Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Adventure Begins

I never planned on taking a year off from writing my wine and food pairing articles. Why did it happen? Well there are a multitude of reasons that I will not bore you with, let’s just say it has taken me about year to break a case of writer’s block, to really contemplate how I want to write about wine and food instead of following another’s structure (it was a good structure just not my own) and finally, trying to find my voice. Yes, I was stymied.  I struggled with all of this, even after I had designed this new web page, uploaded previous published articles and laid the ground work for this blog. I wondered if I really had it in me. With that the seeds of self-doubt took hold. Who was I kidding by trying to write a blog on wine, I certainly am not the most knowledgeable on thesubject nor am I naturally a gifted writer (honestly is scares me at times) and slowly this transpired into my thinking I really did not have anything to write about. When friends would nudge me asking me about when the next posting would come out? I would just reply “soon” and change the topic. Soon a year slid by and I was still stuck. I put this blog on the back burner and went on with other things. There is a saying “timing is everything”, so it is fitting that just by happenstance the book “the Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin was selected by my book club for this month’s reading. As I read the book, I slowly began to examine the obstacles that were preventing me from writing on subjects that really interest me. As I reflected, I slowly realized it was not that I had nothing to write about, it was that I just could not see the stories in the rich material from everything that I did, saw or learned over the course of thelast twelve or so months. So what exactly did I do you may ask? Well here aresome of the highlights.  

Over this past year there have been many wine adventures. A girls' weekend where a friend and I tagged teamed on the wine and food pairing. She picked the menu and I selected wines to go to pair with the various courses she was cooking up. We discovered we were a good team and had a lot of fun throughout the process. There was the Wine Bloggers Conference last July in Charlottesville, VA where I made new friends, learned a lot about wine, fell in love with a charming city and visited historically significant places (and that was all in one weekend.) There was the trip to San Francisco where a goodfriend was my tour guide on a day excursion to Napa Valley. It was a wonderful day filled of good conversation, food and wine. There were multiple trips over theyear to the local wineries that can be found off the highways and byways of Northern Virginia and Maryland.

In the spring, on my trip to St. Martin, I learned that between friends cooking can be a universal language when neither speaks much of the other’s language. Throughout the year I push my comfort limits by trying different varietals (Jurancon Sec to name one), tried fun and unusual foodpairing (cupcakes and wine…yummy) and revisited places that I crossed off my list just to see if they had improved. I learned to be wary of certain mythical creatures hawking wine and that even though a wine experience may not have been the best, it can be a memorable afternoon with good friends and a lot of laughter. I introduced friends to the joy of a barrel tasting and watched as they enjoyed expanding their knowledge about wine.

Then the other night sitting with friends on a rooftop patio, on a beautiful summer night, talking about random topics it struck me… I was over thinking this blog stuff way too much and a moment of clarity struck.In order for this to work I just had to be me, nothing more complicated, and nothing less and with that the writer’s block slowly started to crumble.

My writing will be focused on wine, food, cooking, travel, friends and the adventures (or misadventures… yes, certain mythical creature Iam looking at you) that are inspired by those topics.    
You are probably wondering where the wine is in this post. “A Sip to Savor” will be a new feature I will be adding to this blog. The post will be short by not as short as Twitter Tweet, but not as long as a full article. It will usually be a wine that struck my fancy.

A Sip to Savor: Bandol Rosé

If you are going to have a Bandol Rosé you may as well start with the one from the winery that has a cult like following created after Robert Parker once proclaimed it the greatest rosé in the world. I say that with my tongue planted squarely in my cheek. It is easy in life to get pulled into the hype, wine is no exception. My philosophy is drink what you like, not what you are supposed to like because of what a famous wine critic may have said or what points the wine has earned. To figure out what you like in a wine takes some time and patience. One of your best bets is to befriend the employees of your local wine shop and build up a relationship, they will get toknow your palate and often make great suggestions. I frequent a few wine shops in the town I live in and when I stop in, I often ask about the wine they are raving about that week. It so happened on one recent visit they were raving about the 2011Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé. The shop had just received their allotment ofthe 2011 rosé and the owner was really excited. Swept upin the excitement I purchased a bottle (a pricy little bottle at that.)
Domaine Tempier is one of the premier estates producing wine in the Bandol region of Provence. The vineyard dates back to at least the 1700’s and the Tempier family has owned and operated the vineyards since 1835. The Bandol AOC surrounds the coastal fishing town that is the namesake for the AOC. The late ripening Mourvedre grape thrives in this region due to soil and the warm coastal climate. A rosé from this region must be at least 50% mourvedre. 2011 Domaine Tempier BandolRosé is 50% mourvedre, 28% Gernache, 20% Cinsault and 2% Carignan.

When I opened this wine I really did not know what to expect. I am a fan of French rosé, but I have never delved deep into the subject (due to time) to fully appreciate the nuances that rosé from the different appellations within Provence offered. When I first tasted this wine, I think it was a little lost on me. Don’t get me wrong it was nice, but I was not getting what all the hype was about this wine. Slowly though as I drank the glass, the nuances of the wine began to stand out and I realized this was not your ordinary rosé, but something that was the next step up.

In the glass the wine is a salmon-pink. It hasa fruity nose. It is enjoyably crisp and refreshing with notes of strawberries and earthiness. The finish is spicy and a bit sharp. When paired with food thesharpness of the finish was muted. It was an enjoyable wine that peaked my interest to delve further into the world of French rosé.