Wednesday, May 21, 2008


What a great word, "simplification"!

With our schedule the way that it is, we've been trying to employ more of this theory into our lives. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a lot of work to declutter & organize before you can set things straight & orderly.

Take, for example, our house. It's a mess. I would love to have one of those houses where everything is always put away in its place, & dust, dog hair, or general dirt is at a minimum. Instead, I have piles of clutter, dishes in the sink, laundry in the basement, & dog hair & dust is at a maximum at the moment. Ick. I have the best of intentions, but very little time or energy. Well, that & it's just going to take a lot of effort to get things the way that I'd like them. We hope to tackle the problem areas one at a time very soon.

The most organized part of our house is our wine. Sad to say, I know...but true. We'll get around to the rest, but first things first! We have 3 different racks at this time. I say "at this time" because we're talking about getting more. Don't you judge, you know you'd drink our wine at our house.

Let me take you on a little tour.

One is a pretty grapevine designed rack that we bought at Balducci's Winery for our anniversary a few years ago. It doesn't hold a lot - maybe 7 bottles - so it's not all that practical, really. We use it to hold our cheaper, "pretty" bottles, with the requirement that "cheaper" & "pretty" must also equal "drinkable". In other words, you won't find any Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau bottles there, no matter how brightly colored. (As an aside, I do occasionally enjoy a little Gamay, but really, should never store that Koolaid anywhere, it's meant to be consumed & done quickly before your better judgment wakes up to advise differently.)

We bought another rack last summer to hold 34 bottles. We didn't want anything too kitschy, but we also didn't want to spend to much time looking, either. We saw one at World Market, & took it home that day. Now, this rack holds our mid-range bottles. These wines range in price from $7 to, oh, let's say $22. However, as in almost everything Doug & I do or say, we reserve the right to make changes as we see fit, so you might find a higher-priced bottle in there from time to time. Anyway, these are the bottles that we typically reach for on a Tuesday, or when we have company that enjoys wine but won't get the difference between those bottles & our "reserve collection". Heh, that makes me sound rather posh, doesn't it? This rack is also the place we keep the ever-important 2nd, 3rd, 4th (& so on) bottles for when we're settling in with our fellow winos for some serious "analysis" (ok, ok - drinking).

I mentioned our "reserve collection", so let me tell you about where that is stored. A few years ago, before we were really even "into" wine but had the idea in our heads, we bought a wooden bar with a wine rack that could double as an island. We really wanted to use it as an island, but we realized after getting it home that it just wouldn't work in our kitchen. It was too big & we were worried that Bella (one of our dogs, for those of you that don't know) would give herself repeated concussions during her constant & completely unnecessary charges to the back door. Why she thinks it's a race I'll never know, but for her safety as well as our sanity, we decided to put it against the wall. In addition to storing our "reserve collection", this unit also serves as our bar, & it's really quite full. Anyone that's been to a party at Casa Claire y Doug knows this to be true!

But I digress...the wine, I was talking about the wine! In this collection, we have the bottles that we treasure a bit. Like the Anderson's Conn Valley 2004 Cab (I think it's 2004, anyway) & the Elderton Command Shiraz (I think it's 2002, but I'm not looking at it right now). That's just off the top of my head, there's more. Generally speaking, these are the bottles we are proud of, looking forward to, & pretty much only willing to share with those that would appreciate them. Not all of them are high-priced bottles, but they might be harder to find than some our trusty standbys. So, if you are at our house, & you see me looking through this rack (me, not Doug - he'll grab almost anything), it's a safe bet that I think you're worthy of really good wine!

Eventually, we will reserve an area in our basement for more proper wine storage, but we keep getting distracted by the Caribbean & vet bills. We're also looking for wine coolers (no, not Bartles & Jaymes) to store wine at a more proper temperature. We aspire to be more like our friends the Luces, but lack the time & discipline. Someday, maybe someday. I'm also working on a wine database that I will send to a sommelier pal of mine. How will this simplify things (after all, that is more or less the inspiration here)? It'll keep us from holding on to bottles for too long, that's how!

Ok...enough about wine. After all, it's barely 9 a.m. & I'm supposed to be working. (Shhhh..)

Since I've been talking about simplification, I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Google for developing the Google Reader. What a great way to keep track of all of the blogs I read, & in most cases, without having to hit another site! My only wish is that they would make it possible to comment from the Reader, but alas, I can't have everything. Anyway, check it out! It'll simplify your daily reading!

(See, I can keep on subject when I want to, & I didn't talk about wine the whole way through the blog.)


LucyinStLou said...

Love the organizational structure! I am thrilled that we have been worthy of reserve bottles. Quite a priviledge!

Thanks for the tip about Google Reader. I think I have something to entertain me this afternoon.

Claire said...

The structure needs improving, but it works for now. Especially if you consider that it happened more or less on-the-fly.

Of course you're worthy of reserve!! Silly girl.

I only recently learned of Google Reader, & I love it.

Peggy said...

I wish this comment was about the wine, but it is more a warning about Google Reader. While I am always looking for one more way to waste my time on these here internets, google reader was at one point a saving grace for my daily reads. I guess I just don't know when enough is enough because it quickly became filled with numerous reads and I continuously added more. Anyway, I had to give up the habit for a while before I lost my friends, job, and piece of mind Proceed with caution and enjoy. Great blog.

Blue Ice Dave said...

Our wine cabinet holds a modest 15 bottles: a mix of reds & whites that include Florida Hurricane White Sangria (I'm sure you can venture to guess what occasion this one is for).

Claire said...

Peggy, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the warning, although I don't think I'm going to run into too much trouble. I'm a fast reader! =)

Dave, 15 bottles isn't anything to sneeze at, my friend! I'm quite intrigued by this sangria that you speak of...I love sangria! Fill me in!

Thom said...

You are kinder ot the gamay grape than I am... I call it swill. You are kinder to the Gamay grape than I am... I call it swill. Some praise Beaujolais Nouveau as a nice young wine - I call it undrinkable. I'm a sucker for the Nebbiolo grape or if one HAS to go domestic, a good cab (your 2004 would do nicely…). OK, so we know I'm a wine snob...

Google reader is great. I only use it for friend's blogs, so it is not cluttered with other feeds. Ah... a system that works. I try to minimize clutter in my life, but it seems to take on a life of its own. The futility of fighting entropy...

Danny said...

Beaujolais Nouveau is a marketing ploy that borders on pure genius. The wine itself is pure plonk, but they sell every drop of it because it is the "first" wine of the new vintage. However, there are wines from Beaujolais that are worthy of some credit. Gamay makes fresh, fruity wines that are uncomplicated and go well with picnic fare and barbeques. I wouldn't judge all Gamay on the basis of Nouveau. They are among the most popular of wines in their home territory...

Regarding wine storage, there are two things that destroy wine, temperature fluctuation and light. If you manage both of those you will be rewarded with good wines over the years.

Claire said...

Thom, don't get me wrong - I'm amused by Nouveau in general. It's cheap & a good wine to take to a party for others to drink. Therein lies most of the amusement. I've had some Gamay that I actually liked, but it wasn't Nouveau. It makes a great 3rd bottle....=)

And yes, my 2004 Cab had better do nicely for what I paid for it!

Danny, I agree...