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DAY TWO: D.C. COAST AND DYNAMITE VINEYARDS

Date: Mon, Jul 28, 2008 Wine Tasting



Day Two in Washington, D.C. and the weather is great. You never know how it is going to be in mid-Summer as the heat and humidity can be stifling. A morning filled with a meeting led to a rendezvous with #1 back at our hotel and then a short walk to a french bistro for lunch. We chose Bistro D'Oc across from the infamous Ford's Theater and had an acceptable lunch but nothing to write home about, or post about on a blog. Selections were mediocre and their wine was uninspired and overpriced. Our dinner choice, however, was much different. We made reservations at D.C. Coast and were promptly seated when we arrived. A great vibe at this restaurant and good food/wine to match. We had the Caesar Salad w/anchovies, the Pan Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the Double Cut Pork Chop and finished it off with a delightful souffle'. All of our selections were delicious+. Of course we had to drink something with this and both ordered the 2006 Dynamite Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. A very light, buttery wine with nice acidity and apple and grass noted on the palate. Very refreshing finish and so tasty we each had a couple of glasses. Check out this restaurant when you're in D.C., and try the Dynamite Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, as I don't think you'll be disappointed in either. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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D.C. TRIP, OLD EBBITT GRILL & INDEBLEU

Date: Fri, Jul 11, 2008 Wine Tasting



Business called me back to D.C. and another stay at the Grand Hyatt. If you missed my last trip where I stayed there you can read about it here. This time I got the room I reserved and all was well. Fortunately #1 was able to come with me on this trip which made it much more enjoyable. We landed at Reagan National around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday and promptly arrived at the Grand Hyatt by 2:00 p.m. A great thing about this hotel is that I've always been able to check-in early, even though the "official" check-in time is 3:00 p.m. I've even seen people checking in at 9:00 a.m.! After we got settled we headed off to the Old Ebbitt Grill , a Washington institution that brims with history and ambiance. We went on the light side when ordering, I had a single crab cake special, which was almost 100% crab meat, and #1 ordered a Caesar salad, a cheese sampler plate that we shared, and a dozen sumptuous oysters that we also shared. All Oysters and Shrimp Cocktails are half-priced after 3:00 p.m., f.y.i.
After this great lunch we headed back to our king-sized bed for a luxury that comes round once every 4 to 5 years or so. An afternoon nap! Nothing like turning on the air conditioner full blast, getting the room nice and dark, and snoozing for a few hours. Nirvana! After our siesta we did a quick search of available, area restaurants and made a reservation at Indebleu . We made our reservation through OpenTable.com which I highly recommend for major city reservations. It is fast, easy and costs nothing. They've also got a lot of good information about the different restaurants and reviews from users and others. Indebleu ended up being an excellent choice! #1 ordered the Seared Foie Gras while I had a special called Crispy Sea Bass. Both were delicious and the Foie Gras was so good that we ordered a second serving. We accompanied all of this Asian-fusion styled food with a delicious bottle of a red, French Pinot Noir, whose name, unfortunately, I didn't save. It was offered by the glass but we talked the waiter into letting us buy a whole bottle at a 4-glass price. We still came out ahead and it was really good wine. Day 2 in my next post. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine in D.C.!

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2006 ERRATIC CHARDONNAY

Date: Sun, Jul 6, 2008 Wine Tasting



Never has a wine been more appropriately named. The 2006 Erratic Chardonnay from Washington state definitely has an "erratic" taste. On the nose maybe a little hint of lemon but couldn't pick up anything else. When I first tasted this it was well-chilled and the flavors on the palate were pretty much non-existent. It got a little better after it warmed a few degrees but I still couldn't find anything to recommend about this wine. Finish was, how can I say this with a straight face, erratic! Not smooth but also not harsh. Just finished. I paid $8.99 for this bottle which was about $6.99 too much. Avoid this one. Not sinkable but darn close! Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine other than Erratic Chardonnay!

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NORTH AMERICAN WINE BLOGGERS CONFERENCE

Date: Fri, Jul 4, 2008 Wine Tasting


Just a quick note to all my fellow wine bloggers/writers that there is going to be a Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma County October 24-26. Further information can be found at http://www.winebloggersconference.org/ . Should be a good time and I'm sure a lot of good wine will be tasted by all. Wish I could attend but I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass unless some deep pocketed wine consortium wants to send me? Yeah, right! Drop me a line if you plan on attending. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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2006 LA VIEILLE FERME COTES DU LUBERON

