Wine on a Leftovers Night

I like to cook.  I’m always coming up with new recipes when I’m bored.  I can make mac and cheese in about fifty different ways.  I love to experiment with flavors and wine pairings, and I find creativity in the kitchen both relaxing and rewarding. I also like to eat.  I find it really distressing that food has calories, particularly cake.  But that’s another post for another day.

During the week, I tend to cook meals that make leftovers.  I’m home all day, but Graham isn’t, so I don’t want to spend every night working in the kitchen when I could be spending time with him.  Tonight, we had leftover pasta with sweet pea and basil pesto, roasted red peppers, and melty chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Delicious, right?  But still leftovers.  So to jazz up our second-night pasta dinner, we opened a bottle of wine.  I’ve already mentioned that wine has magical powers, and one of those powers is to make any meal just a little more special.  Even leftovers.

We decided on a rosé tonight, because it’s Spring and because the subtle sweetness and hint of pepper in the pesto sauce could handle a little bit of acidity in a wine.  Here’s the bottle we opened:

Sunset Hills Rose 1

Sunset Hills is a Virginia vineyard and winery located not far from Purcellville in a beautifully restored classic red barn.  The owners are lovely, interesting people, and the staff are always friendly.  The tasting room can handle a crowd.  Graham and I have been members there for a few years (it was the first wine club we joined!), so we’ve accumulated a lot of Sunset Hills wines.  This one might be my favorite.

I’d never seen rosé made from Cabernet Franc before we picked up this bottle. I love Cabernet Franc, and I think it does particularly well when grown in smoky, tobacco-y Virginia soil.  This is a fun wine.  It’s a delicate pink color, with just a little hint of copper – it looks gorgeous in a glass on a sunny day (not that today was sunny).  It has a delicate, floral nose with some subtle notes of strawberry and melon.  The best part, though, is that it’s delicious.  It’s not as bright or acidic as a classic rosé, and it’s not very sweet.  The Cabernet Franc doesn’t manifest as tobacco, or smoke, or green bell pepper.  It just gives the wine a roundness and a fullness, and even a meatiness, that you don’t find in an average rosé.  This wine is a study in balance – brightness with fullness, body with subtlety.  It’s a red drinker’s rosé…if you like a medium-bodied red.

Wednesdays are tough.  It’s the middle of the week, you’re starting to get tired of waking up early, and Friday still feels really far away.  But leftovers and wine can make any humdrum Wednesday just a little better.  Because like I said, wine has magical powers.


Kurt Vonnegut and a Cup of Coffee

Or, how I started my morning…

I’ve been a fan of Kurt Vonnegut since high school.  I cried the night he passed away.  I think he wrote about the world in a way that was true enough to be illuminating, but gentle (and funny) enough to be palatable.  I’d call him a modern Mark Twain.  So I was excited when I heard that a book of his personal letters would be published, and I’ve been reading it, and taking my time with it, this week.

Titled just Letters, the collection is vivid Vonnegut.  Witty, self-deprecating, and sarcastic, but also kind and insightful.  There are introductions and notes by Dan Wakefield, who knew Vonnegut personally, throughout the book that provide context, and it’s so interesting to read Vonnegut’s thoughts on his own books while they were in progress.  He spends time on other topics, as well (politics and world events, his family and friends, his career), though I’ve enjoyed his thoughts on writing the most.  He was as sharp in his personal letters as he was in his published works.

Reading Letters this week, I now firmly believe people don’t write enough anymore.  Not that I didn’t before.  The truth is, I was appalled when I learned that “tl;dr” was a thing.  What do you mean, “too long; didn’t read?”  If you took the time to write something for me to read, then I’d read it, because that’s what respectful people do.  And if I wrote something for you to read, I would be careful to say only what I needed to say, because that’s what good writers do.  William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White told me so.

What I’m getting at here is that writing is important.  Writing, even just letters to family and friends, helps you find your voice.  Once you’ve found it, you’ll feel comfortable and confident expressing what you have to say.  It’s true that everyone has an opinion, but if you can express yours coherently, persuasively, and ultimately in a voice that is true to who you are, you’ll rise above the noise and you’ll be heard.  Finding your voice gives you power.  So do it!  Write notes on napkins.  Write a few quick lines about your day before you crawl into bed.  Write a letter to your mom – I’m serious, Mother’s Day is coming up.

Or, if you’re crazy like me, write a novel that keeps you awake at night like a screaming newborn.


Spring is Rosé Season

If you know me, then you know that I like wine.  A lot.  I wasn’t a wine drinker until I met Graham, my Hampton Roads husband, and our marriage has become a low-key wine adventure.  Living in Loudoun County, we can’t really help it.  When I told some of my friends that I was thinking of starting a blog, they suggested (nay, requested)  (nay, insisted) that I include some posts about wine.  Friends, I’m happy to oblige, because I think that wine has magical powers.  No, really, hear me out on this one.

Wine inspires.  I think it’s because wine, like food and music and stories, transcends culture and language.  It brings people together.  I’ve made more than a few good friends over a glass of wine.  During our honeymoon in France, it was okay that I couldn’t actually talk to anyone about the wines that I was tasting, because everyone just understood.  A good glass of wine, or a bad one, needs no words.  But it sure is fun to talk about it.  So, moving on –

To me, Spring is rosé season.  When the weather starts getting warm, and I see blossoms everywhere, I crave the bright crispness and the pretty-in-pink pastel of a nice glass of rosé.  So tonight, I suggested we open a bottle of Lost Creek 2014 Tranquility.  Lost Creek is a local Loudoun County vineyard and winery, and full disclosure, Graham and I are members of their wine club.  It’s a fantastic place to spend quiet time on a sunny weekend afternoon – the tasting room and grounds are lovely, and the staff and owners are too.

Here’s the bottle we opened tonight:

Lost Creek Frontlit Medium

Tranquility is what I would consider a classic rosé.  A little bit coppery in color, with a delicate nose of strawberry and a hint of citrus fruits.  It tastes a bit like strawberries, too, with mild acidity, and not too sweet.  For die-hard white wine drinkers, I think it would be a nice foray into a more colorful world.  Lovers of rosé (I include myself in this group) won’t be disappointed.

I’m enjoying a glass as I type, and I’m a little sad I have to share the bottle with the handsome husband, though I’m sure I’ll be grateful tomorrow morning.