Friday, April 30, 2010

poetry slam friday

which piece is mine?

i look at you, two
glasses tempting, filled to the
brim with suggestion

Thursday, April 29, 2010

who are you ... what am i ... ?

I found this survey on rbandj and I couldn't help myself. I used to be the biggest survey fan when I was in high school. I'd have one on my high school blog (not wine related) at least once a week. Nostalgia!

1. The strangest thing I've ever eaten was oysters. I tried them once just to say I had them, and they were the weirdest tasting things on the planet. It felt like eating a piece of slimy rubber. The taste was okay ... I just couldn't stand the texture.

2. My best friends are my two sisters, my mom, my boyfriend Julien, his sister Sidonie and my friends Carla and Blair. 

3. If I could live in a different era it would be I wouldn't choose to live in a different era because I like this one. I prefer women's rights over pretty dresses. Although it would be nice to see what the future is like. Not to live in it, but just to see it. 

4. If you only know one thing about me it should be I aspire to achieve absolute happiness and fulfillment in my life. If I am not happy, well then, what's the point? 

5. My favorite book of all time is "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. I've been reading that book ever since I was 6 years old, and every time I pick it up I get something different out of it. It's beautiful, heartbreaking and a wonderful reminder of how precious individualism is in this world. 

6. The one beauty product I cannot live without is concealer. If I have anything on my face it's concealer underneath my eyes. Not because I have circles or anything, but just because it makes my eyes brighter. 

7. Blogging is a great way to practice writing and get to know other people who you may not have the opportunity to meet. 

8. If I could star in a movie with one actor/actress, it would be probably Leonardo DiCaprio, because then I could introduce him to my sister Christine, who would die. Plus, he's an amazing actor. 

9. One of the best feelings in the world is joy. Pure joy. 

10. My current obsession is fixing the food issue in my house, because too much goes to waste. Also cooking.

11. What's for dinner tonight? I'm thinking tofu or potatoes with green beans, mushrooms and rosemary. With some mango chutney. 

12. The last thing I bought was a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

13. I am currently listening to my boyfriend snoring. Geez, I should really wake him up now. 

14. If I could have a home, totally paid for, totally furnished anywhere in the world, it would be in San Diego, because that's where I'm going for school. After I graduate, can I relocate the house to Paris? Anybody? 

15. The one thing I would change about myself is making my ankles stronger. I was born with twisted ankles and have always had weaker legs. That's something I need to improve, and one of the main reasons why I'm taking yoga.

16. If you could go anywhere in the world in the next hour, where would you go? Paris!

17. The languages I would love to learn are French. I want to master French because learning anything else.

18. My favorite quote (right now) is: "As long as there are still some of us left who read all is not lost." - Anonymous

19. I am most afraid of drowning. It seems like such a horrible way to die. 

20. My favorite colour is turquoise. It's just such a beautiful color. I also love black and red. 

21. My dream job is a professional wine blogger and freelance wine journalist. Owning my own freelance writing business. My dream of dreams. 

22. The one thing that brings a smile to my face instantaneously is a passionate kiss from my boyfriend. 

23. The one word I use a lot is "absolutely." I can be a bit of a yes person. 

24. When I'm feeling blue I will sit alone and feel sorry for myself until somebody pays attention to me. Pathetic, I know. 

25. What inspires me is myself. I try to live as my own inspiration, so that I aspire to live the life I want to live without trying to live somebody else's. 

26. My favorite season is usually the one that I'm in. If it's summer I love summer, if it's fall I love fall. My mood changes with the seasons. 

27. My favorite dessert has to be probably the Half Baked fro-yo from Ben & Jerry's. Delicious and less fattening. 

28. How many tabs are open on your browser right now? Just two, my blog page and a google search for who makes Half Baked fro-yo. I don't have the best memory ;). 

29. What was the first thought that crossed your mind this morning when you looked in the mirror?  I haven't been to the mirror yet today, but I'm sure I look a fright. 

30. The best piece of advice I was ever given was "You're meant to do great things in this life, so don't be so worried about being different now ... because in the future your differences will give you a beautiful life." - my parents

31. If I had a millions dollars to give to one charity, I would give it to the Beth Elderkin is paying for her own college charity fund. Hey, you asked me to be honest ... well, I need money for school. 

32. If at first you don't succeed, you're human. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

featured blogger: custom wine labels - wine label designs

This week's featured blogger is Custom Wine Labels - Wine Label Designs. The blog, which is hosted by wine label company Maverick Label, is a constantly updated collection of unique wine labels found in the wine community. I found this site randomly when looking for a picture for yesterday's blog entry about HR 5034, and looked through multiple pages just gawking at all the beautiful wine labels. I really grew to appreciate the artistry and uniqueness of this medium. While shopping for a bottle yesterday at Save Mart I came across a couple of interesting labels myself; and, being motivated by the Custom Wine Labels blog, I took a couple of pictures and decided to share them with all of you.

the description on the back of this bottle was very cute and romantic, 
but the wine looked to be a little young.

the foil had the cutest little drawing of a cupcake,
I imagine this would be a great bridal or baby shower gift.

if you're ever on the hunt for an awesome label, check out
the zinfandel isle ... zins are cali's coolest grape!

