Vernacchia Caught In My Up Swing

Reflection isn’t important – it is the soul essence of who I was, am, and will be. It is helping my heart vibrate and live again.

Yes, live again. When I think of myself in the last four months, I imagine a cartoon character; grey in color, a “South Park” body with limbs that don’t hinge, slant of a mouth, eyes half closed. I found a way to interact with my friends and family with this persona, and dazed out the hours of every day. I’m not into drugs, but I can imagine this is how a constant high feels; nothing really getting through to you, like your arms and legs have fallen asleep, angry but not connecting to the rage enough to yell, with a belly full of sullen dreams.

I’m looking back, laughing at the fact that I thought I would crumble, and forging ahead like a beast. I ask you to embrace new flavors, change, and experiences – I’m there with you now. So let’s indulge in a wine that you would usually admire in a wine shop or wine menu, but rarely pick up to taste.

  • The grape: Vernacchia (white wine ladies and gents – just to be clear)
  • Where is it from: a hilly town in Tuscany, Italy, called San Gimignano
  • Why so special: Well, for one thing, it is the only white wine in the area to receive DOCG status – in other words, it has a systematic approach, by law, to excellence. It’s also old as hell, and has been around since anyone can remember. Every time I taste great Barolo wines, with people in the wine industry, there is always a bottle of Vernacchia di San Gimignano to release our taste buds from overload. It’s classic to Italy, to Tuscany – making it an outstanding, every day drinking kind of situation.
  • Give me the low down on taste: The wine is light in stature, but full bodied as you go. I don’t know how that really happens, but it does. Very floral upon approach, but this almondy and citrus blast steps in. Because of the soil this wine is grown in, a minerality persists throughout tasting. It is pleasant, gives the body a unique spirit, and paired exceptionally well with a medley of shellfish, fava beans, and orange segments. Oh yeah, the wine states it is organic if that turns you on.
  • Best part: I only spent $14.99. Found this gem at Shoprite Wines and Spirits in Caldwell NJ:
  • Producer please: Poderi Arcangelo Vernacchia di San Gimignano. Can’t go wrong. Great website:

Fortitude comes from yourself, sure, but some wacky places as well. I had my tribe – and thank the heavens those people still stick around. I have my family – I think my mother would drive a truck over you if you had a sorry word for any of her kids. But the people that flit and float in and out of your life keep floating. Did I need them in the first place? What was the point of them in the first place? And where do they go in the end…it doesn’t matter. The you created is the you of your past – and the past can be a tool of inspiration. Embrace the you now, embrace a definition of who you are and the great things you have done, embrace a definition of a white wine with a sense of place. Take all that stuff now, pat the old you on the back for surviving, and go kick some ass.

Beautiful food porn from Turtle and the Wolf, Montclair, NJ.

Just A Good Time With Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Hands Of Time

The whole “Time goes by so quickly” line is a dirty lie.

It’s up to you to stop time. It’s up to you to NOT say “I’m good – just busy” – because you are not. I stole this idea from an article I read this morning. I am repeating it because the idea is haunting me. It’s not the cliche idea that you are missing something, or wasting priceless moments. You are being selfish. Well, I am being selfish and lazy with the grabbing of time. I’m scared of stopping – there I said it. I have a hint you are as well. I’m scared to give that open door a shove – open instead of closed I need to point out – for fear of defeat. Yes, yes, I’m the broken hearted. I’m the sour faced expression you see when you tell me your feelings. Allowing time – see that word “allow” – to wash over me chills me to the bone.

Time and decision making are companions in my life. The watching of time is making my decisions dull, lifeless, and all over passive. I grab for the same wine. I look for the same flavors. Time has made my passion lethargic and moody. Enough of the Susan tragedy – you know this life I’m living isn’t all boos and tears in the pillow. I have friends – more like I’m working on relationships – that fill the gap, kick my time dilemma in the ass, and spice up a simple moment. I also have really really good restaurants – I mean the stuff you SHOULD be writing about – just a step away. Time to investigate (couldn’t help myself)…

The description of “New American Eatery” can always be a complete win or a run for your life situation. Don’t collapse my dreams with a crappy chicken liver pate – that is just wrong. Turtle and The Wolf in Upper Montclair – I am now in love with you – let the stalking begin.

As you figured, I’m still thinking about the pate this morning as I write this blog. Creepy but true. We had two wines – Stags’ Leap Winery Viogner and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Hands of Time” Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. You and I have discussed this Viogner – viscous, balanced, full of citrus and slight honeysuckle fruit, sexy, alluring, just everything good in a bottle. The Viogner became slightly metallic with the pate – understood and expected. I love this wine by itself, just standing alone to beguile my stuck in time mood – that’s what it is good for, and more. Better paired with the second course (you eat with me, we eat in courses and share – deal with it) of mussels and fries. And that broth…

We passed these two wines around all night – that sounds kind of kinky, and just wrong, but it was working. My first time with Hands of Time, which was a surprise even to me. I really hate to say this, but in my mind, this wine was always an “easy” sell. Great name, almost half and half Cab and Merlot – no big flavor notes, but no stinky elbows to the ribs either. Just good, simple, straight forward – I can appreciate an effortless yet uncomplicated wine conversation. If we had made different food choices – ones with screaming spices or smokey charred peaks – we would have been screwed. For this bistro style dinning, perfect pairing.

We ended our journey with kielbasa over sauerkraut and braised apples. Polish girl eating house cured kielbasa – could be a train wreck. Skin snapped in all the right places, sauerkraut brined perfectly – win and thank you for not ruining my life.

This meal was very “Napa Valley” in style, so it was perfect to enjoy wines that I feel emulate a notion about Napa. The two Stags sometimes confuse us. They tell us very different stories, how winemakers live their history, and how they want time to pass. There is elegance, there is harmony, even tension where appropriate. I like that. I like being grabbed a bit by the time of the now, and hooking in to what time might unveil. I’m not cured of my “I’m to busy” excuse. I’ll still hide behind that one. But I can bend at the waist a bit, and give time it’s due moment in the sun. We still aren’t friends.