Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: October 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Life: The Married, Virtually Connected,and Lonely

Another Saturday at home...what do you do when you want to get out and meet people as a couple?

Another Saturday at home…what do you do when you want to get out and meet people as a couple?

Lately, it seems, there has been a strange trend. Rather than going to friends’ houses for dinner parties, going to the restaurant with another couple, or grabbing coffee with a good buddy, people are sitting behind their computers and socializing virtually. While social media has really opened up a lot of venues for keeping in touch with friends from college and high school, I can’t help but wonder if it’s hurting our communities.

Let’s step back for a moment. It’s possible, I believe, to be around someone else often and yet feel lonely. Looking back in time, people have typically known their neighbors, hosted small holiday parties, gone to movies in groups, and had people over for dinner on a regular basis. Coworkers would actually go out together for a few drinks after work – or they’d get together to watch a game on tv.

What do you do when you work from home and your closest friends live hours away?

You step away from the computer. You get involved with your community. You take chances on new people.

Humans, as a group, tend to have a certain comfort level. We like routine, we like stability, and habits are hard to break. However, if we don’t step out of our comfort level, we wind up spending yet another Saturday night, with our spouse, on the couch watching reruns of 90s TV shows on Netflix. While there’s nothing wrong with this – I quite enjoy watching a marathon of Frasier episodes with Wining Husband – it can get kind of lonely, even if the person holding your hand is your best friend.

I know the names of more people who live across the country from me than the names of my neighbors. I know their kids’ names, I know what they did last night. I honestly could not tell you what the names of our neighbors’ kids are, and I have met all of 3 of them. We’ve been living here since February. Part of that is their fault, and part of it is our fault. As renters we just haven’t made a whole heck of a lot of effort to get to know the people sharing the cul de sac with us.

I’m more likely to sit on Facebook chat and post quotes from the most recent episode of Big Bang Theory with my best friend from junior high school than I am to  have said neighbors over for a cup of coffee – much less a glass of wine – and I think the reason boils down to that whole comfort thing.

It also boils down to being busy. With Wining Husband racing toward tenure review next year, Tiger Boy running around between school, friends, youth group, and play rehearsals, and running my own business, sometimes it’s nice to just sit in front of the TV, turn the brain off, and disengage. But doing that on a regular basis is leading to a creeping feeling of loneliness.

It’s not just when you get married. Before I got married, I spent many times going long stretches without hearing another adult human voice – sure there were the corner store guys and the people working at the grocery co-op, but as far as meaningful interactions, they were few and far between – until I met Wining Husband. Instead, I’d sit on my computer, typing away to friends about what was going on with them, miles away.

Sure, social media and telephone convenience can’t entirely be blamed, but they haven’t helped our flat world either.  There are many great things about the Internet. But there’s a beauty in knowing your neighbors as well.

What do you do to meet new people when you’re an adult? How do you make couple friends? Please share your thoughts in the comments section! We need tips!


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Creekside Cellars’ Wine and Cheese Fest

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermen...

English: Barrels of 2007 Zinfandel wine fermenting in a wine cave in Amador County, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year, Creekside Cellars hosts wine and cheese fest. During the event, many people come in to taste wine and cheese from around the region. Wining Husband and I were curious and decided that we would attend. Boy, were there a lot of people there! We were glad we showed up a few minutes later into the event so that we wouldn’t have to claw our way through lines of people to get to a place where we could try the various wines featured by our favorite spot.

Our favorite wines of the event came from Epic Wines, Doe Mill, and Youngs Market Company. Standouts included:

  • A to Z Pinot Gris ($16) **
  • Breggo Pinot Noir ($30) ***
  • Titus Cabernet Sauvignon ($43) *
  • Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel ($36) ***
  • Montsara Sparkling Cava ($15) *
  • Sequoia Grove Cabernet ($49) **
  • Michael David 7 Heavenly Chardonnay ($28) *
  • Treana white blend ($23) *
  • Doe Mill Old Vine Zinfandel ($24) **
  • Doe Mill Smokey Ridge Red Table Wine ($24) ***
  • Doe Mill Zinfandel Rose ($16) *
  • Doe Mill Late Harvest Zinfandel ($24) ***
  • Trefethen Harmony White ($50) **
  • Talbot Logan Chardonnay ($20) *

There really was quite a range of wines both in terms of quality and taste (the first table we visited was disappointing to us) and in terms of price point. The great thing about events like these is that you get to try out such a wide range of wines, so if you’re someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about wine, you can learn more about what you like and what you don’t like. we definitely added some of the wines to our cellar wish-list.

Creekside: A Little of This and a Little of That

Napa Valley

Napa Valley (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)


This week’s Creekside Cellars tasting as a mish-mash of different wines. Of the 9 we tasted, we liked 9 of the wines. Here are our notes on the wines we tasted.


