Sometimes good things just happen. Take a recent trip I took to find a particular wine that I had been introduced to by an Instagram friend (more on that later). She spoke very highly of the wine and so my first instinct was to see if it was available here in Illinois. A few others she has recommended have not (she’s in California so there’s a difference of what available where).
So I start my trusty research and find out the wine IS distributed in Illinois. Good thing number one! I send an email to the distributor rep I know and sure enough, he tells me a place where he knows they should have the wine. Good thing number two. A phone call to this establishment and I find out they do have a few bottles remaining. Good thing number three (Yes, I’m going to keep using the “good thing”).
I was going to wait a day to go retrieve my bounty but at the last minute, I decided that I might as well head over and pick it up right then and there. Sun was shining, streets weren’t frozen over, just cold out. Fortunately, my car’s heating does work!
This particular Chicago Western Suburb has an all too common problem. PARKING! Ah, but good thing number four happens, which isn’t surprising for me as I have always said I have parking Karma. A parking spot appears not far from the shop I’m destined for. On a nice warm afternoon, I might be persuaded to take a nice walk around the area and enjoy the sunlight, but the cold says to me “get the wine and get home.” No, it really did say that to me.
I run into the shop, find the gentleman that helped me and put a bottle on hold awaiting my arrival the following day. A brief explanation that I decided to drive out today and a quick swipe of my credit card and I was on my way out of the shop and back to my awaiting chariot. If you must know it’s a late model (very late) Toyota Corolla, but it’s been highly dependable and gets great gas mileage.
Coming out of the shop I immediately have to cross the street (the shop is right at a corner so you know I didn’t jaywalk), I look over my left shoulder and see a police SUV waiting to turn right. Knowing I have the right-of-way I step out and cross the street. It gets a little scary about this time for me initially, and here’s why. As I cross the street I hear a sound behind me, couldn’t make out what was said, but loud enough for me to turn around. It happens to be the police officer in that SUV I mentioned. Now I’m a law-abiding citizen, but when summoned by an officer of the law, I can tell you my first thoughts were “what did I do!”
A little more uneasiness comes over me as he asks if I had parked in the area. I told him I had a street over, but hastily mention that the sign posted said 3-hour parking with the caveat that it was for shoppers only. Mind you there was nothing on the sign that said you had to be near where you were shopping, which is immediately what I told him. Here’s where good thing number 5 comes in. Having a bag from the store I was just in, he asks if I had been shopping (obvious bag in hand) and proceeds to ask if I would be interested in him giving me a gift certificate from the local Chamber of Commerce for abiding by the parking rules? “Duh.” Really, that’s what I said first! I make some lame remark like “why wouldn’t I want a gift certificate for doing the right thing?” He then hands me a $20 gift certificate with his thanks and a Merry Christmas. I respond in kind and walk back to my car.
While I’ve pointed out five “Good Things” for the immediate situation, there’s much more to it than that.
Remember, this all started with my Instagram friend. Which would have never have happened if I hadn’t learned while setting up my blog and spending so much time learning Facebook only to learn shortly thereafter that Facebook has become the Social Media for “OLD PEOPLE!” Really, I read an article on the internet that this had happened and you know everything you read on the internet is true, right?
So I scrambled to set up a couple other Social Media sights. LinkedIn, Twitter and finally Instagram. From my daughter I learned Instagram is the most popular, so off I go to learn what I can. Given this post already is a tad wordsome (a quick check on Dictionary.com and I think I created a new word, or maybe just put two words together for effect), I’ll spare you all the details of my Instagram set up, suffice to say that I think I did a pretty good job. A little frustrated that I got to 100 Followers only to drop back below 100 and seem to be unable to make much headway from here. Oh well, another story for another time.
So I start my marketing campaign on Instagram and start looking for other wine enthusiasts as I’m hoping they will find me. Honestly, I can’t remember who liked or followed who first (who or whom – doesn’t matter, you get the drift). I do remember seeing this very attractive person with an interesting twist which is pretty much spelled out in her Instagram name - @letstacoboutwine. Likes tacos, likes wine, how can you not like this woman?
While following each other we share some likes and I, on occasion, will see if a wine she’s reviewing is available locally. As mentioned, a number haven’t been, but on this particular post, a check yields positive results. Here’s where we return the beginning of this post (don’t fret, you won’t be in a continuous loop, but if you do, let me know and I’ll guide you out of it).
So before getting to the review of the wine, I just want to point out the vast array of “things” that had to happen to get to this point. Leading to the title of this post “Karma, Good Luck or Dumb Luck.” You can decide for yourself, but I’m going with Karma.
So what’s this wine that created such a stir?
Sandhi Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2015
At first glance, I decided on this wine due to @letstacoboutwine recommendation. I’m using her first name from here, Rebecca. So glad I could find and buy a bottle. Then I started my research in earnest. That’s when things really took a turn!
I couldn’t tell from her post, but in doing my exhaustive background check on the wine, things snowballed (no, it didn’t start to snow although we had about seven inches the previous week). First up was a glowing 91 Point review from Wine Advocate expressing their love of the wine produced from fruit coming from their sites in the Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez appellations. I’m seeing more and more wineries blending similar grapes but from different appellations to yield excellent bottlings. Sort of a Reverse Single Vineyard. If any winemaker out there wants to use that phrase, you’re welcome to it. This particular winery was founded in 2010 by Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina Restaurants, and winemaker, Sashi Moorman, their collaboration going back many years. I could also go back to “good thing number one” here, but I’ll spare you.
NOW, it gets REALLY INTERESTING! Like how I used capitals to emphasize my point? The wine rep had mentioned a wine they produce that is also supposed to be extraordinary. A Pinot Noir from a sister winery called Domaine de la Côte called “la Côte.” It garnered a 96 Point review from Wine Advocate. Of their wines reviewed by Wine Advocate for 2015 and 2016, not a one scored under 93 Points! For me, this is starting to look better and better all the time. BUT, we’re not done!
While looking at Domaine de la Côte, there was a reference to another winery up in Oregon called Evening Land Vineyards. This is a name I learned about many years ago at the wine shop and know they produce quality driven Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. This is like the Karma I experienced at the beginning of this post (I know that was A LONG TIME AGO). Sort of a Triple Crown of wines that need to be further explored.
When I get off track, I get off track.
So back to, and hopefully, a finale to this post; the wine review!
Since this post is so long to begin with, I’ll spare you the dinner and the preparation except to say the Seared Salmon and Butternut Squash with Crispy Shallots and Sugar Snap Peas was excellent. The wine was even better!
Aromas that remind me of honeyed ginger with floral notes and seductive minerality was only exceeded by the taste. The medium-bodied wine accentuated by the subtle French Oak and crisp, yet giving, acidity. So reminiscent of a top quality Burgundian Chardonnay. I would love to try one of their Single Vineyard Chards as a comparison. My feeling is that it would be even more of those same features that I love in this wine. Another trip to my local wine shop or another call to the local wine rep may be in order. Barring that, there is always the winery itself!
My thanks go out to Rebecca (@letstacoboutwine) for her bringing this wine to my attention, the local wine rep that sent me to the wine shop, the police officer that gave me the gift certificate and most prominently, the winery for making such a phenomenal wine.
Guess it just goes to show that sometimes you have great Karma, Good Luck or Dumb Luck.