Date: Sat, Jun 28, 2008 Wine Tasting








Today's reviewed wine is a lovely Cotes du Luberon Blanc White from Rhone Valley Vineyards. I found this one recently and was shocked to find, first, a French anything in Arkansas, and second, a really good French white! This one comes with a screw off cap, even the French are giving into that trend, but after pouring my first tasting I quickly forgot about the lack of cork. Lots of fruit, particularly green apple, with just a hint of dryness, peach and oak. A very nice floral bouquet and spice led to a beautiful, smooth finish. I paid around $11.99 for this one which means if you're just about anywhere else in the world you can probably find it for $8.99 or less. I easily gave this find 4 Corkscrews and highly recommend it. I know I'll be picking up several more bottles in the coming days. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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2007 FERRARI-CARANO PINOT GRIGIO

Date: Tue, May 27, 2008 Wine Tasting





I stopped at one of our bigger wine stores in town to stock up on several bottles as we were having friends over for a cookout on Memorial Day. I quickly found several chardonnays that were decently priced and then turned my attention to the Pinot Gris. Seeing that the Kings Estate was on sale with a savings of $6.00/bottle I reached for one. The lady who was helping me locate the Pinot Gris stopped me and pointed out today's reviewed wine, the 2007 Ferrari-Carano Pinot Grigio. Telling me it was new to the Arkansas market, was every bit as good as the Kings Estate, and was also priced at $14.99/bottle, I let her talk me into this one. I wish I hadn't! Not that this is a bad wine, by any stretch, it's just no Kings Estate and it is definitely over-priced at $14.99/bottle. Some melon and peach were noted on the nose with kiwi, honeydew melon and lemon picked up on the palate. Not the kind of finish I like, rather biting and harsh, made this wine mediocre in my book. I can't recommend this wine at any price point above $7-8/bottle. I gave it 2 Corkscrews and only arrived at that rating after my second day of tasting. I thought it might get up to the 3 Corkscrew rating the second day but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. I suggest laying off this one unless you get a great, closeout price on it. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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2004 MOON MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY

Date: Mon, May 26, 2008 Wine Tasting




Well it has been some time since I've posted a new wine review, it's amazing how much time coaching a 7-8 year old's baseball team can take, no complaints though just very little time to write. I liked today's reviewed wine so much that I knew it would be the first review I'd post when I got a chance to write a line or two. A 2004 Moon Mountain Vineyards Chardonnay, #1 and I found this in a grocery store in Sedona, Arizona. We asked our waiter at the Hilton resort where a good wine store was and we were greeted with bemused wonderment. After thinking for a minute or so he told us that the local grocery store down the street carried wine and gave us directions. He was correct! In fact, they had quite the selection. We came across this one on an end cap at a ridiculously low price of $3.99/bottle. We took it back to our room, chilled it and popped the cork later in the evening. Needless to say we hightailed it back to the store the next day to stock up as this was a really good chardonnay. Medium body with lots of apple, toasty vanilla, nutmeg and a silky smooth finish. We couldn't believe our good fortune to find such a good wine at such a good price. Don't know the possibility of finding any more of this, we found this back in March, but if you do don't let the low price scare you off! This is a good chardonnay. Easily gave it 4 Corkscrews based on taste and excellent value. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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JUST PHOTOGRAPHY: ARIZONA

Date: Sat, Apr 12, 2008 Wine Tasting

Late March and I had the good fortune to travel to Arizona with the family for Spring Break and a three-day conference. I'll be posting a couple of wine reviews from that trip but wanted to go ahead and share some of the photos I had the opportunity to take. Today's photos are from Sedona, Arizona and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!


















Camera Nikon D80, f/4.8. 1/400s, VR 18-55 lens at 30mm
ISO 140


















Camera Nikon D80, f/5.3, 1/500s, VR 18-55 lens at 38mm
ISO 140
























Camera Nikon D80, f/5.6, 1/500s, VR 18-55 lens at 52mm, ISO 200









Camera Nikon D80, f/5.3, 1/125s, VR 18-55 lens at 38mm, ISO 100

Nikon D80, f/5.6, 1/80s, VR 18-55 lens at 55mm, ISO 100

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JUST PHOTOGRAPHY TALK: FUN WITH THE NIKON D80 PHOTOS

Date: Fri, Mar 14, 2008 Wine Tasting

f/5.6, 1/60s w/18-55mm f/3.5 - 5.6G VR lens at 45mm



f/5.3, 1/60s, 18-55 f/3.5 - 5.6G VR lens at 46mm


f/8, 1/60s, 18-55 f/3.5 - 5.6G VR lens at 48mm


f/8, 1/60s, 18-55 f/3.5 - 5.6G VR lens at 46mm

A few moments to kill this afternoon and I thought I'd see how creative I could get with the new Nikon D80. All of these were taken in natural light with the first three cropped and enhanced with Capture NX and the last one of the whole flower only cropped with no enhancements. Comments and suggestions very, very welcomed. New wine reviews coming this weekend. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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JUST PHOTOGRAPHY TALK: D80 WINS IT!

