Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving And The Meaning Of Friendship

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When I was a little girl, I had an Italian Mom who stayed at home everyday and took care of our family. One day, after we had made the move from Italy to Iowa, our mailman knocked on the door. In his hand was a letter from Italy. He usually didn't make it a point to interact with customers, however, being Italian himself, holding the letter had piqued his curiosity. That was 36 yrs ago...My Mom is no longer with us. (Some of you may have seen her on my Crushpad "Fusebox" label.) My Dad, sister and I celebrated our 36th Thanksgiving yesterday with that same mailman and his family. They have been our dear friends and have welcomed us like family each and every year.

Holidays are all about spending good times with family and friends. This year, I chose to bring the wines to the table. In doing so, I carefully picked two wines created by a new friend of mine, Eric Luse. I met Eric on the first day of the North American Wine Blogger's Conference in Santa Rosa last July. He happened to be the winemaker sitting at our table at the dinner. His winery is Eric Ross Winery, located in the Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen. He was kind enough to help me search for my camera when it accidentally got misplaced. And that would make sense because one of his great loves other than winemaking is photography. (I am a terrible photographer so I hope he forgives me for the photos!) He also has Iowa roots, something I'm finding a lot out in California. It's a small world and we've been friends ever since that day... When I expressed interest in discussing some of his wines, he was kind enough to send samples.



The white wine I chose to compliment our meal was the 2008 Marsanne Roussanne Saralee's Vineyard. It is a new release at the tasting room and online site. Though very young, it opened up beautifully as the meal progressed. Very elegant, stone fruit flavor with creamy undertones. It was a big hit as most at our table had never tried a Marsanne Roussanne before. This one would be equally good by itself as a nice warm weather sipper. It has a lot of finesse. $28.00



The red wine was perfect! I couldn't have done it better! The 2007 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Ivywood Vineyard. Wow! Light in color, light bodied, but with so much explosive cherry pomegranate flavor and a lot of spice. It paired perfectly with the turkey, prime rib, stuffing, peas and onions, green bean casserole and the risotto we had! (Thanks Mary--you are such a wonderful cook!) It disappeared quickly and someone asked if there was another bottle. I would buy this one over and over. It was grand. $40.00.



Eric Ross Wines are available online at www.ericross.com. They distribute throughout the United States so you may be able to find them locally in restaurants or wine shops in your area. If you're in Sonoma Valley, please stop by their tasting room at 14300 Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. Now that the holiday is over, I've had the chance to reflect on yesterday. I am thankful for my family and all my friends, new and old. I am also thankful that I have finally found my true passion and that is my passion for wine and bringing stories like this one to the public. Thank you, Eric, for your friendship and for sharing your wines and being a part of our Thanksgiving! I will be bringing my friends over for a visit in the Spring!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Surprise Find In Lodi Wine Country


Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Hoffman, winemaker and owner of Heritage Oak Winery, located in Acampo, California. Tom's family has been farming and making Zinfandel for generations in the Lodi, California area. (Yes, I know--you're probably wondering if we are related because our last names are the same. Well, not that I know of but I'd be proud to be related to him!) We met on Facebook, of all places, after he read my Halloween wine blog and sent me a message. I have to hand it to Facebook--it has helped me forge a lot of new friendships and open doors. I've had the opportunity to meet amazing people like Tom and sample nice, rare wines I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Tom sent me samples of some of his Zinfandels and after sampling just two of them, I believe he is one of California's Best Kept Secrets!

I'm such a Zin fanatic and it never ceases to amaze me how many great Zins there are out there and I am discovering some of them from areas other than Sonoma County. Located east of San Francisco near the Sacramento River delta, the Lodi appellation's sandy soils and Mediterranean climate makes for the perfect combination needed for excellent Zinfandel production. In fact, it is famous for it! From this area come handcrafted, small production wines such as the ones that Tom Hoffman makes.

Tom was a school teacher in South America when he chose to come back to the U.S. and continue his family's work. After years of hard work and self-teaching, he is at home doing what he does best-- making handcrafted wines. He is a jack of all trades--overseeing the vineyards and wine production. He and his wife Carmela have passed on their love of winemaking to their two sons, making it a family affair.

