Friday, November 14, 2014

Once a tree

The stump was gone
What once laid in its place, held glory
for quite some time
Flourishing in the spring; its grand entrance
branching out from its wings
Showing off colors missing from previous months' season
Green, in its prime hour
The new always looks so pretty
Climates shift; breezes anew
We stumble across the hues of gold and red
It is warming and a mesmerizing display of a growth spurt
But last year marked its death
No longer did the view from my bench give me continual immense pleasure
as the previous years had gifted me
I knew the tree had passed
In its dormant progression, at a time I had not been watching
I arrived home one day, saddened that my neighbor did not waste any time in its removal
The produced stump caused me to capture its final existence
Then it was no more





November 10, 2014
2:27 p.m.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The special touch of Don Melchor

Recently I had the most amazing opportunity to taste through the seven parcels that exist in Don Melchor's esteemed Puente Alto vineyard in Chile's Central Valley Region in upper Maipo Valley.  The guest of honor was Enrique Tirado, sole winemaker and technical director for Concha y Toro.  Enrique, a reserved yet sincere figure, spoke with us regarding the winery, its terrior and the distinctions of the seven parcels that eventually will become the blend for the 2013 vintage, release date of Fall 2016.  Shortly thereafter, he blended the parcels and we tasted the special blend that was equally approachable as the 2010 vintage that will be released next month.

The beauty of this event was the unique experience of tasting each parcel individually, followed by its final 2013 vintage blend.  The varietals spoke differently to me as a result. I had gotten to know them first as a single player, then met them together as a team.  It was truly incredible.

Seven parcels of 2013 vintage.

Parcel 1 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  22%

This had an oxidized nose upfront that was quickly muted with a bowl of cranberries/red currants, bell pepper, bitter chocolate and nutmeg.  I liked the mouth feel the most -- it lingered for a while.

Parcel 2 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  4%

Interesting nose of potpourri, black currants, tomato leaf, clove, stony and dark chocolate pieces.  Tart fruit with a menthol finish.  It opened up after sitting in its glass, an imperative deed if consumed on its own.

Parcel 3 - Cabernet Franc (25 year old vines):  13%

Us wine snobs will contest that Cabernet Franc doesn't get as much attention as it so deserves.  This is quite true with this parcel.  The structure resembled one of a black tea's tannin profile.  The black berries, brown spice and clay participants are complementary. This is a wine I'd drink on its own with some age on it.

Parcel 4 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  17%

Mint, pine tree, stony and baking spice notes cascaded along the nose and palate. However, dried roses were the surprise in the wine for me.  The structure has potential, and in a very good way.

Parcel 5 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  20%

I fell in love with the sweet nose of ripe black berries, raspberries and currants - a wine that held a lot of confidence in every element.  Wet stones and its constant overturning of notes won me over.

Parcel 6 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  17%

Deep and full wine carrying a bit of each previous wine's characteristics, definitely needs to breathe in its glass.

Parcel 7 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  7%

As if Merlot had bitten its skin, this wine was jammy and inviting.  Almost euphoric, as my notes read.  Wow.  Wish I had a glass of it now.



Blend of 2013 parcels, to be released 2016


The wine was an elegant example of each child's strong features.  The balance of the parcels blended drank beautifully.  I could only imagine its ability to please upon its release in two years.  I must make a note to purchase its offering and compare my notes.

Additional notes:

The Don Melchor wines are aged in French oak barrels (mostly new) for 12-15 mos, with an additional one year in the bottle.  The Puente Alto vineyard sits at the foot of the Andes Mountains, on the northern side of the Maipo river basin and 2100 feet (650 meters) above sea level.  There are 127 hectares in total, in addition, Enrique grows Petit Verdot, planted in 2008 and Merlot, planted in 2006.  His favorite vintages of Don Melchor are 2010, 2008 and 2001.  He has a twin brother who produces Sauvignon Blanc and red blends under his own private label.  Don Melchor means Sir Mentor, the name referencing the namesake who began the winery in 1883, Concha y Toro.

