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Feb 12th
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Salamandre Cellars

Winemaker2006 Newt South Wells, an Aussie-Inspired Red Wine
Newts and salamanders play a big role in winemaker Wells Shoemaker’s life. Not only does his label have a salamander on it, but the cork has one also. Even Shoemaker’s e-mail address has “newt” in it. And the theme continues with his 2006 Newt South Wells (a play on words of Australia’s New South Wales)—a truly gorgeous blend with grapes from Monterey County.

I carry my bottle to Au Midi Restaurant in Aptos, one of my favorite dining spots – owned by Michel and Muriel Loubiere, a delightful French couple. I’m having lunch with a couple of friends, but one of them can’t come at the last minute, so that means we have plenty of Newt South Wells (about $30) to share. Michel opens up the bottle for us and we let it breathe a bit before taking a first sip. Although the winemaker suggests decanting it an hour before serving, there was no way we could wait that long to try it. I ask Michel to try some as well. Here’s a restaurant owner who appreciates a good wine—and it doesn’t have to be French!

The menu at Au Midi completely showcases the talents of chef Muriel, whose passion for cooking French food convinced her husband that she needed a restaurant of her own. Although I often get a plate of mussels, I thought Crispy Goat Cheese—with a baby green salad—sounded healthy and not too filling, so that I would have room for the Chocolate Passion dessert. And when you’ve got a good bottle of wine, it deserves to be paired with good food.

Some years ago, Sandie and Wells Shoemaker took a trip to Australia— admiring the bold, up-front wines made there. The Newt South Wells is in honor of “the uniquely spicy blends” of Aussie wines. When I visited the Barossa Valley wine country, just north of Adelaide, I was bowled over by some of the beautiful wines, so I know what the Shoemakers mean. For this particular wine, Shoemaker blends together 36 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 36 percent Shiraz, 18 percent Cabernet Franc and 10 percent Primitivo. He says it’s “inky, bold and bulging with fruit.” Not only would I agree with that, but also I would say it’s a versatile wine to be eaten with any food,  and it doesn’t have to be French!

 


Wine Events

Big Basin Vineyards is doing a Spring Release Celebration at their beautiful winery that you won’t want to miss. “This year we will pull out all the stops,” says winemaker Bradley Brown. And by that he means barrel samples, fabulous wines to taste, savory treats to accompany the wines and “funky, jazzy, rockin’ music.” Cost is $10 for customers picking up wines and $20 for others. The event is Saturday and Sunday, April 3 and 4 from noon to 5 p.m.
Big Basin Vineyards, 830 Memory Lane, Boulder Creek, 621-8028. bigbasinvineyards.com.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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