Happy National Drink Wine Day!

National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine Day

Today is February 18th, which means its National Drink Wine Day 🙂 Spreading the love of wine through social media, share what’s in your glass! Check out the website to follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and enjoy something fun tonight– let me know if you love what’s in your glass, because I absolutely want to try it 😉

http://www.facebook.com/drinkwineday

http://twitter.com/drinkwineday

Time Lapse Tattoo Test with Lefty and Kees at HOF

Cool climate Riesling grapes

Cool climate Riesling grapes

Ok, more GoPro testing the other day! Lefty and his client Kees (vineyard manager for Boundary Breaks) were nice enough to let me harass them with the camera during their latest session. We taped the camera mount to Eddie’s mirror, and just let it run…there is no audio in the interest of keeping the session between men, not to mention I did leave for a bit with Kees’ BoozyWife and hit the wine bar for a few minutes 😉 Tricky stuff, but fun! I’m catching on with the editing software, but if anyone has an editor they love, chime in!

LeftyBastard and I will be headed up to Good Point Tattoo in Oakville next week so I can get more work on my sleeve, and perhaps hit a few Niagara on the Lake spots….thus all this testing! You can check out the fastest tattoo session with Lefty and Kees here: http://youtu.be/-Y6Caw9_VW8

Take a look at Boundary Breaks’ beautiful website HERE: http://boundarybreaks.com

New York Apples and the Hard Cider Revolution (and how BoozyLife was ahead of the curve)

Harvest season

Harvest season

Last week, the New York Times posted an article that really caught my attention. Article link: Sips from a Cider Spree in New York State. The local hard cider scene has been jumping since we moved to the Ithaca area eight years ago-what’s different is that people are more open minded and willing to taste local creations.

Local hard ciders have a special place in my heart. Personal boozy story: On a visit home to the upstate NY area almost ten years ago, my mom wanted to take me to a new winery that had opened relatively close to our neck of the woods. Black Bear Winery is a spot off of the beaten path and ‘wine trails proper’, but they specialize in hard ciders, meads, and fruit wines. After a tasting, I concluded that I liked the ciders, and particularly the Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider was delicious. Hard apple cider, blended with house made maple syrup. Tart, mellow, slight sweetness, autumn in a glass. I bought a couple of refillable growlers, and have refilled them several times since. Black Bear has grown from a by appointment and event farm rental spot, to open year round and quite successful! At least five years after that first tasting at Black Bear, I married my husband at the end of September, here in Ithaca. We served Black Bear’s Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider for the toast at our wedding, instead of the traditional champagne. The cider had more meaning, and it was so reminiscent of the fall in upstate NY that I wanted our guests from all over the world to experience that flavor; champagne was too formal for our outdoor waterfall ceremony, and the cider was truly a hit!

Cracklin' Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

In the NY Time’s article I mentioned, the author Freda Moon tours the Upstate NY Apple growing areas about five hours from NYC. She hit several local cider stops, and even gave a quick run down of her time spent in Ithaca:

“Ithaca was a decadent couple of days in which cider seemed to appear in every possible form. We had a cider flight with dinner at the too-popular Just a Taste tapas restaurant, where our wait was over an hour. The next day, at Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar, I ordered a Cider Sidecar of Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, a Finger Lakes Distilling’s Maplejack liqueur and an unspecified local cider before a spectacular three-course cider pairing dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.”

The guys at Finger Lakes Distilling are also making some incredible products, and I was glad to see she sampled some of their wares at Maxie’s Supper Club, one of our favorite spots in Ithaca. The Cider Sidecar is a drink that is an anxiously awaited seasonal cocktail, signaling that fall has officially arrived. Sweet and tart, with a mellow maple kick, sitting in Maxie’s listening to live music on the outdoor deck, watching the world go by. I love living here in fall.

Canada, Coast to Coast, and back to Upstate NY with Lefty & Boogstar

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The journey from Ithaca to Vancouver started at Good Point Tattoo in Oakville, as Canada trips often do. The menfolk took off from Toronto, and landed safely in Vancouver for a magical week of tattoos, artwork, nature, and wild energy. Plus, lots and lots of smoked salmon, seafood, and a ferry ride to Vancouver Island. (Follow the link for a flipagram Cory created Vancouver trip!). The reason the artists were all there was for the Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show, and Eddie and Boog had a Lettering seminar to teach. The weekend featured talented artists in a beautiful setting, sure to recharge and energize.

