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Questing Again

November 29, 2006
Last night we moved on to another bottle in our quest for everyday wines. This was a bottle of 2005 Vin D' Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer. We paired it with the last (phew!) of the turkey and some sides (still lots of those left). 13% alcohol by volume, $13.99 at Arrowine, cork closure.

Very nice flowery nose. Good spice on the finish, light, but full in the mouth. I'm sold. For the price, it will find it's way to our table frequently.

A Bottle of White

November 28, 2006
So we decided one bottle wasn't enough on Sunday night and cracked open a second. We are again on a quest for everyday wines and this time we were searching at Arrowine. I saw a commercial for them and signed up for their mailing list. Which was great because they sent me a coupon for 20% off a bottle of wine.

Anyway, we picked up 4 bottles while there. On Sunday we tasted a bottle from Ameztoi Vineyards in Spain. I'm not quite sure what it is, it says Cosecha 2005. And the importer says the grapes are 90% Hondarribi Zuri and 10% Hondarribi Beltza. But I don't know what those are.

Moving on. The sales associate at Arrowine told me it is akin to a Vihno Verde which I blogged about a little while ago. He also seemed surprised with my evaluation of the Vihno Verde I had tried, as they carry the same brand.

So this bottle was slightly fizzy. I was wary after my last experience, but this was really tasty! It was a bit like a fizzy riesling minus the petrol scent. It had a lot of citrus, was light and clean and very easy to drink.

$14.99, 14% alcohol by volume and one of those plastic corks (shudder).

We'll buy this again as I like lighter wines for a weekday.

A Bottle of Red

Leftover turkey and sides, which gives me another chance to try pairing wine with the turkey. And yet again, I'm led to the conclusion that there's just no great wine that will pair well with it all. Oh well, it gives me yet another excuse to try more wines!

Sunday night's was a 2003 Alexander Valley Vineyards Sangiovese. We picked this bottle up at Alexander Valley Vineyards this summer for $20. We had a great time at the vineyard. We were the only people there and our server was great. He spent a lot of time chatting with us and even gave us a nifty corkscrew when he found out we were on our honeymoon. Came in handy when we got to LA and really needed a bottle of wine!

Back to the wine. It had a lot of strawberry jam on the nose and more strawberries in the taste. Very full in the mouth. A bit unfinished at the end. It will definetly improve with age. I'd keep it around for a few more years to let it round out. The finish smoothed as it aired out and I was reminded once again that I really need to make more use of the decanters we got as wedding presents.

Do you feel wine guilt at vineyards?

November 27, 2006
And by that, I mean, do you feel the need to buy a bottle at each vineyard you visit? I do. Even if I don't really like the wines, I try to find one I find palatable to buy. Otherwise, I would just feel bad, like I wasted their time by not buying anything.

Made with Wine

November 26, 2006
Oh how delicious. We picked up a bottle of Caramel Chardonnay Sauce at Alderbrook Vineyards. I served it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, oddly enough, with pretzel sticks. The really thin little pretzel sticks. The salt of the pretzel is a great contrast to the very sweet sauce. You can actually taste the chardonnay in the sauce and it is just fabulous. A bottle was $18.95 minus our club discount.

I loved visiting Alderbrook. We were there at the very end of the day and the wine-maker happened to be behind the counter so we got to pepper him with questions about his wine. I loved how big and open their tasting room was, as it offers a very large selection of wine merchandise and food products. I would really like to return some day when we have more time to spend there and perhaps enjoy a light lunch on their porch.

4 Pinots all in a row

Last night we went to the Aunt and Uncle's place for some pizza and football. My husband's uncle brought out pinot after pinot for us to try.

1.) First up was a 2004 Argyle Reserve from the Willamette Valley. My notes on this one say cherries, balanced, smooth, hint of tobacco, could probably age and have a much fuller flavor. Very light in color for a pinot noir, I almost thought it might be a slightly dark rose when it was poured.

2.) Next we had an Orogeny 2003 Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Now I know I said I wouldn't be picking out dirt flavors in my wine. I lied. I got a big Earthy, dirt flavor throughout this wine. Raisins, currants and a hint of cherry. There was also a sour scent on the nose, I still can't place what it is, it's been driving me nuts since it was poured into my glass last night.

