Llanerch Vineyard, Glamorgan


Sunday lunch at Llanerch Vineyard is as picturesque as it is delicious. The Cariad Restaurant offers panoramic views of the Welsh vines.

IMG_2486 Who says bare isn’t beautiful?

Nestled away in the heart of the Glamorganshire countryside, Llanerch Vineyard is open for self-guided tours (a perfect way to walk off that roast beef and Yorkshire pud food baby you’ve just acquired).

IMG_2489 The wines produced in Llanerch are named ‘Cariad’ (meaning love in Welsh)

Llanerch Vineyard produces six different wines and has been awarded a bronze medal in the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) and a gold medal in the SWVA (South West Vineyards Association) for the sparkling rose.

IMG_2477 Eenie meenie miney moe…

Currently the wines are only for sale from the Vineyard shop (which also sells local produce and great little gifts).

As you may have gathered from the prominence of sparkling wines on Blotto, so the choice was fairly easy – fizz it was!

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Farewell to Blossom, Rose and Bella


So tonight I say a fond farewell to my old mates Blossom, Rose and Bella.

Together we were like the four musketeers.

They helped me face my fears.

They have helped me put the world to rights.

They have helped me solve my every plight.

They have created laughter, created fun.

They can bring the best out in anyone.

They are the very best dinner guests,

They are great to unwind before you rest.

But as of tomorrow they are on the shelf,

As I strive to improve my health.

So to them I say “cheers” for all they’ve done

As my wine-less journey has just begun.


My last glass of Blossom, farewell lovey! xx

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Taking the leap…

No, no.. Not the marital leap! I finally took the leap with my business in September 2014. Moving it from my home studio, out in the Helena “valley” to the big city (of Helena).
After 1 1/2 years of building clientele and the base of my business, and working out the kinks… The questions being answered & solved. Advertising explored. I finally began hunting for an inexpensive location in my prime location! Currently, I still believe it to be a great locale, for my first year in town… As time passes, I can see I will probably do another move, expansion & possibly try to incorporate or share a location with a someone serving food? Coffee? Ice cream sundaes!!!
This was a leap for me! There was enough riding on it that if I failed, I would lose some money- but not a disastrous amount. If I succeeded, the business would continue to grow, have new customers appearing at every paint n sip, and a reputation built!
Currently, I am happy to see the later occurring! In leaps (pun intended) and bounds! Financially it will still take time to really show success, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally- I have already succeeded. Moms are walking out with happy children. Ladies are feeling empowered as 2,3,4 or more painters compliment their painting. Couples creating a memory together.
My biggest success came yesterday during a family paint of 2 moms and 6 children. Occasionally my daughter,11, is able to help at the shop with set up, handing paint out & adjusting music issues. One of the moms asked my daughter for painting advice on her bears. My daughter looked at me with a surprised expression, I gave her a quick nod, and she proceeded to advise this first time painter on the next 2 steps… Absolute proudest moment for me!

Another stepping stone forward in my vision.

I took the leap…
I landed on the rock.
No splash.
No wet socks.


Cromlix, Kinbuck (near Dunblane)

If only I were closer, I would hop into my red mini (if I had one) and go for a drive….


Cromlix isn’t the type of place you pass and think “let’s go in there for lunch”. It’s the type of place you save for a special occasion, book in advance and then search for it on google maps to make sure you know how to get there.

Cromlix was an elegant Victorian Perthshire mansion, which has been refurbished recently by Andy Murray (yes, the serious looking tennis player who has a post box in nearby Dunblane painted gold in his honour) and transformed into a luxury five-star destination. There is a long drive up through woods to get to the old mansion and then you are signposted to a car park which could easily be mistaken for a car show as there were numerous Mercedes and BMWs, a lotus, a Porsche and a Morgan Plus 4 in it. 2015-01-03 14.17.51

When OH and I arrived we were greeted with a welcoming smile and…

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Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay 2013

