Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot

Chateau St. Michelle Merlot

Chateau Ste Michelle is an American winery, situated in Washington state.  The wines from this area are becoming quite well-known and are carving out a name for themselves.  The vineyards have been in existence since the repeal of prohibition.

The wine we are reviewing is a 2011 Merlot, purchased at the Real Canadian Liquor Store here in Calgary, and is reasonably price at below $20.00.  We paired it with a Montreal spice chicken breast and sweet potato, all off the barbecue, and it was excellent.

To be truthful, I consider this purchase to be a steal and highly recommend it to our friends and readers.  Typical of Merlot, it was light and flavorful, with minimal earthiness. A very good pair to the spiced breasts.  There are hints of black cherry and some definite spiciness  There are many fruit flavors and it has a good finish.  In addition to pairing with food, it is very suitable for plain old every day sipping.

For more information on the winery, I have added a few links for you..

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TBT – Cruising From New Orleans March 2011

A Throwback Thursday post from 2011, a cruise out of New Orleans .

I am thinking I should have named this what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this ain’t Vegas.  We are cruising into international waters on the NCL Spirit.  We departed at 5:00, but first we had to meet up with Gord and Cheryl, who arrived in New Orleans at midnight on the 19th.  We had our breakfast, made contact and headed off for our ship.  Arrived at about 11, were processed by noon and on board by 1.  The day ended in Y so it was time for a drink.  We found the pool, and made friends very quickly with one of the servers and proceeded to explore the beer menu.  It was extensive.  One bucket of Red Stripe (buy 5, get 1 free) later, Gord came up with a suggestion.  There is a pub crawl tomorrow, let’s do that.  (I’m thinkin’ Gord likes drinkin’).  After 6 beer,  that  sounded great, sign me up.  As all things do, the day was moving on and it appeared that it was time to find our staterooms and get ready for dinner.

The beauty of NCL is the freestyle dining.  Casual dress, no schedule, eat when you want from a large and varied menu.  The food was excellent throughout the trip.  Prior to dinner though, it was deck time to do the traditional wave to all the people on shore who could care less (probably thinking we are bunch of saps) that we are leaving.  Yes the ship was leaving.  And leaving, and leaving, and leaving.  Apparently, it takes a while to reach the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans.  This got fairly old in a hurry, this leaving stuff, so we left the leaving.  Suppertime.

As we sat for supper in the Windows dining room, we could look out the aforementioned windows and marvel at the scene.  We were still leaving.  We ate, had dessert, chatted, got up and left.  It was now 4 hours after we had left, and, believe it or not, we were still leaving.  Apparently it takes one heck of a long time to reach the gulf.

One more stroll on deck, then a show.  Predictably, the show was really the cruise lines version of the Home Shopping Channel, but we were there, and some people like listening to Cruise Director’s talk about how great the shopping is on board.   After an hour of excruciating pre-shopping , it ended.  We decided to head back on deck to check things out, and we were pleased to see that we were no longer leaving, we had reached open water.  Feeling satisfied, we headed off for bed.

The Past – Belize – 2011

When Lori and I were perusing possible excursions, we came across one in Belize that looked a bit different.  River tubing through caves.  I don’t believe there are to many places in the world that this combination would exist, so, we had to try it.  We book excursions for 1 main reason, not missing the ship’s s departure.  Apparently they will wait for late returning excursions if booked through them, but will not for people who book independently.  The reason being they  have no idea where you are on a private excursion, but know when you book their system.  Basically cheap insurance.

We arrived in Belize City and were surprised to learn that the cruise ships cannot dock there.  Not a problem in any way, just interesting.  Shuttle boats took us to shore, about a 5 mile run.

The Road to Belize City

Continue reading The Past – Belize – 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge – One Love

This week’s challenge, One Love.  As a recent love, we are into sailing, the sheer joy of being at the whims of the wind, and the acquiring of an ancient skill.  No noise except the wind in the sails and the water moving along your waterline. The picture I have chosen is of  our first solo sail on Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada.

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One Love

The Rookie Sailors – Part One

As the title implies, we are going to fill you in on our maiden voyage as sailors, and how we got to here (the video) from basically nowhere.  Check out the video (and subscribe to the channel, I’ll get better as I do more, I promise) and I’ll tell the tale  below.

 

I hope you enjoyed that, it was a great time.  I promised you a story though, so here goes.

The premise of our various sites is to give the scoop on what we are doing, have done and are working on doing on the path to retirement.  A few years back, 2011 to be exact, we shared an epiphany.  We were looking for a way to combine many wants and wishes into a fairly neat package.  Lori came up with, “Why not a sailboat?”.  We want to see things, and in retirement we wish to do so without dragging our suitcases.  The thinking with a boat was that it doubles as your home!  All your stuff goes with you and you never have to pack.  A home away from home so to speak.  A;so somewhere to store all the touristy crap that someone I know buys at every opportunity.

This all well and good, except for one tiny detail, not knowing how to sail.  The ocean is a pretty big place and a 40 foot boat requires a bit of know how, especially the part about not killing oneself.  That drove us to begin researching and the the end result of that was that we needed certification and some hands on training, culminating in the purchase of an actual boat.

