Wine(s) of the Week: University (weeks 11, 12 and 13)

Hi everyone,

I have not posted a weekly recap in a while as I had not really had much of anything to drink the last few weeks outside of meeting with a few wine lovers and bloggers in Perth for a Wine Century Challenge meet. I  however was flicking through the photos I have taken over the past few weeks and realised that there were a few wines and other drinks which I have tried over  the past three weeks which I would like to chronicle in this blog. There are also a few meals included with the drinks in this post when I have only been reviewing a single dish.

Wine:

Gloucester Ridge Vineyard Seduction Rose

This wine was brought out at an family Easter picnic as someone had found it buried in their wine stash. The back of the bottle seemed interesting to me, a Rose which was predominantly Cabernet Franc. Once we managed to find a bottle opener for the cork we quickly found the wine had an aroma and taste of a badly fortified wine. This wine was unfortunately not well liked.

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De Bortoli, 2009 Sacred Hill Cabernet Merlot

Another cheapie from work which I tried, De Bortoli however is a brand which I respect across their range as they consistently produce great valued wine for any price bracket. The wine fared quite well with the Sunday night roast I had when tasting the wine.

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Wynns, 2011, Coonawarra Riesling.

This was a gift from BF from the past Christmas. I on a whim after a not-so-great day decided to pop this wine in the freezer so it would be nicely chilled in time for dinner. I absolutely adored this wine from the moment I opened it until the last sip when the dinner party had managed, quite easily, to finish the whole bottle off. The wine had a crisp cleansing finish, a fantastic aroma (lemon, apples and a hint of floral) and a good punch on the palate (strong citrus notes at the start which develop to a mineral middle and end with a sherbet texture). Great selection by BF yet again!

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Casillero Del Diablo, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

I felt in the mood for a glass of white wine while writing an assignment this past week. I ended up finding this bottle of wine and figured it really needed to be opened sooner than later so why not now. From the first sip I was in love! The wine had a nice amount of citrus flavours and acid, however the real surprise was a tropical fruit element from the gooseberries I could also note on the palate. After being underwhelmed by their Cabernet Sauvignon (likely due to it’s young age) I am beginning to be impressed again by this Chilean winery.

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Moet & Chandon, NV Brut (200ml)

I decided to whip this little 21st gift out as we were having fish and chips and I was curious to see how the two paired together. I was a little hungrier than expected and polished off most of my meal before I remembered about the bubbles, I did however really enjoy how the champagne brought out the sweetness of my pineapple fritter. Crisp and clean finishing sparkling that delicately tickles the palate.

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Arlewood 2010, Marsanne Roussanne (tasted at Little Creatures, $8.50 a glass)

A blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne this little gem of a wine really snuck up on me as I let it breathe and warm up in the glass while catching up with some old friends. The time spent on oak gave the wine nutty and toasy elements and as a result the wine had a good body. I am sorry to have not tried this wine sooner at Little Creatures and must check out their cellar door to try the rest of their range next time I am down south!

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While at Little Creatures I caved and had a look at the menu, it did not take too much effort to convince myself to have some desert. After tossing up between the waffles and the cheesecake BF helped me tiebreak and picked the waffles. They tasted as good as I remembered them being last time I was there, this time however I managed to snap a quick photo (below) before everyone dived it. Those who tasted the waffle were all big fans and I think there may be a shift in the must order meal at Little Creatures, from the frites to the waffles… we shall see!

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To view my past reviews of Little Creatures you will find them here, Farewell Lunch and Lunch at Little Creatures.

Cider:

Rekorderlig – passionfruit flavoured pear cider

If you like passionfruit then you will love this cider. The sweetness typically associated with Rekorderlig was also not as much of an issue as usual in this cider. A heavenly and refreshing drink. I will be having more for sure!

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Monteith’s – pear cider (tasted at Inglewood Hotel)

I had this down at the Inglewood Hotel/pub with some fellow graduates. It was a nice smooth cider that just hit the spot. If you like Montheith’s apple cider then you wil be a fan of this one too!

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While at the Inglewood Hotel I also grabbed a moroccan spiced chicken tortilla wrap ($18.50). Presentation of the dish was nice, the meal was filling but for the price charged I would have preferred a little more meat in my wraps, rather than the abundance of salad.

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Tea:

T2 – Chinese Jasmine (single foil packaged teabag of loose leaf)

I have been loving green tea over the last fortnight and almost always whether I am at home or work will have a mug of it brewing nearby. This has definitely helped me up my water intake over the last week or so where our Autumn has briefly returned to summer.

Packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

Russian Caravan – No. 4 Blake Street ($4.7)

This blend was quite smooth, nutty, and had a hint of honey-like sweetness. It was an impulsive decision to pick this blend as when the gentlemant at No. 4 Blake Street was taking my order and I’m glad I took it. I was also extremely impressed  with their Bacon & Egg Roll with smoked tomato chutney ($7) which I had as a takeaway with the tea on my way into university in Mount Lawley. The chutney just added that final touch to really enhance the roll. The roll that they used as well was slightly more dense than your average roll and gave a very hearty feel to it. I will be back for sure to try more of their menu and hopefully with enough time to enjoy it in their restaurant next time.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

Until next time!

No 4 Blake Street on Urbanspoon

Inglewood Hotel on Urbanspoon

Little Creatures Brewery on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 6)

Hi everyone,

I started off the week with a glass of Brown Brothers Rose Crouchen Riesling with dinner after work one night. The wine had a touch of sweetness but finished refreshingly with enough acid. Strawberries and tropical fruit came through on the nose and palate.

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Another wine I had with dinner over the week was De Bortoli, 2010, La Bossa Shiraz Cabernet Merlot. This wine had ripe berries and a hint of oak on the nose, medium bodied with some fruit flavours on the palate along with some oak and tannins. An alright wine, went well with food.

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Another wine I had a glass of over the week was Coward and Black, 2009, April Harvest Semillon, Margaret River. This wine was not as sweet as I was expecting given that it was an April Harvest. Lots of tropical fruit on the nose and palate. The wine as well felt a little tired and it would have been I think a lot more appealing for myself had I of tried a younger vintage. Would reconsider trying this one again if I came across a more recent vintage.

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Working in a bottle-shop means that I need to sample wines from a variety of price brackets, I decided to open a bottle that I had purchased from my $5-$10 price range at work. The bottle of wine was a 2011, Wolfblass, Eaglehawke Cabernet Sauvignon. I found this wine to be young, unbalanced and it had a funny taste which BF noted also and was sort of reminding me of ‘menthol’. I think my preferences regarding wines has been elevated too quickly as all I could see this wine being used for was cooking at best.

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I did also attend another Wine Century Challenge Meet, I will do a write up of those wines soon.

Until next time!

January Favourites

Hi everyone,

The blog has been going for just over 3 weeks and it has been such a blast and also introduced me to some wonderful people and led me to learn so many new things. This month also saw me hit the 100 post mark.

1. Favourite wine of the month?

This is a tough one especially after spending some time in the Yarra Valley. I was able to narrow it down to my top 3 wines of the month all from my time in the Yarra Valley. I would have loved to include a Curvee Riche from Domaine Chandon, however the second bottle I had of it this month in Perth was disappointing and quite bitter in comparison to the bottle I had over in Melbourne.

In no particular order:

1. Yerling Station, Yarra Valley, 2004, YarraBank, Late Disgorged Sparkling.

2. De Bortolli, Yarra Valley, NV Este Sparkling.

3. De Bortolli, Yarra Valley, 2012, Bellariva Moscato del Re.

2. What has been the best value wine of the month?

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz from Domaine Chandon in Melbourne – review can be found here.

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3. What has been added to my to-try wine list?

The rest of the wines at Yerling Station in the Yarra Valley.

4. What restaurants do I want to return to?

The Mailing room in Melbourne to try their lunch and dinner menus along with hopefully a tour of their roasting room.

5. What was my favourite meal this month?

Buffet at Melba Restaurant in Melbourne – review linked here.

6. Upcoming events for next month?

FeBREWary

Twilight markets

Toast to the Coast

Valley and Vines festival

Tropfest Screening at Madfish Winery

Spanish Sundowner at Cheese Barrel

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7. Favourite wine packaging?

La Boheme.

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8. Best service?

Melba restaurant – pasta station.

9. Restaurant I am most keen to try next month?

Recently opened Midnight Fox in Melville.

10. Wine Century Challenge.

Total: 29 varietals.

Favourite = Gavi (Tried at Lamonts Wine Store in Cottesloe)

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 13 – De Bortoli

Hi everyone,

This week’s Halliday Day post will be on the third winery I visited in the Yarra Valley while on holiday over there a few weeks ago. De Bortoli has vineyards across eastern Australia including the Yarra Valley (solid 5 star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion) and the Hunter Valley (4 star winery) , both of which I have visited, as well as in the King Valley (reviewed by James Halliday with the Yarra Valley winery) and Riverina (another 5 star solid winery), which I have not yet had the chance to visit.

