2018 MoniClaire Sauvignon Blanc

  • Producer: MoniClaire Vineyards
  • Location: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $28 (from Winery)
  • Tasting notes: Honeysuckle, lemon and orange on the nose. Definitely a Sauvignon Blanc – lots of lemon, grapefruit and citrus taste. A little herbal, some lemon curd and a little biscuit quality towards the finish. Good acidity and a beautiful finish.
  • Conclusions: Easy drinking, lovely fruit balanced by good acidity. This is a wine that you can sit and contemplate or just sip and enjoy.
  • Notes: When we went to Sonoma in June, this was one of the wineries that we found on our wine tour. A tiny family operation (husband and wife and they live on the property) they make less than 50 cases of this wine and you can see the little plot where the grapes are planted. Even their larger wine – Zinfandel – is still sub 200 cases and is one of the best zinfandels I’ve ever had (different post on that hopefully soon). The owners are great and their wines are lovely and it is fantastic that I can support what is literally a small family winery in practice, not just as a marketing pitch.

 

Socks!

I had a goal for the winter break – I wanted to learn to knit socks. This goal was planned back in the summer but I wanted some concentrated time, with no other projects, available before I started this. Socks seem complicated. Socks have to fit. Socks were going to require some trial and error and attention to detail. Did I mention that you have to make two and they need to be the same? Yep. This was my goal – learn to knit a pair of socks.

When we were in Sonoma, I stopped into a yarn store and asked about a good yarn to learn how to knit socks with. The very nice lady at the store suggested I start with a worsted weight. If you think about yarn, this is the weight you think about. It’s average, middle of the road, not heavy, but not light. Sock yarn is thinner, finer, more fiddly, so learning to knit socks on sock yarn might be a challenge. Okay. Yarn in hand and a pattern to look up, I was all set.

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Except. Except by the time December and break rolled around, I lost the pattern name she suggested. So I scoured Ravelry and found Cottage Socks. Not only are these for the right weight yarn and beginner friendly, they came with videos! Step by step video instruction. Perfect.

So I set out on my quest to learn to knit socks and promptly became frustrated. I’ve knit in the magic loop method before – I’ve made dozens of cat toys with it – but I just could not get it to work for the socks. Not one to give up, I searched the internet for answers. Double Pointed Needles were a popular choice, but those look hard. Two circular needles was one answer and there was the “don’t try this they are awful” 9 inch circular needle choice. Of course, that is the one I went with.

9 inch circular needles are tiny. Tip to tip they are – as the name implies – 9 inches. The actual needles are MUCH smaller than regular needles and every review I read said they are really hard to work with. But … they totally worked for me. No gap at the beginning of the round, easy to hold and, and for the flat parts and the toes … well, I just used a second regular needle. It worked.

In about a week, I had a new pair of wool socks. They fit, they look cute, Tigger approved, and they pretty much matched. I had one issue with the cuff (forgot to count rows when making the first one) but otherwise, they are great.

Socks are also addictive to knit. There are enough progress markers that give you the little dopamine hit that you just want to keep going (cuff done, leg done, heel done etc.). You have set places that you can stop and put the work down and pick up later. They are small, compact projects and best part – you get a new pair of socks when you are done.

So … if 2019 was the year of the sweater, 2020 will be there year of the sock! My goal is to knit one pair of socks per month (or more when I’m not working). Let’s see how it goes.

Happy knitting.

 

Adler Springs Vineyard Sparkling Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Under the Wire
  • Location: Mendocino County, CA (bottled in Petaluma, CA)
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: $45 (from Bedrock Winery)
  • Tasting notes: Bubbly wine! Salmon in color, bordering on orange in the glass. Very light on the nose – almost no aroma, but a hint of date and white peach. Good effervescence on the tongue with flavors of barley ripe raspberry, nectarine, a little white grape and some bramble. Long finish.
  • Conclusions:  Absolutely delightful and paired really well with the cheese we had for dinner. Light in taste, but with a lot of character and a very long finish.
  • Notes: This was one of the wines we picked up while at the tasting room for Bedrock Winery this past July. This was a delightful wine and it really shined on the hot day. Back home, on a cool New Year’s Eve, it continued to show well. While more than we usually spend on a bottle, this is still worth every penny. 12.5% ABV

Happy 2020 !

Hi there. It’s been a while. I took some unexpected time off from writing but I’m hoping to be able to do a little more now. For those familiar with Florida school schedules, you may have noticed that my lack of posting coincided with the beginning of our school year. All for good reasons – work is great, I just took on an extra project that then turned into two more projects for the district – all in addition to my regular job – so I’ve been a little busy and a little stressed. The projects are not going away this semester, but I think I’ve got a better handle on them all and can figure out how to balance things so I can get back to posting.

So quick update … babies are good. So good. So cute.

I’ve managed to keep up with the knitting and have to admit – it is a little addictive. This past year I’ve knit a few things including three (yes three) sweaters. I made a test sweater for me that I love and wear all the time, I made a sweater for Val for the lab and one for Mom because she liked mine so much. Yay me.

