First I apologize to my Gourmet Squatter readers for being absent all this time. I just took on a rat race-gig that has consumed much of my miscellaneous energy. Still, it’s no excuse. But I’m back and grateful to be frolicking on the page. What have you been up to lately? What have you been eating and sipping? On this great day when we celebrate freedom, I’m sipping Graham Beck Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay. I started sipping it yesterday, immediately picking up a funky, morbier cheese aroma at the frothy rim. Then the aromas evolved into freshly mown grass, apple crisp and cantaloupe. On the palate there’s Gala apple crisp and lemon drop with a burst of minerality at the finish. For $17, it was pretty good. I have one of those fancy wine stoppers specifically for sparkling wines, so today while the wine maintains its carbonation, it tastes more like an upscale Cava. It’s perfect for fish fry picnics, poolside gossip and lazy days away from the rat race.