Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Help Chile -- Buy Wine!

Just a quick post to point out that there's a great way for wine lovers to help Chile in the wake of the recent 8.8 quake -- buy some Chilean vino. Check out this link for recommendations (or read my Chile post -I'm still dreaming about the Morandé Sauv Blanc and Pinot Noir). It's estimated that the country (the world's 4th largest wine producer) lost between 12.5 and 20% of its cellared wine. For more details on the damage, read this good article from the Washinton Post.

While Argentina (and the rising popularity of Malbec) has threatened to eclipse Chile's wine star, I much prefer Chilean bottles, especially those from the cool climate area of Casablanca Valley, where I tasted. So help out los vinateros chilenos and buy some of their delicious offerings. That's what I call a win-win situation!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Argentina for a Week

I woke up early in Valparaiso, Chile on a Sunday morning to catch a bus to Mendoza, a trip that I heard would be spectacular -- straight through a part of the cordillera of the Andes, with a view of the range’s biggest peak, Aconcagua, at 22,840 feet. So I got to the station with what I thought was plenty of time and sat on the bench snacking on empanadas and drinkable yogurt (which is huge in South America) and throwing random bits to a very patient beggar dog at my feet. Eventually I figure I better check in with the man at the desk from whom I bought the ticket the day before since I don’t see a bus with a sign for Mendoza anywhere on the lineup. When I ask him where the bus is, he starts gesturing to the clock and saying it’s not right, then getting it down and changing it to an hour ahead, and then it dawns on me that this is what his serious warning was about yesterday when I bought the ticket, but I didn’t understand him. (In my defense, the Chilean accent isn’t the easiest and they seem to have much different pronunciation of certain words -- the woman at the hostel didn’t know what the heck I was asking for when I requested a “tenedor” with my breakfast. When I finally pointed at a fork she said, “Oh, un tenedon!” Hmmm, last time I checked there is no second ‘n’ in that word!). He hustles me to another ticket stand that has a bus leaving ahorita for Mendoza, where I buy a second $25 ticket (oh well) and me and my bags -- which include 6 bottles of Chilean wine -- are hustled on to a midsized lime-green-and-orange beast.

The 8-hour drive did not disappoint, and I snapped many impressive pictures from my window seat. The border crossing was interesting with the bus pulling into a massive warehouse and us passengers going through first a Chilean exit station and then an Argentine entry point and then a collection taken up -- my best guess was that it was intended to “butter up” the officials so they didn’t thoroughly inspect our luggage stowed under the bus. Guess we had enough because we were subjected to a ridiculously cursory look-through. Despite a similar collection being rounded up on the way back every stowed back was sent through an x-ray machine, but at least we were spared the time-consuming exercise of all hand luggage being inspected as well. I thought perhaps the tally wasn’t sufficient, but I think it was more to do with Chile’s exceedingly strict agricultural laws (don’t even think about sneaking in that uneaten empanada or sandwich upon arrival at the airport). Eventually we arrived in Mendoza where, due to my missing the earlier bus, a driver wasn’t waiting for me so after schlepping my stuff around the terminal trying to figure out the phone system (step 1, buy a card; step 2, try to figure out how to place a call; step 3, try 5 phones before the number goes through; step 4 , finally reach the woman organizing the wine tour and hear that the driver likely isn’t around so make my way to the house) I take a cab to Chacras de Coria, an upscale suburb about 15 minutes away from Mendoza.

I have no idea what to expect from the group I would be with for the next week, but I figured to be able to go for half price (since the arrangement was I would help out), visit around 10 wineries and eat some great food it didn’t really matter who it was with. I was in heaven when I got to the house, a lovely two-story affair in the leafy ‘burb, with a huge backyard I did yoga in, a swimming pool I laid out by (not quite warm enough to take a dip), and not one but two grills that we put to good use hosting an asado (Argentine BBQ) for the owner of the home and other expat wineauxs in the area. After 4 months of roughing it more or less, I was ecstatic to share a smallish room with a stranger -- it had a divinely comfortable bed and pillows, ample closet and shelf space, and even a little ledge that served as a nightstand (a major luxury often not included in budget hostels). The bathroom I used (one of three in the house) was spacious with dependable hot water that came out at a good volume, another rarity in the world of budget travelers in South America. So, even with some strong personalities among our group of six women (one guy was supposed to come but discovered in Houston, thanks to the helpful airline staff, that his passport was expired [!]), I savored every minute of my “vacation from a vacation” -- even when faced with a big stack of dishes to do at the end of almost every night.