I had an intimate dinner party a week or so ago and invited my sister and a friend to sample a couple of Tom's Zins with me. For this occasion, I chose the 2007 Estate Grown Zinfandel and the 2007 Block 14 Zinfandel. The label on each bottle is simple, textured and really beautiful. Both wines were exceptional and well-balanced but the complete opposite of each other was far as taste went.

2007 Estate Grown Zinfandel--100% Zinfandel. Upon uncorking it, the aroma was amazing! I could not get past the wonderful vanilla oak aroma and we were all swooning. The wine proved to be just as rich and beautiful. Unlike other big Zins I've tried, this one was light to medium bodied, light in color for a Zinfandel but velvety rich-- brimming with bright fruit, and a spicy caramel cinnamon undertone that made it irresistible! If this isn't Tom's flagship wine, it should be! It left us begging for seconds! $18.00

2007 Block 14 Zinfandel---Much darker in color, it was also medium-bodied and was redolent of concentrated blackberries. Very spicy but elegant. I could feel that familiar "Zinfandel Burn" as I sampled it and it was very satisfying and delicious.$20.00.

Such wonderful flavor profiles and slightly lower alcohol content make these Zins completely enjoyable alone or with food. Definitely a winning combination! And I am not through as Tom makes five distinct Zinfandels and I will be trying and reporting on more very soon. Heritage Oak wines are available in their Acampo tasting room or online. The winery has a website at www.heritageoakwinery.com. Please take the time to discover them for yourselves. They are truly a find!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cellarmistress Tastes Live---From New Zealand!

No. I didn't actually go to New Zealand but I am forever honored to have tasted four very different and well-received wines that will forever stick in my mind! In October, I was given the opportunity to do TasteLive once again--this time from New Zealand. There were two tastings--Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I chose to do the Sauvignon Blanc tasting as I live in the Midwest and it was earlier in the evening. The later tasting was for the west coast. I love surprises! Once everything was finalized, I received a box of samples via DHL Global from Nautilus Estate in New Zealand and one wine to complete the collection of four from Bin Ends Wine, here in the US.

Myself and my fellow blogger, David Honig (New York wine blogger and founder of Palatepress--The Online Wine Magazine) were the two wine bloggers to do this Sauvignon Blanc tasting. Originally, we were told our Tweets (on Twitter) would be seen by people attending the Marlborough Wine Weekend in New Zealand. But a slight snafu (due to that pesky German hash tag) caused us to be pretty much be tasting by our lonesomes... I don't think they were happy the next day. They didn't see our Tweets! (Note to all involved--I certainly hope this didn't hurt our chances of doing this again. It was an amazing experience. We just need to work out the bugs, which I believe we are doing...) There was a lot of "Hellooooo! Are you there?" going on. It certainly was a crazy night, but I'm glad I did it because after the fact, I looked at my notes and realized why these wines were chosen---they were all unique and different. (That would be the supertaster in me saying that!)

As I write this, staring at my notes, I am hypothetically tasting them again and I am not sure I am tasting them in order, but who cares--let's just taste them...




2007 Lawson's Dry Hills 2007 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc--Ah, the Lawson's Dry Hills--I say this as I stare at an old cork with their name on it. However, they haven't done cork for a very long time. Ten years ago when I first began my wine tasting journey, this was the first Sauvignon Blanc I ever fell in love with. For as long as I can remember, this Sauvignon Blanc always stood out in my mind as the prototype I would know and love for the next several years. That grassy, gooseberry flavor. They've never really steered away from that formula. And theirs was the first wine I ever saw that had a screwcap as opposed to cork. It seems to work. (All the bottles I received had screwcaps.) They have stuck to their tried and true formula. The wine was pleasant, easy to drink, delicious, full of gooseberry and grass and I truly enjoyed it! (I really wanted some sushi but didn't have time to stop and get any!)



The 2007 Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc was a bit different than the other. More on the herbaceous side. It has a pleasant nose and a lot of green pepper and grapefruit flavor. Very spicy and crisp finish. Zing! I totally wanted sushi with it at that point. It would really pair well with other fish dishes or even Asian foods. Spicy foods? Not a problem. Perfect! This wine, made by winemaker Clive Jones, has won many awards over the years. Kudos to Clive for all his hard work and it shows! Really a nice find!



