Drink This; But I Need To Sell It First

img_3080It seems to me that wine buyers always want the hard to find stuff, and want it at a good price.  I get it; you want to offer something special to your audience.  You, as the audience member, want to feel like you found the gem – maybe your “wine guy or gal” told you a little story about the vineyard, the winemaker, the history.  You get your nugget of knowledge, and you are running, with bottle at hand, to tell all the wine anecdotes around the dinner table.

How cute.

My problem is, when it is a hard to find item, there is not a lot made.  Hence, I can’t sell it everywhere, but I need to sell it.  On top of that, this stuff can be pricey.  Not always a problem; especially now with the holiday season upon us.  But what do you think moves in a wine shop?  Do you want to spend over $100 with your Friday night pizza?

I don’t blame you and your answer.  But then enters this gorgeous wine named Hewitt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon…

Where are you from Mr. Beautiful Hewitt Cab – California, and more than that, an area called Rutherford; more specifically Rutherford Bench.  Bench land, in wine garb, is where the vines can be deeply rooted to the earth.  What does this mean to you?  Wines are deep deep black fruit flavors with a little earthy/spicy note at the end.  This area is also famous for the “Rutherford Dust”; the tannins in the wine will give you a almost dusty feeling at the back of your throat while adding to the structure.  This sounds nasty, but it is one of the most luxurious feelings ever.

This is a single vineyard wine – so all the grapes are designated to come from one place.  This means focus focus focus; some of the wines you are drinking now have grapes sourced from here or there.  No biggie because winemakers KNOW who to buy their stuff from.  But when you have a single vineyard wine, those grapes are being cared for and loved from one arena.

What should I have in my purse: About $100.  Sorry, this stuff is good.

Where can I buy it in NJ – Ok, keep your hats on – still working on that.  The only place, right now, that I would send you to, is Woodcliff Lake Wine and Spirits.  You can also buy ON LINE: check out my friends at Wine Chateau – love them.  But, did you know, if you do not see a wine in a shop you travel to, you can always ask them to order it…(hint hint)

What am I going to do with this expensive wine? This is your holiday wine.  Every time I show this at a tasting, everyone is impressed and go nuts over it.  There is power to this wine while still being approachable.  There are flavors of plum, dark chocolate, ripe ripe cherries with a plush and expressive finish.

Check out my friends at Wine Chateau – Wine Chateau.com

Can’t forget about Woodcliff Lake – Woodcliff Lake Wine and Spirits

 

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Drink This: Stop the Beringer Hate

Mood, history and feelings.  Most of what leads us into our situations.  Wine is no different.

What kicks off in your brain when I say Beringer Vineyards?  I’ll tell you- white zinfandel.  You see yourself perched in front of that huge glass door (cold box) in a wine shop wondering what jug you will choose.  It’s pink, full of gushy fruit, and will do the job.

And nothing wrong with it.  I defend blushy goodnes in this blog: if you are interested in reading: White Zinfandel – so, we don’t need to get into that.

Beringer makes a damn good White Zinfandel – probably the best in the market.  There are a few more facts you should know about the winery.  I covered a few here: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Dinner.  However, for some of the top hits:

  • Two brothers began this winery in 1876.  We can consider them some of the godfathers of California winemaking and wine growing.  Jacob Beringer’s great great (maybe another great) grandson is now leading the charge; Mark Beringer.  One of the COOLEST guys in Cali; laid back, very handsome, witty, a ton of charm.
  • Beringer Private Reserve level of wines (chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon) are the crown jewels of the Beringer line up.  Both varietals have won “Wine of the Year” in the past (the only winery EVER to achieve this status), and continue to be a benchmark of true California “wine of place” choices.
  • There is so much more to explore here.  Not only are wines produced in Napa (and who would snub their nose at that), but fruit is also sourced from Paso Robles, Sonoma…more to come.  Consistency, history, an apex of where we all began in California winemaking.

