Happy Birthday Dad, Holiday Traditions, Texas Travels, Essential Wines For Christmas, and Other Notes on a Wine Card.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on my blog.  My son and I were in Texas for Thanksgiving and then it’s just been hectic with the holidays upon us.  I promised myself I would savor the holidays and not get caught up in all the crazy days and ways of the season.  I want to enjoy this precious time with my family.  I hope you take the time to enjoy your family during this beautiful season.

Happy Birthday to my dad, Hector.  Dad passed away in 1983 from ALS and this would have been his 95th birthday.  I tell my son Joaquin stories all the time about my dad.  He has been gone for some time now but his spirit is alive in his children and his grandson. 

Some of the memories I have and pass on to Joaquin…

I remember this time of year walking to the local Christmas Tree lot and getting a tree and carrying it back to the house with dad.  I’m sure he did most of the carrying, but I tried to help!

I remember hearing a knock every Christmas Eve and hearing a “HO HO HO!”  Upon opening the front door, we saw packages on the porch –  our new pajamas for Christmas Eve!  We were so excited!  Little did I know that it was Dad running around in the cold Chicago night to leave those packages every year.  I continued that tradition for my son and he will continue it when he has children.

I remember the family going downtown to the Marshall Fields store to gawk at the beautiful holiday window displays and then eating underneath the magnificent live tree in the Walnut Room. 

And I remember the smell of tamales and coffee early in the morning around Christmas, smells and aromas that will always remind me of my Mom and Dad. Happy Birthday Dad, you live on in your grandson with all the beautiful memories and stories that he has come to know and love about you. 

Wines I want for Christmas – If Santa got my letter, these are the wines I think I’ll find under our tree!

Shared Notes Les Pierres Qui Decident Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley 2017  – Quite possibly the best domestic sauvignon blanc I have ever tasted.  Crisp apple, lemon peel, wonderful salinity on the bracing finish. Only 78 cases made.  Bibiana Gonzalez Rave Pisoni and her husband Jeff Pisoni are the winemakers. I consider her to be one of the best winemakers in California, everything she makes is phenomenal and Jeff is an absolutely brilliant winemaker.  What a team! 

Harper Voit Bieze Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 – If you’ve never had a pinot noir from Oregon, this is the pinot noir that I would suggest you try first. Drew Voit is a craftsman at making such expressive wines.  Light floral notes, exotic spice, vibrant minerality, and a long silky finish make this pinot noir one of my Oregon favorites – heck one of my favorites period.

Lustau Vermut Blanco, Jerez – I wasn’t a vermouth fan until I tried this fabulous vermut from Spain.  Made from Fino and Moscatel sherries, this offers up a nutty, floral component along with slightly sweet lemon peel.  Wonderful balance between dry minerality, slight sweetness, and a bitter finish.  I drink this on the rocks all by itself. This is frigging good.  Ooooops! I hope Santa didn’t hear me say that!

Texas Travels –  My son and I were in Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday and we must admit that Texas has some outstanding Mexican restaurants – we believe much better than California.  Now I know some of you will take offense with that statement but dang it, it’s true!  Any place we ate at was off the charts!  Little hole in the walls, hotel restaurants, higher end establishments, the whole gamut of places. It just seems to be hard to find a good Mexican restaurant out here in this area.  Send me your suggestions if you think you know of a place out here and I’ll check it out.

Football is king in Texas.  We experienced it firsthand when we attended a Texas Longhorn football game on campus in Austin.  It was one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever attended.  Now my son and I are UCLA fans and we love the Rose Bowl.  I still think it’s the most beautiful setting for a college football game.  However, the electricity you feel just walking up to the stadium in Austin is amazing.  By the time we got inside the stadium, we were ready to scream our heads off and to sing “The Eyes of Texas!”   If you’re ever in Austin and have the opportunity to catch a football game, by all means do it! HOOK ‘EM HORNS!

Christmas gifts take 2 – Are you thinking of giving your oenophile a wine gift for Christmas?  Were you thinking of the Coravin? That is the wine preservation system that allows you to pour wine without removing the cork.  You see them on the internet for around $200.  Does it work? Is it worth the money?  Well, a recent study done by Coravin with 30 sommeliers confirmed that it does indeed work very well.  The sommeliers tasted wines that had been open 3 1/2 years and the same wines from the same case that had been opened the day of the tasting.   Five of the thirty sommeliers correctly identified the 2 white wines that had been previously accessed but not a single attendee spotted all the reds, of which there were 3 wines that were open for 3 1/2 years.  Pretty good if you ask me!  To see the article check out The Drinks Business.












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