My last post was a month ago. Yikes, sorry! But it’s all good!
I wish I could write more quickly and be able to post a minimum of once a week, or at least stockpile some posts for times like these, but that is just not me. I am a thinker—a ponderer. So instead, I process everything in my head for a while, and then I write. And trust me, it takes a bit for things to slosh around up there before I can spit the words back out. And when I have other big projects on the “to do” list, the writing suffers because I reach my maximum bandwidth capacity. So what have I been doing?
A New Wine Room
As I have mentioned, I conduct wine tasting promoting DTC-only (directly to the consumer) wineries. Finding a comfortable spot to do them with a great internet connection has been a challenge. So Gary and I decided to convert what used to be my photography workshop and studio into a wine room.
This took about four weeks with the help of Rapid Repair (thanks to Jennifer & Brian) to spruce up the room, Chris from Custom Home Sound to add and hang the TV, and, of course, Gary and my sisters. It is cozy and intimate yet, with the 55-inch TV, we can Zoom with my winery friends wherever they may be. And did I mention that the roof leaked, so that had to be fixed first! UGH!
We recently broke the room in with a wine tasting with our friends at Bokisch Vineyards. I loved that they “zoomed” directly from their vineyard in Lodi, CA., into our home to share their story and a bit about each wine we tasted.
Check out the wine room below during the Bokisch tasting.
The Inaugural Tasting: Bokisch Vineyards
I’d be remissed if I did not share the incredible wines we tasted that evening and the incredible tapas that my friend Amber from Wine Travel Eats made for this event because it’s all good!
The White Wines
We started with a bright and crisp Albariño. Light bodied and full of flavor, it was perfectly paired with a Shrimp Ceviche using one of Liz Bokisch’s recipes. The Garnacha Blanca was next, which we paired with Herbed cheese-stuffed Peppadew Peppers. There was plenty of acidity in this wine to cut through the creamy cheese and enough heft and flavor to balance with the sweet and spicy pepper. Two excellent pairings that beautifully showcased these wines.
Rosado and Old Vines Red
The third wine in the lineup was the rosé or rosado, as it is called in Spanish. This wine consists of 54% Garnacha, 41% Graciano, and 5% Tempranillo from estate vines. The wine spends four months in neutral French oak before bottling. We chose to pair it with Catalan Tomato Bread, a favorite of Liz. The fourth wine selection was the beautiful, soft, and flavorful old vine Carignan. The fruit for this wine is harvested from 135-year-old vines, making it a rare treat. Old Vine Zinfandel, sure, everyone has that – but Carignan? The age of the vines makes for smaller clusters and smaller berries, which in turn makes for a more concentrated flavor profile. Silky, luscious, huggable sips… one after another, hoping the glass never ends. This is a wine that will remain in my cellar vintage after vintage.
Tempranillo is THE red grape of Spain.
It is the grape that is Rioja and of Ribera del Duero. The fifth and sixth wines of the tasting were both Tempranillo. The first is a 2018 vintage Tempranillo from Liberty Oaks Vineyard. The nose offers a bit of smoke that continues onto the palate. Dark red and black fruits also arrive on the palate. We paired this with potato croquettas stuffed with Spanish chorizo and roasted red pepper.
The final wine is the 2014 Gran Reserve Tempranillo bottled under the Tizona label. This is a stunning wine. After 36 months in French and American oak followed by another 20 months in bottle, this wine was just released in late 2019. The wine is bold yet smooth, with perfectly balanced fruit, acidity, body, and texture. It is a real winner. And the second most ordered bottle at this tasting. Given that all the other wines sell in the $25-$32 range and this wine sell for $60, I think this speaks volumes. We paired this wine with our homemade Spanish meatballs, which is a tapas bar favorite.
Taste Bokisch Wines
2020 Family Estate Albarino sells for $25.00
2020 Garnacha Blanca sells for $24.00
2020 Terra Alta Rosado sells for $20.00
2018 Old Vine Carignan sells for $32.00
2018 Tempranillo Liberty Oaks sells for $29.00
2014 Gran Reserva Tempranillo sells for $60.00
You can order these and all the other Bokisch and Tizona wines on their website: Bokisch Vineyards.
Or by visiting the Bokisch Vineyards Tasting Room at 18921 Atkins Road, Lodi, CA
It’s all Good!
New Consulting Gig
I have been asked by my friend, Chris Hatzis, the new owner of Seven Stars Liquor on James Island, to assist him in replacing the wine selection from lower-end wines that you typically find in grocery stores. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel or create some sort of specialty wine shop. But what we do want is to showcase well-made wine from the great wine region in the US and producers around the globe that are underrepresented in the Charleston market. Additionally, Chris is 100% Greek, so he has a particular interest in fine Greek wines. I am also looking for well-made, “value” crowd-pleasers that are not industrially produced. James Island is changing, and the wine selection needs to reflect that.
This process is just beginning. And as Chris frequently says when I ask about the progress, “Come on… Rome was not built in a day.” But things are looking up, and he has gotten in some local favorites, some interesting Greek selections, as well as some crowd-pleasers. So if you are a James Islander or are in the neighborhood – be sure to stop in.
It will be a work in progress, and you can help. If you have a wine you love and buy all the time, let us know so we can have it for you when you come in. The store is located in the strip mall at the intersection of Folly Rd and Camp Rd. Look for the three red dots that denote a liquor store.
I am not a liquor drinker, nor do I know anything about hard liquor, but he is also bringing in hard-to-find and allocation whiskies and tequilas.
Seven Stars Liquors is located in the Shoppes of Folly Road at 915 Folly Rd K2, Charleston, SC 29412 * (843) 795-5055 *
Hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Saturday.
A Week in Charleston
with my wine writing mentor
When I started my wine writing journey back in 2017, I was very much in need of some guidance. Later that year, I attended my first wine writers conference. But it was not until the following year that I attended my first wine writers education conference that I formally met Amber Burke. We happened to sit next to each other on the very first day, and we have been great friends ever since. Amber and her husband David had a blog called Napa Food and Vine, which has since changed its name to Wine Travel Eats.
Amber became my mentor from the moment we met. She has introduced me to winery owners, PR professionals, other wine writers, winemakers, you name it. I could not have made this journey without her.
So I was thrilled beyond belief when Amber asked if they could visit us. They were here for a week before visiting family and other friends on the east coast. But we got them first, and what a blast sharing Charleston from my POV. We did not do touristy stuff. Instead, we ate great food, drank incredible wines as well as hung out at the beach for a few days.
And then I crashed, did laundry, slept, and slept some more. Exciting times.
You can sign up to get an invite to my Private, Invitation Only Tastings Here.
It’s all good!
Rick & Gary