We started out our tour with a visit to Achaval-Ferrer, which was started a decade ago by a group of partners including Santiago Achaval, a native Argentino who serves as president of the winery and is an alumnus of my employer, the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The vineyards had two notable features -- olive trees interspersed among the vines (“In the bad years for grapes, the landowners would live off the olives,” our guide, Santiago, explained) and canals, called acequias, cut through the earth to provide irrigation via a flooding system to the vines. Mendoza is well suited to this type of irrigation since the area has consistent weather -- vintners rely on the snow melt from the Andes to provide enough water each year. At Alchaval-Ferrer, like many wineries in the area, the focus is on Malbec, the Bordeaux varietal that is much more famous for its South American stylings than it was as mainly blending grape known as Côt in France. Indeed, the warm, dry weather of Mendoza allows the grape to get riper and richer than in its home region. Santi said the oldest vines in the area are 120 to 140 years old, but it has only been in the last five years that Malbec’s star has shot skyward.

A-F produces 150,000 bottles a year (12,500 cases), with 80% exported. The winery uses all organic grapes, labels and bottles by hand, and uses recycled boxes. They make just six different types of wine -- an entry-level Malbec using grapes from various vineyards; Quimera, a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc; 3 vineyard designate Malbecs;and Dolce, a dessert wine made from sun-dried Malbec grapes, The ’07 Malbec, while young, had good minerality and red fruit components along with obvious oak-imparted vanilla and spice notes of the bouquet. The ’07 Quimera had a much more floral and herbaceous nose and cocoa notes on the palate without being very tannic. The Finca Mirador Malbec had big fruit, especially sour cherry, along with herbal notes while the ’08 Dolce had a rich, raisiny sweet flavor. A couple members of the group bought the Quimera to drink at the asado.

We enjoyed A-F, but liked the family vibe at Bressia, our next stop, much better. The winemaker and patriarch, Walter Bressia, was one of the pioneers in the area’s wine history and was known for making the region’s first blend, Profundo, a 50% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Malbec blend. We went on a tour given by his very personable -- and fashionable -- daughter (just 5 people, all family members, work at the winery), then sat down to taste two wines and nosh on a tasty (and unexpected but very welcomed) cheese and salumi plate. We sampled the ’07 Malbec, which spends 18 months in mixed oak and was very peppery with a long finish; drinkable now but needs some more time in the bottle to really shine; and the ’07 Profundo, which spends 12 months in new & used oak and was richer on the nose and palate with a bit of gaminess, notes of currant and herbs and well-integrated tannins. Bressia exports about 70% of the 60,000 bottles (5,000 cases) produced annually.

Our first day of tasting wrapped up with a lunch at Bodega Ruca Malen, where we sat in the outdoor dining area under a tent surrounded by vines on three sides. Nearly every course was superb, with the wine pairings hitting the mark spot on. The citrus notes of ’08 Yauquén Sauvignon Blanc was lovely with the summer squash, fennel and apply ceviche on a fresh cheese mousse; the tannins of the ’08 Yauquén Cabernet Sauvignon were softened by the beetroot capuccino with crunchy sweet potatoes seasoned with black pepper in a balsamic reduction; the soft structure and smooth tannins of the ’05 Ruca Malen Merlot were strengthened by the smoked pumpkin terrine with sun-dried tomatoes, Merlot sediments and plums; while the grilled beef tenderloin medallion with grilled polenta, sautéed vegetables and raisins in a black olive sauce shined with the aromatics of the ’06 Ruca Malen Cabernet Sauvignon. The ’08 Kinién Malbec was also served with the fourth course and showed excellent structure but it was too young; the ’07 was intended to be served but the winery had recently run out of it, their most high-end offering.