Food, Wine, Beer, Travel

Nobel Vines 446

This is another offering from Noble Vines. This chardonnay is crisp and clean with an oak or maple woody flavor on the front end that fades to the taste of light citrus such as such as lime and other tropical fruits. The aroma is one of almonds and pears. I found the 446 to be a bit acidic but still a very pleasant white wine Pair this wine roasted chicken or other fowl, soft cheeses and autumn salads. In past vintages the 446 was a single vineyard wine. That reference is missing from the 2013 on the label and on the Noble Vines Website. So, I am assuming that this is blended with grapes from a different vineyard for 2013. Of course the back label refers to this all being vine type 4 from block 46 (which is where the 446 number comes from) so my assumption may be wrong…

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One Last Top Ten List

Agglomerate… New word of the day! I’m just learning about the points and obviously these are top notch. Interesting read… Thank you!

the drunken cyclist

Here is my third (and final) top Ten List of Wines. The first was my list of top wines that I consumed from my own private cellar. The second was the top ten wines that I tasted from Dry Creek Valley. this list, for lack of a better name, is the Top Ten Wines Sampled from Everywhere Else.

Yeah, I need to work on the title.

2013 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Campbell Ranch Vineyard: Retail $46. Meatier fruit, but very tight, as it was just bottled a week ago and not yet released. Once the fruit mellows a bit this will be fantastic. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.

20140110-092958.jpg2010 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Retail $80. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot with an ABV of 14.7%. This wine is enjoyable now, but if you are willing to wait a while (5-10 years, I would guess), it will be well worth it. I think…

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Yorkshire Puddings with Mushroom Gravy

I Must make these… And sip wine while doing so!

Marguerite Jessup

Yorkshire puddings were always a favourite part of my family’s Sunday night dinners. My mom convinced us these could only be enjoyed searing hot—and it’s true, they do taste better fresh out of the oven—so we all scrambled to the table the second the kitchen timer rang. Rich, dense and topped with gravy, these delicious dishes started out festive meals in a pretty hearty way. The batter is made from eggs, flour and milk. It’s then added, in individual portions, to about 2 teaspoons of hot beef drippings per pudding, preheated in a muffin tin. And of course, they’re served with gravy.

To my surprise, the exact origin of Yorkshire puddings is still unknown. Traditionally they’re served with a Sunday roast—which makes sense, because you need beef dripping for both the pudding and the gravy—but exactly how the recipe came to be is still a mystery. The Telegraph published an…

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Happy New Year! Welcome 2015

I like the idea of starting a museum… Interesting..

Contessa Grigia

Honestly, I don’t have too much to complain about…I am happy with where I am in life. I have a wonderful family, live in paradise, and feel very blessed every single day. So, I just need to step up, and make my life better. I have put together a top ten intentions for 2015.

1.) Eat cleaner more wholesome food.

2.) Exercise everyday…do something for at least 30 minutes.

3.) Pine needle tea everyday, and a glass of wine.

4.) Blog everyday…writing is a wonderful catharsis.

5.) Obtain a winery or vineyard.

6.) Find beauty in everything, everyday!

7.) Become more active with a charity.

8.) Plant my wildflowers

9.) Plant my straw garden

10.) Start my museum.


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Once Upon a Vine…There was a Big Bad Red Blend…

I just purchased a bottle for the snazzy label as well… I’m interested to try it now!

Beer Man and Winey Woman

Big Bad Red by Once Upon a Vine. I bought the bottle based on the cool label and fact that it is a red blend and they tend to be fairly well-rounded and good with food. Unlike a merlot, or a pinot noir, which can be somewhat more particular and require a palate that truly appreciates them, a red blend is a red for the people. It usually combines at least two, if not three different types of red and the hope is that the best characteristics of all the flavors will come to the surface.

Oh, what big teeth you have…

When we first opened BBRB- I was not impressed. It felt sharp and somewhat astringent, and none of the promised chocolate and cherry flavors on the label came forward. It wasn’t the worst thing I have tasted, but it certainly was not a bottle I would go searching…

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