Have you googled yourself lately? I have a doppelganger, more than one in fact. I thought I had (brilliantly) come up with a new word, "Googleganger", but googling the word showed me that it was already listed in the Urban Dictonary. Darn.

Someone else out there is using the name VivaELvino. He, I think it’s a he”, registered the domain name. This must be fairly recent, because I googled it a ways back while thinking of a business idea and he did not came up in the search. There is also a Spanish web site about wine using the name. Sounds good to me. I love Spanish wines.

Mr. Vivaelvino beat me to the Facebook page. I bet he has a Myspace page, too. Well crap. Or maybe not. I’m not really motivated to do Facebook or Myspace. I’m not part of that generation. I can hardly keep up with Linkedin and I see a point to participating in that. I got to Twitter first though. Neener neener.

Should I go to all the blog sites and register myself first? Maybe we could have a spectacular legal battle over who has the right to use the name ala Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Stags’ Leap Winery. We could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and eventually settle on me using the capped “EL” and him using “el” lower case. Nah, I suggest we sit down over a glass of wine and swap stories about how brilliant we both are (or not, see above) to think it up spontaneously but separately. Great minds think alike, eh?

Even more unsettling is the reality that there is someone out there with the same given name as me. I guess if you are named after a family member like Desi and Lucy Arnez, Jr., or if you have a combination of a fairly common first and last name, like Mike Jones you are probably used to it. (Based on my unofficial observation, "Mike Jones" is the name that occurs most frequently on our mailing list at work.) But this is about me.

I have a less common first name and less common last name. Out of curiosity I looked up my first name popularity stats on the US Social Security Department baby name web site. The name has increased in popularity since I was born. Not surprising, as most of the people I meet with the same first name are younger. I was born in the 1960’s. The site says my name ranked at number 245 in that decade. Now ranks at 75. A pretty impressive jump if I may say so, as we move into the twenty-first century. We’re moving up in popularity gals. Not to digress too much here, but the names on the list and the way the order changes over the years could be an entirely different posting. Go check it out for yourself and see where your name ranks (and how many ways there are to spell "Destiny" as a first name.)

I do occasionally come across people with the same surname or the same first name as me, but never both. From my google research, it looks like my googleganger lives in the UK, which makes the surname thing more likely. I also think we both use a similar email address which is a bit unsettling. which is why sometimes my favorite username is taken. She has a Facebook page, too.

I wonder how much else we are alike or not alike. Do we both like wine? How did she get named the same first name as me? Does her family come from the same area of Ireland that mind did? My mother tells me she picked my given name based on a character from a book she read, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Read the summary of the book and tell me if you can figure out what inspired Mom. Who picked my googleganger's name? I bet we don’t have the same middle name. Crap- I googled my first & middle combination- there’s several listings with that combination. Time to stop googling and have a glass of wine. Cheers to my googlegangers.

The Sauvignon Blanc Continues to flow.October 20-26, 2008The temperature dropped temporarily a couple of weeks ago and things seemed down right Fallish in Northern California. I was starting to think about red wines when Indian Summer swooped down and nestled itself into the last two weeks of October. It's been in the 80's during the day all week long and perfect for the whites. This, plus random luck, and a presentation on New Zealand and the Mosel Valley in Germany by two of my MBA compatriots gave me the opportunity to taste a good spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc styles this week along with a couple of Rieslings.

Villa Maria Private Bin 2008 Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand. A pale straw color with the characteristic New Zealand civit (ok - musky for sure, but cat pee, really?), bell pepper and minerality on the nose, followed flavors of pineapple and grapefruit offsetting the flinty qualities. No noticeable oak or tannins, but lots of acid as it should be for this varietal.

Sauvignon Republic 2007 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc. I'm delighted to say that this wine turned up again on the wine list at Celadon. Our interest was piqued at the Thai restaurant in Santa Rosa last weekend so we sprung for a bottle at dinner. Spare minerality and grass on the nose, (I think it was served a bit too cold to start) with flavors of citrus, apples and hay that opened up as the wine warmed a bit.Snoqualamie Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley (check back later for this one. Still working on my notes.)

Kim Crawford 2007 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.These guys are rocking the on premise category. I see this wine in restaurants everywhere. I tasted this particular bottle a few weeks back and thought I should throw it in along with the rest of the SBs. Light straw in color, with tropical notes, melon, and bell pepper on the nose. Citrus fruits, especially lemon with a bit of grass. No oak or tannin. Nice acids with moderate complexity and an acceptable mid length finish.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2007 Fume Blanc. Did you know that Robert Mondavi made up the name Fume Blanc? Legend has it he thought Sauvignon Blanc would be too hard for the American public to pronounce. This wine was citrus and melon on the nose, with a bit of greenness and creamy tropical tones. Grapefruit with hints of peach, a bit of bell pepper on the tongue. No oak here; steel fermented to bring out the acids. Nice balance, with concentrated flavors.Did I mention the Rieslings? I’m not a Riesling fan, but I’ve tried to be objective here. I didn’t love them, but hopefully I was fair in describing the qualities.

SA Prum 2007 Sonnenuhr Wehlener Riesling Kabinette. This wine came out of the bottle with a yellow straw color. Jasmine and honeysuckle florals and a noticeable minerality on the nose. The flavor was sweet with honey and peaches, and a touch of diesel; Medium bodied, low oak, and high acid with a bit of residual sugar and good intensity.

