We Have Moved!

yes, yes, I have been mia the past few months... but not as mia as you might think. I made a big move over to typepad and thought that I would establish myself there and invite everyone over - kind of like unpacking your boxes and decorating your house before you have your first party... then I realized the boxes were just sort of sitting there... still packed... SO - come on over - the house is a mess, I cannot find anything and there are only two chairs (I am liking this analogy - can you tell?) but I miss you guys! Come play over here!!




Thanks to everyone who has checked in during my absence! I am merely taking a hiatus until mid-January, so that I can enjoy the holidays and plot my world domination. Talk to you soon, have a happy holiday and a fabulous and sparkly new year!!


My Happy Place...

If only "Ray of Light" was playing in the background, it would have been even more perfect...


Here comes Vandal Claus....


Approximately twice a year our little group of friends buzzes with excitement, as we prepare either to host the "Italians" or we prepare to descend upon Venice, for what we refer to as "Vandals Week."  (technically, there is a third "vandals week" - but it is a mancation, so us womenfolk stay home ;))  Anyhoo, it is a week of fantastic eating and, of course, drinking wine.  The Italian Vandals arrived this afternoon, so this evening's celebration will make for a long day tomorrow, I am sure.  Usually, the Italians arrive with amazing cheeses and fun things like red onion jam from Tuscany.  I cannot wait to indulge and share the pics with you!! 


We have certainly had better ideas....

than our decision to break a bottle of champagne against our new house. We are sailors, but after the home purchase we can no longer afford to buy a boat, thus we needed to christen the house. We invited the new neighbors over for an impromptu commissioning and cocktail. No damage to the house, but The Boyfriend almost lost an eye. It was so much fun though (do not try this at home)!! Mommy was in a panic, when I informed her of our plan via telephone, as we were standing in the liquor store attempting to decide which bottle to drink (White Star) and which bottle to break against the house (Andre - we bought two in case of a failed first attempt). Mommy's only words of advice - wear your sunglasses. Good thing The Boyfriend listened, otherwise I would be marrying a pirate...


Gimmick or better drinking through technology?

A few weeks ago, we were en route to the wedding of the Pink Lemonade Diva, the Irish social event of the year, and we decided that we needed to hop into our "way back machine" and act like we were in college again by doing a little pre-partying prior to the ceremony. Rather than swigging out of a bottle in the street, we decided that the more discreet option might be the Sofia Blanc de Blancs from Coppola Vineyards, which comes in cute little pink cans (and, obviously, I am a fan of pink).

Sure, we were not expecting anything fantastic, but it was nearly undrinkable (although it gets high marks for portability and little attached straw). That is why I am rather afraid of Iron Wine's new packaging - wine in a can. The Argentine winery is serving up a vinto tinto (malbec-cab blend) and a vino blanco (chenin blanc) in both 8.5 and 12 ounce cans. According to the Associated Press, Iron Wine claims that the cans of wine, which keep out light and air, are similar to the steel vats used to age many wines... hmmm... certainly a thought to ponder.... Of course, being a sucker for every marketing gimmick that comes along (hence the sparkling wine in a pink can incident), I will try it, if only for educational purposes...

Iron Wine


Thank God, everyone will finally stop talking about Sideways.

Sideways was amusing when it came out, I admit. Not the best movie ever, but an interesting nod to the California wine industry. and it has some great quotes. Even so, nearly three years later, people are still referencing it in relation to wine. It drives me crazy. Move on, people.

That is why I am so, so excited to read that documentary-maker Rudy McClain is
creating "Merlove," which will serve as an homage to Merlot, telling the "universal story of championing the underdog." Sounds like he has a bit of a complex about Merlot, but, perhaps it is warranted, as three years later, there remains a definite movement to promote Merlot to counteract the impact of Sideways within the general population. Programs like Swanson Vineyards' "Merlot Fights Back" - a traveling wine tasting tour (the site references a 2007 tour schedule, but no specific dates or venues are listed yet) and now "Merlove" will certainly help in doing that. It amazes me how the media was able to affect the wine industry in such a manner. Hopefully this documentary, coupled with the ongoing winery campaigns, will be a rebirth for the Merlot industry and the public will finally be able to quote something other than Sideways.

Personally, I think the subtitle for the movie should be "Merlove: Drink some f'ing Merlot."


Martha Stewart takes one more step toward world domination...

by launching a wine label, "Martha Stewart Vintage." The woman is like Hello Kitty - she is EVERYWHERE and on EVERYTHING. La Martha is partnering with Gallo Winery to produce: 2006 Sonoma County Chard, 2005 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Sonoma County Merlot. It is a limited production of 15,000 cases with a $15.00 price point and it is scheduled to be released in January 2008 in six cities: Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, NC (B!! Please send me some!!); Denver, Phoenix and Portland, OR.

