21 April 2013

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve 2008

I went to Plaza III - The Steakhouse for a birthday celebration with friends, and while there we enjoyed two bottles of Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve 2008, an exceptional Pinot Noir from Oregon.

I've been trying to explore more of the great Pinots coming out of Oregon lately, so this was an excellent chance to enjoy one of the most consistently good wineries of the state.

The wine had a delicate ruby color, and a wonderfully light body.  The nose was so meaty it was heaven.  There was even a hint of smoke to it, which boded well for its pairing with the filet mignon au poivre that I ate with it.

The flavor was oaky and herbaceous, which was kind of surprising to me - not something I'd encountered before, that I could recall at least, but it was extremely pleasing.  It had a wonderful balance, with a backbone of tannin that was far from overpowering, but instead tied the entire wine together.

I loved it, and so did everyone else.  I look forward to trying more of Domaine Serene's offerings!

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Books: Still on Wilderness Warrior; getting closer to his assumption of the Presidency, I think.

Bottles: The above, plus a nice Pouilly-Fuisse from Chateau de Beauregard.

Writing: Working on some sketches for Stand n Deliver, plus writing some songs for it.  Pretty fun!

Guitar: My new Butler Tube Driver should get here tomorrow, plus my new Seymour Duncan SSL-5 pickup...yea!

19 April 2013

Anima Chardonnay

I was at Michael Smith Restaurant here in KC and looking at their wines by the glass when I saw something I had never seen: wines from Romania.  I decided to get one to try, and settled on the Anima Chardonnay.  I'm not sure what vintage, but I expect 2008-2010 to be the most likely years.

At first glance I could tell it was not typical chardonnay: it was a golden, sort of egg-yolk color.  It had a nose full of honey and apricot jam, neither of which are scents I've come to associate with Chardonnay.  It was not unpleasant, though.

Upon tasting, the wine was fruity and light-bodied.  Though it had that essence of Chardonnay, it almost reminded me of a Pinot Grigio in how light it was on the tongue.  It had a much higher acidity than I was expecting, and it wasn't very dry at all.  I suspect it was aged in steel and not oak, as I could detect none of the usual characteristics of oaked Chardonnay.

An unusual wine, all in all, but an enjoyable one.  I will keep my eye peeled for more Romanian wines in the future.

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Books: Still working on The Wilderness Warrior.  Also saw an amusing series in the library called the Tea Shop Mystery series.  Loving tea, I admit my curiosity was aroused.

Bottles: Anima Chardonnay!  Got a few new bottles to try from The Cellar Rat as well.

Writing: Have my first query ready to send; I'm just waiting to make sure the formatting doesn't get wonky across different email clients.

Guitar: Got a bunch of pedals...which I probably should not have done...as well as a new bridge pickup.  Can't wait to try them out.

12 April 2013

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

Well, I hit about a quarter of the way through The Wilderness Warrior and decided it was time for a short intermission, so I read The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, which I had come across reviewed in Entertainment Weekly a while back.  It seemed both amusing and relevant to my next project, so I got it from the library and read it.

It was, surprisingly, one of the most thought-provoking reads I've had in a long time.  On the one hand, it was exactly what it promised to be, a sort of examination/parody of the phenomenon of child singers like Justin Bieber; on the other hand, it surprised the hell out of me in a lot of ways, building up to one thing and then leading into another.  I am hesitant to give away too much, but I am comfortable saying that it took a surprisingly frank look at the motivations and circumstances of fame, and how it can change people.

I think the most impressive thing about the book was, to me, the masterful use of subtext by the author. I can only dream of so effectively portraying psychological conditions, like fear of abandonment, without ever being on the nose or even directly addressing them.  You can just tell that's what's going through the character's mind.

The ending was quite a surprise to me, too: it completely pulled the wool over my eyes, and was so poignant it had me thinking about it long after I'd finished the book.

I'm really glad I read this book; not only was it a great read, but it will come in handy for my next project, which I won't say much on other than it involves the music industry as well.

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Books: The above.  Back to The Wilderness Warrior.  I am fairly sure I am nearing the formation of the Rough Riders; the last chapter I read was about the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where TR's Boone and Crockett Club had a log cabin built.

Bottles: My Continuum 2010 arrived!  Haven't opened yet but they look beautiful.  Can't wait to taste them!!!  I also drank some Sangre de Toro, a Spanish wine that I've had before in sangria but never tasted by itself.  It was all right but not noteworthy, and I was too busy to take any notes.

Writing: Enjoying doing some character sketches and brainstorming for my new project, while waiting on some proofreaders before sending out my first query about Into the Shining Sun.

Guitar: "Where We Start" from On An Island is proving to be both challenging and beautiful.  I listen to it all the time, but slowing it down to practice it really makes me pay attention to what a great song it is and how beautiful the solo is.

06 April 2013

Food Network "entwine"

I tried out Food Network's "entwine" Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was a gift for me after my mom saw a bottle at the grocery store and thought it sounded interesting.  Interesting is a good word for it.

It had a nice garnet color, but a surprising light body for Cabernet.  The nose wasn't terribly complicated, mostly containing oaky notes, but a hint of vanilla as well.

The flavor was simple and fruity - not unpleasant but not complex at all.

All in all, it was a simple, straightforward wine.  It was not unenjoyable, and the price was hard to beat (something like $10), but all in all, I think there are better options out there.

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Books: Still working on The Wilderness Warrior.  Also starting some fiction.  I got Defending Jacob, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, and Stormdancer.  Not sure which one I am going to read first - probably Love Song, since it had the longest line for other holds and probably can't be renewed if I don't finish it in time.

Bottles: The above.  My bottles of Continuum 2010 should arrive soon!!!!!!!  I am super excited.

Writing: Waiting for feedback on my query and synopsis from a couple of readers, and meanwhile started working on some character sketches and tidbits for my next project.

Guitar: Going to a jam session tomorrow week!  I am taking my slide along with me.  Should be lots of fun.  I also ordered a Demeter Compulator in a moment of weakness and can't wait to try it.

01 April 2013

Inacayal Vineyards Pinot Grigio 2011


I got the bottle of Inacayal from my wine club membership: the theme for March was Italian grapes with new world producers.  I really enjoyed this bottle.

It had a pale honey color, and even from the initial pour, without even bringing the glass to my nose I was hit with the smell of peaches.

Peaches dominated the taste for me, too.  The wine was fresh and ripe, with less acidity than I was expecting - but it didn’t really need the acidity.  It was refreshing, though it had a weighty mouthfeel that went well with my dinner: stuffed peppers and roasted asparagus.  Though by no means a perfect pairing, the wine cut through the beef in the peppers nicely, and held up to the flavored extra-virgin olive oil and infused balsamic that the asparagus was dressed with.

All in all, an enjoyable bottle.  I will be sure to describe the red wine as well once I open it.
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Books: Still working on The Wilderness Warrior.

Bottles: Had some Food Network "entwine."  It was...interesting.

Writing: First pass at a summary finished.  Now to make it not crappy.

Guitar: Same...