Influencer Status – Reviewing Ravines Wine Cellars

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

I thought that was funny.

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

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

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

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

Here we go:

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

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

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

What did we taste:

2017 Dry Riesling –

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

2017 Chardonnay

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

2018 Cabernet Franc

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

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

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

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

It didn’t.

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

It isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mendoza, Argentina – Catena Zapata – White Stones – Chardonnay

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

Get ready for this journey though.

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

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

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

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

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!

Wine Girl Gone Wild Quickie: Chardonnay Throw Down

If everything remained the same, my life would be a lot easier, right?  I wouldn’t need to explain myself, stress about the unknown, come up with a plan that may fail, come up with the cover up plan, and re-do all of this next week. So, why can’t the same grape taste the same way, even if it is grown in a different place?  Just give me what I want – why must I think so hard!

Well, so many reasons and so much to discuss with such a simple statement. However, this is a quickie, so check out below what happened when I tasted two chardonnay wines from two different regions.  My opinion is just that – a conclusion from a girl that was tired, not feeling great, absorbed in flirtatious texts, and arguing about the state of the world. Yeah, typical Sunday night dinner at home amongst friends…

Char Lyric and St Veran


Dinner With People You Don’t Know (Or Care To Know)

If you and I are friends, you are probably one of about five people.

This is true of most of us; keep your squad close and all others, well, at a nice arm’s length distance. I don’t want to sound bitter, mean girly, or elitist. I want to come to you, as always, with the truth. I don’t like a lot of people.

I love people, and I am in a very loving kind of career that is people centric. That may be why I am black hearted with promises of BFF-isms and “let’s bare our souls” conversations. I’ll smile through it, laugh at the right moments, but I gotta say, I’ll forget about our conversation in about 5 minutes.

This is when I’m “on” by the way; when I am at a wine dinner entertaining. Because that is about 90 percent of a wine dinner; entertainment. If you think people are coming there to learn from me, then save your money. And, can I tell you, I am so good at making you feel like we have a burning lifelong bond. It’s just so under-fulfilling, and I think it is cracking my heart a bit.

Dinner with a great retailer (now this guy is cool) and his collector customer’s got to me this week. I tasted these customers on eight wines, all good, some great, some better than great. I was the perfect host; I told jokes, stories from my own life that may have seemed personal. (nothing I say in a wine dinner is even close to personal – illusions, all of it), I conveyed loving ideas of California on a cool April afternoon at the winery; sipping chardonnay, watching the grapes grow…I’m making myself vomit. My audience’s response?  “Go open another bottle; we need to drink more”.

This is not the Wednesday night of my dreams, but is a reality. If you find 1 person in about 10 that your are connecting with at a wine dinner (or life for that matter), you are lucky. I did find that one woman, and she bought 12 cases. I earned my keep that evening, but lost a little part of my psyche.

However, you came here to learn something, didn’t you.  Ok, lessons from this dinner:

  • My friend Al is a true gentleman and professional, and has a few stores (coming soon; Kearny location):

Clifton Commons Spirits and Wine: 132 Kingsland Rd, Clifton.  If Al isn’t there, ask for Babu.

Little Falls Liqours: 315 Main St, Little Falls – I buy my beer here.  Great selection of whiskey and bourbon in the back of the store. Don’t let the size of the store fool you.

  • You need a starter: An audience needs wine in their hand as soon as they walk in the door. If not, they will feel like this is a waste of their time. I like to serve something light, pretty, not to serious, low alcohol, and a conversation starter. I went with Matua Rose – a rose of pinot noir. Good fruit, pretty color, fun, palate cleansing, and a good prop to hold during simple friendly exchanges. We have enough serious crap in our lives: the beginning of a wine dinner should be a little get-away from that nonsense.
  • Pinot Noir will always be the winner for food and wine pairing; Everyone likes this wine.  You cannot go wrong.  It will pair with most all foods. Stick to California selections to be safe, and venture to the French stuff for a little sass.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon is always a winner; But watch out. You may feel like you need to spend a lot of money. The Cab that everyone went back to this evening was the cheaper one. Why? It was easy to drink, but had all the qualities of a great Cab; abundant fruit, great tannic structure, finesse, style.  My selection for the evening was The Stag – and you can find this at Al’s store.
  • You always need a sleeper – I will consistently pack a wine that I think is good, but that no one would touch on their own. Now, this is risky. If played well, you come out looking like a rock star. I had my audience try Chateau St Jean Chardonnay; again, not to expensive, but not something that “experienced wine people” (I write this with a side smile) may reach for.  If you find a wine with balance, this move will turn out well. Ask Al for something off the beaten track. Don’t spend more than $20. Be honest with YOUR audience and let them know this may be a flop. You may surprise yourself.
  • Where was dinner? I highly recommend – Salute in Montclair.  Affordable, gluten free pizzas, brick oven pizzas, beautiful fish, homemade pasta, everything fresh…a winner.