3.) Third was a Belles Soeurs 2000 "The Wild Thing" Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. My notes say excellent, smooth, perfect balance, lots of cherry, full in mouth, currants. May I please have more? I gather only 625 cases were made of this and it might be at its perfect drinking time now. The website says between 2003-2007 would be best for this bottle. I want to buy it all and drink it now.

4.) Finally, was a 2005 Saintsbury Carneros Garnet Pinot Noir. Sweet meats, soda, like a Coke. Flat. No flavor really, an odd finish. Perhaps the bottle wasn't good? This is supposed to be their finest pinot, but I wasn't impressed.

Overall, my favorite was #3, then #1, then #2, then 4. Uncle Bruce said 3, 2, 1, 4, my husband said 3, 4, 1, 2, Aunt Terry said 3, 1, 2, 4 and Ella(sister in law) said 2, 1, 3, 4.

And please, does anyone want to find some bottles of #3 for me? Please?

A duet of reds

Friday evening found us going with my husband's brother and our sister in law to the Melting Pot for a fondue feast (just what we needed after Thanksgiving was to expand our belts a little more, right?). Cheese fondue, then meat fondue and finally chocolate fondue for dessert. It presented another conundrum, what to drink with such a mixture? The Melting Pot offers a surprisingly extensive wine list, with prices up over $200 for a bottle. Those were not to be in our price range for the evening. Our sister in law was inclined to want a red that night so I concentrated on those.

I chose a 2005 Trinity Oaks California Pinot Noir. It's produced by Trinchero Family Estates in Napa. $30 on the menu, cork closure, but our waitress had a terrible time getting the cork out. I found it online for $9.00, so a $21 mark-up, not terrible for a restaurant I suppose. I certainly wasn't going to pay $45 for a Chateau St. Michelle Riesling which I know I can get for $13 at the store.

Back to the wine. I wasn't impressed. It was very thin in the mouth to start. It tasted of cherries and raspberries. I put it aside for a bit and let it open and air. It tasted better toward the end of the meal, a little fuller, but still a very thin wine. But what could I expect for the price?

We came home and opened a 2004 Quivira Steelhead Red Dry Creek Valley Blended Red Wine. 14.2% alcohol by volume, cork closure, cost us $15 after our club discount. I think I read somewhere that this wine supports the restoration of trout to the creek at Quivira. This wine was spicy, but well balanced and easy to drink. Tart berry flavors, and a lot of spice. I think this would go well with an Italian dish that had some sausage in it.

What do you serve with this:

I believe that is the question that many a wine lover (or blogger) has been asking him or herself over the past few weeks. This was the plate of food that was served to everyone at my house. Sweet potatoes with marshmellows, candied carrots, mashed potatoes with cheese, turkey, etc. Is there really a perfect wine to serve with this disharmonious collection of food that somehow all tastes good together?

I think the answer I have arrived at is that no, there is no perfect wine to serve. But that's okay. Since nothing will go fantastically well, why not just serve what you like and add it into the mix of all the other random foods put together on a plate?

With that in mind, 4 bottles fell at our house on Thanksgiving. I was little off in my predictions. I thought we would drink 2 white, a red and a dessert. It ended up being 2 white, a dessert and a Champagne. As noted before, we let our guests choose off our pre-prepared list. My husband's brother and his wife chose the first bottle, a 2005 Ferrari-Carano Sauvignon Blanc. My brother in law said it was because it had Ferrari in the name. Everyone seemed to like it, though I think most were more concerned with tasting all the food at the table than with the wine! It's a slightly sweet sauvignon blanc with a good bit of citrus rounding out the flavor. I remember really enjoying this the day we tasted it and we do have another bottle hanging around for later. Cork closure, $15.

Next we moved on to a dessert wine, which was the choice my husband's Aunt and Uncle. Being slightly wary of the VA dessert wines on the list, they chose a 2005 Bella Late Harvest Zinfandel. This was also a cork closure and cost $20.50. At 15% residual sugar, I expected this to be a very sweet wine, but it really reminded of a very young port. I thought it had a great finish, a lot of blackberry flavor and I probably should have served it with an assortment of chocolate, but, chocolate would not seem the dessert of choice for Thanksgiving.

