Shenandoah Vineyard Hopping

Visiting CrossKeys Vineyard,  in Mt. Crawford, VA:  https://www.crosskeysvineyards.com/

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#Empty-nesters for the week while our two teenagers are at XC camp-my hubby and I enjoyed some vineyard hopping in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.

CrossKeys Vineyard is a must do: The wine is exceptional, the views are panoramic, and the food is heavenly.

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On the road to a vineyard, I am always hopefully optimistic, although on occasion, the website and the hype do not measure up to the reality. Not so here! Reminiscent of Tuscany, this is an exquisite escape!

We began with some sketchy weather, but it quickly improved!

I highly recommend having one of the cheese plates, and thoroughly enjoyed the all day Sunday brunch menu options. The wines are complex in style and can easily compete with European vintages, especially the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Our little romantic getaway was complete with a stay in one of the many local B&B’s, but this vineyard has the space and facilities to accommodate large events or would be fun with a group of friends.

Thanks for reading and keep drinking great wine!

 

 

 

Writing Success?

Amazon Top 100 Metaphysical free until 2/20/17 is #28 today!!! Secret Agent of God

How do you measure your success as a writer? Is is solely based on monetary terms? Is it based on numbers? Views? Or rankings? All of this has become very complicated. When I first published my book, I had no idea what I wanted in terms of writing success. Every month, and every year this definition of success keeps changing.

One single factor that remains consistent is that I am always taken by surprise when some form of writing success comes my way. So much for my mastery in marketing!

I actually forgot that I scheduled a book promotion for this weekend. Woops! I was checking the stats of another author, which of course led to checking my own stats, and then…an ah-ha moment.

Link to top 100 page

Incidentally as I write this the book went from #26 to #28! If I don’t write faster it may drop off the list entirely!!! Success no matter how you measure it fleeting.

When I was a “new” writer, I would get very excited about any measure of success. This is as it should be, which makes me wonder, as an “old” writer, am I now jaded or just too busy?

I have been a little busy with a new job, my daughter was home sick, I had a few plumbing disasters. You know, life tends to get in the way of one’s “writing life”.

Another recent discovery (again by accident) was that one of my blog posts from 2014, about buttery chardonnay, is consistently fighting for the top three position against Total Wine and Wine Spectator. What led to the discovery was I kept getting new comments on an old post. I looked at the stats, and realized it had a crazy number of steady views:

Web Results
  1. http://www.totalwine.com/wine/buttery-chardonnay/c/92888977Total Wine and More features the best wine selection with over 8000 wines in stock. Shop Buttery Chardonnay now.

  2. https://eileenslovak.com/2014/04/25/ten-buttery-chardonnays-for-under-20/Apr 25, 2014  Bringing you some feasible Friday fun with numbers…just in time for the weekend ! Actually most of these wines are available for under $15, which is amazing considering the quality. Fans of the buttery, creamy variety will enjoy these ‘Fab Chards’! I like mine fruity, but on the dry side, with hints of vanilla and …

  3. http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/47437Wine Spectator’s expert describes malolactic conversion, or ML, which can impart a buttery flavor to Chardonnays or other wines, and suggests ways of finding wines that have this flavor.

It does make me smile, to see that today, I beat out Wine Spectator. But what does this mean? I love that people are finding my post useful. It’s flattering to be google ranked among the big shots of wine for my post. But at the end of the day, most of the people in my everyday life have no idea that I even write. BTW: I use my real name on everything!

Putting “success” in perspective means finding out what it means to me to be successful. I do feel inspired by this “success” enough to make me want work on my new novel today. This equals a positive result.

My goal as a writer has always been to write for the love of writing, to publish just to say I did it, to maybe reach a small audience, to inspire, to make a few connections, and NOT to quit.

The last one is the toughest. Hang in there!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Chardonnay

Manage a Trois Gold California 2015, for under $10.00, is pure buttery deliciousness! This is a fun, rich tasting wine that surprised me with how fabulous it is. The back label copy is spot on!

I give this one three sticks of butter!

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Try it with seafood fettuccine alfredo, or a rich dessert, or just have this wine and call it desert. Yum!

Thanks for reading and keep drinking great wine!

 

Saturday Night Old Vine Zinfandel!