Drink This! Frenching All Day

I can’t stop drinking French wine.

Six months ago I made the decision to “brush up” on my Frenchy wine facts.  Been a while since I needed to put a buyer in a comfort mode, and get them ready to accept European wines.  That is the switch you need to turn on in your brain.  YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THIS AND ENJOY IT AT THE SAME TIME.  I have seen the shift in my friends that read this blog; they are risky now with wine, open to a different palette experience, and wanting information.  I don’t buy a car without a review or knowing and liking the maker, so why is this different.  By the way, I know nothing about cars.

This blog is not sponsored by my own wines; I went and purchased this lovely with my own dollars.  I wanted chardonnay; I love the stuff.  I was going to eat sushi, relax, and celebrate a friend’s birthday.  I wanted light citrus flavors, roundness at the end, and structural acidity.

This Saint Veran, Domaine Delaye Alain,  “Les Pierres Grises” got to me, and even more than that.  A little review…

  • Saint Veran is the area that this wine is from in Burgundy.  Burgundy is a wine viticultural area in France.  Saint Veran ONLY makes chardonnay – so what does that tell you.  Focus!  Focus on making the best damn chardonnay you can get.
  • Who is this guy Alain?Domaine Delaye Alain is the producer.  Remember; the producer is the guy you are going to get hooked on.  European wines are about the place, and the people who make them.  This is a tiny little family estate going back to the 18th century.  They are known in this area as authentic, traditional, with an eye on modernization.  I’m looking for a man like this…
  • “Les Pierres Grises” – the vineyard name.  A little cooler of an area – Pouilly Fuisse is right around the corner and much warmer.  This vineyard will give you richness, but retains a pretty minerality.  This wine does not see oak, yet rounds itself out in the end.  Brightness will give you some tingles, but the grape itself will supply weight to the palette and balance to the entire wine.

Where do you get this stuff – I picked up this bottle at Angelbeck’s in Upper Montclair.  I grabbed it right out of the cold box; I love that.  Ask for Ann; she bought this store a few years back and has some nice, out of the way selections.  Her whole family is there including the sons – love that too.

  • Angel beck’s Fine Wines Spirits, and Beer– 621 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ
    • Side note; if you are a beer freak GO HERE!  Ann’s son is a wiz…

What should you have in your purse – Around $15 to $17 dollars.  I think I paid $17.  Saint Veran is always a bargain.  Can’t go wrong; this viticultural area will always over deliver.

What do I do with it – Drink it on it’s own.  A friend is looking for her “Get me out of my Sauvignon Blanc” rut.  Here you go Mama G!  I paired it with sashimi – but not to fatty.  This wine is just enough to sing the solo.

Culinary Adventures With MaryEllen

I love the stories of your mother in the kitchen, cooking great meals, you and your siblings sharing in the chores of dinner, stories passed between all of you, aromas in the air seducing you and pulling you in……

MaryEllen Pajak tried; she tried.

There were a few good meals created by my mother in my youth.  I’ll give her that.  However, my mother is not an adventurous eater.  If it is not familiar and agreeable to her palate, it will not be made.  There have been some changes over the years, this is true.  The biggest change has been her new love for wine, and her acknowledgment that there are just O-K wines, and REALLY GOOD WINES out there.  She won’t stray from her chicken parm, but will snub a crappy version of Cabernet Sauvignon.