Up third for the evening was a bottle of Preston Vineyards 2005 Dry Creek Valley Viognier. Cork closure, $22 after a case discount. If you ever have a chance, try Preston's olive oils. They are superb and I only wish we had taken home a few bottles. This was a good choice for a wine to drink as we did, sitting around playing Trivial Pursuit. It was light and easy to drink, but surprisingly full in the mouth and very smooth going down. It had a bit of spice that I can't place and maybe a hint of tropical fruit. This was my choice as I realized we were hunkering for a long battle of the wits.

Finally, to finish the evening, we opened the bottle of champagne that our Aunt and Uncle were so kind to bring. It was a G.H. Mumm & Cie. Cordon Rouge Brut. I gather it runs around $37 for the bottle and sadly the cork was thrown away before I could see what year it was. I thought this was a very tasty bottle and a great way to finish our evening. I tasted a lot of apple, and thought it was slightly sweet for a brut champagne. A good finish, with just a bit of yeasty undertone. I'd definetly get this bottle again.

And then there were 8

Seven of these were from our collection and were consumed between Wednesday and now. The Champagne was a gift from my husband's Aunt and Uncle who came to our house for Thanksgiving.

Let's start with Wednesday evening.

Out of this collection, far and away my favorite was the Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up for $25 while visiting Fritz Winery. Fritz was great, we joined their club and got to meet several members of the Fritz family who served our wine that day and wandered in and out while we were there for our tasting.

Of course, we didn't really do this wine justice as we drank it while eating a Pizza Hut delivery and waiting for the call that my husband's brother and our sister in law had arrived, but nonetheless, it was fabulous. It had a lot of big fruit, cherries and blackberries and I also got a hint of tobacco. It was smooth and big and easy to drink. I have two more bottles that I will keep in our collection as I expect this will just get better with age.

The next wine of the evening was a De La Montanya Felta Creek Vineyards 2005 Summer White. Even my sister in law, who is not a big fan of white wine, liked this one. I wrote on my note pad that this was crisp, quite acidic and tasted like pears. I also jotted down that it probably would have done well with Thanksgiving as it could have easily cut through all the creamy buttery flavors.

Finally, we moved on to a Columbia Winery Spirit of Washington Dinner Train 2004 Riesling. Columbia Winery is in Washington State and we did pick up this bottle when our Dinner Train stopped at the winery. For $7.00 it was quite a bargain. A nice sweet riesling, very easy to drink and a good way to finish the evening.

Fountains of WIne

November 25, 2006

At last count, since Wednesday afternoon, we have consumed 9 bottles of wine. Phew. I haven't had a chance to post about any of them yet, but I have my notes all assembled and ready to go. Our company leaves tonight, so hopefully tomorrow I will get the time to write about everything we drank this week (which will probably be added to tonight!).

Thanksgiving went incredibly well. My first bird came out perfectly and I managed to get all the dishes prepared and out of the oven at the right time. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I ignored my friends who encouraged me to make a bad meal in order to escape from further Thanksgiving responsibilities. And I was really pleased with how everything tasted and turned out. The homemade cranberry sauce was a big hit as was the homemade ice cream.

We're off to lunch with our company now, so more later on the massive amount of wine we drank.

How do you drink wine?

November 22, 2006
Traditionally, my husband and I drank wine as many people would drink a beer: basically, any time we wanted an alcoholic beverage we'd drink a glass of wine. I've gathered that many people carefully pair their food and wine, and while I've been trying to do that more frequently, I still find the we just break out a bottle while we're sitting around watching a movie and drink it without any accompaniment. And really, it never so much bothered me if the wine didn't fit with the meal, so long as the wine was good. I've always been of the opinion that a good wine can make up for a bad dinner.

So how do you drink your wine? With your dinner? As an everyday beverage? With chocolates or cheese? I'm genuinely curious.

Wine, how I love thee

I am in love with a new bottle of wine. It came in our De La Montanya shipment. It is a 2005 De La Montanya Estate Vineyards Chardonnay. Thankfully, 3 bottles came, as I will be keeping the other two for a few more years.

