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The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

The 2012 Socré Barbaresco: An Italian Queen!

I love the Piedmont region of Italy! The beautiful landscape and lovely people are added bonuses to the glorious wines found throughout the region.

My husband and I were there a few years ago, and we absolutely loved it. We tasted in many of its regions, but visiting Barolo and Barbaresco was a dream come true!

While Barolo is often considered the “King” of Piedmont’s wines, Barbaresco is its “Queen”. Both 100% Nebbiolo, Barbaresco tends to be a bit more graceful and feminine than it’s Barolo counterpart.

For dinner last night I made fresh spaghetti with marinara sauce and burrata cheese, and I was determined to open a nice Italian red with which to pair it! So I went to our cellar and found a 2012 Socré Barbaresco. I was happy with my decision.

The wine has cherry, violet and baking spices on the nose. On the palate are the cherry, cinnamon, licorice and smooth tannins. This Barbaresco is very approachable right now and is nicely balanced. It’s easy to drink and yet complex as well, and paired beautifully with the simple marinara sauce on the pasta.

My husband gave me thumbs up on dinner last night, and I give Socré a definite stamp of approval on their 2012 Barbaresco! This pairing was a match made in heaven!

To find out more about Socré, check out their website:

Are You a Right Bank Lover?

I’m a Right Bank kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong. I love the power and elegance of a great Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines of the Left Bank. There’s some reason, however, that I’ve always had a soft spot for the Right Bank. Is it because I can enjoy them earlier? Perhaps! I love the soft tannins and big fruit of Merlot. Plus, I seem to love to root for the underdog! And the Right Bank and their New World versions do indeed seem to be, for the most part, the underdog!

This Right Bank Bordeaux blend from Patel Winery in Napa Valley is right up my alley.  The blend is 80% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  The nose screams cherry, cherry cherry! Okay, it’s not just cherry! There’s some subtle oak, a touch of leather and some big time floral aromas as well. The velvety palate has black cherry and some other dark fruit, along with some spice and good acidity. This is a great food wine (I want to try this with some Swiss fondue!), but I also enjoyed a glass (or three!) sitting on my deck with a nice breeze, some great tunes, and my hubby and dogs!

Check out Patel Winery here:

Pairing France with … France!

Tonight’s dinner was a Provençal Zucchini and Potato Gratin Casserole. I wanted to pair it with a French wine (OF COURSE!), and was looking for something from Provence. When I went into our cellar, the ’08 Domaine du Cayron from Gigondas caught my eye! Okay, it’s not from Provence, but it IS from the Southern Rhone, which is pretty darn close geographically speaking. And it was a great match!Gigondas-France

A few years ago I was fortunate to visit Gigondas, a charming village located near Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone!  It is also an appellation that produces some fabulous wines, both red and rosé, with its vineyards sitting below the dramatic rock formation called the Dentelles de Montmirail.

For many decades all of the wines of Gigondas were simply Côtes-du-Rhône, but in 1966 they were elevated to Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages.  In 1971 Gigondas was deservingly awarded its own appellation.

By law, the red wines of Gigondas can be made of no more than eighty percent Grenache, and no less than fifteen percent Syrah and/or Mourvèdre.  The remaining blending varietal is usually Cinsault, but may be any other red Rhone varietal except Carignan. Confused yet??? One of the top producers of Gigondas is Domaine de Cayron, and I’m happy to tell you that their wines are distributed here in the U.S. Cayron-w-Glass gigondas-street

Now the 2008 vintage in Gigondas is not known to be stellar. The summer months were cool and had lots of rain, but I find this ’08 Domaine du Cayron to be fabulous. It has lovely plum, cherry and loads of licorice. There’s also a bit of garrigue, which pairs wonderfully with the Herbes de Provence I used in the casserole.

I have a 2010 (considered a great vintage) waiting for me next to the empty slot where this ’08 sat. I’m sure looking forward to pairing that with something special too!

I Love ALL Bubbles!

Do you ever need a break from wine? What???? Have I lost my mind!?

My “go to” making dinner beverage is bubbly. Sparkling wine, that is. Sometimes it’s a lovely Cava, sometimes it’s a Prosecco or a Franciacorta, and sometimes it’s Champagne. It’s usually some tasty sparkler from California.

Those are my usual choices for the dinner prep. Meanwhile, I’m usually decanting some fabulous red to actually drink DURING dinner.  Before I know it, I’ve had quite a bit of wine. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I’m at home, after all. During the week, though, it can sometimes get to be a bit much. Perhaps I should sometimes slow down on a “school” night!

So … I’ve taken to Bubly! Not THAT bubbly, but Bubly … with one capital “B” and one small “b”. My husband discovered this fun and tasty sparkling water that is lightly flavored with a variety of fruits.

