Posts Tagged wine

Sunday Column (434)

Easter is over. We spend a lovely week in Germany where we met with lots of family and friends. We chilled, I really came down and relaxed. It was amazing. I was hoping to catch up on emails on the night before I went back to work but just was too involved in the family and too tired. That’s a good sign I think as I really detached from work. Result. And the boys were tired that night. A pizza, some wine and an early night for us, just after the boys hit the hay 😉 Travelling is exhaustive. I also picked up a bit of a tan, so I was told anyway.

Germany, my fatherland, but only one of two nationalities I hold. My relationship has changed a bit. It is a country in which I speak English with my family, feel less connected to and less understood. A nice and beautiful country where the standards of living seem higher than in other countries. But if you pull back the curtain, things are the same everywhere. Where is my home country now? Where do I feel home? I have had numerous discussions, and home is where your heart is. My heart, without a shadow of a doubt, is with my family. My boys. That’s where home is. Will it change again in the future? We shall see.

The future is more unknown than ever. A new general election was called. It won’t reverse Brexit but gives us a chance to change governments. I personally believe it will strengthen Theresa May’s position, catapult Corbyn out of the Labour lead. Then we reshuffle, have Brexit and a new election in 2022 or so. We shall see. We will master whatever is ahead of us. Politics. Oh, maybe Corbyn is underestimated and will make it. Wouldn’t that be fascinating?!

A note on driving in Germany or generally about driving. The speed, 120 miles/200 km per hour is fast. Yet it seems to work without too many accidents. People fill safety gaps I am leaving to the car in front of me, making it dangerous to drive. Yet still we survived but somewhat it doesn’t make sense. Maybe a good thing. But I enjoyed the freedom of driving as fast as I could. As of May the European governments will share a database of all drivers to prosecute beyond boundaries – something that hasn’t been done yet. Having said that, I think I would have had a few tickets. Fingers crossed I won’t 🙂

I also brought back some nice wine from Germany. Tax on alcohol is a lot lower, making it feasible to buy Australian wine or French wine at half the price compared to the UK. Also, just going shopping, taking me back to my childhood with a filled wallet, being able to buy all those sweets and crisps I enjoyed as a kid. Senses, particularly smell and taste, take me back to my childhood. Some things will never change. Just tasting the cherry lollipop I bought for the boys took me back to the doctor’s surgery where I got one after every visit. Strange, no?

In other news, there is a new Star Wars trailer which got my kids all excited. And me. They seem to be a lot more involved than me and understand more details of the movie and the personal relations of the characters than I do. Maybe I don’t concentrate hard enough? Or I am distracted, fall asleep or am less engaged. Great to see them identifying themselves with these stories which I think are brilliant material for thoughts on the future.

But I don’t want to get too sentimental. Life is great at the moment. It is changing, constantly, and busy and challenging. Just the way we want it.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

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Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

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We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot 😉 After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

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Sunday Column (280)

Here is the summary of my last weekend, as promised: We made it. We survived!
Not only did we go up the South Downs to fly a kite, we also went to a Birthday Party, had a picnic in the living room and played in the garden. Mummy can go away again 😉 They did miss mummy though and didn’t enjoy to only have daddy around but it was fine. Daddy enjoyed it.

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And of course, we made it as a German team. We won it, the World Cup. Which is, after 24 years, a great effort. I couldn’t get the kids involved too much as the games were past their bedtime. Hopefully in 4 years time, them being 10 and 7, they can get more involved and time zone wise the games should be at a more kid friendly time, Russia being the host.

Also this week we (almost) reached another mile stone. My oldest finished reception. He will still have a couple of days next week but overall the year is done. Wind down. His first year in school is finished, and off into 1st year this autumn. How quickly do they grow up?! Isn’t it fantastic to see them learn, understand the world and make friends, coping with first challenges etc. I really enjoy it!

This weekend my parents came to visit. They brought lots of wine again, just to stock up the cellar 😉 I have reduced my wine/alcohol intake as I have been very focused on getting to the next level re fitness. With this in mind I bought a new bike, a road bike, on eBay. I believe I got a bargain on a Fausto Coppi Lombardia in my size (XXL) and what a beauty it is. Finishing the auction during the world cup final really helped me to get this at a decent price 🙂

I took it for a first spin early Thursday as I had to fix a puncture when it first arrived. Yet some adjustments needed and maybe a couple of new ball bearings. Future rides will show. But I love the need for speed. The riding on a road bike is different to a mountain bike. Different enjoyment. Still the same satisfaction…if not better.