In conclusion, I really like Chilean Cabernets.  For someone who doesn't drink red often, I was surprised that I had repeated after thoughts about wanting to drink Cabernet Sauvignon for several nights.  Only problem was:  I wanted the 2008 Don Melchor and I didn't have a bottle to open.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

untold story

Thus far, 2014 has been quite a life-changing year.  To start, I made big plans.  Set goals in motion, took on another opportunity and learned a different side of the industry.  I built endurance, speed and knowledge.  I signed up for an exam that I rescheduled once and was committed to studying every freaking minute I had.  On top of this, one goal -- to move out of the state -- forced me to finally get my house into shape in preparation to sell.  That is, until I decided to commit more time to the exam.  Neglected, my house grew chaotic.  I realized the truths behind having a middle school child, my first born.  This was emotionally the hardest - learning to let go, trusting my gut instincts, and being more firm than I've ever been took a toll on me.  I struggled with decisions and as a result of letting my guard down - I had the worse experience yet of 2014.  Even worse than realizing I didn't pass my certified exam.  And that broke my heart bad.

Trust is a funny thing.  You need it to survive, but it messes with you.  I think "to trust" is a sacred act.  I've tried to loosen the trust strings while standing on guard when dealing with an unfamiliar environment, but I strongly believe in giving those the benefit of the doubt until they've done you wrong.  Of course if and when that happens, it sinks deep and you get angry with yourself because you didn't put your guard up more.  You trusted them and they stabbed you in the back.  I don't take being accused of something that is the absolute false, lightly.  You can't destroy me with your words because I stood up for myself.  Of this, I'm proud.  And I'm more than happy now that I am reserving my talents for those that deserve it.

It is also funny how you really learn who your friends are when swimming through troubled times.  It doesn't exist if it's one sided.  Hey that's cool, I can take a hint.  Probably why Twitter is a safe bet cause it's non-committal and I don't have to wonder if you're going to respond to my text cause I don't care anymore.

I also learned that people with power are the most self-centered people I've ever met and that it's unfortunate that success has come at the price of being cold yet never realizing that your happiness will never be fulfilled until you realize how to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Finally, I learned the only person in the world who truly knows you for who you are and will always be there until the end, is yourself.  Once I accepted this fact, I began to find peace in my journey.

This is why I write.  It's my deepest form of therapy.  In fact, for many years I kept journals that helped me survive all the stages of my life.  I am learning to be content with the little things.  I confess that, prior to my revelation, technology had encouraged me to succumb to the immediate need for everything.  But now, now I really crave a simple, yet deeper life. One that wastes no time on negativity, lost souls, one sided friends, and employers that don't acknowledge your contributions and strengths.  I am urging you, whomever reads this, to reflect on you and who you are inside - there is an untold story in you and those who are worthy - should hear it.  They exist.  You know deep down who they may be and you know who they definitely are not.

In honor of a great writer who recently passed, Maya Angelou, I leave you with this inspiring quote.  I know I am not perfect, but I refuse to surrender to the negative influences that attempt to pull me away from the simple, yet profound life rule I really believe in.  To be polite and respectful.  And if you don't receive it in return, turn your cheek away.  Don't expend your energy on the unworthy.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Introducing Sacy

I prefer to look at genuineness as showing real expression, whether agreeable to those around you or not.  I believe it to be honest in a sense of accountability.  In other words, owning up to whatever you put forth.

Loire Valley is a region within France that both illuminates and surprises me every time I brush up on the diverse appellations it showcases.  The Loire river is responsible for keeping the temperatures as nature intended, a few degrees warmer based on individual macro climates along the stretch that begins on the east side from the land of Massif Central, all the way west to the Atlantic coast.  At this time you may be wondering how the word "genuineness" comes into play here, alas, it has most to do with it.  It is because I believe if there's one word that had to be reserved to forever describe the fondness I have with Loire Valley, it would be genuineness.

