Monthly Archives: October 2010

Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting

Last night I had the opportunity to attend and be part of an online tasting sponsored by the Wines of Chile.  Yes, it’s a marketing thing.  Yes, I got some free wine.  But it was still a fun and educational experience, and I figure if someone wants to send me a box with some wine in it and invite me to taste it while listening to the winemakers discuss the wine and while I interact with other wine lovers via the web, I’m willing to spend some time writing about it.

(I think that meets the FTC disclosure requirements.)

The tasting was led by Fed Dexhelmer, a Master Sommelier who works as an educator for Wines of Chile.  He’s also worked for a number of pretty well known restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, Cello, Daniel, and the Spice Market.  He’s also been featured in a number of well known publications.

Because I’m a friendly fellow, and I like to share wine, I invited seven other people to join me for the tasting.  My wife, of course, who loves wine as much as I do (and is much better at the ‘pairing with food’ part), my next door neighbors as well as a couple who live across the street, and a colleague of my wife with whom we’ve been friends for years, along with her husband.

The tasting kit included 8 wines, a bottle of olive oil, and a bottle of chiles, as well as some recipes for dishes that would work well with the wines.  We decided to forgo all the cooking (we do have day jobs), and instead served a simple cheese board.  That turned out to be a good call, as we zipped through tasting all 8 wines in about 90 minutes, and it was much easier to remain engaged in the tasting without worrying about serving several courses.

There were two key themes to the tasting.  The first was that the 8 people in my house, as well as all the people commenting on Twitter and in the chat on the web meeting, had no clear consensus on which of the 8 wines were the best.  I had a clear favorite, but only one other person of the 8 at my house shared my view, and the others all disagreed with each other as well.  We couldn’t even agree on a least favorite.

The second key, and I think the more important, was the remarkable value of the wines we tasted.  Of the 8, I rated none worse than a 3/5, and there were a couple of 4’s and a 5.  Yet only two of the wines were more than $30, and two of them were less than $20.  I would buy almost all of them at the suggested retail price, and I’m pretty sure I’d by a case of all of them (with a case discount) if I had the room to store eight cases of wine.

All of the wines are blends, some more traditional Bordeaux style blends (which was historically Chilean wine’s strength), some more unusual and ‘New World’.  Almost all of the wines had an old world sensibility; there were no fruit bombs, although some of the wines were very bold.

Here are the wines we tasted, in order:

2005 Valdivieso Eclat, Maule Valley

2006 De Martino “Las Cruces”, Cachapoal Valley

2008 Estampa Gold Assemblage, Colchagua Valley

2008 Montes Limited Selection Cabernet/Carmenere, Cochagua Valley

2006 Maquis Lien, Colchagua Valley

2008 Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol, Colchagua Valley

2007 Emillana Coyam, Colchagua Valley

2007 Casas del Bosque Gran Estate Selection Private Reserve, Casablanca Valley

I’ll post my tasting notes over the next several days at The Grand Crew.

Again, I want to thank the Thomas Collective for inviting me.  This was an awful lot of fun.  I got to make some new online friends and really enjoyed the wines and the experience.   I think this type of marketing effort is fun and effective, and was very well done.

(Crossposted at The Grand Crew)


Training Plan: Conditioning

You probably noticed I took some time off.

Because of that, I’ve screwed up hitting some goals I had for this year, so I’m moving on to putting together some for next year.  Since the primary goal is still a total, getting strong is number one.  But now I’ve got some time to play with, and I need to improve my conditioning and work capacity.  I also need to drop a little bodyfat.

I can’t just jump in to prowler pushing and sprints and running hills; I’ll overtrain and hurt myself.  So it’s a slow and steady build up over a couple of months.  The good thing is that conditioning tends to be something you can gain (and lose) pretty quickly.

For the first 4 ‘weeks’ of training (I train using an 8 day week), I will add a 20-45 minute AM walk on non lifting days.  On lifting days, I will add 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio.  This work will be monitored as best I can, with two days of work in  the ‘fat burning’ or ‘recovery’ heart rate, and two days in the ‘aerobic’ or ‘cardio’ heart rate.

The lower of the two is 60% of max, which for me is about 110 to 120.  The higher is about 70% of max, 130 to 140 bpm

Typically, I can get to 110 on a treadmill.  To get up over 130, I need to use an elliptical machine or a bike (or, FSM forbid, run).