Carnivore Old Vine Zin is the full package: a wine with a catchy name, an attractive label, a rich red color and a medium body all for around $12.00. This is a delightful drinking wine with oak forward and fruit back. Darky fruity, I tasted plum, raspberry and dark cherry.

For cocktail hour try it with substantial cheeses such as an aged cheddar or gruyere. At dinnertime it mixes well with veal, lamb, or spicy food, like Indian cuisine.

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Please let me know how you liked it. Thanks for reading and keep drinking great wine!

Saturday Night Red Blend!

I was tentative about red blends at first, being a purist at heart, but I have now come to embrace them. I especially enjoy the guessing game of which varieties make up the wine.
Wickee Red Blend

Hob Nob Chardonnay is one of my new favorites in the oak and butter category, so when I saw the Hob Nob Wicked Red Blend, and for under $10.00, I decided to give it a try. My guess based on the oaky, deep red fruit, and spice flavors was a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Red Zinfandel mix. Then I read the wine is produced in France. Quelle Surprise! I thought it was Californian all the way. Plus, I was dead wrong on the blend. It is 40% Cabernet, 20% Grenache, 20% Merlot and 20% Syrah.

I encourage you to try this delicious Wicked Red Blend. It is perfectly deadly with red meat, or sturdy cheeses like Gouda and Danish Blue.

Enjoy and keep drinking great wine!

 

Friday Night Chardonnay!

Sorry California, this week’s wine pick is a lovely, smooth, oaky, buttery Chardonnay from South Africa called Indaba for under $8.00.

 

That’s not just any oak you have been spending time in Indaba! This little beauty is aged in French Oak. No wonder I liked it! Hints of honeysuckle, and pineapple round out this refreshing wine which is perfect for sharing an early evening on the deck. Try it with seafood, or with some creamy cheeses like havarti or butterkase.

Thank you for reading and keep drinking great wine!

Friday Night Chardonnay!

Hello all! At some point in your blogging life you come to realize where your talent lies and mine as 83,000 views would dictate is finding the best buttery chardonnay on the market at a fair price.

Let’s face it, we chard-lovers love the butter, we crave the oak, and we do not care for citrus when searching for the perfect chard. It’s challenging to navigate the endless rows of would-be contenders for our well earned weekend enjoyment.

So tonight, look for Popcorn!

That’s what I said, y’all!

 

 

I adore a little salty sweet combo in anything edible, and this delivers in the wine category. At first glance I thought it would be a gimmicky no-go, but was impressed by the true quality, and Friday-night-worthiness of this yummy pick! It is buttery, a bit salty, but also oaky enough to satisfy. I found this must try wine at my favorite haunt Total Wine & More at my favorite price point under $13.00. So, sit down with your your favorite movie, or Netflix series this weekend, and don’t forget the Popcorn!

Thanks for reading! And keep drinking buttery chards!

Ten More Buttery Chardonnays for Under $20

In search of better than butter: butterscotch and bargains!

As promised, this is a follow-up post of buttery chardonnay’s that fit the flavor profile of the #butter and #oak wine lovers. Even better, all but one were under $15.00. Martin Ray blends oak, cream and fruit to make a winning combination for under $10.00. William Wright is a smooth blend of caramel and oak for under $7.00.

 

For the new buttery top ten, I discovered an even better flavor: butterscotch! In particular, the aptly named Butter 2014 at under $14.00, and Bread & Butter 2015 at $12.00 did not disappoint. Layer Cake 2014 at $11.00 which I expected to be a trendy boutique wine, was quite good.

 

Hahn 2014 from Monterey County for under $12.00 is pleasantly fruity with a nice balance of oak and butter. I picked up my new favorite, Hob Nob Wicked Limited Edition Chardonnay from California, on a special price promotion for under $10.00. This is by far the best flavor value of the bunch.

 

Finally, the Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2015 at $11.00, Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells 2015 under $15.00, and Sonoma-Loeb 2015 at $20.00 were all exceptional. At Total Wine and More, I was told that the Sonoma-Loeb Reserve and Envoy are even more buttery, but they do not fit my budget or blog focus for the top ten.

 

Let me know what you think of these wines and I promise to post a new list soon! Happy sipping all!

Thanks for reading and keep drinking great wine!