When I want to grab and go with something good, Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay is on my mind.  In fact, a bottle is usually chilled and ready to go.  It is rich, classy, and complex all at the same time.  There is citrus, honeysuckle, baked apple – but not to a point where you can’t enjoy more than one glass.  Does that happen to you?  Sometimes the chardonnay is just “too much” and overbearing.  I’ve never experienced that with this wine.  In fact, this is a “all nighter” to me; I can enjoy this wine by itself, and throughout the meal.  The wine pairs well with EVERYTHING and everyone enjoys it.  That is always important to me.  If we are friends, you know I can pull out some funky wines.  However, I want you to enjoy yourself, and not wear that wrinkly face after a sip, and ask for some tequila instead.  This is a staple, and will continue to be with me.

Where do I get this stuff? – The nice answer to this question is ANYWHERE!  Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton, Wine Library in Springfield, Central Avenue Wines in Jersey City (I LOVE the owner Neil.  He rules)…I could go on.  This wine is a classic to wine buyers, and as I have outlined, a pure expression of California chardonnay.

What should you have in your purse? – Around $30.  You can buy a cheaper chardonnay, and I don’t blame you if you do.  We are moving into a heavier palette meal time – October brings lovely soups and roasts, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I’m hungry.  You need something that measures up, and can deliver these hearty flavors to your table.  Take the plunge.

And now for something that has NOTHING to do with this blog – check out my girls back squatting.  This summer, nothing has made me more happy than working through my back squat.  If I didn’t have my posse behind me, well, is it worth it?  So impressed with what we all have accomplished!:

 

The Rise and Fall of a Wine Dinner

Maybe my expectations are to high.

I have been privileged to sit and experience the marriage of wine and food at the highest level.  Yes, moments like this have left me speechless.  Seems funny to say that.  This doesn’t need to happen in the fanciest of restaurants, or at a winery.  This can happen in my kitchen with a baked mac and cheese and some Barbaresco.  I want the pairing to sweep me off my feet, and whisper secrets in my ear.  Every time I sit, stand, or linger to drink and eat, I want the wine fairies to lift me to this high once again.

What happens when the food sucks?

Truly sucks.  When you are the speaker, and have lost control with what comes out of the kitchen, this challenge may smack you in the face.  Thank goodness you have a wine safety net.  Good wine can act as smoke and mirrors.  I never want wine to mask the flavors of the  food, but it may win the race.  Last night I leaned on the stories of Beringer Winery’s legacy; the longest continuously run winery in Napa Valley, half of the soil contents found in the world are found in Napa Valley, micro climates, accolades (Beringer is the only winery to win the coveted #1 Wine of the Year from Wine Spectator with both a red and a white wine), and just good juice.  When we got to the third course, and the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, I convinced the audience we were sitting in a vineyard, and that this goopy soup didn’t really exist. (soup in July?)

And then the audience died. (not actually – creative writing…)

When I turn off the wine drama channel in my brain, the people left standing are those that take me for the slightly introverted person I am.  And then I can’t shut up.  Why, oh why, would you do anything fun with anyone else that you don’t want to talk to – or even look at.  Comfortable silence is beautiful, but lazy silence is stupid.  Lay in bed and watch Netflix if that is your game.  Now I am forced to tell all the wine jokes, and act like a clown to raise a spirit.  That actually turns my belly.  I understand that a wine dinner is entertainment, but I don’t want to have to stir your soul for you.  Come with a desire to explore – even for a moment. I will make the wine stuff painless.  It’s just wine; I’m sure your life involves much more complicated tasks.

And if all of this still makes an evening a horrid mess, stop drinking all together.  Please know responsible consumption is the best consumption.

Now for this fabulous Pinot Noir (Beringer Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir):

Ah Pinot Noir.  So hard for me.  My dinner guest last night loves the stuff.  He can be a harsh critic.  It took him a few sips, but the wine won him over.  Why a few sips?  This is California in every breath of the word.  Red cherry and bruised strawberry flavors.  Spicy oak on the finish, structured, and slightly dense for a Pinot Noir.  I will soon be writing about Burgundy (still Pinot Noir), and I will outline the difference.  And what a difference there can be.  I like lushness, especially when I am entertaining people I am not friendly with.  Puts me and my guests at ease.  This wine comforts the palette; allows you to taste a full expressive fruit without being overdone or obnoxious.