Holy mango! Can you say tropical? The next wine was the 2007 Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The mango flavor was incredible--passionfruit, mango, wow! There still was a bit of the herbaceous, green pepper thing going on the end but the mango was big enough to overpower it to the end. Believe me, any hint of green pepper gets forgotten. Very nice. I dream of a day I can have this wine in my cellar full-time! Loved it!



2007 Seresin Marama. This is the Sauvignon Blanc like no other I've ever experienced. It says it goes through partial malolactic fermentation. Holy buckets! It's a Sauvignon Blanc impersonating a Roussanne impersonating a Chardonnay. Every moment of this wine was encompassed by richness, medium-full mouthfeel, tropical center, creamy caramel came next with a crispy finish. It's like trying three different wines in one shot! Fantastic!! And amazing... Motherlode! I've been waiting ten years for something like this. It's a real escape!

If you visit the wineries and their respective websites, you can find out if they distribute in your area. These are all worth tasting.

www.lawsonsdryhills.co.nz

www.nautilusestate.com

www.highfield.co.nz

www.seresin.co.nz

I want to thank all the people that made this possible for me: Taste Live, Craig Drollett, Wines Of Marlborough, Seresin Estate, Nautilus Estate and all the New Zealand wineries that follow me on Twitter and Facebook. This tasting has definitely inspired me to sample more Sauvignon Blancs! I'm looking forward to sampling more of your wines in the future!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

You Little Devil!

I miss Merlot! In my opinion, people are crazy to not be drinking it nowadays. Everytime I visit a wine store, I am amazed at how small the Merlot section is. All because of a little movie and a sentence people will never forget (You know what it is. I don't have to say it!). Well, here's your wake-up call! It's coming back whether you like it or not and there is no better person to help re-introduce it to a skittish public than the over-the-top, crazy, edgy persona of winemaker Charles Smith.....Huh? Many of you have probably never heard of Charles Smith. That's ok because after you read this, you will want to know everything about him... His cool exterior makes you want to dig a little further.


Just take a look at him...He's not a winemaker! I can just hear it now...Ah, but he IS--an inventive, gutsy, larger than life winemaker whose keeps churning out idea after successful idea . Around wine his entire life, he began making small lots of my former nemesis, Syrah. After managing rock bands in Scandinavia for eleven years, he landed in Walla Walla, Washington and started his own wine companies, K Vintners, The Magnificent Wine Company and his newest project, Charles Smith Wines. His wines are IN YOUR FACE, drink now wines! This year, he was named 2009 American Winemaker Of The Year by Food And Wine Magazine. Not bad for someone who started nine years ago! After all his multiple successes, this motorcycle riding madman has people, including myself, praying at the altar of his wines.

I happened to be at a tasting the other night when I spotted a huge display of 2007 Velvet Devil Merlot. With it's simple but flashy label (see above), it grabbed my attention immediately. I was swooning as I sampled it. Soft, supple and velvety, it personifies everything I love in a Merlot--sexy, voluptuous, brimming with plums, cherries, cocoa. It's ready for you--NOW! Stainless steel fermented, aged in French Oak with fruit from Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley. This is the real deal! A Washington bargain. I cannot wait to drink it again. I purchased several... Average price $12-15 a bottle. You'll find this in wine shops and markets. Check out his latest website: www.charlessmithwines.com. (Note: The 2007 Velvet Devil Merlot is sold out on the website. They have the 2008 available.)

I've never visited Washington and will hopefully be attending the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC#10) in Walla Walla next June. I sincerely hope Charles makes his presence known there. We want more Charles!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Fusebox" Addendum

The Crushpad "Fusebox" Blend-Off Contest is officially over and on Monday, November 9th, they chose the winners for the label and the blend. Unfortunately, I was not in the winner's circle. But I felt I made a terrific but "safe" blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit verdot and 3% Merlot. On the other hand, my label (for those of you who haven't seen it), was a beautiful homage to my Mom, Elena. She passed away on February 16, 2008 and was never able to see all the great things I have accomplished since then, regarding my blogging and my interest in wine. She was my biggest supporter and always wanted the best for me. Her spirit will live on in the label I created and someday I will put it on a bottle of wine I will create on my own. I can't wait for that day to happen! Just looking at her smile in the photo encourages me to be the the best I can be!



Crushpad gave me this wonderful opportunity to learn and create and I want to thank them. I plan to take this experience with me as I forge forward through the future and the wonderful world of wine. Cheers!