While in the Yarra Valley earlier this year I had the chance to visit the cellar door at De Bortoli and sample some of their wines. My notes on the winery and what I sampled while I was there can be found in this blog post.

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Many people know the Name De Bortoli due to it’s infamous Nobel One desert wine, which is a delicious wine that needs to be tried at least once in everyone’s lives. I had the chance to sample this wine while attending the Wine Essentals Course run by the Wine Association of Western Australia last year and my notes on it can be found in this blog post.

De Bortoli is noted by Halliday to give good value for money wines with consistent quality levels across it’s lines from the cheaper lower quality wine label under it’s brand to it’s higher quality labels. The Yarra Valley Winery focuses on producing sustainable wines which reflect the characteristics of the region. Below is a short video on the Winery’s sustainability views and changes it has made.

De Bortolli has a variety of brands that it produces wine under. Including Windy Peak, La Boheme, Gulf Station, Sacred Hill to name a few common ones along with estate listed wines. I have across the ranges not yet found a wine of theirs which I am disappointed with.

Feel free to leave a common below on your favourite De Bortoli wines/labels that I need to try or any  wines of their that you have tried and remembered (for good or bad reasons).

Until next time!

Yarra Valley, 2013

Hi everyone,

While I was in Melbourne last week I was granted half a day in the Yarra Valley to unleash the wine lover in me. Unfortunately this half-day was the same day that I had hopped off the plane after only 2 hours sleep so in the end I was quite exhausted after the few wineries I got to. I ended up sticking to the three major wineries in the region that were wanted to be seen by myself and my travelling companions as well as a cidery and chocolate/ice-creamery which caught our attention as we drove throughout the region.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

We began our day with breakfast at a bakery in Yarra Glen. I had a definitely homemade Chicken Pastie, which while being stuffed full or chicken, feta, spinach and nuts was too rich for my stomach to handle so early in the morning.

Chicken Pastie.

Chicken Pastie.

De Bortoli

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We arrived at De Bortoli and were greeted by their resident dogs Millie and Harry. Before entering the cellar door the same time as a tour bus. While the ladies running the cellar door were busy dealing with two large groups they still made time to make me feel more than welcome at the cellar door as I tasted my way through a selection of their wines. We ended up leaving with 3 wines some for our stay in Melbourne and some to take home back to Perth.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Este Sparkling ($34)

Sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend made from cool climate grapes in the traditional method. This wine had a nutty and creamy palate and was a delicious wine. We were quite intent on picking up a bottle of this before we remembered that we would be heading to Chandon later that day, After having visited Chandon this still wasn’t a bad drop in my opinion.

La Boheme Act 3 – Pinot Gris and Friends 2011  ($20)

Pinot Gris with a “splash” of Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This wine was zesty, fresh and light on the palate with a hint of minerality on the nose. For not being a fan of Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer I was a fan of this wine.

Yarra Valley Sauvignon 2010  ($20)

Oaked (french) Sauvignon Blanc, from which I felt like I could taste a hint of lychee on the palate. The oak made for a different and unusual wine. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it but

Yarra Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2011  ($20)

Still quite a dry Riesling, no hint of lychee as the tasting notes implied. Refreshing wine.

La Boheme Act 2 Pinot Noir Rose 2011  ($20)

Musky, fruity nose. Light palate which had and acidic and dry finish. Lacking palate which disappointed me.

Bellariva Moscato del Re 2012  ($18)

Delightful drink with a low 5.5% alcoholic content. Delicious, musky sherbet nose paired with tropical fruit and a refreshing finish which makes it possible to have a glass or two and now feel slickly after it. We ended up taking a bottle of this pack to Perth and it was enjoyed all round.

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2011  ($32)

Deemed a “bonza vintage” in the tasting notes. Earthy Pinot Noir with a fantastic colour in the glass. For my first Yarra Valley Pinot Noir of the day, it did well.

La Boheme Act 4 Syrah Gamay 2011  ($20)

Presently the style being served in “the cool bars of Paris”. The wine was different to anything I had tried before, light bodied but delicious. This was the bottle of wine that I selected to bring back to Perth.

Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  ($28)

This wine with balanced oak but still showing that it was young, light bodied wine but it showed some promise. Give it a few more years.