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Obsessing Over Wine And Crossfit

I never planned on sticking with crossfit.  I thought I would be out of that gym in 3 months; loose a little weight, be social, wear cute work out clothes.  That was my plan.

I also never thought I would sell wine.  Way to complex of a thing to understand – and who makes a career out of it anyway?

Obsession is not a proper word for both.  They fuel my lifestyle.  They have changed me; the real me talks to you now.  Call it what you will, I’m freaking happy.  Sure, ok, both are a “cult” in a way (I can’t stand when people say that), but they are my own Pajak Cult –  and honey, it serves me well.

What I didn’t know was what parallel roads they travel together:

  1. You will never know everything; I first began studying wine because every day, there is something new.  That means I can’t master it.  That may bother some people, but it motivates me to no end.  Just like walking up to the bar and knowing I am approaching a lift differently than I did last week, yesterday, 5 minutes ago!  How can I be a master of such a living and breathing activity!  What a beautiful revelation this is, and imagine where it can take my mind, my body, my future!
  2. Smart work pays off; Movement is funny in some ways; different placement of the feet, or a hitch of the hips changes everything!  It can send you in a completely new direction!  Man, I worked stupid for a long time in wine, and in movement, and it got me no where!  With proper direction, and clear thought, geez, so much comes together – doesn’t it?
  3. Mentors; I have often found the people that have effected me the most are the last people I would pick out in a line up.  Pictures in your head don’t often match what is unveiled in your life; well, at least mine.  What an attraction I have to people that are just ABSORBED with something; anything!  The commitment to learning about wine and crossfit seems to be the same; you just can’t breathe without learning.  Life can’t continue if you don’t read  about soil content in a vineyard, or how to do a muscle up.  These are the people I choose to enhance my ability, yell in my ear, and, well, just give good hugs.
  4. Beauty; There is no other way to express a painting, fresh snow, Sunday brunch, Barolo decanted for 4 hours, or watching a clean and jerk ending with a push press.  All the things in the last sentence give me chills.  That is beauty and perfection; at least for a moment in time.
  5. The most positive thing I do for myself every day; I wish I could tell you that I don’t screw things up from time to time.  I know we all do, but I seem to get myself in a jam more than I would like to admit.  Knowing that I dedicate time to something more than the white noise in my head is a blessing.  Writing this blog makes me recall my wine education, and think deeper.  Waking up at 5:30 AM to lift heavy stuff starts my day burning with possibilities…
  6. Commitment to something other than Netflix; My mother once told me, after hearing about the time spent on my wine dinners, wine trainings, and working in the market –  “Some people work 9 to 5 jobs every day and are very happy.” Well good for them Mom, but that isn’t me.  Both wine and crossfit push me to keep going – that is what makes me happy.  I can’t stop thinking of what else it out there, and if I just went a little further, what more I can accomplish.  Both have set me on a track that is never going to end.  I dream of deadlifts, and how I can teach someone about the regions of Burgundy.  Sounds a little over the top, but this is such a good place.  To know you are more than what everyone else sees is a special little secret only available upon demand.  I love that.

So pour yourself a little bubbly, practice your double unders in the kitchen, watch Jason Khalipa on YouTube and dream of how he should be your boyfriend (sorry, I do that), and enjoy life people!

Wine List Obstacle Course

If I didn’t know how to dodge and weave my way through a wine list, I would choose a nice gin and tonic as my beverage.

Geez, this is a totally intimidating thing to do.  You don’t want to look stupid, make a wrong choice, pronounce foreign wine names (it is Mer-looooow not Mer-LOT, and yes, this happens), make a cheap choice, spend to much money, and in the end, get a bottle that tastes like garbage.  Confession; I have ordered bottles that taste like garbage and, through fabulous selling skills, have convinced my companions that this was the next “trend setter” in the wine world.  Even I make mistakes; it is very easy to do.

