I thought of Ms Eleanor of Aquitaine- Queen of England AND France in her lifetime- one of the wealthiest and most powerful woman in Western Europe during the Middle freaking Ages- and only drinking, you guessed it, #malbec . Eleanor didn’t have social media to promote herself- hell, she was leading the Second Crusade- but her sexual sense of self, her desire for boldness and depth, and her crafty mind MADE her passions come to life. She always catches my eye as she perches herself on this label of @catenawines #argentino – the first to have inclinations towards luxury, the first to demand that EVERYONE needs to experience this grape- give me your side eye and a wink at what I’m about to do to my markets and to your distribution- let’s together celebrate the structure, the layered body of this wine- the nuanced flavors of dark fruit, chocolate and tobacco. Well, Eleanor, – “the embodiment of charm”- I stand to deliver to YOU, as one of the four symbols of strength pictured on this label- to tell your story, the story of Malbec- thank you for this created illusion of you, your tenacity, and your gift of Malbec to your world that has influenced us all!

Dated October 20 – I haven’t told you the end – and my favorite part- of this Malbec story- most likely for good reason – this last lady embodies birth, earth, and motherhood; all brought on by the influence and rise of how the New Wold has shaped our magical grape. I’ve been sitting with this form- as well as many of the people around me are- watching the shift and change of our lives. Time DOES alter your vision- cleans the cobwebs from your mind’s locked closet- allows you to parade a new mask- maybe a better version- but most of all escorts you into a Renaissance. This is about transition- the Malbec grape did it well- forming its personality around the Nicasia and Angelica vineyards in Argentina- a pageant of the beginnings and future of the Catena family all in one- all while knowing there was a ten century history of life, death, and rebirth. Damn you Malbec; I applaud your efforts and take your lead. It’s all about time and place- or is it about our destiny to find what time and place is best for us? I bathe in you Ms Adrianna River- with your perfect soil, altitude and sun- someone found you as they will find me again.

I’ve just realized there is one more lovely lady I’ve left out – The Pioneer. The Wanderer. The Restless One. The Brave. You need to wait for it, because that has to brew for a time.

My hand is hovering over the “publish” button. The title says “Volume One”. Am I nuts? Digging a grave, or being fearless? You choose.

Wine With Lunch

It’s been a hot minute – and I mean that: it is about 100 degrees in New Jersey today.

When it is that hot, who in the hell wants to drink wine. I had a work colleague that would tell me he knew when my day was complete when there was a beer in my hand – ah, the days that I could drink one-two-three beers and look cute. As time passes, right….

I’ve been LIVING on Instagram. It’s a quickie, captures a thought, allows me to share what I want to share at the moment – and honestly, makes me happy. I didn’t want to write that and admit that a social media outlet can make me happy…but there you have it. I don’t mean complete my life happy, but more like a “you did something good today” happy. There are so many days I don’t feel anyone is interested in my wine garbage; what images come to life in my head, what I’m tasting that maybe is hidden from someone else, or just what is coming out of my kitchen that makes a wine sing. (my cooking is on point, but the way) If you are NOT FOLLOWING ME, then you are missing out, but can jump on this train here: https://www.instagram.com/winegirlgonewild/

I began this by judging those drinking wine on a day like this – sort of wrong, but sort of right. I’m not in a wine way these days, but I DO crave wine at lunch. How silly is that. I find certain food/wine things to be a luxury or an indulgence. One of those is brunch; it is a brilliant idea that you cannot deny. The other is a glass of wine paired with a light bite mid day. I’m not telling you to take a “liquid lunch” and stumble back to the office (or your couch – again, no judgement). Breaking out into a wine and food oasis for a hot minute after a few zooms, and your are good. I have the freedom in my career for this kind of afternoon departure – with complete respect and moderation may I add. But what is a good idea regarding a sipper at noon? Here are two from yesterday that come to mind…

Sauvignon Blanc;

