Masi Campofiorin 2008

Disappoint [dis-uh-point] to fail to fulfill the expections or wishes of.

Disappointment sucks, eh? 

Lately The Husband and I have been super disappointed with “The Office”.  Every Thursday we cling to this little bit of hope that we’ll see a hilarious episode.  You know the type of episode where you watch it a couple times and notice more funny things each time?  Where you email your significant other funny quotes from the episode all day long?  Where you laugh your ass off? 

Unfortunately that hasn’t occurred for the better part of a year.  Maybe even two.  However like the nerds we are, we still keep the memory of the “old” Office alive by giggling at funny quotes that only The Office fans can appreciate.  One of my favourite conversations between Dwight and Jim: (the other is the “which bear is best” banter omg too funny I can’ t handle it!!)

Dwight Schrute: Welcome to the Hotel Hell. Check-in time in now, check-out time is never.
Jim Halpert: Does my room have cable?
Dwight Schrute: No. And the sheets are made of fire.
Jim Halpert: Can I change rooms?
Dwight Schrute: Sorry we’re all booked up. Hell convention in town.
Jim Halpert: Can I have a late check-out?
Dwight Schrute: I’ll have to talk to the manager.
Jim Halpert: You’re not the manager, even in your own fantasy?
Dwight Schrute: I’m the owner.. the co-owner. With Satan!
Jim Halpert: Okay, just so I understand it. In your wildest fantasy, you are in hell and you are co-running a bed and breakfast with the devil.
Dwight Schrute: But I haven’t told you my salary yet.
Jim Halpert: Go.
Dwight Schrute: Eighty thousand dollars.

Ahhh it’s too much!  Sorry for non-Office fans who totally won’t find that funny.

Where was I?  Right, disappointment.  In addition to The Office, other things that have recently disappointment me include not finding a single piece of clothing that I liked at Guess when I have a gift card burning a hole in my wallet, deep-friend turkey, the hot yoga Groupon that expired before I used it, and Masi Campofiorin.

Masi Campofiorin 2008

Italy

$17.95

Masi Campofiorin was one of my favourite wines.  It was a treat that I usually hoarded to myself.  If you’ve observed the pass-tense with my last two sentences it’s because I consumed some Masi Campofiorin a couple nights ago and I was disappointed.

My first impression was a watery, ruby red wine with a mild aroma.  You know when you swirl wine around your glass sometimes it looks thick and lusicous, other times it looks thin and has a clear film floating on the top?  Well that’s what I mean by “watery” – in spite of the gorgeous ruby colour, the wine just looked weak.

My first taste was pungent.  It was peppery and sour, although it was surprisingly medium-bodied.  The flavour lingered in my mouth and down my throat for a while, which is normally a quality I adore.

I waited for the initial flavour notes to clear my mouth, and took my second sip.  This was smoother but bitter.  This is the point when I questioned why this wine had a special spot in my wine rack and heart. 

The third sip was the smoothest but still strange.  I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not.  It wasn’t spit-out-awful…it was just different.  This time I tasted sour cherries.

By the time I took my fourth drink, I accepted I wasn’t going to love this wine but I do like it.  This fourth sip was fruitier and lighter than my previous tastings. 

Basically, this wine left me scratching my head.  I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly was wrong with it.  So I did what I always do when I have a burning question or need to prove to somone that I’m right – I Googled “ripasso” to find out what I was drinking.

Ripasso means “re-pressed”.  After the grapes are pressed, the grape-remains (skin, seeds, guts) are added to the batch of wine to contribute to the flavour, tannins, and colour.  What I found fascinating is the pressed grapes are added to Valpolicella wines, which I recently discovered I don’t like.  I’m assuming that has a lot to do with why the Masi Campofiorin didn’t tickle my fancy.

What still remains a mystery is why this used to be considered one of my top wines.  Now that I’m taking the time to examine each sip, I find that I’m learning so much about wine and what I like and don’t like. 

Final Verdict: I like it, I don’t love it.  It’s medium-bodied and an interesting wine, but what turned me off is the tangy/sour aftertaste.  It’s drinkable, but not worth $18.

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Fuzion Alta Torrontes Pinot Grigio 2011

There was a Fuzion Frenzy across the GTA in 2009. 

Admittedly, I was a participant.  I was at my friend Lisa’s bridal shower and she stocked the room with a brand new wine called Fuzion.  She told me it’s been selling out at liquor stores everywhere and is less than $8 a bottle.  It became my new favourite wine before she even cracked open the bottle.

I totally got suckered in to the madness – I can’t even honestly say if I loved the wine, but I was compelled to stock my wine rack with it.  I admit to dropping into each LCBO I passed (my job at the time was in sales and I was always on the road) to see if they had any Fuzion left.  And if they did, I hoarded it. 

