Bottle of The Week, Rustenberg, John X Merriman Stellenbosch Blend 2012

When in doubt, the best present is a bottle of wine. That, at least, is my firm opinion. The key to a good, present-worthy bottle is the element of surprise! So I am going to suggest you take the element of surprise to a whole new level when it comes to giving wine as a gift and pick something totally unexpected. For a present this Christmas we received a bottle of South African wine, and boy was I ever in for a very pleasant surprise. Continue reading


Bottle of the Week Tertre du Moulin Saint Emilion Red Bordeaux 2012

Bordeaux is probably one of my favorite varieties of wine. “Why?” you might ask. When a Bordeaux is done right, it is soooo right. Bordeaux is my go to wine whenever I encounter someone who is “not a red wine drinker”. Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t drink red wine? Nobody I want to know. For a little anecdotal evidence, a good friend of mine surprised me one evening while we were out to dinner, when I suggested we split a bottle of wine, by saying “I only drink Sauvignon Blanc”. Well, that was just unacceptable so I convinced her to try a bottle of my choosing, and I chose a Bordeaux (not the one featured here), which she loved. Slowly but surely she began to branch out into different red wine varieties, and my mission was accomplished.    Continue reading

Bottle of the Week: Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza 2011

For the very first bottle of the week, I have decided to go with one of my favorite standbys, the Marques de Caceres Rioja. Currently I am drinking the 2011 vintage. You’ve probably seen this bottle at most wine stores you have set foot in. They even carry it at Trader Joe’s. This bottle is a red blend made mostly from the Tempranillo grape blended with Garnacha and Graciano. The wine is named for the region from which it comes, Rioja, Spain. I recently purchased a copy of Wine Folly, The Essential Guide to Wine, and in the intro section the book discusses what appears on the label for identification of the wine. Some wines will be named after the grape they are comprised of, for example a Tempranillo, to stick with Spanish wines, is a wine made completely from that grape. Other wines are named for the region in which they are grown. Wines are sometimes given names by the producers, which usually indicate a blend of some sort. The Rioja falls into the second category.

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A Viennese Adventure

Adventures, they mean something different for everyone. Maybe an adventure is hiking in the Amazon Rainforest, or hang gliding over the Grand Canyon. Maybe an adventure takes place in your own backyard. Part of why people love traveling so much is because of the sense of adventure it provides. An adventure is exactly what I had while in Vienna, Austria this past summer, trying to find a small heuriger the man from whom we rented our airbnb recommended. “It’s only a quick tram ride and a short walk” he had said. Continue reading

The Road Taken

Walking into the restaurant I was immediately transported to a Nordic sauna, which was great. Who doesn’t love a good sauna? Despite the completely rational thought that you would probably sweat out all the calories you consume, I am not sure, however, that I would ever want to eat in one. The restaurant, Avec, in Chicago’s west loop, is decorated with long horizontal beams of wood that run the length of the room. After I got over the notion that I had somehow stepped into a teleporter and ended up walking into an in-home sauna room belonging to someone in Finland, my eye was immediately drawn to to the very back wall, which was made entirely out of wine bottles. My list of life goals now includes making a wall of wine bottles in my future house, something to which I feel everyone should aspire. Continue reading