Listen, you are in it now, maybe have been in it – it’s a thing, and you should be in this thing. It is the second largest wine category trending at the moment, and that is because of your journey; and thanks for that. I don’t like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, well, rather didn’t for a LONG time. That may be due to the fact that I was drinking crappy product, and there is A LOT of crappy product in this category. Spend, like, two more dollars, and you have a gem, Do I agree that there should be some grapefruit flavors? Sure. Don’t knock me over the head with it though. I want passionfruit, guava, acidity, and something herbaceous. Esk Valley is a stunner of sorts, and I quote from my own Instagram post: “A bottom of fruit with pretty minerality you sense when walking on a stony beach – same goosebumps from the chill of the wind off the ocean, same firm whoosh of the waves that meet your toes.” How good am I with that – just painted your picture for you, didn’t I? We can talk about the Marlborough region of New Zealand another time, but that’s the honey hole you should be looking for. Located at the North Tip of the South Island in New Zealand, this region has a reputation of high quality wine built throughout the last decade. Focused intensity is what I like to call it, with freshness that doesn’t need to be manipulated. This is salad wine – and what else would I be eating for lunch. (side eye) Find out more about Esk Valley here; https://www.eskvalleywines.com

Torrontes:

When a wine pops out of the glass with aromatics, it makes me smile. It makes me want to laugh at a casual joke that isn’t really funny, makes me want to make those around me comfortable, makes me want to set a tone. The Torrontes grape should be doing this for you, and you can thank it later. This is a grape indigenous to Argentina – so put that Malbec down please. And yes, a certified sustainable wine; just check out the love on the label. You are looking at traditional farming practices paving the way for next generations of this wine to develop and grow, as well as encouraging biodiversity within the region, and honoring tradition the way it should be. In the glass, there are luscious flavors of Myer lemon, peach, lemon peel, rose petals – who could be mad at that combo. It’s unique profile has quickly made it the country’s signature white grape, and for great reason. The fragrant qualities of Torrontes have a particular affinity for Thai or seafood dishes featuring aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, cilantro, ginger – all the palate cleansing good feelings that leave your mouth feeling immaculate. I LOVE this wine with oysters – that cold, slimy delight washed down with bright flavors and zing from this wine; perfection. Tilia, to me, is a wine of place. A wine that will TASTE like the varietal I want it to taste like. Find more about this wine here: https://tiliawines.com

Notice there is not a rose pictured – am I insane? I am not – just not feeling it right now. That may change…

Should I follow up with a Red Wine “lunching” wine version? You got it friends…..

Let’s meet for lunch; even if it is a sandwich in the park, or a full meal in my driveway cafe (which can get popping and pull you in – I will not be responsible for what happens there…). What are you drinking at lunch? Drop me a line….

Fun With Brunch At The Cottage

Have I mentioned that therapy is not my thing?

Listen, I know we all need it. We all have the demons, the uncontrollable outrageous rages, the memories that do not fade away, the haunting doubts – I can continue, but really don’t want to because it FRIGHTENS ME TO MY CORE to let that stuff out. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time digging a grave in my head for those heartaches. Shouldn’t I just leave them there?

But, have I mentioned my body dysmorphia of late? The menopause train that is still speeding its way into my world – physical and mental anguish included – is not stopping, and has a troubling plan of anguish in it’s midst. Even the MENTION of menopause makes a listener turn their head, giggle uncomfortably, and – I know – has them wishing I would shut my mouth. I say screw that – we need talk about this. How can I find a solution to not going nuts from these hormones, as well as discontinuing the horrific body destruction that is taking place. I took a look at the obvious; who can help me that is already present in my life.

Right under my nose – literally, she is adorably tiny – was Christine D’Angelo – a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Crossfit Coach, mom of three, and all around authentic human already hanging out in my life. I asked for help, which is something I know you need to do, but takes us “I can do everything on my own” personas a hot minute to recognize. She is not here to TELL me what to do, but rather guide me on my own wellness journey. What I have come to understand is that I KNOW what to do, but maybe don’t know how to put it all together, or where my hurdles begin and end. One moment I’m laughing, then I’m in tears, then my mind is rolling on my new plan; all because of her navigation. I can go on and on about her, this process, the tissue boxes I am now investing in – but I’m going to tell you the ONE thing (there are about 20 more) I am working on now. The ONE thing that none of us think of, plan, celebrate, give energy to….

I’m going to put more fun in my life.

