Prunus – Red Blend, 2014

  • Basic info: Prunus Private Selection Red Blend, Dao, Portugal – 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $18 (Weekly Tasting)
  • Look: Dark black cherry in color with minimal legs at first and medium legs when it warmed up. (thank you Bob and Ed for the color descriptor)
  • Smell: Sandalwood (I kid you not – that was the dominant smell in the glass and I almost didn’t try the wine because of it)
  • Taste: Some effervescence up front with taste of blackberry and jam. Thin for such a dark wine. Medium finish.
  • Conclusions: This wine was good and the taste was completely different than the smell. It was a bit thin on the mouthfeel, but there was more flavor than texture in this wine. We liked it – didn’t love it but liked it.
  • Other notes: So we opened this bottle when Ed and Erin were still here and we had the first glass after finishing the bottle of the Eyrie, so our opinions of this wine may be a little biased. The Eyrie was just such a perfect wine that I’m not sure what wine we opened after, it would not have compared favorably. That said, this wine was good – not great – but certainly very drinkable.
  • From the bottle: “Elegance on a grand scale. Lightly oaked and perfectly balanced with a silky texture and crisp edge. Supporting black cherry, plums and raspberry fruit flavors.” 13% alcohol by volume.


Irma’s Aftermath

We are fine. Let me start with that because that has been the question of the day. We are fine. We are incredibly lucky also, and everyone is ok.

Irma had the potential to do major damage to us, and since we did get hit with (or were very near) the western wall of the eye, the little damage our area sustained is just amazing. Whatever forces of nature merged to slow and weaken Irma worked in our favor and while there were some definite scary moments last night and into this morning, it all came out ok for us. For other parts of Florida, large parts of Florida, they were not so lucky and cleaning up and rebuilding after this (heck, just getting the power back on for many, may people) will take some time.

Bob and I walked around the neighborhood today and the one thing that struck me most of the sheer volume of water that came down over the last 48 hours. Nothing like Houston, but it still boggles the mind. Places where I would walk Jessie (and sometimes walk Arthas) are now rivers. No, seriously – we have retention ponds that are usually ponds – they are now connected and flowing into we aren’t sure where.

There is usually a large path where this starts, with lots of land between the path and the pond on the right. Everything to the left as the camera pans is normally field. The still pictures tell the story just as well, I think:

You are not supposed to have rapids and white caps in a retention pond.

But we are all ok. There is a lot of debris to clean up, and some things to check on. There will be roads flooded for a few days (hopefully less) and friends to check on. I will definitely take what we got, especially since it could have been, and should have been, so much worse. What I hope doesn’t happen is that people don’t take the next storm as seriously. Just because this one weakened and turned does not mean the next one will. The house has never suffered damage until it does; everyone has always been ok until they are not. There is always a first time for everything and if we get lucky again, fantastic. If we don’t, we will be prepared.

Hurricane Prep

A number of people have been asking if we have evacuated as Irma approaches. We are still here and should be ok. We are in a non-evacuation zone and outside of any flood danger (100 year/500 year flood zones we are still outside of). Biggest concerns right now are projectiles as the winds pick up, and losing power. So far we are fine and we have provisions for when the power does fail. 

While I probably would stay put it was just us, I can’t take the kittens to a shelter since they are too young for their rabies shots. Arthas is still scared of other animals and I just can’t see putting Tigger through that. Multiple hours in a car to maybe get out also didn’t sound like a great plan so we stay. We prepared as well as we could and will make the best of the next few days. Right now I just want Irma to come and go so we can see what we need to do and just get back to normal. 

On the upside, it was really pretty out last evening as the clouds came through. 

Summer Caprese

Now that school is back in full swing, the last bit of summer starts to fade. Yes, it will be hot in Florida for a while yet, but fall is beginning to make its presence known. The mornings are just a touch cooler, the evenings have a nice breeze and the afternoon rains, while still here, are not arriving every day.

It was with this as a backdrop – that first morning when there was just a hint of chill in the air – that I decided to have one last celebration of summer. At the farmer’s market with mom I picked up some beautiful red and yellow tomatoes. (Not Jersey tomatoes, because those really are the best, but you can’t get them in Florida, but these were far better than grocery store tomatoes.) I found a not so pretty, but definitely ripe, peach to add to the salad and picked up some little mozzarella pearls at the store. To this I added some basil from my garden and a touch of salt and balsamic glaze. It was the perfect summer salad.