During my recent trip to Florida, I decided to cook for my mother, each evening, in her beautiful kitchen.  Every day the two of us would discuss the menu, shop for the ingredients, and pair the wine.  Yes, pair the wine.  I involved MaryEllen in all decisions from the focus of the meal, to the styling of the table.  She excelled at styling the table and I believed enjoyed this part the most.  Who wouldn’t with her array of dishes, placemats, cutlery, wine decanters – the list goes on and on….(she can be a bit of a shopper..)

You know how this turned out.  When first viewed as a chore, meal time became what we both looked forward to each day.  The two of us had a common goal and charged ahead together as a unit.  It brightened us.  Meal time became our conversation, and our converstation with everyone we met.

When I spoke to her today, she told me she was missing me.  I know she is, but it is different this time around.  She is missing the companion that oohed and ahhed over sauces.  She is missing laughing in the pool over taking Instagram photos of TBones.  She is missing eating late, (“which a lady should not do” – by the way, dinner was served at 7pm) and planning the meals moving forward.  Food can change us, but food experiences can alter us.

If I have just become the family cook, then so be it.  To see the face of a woman that thinks spaghetti and meatballs is a culinary masterpiece get turned on to stuffed pork chops is worth the effort.  Bravo MaryEllen, and keep on collecting pretty glassware.  We will need it for our next culinary adventure together!

This is a wine blog, right?  Here is your wine review:

Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay – Please don’t think you can’t have chardonnay and meat together.  We paired this wine with stuffed pork chops over yellow rice.  This wine is just gorgeous; the point of this chardonnay is to retain it’s freshness while delivering a purity of fruit and a nice complexity, brought on by the oak.  There is intensity and focus, but balanced with the core of nice citrus flavors.  It is getting hotter, and you are going to want to stray from this varietal; don’t do it – grab a bottle and chill, but not generously.  To much chill will mask this beauty of this wine.

And I can’t forget steak night…

MaryEllen dinner #2

Divide and Conquer – Judging Truvee Chardonnay

Have you ever felt the pull of another soul?

Two sisters, that do not know about each other, both fall into the wine business on two different continents, and upon their father’s death…

They connect.  That story alone gets me going.  How do things like that happen?  I feel the same about certain people I meet: I can feel where our relationship will go.  And there is someone, very far away, that I can feel as if I have seen him yesterday…

Enough about that – what about the wine they make?  Lately I’ve been drinking way to much chardonnay; good and bad.  Weird, in this cold weather, that is what I reach for.  So this made sense, and was welcomed on a Monday night when I really wasn’t in the mood for wine.  Here is my predicament though; will there be a stupid amount of oak, way to much passion fruit, bracing acidity that doesn’t make sense; you get it.  You too have drank your share of crappy chardonnay and live to tell the tale.

The fruit is sourced mainly from Monterey County in California; telling me I’m going to taste some white pear and peach.  Nice change from the lemon/lime crap I’ve been guzzling.  Also, a little addition of Moscato.  This is where I hesitate.  You got the French Oak going on, great area viticulture; why do you need that viscous candied fruit?  Ladies, I get it, and you are smart.  My New Jersey soccer moms will love this, so great marketing choice.  Really, I get it.

What to do with this wine.  I always like to paint a picture when I sell; helps the flow.  I’m thinking spring time; all those pastels and bunnies jumping around will love the roundness and luscious ending to this wine.  You know that moment, when the weather finally breaks, and you get a cool yet sensible evening.  The kind of evening where you bundle up in a sweatshirt and sit on your porch sipping, well, something.  You found your wine, and, you are welcome.

Great website ( and gorgeous women that look like they are having the time of their life.  Plus, a promo shot of a Louis Vuitton bag filled with wine – my kind of broads.



