La Storia * Petite Sirah * 2014

I lived in California for 3 years in the early 90’s without experiencing an earthquake. Moved to Oregon and 2 months later, an earthquake hit in the middle of the night. I will never forget that sickening roar or what the ground looked like as it turned it into a rolling sea of concrete and asphalt. 
I spent 6 months in Biloxi, MS when I was first married and again for 2 years while we finished up his Air Force career and  did not experience one tornado. Fast forward to June 16, 2017 and I found myself in my basement peeking out the bathroom door to see nothing but trees bending like toothpicks in the greenish grey evening sky. The next day it was confirmed that 2 tornadoes hit our town of Bellevue, Nebraska leveling almost a whole neighborhood less that a mile away from us. We were lucky to only have tree and fence damage– and the power out for 3 days.

When I came home on that Friday night, the hubs had a spaghetti dinner waiting and I already had a wine picked out to enjoy on my back patio to watch the storms roll in. We love to sit and watch the birds and the resident raccoon we named Mr. George Cooney that lives in the giant oak in out backyard. He usually scales down that old tree just before dusk to begin his night of fun. The La Storia wine bottle has a bold, stoic appearance. We had just mentioned that the bottle resembled that old tree.

The best thing about this wine: it definitely packs a punch
Available at: Corkscrew Wine & Cheese
By the bottle: $30
Pairs well with: pasta and stormy weather
Winery website:

The 2014 La Storia Petite Sirah was made by blending together most of their best blocks of Petite Sirah, along with some Zinfandel, Carignane and Syrah. We poured our first glass and were noticing the rich, deep, very dark, color. We hadn’t poured anything that deep in color for quite a while.

Just then, the power went out and the upper deck’s patio furniture and BBQ flew by to the right. We were forced to abandon dinner and the wine and head to the basement. When the coast was clear we came up and found that our neighborhood made it out pretty lucky, with minimal damages to homes and trees that were knocked completely down. We decided this situation called for more wine and headed out back to see what was left. Mr. Cooney’s home didn’t weather the storm so well, but at least it didn’t hit ours. After the skies cleared, a huge rainbow reached across the sky and it looked like we were in the clear, we decided that all we could do was dry off some patio chairs to sit and take it all in.

The next evening with the power still out we decided to finish the bottle we had started the night before. After it has sat in our glasses a bit, I noticed it had gained some momentum. The deep dark color coated the glass, blueberries on the nose, some cocoa, spice and a bit of vanilla, and soft tannins finished it off. This wine is sure to weather any storm and show its true self in 5-8 years.



La Storia * Petite Sirah * 2014

Smoking Loon * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

Smooking Loon 2015

Sometimes you simply go with what you know.

Smoking Loon takes me back to college, many years ago, when I began developing an affinity for wine. To this day it’s a wine I can rely on when I want an inexpensive bottle at home for a casual drink or with dinner. While some may scoff at the $7.99 price tag and the fact each vintage can come from a different region around the world, I’m satisfied with this wine in a way those favorite childhood food dishes can still satisfy one long into adulthood.

The 2015 is a South American Cabernet. Full-bodied, well-balanced, and extremely fruit forward, this wine contains vibrant flavors. Dark blackberry, oak, vanilla, and spice marinate into an earthy finish. We had this one evening for dinner with a roast made in the slow cooker. It would also pair well with a grilled steak.

The best thing about this wine: Inexpensive
Available at: Hy-Vee
By the bottle: $7.99
Pairs well with: grilled steak, or slow cooked roast
Winery Web Page:

The entire point of drinking wine is finding something you enjoy. For me, Smoking Loon is just that: a wine I love. Because it’s inexpensive. It’s unique (and maybe a little loony). It’s reputation is respectable for only $8.00. It requires no excuse, at least not from me.

Cheers to being “loony”,


Smoking Loon * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

The Federalist * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

I don’t know if it is the gorgeous view of the golf course or simply being outdoors that makes drinking a glass of wine taste exceptionally good. I have had the Federalist Cabernet several times before but today it tasted better than I remembered. Since we were sitting outside I chilled my red for about 20 minutes before pouring a glass.
The best thing about this wine: Being slightly chilled really enhanced the flavor and fruitiness.
Available at: HyVee
By the bottle: $15.99
Pairs well with: Beef and BBQ Ribs
Winery Web Page:

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The Federalist * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2015

Optima * Gewürztraminer * 2013

Always expect the unexpected, even when it comes to wine. For example, the weather has been so lovely and cooperative with all I have planned to do lately. Except for today.

I woke up early to the weather app telling me that a huge super cell with ping-pong ball-sized hail was headed my way. So, I jumped out of bed and scrambled to get my repaired car home before the storm. Everything went as expected, and as I got home I grabbed another cup of java, turned on the morning news and listened to the thunder which lasted most of the day. No hail, rain, twister… just thunder. A nice “June Gloom” day. Totally unexpected from what I had first thought. Enter the Optima Gewürztraminer.

The best thing about this wine: You will fall in love with this beauty
Available at: The Omaha Winery
By the bottle: $25
Pairs well with thunder, lightening, and chicken salad sandwiches
Try this if you like Haut Bridau Picpoul De Pinet
Web page for info:

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Optima * Gewürztraminer * 2013

Province of Taranto * Primitivo del Salento * 2015

After a plane trip, sleeping on the couch for days with a sick kid and a long Memorial Day weekend full of activities I was in desperate need of a chiropractic appointment. So I stopped by for an adjustment today and thought I would swing for a glass of wine at Vino Mas on my way home.

The best thing about this wine: limited edition wine that is unique, full of flavors and you can’t find it everywhere. Available at: Vino Mas
By the glass: $5.00
By the bottle: $18.80
Pairs well with: Grilled meat, pasta and pizza
Winery Web Page:

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Province of Taranto * Primitivo del Salento * 2015

Stag’s Leap * FAY Cabernet Sauvignon * 2014

As a teacher and the lone wine drinker in my home, I often find myself reaching for the best bottles I can find on a budget. While there are many, many great wines to be found at that under $30 price point, there is an expansive world of wine beyond that. Stag’s Leap FAY is far beyond my normal budget, but this wine was so enjoyable I had to recommend it!

Best thing about this wine: Napa fruit bomb that would be great for a special occasion
Available at: Omaha Wine Company
By the bottle: $135
Pairs well with: red meat
Web page for info: 

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Stag’s Leap * FAY Cabernet Sauvignon * 2014