Friday, January 20, 2012

Wines I'm Drinking: 2005 Interlude Twin Creek Vineyard Napa Valley Barbera

I picked up a bottle of the 2004 Interlude Twin Creek Vineyard Barbera a few days ago at Grocery Outlet, and I liked it very much. I went back to get more, but it was gone. Instead, I bought half a case of the 2005 vintage on the strength of the 2004. Tonight I opened the first bottle of the 2005, hoping it was as good. Brief tasting notes follow.

A medium garnet, the wine looked older than it actually is, but it was nicely fragrant, suggestive of something floral--gardenias almost, although not nearly as strongly and sweetly scented as the flower. Suggestions of cranberries. There were leathery scents in the background. Although this is a very alcoholic wine, at 14.9%, the nose was not especially suggestive of alcohol. Chocolatey and a bit hot on the palate, however. Still, fairly good length, soft tannins, delicate acidity, and with an interesting mid-palate bite. Hints of dark cherries, perhaps. A nice lingering bitterness on the finish. Decent everyday wine. Paired well with lamb chops and a side dish of sautéed mushrooms (eryngii--also known as king oyster mushrooms, among many other things--and shiitake) with bok choy. Reasonably priced at Grocery Outlet at $5.99 a bottle. I may go back for more, although I think the 2004 had a bit more presence.

Rain: Finally Some Rain (January 20, 2012)

It began raining last night. It continued all through Friday the 20th and into the night. This morning, the morning of the 21st, the rain gauge has 3.7 inches in it, which is great news. That brings our total for the 2011-2012 rainy season to 8.75 inches. While that's an improvement and the plants in the garden are visibly refreshed, the historical average for January 21 in Santa Rosa is 19.34 inches, which puts us more than ten inches behind normal. December 2011 was one of the driest Decembers in Santa Rosa history. Average annual rainfall here is normally just under 32 inches. Let us hope that February and March are wet.

[Update: Yesterday, Saturday the 21st, was mostly clear, but it began raining again overnight and it's been pouring this morning, Sunday the 22nd. As of around 10:00AM we had added another 0.15 inches, bringing the total to 8.9 inches, but that will surely go up if it keeps raining like this.]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Art I'm Looking At: San Francisco Fine Print Fair 2012

Once a year, usually at the end of January or first week of February, some of the best fine print dealers in the country come to San Francisco's Fort Mason Center to show and sell fine prints and drawings. The quality of the offerings is consistently very high. The show this year will be Saturday, January 28, and Sunday, January 29. There is a preview on the preceding Friday evening (6-9PM, with a $20 admission charge, including wine and hors d'oeuvres), but the fair is free on Saturday and Sunday (10-6 on Saturday, 11-5 on Sunday). I'm looking forward to it. I plan to be there on Saturday morning. I'll try not to buy anything and will succumb only if I feel that I absolutely must--in which case, it will have been the right thing to do.

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--White Flowering Japanese Plum Prunus Mume (January 15, 2012)

January 14 brought the first blossoms of 2012 on the white flowering Japanese plum in the side garden. This is Prunus mume, a wonderfully fragrant plum that can make half the garden smell like spring. It's usually among the first plants to flower in the new year. Last year, in 2011, it bloomed earlier than usual, on January 4. Thus, the tree calculated a longish year of 376 days. It bloomed on January 21 in 2009 and on January 19 in 2010, for years of 350 days and 363 days. So far, a year as viewed by this particular tree, has averaged 363 days--a little short of an actual year.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Found Art: Liquidambar Seed Pods, Santa Rosa (January 16, 2012)

I recently saw these seed pods on a liquidambar, or sweet gum, tree. They reminded me very much of some of the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt. Found art.

For more found art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.
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