Monday, September 22, 2008

Brandywine Tasting....
For almost an year I have been part of a local wine tasting club "Brandywine Tasting". The way this works is..
  • Every month members of this club get together at the house of a person/s who volunteer to host. No one does not have to cook, food can be catered or purchased.
  • Another member/s volunteers to research and present a wine.
  • All the members contribute an amount towards the expense of purchasing the wine that is being presented and the food that goes along with the wine.
This wine tasting club for me has been an extremely fun, educational experience. While I am known to drink wine regularly, I could not claim to know much about wines. Being a part of the tasting club has awakened or I should say made me more aware of my palate. It has introduced me to a wonderful group of people, and helped me sample and appreciate wines from many different parts of the world (Spain, Italy, India, Chile, France, US). And it is not like it is just wine, we have had beer and Scotch tastings as well.

The tasting club has been a success in other ways too. The inaugural tasting was covered by the community newspaper. The president of the club has been interviewed on local radio and we will be featured in the next issue of Delaware Today magazine. Not bad eh?
In addition word of the club has helped us get an occasional free wine tasting. And thanks are due to Canio and Christy for doing most of the legwork to keep this club going!
I have been to almost 8 tastings so far, I am not sure why I never blogged about any of them.
Oh well so here goes...

The last tasting I went to was organized by Rob (Thanks man, I know you read this space, and you did a great job making it all happen!) and was hosted at Deerfield Wines in Newark, Delaware. This was a first for us to have a tasting hosted at a wine shop. And not just any wine shop, this was easily amongst the nicest looking wine shops that I have been too. I think if you see the attached slide show on this post you might agree. Dean the manager, was a gracious and wonderful host and the food was Tapas catered by Ole Tapas Lounge. And our wine tasting always have excellent food and this was no exception. The collection of cheeses, meats and other appetizers was a huge hit!

But the highlight of the evening was the wine. The wines featured were from Chile, specifically from the Tamaya winery. And there was to be a surprise guest! When we arrived we found out that the surprise guest was none other that Juan Pablo Martin the vintner for Tamaya wines!!! He was in the region and altered his schedule just so that he could come and do the wine presentation for us!

What followed was a very educative evening about the wines that Tamaya winery featured, as well as an excellent presentation of how the microclimates of the Limari valley and the highlands in Northern Chile are conducive to wine making. There were 5 wines presented but the ones that really stood out for me were..

Sauvignon Blanc 2006 - Clean and light. Very easy on the palate, extreemly refreshing with acidity that struck just the right balance.

Pink Goat (Rose De Syrah) A lovely pink in color. Probably the best Rose that I have tasted so far. Very smooth on the palate.

Carmenere - 2006 - The Carmenere grape while not native to Chile is now mostly found there, and it has a very interesting history that we found out that evening. From wikipedia..

The Carménère grape has known origins in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France[11] and was also widely planted in the Graves until the vines were struck with oidium.[12] It is almost impossible to find Carménère wines in France today, as a Phylloxera plague in 1867 nearly destroyed all the vineyards of Europe, afflicting the Carménère grapevines in particular such that for many years the grape was presumed extinct.

Far from being extinct, in recent years the Carménère grape has been discovered to be thriving in several areas outside of France. In Chile, growers almost inadvertently preserved the grape variety during the last 150 years, due largely to its similarity to Merlot.
Thanks to Chile's minimal rainfall during the growing season and the protection of the country's natural boundaries, growers produced healthier crops of Carménère and there was no spread of phylloxera.

A similar situation occurred in Italy when, in 1990, the Ca' del Bosco Winery acquired what they thought was Cabernet Franc vines from a French nursery. The growers noticed that the grapes were different from the traditional Cabernet Franc both in color and taste. They also noticed that the vines ripened earlier than Cabernet Franc would have.
This was clearly the highlight of the evening. This wine turned out to be a pleasant surprise, wine had a deep red color, a wonderful aroma of spices and berries. More importantly the tannins were easy on the tastebuds and it was just a wonderful medium bodied wine that everyone loved. I am sure Carmenere's fascinating story had something to do with it, too but for me the wine itself did the trick.