Right On Middle Sister!


Awhile back I happened to be in a Target store when I spied some wines with really unusual labels. They were called "Middle Sister" and I became intrigued with their cute designs! Each varietal had an assigned female character, drawn out of fun and original artwork. Definitely caught my attention! Shortly thereafter, I was friended on Facebook by Rebel Red, one of the characters from this scenario. So I jumped at the chance to ask her if I could do a story on the brand. I felt they had a unique concept here and could use some more exposure. I had a ton of friends, male and female alike, who would love this idea! Lo and behold, I received a box of samples. I couldn't wait to play!

Middle Sister Wines is the brainchild of Terry Wheatley, a wine industry professional with over thirty years of experience including working her way up in such illustrious companies at E & J Gallo and Sutter Home. She started her own wine company, Canopy Management, with a goal to provide delicious and affordable wines along with personal stories from her life experiences. Label designer Susan Lombardi and "Middle Sister Muse" Erin Wassum (she is their muse because she truly is the "middle sister" inspiration) round out the trio of dynamic women, whose carefree and fun-loving attitudes are so infectious they bring out the sassy "middle sister" in all of us! They are genuine proof that anyone can take a great idea and turn it into a dream come true! It even inspired ME!

But what about the wines? What are they about? The wines are fun--the labels all have an assigned "Middle Sister" and a great name to go with it. Three whites and three reds--each with a story to tell. I took the whites with me to a small dinner party that included my younger sister and a couple of her friends. We enjoyed all the wines and they agreed that the wines were all a great value retailing for $10.99 each.

All six of the wines in this line are non-vintage, meaning all grapes used in each individual wine come from different years and therefore since the lots are mixed, they cannot have a vintage year listed on the label. Some people would be afraid to try a NV wine, but not me. It's about the quality and the taste. And all three of these fared well.

"Wicked White"---A white blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer is a fabulously tasty blend made of 100% California fruit--23% coming from Monterey. Melon, pear and lemony goodness---sure to please anyone at a party or for light patio sipping. Has won many wine competition awards.

"Drama Queen"--This is a Pinot Grigio-blend with some Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay blended in it. It was really nice, a bit more subdued than the "Wicked White" but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It had some nice pear flavor and good minerality.

"Smarty Pants"--Their Chardonnay, which is predominantly Chardonnay with some odd whites mixed in (varietals not mentioned) is very pear-like and unoaked. It was crisp and flowed clean with a slight spice on the end. Since I personally am very picky about my Chardonnay, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Although it reminded me more of a white blend than a Chardonnay.

After sampling all the whites, I took a break for a few days before delving into the reds. Middle Sister Wines makes three reds. None of them see oak. How can that be? You would be surprised at how enjoyable an unoaked red can be. You won't miss it!



The other night, I decided to test these reds on an unsuspecting public by bringing them to a pre-Thanksgiving "Turkey" party. I thought they would pair up well with all the foods that would be served. Let me just tell you, people went nuts! I'm lucky I got to sample any!

"Rebel Red"--I wanted to run off into a corner with this one all by myself! A bold blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah--all California fruit--42% from the Lodi appellation. Huge berry flavor, zingy with a peppery velvet finish. YUM! Another award winner!

"Forever Cool"--A Merlot/Malbec blend, this wine was fantastic and very easy on the palate with cool berry flavor and vanilla throughout. Really enjoyed it. So did everyone else as it disappeared quickly and people kept asking "Do you have any more of that Merlot???"

"Mischief Maker"--The Cabernet Sauvignon of the group with a plummy, spicy and herbaceous flavor. I didn't get to try much of this one as it disappeared almost as fast as the "Forever Cool". Definitely a hit!

From the moment you log onto their website, www.middlesisterwines.com (or look for the Middle Sister icon on the right hand side of this blog), you will find fun, mischief and mayhem all over! Really nice website--very organized with a lot of information. Games, quizzes, facts, stories, a blog and many more surprises are in store. I recommend just having fun with these wines! What a great way to being friends and family together! (And no, you don't have to be a girl to love these wines! Guys will love them too!)The wines are available for order on the website or you can download a form to find out who distributes them near you. So go out and find the "Middle Sister" you've always wanted to be!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beauty And The Beast


The beauty of being a wine blogger is that every once in awhile, I stumble upon greatness--the chance to try something rare, something beautiful and share it with my public. My beautiful moment came several weeks ago when I received a set of samples from Sobon Wines. I wasn't familiar with them, but I was intrigued because another beautiful thing I love is the fact that there are so many undiscovered small family wineries on the west coast and my goal is to discover as many as possible and bring them to you!