This weekend I was with colleagues in the industry – but from the other side; the spirit side.  Sure, I can order a fabulous bourbon, and tell you distillation processes, but that is probably where it ends with spirits and me.  When you are in this industry, you learn buzz words and know a few nuggets about many things.  Throughout the years, you become an ambassador of your passion.  I like my bourbon as much as the next guy, but I don’t have an interest of looking at the latest brands, or quaffing and analyzing the hell out of them.  Lets take you through what worked first:

  1. Order what you like and know– Adventurous spirits are wonderful, and I would love to explore all the possibilities available to me, but I know what I like to drink!  As in life, your mind will know when something clicks.  If a specific vineyard turns you on, explore that vineyard.  I love me some Cakebread dammit, and I’m proud to share that love with my friends.
  2. Everyone likes Pinot Noir except for me – This grape is a product of the area it is grown in, as well as to the people that drink it.  The wine has fruit, tannins, structure, depth, but not to much depth, body, but not to much body…you get it.  The grape appeals to all, and pairs well with just about any food.  Truth; I’m not a fan, but the entire world seems to disagree with me.  Whatever…
  3. Don’t break the bank – There are times, and I know, where we all want to indulge.  Rightfully, you should if you can afford it.  Please know that a wine list will list prices far higher than retail prices – PLEASE JUST DEAL WITH THIS AND STOP COMPLAINING TO THE RESTAURANT STAFF!  There is a reason for this, and as much as you may stamp your feat, and say it is unfair, it will not change.  You are getting what you pay for – the wine list will most likely inflate the price of a wine 2.5  or 3 times.  So, a bottle you are paying 18.00 dollars for, they paid a wholesale cost of 6.00 dollars or less.  Feeling ripped off yet?

There was one little “oops” that happened this weekend;

  1. Know what you don’t know – You may love Tempranillo from Spain, but not all Tempranillos are alike.  If you want to expand your wine portfolio, find a trusting soul to make some suggestions for you.  A Tempranillo was ordered with a tapas menu this weekend with the expectations of spice, black rambling fruit, and levels of flavor.  However, what the buyer didn’t know, was that there was Garnacha blended in.  The Garnacha grape, used to bring out body and fruitiness in the wine, actually made this wine flat, and dulled all the pretty things Tempranillo was all about.  Whoops.

The Wine Police don’t exist, so feel free to venture out.  I don’t want to damper your spirits at all, but I do want to road map a few pit falls for you.  Remember, this is a blog about a moment in time.  I almost can’t wait for another wine list blunder to happen so I can share it with you!

 

The Wine That Changed My Life

Ok, that sounds very dramatic (but we all have one)…

However, it is true.  I was lost, like many of us, at one point in my life.  I knew there was something more out there for me.  My life as a dancer was coming to a end.  I was fighting with the fact that I wanted to continue to perform, but I just didn’t have the desire anymore.  My heart was wavering on the only thing I knew; dance.  I felt like a trader.  How could I abandon my art form, my love, what helped me breathe…

I never felt “smart”.  I barley finished high school.  The only reason I went to college was because I was talented and had a really good audition.  The world was changing; internet, cell phones, spread sheets….there was no way I was going to wrap my head around this stuff.

I followed my ex husband around like a zombie.  I thought I could find something, anything, that could stick to my disorientated brain.  I found myself one day at an Italian wine tasting.  My ex told me I wouldn’t understand much of what I was drinking – “This stuff is way to hard for a beginner like yourself”.  More self doubt, more loathing of the un known…

I walked up to a table and saw a bottle of wine with a picture of a door on the label.  Beautiful, alluring, foreign with it’s language – I was intrigued.  The grape; Nebbiolo.  The area; Piedmont.  Conversation about terroir, single vineyards, oak treatments…I turned off.  Maybe my ex was right.  I was out of place.  I contemplated running for my life before this nice man, trying to be polite and explain the wine to me, figured out I was an idiot.

