Enough With The Haboobs, Give Me A Viognier And Some Collective Soul!

It’s July in Arizona and that means we have “Weather”.  Things like rain and wind – strong wind…and dust storms.  This is big news for us because it’s usually Hot, Dry and, well….Hot.

In Phoenix,the arrival of a summer dust storm is often called a Haboob.  As in, there is a Haboob rolling in from Casa Grande.  We even make the national news from time to time.

Courtesy of ABC 15 news

I lived in Tucson for  25 years and we never had these.  I’m guessing it’s because Tucson is surrounded by mountains on all four sides of the city.  Phoenix is a bit more spread out and the “mountains” don’t form the same pattern.

Did you just detect a bit of mountain snobbery there?  Why, yes you did!  I freely admit it and am not ashamed to say that for me, in Arizona, there is nothing like Mt. Lemmon.  It was there I experienced many a ditch day from the boredom of my high school years.  It was there I took my children to escape the oppressive heat of the brutal Arizona summers.  Most importantly, it was there I introduced my daughters to the man, that less than a year later, I would marry.  It is one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona to gaze upon as the sun is setting.  The mountain range turns a dusty purple and you can see such depth and dimension in all the hidden canyons and rock formations.

I include this on my wine blog Why?  Well, because I love weather.  I love the clouds, the sky, the stars, and magnificent rain storms…..I should have been a Meteorologist.  In fact, in 5th grade that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.  And because I can’t stop pulling out my iPhone, snapping pictures and filtering them through Camera+, I feel compelled to share the beauty I find with you.

The Wine…

If I was drinking wine during a summer monsoon storm it would be a Viognier (Vee-own-yay).  I first tried this floral, fruity white wine at Trefethen Vineyards on a wine country trip about 4 years ago and fell in love with it.  I find it delicate in aroma, but it definitely  has enough body to stand up  to Thai or Chinese food, as well as heartier fish and chicken dishes.  You don’t hear much about this Amazing varietal but if you get a chance to taste – do so!  Darioush is another favorite Viognier of mine.  We purchased several bottles last year when visiting the Napa Valley area. We made an unexpected (but most enjoyed!) stop at this Persian style winery on our way back to San Francisco.

The Music…

So, the music I would be listening to during this storm would be an instrumental ditty called Pretty Donna by Collective Soul.  They are one of my all time favorite groups!  Did I mention I LOVE Collective Soul?  Yes I did and Yes I do!!

One last note – today was my Grandson’s last day with me and I couldn’t believe what he asked for…..his chocolate chip cookie…..the one from Sunday, well over a week ago…..the one that I ate just after he left for a several day visit to my Mom’s house.  I had to do some serious distracting on that one!  Check out my earlier blog post about his cookie here.

I leave you with a picture of my silly greyhound Crystal paying homage to the Sleep Gods….She loved having my grandson around.  He, however, wasn’t so sure about her.  I suppose it can be intimidating have a dog stare you eye to eye when you are standing.

Yes, She really sleeps this way!

Enjoy your week and Cheers to you!


Praying to the Monsoon Gods and Drinking a Yummy Red Blend

Do you know what I’ve been doing?  Praying to the Monsoon Gods for rain.  For today – not tomorrow.  Tomorrow is The Party……The pool party we’ve been talking about and planning for almost 6 weeks now.  It’s my grandson’s last Sunday with us and we’ve invited friends and family over and it’s sure to be some crazy fun but it can’t rain tomorrow!  Here in Arizona rain is spotty and unpredictable at best but, when it does rain it usually pours!

It looks like in the hour or so I’ve been writing the Gods have been listening….not only do we have a storm, but it looks like a Haboob has joined us as well.

So as usual, I leave most everything to the last-minute, grocery shopping included.  Well, today I was in for a treat….there was a cooking demo along wine tasting and the chef was featuring Francis Ford Coppola Wines and I sampled the Rosso.

The 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Rosso is labeled as a California Red.  When I see that  I’m not sure what to think….but this one surprised me.

The breakdown is 33% Zinfandel, 26% Syrah, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petite Sirah.  The nose is very Zin-like and a bit jammy.  I could really taste the Zin in this one – just a slight bit peppery, with some jammy-ness from the Syrah and the Cab gave it some body.  I definitely got plum and cherries with a light to medium body mouthfeel and a short clean finish.

When I returned home to unload my groceries of course I did what any faithful wine lover would do – I popped this baby open!  How else could I give an accurate description? I tried it without food – more cherry and lighter in body and then, with food, which gave it more berry notes and that classic Zinfandel profile -spicy with a bit of richness. YUM!

An interesting note, just before tasting this at the grocery store, I had mint chewing gum  in my mouth (of course I spit it out, what do you take me for?).  The wine tasted much deeper and richer, which leads me to believe this would stand up to something like meatballs.  It just so happens the Coppola website has a recipe for Mama Coppola’s Meatballs.  Try them, I’m sure they are fabulous!

The best part was the price….It was on sale for $8.99 with a $2 off coupon for purchasing meat along with it.  When I got to the register the coupon scanned for $3 bringing my total cost to $5.99.  Damn, I should have bought Two!  I just read online that Trader Joe’s also carries this yummy wine in my area for $7.99 – Check It Out!

Did I mention I am a Super Procrastinator and I would rather write than clean.  My house is nowhere near ready for our guests, yet here I sit writing and drinking wine so that I may share my love with you.  That’s why my site is called My Love Affair With The Vine….

Not to be forgotten is the music.  Here’s is a fun, upbeat, catchy tune that I first heard from the Food and Wine Hedonist.  Now I can’t get it out of my head so I’m passing it along to you….Your Welcome!

Happy Saturday and Cheers to you!

In Memory of lives lost in Aurora, Colorado


I don’t want to end this post on a sad note but I do want to acknowledge the movie theater tragedy in Aurora, Colorado….my heart goes out to all of those affected by this horrific event.