This last day (09/22/12) in the Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) were both a happy and a sad dream, in multiple ways. On the one hand, we visited another stunning estate in the Navarra DO of Spanish wine country, but on the other hand it was our last day of the trip, so…As you can imagine, we had many moments of elation and wistfulness that day, all bouncing around together, in our heads and hearts. Similar to the previous days on the trip, we began our morning with a historical lesson followed by an eye-massagingly beautiful bodega, with lunch provided at said estate. It was a tremendous way to end our #Navarra5 trip.
Regular followers of the Vinopanion wine madness know that I regularly partake in the fun online Twitter tastings, brought to us by TasteLive! (Twitter, WineLog). Many a post has been written and a wine has been reviewed about their solid tastings. Now the innovative wine minds behind #tl_wine are kicking it up a notch, launching Café 140 as their latest online, and now physical, wine & lifestyle event series.
Dawn broke for our third day (9/21/11) in the Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) with brilliant signs pointing to even more glorious weather to accompany our travels around this Spanish wine kingdom. From the window of my hotel room at the historic Palacio Guandelain in Pamplona, I could see and hear the rumblings of the (rare) early rising Navarrans in the plaza that stretched out from the hotel front. I couldn’t wait to get started on our travels back to the Ribera Alta sub-region of the Navarra DO appellation. I felt rather rested, since I had given my body the morning off from my usual run, following my great success at getting thoroughly lost, the prior morning.
Bubbly is a beautiful thing. Sparkling wine has always been considered a wine of celebration; its intriguing bubbles rising up to toss forth a froth of scented effervescence, enlivening spirits at any accompanying event. For me however, bubbly, bubbly, and more bubbly is the way that I prefer to shimmy through life. My lady Elizabeth Fontaine, the beguiling star behind the brightness of my life, would only agree, with a most sensible of nods. Bubbles are her vinous companion, and at times, her artistic muse. We go through stretches where there is a bottle of bubbly to accompany each day…the other nice thing about sparkling wine is its low percent alcohol.
TasteLive! (WineLog, Twitter) is back at it again, with yet another great online Twitter tasting for us wine and chocolate grubbing fools. On the night of 01/26/12 at 6pm PST, we’re taking in another seasonally appropriate wine and food pairing by pre-tasting some of the wines and chocolates that will be at Rodney Strong’s 23rd Annual Wine & Chocolate Fantasy event, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Our second full day in Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) (day 3 if you’re counting our travel day) started off a bit scary, due to the usual amount of stupidity that I tend to afford myself. As you’ve probably noticed from my previous post about Day 1 in Navarra, I love to go on a run in the cities that I visit around the world. I feel that it is one of the best ways to get to know a new foreign land and its people. Like
an idiot always, I only carried my hotel keycard and a bit of cash in case I got into trouble and needed a taxi. I then headed out way before dawn at about 5:50am to streets unknown. Oh, and did I neglect to mention that I have absolutely no sense of direction?…I’m a total Marcus Brody. An hour later, my 20 minute jog has clearly turned into the definition of a lost tourist, replete with Spanglish as my only tool to communicate…no phone to call for a taxi, nor to even let my #Navarra5-mates know why I wouldn’t be in the lobby at 7:45am!
The holidays get busy. You barely have time to shop, decorate, make food, attend parties, try not to get drunk and, OH YEAH, still work! All of this stress adds up, manifesting itself in strange ways and differently within each person, as evidenced by the varying types of “holiday spirit” seen in the photo on the right.
You don’t have time for this! Your time is too precious to waste upon wondering which kind of wine to bring to coworker Aaron’s holiday party and wait, is it Aaron or Erin…CRAP, you’re so stressed you can’t even remember! It is with these conundrums in mind that I have constructed my Vinopanion holiday wine recommendations and pairings, listed below. Short, sweet (or dry!) and to the point. Let’s drink.
The #Navarra5 team hit the ground running (not yet drinking) at the start of our first full day in the great Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) with our trusty guide and F1 driver Michael “Miguel” Mantilla (ARGOS Wine Consulting/Kraynick & Associates, Inc.). Technically I ran the day before, through parts of the glorious and small city of Pamplona, capital of Navarra/Navarre and the setting of many a famous scene in the writings of their adopted son, Ernest Hemingway. I ran past some of his favorite haunts during that afternoon jog, past the tolling bells of the Church of San Lorenzo, and through the ruins of the Citadel. One of my favorite ways to get to know a new city, neighborhood or surrounding land is to take a run through it’s fresh splendor.
It is with no small excitement that I am able to announce a new trip to vino heaven, once again this year. Navarra, Spain is both an autonomous region (Navarre) as well as an ancient wine region, whose wine roots date back up to 1,200 years. It was once a great and proud kingdom and sits between what is now the Spanish wine appellation of Rioja and the French wine appellation of Bordeaux. Consequently, it has grows an awesome mix of grape varieties from both regions that have been approved by the Navarra Denominación de Origen (DO): Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia, Moscatel, Viura, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. It also has a long history as an approved DO (the Spanish equivalent of a wine AVA or appellation that has strict, government-regulated quality control and approved grape growing and winemaking methods), celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008. And it is to Navarra that I have the great fortune to fly, this coming Saturday!
Backyards and BBQ’s are known as tha bomb during the summer. Indeed, there should some sort of official right of passage, whereby one has enjoyed a tasty, home-hosted BBQ by the time one comes of age. And it becomes that much better when paired with wine. Trust me. I mean, microbrews and certain import beers are cool and all, but BBQ beef with a great Rhone or Syrah and BBQ chicken (beer battered!) with a tasty Chardonnay pretty much makes my day…or my week, even.