What I have come to appreciate most of Loire Valley is the ability to offer every type of wine category.  It has sparkling, and tons of it.  After Champagne, it produces the most sparkling wines in all of France.  It produces aromatic textured whites from Melon de Bourgogne aka Muscadet and the dominate white varietal responsible for the famed Vourvay and botrytis-like wines and finally, the notable wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé which highlight Sauvignon Blanc in its finest mineral hour.  That is only to discuss the whites of Loire Valley.  But there's also lesser known varietals...

Sacy, the white varietal indigenous to the appealing wines of Saint-Pourçain AOP is known as Tressallier in the Auvergne region of Central France, located southeast of the Central region within Loire Valley.  Oddly enough, the dominant variety title in the encépagement belongs to the international grape Chardonnay, with an option of ten percent Sauvignon Blanc.  Some have compared Tressallier/Sacy to Viognier, yet I beg to defer.  I see a resemblance in the texture and structure profile of Pinot Blanc.  I bought the Domaine Nebout Saint-Pourçain 2009 last Spring.  I remember trying it back in 2011 and I wanted to revisit its progression.  What I witnessed in its first try was a mineral focused, funky and vague apricot nose that left me stumped.  The palate was developing and it hadn't won me over, yet.  When I took my second taste I decided that it would be more enjoyable five degrees warmer.

I suspect this wine style is enjoyed on a daily basis, but I chose to wait another year before indulging the bottle below for the second time.



100 percent Tressallier 

It matured really nicely, at five years vintage.  The nose subdued on the mineral front, retaining its funky tone with a pale golden hue.  There existed soft white flowers, caramelized lemon rind, dried fruit leather of apricot flesh and subtly wet pebbles.  I was in awe and bummed at the same time because I had opened the bottle I had no more chances of buying in this vintage.

But that's what it's about.  We must live for today.  What better region to sink your teeth into than Loire Valley.  It's real, it doesn't pretend.  And it most definitely lives up to genuineness.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Distraction: friend or foe

When I was in college, I had the keen ability to focus on my studies like it was nobody's business.  I was in school and worked full time.  I had no social life and was too busy to care of its stance lacking in my life.  No regrets ever surfaced and I was completely fulfilled when I graduated.

Since then, my life has multiplied in layers.  Not only do I maintain a full time work schedule, but being a mother of two is a full time and a half gig on its own.  It's the best job I've ever held but it comes with an expense and I am not only referring to the monetary kind.  I confess to being a worrier and I am constantly thinking of their well being 24-7.  I don't have days off and it will be a position I will hold honorably until I pass.  Even still, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Yet in the midst of my crazed life, I often forget to chill out.  I envy those who find time to read a book in its entirety and practice yoga four times a week as I once did not too long ago.  I definitely contest that one is responsible for his/her own actions and in this case I have myself to blame.

So why the blog title?

I recently had a distraction.  Call it what you wish, but an incident that caused me to slow down and take softer breaths.  I am usually not a fan of distractions as I believe in being focused at all times, but having experienced "a time of reflection", I am thankful.  It reminded me that I am not merely defined by my being my mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a service professional, a friend, etc., but by Linda:  the individual I am that came to be through my life experiences.  I don't want to forget her because then I would be neglecting the dire importance of keeping her soul intact.

So I will search within, each day going forward.  I will pick up that book I've been etching to read, follow the recipe of rose water shortbread cookies, study the grand crus of Burgundy, and forget about the laundry so I could have quality time with my children.

My soul will thank me and as a result I'll probably smile more often.  This in turn will spread the cheer as I do believe smiling is contagious.  Thank you distraction, for this awakening. You've proven to be a friend.  A true one at that.  You're invited to come back at anytime.





Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall back

It is that time of year.  When the leaves begin to change color and we remember why fall is so mesmerizing.  The colors we encounter during the seasons' change are those that are warm and inviting.  Inviting you to sit back and chill.  Daylight savings time is this weekend and we will all gain one more glorious hour and basque in its sweet render.  Just try to avoid thinking about the fact that the days are shorter as the night turns deep blue an hour earlier.

Fall back.  The term itself has caused me to reflect on the year.  The decisions I've made, the cheers and the disappointments, realizations, and the big one:  me.  I changed a lot this year.  And it's for the good cause it's forced me to put everything in perspective.  It's made it possible for me to preserve what is true, conserve things that can be fixed and convert anger into positive energy.  It took me a long time to realize that I can't save the world, but I can make a difference by serving as an advocate for harmony.