With one sip everything changed.  The wine told me it’s story.  Yes, a single vineyard; grapes isolated from all other vineyards because of their superiority and other elements that just make the grapes sing.  Special already.  Deep color, black berry and currant, spice and mint; how can this be happening.  How can I taste all of these things in one wine?

The picture on the label was of Orme Su La Court (Footsteps in La Court).  It is an art walk, throughout the vineyards, dedicated to earth, air, fire, water – the four elements.  Expression of how everything comes together, and how we cannot have one without the other.  What inspires the senses is not just one direction or one thought; it is our history, our future, our own wanting of the now and what can be, and what makes us who we are.

I did find my brain, and I want to tell you (and this took a long time) that I am a witty and intelligent woman!   I went on, not only to create a career in wine, but to SELL wine in an Italian restaurant in New York City.  Yes, the girl who didn’t have depth dove into the pool.  I would perform inventory, every Tuesday morning, in a very cold cellar, imagining that the wines spoke to me; made me part of their family.  I learned so much down there, in the dark, curled up with a notebook and a load of bottles to count.  Makes me giggle now, but also comforts me.  Thank you Michele Chiarlo for creating Cerequio Barolo, and for the stories you have told me.  I have eaten at your table, walked your vineyards, and sat by your fire at night.  This is where my mind goes now, and there is no end.  Thank goodness for that.

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!

 

 

Murray

I’ve been looking for a picture to hang over my couch.

I don’t want any wine prettiness though.  I hate wine bric-a-brac.  I find it tacky, when you work in the wine business, to clutter your life with all of that stuff.  When I’m done working, I don’t want to see wine splattered around my living room unless I’ve spilled my glass.

So, I became stuck on decor.  What memories can I share that make me happy?  I’m not a fan of discussing my past.  I don’t hang pictures up of friends long gone from my life, or pine over the places I’ve been to, things I’ve done.  I’m not a fan of that Susan I used to be, and I’m hesitant to see her walking around my new and improved life.

Something that stirs in my belly is the Eiffel Tower.  I could stare at the real deal for hours.  I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but it’s like it would come alive.  You could be miles away, and get chills , or up close to experience the mystery.  It makes me feel sexy, unstoppable, witty, creative, and all the other things I never think I am.

Enter the picture, on sale, found in the dust, in the back of the store.  The Eiffel Tower is in the background; almost an afterthought.  It’s of the walkway leading to the tower; the walk that never ends.  It’s raining.  The people in the picture are outlined; non – distinguishable.  It is dreary yet illuminated.  There is an energy, yet I’m calm. There is an overflow of me and it is good.  Really good.

Nostalgic I am not, but this will do.  Then the news of his death; the choreographer I worked for.  He drove passion into my heart, and made me nuts.  He gave me opportunity, headaches, heartaches, and, and…I try to find something nice to hold on to.  I can’t.  Pain and anger was all I could feel – and why?  Haven’t I left that?  Isn’t that why I feel I have progressed?  And then the anger at myself.  I am responsible as well for what has happened to me, and the relationships I have had.  This is a terrible terrible circle.  Pull that picture off the wall and smash the hell out of it…

Ok, drama queen, stop.  What is the connection.  The real connection.  What links all of that to now.  And just at this moment I get it.  I can hear him in my head; never stop your curiosity.  What has made me keep going, even when I didn’t know it; curiosity.  Curiosity to what I thought I could do, to a world outlined in wine and all of it’s elements, to the chances that can be.  Curiosity of the unknown.  What better gift, and one probably not meant to give.  The artist becomes herself.

There are lessons in the past, there are really good things that have happened, and there is crap.  This won’t change.  I have changed, yet in ways, still remain that shy, naive dancer.  That was where I needed to start; we all need a beginning.

Murry LouisSo this is from the girl, far (and I mean far) up stage, that got a solo by accident, that could never shed her “baby fat”, and that smiled every time you rolled your eyes at her.  Thanks Murray.