We left more than satiated and with many of the members of the group dreaming of a nap, but I, being the youngest of the group, could have hit a couple more wineries! Good thing there were more days of tasting ahead...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valle de Casablanca, Chile

I'm baaaack... Well, been in the blogosphere, but through, my travel blog where I captured some of the highlights of my six months in South America. Here's part one of my wine tasting adventures in the southern hemisphere.

I don’t even remember how I found out about the Casablanca Valley wine tour I ended up taking, but when I was waiting outside of Pablo Neruda’s Valparaiso house, La Sebastiana, at the appointed time, I was not expecting a black guy in a station wagon. After the second honk though I figured this was the Michael that was there to collect me for wine tasting with a group of Canadians. I felt lucky to be able to join their tour, since it would have been a good deal more expensive for me to do it on my own, even though I was expecting a busload of retirees that were staying in Viña del Mar, the upscale town with beach access that sits next to grittier Valpo. As we drove to Viña, Michael told me in his thick British accent that he was originally from London (his parents immigrated there from Nigeria) but had been living in Santiago for seven years -- he originally came on a student exchange and ended up marrying a chilena and having two young kids. I asked him about the group of Canadians and he tells me “They’re six sailors that have been playing war games with the Chilean navy for the last week.” I think he’s making a joke and that we’ll be joined by a group of pleasure-cruisers that have docked in Chile for a bit, but no, the group is indeed a bunch of enlisted men, all within a couple years of my age except for the Ex-O, James, who has about a decade on us but is no less fun.

Furthering the unexpected turns of the day, I immediately connect with Clayton, a tall, bespectacled guy from the Okanagan area of British Columbia (they’re all from BC) who, upon hearing that I’ve spent nearly three months off-and-on in Cuzco, tells me his mother is a Reiki master who is planning a trip there in the near future. Clayton has his first level of Reiki certification and I tell him how my friend is still in Cuzco completing all her levels of certification. Their boat’s next port of call is Callao, near Lima, and he tells me he regrets not being able to get to Cuzco or Machu Picchu since he has had a fascination with Peru since he was a young child. He believes in past lives, and something about one of them is connected to Peru; same with Japan, which led him to study Japanese and visit there numerous times. As the day goes on and I’ve told him about my love for electronic music, I discover he is friends with the owner of Compost Records (based in Germany) and has promoted for the label. He’s also into photography and, like me, often pauses or separates from the group to take shots of the vineyards. Oh, one other point; he’s shopping for an engagement ring for his girlfriend…

Casablanca Valley is a cool-climate growing region that is known for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir -- I figured that’s a perfect start to my wine travels of the continent since I was going to be heading for big-red country with all the Malbec (and Cabernet Sauvignon) in Mendoza soon. The region is about half way between Santiago and Valparaiso and I passed through it two weeks ago when I flew from Lima to Santiago and then went directly to the bus station for the 1.5-hour ride to Valpo. Despite an excellent climate for grapes, it cannot grow any larger due to water restrictions. It’s a shame, though, since the Sauv Blancs and Pinots I had there made me largely agree with the Chileans who told me “Our wine is better than Argentina’s.” The trip to Mendoza made me realize that I’m just not a Malbec fan, although maybe some of the bottles I’m hauling back would have changed my mind after being laid down for at least a couple years -- if I hadn’t given them all away as Christmas presents! A good Torrontés -- a white grape which can have a lovely floral nose and delicious acidity -- on the other hand, is another story and in my search to find one I really liked I was labled the Torrontés “freak” by the SF group I met up with in Mendoza. The best one turned out to be an unlabled one delivered to our house by a negociant originally from San Diego, but that’s fodder for the Mendoza wine tour post (I know the suspense is killing y’all….).