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My husband was really hard pressed to leave BC- he truly loves the area, and every trip he threatens to stay until forced to leave. He had other obligations coming up, and the Roc City Tattoo Expo forced him back on the plane home. He brought Boog with him for a quick stop in Ithaca before leaving in the morning for Rochester, so I had the chance to cook for a couple of world travelers. What did I feed them? Husband caught steelhead trout with browned butter, fiddleheads, wild rice, and berry shortcake finale. I served a few bottles of my favorite Rieslings from Silver Thread Vineyard and Forge Cellars, and was lucky enough to get a gift of a Riesling Ice Wine–thanks Jay!!!

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After a good night’s sleep, we were off to Rochester for the Roc City Tattoo Expo 2014. I love conventions that are close enough to commute to! The weekend was fantastic as always, and I scored a pair of beautiful new Kali blood wood earrings that I’m over the moon for from Dorje Adornments. Seriously, feel like a rockstar in these….

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The show was crazy busy, and our booth was a fun time the entire weekend. The artists were really enjoying the vibes…

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Boog was gracious enough to take Lefty and I out to dinner in Rochester on Saturday night. We were recommended to try 2vine, a Rochester staple in farm to table dining. It was great to see the list of local farms sourced, including Lively Run Dairy. Having said that, I was VERY disappointed in the wine list, which had NO local wines whatsoever except for a Dr. Frank Brut (really?!? ). I settled on a sparkling cocktail of brut and Pom juice. As for our meal, we shared a selection of entrees; duck, lamb, mussels, salmon, crab cakes, and a few sides, one that came out of the kitchen in awkward timing (risotto was lovely, but was served as the dinner was almost over). All of the food was flavorful, and the mussels and salmon were favorites. Granted, kitchen issues were minor after 10pm on Saturday night, and things were winding down. It was a quiet evening that we all needed and enjoyed. Thank you Roc City, we’ll see you again next year!

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Great local wines, explained! ▶ Finger Lakes: Cool Climate Wines – YouTube

Here’s a short video worth a watch! How our cooler climate helps to create the wines we are best known for in the Finger Lakes area. What are some of your favorites? Which ones do you WANT to try? Cheers! 🙂

 

▶ Finger Lakes: Cool Climate Wines – YouTube.

Surviving the Polar Vortex: Ice Wine and Good Point Tattoos with Cory Ferguson & Eddie Molina

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to visit our tattoo family at Good Point Tattoos in Oakville, Canada for more work! The shop is owned by our good friend and tattooer Cory Ferguson, who specializes in dotwork, blackwork, and a continual assault of puns. I was there as a client this time, for the continuation of my sleeve, and for collaboration background of my phoenix backpiece. Cory’s geometric work on my left arm now extends across my shoulders, and will eventually scatter my chest as well. My husband Eddie Molina is collaborating with him, and added the smoke tendrils that swirl through the geometric pattern in this last session. I had two incredible artists work on me for several hours this weekend, and I’m so excited to show off their progress! Everything is really starting to tie together, and I dare say I look like a heavily tattooed woman…at least, from the back!

After all of that tattooing, I needed a DRINK! The weather screamed for an Ice Wine tour, so after two days of needle poking sessions, I grabbed my purse (NOT over my shoulder….OUCH) and we hit a few wineries on the way home to the States.

First stop, Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery. The beautiful tasting room has high ceilings and an elegant feel, and I’m struck by the views. I really love grape fields, and they are no less stunning in winter. The tasting bar crew was friendly and helpful, even during a slow Monday afternoon. I tasted their Vidal Icewine 2006, as well as the Cabernet Franc Icewine 2011. The Vidal was an Ontario Wine Awards Bronze winner, silky apricot and pineapple, sweet with a bright acidity. It was fresh and crisp, with a finish of honey. The Cabernet Franc 2011 was a very different ice wine. Aged in Stainless and French Oak, the red was much less sweet, and had a lot of smokey character. Oak balances with strawberry,  honey, and even a touch of currant and citrus on the end. Paired beautifully with a sample of 70% dark chocolate.

