Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pros and Cons of small production

As you might remember, I’m a member of Gold Medal Wine Club. Now, we belong to two “tiers”….the Gold tier, which we get on a monthly basis and is mostly wines in the $15-30 range, that are smaller scale wineries and the Platinum tier, which we get on a quarterly basis and is mostly wines in the $35-55 range from often even smaller scale wineries. (of course, the actual price paid is a little less because of the club program, but still, that’s their values)

I’ll be honest, most of the Gold level wines we drink fairly soon after getting them; they are just in the right price range for drinking quickly. But, the Platinum wines are a bit more expensive so we don’t drink them right away. For example, we received 3 wines in the platinum shipment in late August and we had our first one over the weekend at a nice dinner out; the 2006 Phipps Family Cellars (PFC) Zinfandel. It was amazing; so much body and so well balanced (not too spicy) it was really almost cab like; it had a “Christmas” type nose to it (vanilla/cinnamon) and was just wonderful both by itself and with steak. Anyway, having the chance to try a great bottle of wine I wouldn’t have normally had is one reason I love belonging to a wine clubs like GMWC- total production was less than 400 cases! (not to mention I love the re-order discounts –they buy in bulk and pass savings on to you) The pro of small production is often wonderful quality that's a better deal. I'd rather have this wine than a lot of mass market more expensive cabs or meritage blends, that's for sure and I'm glad I got to try it.

But, the reason I don’t like it….they are already sold out of every single thing I got in my last shipment. I don’t want to hurry up and open everything I have; the point of getting these slightly nicer shipments on a quarterly basis is to slowly build a collection. (our plan is to on average buy one nice bottle of wine a month, one to drink in the next 6-12 months and one to try to save for 3+ yrs) But, now I’ve had it, LOVED it, and WANT MORE OF IT and they are sold out. Boo! (note, I can go directly to the wine maker, as I think they might have some, but if I just want 1-3 more bottles, I don’t want to have to pay $30 shipping….) So, this is the con of trying small production wines; chances are you get one shot at them; either buy a bunch right away or wait for the next gem to come along and fondly remember the great one you tried.

Mr. Lush and I talked about how although its frustrating that we’ve tried something wonderful we might never have again, at least we got to try it, right? And isn’t that what its all about – getting the chance to try something so wonderful you remember why you spend your hard earned money on grape juice? ;)

Monday, November 9, 2009

BAM! the holidays

Over the weekend we played a dice game, BAM!. Not many people have heard of it so I thought I’d share it with you for with the upcoming holidays and forced family time. Its easy to learn and, should you want to play with kids, its also a good addition exercise. (you can also modify the rules to include drinking with each “BAM” if you’re not playing with any kids.)

Each person puts in $1 in the “pot” to play.
Roll one die – high roll determines first player.
The object of the game is to be the first to 100*. (explain more later)
Each roll in your turn can be added together, and each of your total turn scores can be added together, but here’s some rules:
-if you roll a “1” on either of your dice, your turn is over and your score for that turn is zero.
-if you roll 2 “1”s (ie “snake eyes”) it is BAM! and your turn is over AND your cumulative score is zero AND you owe another $1 to the pot.
-if you roll doubles of anything, you must roll again. (which of course means you have a chance of getting a 1 or getting a BAM! but sometimes is the encouragement needed to keep going)
-Unless you roll doubles, you’re free to stop anytime you want and your score is taken and then added onto your next turn. (unless you get BAM! of course)

Once someone has reached 100 or more points, everyone else gets one turn to see if they can beat them. If someone beats them, then every person gets another turn to see if they can beat the new high score. (including the person who was just out-scored) So, this means you can be the first to 100, and not win, or it could be a battle of the top scorers where each time they outscore the other one and the “finale” keeps going for a few rounds. (of course, there is ALWAYS the chance of a BAM!)

The final winner takes the pot, of course.

Have fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Salad Bar Potluck

I know that I should eat more salad. I really should. Even the most fattening salad is still less fattening than the average meal and usually a salad has some nutritional value. But its so much trouble to cut up stuff for a salad. (I mean, to have a good salad you need a decent amount of ingredients, right?) So I might make one salad but then blah….I end up not making another one and the ¾ cucumber and ½ tomato etc goes to waste. So, often if I eat salad I go to the grocery salad bar and end up spending $5 a pound.

Well, I came up with an idea to do with your co-workers….. a salad bar potluck. Everyone who participates brings an item to go on salad… like one person brings chicken, one brings lettuce, another brings cheese, croutons, etc. Everyone brings a community dressing. Then you get together and everybody makes their own salad. We had our first one at work yesterday and it was nice – we had cheese, croutons, chicken, ham, bacon, carrots, peas, with a mix of lettuce / spring greens and baby spinach.

I’ll have to say, it was a lot easier to prepare more of one item than little portions of 7 items so I think it’s a winner - we’re going to do it every other week! Its an easy way to mix in healthy eating with your co-workers; so go ahead, steal the idea. I won't tell.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blind recap

As you might have noticed, its now November and that measn the Blind Ambition Tour 2 is over. Mr. Lush and I are somewhat excited that we’re no longer in October and can now know what we’re drinking without having to guess first. It was fun, its just tiring after an entire month. But, for fun, I visited my first and last post during October last year to see how far I’d come. Last year I was just happy to say I was guessing with a reason, but I was still wrong a lot. A lot. The vast majority of the time.
This year….well, I was still wrong a lot, but not nearly as much. I didn’t keep official count, but I feel like I might have been right more often than I was wrong. Now, the caveat is most of the stuff we had was New World and I knew that, so it did eliminate a lot of options. But hey, baby steps. Next year I’ll try to focus more on Old World.
All in all, it was fun and does force you to concentrate on the flavor profiles of varietals and I was able to pick out a few nuances that even helped me guess where its from, so that’s progress, right?