If you think you've got the stuff to be wino rhino's next featured blogger, post a comment with a link to your blog and why it's awesome. Don't forget to throw something about wine in there!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

hot topic - hr 5034

Right now the subject on everybody's wine-stained lips is the newest bill introduced in the House of Representatives, HR 5034. If passed, it would pose severe restrictions on wineries shipping wine across state lines directly to their consumers, which would severely harm the wine industry, as well as the general economic situation for thousands of small businesses. I myself am skeptical that something like this could pass in the entire House of Representatives, especially given the current economic situation.
However, there seems to be some big money behind this bill ... most of which is provided by, you guessed it, wholesale wine distributor companies. Golly, big shocker there, right? So we should all keep our eyes and ears open in the off chance that this hack bill snakes its way through the House. If you would like some more information on the bill and how you can get involved, check out the following resources:

Dr. Vino
Facebook Fan Page - Stop HR 5034
Beau's Barrel Room
Free the Grapes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the mighty duck(horn)

As I mentioned yesterday, I haven't been drinking much wine (or alcohol of any kind, to be honest) lately after the whole "getting sick and feeling like crap" weekend I had recently during Pebble Beach Food and Wine. My body has just been trying to re-energize itself, and wine just hasn't been on the menu towards full recovery.
However, there was a wine I tried during Pebble Beach Food and Wine which I would love to share with all of you. One of the booths I was looking forward to the most was Duckhorn Vineyards out of Napa Valley, and the reason for that was because of their 2007 Merlot. However, this wasn't the first time I'd tried Duckhorn. I recently sampled some with my sister and her fiance when I went to their house for dinner.
And let's just say: it's fabulous.

pictured: fabulousness

The 2007 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot ($50) is 89% Merlot blended with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. Now, the old Beth would've scoffed at the fact that it wasn't 100% Merlot ... however, the new Beth applauds when wines succeed in blending, so as to make a better tasting product. So, applauds commence! It does clock in at 14.5% alcohol, which isn't unusual for California reds ... but still, I'm not the biggest fan of high alcohol content myself.
The nose had notes of cherry, particularly red cherry. It was bright, fresh and refreshing on the nose ... not quite a eucalyptus or grassy smell, but rather like a wooded forest after a fresh rainfall. There were also notes of dark chocolate, which smelled delicious.
The mouth of the wine was medium-bodied, and was slightly tannic without drying out the palate considerably. It again showed the bright red cherry, and lots of it. There were also notes of nutmeg, dark chocolate and ... oddly enough ... a tinge of cilantro. I think it had to do with the spices on the wine, as well as the freshness on the nose. The wine finished with some white pepper.
Overall, this wine clocked in at nothing short of delicious. I was looking forward to tasting it again at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival and was not disappointed. I also tried one of their Pinot Noirs that was very good ... I'll try and seek it out so that I can share it with all of you in the future.
On another note, the original provider of this wine, Dave (my sister's fiance) is celebrating his birthday soon, so Happy Birthday Dave!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

just say no (when yes sounds illing)

I'm sorry I haven't written about any wines over the past week. After my experience at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest, my body was saying no to alcohol ... and you've gotta listen to the body, yes? Last night was the first night I had any wine since that weekend. Will write about it later today :). Now I'm off to work!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'tis the season of wine fests!

April appears to be a great month for wine. Several different wine (and food) tasting events are happening all over the country. Last weekend was Pebble Beach Food and Wine at Pebble Beach in CA, which I had the pleasure of attending. Well, some of it anyway. I didn't get to go to the Grand Lexus Tasting because I had food poisoning. Still grumbling about it. Grumble grumble grumble.
Here's a list of just a few of the wine tastings that are going on this month. If you happen to be in any of the areas, I definitely recommend checking one out. They're a great educational experience ... plus, wine!

April 16-May 31 - Disney's California Food and Wine Festival (Anaheim, CA)
April 21-25 - Dallas Wine and Food Festival (Dallas, TX)
April 22-24 - Miami Wine and Food Festival (Miami, FL)
April 22-25 - 24th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival at Baytowne Wharf (Destin, FL)
April 24 - Danville Wine Festival (Danville, PA)
April 25 - Rivers of Chocolate Wine and Food Festival (San Jose, CA)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

one wine to rule them all

"Varietalism is the scourge of the modern wine industry."