Next, we hit Fielding Estate Winery and their Wine Lodge tasting room, complete with fireplace and furry blankets in the loungers. Recognized as one of Canada’s Top 10 Wineries in 2013 according to their press, owner Curtis Fielding was named 2012 Grape Grower of the Year by the Grape Growers of Ontario Association. The view of their fields includes wind turbines, used to help warm the vines with moving air. The bar was pouring tastings of their 2012 Riesling Ice Wine. Aged in stainless steel and neutral French Oak, the color was a lovely medium gold. A sweet intensity was followed by a much softer light mouthfeel, the lingering finish was quite delicate.

Our last Canadian stop was Rosewood Estates Winery – Home. This is essentially where I dropped the ball and the Ice Wine tour became the Merlot stop. What can I say? I LOVE REDS. I tried to stick with the plan. I did. But then, I saw the 2010 Merlot Reserve on the tasting menu. I asked for a pour. “We’re sold out, but I still have a bottle to taste. Would you still like to…?”

“YES PLEASE,” was my answer. Ohhhh, yes.

Winemakers Notes 2010 Merlot RESERVE:  Picked by hand from low yielding vines, sorted first in the vineyard and then at the winery selecting only the very best clusters. The clusters were gently destemmed then separated into small fermentaiton totes. The intact berries were cold macerated for 5 days then were warmed up to allow the natural yeasts to start fermentation, which lasted 3 1⁄2 weeks. Manual punch-downs were perfromed twice daily. Select French oak barrels were chosen for this Merlot, spending 15 months in both new and seasoned barrels, each barrel taking on unique characteristics. Final filtration was completed the day of bottling.

I LOVED it. I was sad there was no more, and it had sold out. I have told countless tasters from behind the bar-“get it while we have it, once it’s gone it’s gone.” Then, something amazing happened. Our taster started pulling tasting boxes apart in the back room, looking for ONE bottle for yours truly. SHE FOUND ONE! I took it home happily, and I ended up with a bottle of Merlot on the Ice Wine tour. Great customer service, on top of a beautifully made wine. We made a break for the US border, it was getting late and I was feeling fine.

We made it into the States and off of the Thruway, and I decided to drive down Route 89 along Cayuga Lake for our last stretch of the journey. It was almost closing time, but I made one last stop-Sheldrake Point – Sheldrake Point Vineyards. I love their winery, I love the tasting staff, their wines are delicious…it’s a local jewel. I had also heard fantastic things about their 2013 Late Harvest Ice Wine, and had to make that the grand finale of our trek. I’m SO glad that we DID–that was our favorite Ice Wine of the day! The best description is ‘winter sunshine in a glass’. Fruity, acidic, sweet, balanced…but MORE. Bright. Gorgeous mouthfeel, silky and lasting intensity. It won BEST AMERICAN RIESLING at Canberra International Riesling Challenge 2013, and was awarded Double Gold from the New York Food & Wine Classic 2013…just in case you don’t trust this palate of mine. Nice to know it’s less than 45 minutes from beautiful Ithaca, NY…or as we call it, HOME. It’s so easy to drink Local here…Ithaca really is Gorges. 🙂

 

Blue Hair in a Little Town….Again

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Blue hair, don’t care 🙂

Many, many moons ago, I dabbled with hair dye in college. It started innocently enough– deemed “an external manifestation of internal changes” by a psych major that had little classwork accomplished. From long blond to an angled bob dyed the color of black cherries, I was hooked. I tried them all, every color of the rainbow, much to the horror of music professors and my parents alike. Some think it’s bravery, others stupidity, others a cry for attention. Truth? I like fashion, I like extremes, and I’m very comfortable away from the center of the road. My mother warned me, continue to play with hair colors, and eventually you will wake up with your  entire head of hair on the pillow next to you. Not true…yet…and still I continue to play. This time, it’s a lovely robin’s egg blue…and a month from now, who knows? Whatever catches my eye. Owning a tattoo shop has given me the opportunity to play again, colors and pigments are par for the course. Sorry, mom, I never grew out of it….even all these years later!

Post Script–If you see me at your tasting bar, I hope my colors brighten the view this season! XO