If you liked this post, please check out:

Ten Buttery Chardonnays for Under $20

 

Life Uncorked: Mastroberardino Historia 2000

 

This weekend my husband, Nick, and I uncorked a bottle of Mastroberdadino Historia 2000, one of the wines we purchased at the Radici Resort and Spa in Mirabella Eclano, when my family visited there in July of 2009. Trust me, it is not often that we have an opportunity to drink a sixteen year old bottle a wine, and one that predates both of our children, Nicholas and Katherine.

The taste: steeped in history, rich, bold, and earthy, took us back in time to what is poistively one of my family’s fondest memories of the three years we spent living in Italy: a weekend at the Radici Spa & Resort.

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http://www.eileenslovak.com

This Family owned and run Winery has origins dating back to 1878, and is now in very capable hands of Vintner Piero Mastroberardino. We met Piero when we visited the resort back in 2009. The family, staff, and estate were both welcoming and exquisite. The resort encompassed everything we grew to love about Italy: history, fabulous wine, amazing cuisine and people who are passionate about their Italian culture, and want to share the experience with the world.

 

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Radici Resort & Spa
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Kat in front of the Golf Clubhouse at the Radici Resort & Spa

Seven years later, we still reflect fondly on the wine, food and accommodations and our experience that weekend, where we relaxed and dined like movie stars. Tucked away in the hills of Italy’s Campagnia region, this little gem is well worth the trip!

 

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Little golfers
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Pool at the Radici Resort & Spa
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Tee Time at the Radici Resort & Spa
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The grapes! http://www.eileenslovak.com
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Rolling Hills of Campagnia http://www.eileenslovak.com

My family and I were thankful to have experienced this amazing place. If you visit, please share your thoughts. Happy touring and tasting all! Thanks for reading!

The wine: http://www.mastroberardino.com/

The resort: http://www.mastroberardino.com/en/radici-resort/

 

 

Chocolate, Wine & Dying Anyway? May as well enjoy ourselves!

Here’s hoping you enjoyed some red wine and dark chocolate yesterday in honor of St. Valentine’s Day!

I know I did.

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Handmade chocolates wwww.eileenslovak.com

 

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Brunello di Montalcino Casanova di Neri 2006 http://www.eileenslovak.com

Like you, I chose to ignore reports like the the JAMA Network study Resveratrol Levels and All-Cause Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults which indicates there may after all, not be any real health benefits of consuming red wine and dark chocolate.

It was a lovely dream.

Based on this news will chocolate and red wine lovers cease our habits now that these guilty pleasures will not necessarily add years to our lives?

Unlikely.

There are still benefits that extend beyond the mere enjoyment wine and chocolate…like happiness.

The mood elevator Phenylethlamine a naturally occurring amine, best known as the “love drug” produced by our bodies when we fall in love is also found in chocolate. Some researchers say that if you crave chocolate or any other food, you may merely be deficient in one or more nutrients, vitamins or minerals like magnesium.

You could resolve this issue in the case of magnesium by eating seeds/nuts, green leafy vegetables or by taking a supplement. There is no need to turn to chocolate.

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http://www.eileenslovak.com

Do we drink red wine for its health benefits such as the presence of Polyphenols, U.S. National Library of Medicine as antioxidants? Or do we drink it because we like it and it makes us happy?

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My hubby in Tuscany! http://www.eileenslovak.com

My family lived in Italy for three years. Over which time we spent many a weekend in the Chianti region, where the JAMA study was conducted.

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“Enotcea” http://www.eileenslovak.com

Should we stop visiting wineries and frequenting chocolate festivals because these lovely tangibles have reverted to mere vices and are therefore unhealthy?

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Nick and Kat at Villa Matilde in Cellole, Italy http://www.eileenslovak.com

Link to Villa Matilde

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Chocolate Festival in Teano, Italy http://www.eileenslovak.com

After three years of traveling throughout Italy, I can verify by my own experience, the inherent joy of the Italian people. What I cannot do is prove that red wine and chocolate are the reasons for this happiness. It is a good theory, and one that scientists may consider for their next study.

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Me in Tuscany!!!! http://www.eileenslovak.com

Until then, cheers with chocolate on top!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

Link to my E-Book!