That's a direct quote from one of the master sommeliers (first name Joe, they weren't really on a last name basis) at a wine seminar I had the amazing pleasure of attending yesterday during this weekend's Pebble Beach Food and Wine event at the Inn at Spanish Bay.
The seminar, named 'The Once and Future Wine of California' was all about the origins of winemaking in California during the mid 19th century ... and how, believe it or not, blending was a key factor in early California winemaking. For the past 40-50 years Californian wines have prided themselves on single varietal creations, proudly stating that it should be the power of the grape that carries the wine. However, there are quite a few winemakers who are returning to their roots (pun intended) in order to reclaim what they believe is a vital winemaking process that creates multidimensional wines.
And let me tell you, these wines we tasted were not just multidimensional. They were phenomenal. And not one of them cost over $100 per bottle - many of them were in the $25-40 range! These wines held characteristics of classic Bordeaux blends, but with a unique California flair that presents a certain sweetness, a unique berry quality that France doesn't always have. Most of them contained Zinfandel as their premier grape - because, according to winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Vineyards, zinfandel is a highly versatile grape that is difficult to produce entirely on its own, but works fantastically as a leading grape for California blends.

Above is a snapshot of all the wines we tasted, but I'll only go over a few of my favorite choices in the interest of saving time. The first notable wine would be the 2007 Elyse Nero Misto from Napa Valley ($29).  Nero Misto, which means "mixed black" in Italian, is a blend of several different grape varietals which led to a very interesting combination. The nose had strong notes of tobacco, red curry and ... you're not going to believe this ... hemp. Yes, the wine tasted a bit of the funky bunch. My boyfriend Julien pointed this out to the winemakers, and their response was "Hooray!" which I thought was funny. The mouth on this wine was tannic, which some dark berry (particularly boysenberry) with some red curry on the finish. I loved the sweet spices on this wine and how they blended well with the deep berry flavors. It made for a very unique wine that tasted amazing.
Another notable wine was the 2006 School House Mescolanza from St. Helena ($40). This wine was unique because of its interesting sweetness. It almost tasted like a red Gerwerztraminer, with strong notes of apple juice and a sweet cream. The mouth also had red cherry in addition to that addicting cream I got on the nose. I don't believe I would ever buy a bottle of this, just because I would have no clue what to pair it with, but it was a favorite just because of its uniqueness.
And finally, my personal favorite for the day was the 2008 Bedrock Lorenzo from Sonoma ($35). What I loved about this wine were the heavy notes of limestock and earth, which the winemaker said came from the fact that the soil (which is red) has been dry farmed for 110 years, contributing to the suffering (and thus better flavor) of the grapes. The nose was completely earthy, which the mouth also had dark fruit and strong tannins. But I just loved smelling this wine. I would love to pair this with some hoison-glazed tofu and vegetables. Hmm ... idea forming!
In the end, I came out of the wine seminar a better, more educated person. I used to have some of that single varietal bias that many California tasters can develop ... but now, I'll be looking for some of those blends to try out for myself. They truly made for some high quality and multidimensional wines, and I am truly grateful that I got to try them out for myself. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

poetry slam friday

broken glass

it's amazing how something so beautiful
can turn into something ugly
all because of one touch
one movement

everything tumbles down

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2009 reds: menace or, um, something else?

This is the 2009 vintage of me. Not much has changed, right? I haven't aged significantly. I mean, other than a different hairstyle (which you'll see me do quite a bit, because I get bored easily), I'm not that much different than I was last April.
And yet, between April 2009 Beth and current Beth, several new red wines have been picked, bottled and shipped out to the worldwide public. Wines that are only as old as this picture.
One night this week while serving at my night job, I noticed that our Colores Del Sol Malbec ($12) had switched vintages. Hardly uncommon in the restaurant business. But this was a change I couldn't help but notice. We had switched from the 2008 vintage, already a rather new year, to the 2009. When I first saw the label I thought it was a joke. I was appalled, yet intrigued.
So when a customer ordered a glass, I took the opportunity to grab a sippy straw, dunk it into the wine, and use my thumb to pull out a small sample. Well, let me tell you something, it was abysmal. It was too light, too bland and too sour to be considered even a decent wine! I couldn't imagine drinking a whole glass of it, let alone a bottle.

Don't let the artsy photo fool you - this wine belongs in a sauce, at best. 

And I found myself wondering how it's possible that a wine company could even consider whipping out a vintage so quickly without giving it a chance to develop. From what I've seen there are quite a few lower end wines, particularly in South America, that do this quite often. Granted, South America has a different picking time than American and Europe do (February to April instead of September to November), but all the same, it just didn't taste developed. How long does it even sit in the barrel, or the bottle, before being shipping out to stores? It can't be longer than a couple of months - it certainly doesn't taste like it sat for a long time.
So I don't know if it was the grape quality, the aging time ... or the lack of either of those things ... that let to such a sub-par product. It was a severe blow to my tastebuds, that's about all I can.
I'm going to be doing some more research into this whole new vintage anti-vintage phenomenon, trying to find out just what makes some wine companies so desperate to make a buck that they're willing to ship something out before it's anything good. Maybe buying a few and trying them out (heaven forbid). If you have any ideas or 2009 reds I should *gulp* try, let me know.