Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chili Dawg Wine

Not everyone is a wine drinker, and I can definitely understand that. I wasn't a huge fan of it myself, and I even worked at a vineyard for a few years. I like to think Chili Dawg is for those people that don't necessarily like the juice of fermented grapes, but still want to look like they're drinking like an adult.

I was first introduced to Chili Dawg during a trip to the future in-laws' house. As we sat around imbibing and talking, they told us we just had to try this new wine they found. Since they're much more experienced wine drinkers than I, I gladly accepted a glass. They said it was like nothing else they've ever tasted before, and I'm inclined to agree. I ended up finishing the rest of the bottle on my own, and spent the rest of the night passed out in a drunken stupor. Ah..good times..

I was lucky enough to get a bottle of my own this past Christmas. I never really noticed the label before, but it definitely has the look of something from a small operation. Starring what looks like Clifford in a blue suit holding a flaming glass of wine, most would likely steer clear of this wine. I definitely think they're missing out. Sure, it looks a little rough, but that's part of the charm isn't it? I guess I'd rather they spent their time crafting a tasty beverage, and let the fancy shmancy folks worry about their pretty labels. Besides, what it lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in flavor. As they say, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover..

Chili Dawg is made up of a mixture of apple wine and chili pepper wine. Apples into wine, sure, I can get behind that. Turning fruit into alcoholic beverages is something people have been doing for thousands of years. Chili pepper wine though, that just sounds like insanity to me. I'm not even sure how something like that is made, but sometimes it's best to not know what's going on behind the curtain. If you're confused as to why there's a can of Easy Cheese sitting there, keep reading. It will all make sense soon enough.

One of the best things about Chili Dawg is its aroma. Popping the cork releases the scent of fresh apples, with a bit of jalapeno pepper mixed in. The flavor is akin to a lighter apple juice, and it has a sweeter taste that normal wines and ciders. It's definitely not syrupy, like other sweet wines tend to be. There's also a bit of spice, enough to remind you that there is chili pepper wine mixed in, but not so much that you'll burn your mouth. Chilled, I could see it making a nice refreshing beverage. However, the magic doesn't happen until it's mixed with a little Easy Cheese.

Now, I don't literally mean you mix the cheese and the wine together. Just the thought of what that would look like makes my stomach clench. No, what you do is spray a little Easy Cheese on the back of your hand. Hopefully your hands have been washed, because the next step requires you to lick the cheese off before taking a sip of wine. Now, I've always been told certain wines go great with certain foods, and I usually find this to be a load of bullsh*t. For the most part, a sommeliers main function is to upsell you on the more expensive wines offered in a restaurant. That's not to say that some wines don't taste better with certain foods, but for the most part that taste is entirely subjective. Just because some guy says that the $25 a glass wine goes best with the choked goose with ham jelly doesn't mean you'll absolutely agree. Still, even taking all of that into account, I can tell you Chili Dawg goes with Easy Cheese like peanut butter and jelly. Take that lick of cheese, follow it with a sip of wine, and your mouth is instantly filled with the taste of chili dog. Thankfully, your mouth won't actually be filled with chili dog, because that would just be weird, and utterly confusing.

Curious if this phenomena was isolated to just the Easy Cheese, I tried a couple different varieties. Sadly, the sliced American cheese product and cheddar didn't create the same magic. Maybe it's the difference in consistency, or perhaps it's the cocktail of chemicals that makes up spray cheese, but these just didn't work for me. Still good, but it's rather unappetizing having wine and cheese chunks floating around in your mouth. Lesson learned, stick with the cheese in a can.

Chili Dawg is available from Peaks of Otter Winery in Bedford, Va. You can actually order it online, but they can only ship it to Virginia addresses. For  everyone else, you have to go through a store licensed to ship out of state.

So, go get  some Chili Dawg wine, a can of spray cheese, put on some sexy music, and have yourself a party.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Random picture post Summer edition.