Currently, my favorites are the orange and the apple. The orange has a nose of … well, ORANGE! The apple has a touch of … well APPLE on the palate! They have a slew of choices though. I can’t wait to try the cherry!

They are thirst quenching and the flavor is just right. Not too much! I even serve it in a Champagne flute to keep it festive. I feel good about myself because I’m hydrating too! AND … they are sugar-free and have ZERO calories!

Now I’ll never ever ever give up my sparkling wine, but this fun and tasty sparkling water is a lovely substitute for when I know that I’ll be drinking more wine later in the evening. Especially when I need to be responsible the next day. It’s also a great way to stay hydrated between wines at parties!

So if there are nights that you’re feeling the need to be “good”, reach for a Bubly (with one capital “B” and one small “b”)! With the wide selection of flavors, there’s bound to be some that will be as irresistible to you as they are to me!


The Great (RV) Kentucky Race, To Reach Buffalo Trace!

The Great (RV) Kentucky Race, To Reach Buffalo Trace!

My husband and I are on an adventure. A few years ago, we bought an RV. We love to travel and have been to so many great places around the world but decided it might be fun to explore more of the U.S., with our dogs in tow!

Since then every summer we’ve taken 4 to 6 weeks to do some exploring, with wine, beer and spirits experiences along the way.

Due to the pandemic, we knew that our experiences may be limited this year but decided to give it a shot. Plus, the experts say that RV travel is one of the safest things to do right now. We are using our own bathroom, sinks, and kitchen in our RV for the whole trip, so we feel as if we’re doing this right.

This year our first destination was Lexington, KY. We stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground and loved the experience. The grounds were well kept and the space between the RV campsites were generous. While walking our dogs we stumbled across the fact that we were parked right behind Rolex Stadium. What a treat to check that out.

Our main attraction for the area was to visit a distillery, OF COURSE!!!! We chose Buffalo Trace, not only because of its fine reputation, but also because it was one of the few open to the public.

Buffalo Trace did a great job using very thorough social distance procedures. We checked in for the tasting in a completely different building where we had our temperatures checked and were asked a bunch of questions. We were required to wear masks and waited in a secure area for the tasting to begin. Our appointment started right on time and we were escorted to a room where there were tables with one tasting flight per table and they were all safely apart.

The tasting itself was wonderful! Here’s what we tried:

Wheatly Vodka (Named after Buffalo Trace’s Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley, this vodka is made in small batches using Harlen’s one of a kind micro-still and a unique recipe of wheat and other grains. It is distilled 10 times, triple filtered and bottled at 82 proof.)

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon (This is their signature whiskey and has been made the same way for more than 200 years! It’s a smooth 45% ABV with a complex aroma and lovely on the palate. Think vanilla, brown sugar and baking spices. We bought a bottle of this and have been drinking it in our RV after stopping for the nights!)

Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey (This whiskey is aged for no less than ten years before bottled. Again complex, with vanilla and oranges, along with herbaceousness. The palate is glorious, and the finish has a touch of chocolate. We bought a bottle of this to save to share with special friends!)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Bourbon Cream (Okay, the game is changing here! I’m not normally a liqueur kind of gal, but this stuff is special. Who needs cake for dessert when a glass of this is available? During the tasting they had us drink half of our pour and save the rest to make a root beer float. More info below!)

Freddie’s Root Beer (This root beer is named in honor of longtime Buffalo Trace Distillery tour guide, Freddie Johnson. As a third-generation employee, Freddie’s is an old-fashioned soda made with natural herbs, real oil of birch and imported vanilla. During the tasting we added the Bourbon Cream. We of course had to buy these products as well, and my husband has had at least one “root beer float” a night since the tasting. He’s addicted to this concoction!)

Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Ball (We ended the tasting with a fun bon bon. Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory is a historic chocolatier in Kentucky. The story goes back to 1919 when two substitute schoolteachers ventured into the chocolate business. Being the inventor of the Bourbon Ball, Buffalo Trace was a natural partner to create these delightful treats!

The only bummer … no Pappy available for tasting!!!! LOL Believe me, we weren’t expecting it! I’m thrilled to say that it has been on my palate a time or two, and in my opinion it lives up to the hype!

Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. They were even allowed to continue production during Prohibition to make whiskey for medicinal reasons. They are still family owned and located in Franklin County, Kentucky. Within the past decade, Buffalo Trace has won more awards than any other distillery in the world, including seven “Distillery of the Year” titles.

So, if you find yourself anywhere near Frankfort, KY be sure to schedule an appointment for Buffalo Trace. Even during these trying times, you can be sure that they are taking every precaution to keep people safe while enjoying some libation and fun!

P.S. If you’re in an RV, check out the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. It’s a gem, too!





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