Monday, November 21, 2011

Yup....It Has Been Two Years

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Today I am popping champagne and celebrating a new year, (early, I know). But today marks the two year anniversary of The Wine Key. (Happy Birthday!) They say as you get older, time starts to fly. Well if that is true, I'm starting to feel like I'm approaching 100 years old, and quickly. It feels like only a few months ago that I starting writing about wine. After two years, I honestly feel like I have said anything yet!

On this day, two years ago, I set out to write about a passion of mine with no expectations that anyone else would care to read about my wine experiences. As it turns out, I am fortunate enough to have developed relationships with loyal readers and met amazing co-conspirators that are just as crazy about wine as I am. This also being the week of Thanksgiving, I want to express my gratitude for both my loyal readers and everyone I have met along the way. Connecting to my "tribe" has been inspiring to say the least. I have found a thriving online community that shares a wealth of information each and every day about their wines experiences and it was an honor to have met many of you at The Wine Bloggers Conference this year.

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As I celebrate this little milestone today, I am very focused on the future and excited about my plans to develop The Wine Key into much more than just a blog. Stay tuned for big announcements over the next few months. I find I am feeling similar to the Beaujolais Nouveau, which were released last Thursday; young, fresh, fruity, just a preview of what is to come. With additional aging and maturing, I hope to be celebrating even bigger achievements next year. (I apologize for the cheesy analogy but I'm clearly wrapped up in the moment - let me have it.)

So today, please join me is taking a moment to appreciate lives little accomplishments and cheers to new beginnings! Here is to finishing 2011 on a strong note and Happy Thanksgiving.

Charlotte :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Croatian Grape Juice

Somewhere nestled in the hills of San Francisco, I found myself in a chilly wine cellar of my unassuming host. As the recognition of wine labels started to register on my face, my host realized he was in good wine company, resulting in a stellar line-up of open bottles. This lead to the discovery of one delicious and exotic wine from Croatia.

Being a stones throw away from France and just across the Adriatic waters from Italy, I'm pretty sure if you were to squint hard enough from the shoreline of Croatia, you can see Italians sunbathing and eating spaghetti across the wavy seas. (Stereotyping, I am not.)

Croatia is shaped much like a seahorse and vintners have somehow mastered planting neat and tidy square vineyards within this oddly shaped country. Croatian wines joined the international wine stage in 2004 when the press got their hands on some wines and were pleasantly surprised. Like many parts of the Mediterranean, winemaking actually dates back to Antiquity and having recently gained in popularity due to amiable prices and exceptional quality.

Along the tail of the seahorse, lie Dalmatia. A well known wine growing region where both indigenous and international grape varieties are planted. In the northern part of Damatia, (similar latitude to Tuscany), among the limestone, red, and rocky soils, near Skradin, lies Bibich Winery. (If you know where this is without the use of Google Maps, I'm impressed). With a family history of winemaking, but with little interest from other family members, Alen Bibic revitalized the family business in 1995 at the ripe age of 22. Pun intended.

When Alen's bottle of 2007 Bibich Reserva was pulled from my host's cellar, I immediately poured out the previous wine from my glass in anticipation, (well poured it straight into my mouth that is, don't want to be rude at a dinner party now do I?!) The Reserva is a blend of Babic, Palvina and Lasin, all native varietals rumored to be cousins with the Californian Zinfandel. Aged 12 months in American oak barriques. This wine is both recognizable and unique. Being rustic much like its Italian counterparts but completely different with elements of raisinated dark fruits, musty cellar, cranberry, pepper spice with a solid tannin structure. Being relatively light to medium bodied, there is a resemblance to Zinfandel. Overall, an exotic blend sure to excite your palate.

When I ventured to K&L's website, they are selling this wine for $17.99. A wine worth much more and absolutely worth all the conversation that will be had while tasting.

My casual Sunday dinner with friends has now sparked a strong interest to learn more about Croatian wines putting them front and center on my wine stage.

Charlotte :)