I have never supervised my own fun. I relied on others to plan out dinners, parties, outings. The “others” I am referring to are no longer in my life; now I have the responsibility of “eventing” on my own. This takes a lot of work! What I am learning from Christine is that just looking around at what I already do or already enjoy is PART of that fun. It doesn’t need to be “tasked out”.

Quick list of two of my favorite things; wine and brunch.

I’m really into breakfast. I think of it as a luxury. Alone, or preferably in a group, so many things can happen at breakfast. Is it the fact that your mind is sharp in the morning/late afternoon, or that it can be a spontaneous thing, or that you are releasing into a moment filled with a mixture of sweet and savory goodness? It’s like you can eat ANYTHING you want, and allow ANYTHING to happen. To add to my plan of fun, I organized a brunch – for three. A sort of last minute idea, after a heavy and sweaty workout on a Sunday, casual, and full of great food and wine.

I wanted to share my top three choices of what I would offer and consumed on that Sunday afternoon alongside of omelettes and pancakes. This is basically what I pulled out of my fridge that day:

Jansz, Non Vintage, Sparkling Wine – Tasmania, Australia:

We all know you need a bubble; it just puts a smile on your face, and at the same time refreshes your palate, and pairs with EVERYTHING you may be consuming. It allows us to have a palate “do over” or reset after hollandaise, French toast, roast beef – shall I go on? This wine is NOT champagne, but made with the same method. (bubble blog on the list to explain this further if needed) My perception is that I still get the texture I love with champagne, but a core of green apple and semblance that I crave with brunch. Where there is a creamy texture, there is also a driving acidity highlighted by flavors of Anjou pear. I enjoy this wine all throughout brunch, and then afterwards….

Pewsey Vale, Riesling “Contours”- Eden Valley, Australia:

If I mention Riesling, please know I am talking about a dry style of the varietal. Sure, we could go another route; but no, let’s not. And I’m snobby about this – I just need to be. The Riesling grape can perform at such a high standard, and take certain foods to another level for you. You can have spicy (this wine and Thai food though…), or with meats and fish it will also shine. These wines can be lean, petrol driven (don’t let this turn you off – its actually pretty in a way) and delightful when aged like this. It’s like telling your kid “when you get older you will understand” – the aged Rieslings understand. With this wine, I get flavors anywhere from Butterscotch, Lemon Candy, and Citrus Preserves, to Smoke, Mushrooms, and Lime. It may sound bizarre putting all these flavors together, but that is the mystery and unveiling of a good Riesling. There is so much in this story of a grape. This wine is also certified sustainable, organic, and high scoring. Why would you not?

Yalumba, Sam’s Collection, Viogner – Australia:

I want to drink a wine that will not mask the flavors of brunch – however, these are some bold flavors! I don’t want to open a bottle of chardonnay, but just because that is not a wine I usually reach for. (even though I can name a bunch that would be wonderful). The Vee-oh-nay grape will give you the weight in the wine you are looking for, without the over oak influence, as well as highlighting supportive “brunch flavors” such as peach, mango, honeysuckle and vanilla. It can be a little “girly” – by that, I mean it can be light and pretty, floral, easy going. However, this wine from Yalumba has more of a structure and finesse – this allows the wine to pair with many and all the bold flavors going around the table. (think of that syrup dripping down your chin met with punch of acidity and creaminess – yes mama) I also love this wine with anything spicy, roasted, and caramelized.

These wines are great, but that’s not what brunch, or any meal is to me – it’s the people and situation I find myself in that brings on the enjoyment. It’s the combination of food, wine, or no wine, but PEOPLE, or just by yourself – this is what brings on my fun. Any time I can sit, release my mind, listen or involve myself in laughter, reflect, or just be – this is where my place is, and where I want to surrender to. Let my kitchen be the oasis!

Want to know more about Christine D’Angelo and her talent at making me feel like a new person? Check out her website; https://www.essentialeatables.com/about , or shoot me a note if you want to know more about the process I am in. Our mental abilities are worth it – now more than ever, and always moving forward. All mental balances can be worked on, recognized, and accepted. This body is astonishing me every day, but does not have the authority for a take over of my state of being. It’s a process – but one I am ready for thanks to help like this!

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: https://ravineswine.com

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 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…..