I’m also still drinking wine, of course. We got quite a lot from our trip to Sonoma this year, and then some more after that so the house is pretty full of wine. Hopefully I can remember to write up some notes on some of them because what we’ve had so far from this lot is just amazing.

So … hopefully I will do better about posting and have some new knitting projects to share and some good wine to share and maybe, just maybe a new recipe or two. Although that one is doubtful given the current work commitments.

Have a wonderful 2020 – raise a glass to a great year full of possibilities.

Unleashed Chardonnay

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Price estimate: $15
  • Tasting notes: Medium yellow in color with a bit of straw tending to clear at the edges. Thicker body and slow legs for a white wine. On the nose, lemon pie, tiny bit of lemon zest, vanilla custard (homemade, not the box stuff – yes, there is a smell difference) and a slight note of slate. Round mouthfeel – borders on buttery, but keeps a step back from that line. Stone fruit is the predominant flavor up front – apricot, nectarine – with a bit of refreshing citrus. Mid-palate has a subtle granite thread that leads to an herbal finish. Not a harsh herb finish, but the kinds of herbs you cook with to add something to the final dish even if you can’t decipher the specific herbs.
  • Conclusions: In general, I shy away from Chardonnay, especially ones that have a rounder mouthfeel. This one has a hint of the California style – big and buttery – but it is restrained and really enjoyable to drink and with food (corn soup and a pasta salad in this case) it shines.
  • Notes: I’m going to have to peruse the spreadsheet and find other wines to drink since the last few have been from the same winery, but we did get our case from them very quickly after we got home, so we’ve been balancing the “save and savor” with the “drink now” feelings. The texture of this wine is the most interesting to me – it is un-oaked but it feels (not tastes) oak aged. To get the texture just right might be super simple, but I’m guessing it is actually really difficult to do and this one nails it. Super smooth with a hint of buttery texture, definite malolactic fermentation. It feels like it could go over the edge with less care and attention, but it doesn’t.

Misunderstood Pinot Noir

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Year: 2017
  • Price estimate: $20
  • Tasting notes: Beautiful nose of cherry, strawberry and a little moss. Garnett in color with a little bit of orange-brown at the edges. Flavors of ripe cherry, stone, a touch of fresh tobacco. Long finish with lots of cherry notes.
  • Conclusions: Delicious. This was a great pinot to open one evening and Bob and I savored each sip. It has that quality where you can sip and enjoy and not think about it, or pay attention to what you are drinking, savor it, and discover a few hidden layers. We did a little of both with this bottle and I’m just sad that I only have one more bottle left the in “cellar.”
  • Notes: Pinot Noirs are one of my favorite varietals, right up there with Zinfandel and Pinotage. There are a lot of pinots out there that are “meh” or “fine” and plenty that are bad. To find a really great pinot for $20 – I really wish I had gotten more, but in all honesty, I tend to under buy when we go to a winery because I’m always afraid it’s the atmosphere or experience that is making the wine taste so good. This isn’t one of those cases and I may have to get more of this once our weather breaks and I can get wine shipped to Florida again – somewhere around November.

Pinot Blanc Reserve

  • Producer: Gustave Lorentz
  • Location: Alsace, France
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: $15 retail, ($11 on sale from Weekly Tasting)
  • Tasting notes: Light to medium yellow in color. Nose is very light – difficult to find many aromas, but as the wine warms a little some floral notes and lemon curd begin to come through with a tiny bit of fresh apple. The wine is clean and round on the palate with notes of melon, apple, nectarine and white grape. Acidity is nice – not strong, but present. Finish is clean with a decent length. The apple and a little pear come through on the finish.
  • Conclusions: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this wine as I’m not terribly familiar with Pinot Blanc, but it’s good. Refreshing in the “good summer sipper” category of wines, this isn’t something I’m going to hold for a super special occasion, but I’m happy drinking it. This paired well with an Asian dish, and with quinoa tacos and was also pretty good alone. 12.5% ABV
  • imageNotes: When Bob and I went to Sonoma we wanted to focus on Zinfandels, but also look for good whites. We succeeded in finding zin’s that we really loved (you should be seeing some of those posts in the coming months) but we didn’t focus on whites, so when I saw Weekly Tasting was doing an inventory clearance sale, I decided to get a case of whites – things I could drink all summer and not feel the need to ration. I didn’t intend to get the Pinot Blanc, but they sent it instead of a Riesling, which I was totally okay with (seriously, for $11 I’m honestly not going to quibble). I did want to let them know so it wouldn’t impact their inventory or potentially another customer, but they offered to send the Riesling anyway and asked me to keep the Pinot Blanc. This was absolutely unnecessary, but I mention it because this isn’t the first time they have gone out of their way to make something right (the first time it was totally a FedEx issue, but they fixed it for me after I could not get anywhere with FedEx). Good wine, decent prices and fantastic customer service.