Yarra Valley Chocolatier

I wandered around this place looking more with my eyes than my stomach but I did have some of their ice-cream and sorbet curtosy of my mum and cousin who were quite in awe of their VERY generous servings!

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Rocky Road and *.

Rocky Road and Cookie Dough.

While wandering around the store I came across some novel chocolate carrying devices as well as some interesting sweets that I wished would have survived my stay in Melbourne and the flight home so I could have purchased them!

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Domaine Chandon

This winery offered guided and unguided tours of their winery along with tastings of a selection of their wines. We opted to do the self guided tour and got a chance to glimpse at their crushing, cellaring and cellaring rooms.

Old press on display.

Old press on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Cellaring room.

Cellaring room.

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Riddling process.

After the self guided tour I was most keen to sample the wines on offer. To my surprise after having worked in a bottle shop for the past two years I learnt that Chandon produces still wines as well as sparkling wines, and that their standards are quite high. We tasted our way through the wines on offer and the highlights for myself was the Curvee Riche, 2009 Vintage Brut and the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz (which we were offered as a one off sample as we had quite enjoyed their shiraz on the tasting menu and was considering it for a gift, however the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz for $18 more was well worth the money. Big thank you to the gentleman who walked us through the tasting for giving us the opportunity to taste this wine, I know it will be well enjoyed when it makes it to its intended owner!)

2009 Vintage Brut

This was a good sparkling wine. Smooth on the palate, with a dry finish. Definitely will be recommending this wine at work from now on havint tried it, it exceeds the NV Brut, which I have tried in the past.

NV Curvee Riche

The guy who took us through the tasting said that this one was a favourite of his and it is clear to see why. For those who love a sweeter sparkling without going to a Sparkling Moscato should keep an eye out for this one. It was a tough decision deciding between a bottle of this and the 2009 Vintage to take with us, in the end we decided upon the Curvee Riche.

2008 Vintage Brut Rose

Personally could not stand up to the 2008 Vintage Brut and

NV Sparkling Pinot Shiraz

This wine was interesting to try, having only tried a few sparkling red wines but didn’t impress me the way I hoped it would.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp and vibrant youthful wine, which was the favourite for the white wine drinker in the group. I myself was also quite impressed with this wine.

2012 Pinot Noir Rose

Average on the palate and nose for me personally, there was strawberries and cream on the nose and palate however I felt that it did not follow pack the punch that I look for in a Rose.

2011 Pinot Noir

Luscious berries on the palate are balanced out by the wine’s tannins. Not a bad wine but it could not compare to Pinot Noir’s from Yerling Station.

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

Not a bad Shiraz for those that I have tried. Berries and spice on the palate with it’s youth also still showing. Not a bad wine but could still do with a few more years in the bottle.

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz

This was a delightful wine that you could taste the love that had gone into it. Fruit driven with oak that was well integrated into the wine. You could note pepper and luscious berries on the palate but it was not overly peppery, which gave it extra brownie points in my opinion!

For anyone looking for a good cellar door experience, Chandon did it well and I was very impressed by their knowledge as well as charisma with us. The wines as well are delightful! I must however make time for a cheese platter and a glass of bubbles at Chandon, next time I am in the Yarra Valley.

Punt Road Cidery

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We made a quick stop here on the way to Yerling Station to try their ciders. The had an apple and pear varietal which they had been producing since 2008 when they came to the realisation that wine production occurs for 3 months of the year and that he stainless steel tanks that would have otherwise remained idle for the remaining 9 could be used for cider.

The apple cider was crisp and refreshing however I was slightly more partial to the pear cider, which had a hint of sweetness about it. Their cider can be found in bars, shops and on tap in various locations in Perth, including Subiaco Hotel and selected Liquor Barons across the city.

Yering Station

Last stop of the day as my lack of sleep and jet lag was catching up with my travel companions and I was at Yering Station. Here I went through and did a brief sampling of their extensive wine list.

2008 Yarrabank Curvee

This wine was quite average for the sparkling wines I had tried while in the Yarra Valley. Not a bad wine but not one that impressed me.

2004 Yarrabank, Late Disgorged

It was tough to not buy a bottle of the wine also. It was a delightful bubbly which I do hope to find in Perth. The sparkling wine’s palate and bouquet were dominated by fresh ripe fruit and was a delight to drink.

2010 Yering ‘Village’ Pinot Noir

This is a wine more suited for those who like light bodied reds or are not even big fans of red wine. The wine’s palate reminded me of a Rose with lighter summer berries on the palate and nose. Not a bad wine and different to the other Pinot Noir’s I have tried from the Yarra Valley.

