Tree Decoration – The Lighting

In my house we always start our tree decoration with the lights.  And this year, because our schedules have been surprisingly full – mostly due to end-of-the-year deadlines at work – we have approached tree decoration in a three-stage process.

First, of course, we bought the tree and set it in it’s stand.  Then we decided to give it a bit of time for it’s branches to relax before attempting to shove light strands and decorations onto it.  The second step, then, was to put on strands of tree lights.  As this year’s tree was a tad smaller than previous years, we first applied one strand of white lights.  Once we were happy with the placement of the whites, we moved on to a strand of colored lights.  Again, only one strand was needed.  And, of course, our tree topper star (which is lit from the inside) finished the lighting ceremony.

As always, we had celebratory vino to enjoy as we engaged in this part of our holiday tradition.  Don’t get the wrong idea.  It isn’t as though all our holidays follow this kind of planning.  I remember a rainy and frenzied Xmas Eve on which we bought our tree and decorations then decorated it.  But that is a story for another time.  Anyway, in this case, we observed the lighting ceremony with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Oenophilogical_SauvignonRepublicSB2016Winemaker: Sauvignon Republic
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2016
Appellation: Marlborough, NZ
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: This NZ wine from “Latitude 42° South” was very pungent, presenting tropical scents in the bouquet.  Acidity was high in a typically light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with alcohol at 13%.  Flavors my tongue experienced included guava, starfruit, grass and white pepper.  I found it started out gently sweet on the palate and ended nicely tart.  I thought it was an enjoyable glass of inexpensive white wine.

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Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc

I mentioned in a recent post that I had to take a little break from the blog due to circumstances beyond my control.  Nonetheless, prior to the hiatus I had managed to squirrel away a number of tasting notes from wines I’d enjoyed in previous months.  Not wanting to waste the work and hoping to perhaps relive some enjoyable moments, I have decided to go ahead and post them.  They may be a little past their “post by” date, but I hope they will still prove to be of interest.  This Oyster Bay is one example.

Oenophilogical_OysterBaySauvignonBlanc2014Winemaker:  Oyster Bay
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Marlborough, NZ
Price:  $15.99

Notes:  The bouquet of this New Zealand white was very pungent with scents of citrus and guava.  Acidity was pretty high, and it was light-bodied.  At 13% alcohol, the wine packed plenty of flavor consisting primarily of citrus, guava and grass.  This is another fun and unctuous Kiwi wine.

The Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Trolling the wine section at my local Trader Joe’s has become more challenging of late.  You see, they have been getting such large crowds that the lines are two deep at the front of the store and then turn up the wine aisle.  These lines often go all the way to the end of the wines and turn the corner!  I have to admit, the TJ staff do an amazing job keeping the line moving.  But … when I visit now during high traffic times, I can no longer linger among the wines pondering my choices.  That would make me an impediment to checkout.  Believe me, I am not going to get between those TJ shoppers and their checkout!

So when I see that crazy long line, I simply go to the end (somewhere in the back of the store) and pick up wines as I pass through the wine section.  Oh!  Did you catch that little pun I just made?  Didn’t plan it, but there it is.  And here is one of the selections I recently grabbed from my place in line.

Winemaker:  The Pass
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $8.99 at Trader Joes

Notes:  This SB was extremely pale.  It had a very “stinky” bouquet of ripe grapefruit.  Acidity was effervescent and brisk.  It was light-bodied, and alcohol was at 13%.  Flavors I detected were grapefruit and oak.  I thought it was quite enjoyable – nice and tangy.  It left a pleasant fuzzy tongue feeling from the high acidity.  No finesse to speak of, but fun to drink nonetheless.

 

Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Was in a New Zealand state of mind recently when I ran across this selection at a local store.  You see, I write some songs from time to time.  Nothing you’ll hear on the top 40 stations any time soon.  I call them my little ditties. LOL  Even so, I have recorded some of them.

Last month I was doing a yearly overview of published playlists and found that one of my songs had been getting spins fairly frequently on a radio station in New Zealand all year (2015).  Surprised and elated, that put me in the mood to celebrate.  So what better way than with a nice Kiwi wine!Oenophilogical_CliffordBaySauvignonBlanc2014

Winemaker:   Clifford Bay
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: 12.99

Notes:  Another pungent New Zealand SB, the Clifford Bay smelled pretty much like a big glass of ripe pink grapefruit juice.  Pale yellow in color with a distinct greenish tinge, it was light-bodied with brisk acidity.  Alcohol was at 13%.  What did it taste like?  To me it tasted like the bouquet suggested it would.  Is this a Sauvignon Blanc to serve with Sunday brunch?  Perhaps so!  Or lounging somewhere under a hot tropical sun?  If you find yourself in that situation … Yes!  I found it a straight-forward and enjoyably refreshing glass of wine.