Perfection! Just a slight oaky scent, with a very little touch of butter on the nose, with lots of citrus undertones. So smooth and full in the mouth and the taste lingered. Yum! Just a hint of oak in the taste, green apples, peaches, a little citrus and a bit of spice on the end. I can still taste it today.

The 2004 was $30 a bottle, so I would assume this is around the same price, but I can't find a listing for it on the website.

I have to see if I can talk my husband into reordering some of this so that I can have more than 2 bottles to taste over the years.

Tasting VA Wines

November 20, 2006
Summer White from Lost Creek Vineyards, which we picked up on our excursion to Leesburg.

I don't remember this wine tasting the way it does now when we were sampling. It's an apple wine, with I believe 20% apple wine.

It smells like flowers and decomposing grass. And tastes a lot like a very sweet hard cider, with a lot of overripe apple taste.

I guess we must have liked it that day, but I wasn't such a fan when we drank our bottle. Maybe it wasn't cold enough?

Tart n' Tangy

Leftovers again last night. I'm still not feeling so great, so I haven't been cooking. Thankfully there were lots of leftovers from last week.

Anyway. The wine for last night was a 2005 Felta Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc from De La Montanya. And the title says it all. This wine was tart and tangy. Crisp, with lots of citrus on the nose (continuing in the theme of Weekend 'o Citrus).

I'm offering this wine as an option for Thanksgiving and I'm glad I tasted it again. I still think it's a good bottle, but I think it will do really well with Thanksgiving dinner. It's so crisp and acidic that I think it will be a good match with all the creamy potatoes, yams, casseroles, etc. It should be a great palate cleanser. We shall see if anyone selects this as one of the wines for the meal. Pretty good deal for the price.

Thanksgiving Wine Menu

November 19, 2006
Clearly much more important than what is actually on the food menu, right?

Since we have so many bottles from our trip, and the collection is a bit eclectic, I thought I would give our guests a choice of wines. I'm preparing the whole Thanksgiving feast this year and it is my first time making a turkey. Hopefully if our guests get into the wine a bit they will be sufficiently tipsy by the time I put out the bird in case it doesn't come out as planned...

I know not all of these are traditional matches with turkey, but I'm going to print up a little menu with some tasting notes and let the guests select the bottles. It's me, my husband, his brother and our sister-in-law and my husband's aunt and uncle.

White Wine Choices:
De La Montanya 2005 Felta Creek Sauvignon Blanc $11
De La Montanya 2005 Sonoma Coast Fume Blanc $16
Hop Kiln 2005 Chardonnay $16.50
Preston Vineyards 2005 Viognier $22
Roshambo 2004 Chardonnay $15
Ferrari Carano 2005 Sauvignon Blanc $15

Red Wine Choices
Hop Kiln 2004 Old Windmill Zinfandel $20
Wilson Winery 2004 Estate Zinfandel $22
Alexander Valley Vineyards 2003 Estate Sangiovese $20
Tarara 2005 Pinot Noir $22 (This is from our visiting Virginia vineyards day-trip)
Quivira 2004 Steelhead Red $15
Roshambo 2004 Merlot $10

Dessert Wines
Bella Vineyards Late Harvest Zinfandel $20
Williamsburg Winery Late Harvest Vidal $24 (Picked this up a few years back when living in the burg)
Raspberry Infusion (From somewhere in Vermont, I can't put my finger on the name of the vineyard) $?? (We picked this up last fall while at a wedding of a cousin)
Fritz Late Harvest Zinfandel $27

Korbel Blanc de Noirs $9

So we shall see what we get through and I will report back on how I liked the match. I imagine that we'll probably drink 2 bottles of white, 1 red and a dessert wine over the course of the day.

Oh, and I'll probably be imbibing all day as I'm a touch nervous to be in charge of such a big holiday meal. ;)

Weekend o' Citrus

November 18, 2006
Apparently we were destined to drink wines that showed lots of citrus flavors this weekend! I'm feeling much better today, so onward with the wine tasting.

Tonight's dinner was leftover Chinese and I thought I'd give it another shot with pairing a white wine. The choice? Another from the 6 we bought from Unwined in our quest for everyday wines, also suggested by the helpful associate. Here, a West Brook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Screw-cap, 13% alcohol by volume and cost us $13.99. I gather it's a small family vineyard that wins many New Zealand wine awards, among others.