2010 Yering Station Pinot Noir

I preferred this to their Village Pinot Noir as there was more body and it was a more ‘earthier’ wine in comparison. Dark berries on the palate in comparison. Loved this wine, I will have to keep an eye out for this one in bottle shops in Perth!

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Sangiovese

This was the second bottle of wine I brought back with me from the Yarra Valley. For my first time trying Sangiovese on it’s own, I was impressed. The wine bad body and flavour and while it can be drunk now I do hope to cellar it for a while before opening it.

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Nebbiolo

My first time trying the Nebbiolo grape. It was quite average and not for me personally. Not enough luscious berry flavours on the palate to balance out the harshness of the tannins in the wine. It did however make for another notch towards my Wine Century Challenge.

Until next time!

Wine Essentials Course: Week 2

This week the Wine Essential Course focused on white wines including their production as well as a tasting of some common varietals along with samples of different white wine varietals which were brought in by members of the class at the request of .

1. Kilikonoon, 2011, Mort’s Block Riesling, Clare Valley ($36): pale lemony clear wine with crisp citrus and green fruit (pear and apple) on the nose, pronounced fruit on the palate balanced well with the acid and a long finish.

2. Redgate, 2011, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River ($19): bight and clear pale yellow wine with waxy, grassy and tropical fruit (pineapple) on the nose. This wine was quite disappointing when tasted, while the wine was smooth and balanced it was weak on fruit, acidity and overall not an impressive SBS for me personally.

3. Upper Reach, 2010, Verdelho, Swan Valley ($20): this wine surprised many of us in the class. Clear pale yellow in the glass, pronounced stone and melon fruit on the nose and ripe fruit was balanced on the palate well however the wine lacked persistence of the fruit flavour and developed at the back of the mouth into what one lady described on the night as a ‘sherberty’ texture. This wine would do well with a chicken salad this summer and was personally preferred to the SBS.

4. West Cape Howe, 2011, Unwooded Chardonnay, Margaret River ($17, $19 at Liquorland): clear and bring yellow wine in the glass with tropical, melon and cucumber on the nose. The wine was dry and fruity with ‘structural richness’ on the palate. This wine is one of the few Unwooded Chardonnays, which I have enjoyed and is making me rethink this wine style. This wine is great value for money and another excellent wine from West Cape Howe.

5. Rosabrook, 2010, Chardonnay, Margaret River ($22 at Liquorland): Clear and pale golden wine with a vanilla and charred oak notes on the nose combined with zingy tropical fruits (pineapple) making for an interesting bouquet. The wine was well rounded between the fruit, oak, acid and alcohol with fruit such as grapefruit and nectarines coming through on palate. This wine while not being overly complex also endeared me to the more fruiter styled Chardonnays which Australian wine makers and drinkers tend to favour.

6. De Bortoli, 2008, ‘Nobel 1’ Botrytis Semillon, Billal ($60 for a 700mL bottle, $36 at Liquorland for a 375mL bottle): dark orange in colour and smells devine! Think marmalade and honey notes on the nose. Sweet and fruity on the palate with enough acid to allow the palate to not feel gluggy from the sweetness of the wine, this wine would be perfect for Christmas desert or cheese platter!

The favourites of the night, not including De Bortoli’s ‘Nobel 1’ was the Rosabrook Chardonnay and the Kilikonoon Riesling, both of which I highly enjoyed and ended up being the swing vote to make the Riesling the overall favourite wine of the night.

I also had the chance to sample 2 new wine varietals from samples, which people brought into the class. I had the chance to try an Italian Verdecchio and a Spanish Albariño. Both were new varietals for me as part of my Wine Century Challenge and I enjoyed trying both varietals and would happily try them again. The Verdecchio was brought to the class warm and was quite watery on the palate; it would be interesting to try this varietal again but chilled. The Albariño was delightful with white peach coming across on the palate.

Albariño.

Verdecchio.

This weeks course definitely opened my eyes up to the numerous white wine varietals as well as how even a well known wine varietal can still surprise me in how varying the textures, bouquets and tastes different wineries can produce with the same grape varietals.

For those of you who missed my post for the first week’s class you can follow the link here to it.

Currently down in Margaret River for the Gourmet Escape event which is occurring this weekend. Tomorrow’s post will be late as I am driving back that afternoon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And come say hi if you are at the Gourmet Escape today (Saturday) and see me!

Until next time!