 

Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Another New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc recently hit the store shelves in my area.  As we are still in the throes of the inevitable “dog days of summer” in my area, a light white is a pleasant refresher at mid-day (on the weekends, of course) or in the early evening.  Well, obviously you can drink it whenever you wish.  lol  As with any wine for that matter.  Go ahead, blaze your own trail!  And while you’re having it your way, just be sure to do so responsibly so we can keep on celebrating your independent spirit with you.

Winemaker:   Picton Bay
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joes

Notes:  The bouquet of this Marlborough white was quite loud with abundant citrus, fresh peach, grass and a touch of … perspiration.  That’s the best way I can describe what I was smelling!  It was a light straw in color with very high acidity.  A typically light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc, the Picton Bay was at 13% alcohol.  On the palate I found it fairly straightforward with pleasant citrus and peach flavors.  Simple, easy, inexpensive.  A relaxing glass of white from our friends in New Zealand.

 

Monkeying Around With A Kiwi White

In a recent post I pondered whether some of the wine labels chose their names to suggest a certain kind of terrain and terroir in consumers’ minds irrespective of where the winery is located or where the grapes are grown.  But, of course, that is not necessarily the case.  There are plenty of wineries that do, indeed, assume a name from their locale.  For instance, Dry Creek Winery is near a stream called Dry Creek.  Mayacamas Vineyards is located in the Mayacamas Mountains.  And, in the case of Monkey Bay, the winery assumes it’s name from a bay not far from the winery – north of Blenheim and west of Wellington on the coast of Marlborough.

Winemaker:  Monkey Bay
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  New Zealand
Price: $12.99

Notes:  The color of this New Zealand white was a pale lemon yellow.  The bouquet was really quite a heady experience with scents of tropical fruits (pineapple, papaya), honey, citrus zest and floral notes.  Acidity was fine; it was light-bodied; alcohol was at 12.5%.  On the palate I found lime, some hints of sweet pineapple, and grapefruit.  The grapefruit hits late and lingers long on the finish.  Overall, it’s a tart glass of wine that I found enjoyably refreshing.  This is another Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc that, though not particularly refined, delivers on flavor.

The Hills Are Alive ….

I’ve recently run into a number of wines all from wineries with “mountain” in their name.  Coincidence?  Well, when you do a web search, there are quite a few results that pop up – quite a few.  Not surprising, then, that not long ago I had an Early Mountain Viognier at an area wine bar.  Then on the 4th  I had that Glass Mountain Chardonnay.  And, to boot, this past week I bought a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at a local watering hole and live music venue – Iota Club and Cafe – from the folks at Sunday Mountain.

I realize, of course, that terroir (soil, topography and climate) is important in growing grapes that can be turned into good wine.  So I can see how some wineries would naturally incorporate the name of the major nearby topographical feature into their own moniker.   Or maybe it’s just a marketing ploy by big beverage conglomerates to suggest a certain type of terroir by choosing a name with “mountain” in it.  Either way, it seems the hills are, indeed, alive with wine for me right now.  That doesn’t mean you’ll hear me singing from the peaks, but I just might be belting out a tune from the bottom of a bottle.  (Well, it was an attempt at a joke.)  Ha!

Winemaker:   Sunday Mountain
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  New Zealand
Price:  $11.99

Notes:  Color in the glass was a light straw.  The bouquet was quite pungent with scents of ripe melon and grass.  It has good, even bright, acidity.  Flavors included melon, pear, and lots of grapefruit.  Alcohol was at 12.6%.  I thought it was pretty darned OK, especially for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc served in what is primarily a local, live music venue.  I’m impressed with the folks at Iota.  I also had a barbecue pork sandwich which was tasty and so darned stuffed with pork and fixins that I couldn’t hold it together.  I just hate generous portions.  Psyche!  lol   The Sunday Mountain was OK with the sandwich, but I think it might be even better with a hearty seafood dish.  It isn’t a refined glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but it is most definitely flavorful.