The next 4 ‘weeks’ I will add in a 20 – 45 minute walk in the morning every day.  I’ll also shift all of the cardio after lifting to the higher heart rate.

The next 4 ‘weeks’ I’ll continue with this work, but add in at least one session of much harder work.  That work will be sprinting, running hills, pushing a prowler, pulling a sled, etc.  The added session will be on a non lifting day (probably a weekend day), and will replace the AM walk.  I may also add in a second day of this work in place of the post lifting session.

At that point, we’ll see where I am and what I need to do.

I’m going to couple this work with paying more attention to what I’m eating, so I would expect a nice slow change in body composition.  Lifting will continue on the Westside/Conjugate style using the template I’ve been using.


Moved by a post on Crazy Glue

I must say, this is probably the first time I’ve been moved by a post on Crazy Glue, but when it’s from a Cuban blogger and a metaphor for what Cuban life is like, well, read for yourself.

So I will leave this post here, and go and buy my share of crazy glue, my necessary dose of that instantaneous mender. Perhaps a few drops will help me to gather the pieces of that future we’ve dropped on the floor, smashing it to smithereens all over the place.

As I’ve posted before, there’s a reason the flow of people is North.

Link via Carpe Diem

I’m Busy and Distracted

But it’s not all bad, in fact, some of it’s quite good!

First things first though:  I haven’t trained for about a month.  It’s my own fault that I let other stuff interfere with getting done what I need to get done, and those mistakes will keep me from achieving my goal of totalling 1200 in a meet.  The MD State PL Championships is scheduled for November 20, and I will just be getting back in to lifting shape, I don’t have any gear, and I’m just not prepared to commit what it takes to get there and perform well.

So I’ll go back and reevaluate where I want to go this next year, and come up with a plan.  Maybe this time I’ll execute it. Continue reading

No Ravens article this week

Too busy and having too much fun.

Was at the NHRA drag races on Sunday instead of watching the Ravens.

Normal blogging should resume in a couple of days


Going to see Slayer

Training Update

Frustration is the word, although I do this to myself.

After taking what should have just been a couple of days off, I got swamped, distracted, and then had my SI joint flare up (from driving and sitting, not from lifting).

The SI joint is now much better after some stretching, etc.

Was planning to head back today, but there are some work things going on that I need to address today, I’m on the road tomorrow, and then have planned Wednesday afternoon off for beers and Slayer.

So, I’ll be back to training on Thursday.  It’s been just long enough that I’ll need a week or two to ease back in to heavy training.

Also, MD State PLing meet is scheduled for Nov 20.  We’ll see.

Thoughts on The Ravens’ Win

I expect Monday sales of blood pressure and heard medication will go up in both Baltimore and Pittsburgh.  For Ravens’ fans, though, things are looking pretty good after a win at the Steelers, 17-14.

As expected, the game was low scoring and close, coming down to a touchdown pass in the final minute to put the Ravens up by three, then an interception on the first play after the touchdown by the seeming ageless Ray Lewis.

Steelers’ fans will look back on two missed field goals and that last interception and wonder “what if?” but they played well and are going in to their bye week 3-1 when few expected they would have a winning record without Big Ben.

The Ravens are now also 3-1, keeping pace with the Steelers for a share of the AFC North lead.  We saw a lot to be happy about, but there are still some things the team needs to address as the season moves along. Continue reading

September Wines

Still finding I’m drinking a lot of wine socially, so not taking notes.  Actually had 3 great wines last night, but didn’t take formal notes.  I’m going to try to at least give them a rating after the fact more often.

Wines blogged in September:

2009 Château de la Tour de l’Ange (4/5)

2008 Angeline Sauvignon Blanc (4/5)

2008 Concha y Toro Carménère Xplorador (2/5)

2008 Heartland Stickleback Red (2/5)

2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris (2/5)

2009 River Road Vinyarda Chardonnay Reserve (3/5)

2006 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Crozes-Hermitage (5/5)

Top Posts in September

Putting up some decent content, I think; both here and at Bleacher Report.

Top posts on the blog last month:

Cliff Burton

Examples of  “Change”

Getting other people to buy you stuff.

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