Vintage Rose Brut Cuvee * Krone * 2014

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Today, I began my fourth year of teaching. I spent a week preparing my classroom, hanging my decorations, and planning lessons and activities so we could hit the ground running in our 5 minute mini-classes today. After introductions, we did “would you rather” as an ice breaker. In that spirit, would you rather… force yourself to wake up really early or force yourself not to go to sleep before 5 pm? Hit your 10,000 steps while clocking 45 minutes of exercise at work before 3:30 or be unable to wake up from your definitely-not-a-nap when you get home? Suffice it to say that I am beat! Cooking was definitely not an option tonight, so I hit up a couple places in Dundee to get some dinner and a glass of wine. I ended up going for Krone, a sparkling rose, at Baela Rose.

The best thing about this wine: super fine bubbles and nice flavor
Available at: Baela Rose in Dundee
By the glass: $10/By the bottle: $37
Pairs well with: life. Also, lighter foods or before dinner.
Winery website: http://www.tweejongegezellen.co.za/krone/the-krone-collection/
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Vintage Rose Brut Cuvee * Krone * 2014

Espiral * Vinho Verde

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I was getting my hair cut at a local salon one summer day when my stylist asked me if I’d like a glass of wine. “Why not?” I replied, figuring I deserved a glass of below-average Chardonnay for the price I was about to pay for my haircut.

Instead, I was served a lightly sparkling, slightly tart wine that tickled my tastebuds. What was it? I swirled and sniffed as I sat in my salon smock.

The best thing about this wine: It’s refreshing and citrusy
Available at: Trader Joe’s
By the bottle: $4.49
Pairs well with: Chicken, pasta salad, seafood, pork chops
Website: https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2360

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Espiral * Vinho Verde

Merisi * Petite Sirah * 2014

I like to move fast. Today, while giving my teacher mentee a tour of the building, my fitbit clocked it as exercise. I found myself apologizing several times for how fast I speak, though she didn’t mind, and was even matching my pace! I moved with a purpose quickly through the rest of my day as well. In fact, I didn’t really stop moving until I poured myself a glass of wine. I took a sip of the Merisi Petite Sarah and realized that this was one part of my day I wouldn’t be able to rush.

The best thing about this wine: rich flavors that develop with decanting
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $35
Pairs well with: a nice steak
Winery Web Page: www.merisiwines.com

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Merisi * Petite Sirah * 2014

Merisi Glen Oaks Vineyard * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

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One of the first lessons I got when I started tasting wine—as opposed to, you know, drinking wine—was that there were no wrong answers. Just because the wine list said you should taste black cherry and cardamom doesn’t mean you will. Sometimes I even find those notes to be a hindrance to testing my own palate, so I generally ignore them, taste the wine myself, and then check to see if I was in the same ballpark. Even if you don’t use the notes, though, what they can do is remind us of the thought that someone else put into what’s in that glass. Every element of the winemaking process results in changes to the flavor profile of that wine, so it makes sense to know what’s influencing the wines you drink.

The best thing about this wine: Smooth, easy drinking, and good with food
Available at: Spirit World
By the bottle: $35
Pairs well with: chicken, beef
Winery Web Page: www.merisiwines.com

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Merisi Glen Oaks Vineyard * Cabernet Sauvignon * 2013

Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay * Tamber Bey * 2015


I find that I get older, maintaining my friendships becomes a task to which I have to devote some effort. Where our lives once revolved around happy hours and meeting at the bars, it becomes increasingly hard to make those work when my friends are wrangling kids and I am busy heading to bed at 9 pm! Last week, amidst a long week of classes, I had a friend over to cook one of those meal delivery services. It turned out to be a great way to fit in weekday get-together, as well as an opportunity to bust out a bottle I have been hanging onto for a fun occasion: Tamber Bey’s 2015 Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay.

The best thing about this wine: surprising flavors in a chardonnay
Available at: Omaha Wine Company
By the Bottle: $38
Pairs well with: a lighter meal, a group with varied tastes
Winery website:
www.tamberbey.com

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Yountville Unoaked Chardonnay * Tamber Bey * 2015

Coombsville Cuvee * Sciandri *2013

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If you know where to look, you can find wine tasting occurring on a weekly basis at price points from free to about $25, and varying by both what and how much you taste. Back in May, I got to talk to a variety of Napa producers at the Omaha Wine Company spring tasting. A few wines stood out to me, and I made notes so that I could keep coming back to them. Our Varozza event next weekend (click here for details) features one of the notable tasting from that day, and you’ll find several more among my previous posts.

One of my favorites, though, was made by a small, family run operation called Sciandri. The Coombsville Cuvee (labeled as “blend” in my notes) stuck with me both at that tasting and on a couple of subsequent revisits. Anything bearing the label “wonderful” after a tasting seems worth another glass!

The best thing about this wine: big fruit and great flavor at a reasonable price
Available at: Omaha Wine Company
By the Bottle: $36
Pairs well with: a lighter meal and some wine reading
Winery website: 
www.sciandrivineyards.com

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Coombsville Cuvee * Sciandri *2013

Open Kimono * Riesling *2014

Getting back into the swing of things after a holiday weekend (week?) is always rough. My holiday weekend may have looked a little bit different than most (trip to Chicago, two long days behind the scenes at a fireworks company, and a celebration on the 5th), my recovery was about the same. I picked up some takeout, cranked the A/C, popped in a movie, and planted myself on the couch for the evening. Luckily, I had the foresight to grab a bottle of wine to accompany my Pad Thai!

The best thing about this wine: a great complement to spicy food or a hot day!
Available at Baker’s
By the bottle: 9.99 (sale)
Winery Website:  
http://www.openkimonowines.com/

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Open Kimono * Riesling *2014