Over time, Fuzion still has a home in my wine rack, but now it’s soley a “junk time” wine – like the end of a sports game where the outcome has already been decided and the coaches replace the starting line with the benchwarmers, Fuzion is the wine that comes out when our taste buds have been numbed by numerous other bottles of wine and it doesn’t really matter what we’re drinking at this point. 

On a recent unseasonably hot autumn day, red wine just seemed too dry and heavy.  I craved a cold, light, and crisp glass of white wine.  I’m not overly picky with my whites, as long as they’re not:

  • sweet
  • overly fruity
  • Chardonnay

That basically limits me to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.  Something about the light and simple bottle of Fuzion Alta Torrontes Pinto Grigio caught my eye and for $7.95 I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Fuzion Alta Torrontes Pinot Grigio 2011

Argentina

$7.95

The  frosty wine filled my wine glass with a nice and light colour – when it comes to whites I find Gold =  Gross, White = Right.  Of course this is a personal perference, and in no way determines if a wine is considered a good wine or not.  Chardonnays tend to be goldish in colour and Pinot Gris tend to be light.  Since I don’t like Chardonnay, I steer clear of gold and yellow wines.  So the beautiful light wine I just poured looked promising.

There was a faint fruity aroma which had me a little worried that the Fuzion would be disgusting and sweet.  The fruitiness was not very strong and upon taking my first sip, not very evident in the taste.  My first thought was “nice”.  Not very descriptive but hey you can’t help what your first impression is.

This was not sweet,  and not sharp.  It was exactly what I wanted – crisp, minimal sweetness, minimal fruitiness. 

Fuzion Pinot Grigio is definitely a wine I will purchase again, the only thing holding me back from bringing this to a host/hostess is the stigma of Fuzion being a cheap wine.  Therefore I’d recommend for a pool party or personal consumption.  For $1 more you can purchase a delicious white wine with a better label.  But the bottom line is this is a very enjoyable white wine that I will absolutely buy again.

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Bubble Bath vs Shower Gel

I love multipe uses of the same product.  Like Johnsons Baby Oil in my bath and in my  baby’s bath, using left-over wine in cooking, and using diaper wipes as make-remover (don’t cringe, it works better than any other make-remover I’ve used and is way cheaper). 

One product I’ve  been dabbling with and getting mixed results is using shower gels as a bubble bath.  You figure they’ve both got the same texture, awesome scents, create a lather, and have soap in them.  So why not use a shower gel interchangably?

I was shopping in Whole Paycheck Whole Foods last week and browsing the health & beauty section for a soothing yet inexpensive bubble bath.  I came across Whole Food’s private brand lavender-scented shower gel.  For only $3.99 for 32oz I though it was a steal and threw it in my cart where it joined my $7 maple peanut butter and $12 salad from the salad bar.  (yaaa…that’s why I can only afford to shop here once every 3 months).

When I sniffed the contents in the store, there was a beautifully soothing lavender scent.  Unfortunately most of it disappeared as I added it to my bath water.

The rest of my experience is pretty unremarkable and not worth thoroughly reviewing – no bubbles, no scent.  The only thing lingering was deep disappointment.

So what gives?  Is this because it’s officially a “shower gel” and not a “bubble bath”?

Well here’s the scoop.  There’s not a huge difference between shower gel and bubble bath.  However, if you think about the features you like in a bubble bath, and the features you like in a shower gel, there are some key differences.

A bubble bath you want an abundance of fluffy bubbles.  A shower gel you like a nice lather, but not to be covered head to foot in 5 inches of foam.

A shower gel needs to be thick enough to lather, rub on your body, and not slip off from the mist of the water.  A bubble bath doesn’t care about that stuff.

Therefore, most bubble baths contain high volumes of Cocamidopropyl Betaine which is a very strong foam enhancer.  Bath gels also contain it, but at a much lower level which results in a gentle lather.

Bath gels contain more conditioners and herbs as it is meant for direct skin contact and to clean and soften the skin.

That, my friends, explains why I’m often disappointed with shower gel baths. 

Armed with this new information, I will no longer buy a shower gel with the purpose of using it as a bubble bath, however I will continue to use shower gels in the bath when I’m out of bubble bath, need a change, or am in the mood to experiment (as some are better in the bath than others).

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Casillero Del Diablo Merlot

My husband isn’t a wine-drinker.  He’s much happier with a thick and frothy Guiness or a cold amber glass of Appleton Rum on the rocks.  That means that when it’s just the two of us out for dinner, I have to order my wine by the glass.