In return for hosting the tasting, we were expected to buy at least a bottle of wine from the store. And it was not a surprise that pretty much everyone bought the wines that were presented that evening. Actually the Carmere sold out!! I think the store must have sold at least a 1000$ worth of wine after the presentation.

If you want to know more about Tamaya wines, here is a link.

All in all an excellent evening and time well spent I thought. There is a slide show of the evening for those of you interested, there is also a caption on each picture. Hover over the slide show to see each one and click on the little note icon on the menu at the bottom to turn on the captions for each slide, also have buttons to control the slide show.

Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

For those of you unable to view the slide show....

Juan Pablo Martin, the wine maker for Tamaya wines, Chile.

Excellent Tapas, catered by Deerfield wines from Ole' Tapas Lounge, Newark, DE. The Prosciutto and dips were yum!

Excellent Tapas, catered by Deerfield wines from Ole' Tapas Lounge, Newark, DE. -2

Some of the Tamaya wines we tasted for the evening.

Tamaya Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah - Reserve

The refreshing Sauvignon Blanc and the pleasant Rose de Syrah

Dude's having a blast!

A most excellent presentation!

Juan Pablo Martin (J P Martin) the winemaker of Tamaya wines flew down from Chile and changed his schedule so he could do a presentation for the club

Wines signed by the wine maker!

Folks completely taken by the presentation!

Wine, food, great company make for excellent conversations!

All eyes and ears!

Canio..that is a great pic man!

The food is always good at our wine tastings!

Alex Rivera, local expert in Chilean wines

Can I have some more of that please?

I would like to thank Canio for letting me use some of the pictures he took for this post. And if any of you local folks want to be a part of the Brandywine Tasting Club, send an e-mail to :
brandywinetasting at Also check out our website at We always welcome new members.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rasa Sayang.. "To Feel Love"
This is likely one of the posts that means little to anyone outside of Wilmington, Delaware. So if any of you cared enough to read and comment, I thank you for that.

Rasa Sayang.. "To Feel Love" That is the literal translation of the words. This also is the name of the Malaysian Restaurant that we stumbled upon. Located at the independence mall in Wilmington which is not really like a classic mall, but just a shopping center with a parking lot in the middle, enclosed by shops on three sides.

The original intent that day was to pick up some Indian food at the Nirvana Restaurant there. It is a generic Indian restaurant, good for a decent meal once in a while. Although their Bengali fish curry is truly good!

So as I drove in to the mall,I noticed "Rasa Sayang" a new restaurant that had just opened recently. I have had Malaysian food before in New York and Connecticut, so I kind of missed it after moving to Delaware. My impression of our state is that it is a bit provincial, but as recent experiences have suggested, there are good restaurants and one just needs to look harder I guess.

So we walked in it was not crowded as a lot of people have not heard about it being new and all. I loved the decor of the place, lots of room too!

I had a wonderful pomegranate martini, and I would try this one again!

This is their cocktail menu.

Started off with familiar appetizers "Roti Canai" (a type of flatbread found in Malaysia. It is identical to the Singaporean roti prata and a close descendant of Kerala porotta.) and "Roti Tellur" somewhat similar to Roti Canai. They are both influenced by the migration of Indians from Southern India to Malaysia.
The best part of both those dishes was the excellent dipping sauce a curry with chicken and coconut in it, that is very identical to what mom makes.

The entree was "Mee Goreng" (made with thin yellow noodles fried with onion, fried tofu, chili, vegetables, tomatoes and egg ). This dish had shrimp in it, and was easily the best part of the meal. It was spicy, tasty and truly a delight for the senses.

The other entree was "Chicken Sizzlers" Malaysian style, that was not as good as I expected. I wish they had used more spices in this one. It was rather bland.