Our first stop was House of Morandé for a wine-pairing lunch, during which I let my “cork-dork” nature shine through, much to the delight of Michael who said “The more you talk the less I have to, so continue on.” We started out with a Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ‘09, which had fabulous herbal notes, the textbook SB characteristic of grapefruit and bangin’ acidity, and paired well with a ceviche of shrimp and white fish. I shared the bottle of it I bought with the Mendoza group gals, who all thought it was divine -- despite my love of sharing wine, I wish I would have saved it and it had been among the case I hauled back. The second course was a Reserve Pinot Noir ‘06, which had definite earthiness and good (but not jammy in the style of so many California Pinots) fruit and came with my favorite course -- a ragout of rock fish in a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce (love the way they broke the typical wine-food combo rules) with a delicately sliced thin, fried carrot as a garnish. Next up was the ‘07 Carmenere, Chile’s signature grape that was long though to be Merlot, which demonstrated distinct herbal notes as well as a healthy dose of earth and spice in a medium-heavy texture. The dish for that was a little torte of quinoa (the power grain down here -- super-duper fiber content and as much protein as meat), morcilla (blood sausage), which was in fact my least favorite, but they all can’t be hits. Finally, paired with a ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon that was a bit too hot for my taste but had good fruit characteristics, was a melt-in-your mouth osso bucco and a potato gratin -- my first taste at veal (I was a vegetarian for 10 years but gave up on that a couple years ago due to my growing love of wine and wine-and-food pairings).

After the leisurely long lunch that ran a bit too long we headed for Viña Mar, an industrial-sized winery that has an elaborate, Napa-style chateau. And like many of the big showpieces of Napa, the building was better than the wines -- at least the two that were hurriedly offered after our whirlwind trip of the facilities. No biggie, not like I’ve never seen how wine is made before. It was a wise choice on Michael’s part to leave more time for Emiliana, an organic (and partially biodynamic) winery in a spectacular location with views out the front and back of the vineyards, hills, and a range of animals from a oddly-shaped dark gray bird I’d never seen before to roosters and curious (but not overly friendly) alpacas. We all sat at a the long tasting bar and were guided by Lorenzo, who had spent 13 years in the U.S. (Miami and New York), and led us through the tasting of a nearly translucent Sauvignon Blanc that was delightfully floral on the nose and crisp on the palate (and now I’m wondering why I didn’t buy it!); a Chardonnay/ Viognier/Marsanne blend that had the round mouthfeel and creaminess of our JC Cellars white Rhone blends; a Pinot Noir that was very peppery with good spice and earth notes; and GOYAM, a signature blend of Cab, Merlot, etc. that was the show-stopper with a richness on the palate that wasn’t matched by any of the other wines we tried that day.

Rounded out the night with a trip to the Vinoteca, a wine shop in Viña del Mar -- like we needed to buy MORE wine; but actually we did since the Canadians have a horribly high tax on wine but a much lower duty. They were lads after my own heart, all of them buying at least 6 bottles and some of them nearly a case. They invited me to join them for dinner at an Argentine parradilla, basically a restaurant of (nearly) all meat all the time. Since they were shipping out the next morning they were calling it an early night and I was able to hitch a ride back with their driver after they got dropped at the ship -- thanks to my being able to communicate in Spanish (they didn’t speak any). They were remarkably well behaved for sailors, although I did call them on the fact that they were probably holding back on my behalf. I told them there was no need to do so and a few crude jokes ensued. The day was definitely a first, though, and did much to waylay any number of stereotypes. And, if for nothing else, that is why we travel, folks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wines from the Land(s) Down Under

My poor neglected li'l blog -- how I've abandoned you so. Sorry, getting ready for a 6-month South America trip but have been getting out to tastings & taking some trips (stay tuned for a report on Paso Robles). What inspired me to write today was yesterday's "2 Shades of Pinot" tasting at South Wine Bar in SF, where about 7 importers were showing Pinot Noirs & Pinot Gris from Australia & New Zealand.

There weren't too many standout whites except for the '08 Borthwick Pinot Grigio "Paper Road" from Hawkes Bay, NZ -- and interesting my favorite was actually labeled Pinto Grigio & not Gris! Same grape, but I find whenever it's labeled Gris the wine is done in a much more interesting style, with more floral aromatics and usually some nice peach action on the palate. Another NZ white that got my attention was the 2008 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Gris from Central Otago, but not for tasting like a PG -- one the nose & palate is was a ringer for a NZ Sauv Blanc. Smelled like grapefruit & gooseberries and had the crispness & high acid of a NZ SB. I'm sure it would fool many in a blind tasting...