All About the French – Part 1

Let’s get something out of the way – wine is about what YOU like.  It is what warms your cheeks, makes you sexy, tells you stories, creates the mystery.  I WILL NEVER TELL YOU WHAT TO DO OR DRINK; in wine or in life.  Unless, of course, you want me to…

But yeah, the French got it going on.  When we discuss wines from European countries, or “Old World” wines (France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Germany) we see a shift in wine perception.  Put down your bottle of Barefoot because we are going in a different direction.  I think of my friend Anton, and the fact that at 35, he still goes to his mother’s house every Sunday for dinner; tradition people! (and I LOVE Anton)   There is something to be said for the way things are made year after year after year.  And sorry for the crack about Barefoot; continue to enjoy and ignore my humor.  It was the best example I could think of to show you that you will not see an opulent style of fruit in Old World wines.  There is an elegance, refinement, a earthiness (yes)…..and, well, it’s just more interesting quite frankly.

There are areas, producers, winemaking styles, wars of the winemaking families; where shall I begin?  Instead of living in confusion, I thought I would give you my impressions of a wine I tried at Legal Seafoods.  I was wondering if anyone ordered this wine by the grape or just for the fact it is a French white.  It IS the chardonnay grape.  Easy right?  You have had this, and I’m sure, you have liked this.  However, here is the curve ball.  If you like that butterscotchy, sugared pear and red apple flavor in chardonnay, you are out of luck.  The first thing that hit my palate was the minerality.  I best describe minerality in this way; ever walk through a stream?  You wouldn’t necessarily drink the water, but there is something left in your mouth after you leave the stream.  Yes, kind of like licking a stone, but in a prettier form.  It is cleansing, it is fresh.  It makes you want to drink more.

That is acidity you are experiencing.  The tingles, yes.  It sets up your mouth for the rest of the party.  (stay with me, we are talking about wine)  What follows is the fruit; fresh green apple, lemon/lime spritz.  Natural, inviting.  “Bourgogne” means this is a wine from Burgundy, France; a place where chardonnay and the grape pinot noir shine.  This SHOULD be good, and it is, well…just ok.  I would like a little more fruit on the back end, but I am overall happy with the experience.

Think about where I am; a seafood house.  Shellfish, lemon beure blanc sauce,  tuna tartar…winner with this wine.  Wine should be the pedestal for the food to sit on; it shouldn’t mask the flavors.  The wine shouldn’t win in the food and wine war.  We want to taste it ALL.

There will be a “All About the French” part 2, part 3, part 4…so much to discuss.  If you are looking for more in-depth conversation, that can happen; let me know.  This blog is about being friendly, and most of all, about making sense.  Wine jargon can be just crap if not presented correctly.  And I’m not about the crap.  Challenge for you – start to get over the scary label, and dive into the unknown – the Frenchies!



Totally Judging…Drinking Coppola Chardonnay

I’ve been angry lately.

I feel as if I am not being heard.  I feel like things are passing me by, and I don’t have control.  It’s getting to me.  And to be honest, it’s all in my head.  Nothing has changed but everything has changed.  I want answers from something that doesn’t even have a plan yet.  My mind has created a saga…

I am way to into what I have done; my experience, my wine education, my travel and life lessons.  Geez, I want to tell myself to shut up sometimes. EVERYONE has a story; why do I think mine is better than yours?   I know this is a weird way to tell you what I think about this wine, but there is a point…

If you sit and study anything, you get better at it.  If you pull it apart and make it ugly, well then, it is just ugly.

Enter Coppola Chardonnay.

This chardonnay doesn’t offend me.  Presume that is not a compliment.  What I mean to say that it is lovely to drink.  Does it have levels of flavor; no.  I think there was an attempt though.  In the life I live always wanting the “more” of something, this didn’t deliver.  Is that really so bad?  Can we just sip the wine and enjoy it?

My friend Joe did.  He was innocent.  He came to a dinner to see friends knowing two of them work in the wine industry.  He knew there would be wine drama, and didn’t care.  There is always wine drama around us, and it at times this becomes white noise.  Joe is interesting, charismatic, big hearted, caring, and someone I need to be around.  He liked the wine, and this is ok with me.

Look at the big picture.  I need wine to change my existence to be happy; you do not.  There are bigger things in the world than what I am drinking right now, but I don’t believe that.  You don’t need to understand, but just roll with it.

By the way, a week without wine is upon us, and your girl is not happy…

An explanation will follow shortly.

Check out what Joe thinks in the video below, and subscribe to my YouTube channel!