Monday, January 26, 2009
My daughter and I just finished up reading "Charlotte's Web" where we learned a lot about true friendship and the often sad realities of life. However, despite the fact that life can be sad, we also learned that things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. DO read this book with your children before they leave primary school, it has a lot of valuable lessons.
The book begins when John Arable's sow gives birth to a litter of piglets, and Mr. Arable discovers one of them is a runt and decides to kill it. However, his eight year old daughter Fern begs him to let it live. Therefore her father gives it to Fern as a pet, and she names the piglet Wilbur. Wilbur is hyperactive and always exploring new things. He lives with Fern for a few weeks and then is sold to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. Although Fern visits him at the Zuckermans' farm as often as she can, Wilbur gets lonelier day after day. Eventually, a warm and soothing voice tells him that she is going to be his friend. The next day, he wakes up and meets his new friend, Charlotte: the grey spider.
Wilbur soon becomes a member of the community of animals who live in the cellar of Zuckerman's barn. When the old sheep in the barn cellar tells Wilbur that he is going to be killed and eaten at Christmas, he turns to Charlotte for help. Charlotte has the idea of writing words in her web extolling Wilbur's excellence ("some pig", "terrific", "radiant", and eventally "humble"), reasoning that if she can make Wilbur sufficiently famous, he will not be killed. Thanks to Charlotte's efforts, Wilbur not only lives, but goes to the county fair with Charlotte and wins a prize.
Due to the short lifespan of spiders, Charlotte dies at the fair. Wilbur repays Charlotte by bringing home with him the sac of eggs (her "magnum opus") she had laid at the fair before dying. When Charlotte's eggs hatch at Zuckerman's farm, most of them leave to make their own lives elsewhere, except for three: Joy, Aranea, Nellie, who remain there as friends to Wilbur.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Finca Las Moras Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (2006) from Argentina
Finca Las Moras has been around for about 11 years now and one of the cooler things I discovered about this vineyard was the fact that it is drip irrigated with meltwater from the Andes...now how cool is that?!
This was a young wine but for 12.99 it is a nice, inexpensive wine to serve a large group of varied wine-drinkers. It has enough class and character to appease the folks more interested in wine and enough flavor and fruit to catch the attention of those who might not normally drink wine.
The tannins in this wine were soft and it was pretty fruity. I could taste definite oak on the finish. In short, a nice little stand-up and have a chat wine. Do check it out sometime.
Davidson Rating Scale: 8.5
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Hi Everyone - my wine group got together for our annual winter wine tasting and dinner last night at our friends (Chris & Stacy) house. Before I talk about the wines, which were suburb, I'd like to give a SHOUT-OUT to the chefs for the awesome meal they created to accompany the wines. Here goes:
Appetizer: Roasted Wild Mushroom Soup
Main Course: Salmon, Cod, Scallops and Shrimp beuatifully presented in a trio of sauces. Accompanied by asparagus tips.
Dessert: Turtle Cheesecake with a Starbucks Coffee Liqueur and Guavaberry liquor from Sint Maarten.
Now, on to the wine!
Sterling Vintner’s Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (USA)
Intense ruby-red in color, this wine is a real bargain for the money at 17.99 a bottle. Heavy vanilla on the nose, this lovely cab has flavors of dark fruit, caramel and, surprisingly, root beer. Yes, root beer! The wine has great balance and a lingering toasty and fruity finish.
Wyndham Estates Bin 444 Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)
This fruit forward wine was a perfect partner to the Sterling Vintner to get the evening underway. It was much sweeter and happier than the Sterling allowing our palates to limber up for the rest of the wines. This wine presented as dark purple with vibrant crimson hues and smelled of…fruit, and lots of it! This was smoky on the palate with definite fruit and tobacco notes. Yummy!
Mommessin Pouilly Fuisse (2006)
Thanks to Chris for brining this austere little French number. Pouilly-Fuisse is a French white wine from the celebrated Burgundy region in France. It was a very elegant chardonnay with flavors of grapefruits, apples, pears and citrus fruits on the bouquet and palate. Supple tannins and a long, refined finish.
Angoves Nine Vines Viognier (2007)
Thanks to Dean for introducing us to the steal of the evening. This lively medium bodied wine was a pale, straw color and opened with an aromatic fruity nose. I tasted lemons, apricots and peaches on the palate. Will be drinking a bottle of this, with friends of course, on a hot summer day at the lake this summer!
Cockfighter's Ghost Premium Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 (Tasmania)
Thanks to Harold for bringing, in my opinion, the overall wine of the night. Dark crimson in color, the wine has lifted wild berry aromas and flavor typical of pinot noir. The palate is long and concentrated with cherry mulberry and spice characteristics, finishing with a velvety mouth-feel. I feel that this pinot noir will continue to age gracefully for 8 to 10 years if cellared and I have two bottles laid down to drink in 2011 & 2013!
Faustino Seleccion de Familia Crianza 2005 (Spain)
This was my selection this evening. This silky Opimian wine was 100% Tempranillo and aged 12 months in new American oak casks and 6 months in French Allier oak casks from Seguin Moreau. It was a very deep, inky and intense cherry color with a remarkably rich bouquet of petrol, pavement and tar which changed quite quickly to present as ripe fruit, toast and spicy oak on the palate. It was full and flavorsome, very persistent, complex and concentrated -- I loved it!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I just wanted to take a moment to say "Happy New Year" to my readers and to thank everyone for their warm wishes and kind comment over the past year. Janice and I are VERY lucky to live in Clarenville (the ocean is such a source of comfort for us) and have such GREAT friends who, quite frankly, would do anything for us. We value and appreciate your support and feel very fortunate to have you in our lives. Can't wait for 2009 and we are certain much health, happiness and prosperity will ensure. All the best from Ocean Front!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Happy New Year and a very Merry Christmas to my wife Janice. We have been through a very difficult time this past year and I just want you to know that I love you now more than ever. Life isn't easy but it is special and I am glad I get to share it with you. We're headed for better times babe so hang in there, and I'll hang in there, and in the end we'll be sitting on the bed, talking, and wondering where the time went.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Just wanted to quickly share a story with you all that my children love called "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fame. I'm actually reading this now with my oldest child and she loves it. It also gets lots of different gears grinding in their brains and is great for stimulating creative thinking patterns.
The story begins when poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. After three years he becomes "the saddest and loneliest boy you could find." Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever. When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion. From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life.
James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede--each with his or her own song to sing. Roald Dahl's rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again! With the addition of witty black and white pencil drawings by Lane Smith, the children can get a better sense of what "cloud-men" look like! I think James and the Giant Peach is one of the finest children's books ever written.