That PG in an SB disguise was imported by American Estates Wines, which also had the '07 Roaring Meg Pinot Noir from Central Otago among its wares at the tasting. Given the name, I had to try it, but before I told the guy pouring that it was my name, I asked for the story behind it. Turns out Meg was a fiery red-headed prostitute in the mining camps of Australia in the 1850s... Ha. Good wine at a nice price point ($22), showing dark red & black fruit with a touch of oak and nice dusty tannins. It was more Burgundian in style, which was a trait shared by most of the Pinot Noirs I tried at the event.

Other standouts were nearly all of the wines from the Lion Nathan group -- '05 Stonier Pinot Noir "Reserve" from Australia's Mornington Peninsula, which had lovely earthen, dusty qualities; the '05 Withers HIll Pinot Noir from Marlborough, the NZ region famed for it's Sauv Blanc, but also an up-and-comer for PN; and the '05 Philip Shaw Pinot Noir from Orange, Aus. This last one, poured by Shaw himself (and no, he's NOT related to "Two Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw as a silly woman asked him), had distinct notes of eucalyptus (native to Aus, where it's also called a "gumtree" -- remember the Kookaburra song we all learned as children?) on the nose & palate, something I had never experienced before in a wine -- but picked up later in two other PNs.
That menthol quality made it cry out for food, IMHO, especially lamb with mint sauce. Shaw had been a bit peeved when he saw which vintage he'd be pouring, as he remembered thinking the eucalyptus was overpowering when he tasted it last, but he thought it had mellowed out and was surprised an American palate like mine picked up on it! ;-p

While Australian wine has been getting a bad rap, I was impressed with the Pinots and think many of the Aussie wine-bashers would do well to give them a chance -- especially the ones who also snub CA Pinot Noir for being too fruity, hot, and more like Cabs than traditional Pinots. The Aussie ones were far from that, and well worth giving a chance.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Old World Meets New World

Spanish wines have been one of my favorites since I got serious about vino a few years ago. While Spain is definitely part of the Old World wine club, it is interesting to note that many of its bodegas use a lot of new American oak and seem to be aiming to please the New World palate. Spain's wines don't seem to be as rustic as many Italian bottles I've drank and many trend toward the very ripe & juicy.

Jorge Ordoñez, a Spanish importer who now lives in the U.S., is credited for reviving interest in Spanish wines after they had fallen of the world's radar due to a long period of vineyard neglect during the Spanish Civil War. Seeing Ordoñez's name on the back of a bottle of Spanish wine has become a mark of quality for me, so I was stoked to attend the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant's recent tasting of wines he represents, many of which have a New World taste but come from ancient vines.

Ordoñez was there to chat with tasters and provided some of the wines himself, allowing the wine shop to offer the following flight for just $20: 2007 Botani Moscatel Seco, Malaga (Ordoñez's own wine); 2004 Remirez de Ganuza, Rioja; 2006 Finca Sandoval, Manchuela, Castilla Leon; 2006 Bodegas Alto Moncayo 'Alto Moncayo,' Campo de Borja (also produced by Ordoñez); 2006 Bodegas El Nido 'Clio,' Jumilla (another Ordoñez gem); and 2005 Merum 'Osmin,' Priorat.

The standouts for me were the Moscatel, the only white of the lineup that reminded me a bit of an Albariño with its crisp minerality, floral notes, and a twinge of effervescence; the Finca Sandova, an earthy blend of Syrah, Monastrell and Bobal; and Clio, with such lucious and rich blackberry and vanilla flavors that we had to order a glass.

Continuing on the Spanish tip, last weekened I opened up a bottle of the Ordoñez-imported 2004 Mas de Can Blau to go with a dinner of kalamata-olive chimichurri steaks. The wine - a blend of nearly equal parts of Cariñena (also known as Mazuelo), Garnacha, and Syrah from the Can Blau estate's oldest vines - was a delightful match, its smoky fruit and herbal compementing the distinct taste of the olives and the slight heat of the chimichurri spices. I have been hearing that Monastrell, my favorite Spanish varietal, can pair well with spicy dishes, but was dubious. However, after tasting the Mas de Can Blau, with grapes that have similar qualities (especially in Spain) to the big M, I think I may have to give that pairing a "whirl."

As I'm alluding to the inimitable Gary Vaynerchuck, host of Wine Library TV, I should mention that you can watch Jorge talk in action on Gary's show here.

¡Brinda a tu salud!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chard or Viognier?

