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Friday, May 29, 2009

A Grape Week

Late Monday afternoon, I arrived home from my rained-out beach vacation to more rain. I guess it followed us home. All said and done, we got about five hours of sun, but spent most of the time in our condo watching it pour. It was truly a tropical depression.

Tuesday night I went to Kairos for the first time in almost two years. It's changed quite a bit since the last time I attended. The location moved to the new auditorium, outside the cafe. I've got to iron out some kinks, though. I sat in the floor seats, and I couldn't see the screens. And I also made the unfortunate mistake of sitting directly under one of the air conditioning vents, and froze the whole time. But the worship band was fabulous and Mike's always got a solid Word to impart.

After Kairos, I had my first mission trip meeting. I've mentioned this before with less detail, but I'm going to Los Angeles in July to spend a week on Skid Row, a four-block homeless district in the downtown area. I'll serve food to hungry people, pass out new clothes, facilitate Bible studies, and street reach. The street reach is the most exciting part for me, and perhaps the part I'm best. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this trip all week.

Wednesday evening, I went to my second Wine 101 class at Fido. I learned about the vineyards, the stages of grape growth, how climate affects the yield, the influence of soil on flavor, sugar versus acid in regards to ripeness, and much more. We sampled eight wines, and a couple of my favorites are:

Ameztoi Txakolina Hondurabi Zuri from Txacoli, Spain
To describe it, would be that it tastes like the seashore. Seriously. It was a tart, light, white spritzer wine, made from grapes that are grown in the sand by the Mediterranean Sea. The wine had a salty hint, and was unlike anything I'd ever tasted before. I loved it.

Alkoomi Late Harvest Riesling from Western Australia
It's surprising that I liked this wine, because I typically shy away from the sweeter, dessert variety. It was incredibly sugary because the grapes had been left on the vine to mature much longer than most. The wine reminded me of the Kiona Late Harvest Reisling I had during my senior Alpha Delta Pi wine tasting. Sweet memories.

Chocolate Box Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia
My favorite wines are reds, and of the Syrah/Shriaz variety. This will be one I will make a special trip to the store to buy. After a good aeration in a decanter, this wine smelled like rich tobacco, and tasted exactly like it should: chocolatey, with a hint of dark berry.

Warrenmang Shiraz from Pyrenees, Australia
I'm a firm believer that you can buy an excellent bottle for around $10 and that there's no need to shell out big bucks for vino. As a result, I rarely have an opportunity to taste expensive wine. This shiraz retails for $80, and while I still preferred the Chocolate Box (as well as many other $10 shiraz), it was interesting to sample an unprocessed wine. We all noticed there was a bit of sediment in the bottom of our glasses, and found out it's bits of grapeskin and oak barrel. The more expensive wines don't go through a filtering process as do many cheaper wines.

As much as I love learning about and trying new wines, I'll be honest...the food served by Fido is just as much a treat. Our tapas menu:

Organic Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Vidalias
Alsatian Cheese Tart with Applewood Bacon
Pan Fried Trout with Herbs, Feta and Local Green Onions
Kentucky Country Ham Roll-up with Local Organic Beet Greens drizzled in Bacon Vinaigrette
Vegan Chocolate Cookie Bar

I will be imitating the Cheese Tart at my next party, and I was proud of myself for correctly guessing the spice ingredients in the Vegan Chocolate Cookie Bar: cayenne, cinnamon and ginger.

Thursday evening, my Book Club gathered to discuss our latest read, Mansfield Park. Opinions about the book and Jane Austen were passionately split, and we had some great discussion to go along with Carmen's excellent food.

After Book Club, Katie surprised me with her old purse. That sounds funny, eh? Katie has this fabulous Fossil clutch-purse that I've envied for at least a year. I've been very vocal about my envy, too. Several weeks ago, she said she was shopping for a new purse, and that she'd give me the old purse when she found a replacement. I was shocked and elated, and so graciously thankful. Isn't it so cute?! Aren't you envious now?


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