Sobon Wines is a family-owned winery located in the Shenandoah Valley appellation of Amador County in Northern California. They have been a presence there for over thirty years. Most of their grapes are sourced in the area they are in, however, every once in a while they will source some excellent quality grapes from other appellations in California. Recently, they started a new label featuring the wines they produced from grapes that were outsourced. The label is called NOBOS (which obviously is Sobon spelled backwards).

The first sample I tried was the 2007 NOBOS Monterey Chardonnay. This wine has grapes sourced from Scheid Vineyards in Monterey. That may mean nothing to the average reader but please keep in mind that this vineyard produces some of the best Monterey wines out there. When I was first introduced to Chardonnay (a good ten years ago or so), the predominant style out there was big, buttery, a lot of vanilla and oak. As the years went on, the style of California Chardonnay went toward a different direction--back to the clean, lightly or unoaked, unpretentious and true to the grape flavor of Chardonnay. It took me awhile to get used to this new style but I eventually did. Fast forward to 2009--I still miss that big, fruity, buttery flavor sometimes. Guess what? The 2007 NOBOS Monterey Chardonnay brought that back for me but not in a huge, over the top way. It was fresh but full of tropical fruit and rich vanilla crème brulée. I enjoyed every moment of drinking it! Realizing how much I miss that style, I wanted more! Full, rich mouthfeel and tropical goodness with a finish that doesn't stop. At $20.00, this was more than a steal! I would run away with case loads of it if I could! I feel I am happier for discovering it!

And that, my friends, is the beast of it all. I can't just go to the store and buy it when I want. But I can order it online and have it shipped to me! Just go to www.sobonwine.com and discover this winery for yourselves. It may just be the best thing you do today!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Best Of Show or "What Should I Drink On Turkey Day?"

Sometimes I consider myself fortunate. For as long as I have been into wine (10 years to be exact), I have had the great pleasure of attending some large, over the top, wine tastings. I'm talking anywhere from 80-150+ wines in one afternoon or evening. You'd think my palate would be fried! But really, this is how I "honed my chops" so to speak. These tastings enabled me to get where I am today, slowly but surely...

I attended one such tasting this past weekend and I wanted to do a blog based on this tasting while it was still fresh in my mind. I also thought a lot about what wine I could serve guests for Thanksgiving. It's November 4th already (Where did Summer run off to?) and let's face it---you must have a wine plan of attack by now or you might be toast. Here are some helpful hints to make it easy and less stressful for you. Plus if you cook a nice feast to go with these wines, you'll be good as gold! I will be test tasting more throughout the season and will report accordingly!

Dilemma #1: "I have a lot of friends who are new to wine or like sweet wines. Short of white Zin, I have no clue how to make them happy. Help!!!"



The answer is simple. Serve them a white that has some sweetness coming from the fruit and not so much from the sugar level. This will help them transition into the drier whites and maybe eventually even some reds!

Wine Of Choice: 2008 Peter Lehmann "Layers": An Aussie wine made with five grape varietals: Semillon, Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, this wine is crisp and very flavorful, redolent of peaches and flowers and has 11.5% alcohol, making it very slightly sweet and will easily satisfy the palate of new and old wine drinkers alike! Priced at around $17. A very nice buy. Check your local wine shop to see if they have this.

Dilemma #2: "I want to serve Chardonnay at my Thanksgiving dinner, but I have no idea what to look for. I've given up on Chardonnay because most of them are too oaky to suit my taste and the good ones are always out of my price range."



No problem! Here's a nice recommendation that won't break your pocketbook: 2007 St. Supery Chardonnay Oak-Free. At around $24, this wine will not break the bank and promises a very nice, true to the grape flavor. Really nice tropical fruits, absolutely no wood or butter. Just pure Chardonnay at its finest. A breath of fresh air. One should be able to find this Chardonnay at most wine stores. If not, go to www.stsupery.com for more details.