2011 Fillaboa Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain ($17) – This wine was floral, crisp, and refreshing. It tasted of mandarins, sweet apples, and various citrus fruits.


2011 Chehalem “Three Vineyards” Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($19) – This wine was smokey, hazy, and buttery. It had a sweet flavor and accompanied the Purple Haze cheese quite nicely.


2010 Pine Ridge “Dijon Clone” ChardonnayNapa Valley ($30) – This wine had Dijon mustard notes. It was easy drinking but robust, with hints of butter and oak. It had a finish with multiple seasonings, but it was not overpowering. It would pair quite well with ham or fondue. (We gave it a star and exclamation mark).


2010 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey ($32) – This had a strange nose – it was like nail polish remover and fruit – but the wine itself was complex and sweet. There was spice that could be drawn out, it was sweet and chocolatey and was quite versatile when paired with the various cheeses. It also had that lovely cigar box finish that we love so much.


2010 Sextant “Wheelhouse” Zinfandel, Paso Robles ($20) – This wine had a Nesquik chocolate milk nose mixed with cheap jelly to be eaten with Wonder Bread. It was okay, but frankly was too jammy for our palates. 


2010 Peter Lehmann “Clancy’s” Cabernet 38%, Syrah 39%, and Merlot 23%, Barossa Valley, Australia ($18) – This was tannic with a tight nose. It had hints of leather and fruit which came out as it aerated. It was very good with creamy cheeses, which brought the spice out, and it paired wonderfully with the Purple Haze.


2010 Tamarack Cellars “Firehouse Red” Cabernet 54%, Syrah 32%, Merlot 12%, Cab Franc 10% with Malbec, Sangiovese & Zinfandel, Columbia Valley, Washington ($18) – This was the final wine we had and it was a higher end version of one of our favorite go-to wines, 14 Hands Hot-to-Trot. The wine was a classic silky red. It had notes of vanilla, chocolate, cloves, and nutmeg.



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Costume Construction and a Haunted Corn Maze

2012-09-25 23.50.57Kids are a lot of fun, especially during this time of year. In the previous post, I talked about how I have a whole collection of Halloween-inspired things I want to do this year. It turns out my son needed a costume for a presentation in his history class. Since he’d already mentioned his admiration of Ferdinand Magellan, we decided that we’d do a Magellan costume for his presentation and then he could wear the same costume for Halloween.

It wasn’t exactly easy to find a Magellan costume, so I hand-modified a Robin Hood costume and pirate hat in order to make the costume “work.” It took a lot of hand sewing, but I think the end result was well worth it.

After the sewing marathon, we all decided it was time to cut loose and have some fun, so we headed to an advertised haunted corn maze. What a fun experience? The boy had fun – and was quite scared by the hi-jinks carried out by the actors in the maze. It took a good little while to go through it, but when we were done, it was well worth the time spent. We all laughed, and screamed, quite a bit during our October adventure.


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Pinterest Addiction: Too Many Halloween Crafts to Make


English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It’s official. I am addicted to Pinterest. I’ve pinned way more crafts than I can ever make in a lifetime to my board. In my defense, it’s a great source for people who want to come back to things later and actually make things. In reality, it becomes a virtual bookmarking tool where, I don’t know if this is true for others, things tend to get pinned and forgotten about.


I need to resolve to actually *MAKE* some of the things I’ve pinned. After all, how cool would it be to have an all-crafted Halloween? I could have crafted decorations everywhere. I could even craft up some home-decorated wine glasses for toasting on the spooky holiday. I mean, a cool chalkboard would make a great addition, right? I can put my Halloween menu on it when I have a fabulous Halloween party.

Of course, I’m also realistic. I know that my Halloween board consists of a lot of things I probably will never make – and hey, we’re so busy this year we probably won’t have a party – but it’s the hope and optimism that counts, right?

What sorts of things do you pin on your Pinterest boards? Do you actually refer back to them when shopping or choosing what crafts you will make?



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Funny Wine Sayings

There has been an abundance of funny wine saying memes floating around Facebook and other social media. A lot of these have been posted on Someecards, where users can create their own memes. Here are a few examples:


Whenever I find a fun wine saying or meme, I post it on the Wining Wife Facebook page to share with fans. If you have one that you are particularly fond of, please share it with me! I get a big kick out of these. Be sure you also like the Wining Wife page as I often share information about upcoming tastings, wine pairing links, and winery news on there.

What are some of your favorite funny wine sayings?


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Running after a Break

My ribbon and I!

My ribbon and I!

