Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part Quattro

Attention folks, we have a winner. Well, one wine out the three is picked out.

We testing the reining champion 2005 Cellar No 8 against:

2004 Kenwood Merlot. Normally around 15-18, on closeout sale for 9.88 with an additional 10% discount. Nice. Although I do like the Cellar No 8, it takes a bit to open up and this one is pretty much ready to drink right after opening. Not all too complex-easy drinking red, what most expect from a Merlot.

2004 Niebaum Coppola Merlot. Its also pretty good, although a bit oakey in comparison to the other two. It reminded me of chewy blackberries. I liked it and thought it would be good with food, but we liked the Kenwood Merlot the best. We want something that’s good with and without food, since there will only be light appetizers.

Whew! One wine down, two more to go.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How can I forget Merryvale?

Last night we had one of my favorite chardonnays-the Merryvale Chardonnay. They have a few the one we had last night is the Starmont, around $18, and their top of line, which is how I fell in love with Chardonnay, the Silouette, around $50. They are just a smidge buttery, with 100% malolactic fermentation and aged in French oak, so not too terribly oakey.

Its been a while since I had it and I forgot how much I love it. Just enough butter to make it silky but not enough to taste like a spoonful of butter. It was a little crisp, more clean than minerally really, but really a great chardonnay for the price. I took a tour of Merryvale as well as a wine component tasting seminar back on 2002 and it was a great experience. Their top wine, the Profile (red blend) usually gets pretty good reviews. I was thinking that perhaps I would get another bottle to serve at nearly room temp (based on a recommendation from WineFriend) for my non-chard friends and see what they think. Then, if they didn’t like it, more for me. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Peanut butter = loaded gun

A number of schools in the STL area have become “peanut free”. A lot have “peanut free tables” but some have actually banned other students bringing in peanut items to school, likening a peanut butter sandwich to a loaded gun for those students who airborne allergies to peanuts.

Hmm. Interesting topic. On one hand these students could die if they are around peanut butter. On the other hand, its peanut butter and we’re talking about kids. In the article it states that in 2006, a group estimated that 435,000, or less than 1 percent, of school-age children had a peanut allergy.

Less than one percent of school age children have a peanut allergy and because of this less than one percent, schools are banning peanut butter? I mean, what’s next. What if someone is allergic to fish? No fish oil, no fish sticks. How far are other parents that have kids with allergies away from requesting everything that their kids are allergic to be removed from the menu? Now I have a friend who’s allergic to , well, a lot of stuff. I try to be very sensitive and although I have no major allergies, empathize with him and those kids. However, having obstacles in your life just magically removed isn’t the way life works. When these kids get older are they going to request that bagel shops that sell peanut butter spread remove it from their menu? Perhaps even sue them?

This sort of reminds me of the second hand smoke debate. To smokers its their right to smoke where they want. To non-smokers, its dangerous and rude. Well, to non-peanut eaters, its dangerous but to a kid who loves peanut butter sandwiches, its their right to eat it for lunch. I know, its not the same thing, because kids have to go to school and non-smokers don’t have to go to smoky bars, yeah yeah. But, I just think that once schools start making concessions for one allergy, what’s to stop them from having to make concessions for ALL allergies? And you know its coming. We should just plan on keeping our kids in little plastic bubbles to avoid all risks. Or maybe just keep them in our bellies.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part… Tres?

I might as well mix up languages, huh?
I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to ever pick a wine for the wedding. I am really enjoying this “research”! The other night we had 3 wines, 2 of which were new, up against the “defending white champ”, the Pine Ridge. The challengers were….

Evesham Wood Blanc du Puits Sec: 15% Pinot Gris and 15% Gewurztraminer, the winery is in Salem Oregon. Its pretty good, really light, and pretty similar to the Pine Ridge, just a little lighter, with just a smidge more crispness.

Sokol Blosser Evolution- basically a mixed bag of grapes with no specific breakdown. Its good- reminds me a fuzzy peach- easy in the mouth, just a smidge sweet, but I wouldn’t even come close to calling it a sweet wine.

Terry’s a bit more of a fan than I am of the Evolution. Its good, but I like the slight crispiness of the Pine Ridge. So now we have a tie. What to do, what to do….I guess we’ll keep drinking and find something soon!!

Stem Cell Procedures - working for a girl in Missouri

Ok, so I won’t say “I told you so” to all you people who voted against Stem Cell Research the last election who said it doesn’t do any good…..instead I’ll let this snippet from a local story do it for me.

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Rylea Barlett was born blind six years ago. Her optic nerves did not develop. She was diagnosed when she was a few months old. Doctor after doctor gave her no hope of ever seeing.

On July 4, the girl received the first of five stem cell transplants. The stem cells were from umbilical cords. The transplants were done in a remote hospital in China. Her mother, Dawn Barlett, was told not to expect anything for months. One week after the first transplant, her daughter was responding to the glow of a penlight.

