Major Wines Pinot Noir

Today I asked Facebook if anyone felt like they were on the verge of a nervous breakdown re: the current events (Charlottesville, VA). It got a lot of likes, so I figured people felt my existential trepidation. However, I scared some family members including my father who called to ask if I was okay. I said that frankly, I wasn’t really. I said that as a Jewish woman, I was afraid and angry and I felt like the majority of the country was feeling the same. If you are living under a rock, a Neo-Nazi protest occurred in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend resulting in the death of three individuals and the injury of many. When the president acknowledged the protest, he blamed “both sides” and made no mention of the white supremacists who indicted the rally and claimed lives. When he eventually denounced white supremacy 48 hours later, it felt like very much too little too late. Hell, the man has appointed known white supremacists to powerful positions in the White House.

Sometimes you have to take a step back from the world or you’ll go nuts. That’s exactly what I’m doing tonight. I’m making some of my favorite comfort food, tagliatelle with Italian meatballs, and drinking a GREAT wine. I was so excited to get my hands on the Major Wines Pinot Noir. I feel like I know the winemaker, Andrew Major, because he is originally from the Kansas City area and he is super active and nice on social media. The 2014 vintage ran out quickly last year, so when I heard the 2015 was being released, I was on the lookout. Luckily I spotted it at Underdog over the weekend (one of two bottles left on the shelf) and snatched it up. This wine looks like straight up cranberry juice but smells like burning leaves in the autumn. On the palate it is mushroom risotto and nutty, underripe raspberries. I know the last two don’t necessarily sound like the best combination, but it is great.

Major Wines produces small batches of amazing wine. For example, they only produced 125 cases of the current vintage. Isn’t that insane to imagine? Mainstream wineries produce tens of thousands of cases per year, maybe more, I don’t really know because I don’t like them. It makes me feel very lucky to be able to have this wine. I originally wanted to save this for a special occasion, but as I wrote a few posts back, I think there is something to actually opening the wines you are saving. Sure it’s fun to have a great bottle on hand when you want to toast a special occasion, but sometimes it’s Tuesday night and you feel like the fact that you got out of bed and made it through the workday is worthy of applause, especially considering the state of the world.

I have some family members who support Trump and probably think I am the snowiest of snowflakes. I would love to sit down with them and have them explain their views to me and then let me explain mine. I know they would never go for this. Half of my family is very WASP-y and there are certain topics you just don’t talk about. However, it is my staunch belief that if you remain silent in the face of injustice you are complicit. Once in a Western Civ. class, the professor asked what we thought we would do during the Holocaust, had we the opportunity to act. Someone said that there was no way to know and I countered with “what are you doing now to stop injustice? That is probably what you would have done then.” Look, I’m not a perfect example-- I haven’t spoken out to most of my family who support Trump. However, I support social justice initiatives that are important to me and I feel like that is a start.

Shout out to my friend Blake who messaged me thanking me for posting about having a breakdown. He said he felt like maybe he was the only one feeling that way. It was encouraging to hear from someone I admire so much who felt similarly to how I was feeling. There are so many of us that are in this fight together and we just need to find each other and roll up our sleeves. I also recommend listening to Radiohead’s album Hail to the Thief. It helped me a lot after the election and I’ve been turning to it the last few days when life feels so fucked up beyond repair. I hope you fight the good fight and then take care of yourself with some good food and good wine.

Wonderwall Pinot Noir

Okay okay, I bought this wine because of the label. But how could I not, it is Salvador Dali with his ocelot? I actually bought this for the first time for my birthday last year. My birthday tends to fall around the Jewish High Holidays, which is slightly annoying, but last year it fell smack dab on Yom Kippur. If you don’t know much about Jewish holidays, it’s cool, but Yom Kippur is one of the most important on the Jewish calendar. That said, it is a day in which we are supposed to atone for all of our sins from the past year (no small feat) and we show our contrition through abstaining from basically all the good things in life including food. So yes, I didn’t eat until sundown on my 28th birthday but I made up for it by diving head first into a pile of Kansas City’s best bagels and this wine.

Having this wine nearly a year later, it is as good as I remember. It smells like cranberries, dried leaves and Turkish figs. On the palate, it tastes like pomegranate and vanilla bean. This reminds me of the perfect fall day, when the temp. Is around 50 degrees, the leaves are various hues of orange and brown and you are playing Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” on loop. Fall is my favorite season and I’m not sure if it is because I associate it with my birthday or because it’s simply beautiful, but either way I love it. I have friends that live in places where seasons are basically nonexistent and while that sounds preferable to 103 degree days in the summer and -5 degree days in the winter, I think I would profoundly miss the seasons. Especially spring and fall.