When you start running again after a long break, it’s important to ease back into it. Otherwise, you could end up with muscle cramps – or worse – a knee or ankle injury. Instead, you’ve got to start out slow and build up slowly and steadily over a period of several weeks.

As you may be able to guess, I jumped right in. My calves and ankles were very unhappy with me – both because of jumping right in and because of lingering effects of a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic medication. It reminded me of how important it is to build up. But I’m determined! I love running as a sport, and I’m looking forward to beating my old times.

It was excellent to get a ribbon after having a long break, but after my run today, I’m aware that I’ll need to build slowly in order to avoid a running injury. I tend to like the Cool Runnings Couch to 5K programs – but Runners’ World and Spark People also have good 5k training programs to get you re-started on a routine.  It’s really helpful to have a variety of programs to work with so that you can start exactly where you’re at when your feet hit the pavement.

If it’s been a while since you’ve run, what do you do to get yourself started again? Is there a program that you follow or do you do hit the pavement and let your body dictate the training program?


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Commentary: Columbus Day


Columbus-day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Columbus day is a very tricky holiday. Ever since I took my college history class, I’ve had mixed emotions about what those of us who lived in the Bay Area called indigenous people’s day.


Christopher Columbus and his men did horrible things to the Native Americans he found in the West Indies. (Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States discusses such things; I have no desire to go into the details here.) Yet, knowing this and the fact that such maltreatment has become public knowledge hasn’t changed the fact that this holiday continues to be celebrated in the United States year after year. Moreover, the fact that Leif Ericson  “discovered” America before Columbus did, makes the whole holiday moot.





Then comes the question of whether you can actually “discover” a land that already is inhabited – and has been for years. Sure, that is a highly philosophical question, but one that has repercussions. For, if you “discover” an already inhabited land, what does that do to those already living there? Well, we have some good examples throughout history that illustrate exactly what that sort of colonial mentality from the Western world does.

My question to you: How do you celebrate the holiday? For me, I tend to just continue on as it’s part of the work week. Many businesses do not acknowledge it as a holiday. Please post your thoughts in the comments section.


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The Mozart Mile and Sierra Oro Farm Trail Day Two

2012-10-07 20.40.51Today, we ran the Mozart Mile – a 5K race where every quarter-mile you pass a performer. The purpose of the race is to raise money for programs at the North State Symphony. It’s a lot of fun, and I hadn’t run in a race all year (I know, bad me!).  It was my getting out of an injury rut race, and I ran with Wining Husband, so that was fun.

The really awesome thing about the race is that even though it was the first race after a lot of leg problems, both my husband and I placed! I took 3rd place in the 30-39 year old women category, and the husbs took 2nd place in the 30-38 year old men category. I look forward to the next race opportunity.

It was a busy day. After the race, we set back out on the Sierra Ora Farm Trail for Day two of gathering goodies. We started out day two by heading off to Lundberg Family Farms, where they sell organic rice. The rice dishes and rice chips were very good, and we wound up snatching up some of their rice mixes and their rice syrup, which can be used as a replacement for molasses in recipes.

Following Lundberg, we headed to Lodestar Farms Olive Oil. Their samplings were also tasty. While we liked their olive oil, we are able to find it in the grocery stores around here, and we knew we would be hitting up another olive oil farm.

Calolea Olive Oil blew Lodestar out of the waters for us. Not only were their samples amazing, but as the second time we’d sampled their products (the first time we tried them was at Hickman Family Farms during the Wine Trail) we thought they were consistently excellent. They have standard oils, but they also have garlic, Meyer lemon, and blood orange flavored oils as well. They make very nice salad dressings and they work well in marinades and stir-fry.

We next headed over to Hickman Family Vineyards. As usual, their tasting was very good. They were debuting the Moscato dessert wine that comes in a growler. It was a cross between a good sweet sherry and a white port/late harvest wine. We also had the opportunity to barrel taste the Malbec and some Petit Syrah that had just been crushed. It’s a real neat experience to taste a developing wine.

Following Hickman, we headed over to Morse Mandarin Farms. While it wasn’t quite Mandarin season, we did taste some of their products including a marinade, and the products were good. We also visited Mount Ida Mandarin Ranch. They had cupcakes, but no mandarins. While we were a bit disappointed by the inability to try out the products at these two farms, it’s understandable since it’s just not the right season.

We then came back down the hill from Oroville and revisited both Emerald C and Mooney Farms. The interesting thing about Emerald C was that the wine did not hold up well after the Hickman’s tasting. It was still very good, it just wasn’t as good as we initially thought. We still wound up grabbing their zinfandel, which was a nice wine.

At the end of the farm trail, we had quite the bounty of goods – all locally grown and produced – to restock a pantry that had gone barren in the discovery of my own food allergy.