Guaranteed to make any of your craft projects look good after you consume a bottle of it.


The path to hell is lined....

...with good intentions and all of the good intentions and happy vibes that I was trying to hold onto yesterday were accidentally sent out the window when The Boyfriend started an argument about something that was totally his fault (wink, wink) -- so, after a few minutes, I had enough and decided to take part in my favorite temper cool down exercise - shopping. Fall in the city is my favorite time of year -- everyone is back in the city from their summer vacation spots, the weekends are full of parties and you can get away with a little more flash than the weeknights during the summer.

I decided to go hunting for some fall party wear. I usually tend to avoid chain stores like French Connection, but then, this....

caught my eye as I passed by and I had to go in. I ended up with a similar, but even more fabulous, black sequin mini-dress with key-hole back that helped to channel my inner Zelda Fitzgerald meets Edie Sedgwick party vibes, which, instantly made me happier and I went home, cool, calm and collected. After all, I am the boss, Applesauce.

Photo: French Connection


Ridge Petit Syrah and Zilliken Riesling

Tonight, The Boyfriend is away, so I intended to have a little wine, read some magazines and just hang out after a loooong week (I made a former nun cry during a deposition, for starters). I began over analyzing the wine selection and finally settled on a 2001 Ridge Petit Syrah Essence. I completely f'ed up with my choice. I was aiming to try something new in the apartment (yes, we have so much wine crammed into a 550 sq. ft. apt that we find "new" things when we do a wine search) and I decided to give the Ridge a chance. It started out well, the wine has a great aroma of black, black cherry and a bit of chocolate and it showed a bit of raspberry once the wine was given a good swirl in the glass. Then there was the taste. UGH. I doubt Robert Parker or any other wine authority condones a rating such as that, but Oh God, it was horrible. It was like a bad glass of Welch's, with notes of tobacco and hell. The label says it can be cellared for 10-20 years, but I would be scared. Ridge no longer produces Essence and I can only venture a guess as to why.

The palate having been busted by the Ridge, I settled on 2005 Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Riesling Spatlese. It was a solid choice, with a clean, almost astringent aroma, with flavors of mineral, steel, apple and a little pear. Not overly heavy on the palate. Random leap from the Ridge, but it was light, refreshing and helped to ease my Petit Syrah disappointment.

Update: The Boyfriend disagrees with my verbal assessment (although he did not taste) of the Ridge. He claims it should have been enjoyed as a dessert wine. Oh well, I noticed we have another bottle in the apt, so we will see....


Napa Wine Review Part 3: Pina

Sigh. Where do I even begin. It is such a love-fest when I discuss Pina, as you might have already read in my previous posts. Anyway, I had to drag The Boyfriend and our friend with whom we were staying, (we will give him the code name Sucio to protect the guilty) to Pina that morning. We were all a bit worn out, as we hit the ground running when we landed in Napa the day before, plus the boys harvested grapes in the morning, so they were not being cooperative at all. BUT, once we were tasting wines right out of the barrel at Pina, they were SOOO happy I made them attend.

Sometimes you attend a tasting and there are only a few, if any, stars in the group. At Pina, every single wine that it pours is fantastic. Pina has had such a solid performance in past years that it sells out on its futures (futures in wines are just like everything else - you are purchasing wine not yet bottled and/or ready for sale). Bottom line, you cannot go wrong with any of its wines. (sorry, love-fest, you were warned). We tasted five or so wines right out of the barrel, since the 2004 Howell Mountain Cab is the only wine available for immediate sale and consumption at this time.

My favorite:

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Yountville-Wolff) - PRRRRRrrrrrrrrr... This wine was my favorite of the entire trip. It is a full-bodied cab with dark fruit, but the hightlight is the spicy, Thai-esque finish. It will be absolutely incredible when it is released next year. It made me do a happy dance in the barrel room. Seriously. buy it now. and a lot of it. It is that good.

Photo: Pina (check out the middle pic - it is the paella pan that I mentioned in previous posts!)

Napa Wine Review Part 2: Elyse

Elyse Winery - Not only is this family owned and managed winery a fabulous host in its tasting room, but Elyse has a phenomenal and broad-ranging selection of wines available on the tasting list.
My faves:

2005 L'Ingenue - (white) - very honeysuckle-y and fruity aroma and it has a rich fruit flavor with lots of peach and pear (pears as in the fab Harry and David kind, not your grocery Bartletts). The weight of the wine is definitely notable - it can definitely stand up to a substantial food pairing.

