Drinking While Planning a Funeral

My Dad recently passed away and while it was sad; he lead a full life and he was 89. I think that was amazing.

This post is about my journey in dealing with his death and planning a funeral….

Dad was surrounded by family when he passed away in the hospital. In fact it turned into a mini wake when my Aunt Sue suggested we go to a bar to toast Dad  (he left this earth on St.Patrick’s Day). As luck would have it, I happened to have some wine with me and told the family I would be happy to share. So we got some styrofoam cups from the nurses’ station and opened a 2009 Tempranillo from Pedernales Cellars in the Hill Country Area of Texas. It was wonderful drinking a top-notch Texas wine (even in the wrong “glass”) while sharing memories about a man who was an incredible story-teller and considered himself a Texan before anything else.

Texas Tempranillo from Pedernales Cellars in styrofoam cups

Texas Tempranillo from Pedernales Cellars in styrofoam cups

 

That night, a neighbor surprised us with BBQ and a big tub of banana pudding. I decided I needed more wine. The idea of planning a funeral and dealing with the estate, was starting to sink in and the stress was starting to build. I chose a cheap ($10) French wine called Black Beret. It is a blend of Grenache & Syrah and was perfect with BBQ and so quaffable!

BlackBeret Grenache/Syrah Blend

BlackBeret Grenache/Syrah Blend. Cheap & Good.

We got through planning the funeral and started the daunting task of dealing with what Dad left behind. Our brains and emotions were fried. A dear family friend invited us to take a break and hang out at his home. We happily accepted the invitation. The only wine choice was a big ‘ol bottle of Beringer White Merlot. I wished I had turned the wine into a spritzer. I think it would have cut the “soda pop” sweetness…oh well…I was tired and grateful for the hospitality. I was there for the fellowship, not the wine. It was an awesome evening full of laughter and smiles.

Big 'ol Bottle of Beringer White Merlot

Big ‘ol Bottle of Beringer White Merlot

It was time for my family to disperse for a few days and get back together for the visitation and funeral. The day I was to hit the road and meet up with the family was not good. I woke up with chills, fever and throwing up. My drink this go round was Pepto Bismol. It tasted like dusty cherries soaked in chalk…yuck!

Pepto-Bismol...YUCK!, But it Worked!

Pepto-Bismol…YUCK!, But it Worked!

I missed the visitation but made it to the funeral. Dad was buried with his custom Lucchese boots on and I survived.

Through all of this, I have been blessed to have 3 incredible women on this journey with me. My two sisters and my Dad’s 2nd wife. After Mom died, Dad was lucky enough to have remarried another awesome lady.

So Cheers and Hugs to Briana, Debby & Lou Ann!

P.S.

I still don’t know what I’m going to drink after everything has settled…but I will let you know…

Sanglier Cellars

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I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Alexander, the farmer/winemaker of Sanglier Cellars a few times. I have never been disappointed with his wines. I respect his attitude of being a farmer first and a winemaker second. I find people with that kind of attitude know that quality wine starts with the grapes in the vineyard and are more attuned to the whole process of making wine. Plus, they are more interesting to talk to…that’s just my personal perspective.
What I find amazing is that Glenn and his wife, Melissa (who is a fantastic cook and owns 1500 cookbooks) were farmers in Texas and decided to move to Sonoma County to try farming grapes and getting into the wine business….
I’m so glad they did!

Here is the list of what I have tried lately:
2013 Rose Du Tusque, Sonoma County: This is a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre. It is has ripe red fruit with a little floral and spice. It is very food friendly and not just for summer drinking. It was one of the Rose’s that I served at Thanksgiving.

2010 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast/Sonoma County: I have written about this wine before in the post “Chardonnay & BEEF“. This Chardonnay was a favorite in a blind tasting I did with my Twisted Peeps. It has balance between oak and fruit.

2011 Rouge Du Tusque, Sonoma County: It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cinsault and Mourvedre. This is lush berries with an earthy coffee, mineral finish. Really great with pizza or bar-b-que.

2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley/Sonoma County: This is an intense Pinot. It has baking spices and red fruits with elements of smokey mushroom and black tea. I fell in love with it at first sip. I bought 2 bottles so I could see how this wine would evolve.

Please go to their website:http://www.sangliercellars.com to see more of their wines and check out Melissa’s section called “Farm. Eat. Drink”.
If you live in the DFW area, you can buy Sanglier at Whole Foods, Cork Wine Bar and Pogo’s.
Cheers Y’all,
Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier

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I agree, Glenn…twisted is good!