For dessert I had "Mango Pudding". Suffice to say I won't be trying this again! But I loved the restaurant and will surely visit again to try the many dishes on there that were not familiar. Also it helps that it is a mere 10 minute drive away.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oy Teh Stoopid It Kills Me!!!!!!!!!

It is the silly season in politics! By way of Atrios from John Cole.

Sarah Palin:

Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: “They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
Krista, in the comments :
And when I look out my window I can see the moon. Doesn’t make me a fucking astronaut now, does it?
Well Krista yes, but only if you are the GOP nominee for office! IOKIYAR (It is ok if you are a republican)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday Word Of The Day "Gas"

There used to be a bit of a tradition here of doing something related (usually a poem) to the Friday blog word. This started with Mona's blog. So when I hit a phase where I could not blog, it sort of fell away. Not sure I can return to that again, but I will for this past Friday's word which was "Gas". I thought trying to do a poem around that word with it's scatalogical implications was too much for my meager poetry skills so I decided to do two different things. One is my alternative mode of getting to work which is not "Gas" based as in the prehistoric goo that runs our automobiles. Pic is of the train stop near my workplace.

And "Volatile" Is My Humble Nod To The Friday Word "Gas" as in something Gaseous.. Volatile. I will leave you my readers to interpret what I am talking about. :) Not that it might make any sense at all.


Would she always be so?
Free and volatile
A thing of beauty
Of an infinite expansion
That enveloped him
Too cosmic to comprehend
Yet leaving him begging for more

He would reach out
To touch her ethereal beauty
Asking for more than she could give
He could only gather
Bits and pieces
Just enough..
Just enough

To take one more hit ..
One more whiff of that
Which was so ephemeral
For an oblivion in her universe
Lighting him up yet again
In a fire that consumed him
Finally turning him to ashes
Scattering him to the
Howling winds of his desolation
Her name whispered across the great divide.

Monday, September 08, 2008

End Of Summer Garden Blogging

This was the first summer we tried some vegetable gardening. Having never done this before started small, a little patch in the backyard. Nothing big. Planted Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Cubanelle Peppers, Chili Peppers and Egg Plant.

Everything went smoothly, except for the fact that stuff was planted close.. a bit too close, so that the tomato vines never allowed the eggplant to quite take off. The squash got infected by some bug. But the rest turned out fine. Part of the wonderful little bounty below.

There are still some tomatoes on the the vine.

I am really looking forward to the Chili Peppers though, these will make for some fine home made Indian pickle!

I know, could have done a lot better I guess. But I am looking forward to next year, we have a lot of room for vegetable gardening and I kinda love it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Now That My Friends Is A Smack Down I Can Believe In!!!!!!!!

California Senator Barbara Boxer, opens a can of whoopass on John McSame or McBush (take your pick), in response to that speech *yawn* by him at the RNC convention this week. By way of Daily Kos link

Last night at the Republican National Convention, John McCain used the word "fight" more than 40 times in his speech.

In the 16 years that we have served together in the Senate, I have seen John McCain fight.

I have seen him fight against raising the federal minimum wage 14 times.

I have seen him fight against making sure that women earn equal pay for equal work.

I have seen him fight against a women's right to choose so consistently that he received a zero percent vote rating from pro-choice organizations.

I have seen him fight against helping families gain access to birth control.

I have seen him fight against Social Security, even going so far as to call its current funding system "an absolute disgrace."

And I saw him fight against the new GI Bill of Rights until it became politically untenable for him to do so.

John McCain voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007 and 100 percent of the time in 2008 -- that's no maverick.

We do have two real fighters for change in this election -- their names are Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

You go Senator Boxer!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts
- Thought I would test blogging via e-mail on the iPhone. Not sure how
pretty it will look.
- Is it just me or is Nicholas Cage in yet another forgettable movie?
Bangkok Dangerous? Only seems dangerous to those of us willing to
plunk money down to see him!
- I am maxed out with the Matrix trilogy! I saw all of them on my 14
hour nonstop flight to India.
- Those nonstop flights are cool. Will take it over the stopover in
Europe anyday.

Sent from my iPhone