Adelsheim – Pinot Blanc, 2015

  • Basic info: Adelsheim “Bryan Creek Vineyards”,  Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, OR – 2015
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $25 (from vineyard)
  • Look: Very pale yellow – almost no color. Some legs.
  • Smell: Lemon, honey – very light smells.
  • Taste: Crisp. Apple, lemon, light stone fruit.
  • Conclusions: Excellent. This wine was clean, crisp, refreshing and very tasty. It had a touch of sweetness, but was definitely not a sweet wine. It was super easy to drink and didn’t taste of alcohol at all. Bob and I had this with a friend over our cheese box dinner and all three of us loved it.
  • Other notes: I’ve had Pinot Blancs before and have never been really impressed with them. Generally I find them cloying or with very little flavor. This one was different. While the flavors were light, they were present and enjoyable. This was a wine you could sit and think about or just drink and both methods would make you very happy. I was a little concerned about how easy it went down when I realized the alcohol content, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it.
  • From the bottle: “This 3 1/2-acre AVA at the 800-foot level delivers richness balanced by the wine’s racy acidity and bright, focused fruit.” 13% alcohol by volume


Eyrie Vineyards – Pinot Noir, 2012

  • Basic info: Eyrie Vineyards, Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon – 2012
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $40 (from vineyard)
  • Look: opaque – black cherry in color with good legs
  • Smell: Strawberry and cherry on the nose. (Bob only got wine.)
  • Taste: Black cherry, current, hint of ripe plum with a touch of vanilla and granite. Beautiful, long finish.
  • Conclusions: This is one of the rare perfect wines. On the first sip it was just eye closing perfection and the wine only got better as it opened in the glass. While a little expensive, this wine was worth every penny.
  • Other notes: When we went to Oregon last year, we tasted this at the vineyard and fell in love with it. The wine got better over the last year and I think we drank it at the best possible point. Even better was sharing this bottle with Ed and Erin since they love Pinot Noir. Ed’s comment was simply, “This is what a Pinot Noir should be.”
  • From the bottle: Vineyard notes, “this Pinot noir is an embodiment of the vintage, offering 2012’s richness while also taking advantage of its lively acidity. The layers of dark fruit notes combined with the earthy spice of this lush wine make it difficult to resist drinking now.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


Two Weeks In

It has been about two weeks since we brought the kittens home and I have to say, it has been wonderful to have a full house again. I loved Jessie, Leia and Gracie and I will never forget them, but Alinea and Ella are also pretty special and they needed a good home as much as any of my babies.

The first week, with the kittens quarantined in the spare bedroom, was the hardest. The boys knew something was there and Tigger got a little stressed. I started thinking I made a mistake when he stopped eating a little, but we pushed through. Once he met the kittens, he was back to his old self. He seems to like the girls – he hangs out with them in the third bedroom and doesn’t get upset when they come up to him or sniff his food or play with his tail. I think he likes having them around in a weird way. He still follows me to bed and he insists on his cuddle time, so he is still Tigger, he’s just Tigger with company.

We were a little worried about how Arthas would react to the kittens, but I think Val was right – he is perfectly ok with the tiny kittens, more than he would be with a new full grown cat. If he gets too close to her, Alinea will hiss at him, but he doesn’t do much other than stand there and stare at her. Ella tries to sniff him frequently, and he is ok with it unless she gets really close to his head. He hasn’t done anything more than growl and he sometimes seems curious about them. Mostly he wants their food and we had to alter the gate situation as he did manage to get into their room once. Yes, he ate the whole bag of kitten food – we probably had about 1/2 a bag before he got to it.

So personalities … Ella is a curious and she has almost no fear of anything or anyone, but she is cautious. She is a little slower in her explorations and she likes to find a place to curl up and rest. Shiny puff balls and sticks are her favorite toys and she seems pretty determined to make Arthas like her. (She does not care when he growls, she just stays where she is and turns up the cute.)

Alinea is apparently very aptly named. She is a daredevil – very different than she was at the rescue. She likes people and she is only mildly afraid of Arthas. She will hiss at him if he gets too close, but she stands her ground. She likes to follow me around and she will leap from one piece of furniture to another. She eats everything and the tiny kitten looks more like a cat every day. She has checked out Arthas’s food bowl (before he began eating) and Tigger’s food (while he was eating). She is now bigger the Ella, and I am really hoping her coloring doesn’t change as she gets her adult fur in.

We apparently did this transition right and everyone is getting along well. As the girls get a little bigger and I stop worrying about Arthas or Tigger stepping on them it will get even better. We had all three cats eating dinner in the kitchen for the first time recently, and it was great. I’m so glad we could give these two a good home and that Tigger and Arthas are ok with them. I”m hoping the kittens are good for Arthas and he gets as use to them as he was with Leia and is with Tigger. I know it will take time, but for now I can come home from long, crazy days at work and just enjoy the furry family.