Last night to go with chimichurri salmon (thank you Trader Joe's, yeah!) and roasted golden acorn squash with butter, kosher salt and herbs from the garden, we opened up a bottle I've had for awhile. It's one I got from a work holiday party over a year ago (when we used to get gifts -- guess I should be thankful we even had a party this past year) and I didn't have high expectations. I wasn't expecting much since it was a Chardonnay (one of my least favorite varietals by far) and it was from Coppola's everyday label, the Diamond Collection.

But I decided to give it a whirl and, while it smelled like an oakey, buttery Chard, it had much crisper flavors of apple, tropical and stone fruit than I expected. It tasted like something else, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Brian called it though -- "It's like a Viognier," he said. I was impressed with his on-the-money call. Its resemblance to a Viognier -- albeit one crafted for the California pallet -- was why we liked it. (Both of us usually turn our nose up at much of the domestic Chardonnay). It went well with the oiliness of the salmon and the rich flavors of the squash, just as a Viognier would have as well.

The similarities reminded me of the blind tasting challenge at the Wine Bloggers' Conference this past fall. The very first taste stumped both myself and Jessica (who made it to the final round as the only woman with five guys!) as well as a good portion of the room. We were positive the varietal was Chard, but it turned out to be Viognier. Before then I had never had a wine that so closely resembled both varietals, but as last night proved, it wasn't the last time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Very Worldy Wine List.... À(hhhhh) Côté!

I've wanted to go to À Côté in the Rockridge district of Oakland for as long as I can remember. This longing was only cemented by the fact that a girl in the wine class I took last fall had worked as a server there and had some very atypical wine knowledge, which led to her and the instructor having some lively conversations. So when Brian fared well in his first semester of law school finals, we decided to treat ourselves and go there.

The front room, which included the bar, was busy and the hostess said it would be about 20 minutes. After barely 10 she led us down a narrow hallway to the back, where there were two rooms of additional seating under a heated tent. We figured the wait list was to make it seem busier/trendier than it even was. Hmmmm. No matter -- once we saw the wine list, we knew we were in the right place. Over 70 varietals (40+ by the glass), many of which I had never heard of and most of which I'd never tried. While a couple I really wanted were only sold by the bottle, we had no trouble -- along with the helpful server's suggestions -- customizing our own flights.

Another couple was seated shortly after us and when the girl asked for a "Red Zin" (at least she didn't say White Zin!) I was waiting to hear the server's response considering the wine list was 98% Old World. There was a Plavac Mali (Zin cousin from Croatia) that may have been a fine stand-in, but it was only sold by the bottle. The server patiently guided her to another red, which couldn't have gone well with the oysters she ordered later...

I chose the '07 Xavier Frissant, a Surin Gris/Fie Gris blend from Touraine in the Loire Valley, which reminded me of Sauvignon Blanc (no big surprise considering SB is the predominant white grape of the area) with fresh, grassy aromas; the '06 Castro de Lobarzán Treixadura/Godello duo, which, despite good minerality, was a bit lackluster for me; and the '06 J. & H. A. StrubKabinett Riesling, with it's signature petrol-laced nose, bright acidity and twinge of sweetness. Later I had a glass of the '06 Gonzales-Suñer Manto Negro/Callet blend -- not being able to pass up a Spanish wine (actually, to get more precise, Mallorcan) from varietals unbeknownst to me. It's berry flavors combined with a rustic earthiness went well with the grilled flat iron steak and greek lamb sausage flatbread.

But the star of the night -- and the one we took home two bottles of, thanks to À Côté's 1/2-off carry-out price -- was the '07 Tajinaste Tinto Tradicional from the Listan Negro grape. It's a deep, dusty wine from the Canary Islands that couldn't help but remind me a bit of my favorite Napa Cabs (despite seeing no oak and selling for a fraction of the price), but without as much red fruit. Brian ordered it first in his flight and then had to have a full glass of it. He's got good taste, as two of my favorite wine shopkeeps -- Kevin Hogan at Spanish Table in Berkeley and Jeff Diamond of Farmstead in Alameda and Montclair -- have both featured it in recent months.

We'd be there once a week if it wasn't for the bill (ouch). Looking forward to the next special occasion...