Summer Standards

Summer is the time for chilled whites, light reds, and of course bubbles. You all know I like variety and mixing it up, but Dry Creek Vineyard’s Chenin Blanc is one I keep going back to. I always have a bottle or six of this one handy. It’s perfect for sipping on the beach, on the porch, in your air conditioning, or in your hot as hades non-air-conditioned space.

My essential summer staples also include plastic wine glasses #beachlife

It would go well with a handful of nuts[1], or with an exquisitely prepared Chicken Piccata, with fresh lemons, a handful of capers, garnished with a sprinkle of garden-grown parsley[2].

The folks over at Dry Creek Vineyard sure know how to tug on my Loire-Valley loving heart strings. Their website tells the back story for this bottle:

“If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dry Creek Vineyard extends praise to our original source of inspiration in the small French village of Vouvray in the Loire Valley. It was in Vouvray, that our love affair with Chenin Blanc began.”

Once I discovered the Loire Valley and Chenin Blanc, there was no turning back. Kudos to Dry Creek for having been able to replicate[3] the subtly sweet and delicious crispness indicative of their French inspiration.

I get notes of floral and stone fruit, peaches perhaps, with a touch of minerality behind the scenes. The mouthfeel is perfection; great body with a silky swirl finish. At $12.99 a bottle, you seriously can’t go wrong[4].

AND let’s not forget that summer doesn’t end until September 22 this year. That’s FOUR MORE DAYS OF SUMMER PEOPLE! Savor your favorite summer staple while you still can. I know I will be.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Tonight’s dinner. #momlife

[2] What I wish I was eating for dinner.

[3] My favorite kind of replication, however, will always be the RepliKate.

[4] And Wine.Com ALWAYS has amazing coupon codes to get this for even less! #extremecouponing

Stopping to Smell the Roses[1]

I was on the phone yesterday with an Older Member of The Bar[2]. The older set always has a story to tell and I thoroughly enjoy hearing about what the “good old days” were like. On this particular occasion, Older Member was reminiscing about the days before email, iPhones, computers and even fax machines. “We used to use carbon paper,” he said. “When we edited a contract, we’d put the revisions in the mail. A few days later the other side would get them and then we’d talk about it on the phone.”

“How did businesses survive and function?” I asked.IMG_6738

“Slowly,” he said.

Apparently there was no court in the summer[3], and when he was a newbie in the 1960s, he told me how the older set would tell him about how things used to be, back when everyone wasn’t rushing around. And that was way before cell phones. Can you imagine what the next ten years will bring? It’s a bit scary.

So today, when I got home and finished my conference calls, I decided to stop and smell the roses. Literally. And drink a little wine of course.

______________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               June 5, 2015
Wine:              2013 Domaine de Vaufuget Vouvray
______________________________________________
The pale golden maize color makes me think of summer. Maybe it’s because it’s chilled, but the legs are doing something interesting. As I swirl, the cool wine causes condensation bubbles to appear where it touches the glass. Instead of the legs running down, at least in certain areas, the condensation quickly dissipates downward. An interesting phenomenon. On the nose I get scents of grass and something citrusy, I think it’s orange. Maybe even a bit of honey. A touch on the sweet side, but not headache inducing. It has a unique flavor, a sweet yet earthy white. Medium to full bodied with a fairly thick consistency. Now that it’s warmed a bit in my glass, peach is the most prominent flavor. This certainly isn’t like a typical Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, which is exactly why I bought something I’d never heard of before.

IMG_6753I apparently overpaid at $12.99 since it’s widely available for less, but at these prices, I really can’t be mad. Old timers and newbie lawyers alike should give this one a try!

Wine Dossier
Contrary to my initial belief when I read the label, Vouvray is not a grape varietal. Instead, it is a region in France’s Loire Valley.[4] This bottle is produced by Domaine de Vaufuget. The name appears on the label such that you think that is the name of the winery or vineyard, but I can’t find anything about them online, so I don’t know if they actually exist[5]. The bottle reads “Mis en bouteille par BARON BERNARD SÉLECTION, St. Fiacre, France,” so it was bottled by a company called BARON BERNARD SÉLECTION, but I can’t find anything about them either. The only involved party I could find is the importer, Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.[6]

The wine itself is made from Chenin Blanc grapes, just like the other Loire Valley white I drank a few weeks ago. I’m finding I’m a huge fan of Chenin Blancs. They’re not too sweet and they have unique flavors that are pleasant, drinkable and enjoyable.