When we were in Jamaica for our honeymoon, you could only order bottles off the menu (or drink the watery house wine – no thanks) so I managed to convince The Husband to drink wine with me each night.  If you can look beyond our sick tans, you’ll see the bottle of Casillero Del Diablo hanging out in the background:

How did I manage to get a non-wine-drinker to drink wine?  One word – Merlot.

(ok, I’m sure it helped a teeny bit that he drank Appleton Rum and cokes on the beach all day since it was flowing abundantly at our resort and perhaps he needed a change)

Merlot.  Rhymes with “mellow”.  And mellow it is.  Merlot is known for being a soft, medium-bodied wine that is smooth and rather boring as it travels down your throat.  It is very versatile when pairing with foods, and is frequently blended with other grape varieties to add some complexity. 

Merlot is a fantastic starter-wine because it’s not harsh nor heavy.  Merlot has a pleasant, easy taste that is generally inoffensive.  While you could say it lacks character, it’s not by any means weak nor watery. 

While I prefer a more interesting wine, I do occasionally drink Merlot – it’s a nice wine to enjoy on a beautiful summer day, or to crack open as wine bottle #2 or #3 after finishing a more complex wine, or to serve at a larger social event as it’s a people-pleaser.

I was doing non of the above when I cracked open a bottle of Casillero Del Diablo the other night.  I was actually sitting in the bathtub with a book and just wanted something different than my usual Cabernet Sauvignon.

Casillero Del Diablo Merlot

$11.95

Chile

My first impressions:

  • colour: purple
  • aroma: fragrant
  • taste: velvety

I like it.

Now let me elaborate on my first impressions.  The colour was a gorgeous purply red which made me very excited to taste it.  I first described the aroma as “fragrant” because that was the first word that came to mind – it was a stronger scent than I had anticipated (being a merlot) and just had a nice wine scent. 

The first taste was smooth, with a hint of something intriguing.  The velvety texture coats your mouth yet doesn’t tingle when you swallow.  A slightly bigger second sip results in the same lucious texture but now a slight harshness.  Bigger sips are definitely the way to go.

Casillero Del Diablo Merlot is a wonderful easy going wine that is medium-bodied with a bold aroma.  For a merlot, I think it’s fab.  And at $11.95, it’s the perfect party wine.

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Folonari Valpolicella Class

I shall preface this post by claiming I am not a raging alcoholic. 

On a typical week, I drink less than a bottle of wine.  This, of course, depends on what my social life is like – dinner out, drinks with friends, etc.  Being a new mom, I don’t get out much, and when I do, I don’t drink much as a I have a little munchkin at home who needs me to get up in the middle of the night without stumbling and to play with him un-hungover early in the mornings.  So it’s safe to say that I  consume less than one bottle of wine a week.

So here’s my dilemma.  I find wine goes “off” after about 3 days – this varies with each brand as sometimes I can squeeze 5 days out of a bottle before it turns slimey and loses it’s flavour.  This results in pouring a lot of wine down the drain.  I do keep some frozen ice cubes of wine for cooking (freeze the leftover wine in icecube trays, store in a ziplock once frozen) but I only need so much for cooking.

A couple weeks ago I figured I had two options.

#1 – buy smaller bottles of wine

#2 – drink more wine so I finish a bottle within three days

As much as option #2 would be amazing, I can’t help feeling like an alky.  If my three day window falls over a weekend, I may be inclined to polish off a bottle in 3 days – who doesn’t like getting a little buzzed?  But I can’t have wine-stained lips and teeth all the time.

Enter option #1.  Not nearly as fun, but much better for my liver and white teeth.  Now this isn’t always a viable option, as many wines do not come in smaller bottles.  But I suppose this is something I could occasionally do.

I just thought of an option #3 – those vaccum thingies.  I have one, and I couldn’t figure out how to use it.  I also wonder if these really do work, and the ones that do work, how expensive they are. 

Anyways,  a couple weeks ago I was faced with those two options and elected option #1.  I purchased a 375ml bottle of Folonari Valpolicella for $7.85.  I enjoy Folonario Soave (white), and decided to see if their reds were as enjoyable.

Folonari Valpolicella Class

Italy

$7.85

A fruity smell drifted from the light red liquid that graced my glass.  Already I was skeptical – I like a ruby colour and a deep scent that is not fruity.

My first sip confirmed my fears – the flavour was light, almost tasted like it was watered down.  It left absolutely no burn, tingle, or any texture.  The flavour was unforgettable as it disappeared along with the wine as it travelled down my throat.  I was left with nothing.

So I took some more drinks.  Nothing changed.  Now there wasn’t anything bad or offensive about this wine – it just lacked a personality.  It was boring to drink.  It left me needing something more.

I felt a little sheepish when I realized why this wine tasted this way.  Um, because that’s how Valpolicella is supposed to taste. 