One of the great things about the Eastern Shore in the summertime, there is no shortage of festivals happening around here. Even if it isn't listed in the newspaper, there's a safe bet that there's something going on involving food, music, and booze. Chelsea and I didn't make it to all the events this year, but we had a great time at the few that we attended.

Back in June, we made it to the Tall Ships Festival in Cape Charles. It's a yearly event, where historical sailing vessels dock in the harbors and allow people to take tours. Unfortunately, the two that showed up this year wanted about $45 a piece to take a look around. In the end, I was only able to grab a few shots of the ships before we went back to eating.

Every year, the Wachapreague Volunteer Fire Department sets up and runs a carnival in, well, Wachapreague. This year it ran from June 18th to July 12th, and it helps them raise funds for new equipment and operations. The Wachapreague Carnival used to be a regular summer destination when I was growing up. My cousin and I would spend hours riding the rides, and blowing our money on the somewhat shady games. Now, I mainly go for the food, since it's one of the only times of the year that I'll be able to enjoy a fried soft crab sandwich. 

There's my sammich in all it's glory. Soft crabs are definitely an acquired taste, and I can see how most folks wouldn't like them. It blows my mind that I've liked these things since childhood, since you're basically eating a whole crab. I know adults that would rather starve than put one of these in their face. Maybe it's the legs. It can be a little hard getting over the legs.

The fries were pretty good this year, though I always find it nearly impossible to finish them. This was a small, and Chelsea and I both gave up halfway through. It wasn't until I got up to toss them out, that I discovered the vinegar had soaked through the container and the paper, and into my jeans. I got to walk around the rest of the night looking like I had a very strange "accident".

I've never actually ridden the Spider. I have problems with rides that go in too many directions at once, so I tend to keep my butt off of them. I think it's best that I don't do my impression of a sprinkler, and shower the crowds with my recently eaten soft crabs.

The ferris wheel is still one of my favorite rides there. It used to be because it was one of the few rides that didn't make me nauseous. Now I appreciate it for the view it provides. It also allows me to escape the oppressive heat of the crowds, and enjoy the nice cool breeze blowing off the ocean.

Here's a shot of the carnival from one of the several parking areas. It's funny how much bigger it used to seem when I was growing up. I even remember getting lost a couple of times. Now, the whole area just seems cramped and overcrowded. I guess that's what happens when you get bigger; everything else looks smaller.

August 9th found Chelsea and I attending the Eastern Shore's Own Craft Beer and Music Festival. This took place in the lovely town of Belle Haven, next to the ESO Arts Center. This is only the second year they've had it, but if the turnout was any indication, it is going to continue to be an annual event. It helps to raise money for the ESO, which holds classes for everything from dancing to watercolor.

You get 10 different tastings for your admission price. There was a rather large selection of microbreweries to choose from, so you had to pick and choose which ones you wanted to try. Near the end of the evening, however, they stopped marking our wristbands. So, I ended up with a few extra tastings before the day was over.

Here's Chelsea modeling the mugs and the jugs.

I love these little mugs, if only because they make me feel like a giant. I like to use mine when I feel like stomping on a village.

The last even we went to this August, was the Church Creek Wine Club meet and greet. This is a shot of Chatham, the main house on the vineyard property. I've know the owners for a long time, and I actually worked inside Chatham, helping with the restoration. Once that was completed, I moved outside and helped Jon Wehner, owner of Church Creek Wines and Chatham Vineyards, start building what has become one of the best vineyards in the state. This event was sort of a "thank you" to the folks that joined their wine club. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the other members, and to try some wines that will never be available to the public.

Here's another shot from behind the house, this time over looking Church Creek. This is where Southeast Expeditions lands when they take people on their kayaking and wine tasting tour. It's also where we're planning on taking some of the pictures on our wedding day.

Why does it seem like there's almost always alcohol present in our photos? Hmm..

Here's a shot of the sitting room in Chatham. I wish you could have seen what this place looked like 16 years ago, because you'd never believe that it would look like this today. Every room is painted based on samples taken from the walls and woodwork.For the most part, it looks just like it would have back in 1818. Depending on your tastes, that may be a good thing or a bad thing.