Cheers to summer time, white wine and Friday evening!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Actual roses, not Rosé!
Historic_Courtroom[1][2] The “Bar” is how lawyers refer to the practice of law. And no, it’s not because we like to congregate in bars, although that does happen. The term stems from the literal barrier or “bar” which separated the court and legal personnel from the public within the courtroom. The Bar Exam also takes its name from this term.
[3] Because really, who wants to go to court in the summer? Suits are hot.
[4] Good to know.
[5] It’s kinda like that age old question: if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there, does it make a sound? Similarly, if you don’t have a website, Instagram or Tweeter feed, do you really exist?
[6] They import lots and lots and lots of wines from all over the world.

Courtroom photo credit: By user:P199 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Workin’ Weekends

Working weekends is kind of par for the course for attorneys, at least those in private practice.[1] My firm is not the type where you need to be IN the office doing your work, as long as your work gets done.[2] Since I have a bit of a commute[3], I rarely make appearances in the office on weekends, but I usually spend at least a few hours doing something or other that didn’t get finished during the week.[4] IMG_6133

This weekend’s work was trademark stuff so it was actually pretty fun. It doesn’t hurt that at the tail end of it Husband and I cracked a delicious bottle of Anjou and sat outside on this glorious “summer” day.[5]

_____________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               May 17, 2015
Wine:              2013 Famille Bougrier Anjou
_____________________________________________
This wine is the palest of yellows. It’s really more of a clear liquid with just a tinge of pale yellowish green. There are absolutely no legs. Sometimes I think there are no legs and then they appear. This one was totally devoid of the droplets that cascade down the glass. Interesting.

On the nose I get citrus and fresh herbs,[6] maybe even some fresh cut grass.[7] This wine is a mouthful of smooth and refreshing deliciousness. On the full-bodied end, thick on the palate, especially given that this is a white. It’s crisp yet buttery smooth. Perhaps similar to a chardonnay but different in its own way. The fairly short finish has a tinge of sour berries, in a very pleasing way.

At the $11 price point, there’s no reason why lawyers of all incomes and practice areas shouldn’t go get a bottle. It’s about to get hot, so you need at least one white or Rosé chilling in the fridge at all times.[8]

IMG_6148Wine Dossier
It’s actually unclear from the label what the type of wine is and who produced it.[9] When I used the Google, I eventually found them, Famille Bougrier.[10] This is a French Anjou wine[11] from the Loire Valley[12]. The website is one of those quaint sites with blurry pictures and pages in English straight out of Google Translator[13]. Makes me think that these vintners don’t have time for smart phones and laptops, they’re too busy making delicious wine! Definitely the type of winery you’d want to visit on a wine tour[14] so you can meet the owner and their offspring who will run it until their children are old enough to take over.

Anjou is another region within Loire Valley. Within Anjou are several Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC)s[15] where a variety of varietals are planted but with a focus on sweeter white grapes. The Chenin Blanc grape was used to make this particular wine.[16] Traditionally this is a Loire Valley grape but they are grown elsewhere throughout the world.

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Rumor has it that government lawyers and in house counsel work 9 to 5. Sounds fun.
[2] Although there are a select few who are there faithfully, each and every weekend. I am not one of them. Thank you, Dell and Apple.
[3] 37 minutes on a good day with no school buses and all green lights. Usually I make it in 42.
[4] Other times its entire weekends of work, but we won’t dwell on those times.
[5] Spring has been weird this year. Sometimes it’s in the 40s, sometimes the 60s, last weekend when we hosted Mother’s Day, the 90s, today, the 80s. As long as it’s above freezing, I’m not complaining.
[6] It’s ever so slightly possible that the scents I’m picking up were influenced by the fresh lemonade I had hand squeezed just an hour earlier (complete with blueberries and fresh mint).
[7] We were drinking this outside, though the lawn has not recently been cut. #notmyjob
[8] In case of emergency.
[9] Surprise, surprise. #FrenchWine
[10] To be fair, the name is on the neck label, but I confess I didn’t notice it at first.
[11] So the label is pretty much impossible to decipher without the Google.
[12] Per Wikipedia, Loire Valley is “[k]nown for its vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke and asparagus fields.” Throw in a little chicken and voilà, the perfect diet.
[13] Fun fact: “Wine Esquire” translates to “Vin Esquire” in French. Esquire is one of those French words we stole and incorporated into our language, like rendezvous, carte blanche and au gratin.
[14] It’s definitely on my bucket list to do one of these French wine vacations. In Italy too. And Australia. And South Africa. Oh, and Napa.
[15] The French version of the Italian DOCG, see Sunday Funday and Another Barbera, Wine Dossier, and the American AVA, see Solitary Dining, Wine Dossier and Lawyer Footnotes, n. 12.
[16] I found this information on the back of the label in a not so easy to find place.

Francese o Italien?

