Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Things

Welp, I think it's officially fall, the weather has changed and I finally changed over my closet (every NYers favorite biannual activity).  

I also crossed off two activities on my fall bucket list!  Friday night we visited the Whitney for the Jeff Koons exhibit followed by a yummy dinner at The East Pole.  

Saturday I joined the Cyclones for a bike ride through Brooklyn, Long Island City, and ended up in Astoria at the Astoria Bowl!  It was a great way to get a new perspective on NY outside of Manhattan as I usually just end up in Brooklyn from various subway stations and never have any idea how they relate to one another on a map.  We rode along the water through Williamsburg, Greenpoint, into LIC with a stop at the Socrates Sculpture park before continuing into Queens.  All in all a great weekend!

Image via 
Image via

Image via

Bike Parking

Astoria Bowl had no idea what it was in for when 100+ cyclists descended upon its lanes!
Old school Queens at its finest!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Phelps 2003 Insignia

My aunt's birthday called for a celebratory wine; I was lucky enough to enjoy the 2003 30th Anniversary Joseph Phelps Insignia while out to dinner at Farm in Carneros.  First produced in 1974, Insignia was the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California.  A blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec, this wine was smooth and rich, a beautiful dark ruby color, I'm afraid I dove right in and forgot to take a picture but it really was so pretty!

The mouth was everything I love in a Napa Cab; fruit forward, luscious mouth-feel, long smooth finish, and while there are still some tannins, they were not over-powering.  That being said, I think there's still many good years ahead for this wine.  While this wine may be a bit above my everyday budget, it truly was a treat and rounded out our celebration dinner nicely!

Wine:  2003 30th Anniversary Joseph Phelps Insignia
Purchased:  Generous contribution to dinner by family friend
Price: apron. $170
Would buy again: Yes - special occasion wine :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - The Art of Blending

Of course we all know there's quite a bit of science that goes into winemaking....but I'll admit my knowledge extends about as far as the basic equation of fermentation (I much prefer the consumption side of things).

While home I got to unleash my inner vintner and experiment with blending percentages of our 2013 Cabernet and Syrah.  

It all starts with a little handy-dandy tool called a "pipette".  We measure out mLs of each varietal and blend to get percentages that would be representative of the bigger blend. 

A fun experiment but hard work with all those exact measurements!

I put together 3 different blends and then shared them with our family and friends who were more than happy to be the final judges!

Stay tuned to find out the final blend, coming Spring 2015!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Bucket List

As promised I've put together a bucket list for things to do this fall.  I must admit I'm a bit more inspired by summer, but hopefully this will encourage exploration and new finds!

1.  Find new inspiration at the Greenmarket; goodbye stone fruit and cherries, hello apples and beets!  
2.  Visit the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney and the Killer Heels exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum
3.  Bake up some fall treats, maybe this or this, I made this last year and it was a hit so might have to repeat
4.  Picnic and visit to the Storm King Art Center
5.  Carve pumpkins
6.  Check out a Broadway show - Perhaps a classic that I have yet to see (Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Book of Mormon) or something new (Kinky Boots, This Is Our Youth)
7.  Attempt to take a new route to work, I tend to walk the same path every day, and 5th avenue is just so much prettier than 6th ave!
8.  Try new brunch spots - after being out of the city all summer long I'm excited to get back to my favorite weekend pastime, brunch!  On my list:  Jack's Wife Freda, Egg Shop, Russ and Daughters 
9.  Explore the city by bike; including a ride up the Hudson river to admire the changing leaves

I'd love to know, what's on your fall bucket list??

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bucket List Recap - Summer 2014

So summer sure did fly by!  This was the first year that I've ever made a summer bucket list, and I really think that by writing it down and putting it out there I was that much more aware of taking advantage of all that summer has to offer.

Overall I did pretty well!

1.  Cross a few beach reads off my list (Starting with thisthis, and this) - I'm halfway through The Interestings, and didn't get to the other two I listed, but I did read several other books this summer including Big Little Lies, The Vacationers, and The Flamethrowers.

2.  Attend an outdoor movie night - I was able to hit up not one but 2 outdoor movies!  Picnic perfection
Not a bad backdrop....Beetlejuice in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hunger Games Catching Fire on the Hudson River
3.  Sample a new-to-me ice cream shop in NYC (I've never visited Cones which is literally 2 blocks from my apartment, but if I'm feeling ambitious, salted crack caramel is calling my name) - Didn't get to either of these ice cream shops, but sampled the best ice cream Maine and Newport had to offer!

4.  Take a summer themed wine tasting class (maybe this one or this one) - I made it to "Bad Ass Whites" at NY Vintners

5.  Jam something - there's always next year, I did "quick pickle" jalapeƱos

6.  Attend an outdoor concert - NY Philharmonic in Prospect Park

7.  Attempt to recreate the summer tart from our cooking class - simply delicious

8.  Add some new bike routes to my repertoire - multiple bike rides around Montauk as well as a new ride back home from St. Helena down to Yountville (Bouchon croissants make the ride totally worth it!)

9.  Take a boat ride - this totally counts - knocked this off while in Maine at Migis Lodge

I know I'm a few weeks late but inspired by my success I'm working on a fall bucket list - stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Harvest 2014

I popped home last weekend to attend a family friend's 60th birthday party (more to come on that).  I was lucky enough to coincide with the height of harvest.  There's nothing better than driving up and down the valley, the smell of fresh grape must in the air, trailers hauling grapes everywhere you look.  
My brother picked me up and we drove straight to the winery to taste through the first ferments.  Quick science lesson; during fermentation the yeast (typically found naturally on grape skins but also sometimes added to the grapes) converts the sugar into alcohol.  These grapes had just been brought in within days so they hadn't fully gone through the process, and thus tasted mostly like grape juice, but they were delicious!  Bright fruit, refreshing, hopefully indicative of the wine that is to come!

We tasted through Cab, Merlot, and Chardonnay, all harvested and processed within the past week.  I just love going home :-)

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it!

I sip, he spits
Our first chardonnay - aka what will hopefully become my "everyday" wine!
Ella makes such a good winery dog don't you think??

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Tasting at Tank

I'm heading back home tomorrow but realized I never shared a fun tasting experience from my time home in July!

We headed up to Calistoga to check out the farmer's market as well as a new antique store and stumbled upon Tank Garage Winery.  The tasting room is a converted 1930's gas station right on Highway 29 just before you enter town. 

The wines are fun blends of unique varietals with catchy names and labels.  We bought a bottle of the 2012 And She Was White, a blend of Granache Blanc and Roussanne.  While I'm not as familiar with these varietals, it reminded me of everything I love in a wine, fruit forward, fuller bodied, but the aging in neutral French oak keeps it fresh and clean. 

I would highly recommend a stop at Tank if you're traveling through Calistoga!


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