Sierra-Oro Farm Trail – Day One

The Sierra-Oro Farm Trail, like the North Sierra Wine Trail, is quite the North State event. There are many wineries and farms on the trail – 22 stops altogether – so it makes it difficult to see everything in the two-day schedule. So, we had to prioritize. We covered most of the Chico area today. Here’s a rundown of what we did.

Mooney Farms – This w as our starting point, and it was a good thing. We got in lunch from all of the samples they offered. Bella Sun Luci, makers of sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil had a plethora of samples for us to try. Out of their samples, we liked their Rustico Balsamic Olive Oil, Rustico Garlic Olive Oil, and Regular Olive Oil as well as the butternut squash – sun-dried tomato risotto they offered.

They also had Skylark Ranch there serving their pomegranate products. Their pomegranate fruit spread and grenadine were quite delicious.

The Basque Norte Marmalade was really good. As was the Brannen Gourmet Pepper Sauces and barbeque sauces. We also enjoyed the California Habanero Blend sauces.

Odyssey Winery and Vineyards –  We’re no strangers to Odyssey’s wines. We were there a few months back, and we enjoyed their selection. This time, we tried two new ones. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was very nice, fruity, light, and oakey. Their Fidieux was a very robust version of a rose wine. It is a Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon mix and was very good.

Emerald “C” Vineyards – This is a newer winery in the area. The history of the vineyard (it’s where Errol Flynn hung out during his Robin Hood filming days) is more fascinating than the wines, which were okay.

New Clairvaux – This winery is a local favorite, and they produce, consistently, very good wine. We were just there a few weeks ago and tasted the same wines. Their wines come strongly recommended.

Roney Wines – This was quite a find in terms of their Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We started off by tasting their 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Butte County. The wine had a tight nose, and had notes of sour cherry. It was slightly smokey, spicy, and tannic, and it had a finish of red pepper flakes. ($17)

The 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Amador had a fruity, tight nose. It was sweeter and smoother and had a vanilla and cloves finish. ($20)

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon barrel tasting had notes of vanilla and cloves. It was a very young wine, but it was also very good. I look forward to seeing how this one ages with time.

The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was tanic and smoother with a blackberry finish. ($38)

The 2010 S&P 500 Napa Wine was a sweet dessert wine. It was dry for a desert wine and had milk and dark chocolate notes.

Maisy Janes – This is a neat little store. They have almonds, marinades, and a lot of local organic goodies.

Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyards – This is a family-owned winery, and they do great wine. We love their Sangiovese Rose.

2011 Pinot Grigio ($11) – Crisp, apples, some spices – overall, it’s sweet and yet very balanced.

2010 Sangiovese Rose ($11) – Apples, almost a bubbly wine – spice, oregano and basil finish.

2010 Sangiovese ($14) – This one has a buttery nose and olive oil notes. It was light  with a cherry and raspberry finish.

2010 Barbera ($14) – This wine was spicy, and tasted of dark blackberries and apricots. It was big and bold.

2009 Petite Sirah ($16) – This one was sweet with notes of butter and spice. It had a red onion and basil finish.

2008 Vino Rojo ($16) – This wine was a Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon mix. It was smokey and had a spicy nose as well as notes of paprika.

2008 Vino Dulce ($20) – This wine was sweet, but not too sweet. It was quite enjoyable.

Gale Vineyards – This was our last stop on the first day of the tour. After Bertagna, it’s hard to compete. Their winery is gorgeous. There were two weddings going on there at the time, and with good reason. Here are my notes from the tasting.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($12) – This had a wet dog nose. After swirling, it dissipated some, and it was a light and easy drinking wine with notes of citrus and grapefruit you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc.

2011 Rose di Primitivo ($12) – This wine had a tight nose. It was watermelon and paprika with notes of cumin and oregano. It would be a nice summer picnic wine.

2009 Temperanillo ($16) – This had a burnt coffee and smoke nose. It would pair well with brats. It had a hazelnut/almond finish to it.

2010 Primativo – This had a nice color. It had notes of almonds and walnuts and Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence. It would pair well with salami or sourdough with tapenade.

2010 Melage – This wine was 50% Petite Verdot and 50% Primativo. It was okay, but frankly, we had a lot better wines on the trail.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – This one had a fruity nose with strawberries. It was a bit jammy with a vanilla finish. It would go well with teryaki steak.

We definitely made out like bandits after our first day on the farm trail. Here’s a preview of the goodies we brought home with us.

Emerald "C" Vineyards wines we picked up on the Farm Trail

Emerald “C” Vineyards wines we picked up on the Farm Trail

2012-10-07 20.36.19

Roney Wines we brought home with us

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New Clairvaux wines we brought home with us.

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