Valpolicella is a combination of three grape varieties grown in Italy.  Valpolicella is characterized as a light bodied table wine – which is exactly what it tasted like to me.  Now there are full-bodied varieties, however those are referred to as Ripasso and Amarone.  I have tried Masi Amarone before and really enjoyed it.  I’ll have to pick some up soon and review it now that I’m paying more attention to the flavour details.

As a Valpolicella, Folonari is spot on and enjoyable.  However if you don’t like light wines, then you will be left wanting more than Folonari Valpolicella offers.

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Epsom Salts

I love salty chips, floating in the salty ocean, and using a salt-scrub to smooth and exfoliate my skin.  So it only seems right that I add salt to almost every bath I take.  I add epsom salts in addition to bubble bath/oil/bath bombs. 

Epsom salts sooth the mind, body, and soul. 

The main reason I add the epsom salts is to pamper my muscles after a tough run.  I’m currently training for my 2nd half-marathon and always have an epsom soak after my long runs and after hills training. 

Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and reduces muscle inflammation – hence soaking after strenuous run.  I swear by them.  Of course there’s no way to tell if I’d be more sore had I not had an epsom soak, but I truly believe they minimize muscle inflammation and therefore soreness.

There are many fabulous benefits including:

  • relaxes the nervous system
  • treats colds and congestion
  • heals cuts
  • softens skin
  • flushes toxins
  • eases muscle strain
  • soreness from childbirth
  • soothes arthritus

Pretty amazing, huh? 

Epsom salt is a chemical compound called Magnesium Sulfate.  When dissolved in water, epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and quickly gets to work.  How does it work?  Check out this link for full details.  It’s pretty amazing stuff!

I buy the Life Brand at Shoppers Drug Mart – unscented.  They also carry lavender-scented and eucalyptus-scented but they are a little more expensive so I only buy them when they’re on sale.

 

I know the packaging is pretty un-sexy.  Actually it reminds me of some strange old-person medication.  So when I bring it home, I fill it in a glass apothacary jar I have next to my tub.  I have a small cute scoop that I keep in the jar too.  It’s a nice spa-ish decoration for my tub, but it’s also functional.

While I use epsom salts in combination with scented bath gels, I plan on purchasing some essential oils to mix with the epsom salts.   I’m currently researching the best essential oil combinations to use for my various types of baths – soothing, de-stressing, muscle-relaxing, etc.  Stayed tuned for more reviews on epsom salts.  And if you have any experience with essential oils, please leave a comment with your recommendations!!

 

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Bath & Body Works – Dark Kiss

Road trips to Buffalo are one of my favourite things.  You drive with anticpation of a mini getaway…doesn’t matter that you’re coming home the same day and actually not staying anywhere.  Just crossing the boarder makes it feel like you’ve gone somewhere foreign.

After a day of shopping and a belly full of fake Italian food from the Olive Garden, you pull the tags off your clothes, layer on as many clothes as possible, and prepare the lie you’re going to tell the customs agent at the border about how much you’ve spent.

What is so appealing about cross-border shopping is the different stores they have in the US – like Abercrombie, Target, J. Crew, Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, New York & CO, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, and DSW to name a few.  Except in the past few years many of these stores have opened in Canada which is totally awesome….but kind of takes away part of the fun of shopping in the States.  

I actually own less Bath & Body Works products now, compared to when it was only available in the US.  While I still love their products, it’s just lost some of it’s exclusivity..now everyone can have yummy smelling lotions and I don’t feel special anymore.

Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss Shower Gel

$12.50

I usually seek bubble baths with a lavender or chammoile scent…something calm and relaxing.  However last night I craved something different – not fruity, not energizing, and not calming.  I needed something lusious yet relaxing…something that would invigorate my senses and make me feel fabulous and fancy.  Afterall, I brought a martini in the tub and needed a sexy scent to accompany my chic beverage.

Dark Kiss is described as a “tempting blend of black raspberry, Mirabelle plum, amber, dark vanilla bean, and sensual balsam”.  This is labelled as a shower gel, however the instructions on the back say you can also add to the bath.

This aromatic bubble bath filled the room with a deep sensual scent, without being musky, overbearing, or perfumey.  The dominent scent was plum and dark vanilla, contributing to a luxurious experience.   The air was thick with an exotic fruity aroma and I took a few deep breaths, sighed, and surrendered myself to a glamourous yet relaxing bath.

The water was not soft or oily like a true bubble bath, and my skin was not covered in a silky embrace.  However none of that mattered as the aroma and bubbles (which were both long-lasting) more than compensated.

While more of a shower gel than a bubble bath, Dark Kiss has a beautiful scent that stays true to the product’s description.  It is luscious, sensual, and exotic – perfect to unwind, get carried away, and feel posh.

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