Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wines I'm Drinking: Two Finca La Linda Wines from Luigi Bosca

Yesterday I tasted two wines from Argentina from Luigi Bosca  under the Finca La Linda label. To begin with the conclusion: These are not profound wines, but they are tasty for everyday drinking and very attractively priced. From Argentina's Luj├ín de Cuyo region, just south of the city of Mendoza. Brief tasting notes follow.

2007 Finca La Linda Unoaked Chardonnay
A pretty, pale gold color. Light floral scents. Pear blossom or hawthorne perhaps. Not a sweet smell at all, but floral in character. Although this is unoaked, something about the nose suggests wood. Scents of bread or yeast, toasted grain. Later suggestions of white peach, putting me in mind of Viognier. A bit low in acid with a generous, fruity, sweet mid-palate (sweet in the sense of ripe fruit rather than residual sugar, although the wine isn't bone dry either). Packs a punch. Plenty of alcohol--a bit too much perhaps, but offset by a persistent, peachy sweetness on the finish. Again, very reminiscent of a Viognier-based wine on the palate. I think this is likely to disappoint anyone looking for a typical new-world Chardonnay, as it doesn't have typical Chardonnay characteristics, but it's an attractive (if simple) wine quite suitable for everyday occasions. Very attractively priced at my local Grocery Outlet for only $3.99 a bottle (or $3.59 if you buy it by the case).

2006 Finca La Linda Cabernet Sauvignon
Plummy medium red--none of the bright, purple-red of a very young wine. On the nose, hints of chocolate and tobacco (especially tobacco). Not very fruity on the nose, but attractive enough. Creamy attack on the palate makes it seem soft and round at first but then it suddenly develops a tannic bite followed by some good fruit tending toward black cherries. Cocoa on a moderately long finish. Like the Chardonnay, not greatly nuanced, but an easy, tasty, everyday wine bargain priced at $3.99 a bottle ($3.59 a bottle by the case) at Santa Rosa Grocery Outlet.

Plants I'm Growing--First Blooms: Dwarf Peach, Nanking Cherry

First blooms today on the Nanking cherry by the birdbath (Prunus tomentosa), a bush cherry with very delicate pretty, ever-so-slightly pink blossoms. Yesterday we had the first blossoms--a rich, deep pink--on the dwarf peach in the back garden.

The Nanking cherry bloomed on March 2 in 2009 and on March 8 in 2010, for a year of 362 days this year and 371 days the year before, averaging to 366.5 days, close to an astronomical year. The Dwarf peach bloomed on March 2 in 2009 and February 22 in 2010, for a year of 377 days this year and 358 days in the year before, averaging to 367.5 days, also close to an actual year.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birds I'm Watching: Palm Warbler at Sonoma County Airport (March 3, 2011)

I ventured out to the Sonoma County Airport today because someone reported there was a Palm Warbler hanging around in the trees along one of the roads adjacent to the airport, Ordinance Rd. I had little trouble finding the bird. He spent his time flying between a big oak tree and a stand of shrubs alongside one of the airport buildings where he flitted about looking for insects in the foliage and on the ground, flicking his tail like a wagtail much of the time.

What is he doing in Santa Rosa? I have no idea.  This is a warbler that normally stays east of the Rockies, but one or two do appear to stray out this way from time to time, according to the books. Anyway, I'm glad I got to see him--a finely streaked, pretty bird mostly of white and cream with a little yellow under the tail and at the throat. The white patches underneath at the tip of the tail are distinctive. That's my 204th species sighted in Sonoma County, No. 330 for my life list.

For more information about bird watching in Sonoma County, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plants I'm Growing--First Blooms: Dwarf Nectarine

A single blossom has opened in the rain today on the dwarf nectarine behind the house. This has been a fairly slow grower, but it has done well. It's beautiful when clothed fully in pink. It's mostly an ornamental, but the nectarines it produces are delicious--very intensely flavored. Every year I look forward to the ones the raccoons don't get. The nectarine bloomed on March 5 in 2009, February 27 in 2010 (for a year of 359 days) and this year on March 2 (today, for a year of 368 days).

Found Art: Metal Van (March 2, 2011)

Parked in the driveway of a house down the hill from my own house is a large van that appears fixed to the spot. It hasn't moved for years. All the paint has been removed, exposing bare metal. I think a logo was also removed with a power sanding tool. The work (performed long ago) left a shimmering, shifting surface that looks especially interesting in early morning sun. Found art.

For more found art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.

Rain: More Rain (March 2-3, 2011)

No, this isn't a blog about rain. I've just been busy the past few days and haven't had much to write about. Rain always interests me, though. Why? I'm not sure, really. Probably because our summers are SO dry. I just like to know how much has fallen. I like to know where we stand relative to a normal year.

Overnight, we got another 0.65 inches. That brings our 2010-2011 total to 24.85 inches (but it's still raining, and rain is predicted for most of the next few days). Normal rainfall for March 2 has been about 25.2 inches, so we are pretty much in line with a typical year. I suspect we'll be ahead by the end of the week. Having just planted the vegetable garden yesterday, rain is good.

[Beautiful and clear today, the 3rd of March, but we had a sprinkle last night, adding 0.05 inches to the 2010-2011 total, which is now 24.90 inches].
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