— Stoned Wino (@StonedWino) February 20, 2014
It’s taken a lot of cold and snow, a broken down snow blower, which in turn forced us to shovel our entire driveway by hand after the last snow storm, which in turn has been causing my lower back to throb the last week – making me realize why many old farts move south when they retire. It dawned on me while I was shoveling the heavy wet snow after last weeks snow/ice storm, how much I dislike that part of winter. I can totally see how the thought of moving south almost eliminated the need to deal with heavy duty snow falls.
The last time we had a winter like this, if my memory serves me well, was 1996. Man did we get buried by snow then and it sure feels like a reprise this year. Some cold and snow is good for wine sales, but not two months of polar vortex weather, repeated snow storms and Nor’eaters is not helping things at this point. With another mean looking Nor’easter looming for Thursday, I sure as hell hope my snow blower is repaired and returned to me by tomorrow, or I am royally screwed…
Ok, enough already…
Happy New Year! If you live anywhere in the upper midwest into the northeast, you are experiencing a brutal old fashioned winter. Frigid and snowed in is what we are…I don’t know about you, but my drinking and eating habits tend to change and evolve with the seasons. When it gets to be Arctic-like, as it has been for the last few weeks my wine selection focuses on big, bold and juicy.
Thank God we have a nice selection of big, bold and juicy wines that fill the needs for the category rather well in the Rad Grapes portfolio. Just like my food, when a cold winter descends with its chilly might, I prefer my wines to be the stick-to-yo-ribs type. Let’s talk food first, a good reason why the wines we are about to talk about pair up so well. Tonight the menu is bangers and mash – a very traditional British staple, veal sausage, mashed potato and pickled red cabbage…if that doesn’t say stick-to-yo-ribs enough, tomorrow’s menu has some braised short ribs!
Well, what about the wines dude? Here’s a few of my favorites to pair with “hearty” food and weather; Latente from Bodega Cuarto Surco in San Juan, Luyan de Cujo, Mendoza (literally at the foothill of the Andes) 2012 Malbec or 2011 Cabernet Reserva. Both wines are aged in French oak, elegant, lush and beautifully balanced. Any one of the Fiddletown Cellars wines from Amador County is ideal juice for hearty weather and food, with the 2010 Barbera (yes, Barbera – massive, yet elegant and drinks like a Barbaresco – will kick your ass…gently) being my first choice, followed by the 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel which is one of our perennial best sellers in NY. Next I have to mention the Lava Cap Winery 2010 Chardonnay and 2010 Cabernet, both what I cal full-throttle Cali and oh so damn deliciously balanced form El Dorado County, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. We can add to the list the Camaraderie Cellars wines, especially so their Cabernet Franc and their Syrah…the wines are rather old world in style and aromatics, yet juicy and very structured, like what we are used to with Washington State wines. Last, but certainly not least are the awesome and also Washington born “Wild Child” Merlot, “Moonspell Cabernet” and “She Devil” Syrah from Bergevin Lane which are perfect examples of the big, bold and juicy I’ve been talking about.
After long, cold days on the road this time of year, I really enjoy coming home to thaw out, enjoy a few glasses of wines and a home cooked stick-to-yo-ribs family meal.
If you need assistance in finding our wines anywhere in NY state please go the FAQ section of the Rad Grapes website to see contact information and e-mail or call us
Stay warm, enjoy and be safe. Cheers!
Great wine comes from great grapes. harvesting those great grapes in order to make those great wines, at the perfect time is hard work. Most folks have no idea how that’s done. Thanks to Jason Wallace from one of the wineries we proudly represent, Del Rio Vineyards, from the Rogue Vally in Southern Oregon – you can experience harvest time, without the back breaking work. maybe next time you sip some Del Rio wines you will have an even greater appreciation of the amount of work and effort that goes into a good bottle of artisanal wine. Cheers!
Life should be viewed as an adventure and I believe way to may of us are focused of the goal, instead of just letting go a little and just plain old enjoying the ride. We don’t know how long we will be on this earth and planning for down the road and retirement is obviously a great idea, but what about now? today? Just live! Have some fun.
I love wine, all about wine, the wine business, good food, great restaurants and feel blessed and grateful that I get to do something that I love to do on a daily basis, have a blast along the way and make some money. Wow?! Right? I say hell yes…
It’s been a hard few years since I can say business has been good, but after the lats three months, I can say that again for the first time since the fall of 2008, as the financial crisis and recession began. Since then it has been lots of blood, sweat and tears. Things aren’t perfect, but is life ever? Take the good with the bad and pray the good way outweighs the bad. That’s I feel so blessed and am so thankful.
First and foremost, we all have our health. Business seems to have finally turned the corner nicely. Our two young bucks are adding to sales and helping me grow the business again. We have some amazing suppliers and partners, many with saint like patience, but it seems to pay off for us all in the long run. Finally I am thankful for the amazing and mystifying world of artisanal wines that keeps my interest peaked daily and makes me strive to learn more and become even better at what I do.
There are still some of our customers that remember the old Lava Cap wines and label, as we take the newly arrived wines around over the last few weeks. I had the opportunity to taste a few of the current releases from Lava Cap Winery a few months ago and loved the wines. Clean, well made and well priced, especially so for California. That’s part of the beauty of wines from the Sierra foothills…The 2010 Chardonnay is French barrel fermented and aged, yet so well balanced with great acidity. The 2010 Cabernet is structured, with some dark berry fruit, lush and well balanced. Rad Grapes material for sure…
It was a rather quick decision about six weeks ago to start representing the wines in NY, as the busy season was approaching, but I believe a good one in the end. Our California portfolio is kind of thin, especially so with price point wines and starting out with some Lava Cap Chardonnay and Cabernet for the fall was a no-brainer. I describe the wines as no excuses, full-throttle California, just with some great balance and acidity thanks to those cool summer El Dorado nights.
Our first wine order came in two weeks ago and today I already had to re-order. We’ve also had the chance to taste a few of the other Lav Cap wines like the Sauvignon Blanc and the Petite Sirah, which we may be adding in the Spring.
Lava Cap Winery is situated about 45 miles east of Sacramento, just 5 minutes off Highway 50 in the town of Placerville, El Dorado County. The American River runs right by the winery and I hear the fly-fishing is top notch too. We already love the wines and I for one, cannot wait to visit and wet a line. Cheers!
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