SA Prum 2006 Sonnenuhr Wehlener Riesling Spatlase. Spatlese is a higher designation for Rieslings. As a classification, they have more residual sugar and indicate a warmer growing year for the Mosel Valley. This one was all honey and stone fruits in the nose; delicate florals on the tongue, and a syrupy quality reminiscent of canned peaches- in a good way. With 3% residual sugar and low alcohol, it’s not surprising. This wine had nice acids hidden in the flavors, with solid complexity that develops in the mouth and a long finish.


Chapter One in which our heroine gives the cats a bath ...or ...what wine goes with wet cats?

humorous pictures

Normally I rely on the self cleaning feature that comes standard with the model, but occasionally excessive dirt wallowing or flea buildup requires an actual bath for the cat(s). Of course, if you are going to the trouble to wash one of them, you might as well wash the other one, too. I now present to you a bit of light comedy from my Sunday morning adventure.

Step 1. Clear everything away from the counter surrounding the sink. Desperate kitties will reach out claws at anything they think might be able to save them from the dreaded bath. See photo above.

Step 2. Fill the sink with luke-warm water and a bit of pet shampoo.

Step 3. Find the cat. Luckily fatcat was lolling on the bed and cat #2 magically appeared from her hidey-hole outside when called.

Step 4. Pick up cat and deposit it in the bathwater. This can be tricky. My cats aren't particularly fond of being carried around. I have to cajole them with sweet nothings and caresses to keep them from getting suspicious. Careful- many models have a self eject feature that may spontaneously trigger. Keep one hand on the neck (gently) at all times during bathing process.

Step 5. Wash the cat. In the first attempt, crafty fatcat lulled me into complacency by appearing to submit. When I relaxed my grip, he ejected himself from the sink streaming soap and water and proceeded to make a dash into the living room. I quickly followed with a towel praying he didn't jump onto the white furniture. I managed to pull him out from underneath the chair and return his wet soggy, soapy ass to the sink to finish the bath. Rinse, repeat with the firm grip in place. Ok- I didn't repeat, but the shampoo bottle reference made me smile. Sorry, no photos available. Both my hands were busy with the cat.

Step 6. Dry off the cat. Again, a good grip of the wet animal is important. I recommend wrapping the cat in a towel and rubbing (gently, but) vigorously to remove as much excess water as possible, because you know the wet cat will make a bee-line to his favorite spot such as the white living room furniture or the bed.

Step 7. Clean up trail of water leading out of kitchen, through family room, down hallway, into living room and under the chair.

Step 8. Repeat with second cat.

Step 9. Clean up second puddle of water. Cat #2 didn't actually escape, but her futile attempts did cause me to spray water around the kitchen by accident with the sink sprayer.

Results: Two damp cats, one damp person (yours truly) covered in cat hair. One of us needs a shower.

Oh yeah- about the wine. Sauvignon Blanc is my choice for the best wine to drink while bathing cats. I'm not crazy about the "cat pee" descriptor. I think if I actually smelled cat pee in a wine I would turn and run the other way. I usually notice bell pepper or herbaceous overtones, but maybe that's because I have a good idea of what cat pee really smells like. We like SB a lot at my house and I'm not afraid to buy and try them since they are so affordable.

Unfortunately dinner last night was rushed and I couldn't make any notes to give my impression of the Sauvignon Republic Russian River SB. This wasn't the restaurant's fault. We arrived in Santa Rosa, not having had dinner at 7:30 pm and the play started at 8 pm. The folks at a Thai restaurant on 4th street were kind enough to rush out a couple of entrees and a couple of glasses of wine for us. It was so fast that I'm not even sure of the name of the restaurant. A scan of Google maps suggests it might have been Khoom Lanna. The food was good, my apologies and thanks to the restaurant. We just made the curtain call. I was intrigued by the wine and will try it again the next time we cross paths.

I did try another SB this afternoon- Miner Family 2007 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It had quite a bit of pineapple and grass overtones. No cat pee. The nice tasting room server, Rachel, brought it out from the back for me to try. It was overpowered by the tempranillo. I will have to try it again some time to give a fair reveiw.

Wines I've been drinking

October 13-19, 2008

Sauvignon Republic 2007 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc- had this while eating a really fast meal at a Thai restaurant in Santa Rosa last night. Had potential, but the wine was room temperature, served in a chilled glass. Unclear on the concept....

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel- drank this from a plastic cup during the intermission of Death of a Salesman last night. No comment, cause it was wine served at a performing arts event (need I say more?) and 'ya just can't judge a wine out of a plastic cocktail cup.

Miner Family 2007 Sierra Foothills Tempranillo. M. had this with lunch at Barber's Q in Napa. A delightful california version of tempranillo- more fruit forward and dense than a Spanish tempranillo might be, but with delightful cherry overtones, nice acids and medium tannins. It inspired us to drive out to Miner and do some tasting and buy a couple of bottles.

Ancien 2007 Pinot Gris Carneros Sangiocomo Vineyard. This was my selection to go with the Barber's Q pulled pork sandwich. A beautiful wine with citrus flavors; a hint of minerality good acids to compliment the sweetness of barbeque. It had that nice fizz that pinot gris should have to compliment the acidic bite.

Blackbird Vineyards 2007 Napa Valley Arriviste Rose of Merlot and Cab Franc. Hints of strawberry in the nose, with citrus fruit and berries on the palate. Dry, but with a bit of cotton candy in the finish. It didn't knock me out, but there was nothing wrong with it. I'm not a fan of the strawberry quality that roses tend to have.