Whenever Chelsea sees a piano, she can't help but sit down and give it a play. It's a shame she didn't discover it sooner, she could have provided some light music for the evening. 

August also saw the release of what has become my favorite comic book movie. I actually went into this movie knowing very little about the Guardians. I knew there was a raccoon and a sentient tree, but that's about it. It had the usual comic book movie plot issues, but they were easy to overlook because the movie was It also has the best soundtrack I've heard in ages. It's the first movie in a long time that I would be willing to go see in theaters again. That's about the best endorsement I can give any film. 

September is going to be another light month as far as posts go, but that's only because I'm trying to get some stuff together for October. Things haven't worked out for the past couple of Halloweens, so I'm hoping this year will be the one where everything goes as planned. Thanks to Eric, I already have an idea for one post this season, though I'm still trying to decide if it should be a video or a written post. A video post would probably work better, but it could go so very, very wrong. I guess we'll find out in October, won't we? 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ah yes, about that surprise

Chelsea and I met 7 years ago, on a little site called Myspace. You may have heard of it, as it was kind of popular at one time. I was at a point in my life, where I just wanted to meet some new friends around my age, that weren't already embroiled in the responsibilities of spouses and children. I may have been cruisin' for ladies too. It's a possibility. Anyhow, I read Chelsea's profile, and I took notice of her profession. It seemed like a coincidence, but I actually knew other folks in the same field. I had met a bunch of them at a party a few years before. I sent her a message, dropping names of the folks I knew, and sure enough, they were her friends and coworkers. Small world indeed.

It seems that it really is all in who you know, because that was my "in". Chelsea later told me that if I hadn't mentioned her friends, she probably would have just deleted my message. I guess she had to deal with a lot of creepers over the years. The joke's on her, she's still dealing with one now ;-).  Chelsea asked one of her coworkers if they knew me, and as it turns out, we had gone to the same party all those years ago.  She even gave Chelsea a rather unflattering photo of me. It certainly wouldn't be the last one.

For example

After chatting on the phone for a couple of weeks, I asked her if she'd like to go get a coffee one day. She accepted my invitation, and we met up soon after that. We met one day in December of 2006, and made the drive down the road in my beat up old Ford, her nervous as can be, with me not even thinking about this being anything other than two friends grabbing a cup of coffee. As it turns out, the coffee shop was closed that day. We were at a loss for what to do, until I mentioned that I used to work at a vineyard, and that they had wine tastings there. I'm not sure if things would have turned out differently if that coffee shop had been open that day, but I can't help but think the wine assisted me that day.

We started seeing more and more of each other, until we made our relationship official in February of 07. Since then, we've had our share of adventures:

There's been plenty of laughter, a bit of crying, and our fair share of arguments. We've always worked through things though, and come out stronger on the other side. She's always there to support me, and is always ready to offer some encouraging words. Chelsea truly made me feel like the luckiest man in the world.

It was for this reason, I decided several months ago that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. The past few weeks I have been agonizing over how I was going to propose, when I decided it should happen in the same place we had our first date. I often joked about doing it in a public place, surrounded by all of our friends, but I've seen that backfire too many times. It's always hilarious, until you're the one left kneeling there.

It was a perfect afternoon. Chilly, but sunny, and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. As nervous as I've been the past few weeks, I figured I would be freaking out today. Surprisingly, I felt calmer than I had in a long time. Maybe it's because I knew I was making the best decision of my life. I'm sure you can already guess it, but she said yes. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble of typing all of this. It still feels a little surreal, and I almost expect to wake up tomorrow and find it's all been a dream.

Here's a photo of my future wife and I, enjoying our wine and cider after the proposal. She looks happy, but I think she may have still been in a state of shock when we took this picture. Honestly, I think I was too.   Scratch that, I still am.

So, it would seem that my Christmas season is off to a great start. I plan on doing a Christmas fallout thread either tomorrow or Thursday, then I'm going to take a couple of weeks off from blogging. I'll still be around though, so feel free to shoot me a comment or an email. Until then, a Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good night.

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