Black Ops…a covert red wine.  Yes, covert, really.

Black Ops:  A red blend hy Pearmund Cellars
I’m actually not kidding about the covert part in the title.  Black Ops is not part of the tasting list at Pearmund Cellars.  They sell it as one of their reserves, which was great for us on Black Friday when all their reserves were on sale.  So what’s covert about it?  A couple things:  it’s a red blend, but they won’t tell what is blended in, percentages of grapes/wines or even which grapes/wines are used…even to their employees pouring wine for the tasting masses.  They also won’t reveal the alcohol percentage of the vintages.

Aside from the mystery of it all, the important part is the taste.  Not being one of those folks who can taste every separate ingredient and grape in the wine, I can only tell you that it is good…for me, anyway.  I think I caught a hint of tobacco giving it a slight smokiness that I really like (would have liked more of it in this one), and it was nice and full, like the cabs and merlots that I really like.  That’s about as good as I can do in describing its taste and body.

Had we been able to taste it first, I probably would not have bough it.  Not that it isn’t good, but I really loved Pearmund Cellars Merlot**…and it was less expensive that Black Ops.

**look for my review of Pearmund Cellars Merlot soon

Just 1 Story about this 1000 Stories Zinfandel: It’s good!

1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zindandel

I know there are a lot of people who like zinfandels, red and the dreaded ‘white zin’.  I have not been one of them.  My in-laws enjoy them and I’ve tried many, but they aren’t to my liking.  The week before Thanksgiving, my wife and I were shopping in our local Trader Joes and our favorite wine expert Wall-E recommended this Zindandel based on my description of what I like in a wine.  I was a bit apprehensive since I don’t like zins and it sells for $15ish, which is more than our usual price point for retail store wines, but we took his advice and bought a bottle.  Wall-E has led me to the only zinfandel I like.  I guess the bourbon barrel aging is the key.  I’m very happy with this wine and will be sure to let Wall-E know next time I see him.

StoneGate and Keswick vineyards 


The third and fourth bottles at Thanksgiving this year are Keswicks’s Cabernet Franc and StoneGate’s Cabernet Sauvignon.  I like them both.  Prefer the StoneGate, I think.  The Keswick’s temperature coming out of the wine fridge may have been too cool to get the full effect, though.

Touriga from Keswick Vineyards

Made from grapes used for port, Touriga has a smoky full taste that gives me a happy, warm feeling.  It’s the first bottle of Thanksgiving 2016…with many more to follow.  Cheers!

Quinta das Carvalhas 10yr Tawny Port: Moto Bene

Pic of 10yr Tawny Port by Quinta fas CarvalhasBetween Tawnies and Rubies, I find myself drawn more to Tawny.  No, I don’t think it’s because the name takes me back to the 80s and that sexy Whitesnake video.

This porto, much like Miss Tawny, is very yummy.  It’s not too syruppy with just the right amount of sweet.

McManis is Magnificent!

We had a new Total Wine & More open near us so we headed up there on Saturday to check it out.  We had a tasting of Williamsburg Winery wines (two whites and a red), a tasting of Spanish wines (three reds and two whites) and I tasted a few beers from St. George’s and some brewery from North Carolina.

As we’d just about dinished perusing the store, looking and selecting a number of bottles, the store began setting up another tasting.  There was a white, the McManis pictured above, and The Prisoner, which doesn’t normally get tastes as it goes for about $40 a bottle.  I’m glad we waited for the guy to finish setting up.  Wow!  The McManis is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has replaced my previous favorite, Annefield Vineyards (and a good thing since they went out of business), and will likely be my new go to wine since it’s regular price is less than $10.

The Prisoner, btw, on hit my “it’s okay” meter, which certainly isn’t high enough for me to spend almost $40 on it.

I highly recommend McManis.  I know wine is highly subjective, but it’s certainly worth you givng it a taste.

HBD, Pops!

I know it’s kind of an arbitrary age to write a post to one’s parent, but seeing as how life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, and how tomorrow is promised to no one, this post is dedicated to my dad on his 73rd birthday.

This post is a two-parter.  It contains the opening and closing paragraphs of a writing course assignment in which I had to write about someone I admire.  It also contains lyrics from Dan Fogelberg’sLeader of the Band“.
Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of my assignment on my father, The Professional Soldier:

Woosha-woosha-woosha.  The whispery sound of brush on shoe quietly echoed through our house each morning.  Each morning also brought the musky smell of Old Spice, my father’s after shave.  In the kitchen, Old Spice mixed with the aroma of coffee and peanut butter on toast.  One more quick trip to the bathroom to brush his teeth and my father was on his way to work.  Routine.  The Army drills until its tasks become second nature in any terrain or climate.  Similarly, whether we were living in Germany, Hawaii, or one of the U. S. states, my father ‘s morning regimen was precision.  He left the house on time every day looking sharp, ready to accomplish the tasks the day presented.  For many years, to me, he was the embodiment of the Army –the professional soldier.

My father taught me more than he knows about setting standards for ourselves and always striving to maintain those standards.  He showed me how to be a leader.  He inspired me to always do my best, to set high standards and work to achieve my goals.  I suppose I also got my unwavering patriotism from my father, the professional soldier.

Leader of the Band is a great ballad that Dan Fogelberg wrote as a tribute to his father.  While my father wasn’t a musician, he did love playing his records, and I credit the variety he played with influencing my love of so many varied genres.  His “stories of the road” were stories of places he had lived growing up and after enlisting in the Army…some of which my family were part of.  The rest of these lines are self-explanatory, but so aptly apply:

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I Love You!

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