Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aquavina: The Love Affair Continues

Oh Aquavina. Our love affair is stronger than ever. I never stopped loving you – you’ve always treated me so well baby!

Kiley and I ducked out of work at 5:00 sharp on Friday and headed on over to Aquavina. This was the day the great blizzard of 2010 started – the day we got an entire inch of snow! We were immediately greeted by Blerim Mata (aka Blair), the GM and gracious wine expert – who insisted that we try a new Zin. He said “if you liked Writer’s Block, you must try this one”: Four Vines Zinfandel….and WOW he was right. It wasn’t as big as the Writers Block…more smooth and less tannic than many Zins…yummy dark berry flavors. Awesome. Kiley especially loved this one.

We saddled up at a table near the bar, and watched a group of young, attractive people come in together for what seemed like a work event (we didn’t ask, just people watched). We tried the Chehalem Pinot Noir….which to me was very odd. It was a stinky pinot, with very strange tart fruit flavors. I appreciated that it was out of the ordinary, but truly don’t think I could drink a whole glass.

The next red we tried was the Thomas Henry Meritage blend. It was so great – and affordable! I always love Meritage blends…I just think they are always crowd-pleasers. I asked Blair to remind me of the 5 Meritage grapes, and he rattled off “Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot”. Well done! He also reminded us to pronounce it “Merit-edge”, not “Merit-aahge” as many people incorrectly do. He thought the mistake people made was trying to pronounce it like Hermitage (a type of French Wine from the Rhone Valley). He then filled us in on the background of the term Hermitage….the dude who first brought the Syrah grape to the Rhone famously lived as a hermit – hence, Hermitage. You learn something every day! I love these nuggets of info.

Next up: Cantena Vista Flores Malbec – the featured wine on special. I was taking notes on each wine in my blackberry to maintain the integrity of my analysis (aka, I get drunk and forget)….and for this one I only wrote “Ass Kicker”. I think that meant it was big and dry, and I do remember that I really, really liked it.

Okay, get ready for this – because it rocked our pants off. Not literally. But if I wasn’t in public, it could have. Blair re-appeared with the most beautiful thing in the world: A dessert plate containing two chocolate mousse balls covered in toasted coconut, along with two mini-glasses of dessert wine. He instructed – nay, insisted – that we try these things together and report back. The wine was Framboise Raspberry dessert wine, which was a strong, tart, jam bomb. We did as instructed, took a bite of the balls and a sip of the wine. We both moaned (grunted?) so loudly I think we interrupted the work happy hour. Chocolate+Raspberry Dessert Wine=HEAVEN. Please try this. You may want to do so in a more isolated area of the bar, unless you’re totally comfortable sharing your oh-face with randoms in public.

Lastly – and this is the greatest part – my last CWG post was mounted on the wall behind the bar!!! How cool is that? Blair brought over a sharpie and let me sign it….perhaps I am overreacting, but it was kind of the coolest thing EVER. I might have squealed. Aquavina is a supporter of CWG, and I am a giant supporter of Aquavina. The love affair continues!

CWG's Big Comeback

Charlotte Wine Girl is BACK by popular demand! It has been months since I’ve posted – a fact I am not proud of. What happened, you might ask….well, this fall my life spiraled completely out of control. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. All that really happened is that I was managing part of a merger project at work that ate my entire life. For about a month solid, I barely left my office, barely slept, barely ate (lie – I drowned my sorrows in mass amounts of food), barely drank (lie – drowned sorrows in mass amounts of booze), and barely had time to think let alone write in my beloved blog. All dramatizations aside, I did just get really busy and let the blog go, simple as that. My life has totally returned to normal, and in fact I have a fabulous new job that I love. La vida es bella. So there’s my big fat excuse – got busy, stopped writing, got sad. Decided to start again. Got happy.

And lately, the universe has been creepily telling me to get back to it! In the past week alone, there have been three totally separate instances where people have asked me – what happened to your blog? I gave them the sob story, and in doing so I totally realized what a lame sob story it was. It gives me an excuse not to write for a few weeks, not a few months! Everyone’s positive feedback is so encouraging! I always worried about the content of my blog. For non-wine people (primo example: my dear hubby)… were the “lengthy” descriptions of each wine too much? Conversely, for actual wine people, my analysis would surely seem amateur. (”it tasted like, uh, berries?”). During my few months off I wondered a lot what people would actually like to read. I decided not to think so much…I just want to bop around Charlotte with all the fabulous people in my life, try great food and wine, and tell ya all about it. That’s it. So I’m back, and I hope I can still be a source of information, and if nothing else, mindless entertainment.

I did complete my eight-week wine course with James Corbin – which was a phenomenal experience – so I hope you’ll find my wine analysis even a tad more credible. I still don’t know shit about French wine. Italian wine lists are only slightly less baffling to me. Etc, etc. However, I’m starting to learn what to look for when tasting. The old adage is true…the more you taste, the more you know how to taste (is that really an “old adage”? I think I just made that up). So here I am, I’m back, and I’m always looking for your feedback. Please leave comments – of ALL kinds, positive, negative, random, whatever. You can also e-mail me at My hope is still someday that we’ll all find each other in this little wine community in Charlotte, start seeing familiar faces at tastings, and spend some fun wine-soaked evenings together!