2006 La Peche - (white) - this is primarily marketed as a dessert wine, but it could be a fab wine for your cocktail afternoon, I mean...hour, during the summer, as it does not have that sickeningly sweet finish and heavy weight of most dessert wines. La Peche is suprisingly crisp and really refreshing. It has notes of peach (duh), light flowers and a teeny bit of honeysuckle.

2002 Jacob Franklin #60 Mon Chou - (red) - JF is Elyse's second label, named after the family's son. MC is a Bordeaux-style blend with a bright cherry flavor, along with cedar, a little spice and a bit of cassis. Drink one and cellar one for five years or so.

Photo: Elyse

Napa Wine Review Part One

Here we are, a week and a half after my return from Napa. Work finally, slightly calmed and, anywho, now I have had ample time to reminisce about the highlights from the fabulous wine hunting trip.

First, before we get to the wine (which I am doing in separate parts, for cataloguing purposes), let me set the mood by giving you the weekend soundtrack:

Rockstar - Nickelback
Time after time - Quietdrive
Party like a rockstar - Shop Boyz (we have delusions of grandeur, what can I say?)
Stolen - Dashboard Confessional
Clothes off - gym class heroes
Burt Bacharach Greatest Hits

Sure, I should be embarrassed to share this list, but we had a fun time, so I have no worries....

hee hee...

today while procrastinating at work, I found a cute little avatar site, tizme. I think I am going to use this one, although the blonde hair is not quite right, but, oh right, i forgot...it is a cartoon on an otherwise anonymous blog....


it's the end of the world as we know it...


Seriously, is there anything that this cat cannot do?! I am a little scared, but I really cannot put a finger on what scares me the most: (1) are little girls going to be brandishing this card? (2) are adult girls going to be brandishing this card? (3) what are the purchase rewards? little backpacks and diaries with locks? OR (4) the fact that I am strangely attracted to the card...


slipping into delirium


As I sit here in my dreary office, I am suddenly inspired to make these slippers - according to Bluelines, I can do it. Now, keep in mind, I have never sewn in my life, but I am suddenly overcome with the notion that I must make a pair for everyone I know (everyone I know that is worthy of my slipper handiwork, that is). Imagine the colors... imagine the embroidery... Imagine me quitting once I bought all of the necessary equipment and made one ugly pair that people make fun of...

Photo: Bluelines


I'm Baaaack.

So this is not the best picture, but I never claimed to be a photog. Even still, I wanted you to see this shot - can you imagine having this as the trellis constituting your carport?! How fabulous - as is the guest house that is attached to it. Our trip to Napa was lovely, we are still recovering and I have a bit of "real" job catching up to do, so no updates this evening - I hope to fill you in tomorrow!


3:00 pm - back in NYC!

After partying all night, we head back to NYC, full of insight on new, fabulous wines and other finds in Napa. Then we will sleep. See you Monday!


2:00 pm - wedding

After a morning of relaxing and tasting wines, we are also attending a friend's wedding, while we are in Napa. (yes, this is a pic from another Napa wedding we attended last year, so I think it is apropos).


6:00 am - Harvesting Grapes

While I usually run from physical labor, we have the opportunity of being at the vineyard during the very beginning of harvest. Right now, they are mainly harvesting grapes for sparkling wine - so we will get up early Friday morning and help out. From there, we will spend the rest of the day tasting, and of course I will fill you in on all the deets later....


7:00 pm - cooking out on the vineyard

We are fortunate enough to be staying with The Boyfriend's best friend, whose family owns a highly regarded vineyard and winery in Carneros, a majestic and beautiful part of Napa Valley. After a day of tasting and buying wine, we stop at the grocery, pick up a few items and return to cook up a feast at one of the yurts on the vineyard.

3:00 pm - Pina

Back for some more fabulous wine, the Howell Mountain variety, of which I wrote last month.

1:00 pm - Bistro Jeanty

Mmmmm... lunch at Bistro Jeanty - tomato soup and some fabulous wine.

8:00 am - In the air

So we are the guinea pigs on the new Virgin America airline. It is only about a week into flight, so we will see how it goes. I am excited about a few of the perks.....

- Virgin America is the first U.S. airline with mood lighting
- There are 3000 MP3s onboard every flight
- You can plug in to 110v power at every seat
- You can order fresh food when you want it, from the screen at your seat
- Red, the VA in-flight entertainment system, has over 25 pay-per-view movies on demand
- Virgin America is a cashless airline. Place your order, swipe your card, and you’re done.


Gone Tasting.

We are off for our bi-annual Napa Valley "wine stock up" trip. I thought, for fun, that I would post date a road map of sorts, just in case you were wondering where I am the next couple of days - or if you want to join me for a glass of wine. Cheers!