Wine Review: Bookwalter Winery’s Subplot No 29


Subplot No 29

A complex (and delicious) red blend.

 A couple of months ago, a friend and I went to Homeward Bound’s Puppy & Wine Walk. One of the participating wineries was Bookwalter,  a Washington winery over in Richland. All of their wines have a bookish theme, making them a delightful find for my month of writerly wines in honor of National Novel Writing Month.

Subplot No 29 is a red wine blend: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, and 8% Syrah. I’m a Malbec girl (though admittedly not just a Malbec girl; I can’t pick a favorite varietal), so I knew the chances were high that I’d like this blend.

This wine is a touch sweet up front with aromas of plum and cherry. It’s deep and rich and finishes with a bit of a bite that might settle into a peppery note in time (I’m thinking that’s the Malbec). I’m tempted to stick a bottle at the back of my wine rack and let it sit for a couple of years. (It can be a test of willpower, right?)

This is one of those wines that’s best to have with food. It’s a bit too much on its own, but it’s lovely paired with a nice, creamy Brie and would probably be just as lovely paired with lamb or beef. Or some homemade lasagne. Or…wow, I’m making myself hungry.

Overall, this is a wine with substance that will likely develop more complexity (or subplots! …I know. I’m only funny in my head.) over time. I’ll be revisiting it later.

Wine Review: Black Ink 2013 Red Blend


Black Ink 2013 Red Wine

Rich and sweet, a glass of this is a delightful treat!

 Reason #2,114 why I love NaNoWriMo: it introduced me to this lovely wine. Since I was looking for wines with a writing theme, this bottle caught my attention in the grocery store. I forgot to save my receipt and don’t remember what it cost, but I do remember that it was enough that without the excuse of my wine review plans for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have taken the gamble.

And that would have been my loss. This is a delicious, decadent wine. I’m a fan of bold, peppery reds, the kinds that are practically a meal on their own. This isn’t peppery, but it is bold with a well-earned swagger.

Right from the start, it’s a treat. It smells like the black cherries I buy at the Farmer’s Market. They start with a sweet, juicy burst but end on a bit of a tart note. That’s exactly what this wine delivers. Each sip starts with that sweet burst of black cherry and then ends with a hint of tartness. It’s a perfect balance. The tartness never overpowers the delicious sweet note, but it does keep it from turning too sweet. 

There are other summer fruits hiding in the taste — I singled out plum and a bit of blackberry —  which makes this a perfect winter wine. When Western Washington is at is dreariest, this is a wine I can turn to for a brief taste of summer. 

So this is a winner in my book! And I’m sure it will help me make my word count this week. After all, if I make my daily minimum, I can treat myself to a glass…

Happy writing, my fellow NaNoers!

Photo 101 Day 4: Bliss

What is your idea of bliss? Is it an image of your family, laughing at the dinner table? A state of total relaxation, while lying on the beach? Your latest painting, drying on the canvas?

One of my treats to myself is to join @FriNightWrites #WriteClub sprints on Twitter. Some of those Fridays, though, my cats have other ideas. Meet Cricket:

Cricket takes her duties as my right hand gal long as my right hand is generous with the pettins.

Cricket takes her duties as my right hand gal seriously…as long as my right hand is generous with the pettins.

She likes to “help” me write. And to be honest, I like to let her. Along with these two, Sassy (the black cat with the tongue; she is indeed sassy) and Seven (the chocolate Siamese caught in a rare moment of not being pushy):

These two beasties are besties! <3

These two beasties are besties! ❤

It's hard not to feel peaceful and relaxed when I'm surrounded by purring cats, even if it is a little difficult to type around a conked out Cricket. 😉

Photo 101 Day 3: Water & Orientation

Today’s Photo101 theme was water:

We have different relationships to and stories about water: how it has saved or defeated us. How it reminds us of family vacations, outdoor adventures, or the hot summers of our childhood. How it might symbolize a place we’ve left behind, or a location we dream to go.

Water is my reset button. When I start to feel stressed, all I need to do is take a stroll along a lake, a river, the Sound, and ahhh, instant peace. And when I need a bigger reset, I head to the Olympic Peninsula and hole up at Lake Quinault or Lake Crescent, or spend some time wave-watching at the coast. So for today’s assignment, I decided to head down to Ruston Way in Tacoma for some shots of Puget Sound.

This was my favorite shot from today’s walk:

There is something amazingly relaxing about watching waves roll into shore, especially when they swirl around driftwood.

There is something amazingly relaxing about watching waves roll into shore, especially when they swirl around driftwood.

I also really like this one, particulary the shadows and the worn stones nestled in the top of the rotting pier remains and the tiny glimpse of the Port of Tacoma waaaay in the background:

Today’s assignment suggested that we rotate our camera and take the same shot from a different orientation, so I snapped a horizontal shot:

(Mini) Book Review: Shiver by Karen Robards

Samantha Jones is the best damn repo woman on the books. The streetwalkers, the drug pushers, the bands of looking-for-trouble punks haunting the mean streets at midnight don’t intimidate her. These are her people. The guy she finds bound and bloodied in the trunk of a flashy new BMW is a different breed entirely.

Daniel Panterro knows he hasn’t seen the last of the vicious drug runners who kidnapped him from protective custody and left him for dead. His only recourse is to take his pretty savior and her four-year-old son hostage and force her to help him. With ruthless killers stalking their trail, Sam must trust this handsome, menacing stranger. But as she relinquishes control, she feels an unmistakable desire. What is the price of falling in love with a man who operates on the edge of danger–her heart, her life…or both?