Dilemma #3: I heard Rosé is really making a comeback. Does it have to be White Zinfandel? Aren't there others that are better? How can I find a fun Rosé wine to serve for the holidays?



Well here's your answer! 2008 Bitch Bubbly!!! First of all, the title is awesome, the wine is tasty (a Grenache/Shiraz blend that sparkles) and the bottle is the coolest! Not sweet, just fun! Watch out, Ladies! This one's for you! How much is it? $10. Yes--way!! Put some sass into your holiday with this pink gem! New to my area, but maybe not to yours. Check it out!

Dilemma #4: I keep reading that Pinot Noir is perfect for holiday meals! But ever since that dreaded movie came out (and we all know which movie that is!), I can't find a decent Pinot Noir for a price that won't make me go bankrupt! What gives? I welcome any ideas you have!



Well, I just happened to have stumbled upon a real find this past weekend. 2005 Bianchi Pinot Noir Garey Vineyard. At $28, this Central Coast find from Santa Maria, California will not be on the shelves for long! It bursts with all kinds of berries and has a velvety, spicy finish. Mmmm... Very nice! Perfect with turkey and all the accompaniments. www.bianchiwinery.com

Dilemma #5: We've reached the dessert course and my guests want more! More wine! Is there something I can serve that will pair well with a plethora of desserts? Please advise...



This is where Cellarmistress decided to drink local. (And no, I don't live in California.) It is time for all my out of state readers to focus on my tiny little home state of Iowa and a winery we call Tassel Ridge. Located in Leighton, Iowa--an hour or so south of Des Moines, this winery combines the home grown grape varietals with grapes from California to produce some very interesting blends! I had the pleasure of sampling many of theirs this past weekend and one that really stood out was the Chocolate GranFinale. Luscious and decadent, this dessert wine pairs wonderfully with creamy, fruity or even chocolate desserts! It had a very nice chocolate and berry flavor. I have no idea what grape varietals they used but I really didn't want to think about it. I just wanted to drink it. $20. www.tasselridge.com.

I hope this list took some of the fear out of you! I plan on doing a few more installments as we get closer to the end of the year. Stay tuned for Christmas Wine Extravaganza and Winter Bubblyland! Cheers!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Final Blend



A couple posts ago, I mentioned I was invited to be part of Crushpad's First "Fusebox" Cabernet Blend-Off. After I agreed to do it, Crushpad sent me all the tools to create my blend and on October 21st, I decided to celebrate my birthday in style--I had a blending party with my three closest friends.

As you remember, we had trouble at the beginning of our session back in August. This blending session went without a hitch. We had one goal in mind--to make the best and winning blend! As a serious red wine drinker, I knew what I was going for. I took all of my expertise--the countless visits to Napa Valley wineries, the wine-related classes and tastings I'd attended and the countless books I'd read and poured it into my blending session. I wanted to make an elegant, classy blend that would appeal to the serious red wine drinker. We started with a basic blend, then tweaked it, fine tuned it and the end result was, in our opinion, everything we wanted it to be. But best of all, we had fun doing this. That's what it was about--having fun and sharing good wine with friends.





I left that night feeling confident that people would like my wine. And if not, so be it. Everyone's palate is different. Still, I had to design a label for my blend--something I felt would be very hard to do. I'm a writer not an artist. But I do have an eye for beautiful things and I needed to create a label that not only would attract attention but would depict the beauty of my blend. I feel like I have accomplished this. It only happened after it came to me in a dream. After that night, the answer was as clear as day! The best part about the label is the story that ties the wine in with it to make the complete package. Once you see it, you will completely understand... I hope you get to see it!

I have now accomplished my mission. The deadline is tomorrow morning. My blend and label have been e-mailed to Crushpad and I have already gotten some feedback and it is all positive! Now, I have to sit and wait for the next week until Monday, November 9th when they will announce the two winners: one for the label and one for the blend. If anyone was ever more enthusiastic about a project, it had to be me. I Tweeted and Facebooked the heck out of it! I wanted the world and my competitors to know what I was doing! A little healthy competition never hurt anyone...



I want to thank Crushpad and Linda Yee for this fantastic opportunity! I want to thank all my supporters out there--please keep rooting for me! You keep me inspired! And, last but not least, I want to wish my nine competitors the best of luck once again! Hope to see you in the Winner's Circle!