Beth’s Smart Sip: 2016 Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

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It has been a while since I published what I would call a Beth’s Smart Sip, a wine whose quality exceeds its price point, but I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to taste the 2016 Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (SRP $12.95, sample provided by Nonni Strategic Marketing, LLC), and share my thoughts with readers over at Snooth. Grab this wine by the case before summer is over.

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Taste Maryland!

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When you think of Maryland, what comes to mind? Not having spent much time in Maryland until recently, I immediately thought of the Eastern Shore, crab cakes, and the Baltimore Orioles. It turns out that Maryland is much more than beaches, baseball, and seafood. It is a world-class winegrowing and winemaking region that dates back to 1648. Let’s take a virtual tour of four of my favorite Maryland wineries.

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4th of July Cookout Wine of the Moment: 2014 Antigal Uno Cabernet Sauvignon

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Just in time for your 4th of July cookouts, I decided to taste the 2014 Antigual Uno Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $18.00, sample for review). For those of you who have followed this website for at least a year will recall that I reviewed the 2013 Antigal Uno Malbec, whose tasting experience transported me to my 2013 trip to Mendoza, Argentina.

Another wine of both great value and quality, this cabernet sauvignon showcases higher-elevation, 100% cabernet sauvignon from Antigal’s Uco Valley, Mendoza vineyards. Hand harvested and crafted, this wine sees similar oak aging as last vintage’s malbec, 12 months in a mix of American (40%) and French (60%) oak. While quite young, I found this wine to be very drinkable now if opened a short time in advance of serving it. As someone used to full-bodied Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I found the medium-body, higher-acid style of this wine to be a refreshing change. Blackberry, black cherry, and plum intermingle with spicy oak and bitter, black coffee flavors to create a layered flavor palette. Absolutely pair this with beef of all kinds: burgers, carne asada, ribeye, filet mignon, tri-tip, T-bone. Happy 4th of July!

¡Buen provecho!
Beth

#MWWC33: Once Upon A Time

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#MWWC33: Once Upon A Time
*This post is an entry for Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #33. You may vote through June 19 at this link.*

Once upon a time, I sat down at my computer to publish another post when I realized, “Oh crap, #MWWC33 (Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #33) is due! I have no idea about what to write!” I finished my original post and while doing so, I realized I have something weighing on my mind and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

As some of you know, I have lost 75 pounds and eight clothing sizes, as of this post, since September 12, 2016, by working out five or six days per week at Fit Body Boot Camp Napa and by following a meal plan outline. Alcohol is not a part of the plan, of course. I also recently began a new website, Boot Camp Babe, to share my experience and to inspire others. There, I wrote a post entitled, About the wine…, which chronicles my history with wine, its integral part in my life, and its correlation to my weight gain these past eight or so years.

During these past nine months, I have cut my wine consumption tremendously. Prior to this, I was one of those people who came home from work and opened a bottle of wine a few nights per week to accompany my dinner and to relax. I also work at a winery in the Napa Valley as a wine club and social media manager, so wine is my career. I used to attend many wine and food events, accept lots of wine samples, and went wine tasting often. Now I only drink wine occasionally, such as when I am celebrating a special occasion, when I go out to a nice dinner (not always, but sometimes), or have a friend over. I maybe have wine a couple of times per month. I taste wine sparingly, spitting and dumping most of it, and I am being more selective regarding acceptance of wine samples. It’s not that I don’t enjoy wine, but frankly, I feel amazing without it. At my annual physical in April, my vitals and blood work results were outstanding. I love how I feel after a workout. Before, I was consuming hundreds and hundreds of calories in wine and now I prefer my calories to be solid, not liquid.

Interestingly, I think my palate is changing as well due to both my dietary changes and decreased wine intake. When I do indulge, my go-to wines are Champagne and sparkling wines. I also lean towards crisp, clean, preferably unoaked or neutral oak aged, higher-acid whites and rosés. Heavily oaked, higher-alcohol red wines feel and taste too heavy.

One final observation is that I feel somewhat disconnected from my wine writing and social media peers because I no longer participate frequently in virtual tastings, nor do I post lots of wine photos and reviews like I used to do. I’ve even had someone tell me that I am not as fun anymore. I have to admit, that hurt. I am still the same person inside, but with less weight and wine in my life. I am not denying myself anything, I am making dietary and workout choices that make me a better person in every way, inside and out. I have also broadened my connections and friendships to include fitness-minded people like me. I am healthy, happy, strong, and yes, fun.

As you can imagine, this poses a dilemma for me. Am I still qualified to write about wine if I don’t taste or drink it as often? Do I continue this website? I hope that you will help me answer some of these questions in the comments below.

Cheers!
Beth

Bella Grace Vineyards, Sutter Creek

Bella Grace Sutter Creek

During the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, California, I had the great pleasure of meeting Stephen Havill of Bella Grace Vineyards. During one of the conference lunches, he led me over to his table where he was pouring some of their wines. After tasting a few, I was immediately smitten and knew I had to plan a visit to Bella Grace in Amador County’s Sierra Foothills.

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