A Fantastic Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

Beckmen Grenache Rose'

Beckmen Grenache Rose’

Cosentino "The Franc" Cabernet Franc

Cosentino “The Franc” Cabernet Franc

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc

Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc

I think this was one of my better Thanksgiving wine and food pairings.

The Wines:

Gruet Blanc De Noir – The best value sparkling wine.

Beckmen Vineyards 2013 Grenache Rose’ – One of my “go to” wines for Thanksgiving.

Tablas Creek Vineyard 2011 Patelin de Tablas Blanc – a great Rhone blend that was balanced between richness and crispness.

Cosentino Winery 2012 The Franc – Lushous herb with a bit of spice and dark fruit.

The Food:

Herb Roasted Turkey

Cornbread Dressing

Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows, also fresh Sweet Potatoes Roasted with Rosemary

Creamed Corn

Truffle Mac & Cheese

Candied Pecan, Cranberry, Pears & Gorgonzola with Field Greens

Pumpkin Custard Pie with a Ginger Snap Crust

All I can say is that everything went well with everything!

Thank You Twisted Peeps for bringing the food and fun!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

Cranberries!

Cranberries!

A Beautiful Plate of Thanksgiving Food

A Beautiful Plate of Thanksgiving Food

Happy Twisted Peeps - Cheers!

Happy Twisted Peeps – Cheers!

Part 3: Texas State Fair Wine & Dine

Vintage Lane & Lost Oak Wines

Vintage Lane & Lost Oak Wines

Fairhaven Vineyards Wine

Fairhaven Vineyards Wine

Weinhof Winery

Weinhof Winery

This is the final post about my wine & dine experience at the Texas State Fair.

I had to try a Fletcher’s corny dog with wine. There is something about Fletcher’s…maybe it’s the batter, it’s earthy with a bit of sweetness that encompasses the salty meatiness of the dog.

*I did not put mustard or ketchup on my corny dog.

The Wines:

Vintage Lane (Subsidiary of Lost Oak Winery) Willow White – bright acidity and floral. It was good and refreshing with the dog.

Lost Oak Winery “Crimson Oak” – light tar, some spiciness. The wine added some spice to the dog. Not bad.

Weinhof Winery Gewürztraminer – sweet with an earthy undertone. It was a good match because it brought out the sweetness in the batter.

Fairhaven Vineyards Blanc du Bois – slightly sweet with a refreshing clean finish. Really good with the corny dog.

Fairhaven Vineyards Chambourcin – blueberry & cherry with good acidity. It added more earthiness to the dog. It was a good match with the meat of the dog but it did cover up the sweetness of the batter.

I did the same wines with Avocado Fries. The fries were spicy and crunchy with a rich earthy flavor.

Vintage Lane Willow White – The wine had enough body and floral sweetness to stand up to the spiciness of the fries.

Lost Oak “Crimson Oak” – The fries flattened the wine and made it bland. Not good.

Weinhof Gewürztraminer – good pairing because the wine was sweet and the food was spicy. Opposites are a good thing in this instance.

Fairhaven Blanc du Bois – The fries spiciness and the acidity in the wine was not the best pairing.

Fairhaven Chambourcin – This was a nice pairing because the wine had enough dark fruit element to counter the spice in the fries. I also want to say that this wine is not sweet. However, Fairhaven does offer a sweet (dolce) version that reminded me of a well-balanced Black Muscat.

This concludes my adventures in Texas State Fair food & wine offerings and I hope I can work off the pounds I gained….what I do for my Twisted Peeps LOL!

Avocado Fries & Fletcher's Corny Dog-the aftermath

Avocado Fries & Fletcher’s Corny Dog-the aftermath

Cheers Y’all!

Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier

Part 2: Texas State Fair Wine & Dine

Texas Twisted Taco

Texas Twisted Taco

Dry Comal Creek French Colombard

Dry Comal Creek French Colombard

Bar Z Wines - Sangiovese & "Enigmatic"

Bar Z Wines – Sangiovese & “Enigmatic”

Fry Dog & Sriracha Balls

Fry Dog & Sriracha Balls

Llano Estacado Wines - Sweet Red & Signature White

Llano Estacado Wines – Sweet Red & Signature White

This is my 2nd round of doing a wine pairing with the food that is available at the Texas State Fair.

1st PAIRING:

Food: Twisted Taco – Chicken fried steak, fried okra, roasted corn, spicy slaw in a flour tortilla. I think this is my new fave dish at the fair.

Wine: Bar Z Winery – Sangiovese – Bright cherry, earth, good acidity. Fantastic with the taco. Wish I had gotten a glass and just chowed down with the taco.

Wine: Bar Z Winery -“Enigmatic” Tempranillo blend – dirt, leather, tobacco leaves. The wine was almost too much for the taco and added a leather element that was a bit off. The wine on it’s own was good.

