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Strong Coffee to Red Wine Posts

Smith Madrone Vineyards and Winery

Legendary Boutique Napa Valley Winery I first met Stuart Smith, Founder and Managing Partner of Smith-Madrone Winery at WWET 2018 in Napa Valley. He was a presenting winemaker at a couple of seminars sharing his POV, his wines, and his history in the Valley. If you are from Napa, I will venture that you know Stu, as he is known. After the conference, Gary and I stuck around for a couple more days. We intended to make our way up Spring Mountain, where the winery resides. But the road can be treacherous during inclement weather, and the clouds were not…

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Boxed Cake on Steroids

Does anyone else agree that boxed cake mixes make lackluster cakes?  Yea, me too.  I find them crumbly and light in texture and flavor. So light that when you stab it with a fork, the bite falls apart and back on your plate. The only solution is to smash it onto the back of your fork and/or use icing or ice cream to collect the crumbs. Yes, I could make cakes from scratch, and I will now that I got a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. But sometimes you need something quick. Since I started learning how to bake (see past…

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Boutique Wine Must Buys – Part One

With the shutting down of tasting rooms throughout US wine regions, small family wineries are taking a hit. Yes, they have their club members and some other loyal fans, but the tasting rooms bring in new customers. So allow me to introduce you to some of my favorite family-operated wineries and the incredible boutique wine that they make.  There is something for every palate in this list. Please give them a try. And tell them that Strong Coffee to Red Wine sent you. Methven Family Vineyards Does Gamay and So Much More I had the pleasure of visiting Methven Family…

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Acquiesce Winery and Vineyard

A Virtual Tasting Opportunity Over the past couple of years, Acquiesce Winery kept popping up on my social media feeds. I am a big fan of white Rhône varietals so I was always intrigued by the glowing recommendations. One day in the midst of “sheltering-in-place”, I needed a mood booster, so I took the plunge and became a club member. This club is a six (6) bottle shipment, but if you bump it up to a case (12 bottles) you get free shipping.  As a result, I got at least one bottle of each of the nine single varietals and…

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Questions About Shipping, Shock & Heat

Did you check out the last post on Barbacoa? If you skipped it, you missed a bunch more “Memes and Funnies”, so you may want to head back just to give yourself a laugh. In the meantime, let’s get to these questions that readers and friends have recently asked me about wine. Questions about Shipping Wine, Bottle Shock, and Heat Exposure I was recently on a Facetime call with friends in Ohio. We were discussing how much they were loving the Acquiesce Grenache Rosé they were drinking. It is a wine I introduced to them as well as arranged an…

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Barbacoa – Not Just for Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo came and went this year. It was nothing like last year when we celebrated Cinco de Derby with the fun fascinators and muy mucho margaritas, but it was still fun. This year, I made my now famous (according to my family) Slow Cooker Barbacoa.  Dang, it is really delicious.  So I am going to promise myself now. Barbacoa is not just for Cinco de Mayo anymore. But First More Funnies because we still need to laugh This past week Charleston and South Carolina loosened shelter in place restrictions, but it is still a ghost town in most…

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Brooks Winery: The Passion of Wine…

… Especially Riesling About one month ago in the post In These Times of Covid, I highlighted several of the wines we had been drinking so far during the lockdown. I also asked if there were any that you’d be interested in learning more.  A reader commented and asked about the Brooks Winery 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir.  Brooks Winery has such a compelling history. So, in addition to sharing my notes of their rosé, I thought there might also be interest in the winery. So without further adieu, this is Brooks Winery… “I’m not afraid to die, but I’m…

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In My Glass & Some Covid Laughs

Sheltering at home has become monotonous.   It is not that these days are much different than most other days, except for the fact that the choice to go out or not has been made for us. We have even continued our neighborhood happy hours, albeit at a social distance of 6 feet apart.  But it is a mental game that has been playing with my head. My ability to focus is limited by the ongoing distraction. To get out of my head, I need/want two things, laughs, and wine. So this post is some funny memes I have collected on…

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Herd Provisions for Brunch…

… before the citywide closures. On Sunday, March 15th Gary and I went to Herd Provisions for brunch with a group of dear friends. This was just two days before the city asked all restaurants to close for in-restaurant dining. I was going to hold off on posting this until things got better, but that looks to be a while longer, and I did not want to wait. Besides, last week we got a flyer from a couple of high schoolers looking for work. We hired them, and when chatting, I learned that one of the young men works at…

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