I know that my birthday is at least part of why I love fall. I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY. I love anyone’s birthday honestly. I know I’m 28 and should probably get over it. It really weirded my husband out how much I love birthdays when we first started dating. He now knows what a big deal it is to me and begrudgingly obliges me. This year we are taking a trip to Chicago for my birthday but I’m having a party the week later. It is actually going to be a costume party (since my birthday is in October). I have been planning my costume since May and am happy to report that most of it is vintage and while I’d love to keep it a surprise, I just can’t. I’m going as Margot Tenenbaum and encouraging people to go as Wes Anderson characters. I found the perfect faux fur coat, polo dress and pink gloves. Now, if only I could find a wooden finger...

In reality it is only early August and we are a ways away from 50 degree days and multicolored leaves. It’s fine though, I enjoy what all of the seasons have to offer even if it is blistering heat and humidity. At least I can drink canned wine at the pool. However, I am going to spend the rest of my day in the air conditioning, listening to Lou Reed and drinking Wonderwall. Maybe I’ll even sneak some sangria in the park, who knows?

Battle of the Cans

I’ll keep it brief, but here is what I’ll tell you upfront; These wines are both from Alloy Wineworks, which is under the Field Recordings (my favorite) umbrella. They are from the Central Coast of California and they are great. That’s kind of all you need to know.

Alloy Wine Works Weissland

It is so hot in Kansas City right now that I just want to jump into an ice bath and pour La Croix down my throat. Instead, I’ve been stuck running around the city in my car, having to get out so often that the AC never seems to have a chance to really cool down. Today, the management team from my office took a team building excursion to an escape room. Two things I’m not really into are team building and puzzles. It was fine though but no, my team did not escape in time. Afterwards, we went to one of my favorite bars, Tom’s Town, for a quick drink. When we finished, my coworker and I decided to walk back to where our cars were parked, about a mile away.

I was dripping with sweat by the time I reached my car and I couldn’t wait to get home and open the Alloy Wine Works Weissland that I bought last night. This weather just calls for canned wine, preferably a sparking canned wine. The Weissland is a sparkling Chardonnay made with hops. I’m not a big beer drinker so I was dubious about whether I would like the wine or not. Luckily, it tastes like a sour beer, which I happen to love. It is bright on the palate, tasting like sour cherry pie. It is pretty perfect for the weather as it is super refreshing.

I’m really bummed that it is so hot because I would love to be porch-sitting with this wine reading my light, feel-good summertime book, Missoula. Have you read it? If so, you’ll know that i’m joking as it is about as heavy as it can get, focusing on rape on college campuses and the justice system. It’s really great though and a topic that desperately needs attention. But no, I’m on my couch, energy zapped, watching Breaking Bad. Luckily I have this refreshing wine by my side.

Methodé Aluminum Pinot Noir

All right, it is the next day and I honestly think it may be hotter outside today than it was yesterday. Why can’t we stay home when it is crazy hot like we stay home on snow days? I got an email today that our ceiling is collapsing from the heat at my office and immediately went home. Anyhow, I tried the Methodé Aluminum sparkling Chardonnay a few months ago and was truly impressed. This is saying a lot because it was in the height of my Chardonnay nay-saying days. I was super excited to give the Pinot Noir a try because this is a varietal that I’ve virtually always loved. I popped this in the fridge because a. It’s hot af (see above) and b. I like my light-bodied reds a little chilly.

I just opened this and exclaimed to myself, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is sparkling! I didn’t expect that and I am so excited!” Had I read the entire label instead of just tearing into this like a disgusting sweat monster, I would have seen that this was sparkling. This is so fucking refreshing and I know that a lot of people don’t think of red wines in that way. All I have to say to that is, GO LIGHT-BODIED, HONEY. Get on that Gamay or Pinot Noir train and never look back (until fall).

This tastes like straight up raspberry juice. Why isn’t that a thing? I’ve seen cran-ras, of course, but never just raspberry. That sounds so delightful. This has the nuttiness of fresh raspberries, like sliced almonds in a spinach salad. I have finally cooled down to the point that my toes are cold and honestly, it feels so good. I never want to put socks (or pants) on again, or at least not until October. I’ve never had a sparkling red in a can and it is so perfect. There is something a little odd about opening a can of still wine…  Don’t get me wrong, I still love non-sparkling wine from cans but I don’t know, we are just conditioned to expect bubbles from a can. Therefore, this is absolutely great. It would be perfect by a pool or on a beach somewhere. Mmmm.

Okay, I know "Battle of the Cans" insinuated a competition. But this is the best kind of competition where everyone is a winner! C'mon, you know I'm a millenial and am all about participation trophies. But seriously, I will only ever feature wines that I believe in on this blog.