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Non Wine Blog – The Happiness Planner

For the first time in my life, this year, I am walking away from a relationship.

If I choose you as a friend, a true “ride or die” friend, I remain loyal through it all.  It took everything in me, and still does, to abandon what I thought was an authentic friendship.  Something so real, that still digs into  my core, blew up in my face.  Something I trusted, depended on, and believed in…

Someone can only step on your throat so much until you decide you can’t breathe.

I made an error in judgment here.  I had to remind myself that it took a VERY LONG TIME to get happy after my divorce.  I mean A LONG TIME.  I existed for years knowing I would get to this place of contentment.  I re-built Susan Pajak into who she was supposed to be.

Insert Happiness Definition please…

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

Screen_Shot_2015-10-27_at_8.24.08_am_largeSo now what do I do.  Obviously, this writing thing is working.  We all know, through our text relationships (this is the new way of dating by the way), that we are free to speak our mind through written word.  I found http://thehappinessplanner.com on line; this is a guided journaling tool that promotes – yes – positive thinking.  I was gifting these journals, and decided to gift one to myself.  There is something about seeing what you are thinking.  There is also something to the idea of reminding yourself that good things happen to you EVERY DAY.  We often journal about how to overcome obstacles, the bad meal we cooked, or the arguments with people we love.  Why not write down our goals, what inspires us, or how to become more mindful?

Listen, I’m not a chanting, yogi, do-gooder girl.  I’m just going with what I know works.  I find myself in tears when I see this ex friend, and that just needs to end.  Tears are not a good look on me.

So take my advice, or think I’m nuts.  You won’t be the first.  This bag of junk I am carrying needs to be dropped down the toilet, and by God, if this journal works, then so be it.

Here comes 2016 – be safe, be loving, and yes, be happy.

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Holiday Wine Haul – Black Ink Red Blend

I apologize for trashing this wine on social media.  I really am.

I am here to have an open mind, and try new things.  I am also here to have an opinion.  I speak to this blog like I would speak to anyone about wine.  I am not hiding behind any flowery words or political walls.  I’m going to lay it out for you as painful as sometimes it may be.

Before I even tasted this wine, I attempted to do a little research.  What I did find was that this wine consists of a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Malbec and Zinfandel.  This excited me.  Syrah is just a sexy beast of a grape; violet hues, silky, full bodied, and all kinds of voluptuousness.  The rest of the grape crew was promising me spice, pillowy yet capable tannins, and balance.  This should be a balanced wine; perfect combination of earth, fruit, and tannic structure.  (more about tannins soon, I promise)

I really can’t say where this wine is specifically from.  I did know it was from California, and I believe one of my searches stated Napa, but that is all I got.  We can PRESUME the Zin was coming from Amador County, or Lodi (great growing area for Zin in California).  The rest MAY come from the North Coast of California, but this is just an educated guess.

Who cares anyway – the wine is a loser.

IMG_1363I tasted nothing.  The fruit was so fleeting that I didn’t even notice it was there.  There was this candied oak presence that turned me off instantly.  When I stuck my nose in the glass, I picked up a grape chewing gum smell.  This is just a turn off, and a sensory memory I left in grade school.

Black Ink wasn’t even a good pairing for pizza!  I think pizza is probably one of the easiest foods to pair with wine, specifically red.  You kind of can’t go wrong.; there was a lot of “wrong” going on.  There was also this viscous texture left on my palate after drinking the wine.  What the heck was going on here!

Crossfitters beware!  I know you want to try this because of the tattoo innuendoes, but just trust me and say no.  I may not be able to climb a freaking rope, or do a butterfly pull up, but I got this wine thing.

My sister usually asks me for a wine she can just guzzle; she is not choosey.  She is a music teacher in a grammar school, and a single mom to a four year old; romantic choices have left her consciousness.  I would tell her to take a pass on this $9.99 choice and pick up a box wine for the same price (Lindemans makes a great one; check it out).  Great marketing here, great packaging, and nice idea……if it’s not in the bottle, does this all really matter?