Archive for the 'wine' Category

Amador Wine Day

Sherie and I drove up to the Shenandoah Valley in the Gold Country last Sunday. She had four bottles of Wine Club conumables to pick up at Amador Cellars. Of course, once there, her friends from the old days Larry and Linda made us quite welcome. Their nephew (sorry, I forget his name) told us stories of his three month long honeymoon, from Sweden to Morrocco, then central Africa (great mountain gorrilla stories), then on to Thailand and Viet Nam. Glad to hear about his adventures with his new bride; although I haven’t met her, she seems pretty adventurous.

Back to the wines: Amador Cellars makes reasonably priced wines that have distinctive terroir character. The Zins are grown right there, with the Rocky Point Vineyard (RPV) wines being a bit more “BIG” (read dry with lots of alch). The Westside Vineyards Zins are a little more “balanced” leaving a bit more fruity flavor. These wines tend to be a bit different year to year.

The Syrah Larry makes is a great value; he gets the grapes from two of his neighbors. Year to year, these have stayed pretty consistent. A great taste with a really nice finish. This is Sherie’s favorite.

Other Amador wines are also good values, but not the reason Ben likes to visit.

I asked Larry which of his neighbors are worth a visit. I said I like Big Zins, so he recommended Dobra Zemlja. Yes, great wine, all of them. But we only bought the Zin.

We also stopped at Shenandoah Vineyards, because I knew they are certified organic. I was pleased with the wine quality/value, with good everyday wines from $8 with case discount. Maybe not as relaxed in the tasting room as some places, but we bought several wines here too.

Larry recommends his neighbor Vino Noceto for Barberas in the Italian style. Sorry to say, we didn’t have enough energy, or wine budget money, or trunk space, to stop and get some.

For Rhone varietals, Larry recommends Karly. Another place for the next visit.

Anyway, a high point of our visit was a chance for a cool picnic lunch under the live oak in front of Larry and Linda’s winery. Because a storm had just cleared through Northern California, the air was crisp and clear. The north wind had blown away the haze, and we enjoyed the view of the vineyards with the leaves in color, and dropping to carpet the damp red soil. We tasted a few of the Zin grapes left on the vines to raisin: Wow! The sweetness was incredible, what a dessert. These are the grapes to make Larry’s Port style dessert wines; he will harvest the grapes soon enough.

On the drive home, the view of the Crystal Range above Tahoe was winter-white from the recent storm. The grass is greening up, the view of the coast range and Mt. Diablo drew our eyes as we drove straight into the setting sun.

Wine DB

Sherie and I enjoy wine. Reds especially, well Ben enjoys reds especially. And currently, Zins more especially…(Pause as I sip from the glass on my desk.)

So we occasionally visit a winery for entertainment. We are not actually that picky, as we can find a wine to enjoy anywhere, and often choose some moderate price stuff (Can you say 2 buck Chuck?). But after several visit to Rosenblum, because it is close to where we live and on our circuit, Sherie fell for the sales pitch of being on the wine club. So we are now Red Rangers at Rosenblum. And we also are on the club at Amador Cellars; a bit farther away, but owned by fiends of Sherie’s from the old days.

Now, in a wine club, you agree to buy some amount of wine that they pick out for you regularly. Usually several bottles every few months, at our level of commitment. And usually I like most of it, although you don’t get more than a bottle of anything, as these are meant as intro samplers to get you to buy more. Anyway, we sometimes buy more, and over time we have some many dozens of bottles in the garage “aging” or just waiting for us to bring them upstairs.

Now, I also buy less expensive “everyday” wines to drink, and many of these also end up in the garage. Which leads to the problem: what do we own, and where is it? Should we drink this bottle now, or wait to open it? Did we drink that special bottle I remember, or not? So I decided in my spare time to make a database of our wine collection that Sherie could access from her Mac laptop, and me from my PC desktop.

I decided on using Open Office Base instead of MS Access, as we don’t have MS for the Mac. And I am trying to learn to use Open Office regularly, for resume reasons. After a few days of work, we have a db that works pretty well. Some bugs yet, and it still resides on the embedded db on either local machine. So it is not a true “multi-user networked db,” which was the goal. Maybe I will get there sooner or later. See the picture above.

Anyway, we both have gotten carried away looking up info on the web about or wine, pasting text and pictures. After putting labels on the bottle tops, I can even tell at a glance what is where. And with a few reports, I can see at a glance what is ready to drink.

Email me if you want to share the work for your own collection. Maybe you can share back your bug fixes, because I have a place or two where I could not figure out the Basic to get it to do what I want. (Not that I am not a programmer, but a writer.)


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