Wine: Dry Comal Creek – French Colombard -butter, light toast & bright citrus finish. Good with the taco and was refreshing too.

2nd PAIRING:

Food: Sriracha Balls – damn hot ball of fire with corn & chicken! I liked it, but after awhile my mouth went numb.

Wine: Llano Sweet Red – it’s basically like a red sangria (red wine with fruit). It actually stood up to the fire and quenched my thirst.

Wine: Llano Signature White – stone fruit with a zesty citrus finish. This pairing was not good because the acidity in the wine intensified the heat of the food.

3rd PAIRING:

Food: Fried Dog – a hot dog coated in fries, then fried and cheese poured on top. It was good, but eat it fast because it’s bad cold.

Wine: Llano Sweet Red – It was ok with the dog. Nothing special.

Wine: Llano Signature White – Not good with the dog. The wine gave the dish a weird tangy element. The wine on it’s own was good. I would consider it a patio/pool sipping wine.

2 other wines I tried were:

Bar Z Winery – Cabernet Sauvignon – smoke, earth, a little black fruit. Very good.

Dry Comal Creek Sparkling Demi Sweet – This is a sweet wine that I would consider for dessert.

That was about all I could do for the day.

I’m hoping to make it back and attempt a 3rd visit to the fair.

Wish me luck!

Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier

 

Texas State Fair Wine & Dine

This is a quick wine & food pairing guide to the Texas State Fair.

1st PAIRING:

Food: Fried Guacamole -tangy & spicy. My favorite food. I get this every year.

Wine: Los Pinos Vermentino – honey, herbal with a little citrus. Very good with the guacamole.

Wine: Los Pinos Texican – fruit forward with a little earth & mineral. Nothing changed with the food or the wine. Good.

Wine: Messina Hof Blanc du Bois – light grapefruit with a light mixed citrus finish. The guacamole overpowered the wine because of the spiciness.

2nd PAIRING:

Food: Fried Shrimp Boil – This won “Best Taste 2014″ and I really don’t know why. It was just a bunch of corn flavored fried dough with a slight fishy flavor.

Wine: Flat Creek Dama Rosa Rose’ – fresh strawberries with a little orange blossom & honey.  The wine really made the food better. Very Good!

Wine: Flat Creek Super Texan – earth, dirt a little dark fruit. The wine was good with the shrimp and added some spice.

Wine: Messina Hof DRZ – dark fruits with earthy dark spices and a light acidic finish. This was good with the shrimp because it cut the grease and added spice.

3rd PAIRING:

Frito Pie…..nothing was good. Just get a beer.

Cheers, Y’all from the Texas State Fair!

Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier

3 Merlots & a Bertolli

Merlot: Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Bogle

Merlot: Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Bogle

I was gifted a bottle of Merlot in the $10 price range & asked if I wouldn’t mind reviewing it…of course not!

So this is for you, Dominick…Thank you!

I decided to compare it with 2 other Merlots in the same price range and see how they stood on their own and up to food.

#1) 2011 Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Columbia Valley, Washington.

Smell: dried cherries, green herbs, vanilla.

Taste: cedar, dark chocolate, vanilla with a hot, dry tannic finish that lasted awhile on the palate. This wine was made to go with food.

#2) 2012 14Hands Vineyards, Columbia Valley, Washington.

Smell: very faint cedar, vanilla, cranberries.

Taste: assorted dried red/black fruit & smoke with a round mouth feel and soft tannins and short finish. Very drinkable on its own.

#3) 2011 Bogle Vineyards, California.

Smell: dirt, dark chocolate, dried cherries.

Taste: cherry, eucalyptus, with some earthiness in the soft, short finish. I was ambivalent about this.

I paired the wines with Bertolli’s Chicken Marsala & Roasted Redskin Potatoes. I love Bertolli! It’s so convenient to cut open a bag, pour the ingredients in a pan and heat it on the stove top. You are done in 15 minutes. Very good “sporkable” food.

Bertolli: Chicken Marsala & Roasted Redskin Potatoes

The Columbia Crest went well with the dish. The wine actually made the Marsala sauce a little sweeter (what’s not to like about that). I think that was from the vanilla aspect I kept tasting from the wine.

The 14Hands really did nothing to the food. I was a bit disappointed.

Bogle was a good pairing because it give the food a more earthy, robust flavor.

Overall, I would take Columbia Crest &  Bogle to a pizza party and everyone would like them.

The 14Hands, I would just enjoy on its own. It’s definitely for relaxing. I would even consider this a good Summer red wine.

Cheers Y’all!

Lori – Your Twisted Sommelier