Date: Tue, Mar 11, 2008 Wine Tasting


After much research, hand wringing, price comparison, and way too much back and forth, I decided to buy the Nikon D80. I've had it for a week now and am very pleased. It came with the 18-55 VR lens which I've been testing on a variety of portrait shots as well as macro, and I've been impressed with the quality of photos. I've also been trying out an 80-200mm non-VR lens and taking some sports shots and have been equally impressed with those results. I shot a lot of them at f2.8 at a speed of 1600. I was able to stop footballs in mid-rotation and the depth-of-field was exactly what I was trying to accomplish with the blurred background. I've got tons and tons to learn and am open to any suggestions. After I have a storehouse of photographs I'll post a daily for critique and feedback. I also plan to upload photographs to a pbase gallery or other online location but that's in the future. Of course I plan to personally photographs all of my reviewed bottles in the future and would like feedback on those as well. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine, Get Out There and Take Photographs!

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JUST WINE TALK: NOBLE PIG

Date: Sun, Mar 2, 2008 Wine Tasting

Just a short post to share a site that I've been visiting and can highly recommend. Noble Pig is a site written by Cathy who is located in a peculiar little California town. She writes about wine but also about other topics which makes her site interesting. She also likes to photograph yummy recipes that she shares and gives step-by-step instructions along with her how-to photographs. Somewhat new to the blogosphere, she's got an interesting style of writing. Check it out when you get a chance as I think you'll find it very interesting. I've added her site to my Wine Joints I Like as I liked it that much. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine and check out Noble Pig!

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JUST TALK: WINE LOVERS SHOP

Date: Wed, Feb 27, 2008 Wine Tasting

As someone who loves wine and all the paraphernalia that goes along with it, I've decided to partner with Amazon.com to highlight items that I would like to have and think my readers might be interested in. Easily accessed by clicking on the 365Corks Shop photograph above, or by clicking on the Shop link underneath the photo, I've found highly rated items that I would personally love to have, and in some instances, do. There's Spiegelau and Riedel glassware and exquisite Laguiole Corkscrews. In the Wine Gadgets Section there's the Vinturi Wine Aerator, the Waring Pro Double Bottle Wine Chiller, the PEK Supremo Wine Preserver as well as several other top-notch items. I've highlighted lots of great books and DVD's about wine and wine travel. I've taken the time to identify and highlight great wine coolers by Haier, Vinotemp and Danby. For a special treat visit the Money No Object? section. And last I've added a section for My Camera Loving Friends that highlights all of the equipment I would love to have and that is highly rated. All purchases are backed 100% by the Amazon reputation for being a great online retailer. Take a look and let me know if you think I should add anything. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine and Check out the Wine Lovers Shop!

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2006 PARDUCCI CHARDONNAY

Date: Wed, Feb 27, 2008 Wine Tasting



A good, affordable wine that goes well with anything, or all by itself. That is my quest and the 2006 Parducci Chardonnay from Mendocino Wine Company perfectly fits the bill. Lots of fruit aromas on the nose with lots of apple and vanilla flavors on the palate and an absolute perfect balance of oak. A hint of dryness with a very smooth finish made this a very enjoyable wine to partake of. In my quest to find out more about this wine, I had never even seen it before my purchase, I found the Mendocino Wine Company website and learned that they were the first carbon neutral winery in the United States. Now I'm not a so-called "tree hugger" by any stretch but do think we can do more to preserve the earth's bounty for future generations. It is nice to know that a company is doing their part and making great wine. I bought this one for $10.99 and gave it 4 Corkscrews as it was an overall enjoyable and tasty wine. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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2006 3 TREES PINOT NOIR

Date: Sat, Feb 23, 2008 Wine Tasting





I must admit that I was a little suspicious of today's reviewed wine. The 2006, 3 Trees Pinot Noir, from Australia, was on sale for $11.99. In the past I've been mostly unimpressed with Pinot's at this price point. Well, I'm still unimpressed. This wine had very little flavor that I could pick up and seemed somewhat uninspired. Not much to note on the nose and when I took the first sip Pinot Noir was the last thing that came to mind. After it warmed a little I was able to pick up a little blackberry and spice but nothing that overwhelmed me. Kind of a blah finish as well. I gave this one 2 Corkscrews because it was drinkable, barely, and I didn't pour it down the sink. Avoid this one if you can. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine (Something Else for sure)!

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