Several times in the last few weeks it’s come up in casual conversation as to whether I prefer Italian or French wines. Husband insists that Italian is better while I’ll almost always choose French. This choice, however, is based on many factors. Hands down the best wine I have ever tasted was in the beautiful[1] country of Italy. Be that as it may, I live[2] in good old ‘Merica. In ‘Merica, and more specifically in the price point I currently can afford to buy wine[3], I find that more often than not, I’m happier with French selections over Italian.[4]

That being said, as a lawyer, I know that there are exceptions to almost every rule[5]. Right now I’m a huge fan of Italian Nebbiolos, Barberas and Barolos[6]. I don’t think I’ve had a disappointing version of any of these varietals. I am not, IMG_5578however, a huge fan of most Chiantis or “Super Tuscans”[7], which tend to be the more affordable Italian wines, though I’m sure it’s just because I haven’t found the right ones. With France, I’m pretty much willing to try anything and rarely find a disappointing variety. Tonight, we had an old friend over for dinner[8]. We obviously had opened a bottle before he arrived (French). He brought an Italian. I was surprisingly disappointed with the French and astoundingly pleased with the Italian, which happened to be a Chianti.

Salute!

__________________________________________________
To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               April 15, 2015
Wine:              2012 Saumur Champigny/2007 Contemassi Chianti Riserva
__________________________________________________
We started with the 2012 Saumur Champginy. Husband was home before I was and said it was very nice, so I had high expectations. When I swirled and sniffed, I didn’t get much on the nose. The color was a light shade of ruby with fairly thin and even legs. When I tasted it, I thought it was underwhelming; there just wasn’t much flavor. The experience was a very short one, with nothing really lingering after I swallowed. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great either. Once I had some tomato and cheese, all I got was a metallic aftertaste.

IMG_5594From there we moved on to the 2007 Contemassi Chianti Riserva that Old Friend brought over. I was hesitant, given my reservations about USA-bought Italian wines, specifically Chiantis. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this was. The nose was thick, almost meaty, like you know this wine has some history. There were hints of spice and licorice. With its deep, rich burgundy color, it was a bit darker than the French. There was absolutely no bite, just a smooth, delicious finish. When I sipped, the medium-bodied mouthful was exceedingly pleasing. Very enjoyable with the prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and basil panini[9] I whipped up on the George Foreman.[10]

Wine Dossiers
I had to Google most of the words on the French bottle.[11] It turns out that Saumur Champigny is an appellation[12] in the Loire Valley region of France. The back of the bottle tells me that this was 100% cabernet franc. I’m still not sure who the producer is. On the front it reads “Val De Loire,” meaning Loire Valley, and under that, “Reserve des Vignerons” which translates to “Reserve Winemakers”. The back label says it was “Estate bottled” by “Groupement des producteurs du Samurois”. Google translate tells me this means a “Grouping of Saumur producers”. I’m guessing this means it’s a blend of everybody’s leftover grapes. I don’t know where this wine came from[13], but it retails for $12.98 online. I don’t think I’d buy this again but it wasn’t the worst wine I’ve ever had.

The 2007 Chianti Riserva was produced by Contemassi, a vintner that apparentlyFullSizeRender5 has no website, but is imported to ‘Merica by the Bronco Wine Company. Chianti refers not to a grape varietal, but rather a region in Italy.[14] This bottle was made up of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo grapes which were aged in oak barrels for 24 months. This bottle retails online for about $12. Given the nice flavors and the price point, I would definitely suggest giving this one a try.

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Other words to describe this fair country include perfect, amazing, wonderful, brilliant, paradise, and heavenly. I cannot emphasize enough how in love with Italy I am.
[2] Note I’ve used the present participle form of the verb live, meaning I live here now, in the present. In the future I intend to live in the fair country mentioned above in Footnote 1, supra. Sooner rather than later would be ideal. Just putting it out there.
[3] Remember those law school loans?
[4] This is a very broad generalization and is in no way meant to offend fine purveyors of Italian grapes.
[5] I say almost because today is April 15. There are no exceptions to the rule that your tax filings (or an extension) are due TODAY! If you file late, there will be penalties!
[6] In addition, of course, to cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, red blends, rosé, and champagne.
[7] Essentially, “Super Tuscans” are Italian red blends. You can read more about them here.
[8] He’s a lawyer, and former Mayor of neighboring town, but got out of Firm and political life and now works in “insurance”, whatever that means.
[9] In English it would be proper to say “paninis”, but in Italian, panini is the plural version of panino (sandwich – singular). Thanks, Marco and Cinzia.
[10] I’m quite the chef you know.
[11] This happens a lot since I have no real grasp of the French language. I used “bonsoir” as a form of greeting morning, noon and night while I was in France. “Bonsoir” translates to “good evening.”
[12] Remember, an appellation is “a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.”
[13] It appeared on my wine rack one day, I’m sure I bought it and just don’t remember where or when.
[14] Hence, Chianti wines are usually blends of different grapes grown in the region.