"Three weeks ago on Sunday (Aug. 12), she asked me to get the penlight," Barlett said. "She wanted to show me where the light was. She kept grabbing at it. She could see the high contrast."

Then it occurred to Barlett that Rylea might be able to distinguish the features of a person's face. "I told her I wanted to show her something," Barlett said. "I held my breath and put my face in front of her face. I pulled away and asked her what she saw.

"She said: 'I saw my mommy. Mommy, you are beautiful.'"

Its rather long so I won’t paste the whole thing-if you care to look it up it’s “Missouri girl gaining sight after stem cell transplants” By Wally Kennedy in the JOPLIN GLOBE on 09/09/2007

But here’s a few more tidbits: The trip and treatments were financed by nearly $40,000 in donations. She not only saw the light, she saw a chart across the room with a big 'E' on it. The doctor has determined that she has 20/400 vision.”

Hey, that’s better than blind, right? Maybe its best that stem cell procedures stay in other countries-I’m sure that procedure would’ve cost hundreds of thousands of dollars with our current healthcare system. But that’s another post. :) For now, I’m happy there’s a 6 year old girl who can now see thanks to a progressively thinking country, but sad its not this country.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brittany Spears is a vacuum cleaner?

Last night was the MTV awards, evidently Brittany Spears performed, or so I read on an E! article. How great it is that a moderately washed up pop star with no talent is given the opportunity to perform! Well they had a tidbit about it and other artists’ reactions:

The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl wasn't exactly waiting with bated breath, either.

"You know those things that you put batteries in and they just vacuum the floor without anyone touching them? That’s what I think of Britney Spears,".

HA! Made me laugh out loud but then I realized….are Foo Fighter’s cool enough to be talking smack about how someone else isn’t cool?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Should firemen be able to divide?

Ok, so recently the city of St. Louis dropped a basic reading/writing/arithmetic test as a pre-employment test. (which you would need to pass in order to become a fireman) Evidently 7 out of 10 people failed the test. The only question that was released to the public was “Assume a length of hose is 30 feet long. A fire is 90 feet away. How many lengths of hose are needed to reach the fire?”.
While yes, that question is a skill I learned in elementary school- simple division, is it necessary to be a firefighter? Well, if you asked me “do firefighters need to know how to divide in order to fight a fire?” I probably would’ve said no…but put like it is above, I mean, do I really want someone taking their time and messing up getting a hose to my house? Not really. I’d rather have them be able to determine how much hose to get and fast, thank you. On the other hand, are they really told a fire is 90 feet away? Isn’t it more of a space judgment test? Maybe all I care about is that they know that the fire is about 3 hose lengths away because that’s what they need to know, not that 3 hose lengths make 90 feet.
I guess when I think of qualities I want my fireman to have: strong, quick, able to comprehend basic instruction and speak English. Lets get a test like that.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Wedding Wine Tasting Part Duex

Last night we tasted two contenders for the Wedding White Wine selection. As a recap, we’re looking for
-Two reds and one white.
-$10-ish bottles
-Something that will be generally likable to both those who have good taste and are novel wine drinkers.

Now, we love Chardonnay, however realizing not everyone does, we decided on a Viogner blend. Something somewhat fruity, but not too sweet, not to dry…and that we like as well. The contenders were:

2005 Shoofly Buzz Cut (blend of Verdelho, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon) Its pretty good. Just a little acid and crispness, that we felt might be too much for some.

2006 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Vionger blend. We liked it. Its currently the top contender. Peachy, fruity, medium bodied, but not too sweet. We figure if you want something of more substance, you’ll probably like red wines as well and there will be two to choose from.

We drank all of them with no food at all because we figure the variety of food will just be too much to pair with so we need something that’s good by itself. Then….we decided lets open a 3rd bottle. We had a bottle of Beringer Chenin Blanc in the fridge that I purchased on sale from Schnucks for $4.88 (normally $8-9 I think) and that’s what we decided on. Well, during the opening process the top of the bottle busted. (see picture) Glass went in the bottle, on the floor, everywhere. That should’ve been a clue that we needed to not have a 3rd bottle. (just in case you missed it, its just the two of us) But no, we decided to overcome the obstacles presented before us and strain the wine into our glasses with a metal strainer. (while taking care not to disturb the pieces at the bottom of the bottle) All was fine, no glass shards ended up in our glass and are currently still in the bottom of the bottle. But this morning, when we had to get up to go to my mom’s, a mere 6 hours after we went to bed, we realized that it was a sign from the Hangover Gods to avoid that 3rd bottle, which we scoffed at and felt the pain this morning. Not too bad, but the pre-noon water theme park trip was hard. Sun is hard to avoid outside.