I love the idea of serendipity. Merriam Webster defines serendipity as “luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.” While I don’t believe I can live my life relying on it alone, I do try to keep my eyes peeled for it’s occurrence. I think I may have discovered one.
After jotting down my tasting notes when experiencing a particular wine, I place them in a nifty little file at my desk. Of course, other items come across my desk from time to time. In this instance, I seem to have had a Reese’s peanut butter & chocolate type of moment. You see, stuck to my notes for this selection was a post-it on which was written the titles of two popular Latin songs. So this is a serendipitous wine & canciones moment. Enjoy!
Winemaker: Firely Ridge
Varietal: Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)
Appellation: Central Coast, CA
Notes: The color of pale lemon, the wine echoed citrus in it’s bouquet. At 13.5% alcohol, this Firefly Ridge selection was light-bodied with bright acidity. Flavors ran along the tropical lines with a core of citrus throughout and notes of banana and mango. Near the finish I caught some grass and white pepper as well. Overall, not a bad Pinot Gris to sip while enjoying some fun music. I think it might be over-priced at $15.99, so look for it on sale at your local Safeway.
Accustomed to seeing flashing red and white lights in, around, and coming out of our local fire station, last June I was treated to an entirely different kind of light show. I was walking by just before dusk and noticed that the front yard was covered with flashing yellow dots. Fireflies! It was an amazing sight. There must have been scores of them in a little, tiny yard. And even more in the field behind the fire station.
Unfortunately, the camera on my phone was not capable of capturing the full effect. I took copious amounts of pictures, many of which have no sign of firefly showmanship at all. I just couldn’t get them to synchronize. The photo below has the most firefly flashes I was able to catch at one time – 6. Ha! Even so, those little fireflies created a definite excitement not only for me but for all the passersby that evening (especially the young kids). I wasn’t the only one who stopped to enjoy the show.
Perhaps it’s that sense of wonderment and excitement that the artwork on the Firefly Ridge label seeks to tap into. It’s a great label. Certainly a lot more romantic and idealized than fireflies against smudged concrete block and drain spouts!
Winemaker: Firefly Ridge
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Notes: Dark red in color, this California Merlot had a subtle bouquet of berries and cola. A medium-bodied wine, acidity seemed fine and tannins were light. On the other hand, I felt this was (for lack of a better term) clunky on the palate. I thought the flavors of berries, pepper, rubber and oak were just not well integrated. All the better then, that I was able to grab this on discount at $5.99.
If memory serves me correctly, not two years ago these Firefly Ridge wines were selling in my local grocery store for about $8 a bottle retail. Admittedly, Firefly Ridge is not readily available at other nearby merchants. But, seriously, today’s posted price of $15.99 seems out of whack. And guess what? Today, Firefly Ridge is on sale for $7.99 a bottle. So, yes, I bought one to try.
Winemaker: Firefly Ridge Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage: 2011 Appellation: Central Coast, California Price: $15.99
Notes: The color of this California Cab was a dark ruby. The bouquet brought me scents of cherry, plum and tea leaf. The body was light, tannins were light, and acidity was fine. Alcohol was a little low at 12.5%. On the palate, I tasted sweet plum and cherry – mostly sweet plum. There were also hints of cassis and leather along with herbal notes. On the finish I caught a tiny dash of pepper and eucalyptus. For a Cabernet Sauvignon, I found this to be a fairly disappointing experience. The wine was sweet with very little structure. I’m not saying this is a bad wine, but it isn’t a good exemplar of a Cabernet Sauvignon. That being said, it may well be a good selection for the season of Sugar Plum Fairies dancing in people’s heads. And when I think of a mulled wine, this one seems like a pretty good base for that. So, maybe this selection will help bring cheer to the holidays after all. But hurry up and get it while it’s on sale for $7.99.
I think there are lots of reasons for liking a wine. Sometimes it’s because the wine proves the perfect exemplar of what you understand that particular wine should be. Other times wines that give me something completely unexpected can be enthralling. Now I’m not happy with just anything unexpected — like the white I had at one local wine fair that literally tasted like kerosene. That was unexpected, but not welcome. lol Admittedly, Syrah can be many things, depending on the climate and soil, etc. Even so, this Syrah from Firefly Ridge struck me as – forgive the golf analogy – pretty much down the middle of the fairway.
Winemaker: Firefly Ridge (a Safeway private label)
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Notes: In the glass it was very dark garnet … very dark. On the nose I found dark fruit, pepper, and dirt. It was a soft medium-bodied selection. Initially I tasted loads of cherry, a hint of plum, gobs of pepper, tea, and floral notes including a soapy lavender on the finish. As it breathed, the cherry deepened into more of a plum with currant notes and the pepper decreased slightly. At the same time the wine picked up a little bit of earth (or maybe it was just able to get through). I suppose the tannins were the least exemplary facet in this wine – they were on the modest side. But I found they still give a pleasant little bite near the end. Alcohol is at 12.5%, and acidity is fine. I thought this was a nicely balanced offering from Firefly Ridge. There is enough structure to allow it to pair well with food or cellar just a bit. It will probably do well with many dishes, but what comes to my mind are duck or Moo Shu Pork.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.