Once we figured that part out, we then had the question of where and with who, not even thinking about what we could, or should buy..  The answer ended up being reasonably easy, combine it with a vacation.  Thus we discovered the Miramar Sailing School on the island of Antigua.  We registered in the Royal Yachting Associations course for rookies, Competent Crew.  We would be live-aboard on a 40 foot Beneteau sailing vessel, SV Miramar, for 5 terrific days of intense learning in the beautiful Caribbean.

That settled, we booked our flights, accommodations and the course and then anxiously awaited our departure date.

 

To be continued. (My apologies for this, got tired).

 

 

Five Ways To Let Go And Embrace Life

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As we move along life’s path, we forget to let go, to live life.  I read the attached article about one person’s discovery on how to embrace one’s life.  His philosophy is interesting and consists of 5 simple rules.

  1. Quit Something
  2. Take A Risk
  3. Embrace New Ways of Thinking
  4. Be Irresponsible
  5. Stop Putting Your Dreams on Hold

In our life, we have pretty much done all but number 5, and we are working on that diligently.

The article is here

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/08/22/find-yourself-5-ways-to-let-go-and-embrace-life.html

 

Mermaids…..In Montana???

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As we move forward, we have run into a few issues that require some learning.  One is our cameras, a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and our GoPro 3Plus, which led us into learning how to edit.  For this task, we chose Adobe Premiere CC.  While we find all three to be very easy to work with and become decent at, we needed to practice on some older material to kind of get the hang of editing.  To that end, we have posted our first rudimentary edit of a video we shot around 4 years ago. It was shot on an older iPhone, specifically a 3GS.

The subject is a very interesting bar in Great Falls, Montana called the Sip ‘N Dip Lounge at the O’Haire Motor Inn.  It’s claim to fame, mermaids, yes, mermaids.  At any rate. we have completed our first edit and would like to share it with you all.  There is much, much more to come. Oh, and feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you watch.

 

Quails’ Gate Reserve Pinot Noir

 

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Quails’ Gate is a Canadian winery, located in the Okanagan Valley of British Colombia.  The wine, a reserve Pinot Noir, approximately $45 CAD.  As we usually find for wines from this region, it is very earthy, not something I find desirable in a Pinot.  We like our Pinot’s to be very fragrant to the nose and light and flavorful to the tongue. This is my common complaint for wines from BC.  Having said that, I would very much recommend this one for a variety of reasons.  First, many people prefer the earthiness exhibited by this bottle, so I must disqualify myself from being overly critical, just not my cup of tea so to speak.  Second, I have had many wines in this price range that were inferior to this one.  Finally, it is a Canadian wine and I must support it just on that alone.  You be the judge after you have tried it.  I give it a 3 out of 5 on our personal scale, and will stick to the French or California Pinot’s.

And How Was Your New Year’s Eve

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The last day of 2015, a year of great change for us.  An RV, with a beautiful spot to place it on Kootenay Lake, a sailboat, and continued contact with many, many great friends.  We continue to focus on the short and medium term goals and made some decent progress to those ends.  The new year will be spent enjoying what we have, and putting more clarity into our time frames.

But first, we have to close out the old year with an evening out.  We have a tradition on New Years Eve, supper with Lori’s cousin Val and her husband Brian.  The plan this year was supper at The Keg, followed by a quiet evening at our place to ring in the new year,.  How did that work for us. let’s see.

We popped in on The Keg, packed to the rafters at 5:00.  No room at the inn for us.  We decided on giving Montana’s a try, so we headed over there.  At this point, we will now consider this to be a review on Montana’s Cookhouse, 130th Ave in Calgary.

We knew we were going to have some issues as soon as we walked in.  The place was kind of full, but it was obvious that there was a staffing issue.  Lots of empty tables, not bused, and minimal staff visible for such a busy night of the year.  Put or name in and were told 30 to 40 minutes.  This was the last thing done right.

We were ushered to our table, so far so good.  We ordered drinks and appetizers, so far so good,.  Appetizers were good, the spinach dip especially so.  Then we hit the wall.  The wine arrived, a basic cab-malbec.  It was interesting that it came literally refrigerator cold.  Never had that before.  The server attempted to open it, but apparently had never used this type of corkscrew before.  I had to open it for her before she put her eye out.

Corkscrew

Orders placed for dinner, 4 meals all pretty much the same, steak with Portobello sauce and a variety of sides.  Let’s slow forward to the service.  In fairness, the server was trapped in a bad situation.  Understaffed everywhere, she did manage to pop by and apologize for the delays on several occasions.  Finally, after 90 minutes, the dinner was served.  Unfortunately, all 4 of were missing something, the Portobello sauce to be specific.  In addition, all the steaks were the opposite of what we had ordered for cooking time, 2 were cold, and 2 baked potatoes were basically right out of the fridge.  Being as there was no point sending it back, we asked for a manager.  He came by and did the right thing, in that he removed the charges for 2 of the meals.  Not a good dining experience.

To be completely fair, the restaurant was poorly staffed, which had an impact on our service.  The server was great, although I was surprised at the lack of knowledge on the bottle opening.  The management should also learn that bottles of red wine should not be kept in refrigerator.  The manager was aware of the situation in the establishment and did the right thing by us, and likely others.  The big question, would we go back.  Not going to happen.  One bad experience is enough to turn one off.  Sorry Montans.

Rating

1-out-of-5-stars