Shiver by Karen Robards cover

I finished Shiver back on January 22nd, and have been poking at this review and debating if it was worth posting since then. Shiver is one of those books that didn’t work for me, and my complaints boil down to my personal tastes, and I can’t fault the book for not lining up with my tastes. I’m a bit bummed it didn’t work for me, because the back of the book summary hit a number of my happy buttons: a tough heroine (with a young kid!), a morally ambiguous hero willing to take her (and her kid!) hostage to save his own skin, and, of course, killers determined to hunt them down.

While the heroine, Sam, hit my happy buttons and then some, unfortunately we don’t spend much time in her world. The streetwalkers, drug pushers, and bands of looking-for-trouble punks might be her people, but I have to take the back of the book’s word for it. All they are is brief window dressing before Sam finds herself stuffed in a trunk with a bound and bleeding Daniel Panterro.

And that’s where my disappointment starts. Daniel hit that annoying spot between my shoulder blades and just dug in. At first, I thought it was his undercover identity, but no, it’s him. He calls Sam baby doll long after she tells him not to. Which…doesn’t seem like that big of a thing all by its lonesome, but it sums up his attitude towards everyone, but especially Sam. It doesn’t matter what anyone else wants or thinks. He knows best and is going to do what he wants, and if pretty little Sam protests, well, she’s cute when she gets all riled up.

I wouldn’t be so bothered by Daniel in an urban fantasy or paranormal. I do love alpha heroes in all their alpha bastard glory, but I prefer the story reality to be pretty far removed from mine. A thriller reality isn’t quite far enough removed for me to ignore the little voice reminding me that I’ve known people like Daniel, and it’s annoying dealing with them.

So it was annoying dealing with Daniel as a hero. There were many points where I wanted to reach into the pages and give Sam a good shake while saying, “He’s an asshole, and you can do so much better. SO MUCH BETTER!”

The book at least ends on a happy for now note, so I can imagine Sam’s best friend Kendra doing the shaking and shouting for me a few months down the road. And Sam listening, because she’s a smart cookie (who can do so much better).

(Crossposted to Booklikes)

It’s Blogging 101 catch-up day!

I’m playing catch-up with Blogging 101 assignments thanks to a busier than expected Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday’s Blogging 101 assignment was to follow five new topics and five new blogs.

Once upon a time, I was really into astronomy. Maybe I can be again. Icy Science caught my eye thanks to the gorgeous photographs accompanying the entries.

Book Reviews:
I’m (slowly) getting back into book reviewing after not for, uh, 15 years. I miss geeking out over books with people. I keep saying I’m primarily a fantasy reader, but if I consult my bookshelves (or Kindle app), I’m a really a genre reader who cut her teeth on fantasy and then discovered romance, romantic suspense, mysteries, space opera…

I’ve been eyeing the gorgeous, gorgeous cover of The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg for a bit now, so this post led me to an absolutely charming review blog (with a catchy name!): A Kernel of Nonsense.

Movie Reviews:
If I’m looking for book reviews, why not throw out movie reviews to the tag cloud gods? They rewarded me with a site I had to visit (and then had to follow, because books, dragons, and diet coke? HA!): Books, Movies, and Dietcoke.

I like to cook, but I don’t always make time to discover and try new recipes. That’s something I’m trying to change this year, because I’ve finally learned I have more fun in the kitchen when I’m mixing up my favorite old standbys with new and exciting things!

I found Mommy Gone Primal: Paleo Recipes & A Little Bit of Glam. I’m going to have to try the almond crusted chicken and the brussel sprout and kale salad. (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually developing a taste for brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts! My inner 12-year-old is making the Mr. Yuck face at me.)

Five (or maybe six?) years ago, a friend asked if I wanted to go to the Poverty Bay Wine Festival. I’d never been wine tasting before. Well, that changed after Poverty Bay. I live in Washington State and have a soft spot for local wines, so as I add more wine tasting notes, you’ll see reviews of more Washington wines. And maybe some reviews of wines I find through Weekly Wine Journal. :3

..And now I get to say a belated hello to my fellow Blogging 101 participants. I hope you’re having fun with the assignments!

Hello, 2015

So, my mom pointed me to her personal challenge for 2015: a blog post a day. The pointer also came with an invitation to join the fun. I had grand plans to start blogging/book reviewing again in 2014. I used to back in the late 90’s and early 00’s, but life happened, and I let my domain expire, and I didn’t start missing it until recently.

But I do miss it. I’m not sure I can manage a post a day, but I’ll give it a try. I like what mom has to say about her reasons for this goal:

  1. A writer is someone who writes, and this challenge will force me to actually write instead of just thinking about writing.
  2. Looking for something to write about each day will make me more aware of what I’m doing and of what’s happening in the world around me.
  3. Looking all around me for topics will help me distribute content among all three blogs; I’ve been neglecting my personal blog, and it therefore now badly needs some refreshing.
  4. I know from experience that the more I write, the easier writing becomes.
  5. Completing this challenge will demonstrate that I can write every day, not just when I’m in the mood or have nothing else to do instead.
  6. Keeping up with this challenge will help me to practice, practice, practice my writing.

I don’t maintain multiple blogs like Mom, so #3 doesn’t speak to me, but the other reasons do. I’d like to get back in the habit of writing every day, and I’d also like to focus on the things I enjoy. Here’s what I have planned for the next few days:

  • A review of my (current) favorite special occasion wine, an Tuscan Cabernet Franc, Poggo de’Colli.
  • A review of a new-to-me late harvest Viognier.
  • A recap of the recipes I’ve tried from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple
  • A review of Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh.

After that, I’ll have to read more books. And drink more wine. Oh, the hardship!