It's that simple.  When our competitive nature becomes fierce then we lose sight of harmony.  The need to have more, to be better than others, to succeed big.  It's not to say that we must give up striving for happiness or being successful in the workplace.  The need to survive is dire.  It's become a dog eat dog world.  As a result, sometimes our blinders get in the way of considering the whole picture.  Where did the simple childhood dreams that consisted of being content and being among warmth and comfort go?

It is with great sadness that I admit I exist within the last generation before the internet, cell phones and social media/networking boom arrived full force.  When I witness what children these days are exposed to, I think it's a shame.  We need to work harder to save them.  We need to show them how to be real people and connect how we once did on a regular basis.  How to hear a live voice more often than read texts.  To send letters rather than emails.  The feeling of anticipation and excitement from waiting to hear a loved one's voicemail after returning from a long day's of work.  To be patient.  To truly understand the meaning of this and realize that this world of immediate access to everything is actually more stimulating than we need and not for the greater good.

To fall back to a time when people sat in their backyards and chatted with each other without the interruption or distraction of the internet, cell phones and social media apps. And we actually get to know each other.  And there is harmony.  I want this back.

Make simplicity the norm.  Fall back.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vitamin D, the next level

I woke up much earlier than I preferred because the sun was shining so strongly through my window this morning.  It enticed me to venture outside, sit on my side steps and take in its rays when most gentle.

In my age, I have been super cautious about wearing sun screen.  I curse myself often for never having done the same when I was younger and tanning was the latest craze.  Skin cancer scares me, as any other cancer would, but if I am unfortunate to be diagnosed with the former then I know I only have myself to blame.  However, since I knew I was only going to sit out for a bit and to be quite honest, the smell of sunscreen makes me nauseous and because my kids had not woken up yet, I wanted to steal my free time as quickly as I could.

As I let the sun sink into my skin I pondered about my last full physical in January.  My doctor had told me I had a Vitamin D deficiency and she recommended I take a very high dose weekly for about six months.  Wow, really, a Vitamin D deficiency?  How does something like that happen?  Not to fret, I knew she could have told me worse, but my journey thereafter taught me a bit about this glorious necessary element we all need in our lives.

FACTS ABOUT VITAMIN D

  • It is a fat soluble vitamin which means it's stored in your body (such as your liver and kidney) and takes much longer to escape than water soluble vitamins (e.g. Vitamins C and B9)
  • It is the most useful substance inside your body and beneficial when consumed on a daily basis
  • It is measured by International Units, also known as IU
  • It ensures strong bone health, preventing bones from becoming brittle, thin and deformed
  • It promotes strong, sturdy teeth which in turn creates good mouth hygiene 
  • It reduces a greater chance of inflammation
  • It promotes calcium in the digestive tract
  • It is found in relatively small doses in food sources such as 1 cup of milk (102 IU), fortified rice (81 IU), fortified orange juice (53 IU) and salmon (435 IU) to name a few
  • Another well known source of Vitamin D is the sun with skin exposure of 10 to 15 minutes
  • The daily recommended Vitamin D dose for people between the ages of 1 - 70 is 600 IU 
When my doctor told me I had a Vitamin D deficiency, she prescribed a weekly dose of 50,000 IU, divided by seven days a week came out to about 7,142 International Units a day. Sounds like a lot, but I was apparently lacking in this department.

These days I soak up the sun when it's around, take a daily dose of 1,000 IU and consume more food sources that contain ample IU of Vitamin D.  I am exercising more, maintaining a healthier diet and drinking an average of 70 ounces of water.  I am feeling much better these days.  I am thankful for my health.  And all it took was learning my Vitamin D levels were dangerously low.  There is good in all things.  I am glad that it made me aware. Hopefully my post sheds some light for you as well.

I always like to part on an inspirational note.  This was born as a result of my learning to listen to what my body needs.  I have even taken it to the next level.  By becoming a better listener overall.