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My plan is to not only get fitter in terms of weight loss and muscle gain but also overall by increasing my physical activity by riding mountain bike as well as a road bike, latter also on my stationary bike stand during the winter. Running is still part of the fitness routine as it seems to loosen up my back a bit which gives me trouble during sleeping. However this seems to be improving too.

The only addition I now need is a pool to complete a triathlon from the comfort of my home. Maybe not. Let’s see if I manage a six pack by Christmas or not. The biggest restriction as it seems is time, whilst I believe running on the treadmill and being on the stationary bike, I can train late at night and/or in the morning. Onwards and upwards.

This really concludes a busy week. Yet the holiday season is kicking in and things at work seemed to slow down a bit. But this changed mid week again, and I can’t complain about being really busy again. But also a good time to get on top of a few things, admin and planning the months/quarters ahead.

Exciting times.

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Wine…

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Objects in this blog might appear bigger than they are.

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Breakfast, break detox

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How did I miss you over the last month!

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August Challenge (2)

As you know I am t-total for the month of August.

Today is hump day, half way through the challenge. I have tried to find some answers online to support my assumptions and experience, but all I find is advice on how to give up drinking all together, and for recovering alcoholics. I am definitely not fitting into that category!

After I gave up chain smoking from 60 cigarettes a day to none from one day to another, I gained a lot of weight by substituting cigarettes with chocolates and sweets. But I can do it, I have a very strong mind and great will power. The trick is to work around your habits and routines, changing them one by one. Steppingstones as a coach would call it.

It is the same with alcohol, if you come home from work fancying a glass of wine, just have a different drink. Or treat yourself to a lovely fruit juice. I think that after two weeks I have mastered it easily, not thinking about the drink I used to have coming home, or the glass of wine when having a pizza.

A big change I have noticed is my sleep. I am more tired. Whilst part of me thinks that it is a detox that makes me more tired, I also believe I sleep a lot deeper. I don’t have sleeping problems anyway, but with alcohol I can easily wake up, feed Rohan at night, go back to sleep, get up easily in the morning. Without alcohol I could sleep all day, don’t want to get out of bed, and often wake up for the night feed not being able to open my eyes properly. The sleep I am getting is much deeper than I experienced it for a long time, if not ever. I am curious to see if this changes over the next two weeks.

I guess the detox has taken place now, and my liver is on its way to recovery. I like the thought that my organs enjoy the absenteeism, recover and feel like I should never drink again.

So with that note, I will enjoy another 2 weeks before indulging myself with a lovely bottle of Shiraz 🙂

Have a good one,
Volker

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French Wine – Lirac

This blog post has been a draft since October 2010. As you can see I have to prioritise and do other more important things.

My passion for red wine should be well know. For my birthday my wife got me a nice Australian Syrah we enjoyed last weekend. With French wines I either love or hate them. Tannat is my most favourite grape in France.


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On the other hand I discovered another region, Lirac, which is just opposite the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region on the Western hills of the Rhone River.

Red wine in Lirac is described as made from
– Grenache Noir (minimum 40%)
– Syrah and Mourvèdre (minimum of 25% together)
– Cnsault, and Carignan (maximum 10%).

Wikipedia gives greater details: “The style of red Lirac often resembles a soft Côtes du Rhône-Villages, but the more ambitious wines are often similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Rosé Lirac is usually similar to Tavel.”

Funny enough I have been trying a lot of du Papes and never really had one which I found overly stunning. Lirac on the other hand really appeals to me for some reason. Maybe this is because Lirac has a high percentage of Grenache (see also this excellent red wine). It is a grape that is spicy, berry-flavoured and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content. Too much of it however is in the du Pape. Not sure, what the best mix for me would be, however I remember drinking an excellent Grenache in a French restaurant in London a few years ago.

Anyway, for someone like me that is not too keen on French and not too keen on Rhone wines, Lirac is an excellent exception showing that it depends on the region and on the actual blend whether you like a wine or not, independent from country or grapes really (latter to a certain extend).

In the meantime, please try Lirac from either Waitrose or one of the other many retailers 😉

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Tempranillo Bonarda

At our recent visit to the London Borough Market, we bought a nice wine: Tempranillo Bonarda fromMendoza Argentina. Made by Villavieja, 2007, bottled by La Agricola, it is described as ruby/garnet in colour and exuberant blueberry and cassis aromas packed with black fruit flavours.

I have to say that my wife and I absolutely loved that wine. I think we paid around £10 for it, however I googled it and found it for £5.90. That is London Borough market for you 🙁 The website says it is part of the Zuccardi Family.

Another website suggest is being around £6.

I guess not much more to find out about this wine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture. Left to say that it is a very enjoyable wine.

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Sunday Column (35)

Another week, another Sunday. And it is a sunny Sunday 🙂

This week, after a few days off, passed quickly but different to many other weeks. I believe every time you have some time off and go back to work, you start thinking about things and re-calibre your work. Hence it seems as if you get less done but you actually work more productively.

Anyways, Tuesday was our 2nd anniversary. I cannot believe how quickly those two years passed. And, we are still very happy together and have enjoyed the time together. With the house, boy and all, we are very settled and happy how and where we live. We enjoy what we have, and this is one of those unbeatable feelings to have. Happiness.

On Thursday, at Tai-Chi, we started refining the form. Particularly with the speed and control. Wow, I felt very tired after the session and now start noticing how much good it does for me. Also, I found out that my old work is not doing too well and people seem to not get paid and made redundant. Hence I am feeling very sorry for them, looking back I am glad I got made redundant whilst they could still pay me. Also, I think that it is such a shame for so many people not knowing what the future holds. All I can do is to offer my help. Fingers crossed it works out for everyone.

At the weekend my cousin was here. Her boyfriend works for an airline so it is easy for them to get flights from Zurich to London. It was a lovely weekend. Too much wine on Friday, a mess on Saturday and a lovely walk on Sunday. Time, although we gained an hour with the change to the winter time, was too short and they had to leave just around 2 pm again on Sunday.

It is so nice to stay in touch with family, sharing values and time, and having Colin meeting my cousin and his godmother. Talking about the family, the grandparents, the parents and how things have changed since we were young is interesting, fascinating and scary at the same time. It is so enjoyable and I hope that Colin will appreciate a German godmother that will teach him “Ballueder Family Values” 🙂
With her being a trained acupuncturist, I got rid of some back pain and enjoyed some needles being stuck into myself 🙂

Another topic that came up this week was the boy: I enjoy it so much more to be around him. He gives me so much back when I come home from work or wake him in the morning. Just the smile at me and the touching, grabbing and love he shows me, makes me feel so good. Whilst at some point I wasn’t sure how much I enjoy having children, after 4 months I want to have the next one…or two 😉 We shall see.

Also, we bought instant coffee and, although difficult to admit, I actually don’t mind it too much. I will never be a big fan, but I do enjoy it now and then for a quick cup of coffee. Letting go of my standards is not what I had in mind, but maybe getting used to more average supply of coffee (and same is true for wine after my month break), is not a bad thing in the recession.

This brings the week to a close. I could go to sleep and curl up in my bed, watching the wind in the trees, chasing the leaves around the garden. I love autumn with its fascinating colours. I have some things to do this afternoon, but hope that tonight I put on a nice fire, maybe a nice take away and a nice movie. Just chilling. That’s Sunday, that is autumn.

Love and Happiness to you all,
Volker

autum colours

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Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2008

porcupine ridgeI am getting very much into the Syrah wines. Robert Mondavi’s being my house wine.

However, a wine I always ignored but finally had and enjoyed is the Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2008. A South African Wine. Waitrose sells it for £6.64 and Oddbins offers the Porcupine Syrah Grenache for £9.99 which I need to try.

An excellent red from the Franschhoek Valley made by a new-wave winemaker, says Waitrose’s website. It’s a truly handcrafted Syrah, fermented in small open-top tanks, and then aged in wooden barrels. The silky texture and full flavour make it a great wine on its own or enjoy with most red meat dishes.

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