Grapefruit, lime, lemon. Mostly grapefruit upon sniffing it, but all kinds of citrus in the taste. Very crisp and a long, lingering finish in the mouth. Acidic. An excellent match with the Chinese. For the price, I loved it. Sadly, my husband poured himself the last glass and then said, oops, sorry honey.

VWV #2 (Visiting Virginia Vineyards)

On our recent venture to VA wine country, we also stopped at a vineyard named Hidden Brook This was our second stop of the day. I really loved the look of this vineyard. It reminds me of a log cabin or a hunting lodge. Inside, it was big and open, with a very large tasting bar. There were 2 or 3 other groups there at the same time, but it didn't feel crowded at all. We had intended on stopping here for lunch, but there were running low on their supply of cheese that day. Another time.

We purchased a few bottles here and drank one yesterday. While there, I was sad to learn that their dessert wine, which is made in an ice wine style, was sold out. Yesterday we drank a bottle of 2005 Vidal Blanc.

It smelled like pine. At first I thought it might be me, but my husband actually said it first. Pine. A touch odd for a Vidal Blanc. Honey, very sweet, maybe a hint of pear in the taste. Overall, very sweet. I think it must have a lot of residual sugar, though my huband threw out the bottle this morning before I could read the label again.

White Wine and Chinese Food

November 17, 2006
I'm not feeling at the top of my game today, so instead of breaking into an expensive bottle, we decided to continue into our stash of "quest for everyday wine" bottles. I also didn't feel like cooking so we ordered in some Chinese food from a local place we hadn't tried before. Very tasty food and we will order again (I love free delivery).

The wine was a 2005 Vinum Cellars Chard-No-Way Chenin Blanc from Wilson Vineyards. Clarksburg, CA. Another screw-cap, but thankfully easier to open than the last two. 13% alcohol by volume and cost us $11.99 at Unwined.

Holy lime Batman! I taste tons of lime and the nose of the wine on being poured knocked me back with the citrus. A very dry Chenin Blanc, with a very acidic finish. But lime all the way. Interesting choice with the Chinese, I'd probably stick with a white, but probably not this one the next time we had Chinese, the match wasn't quite right.

It was easy to drink and for $11.99 I think I'll try another bottle when I'm feeling better and maybe I'll get something other than lime, but then again, my husband agrees with me on the lime/citrusy assessment, but says he thinks he might taste a hint of green apple as well.

We made the club!

I got the best kind of surprise in the mail today. Unexpected wine!! We signed up for the De La Montanya mailing list while in the Sonoma area. Sadly, at the time, the wine club was completely full, as it is limited to 1,000 members due to the fact that De La Montanya only makes around 3,500 cases of wine a year. However, the very nice and helpful associate told us that if we put our names on the mailing list we could be on the waiting list for the club. They wouldn't actually inform us when or if we were made members, wine would just arrive at our door. And today it did and I'm very happy!

The wines at De La Montanya were my favorite that I tasted on our whole vaction. I loved everything about this winery. The grounds are gorgeous, wines are fantastic and the people were so friendly. So in addition to being very excited about being in the club and being kept in supply of these wines, I now have 6 more wonderful wines to enjoy in the near future.

Visiting Virginia Vineyards

November 16, 2006

We ventured into Northern Virginia wine country last weekend and stopped at 4 vineyards in the Leesburg area. Our third stop of the day was Lost Creek Vineyards.

We tasted 5 wines here. They were sold out of several others already, which was disappointing, I wanted to taste their Spring Time wine which I have heard good things about. Perhaps next vintage.

Lost Creek has a large tasting bar, which was great considering the crowd that arrived after us. We decided to stop for a light lunch while visiting and the staff was very accomodating. They make bread on site, so we had hot fresh bread, cheddar cheese and a summer sausage with a glass of Rose each. The staff brought us out two carving boards, napkins and a knife and delivered our bread to our little table. Very nice. We enjoyed our visit and this should be a great place to visit in the summer, the terrace looked inviting.

They charge a tasting fee, but it is refunded with a bottle purchase. We took home a bottle of the Rose and drank it tonight. I paired it with pasta and tomato sauce I made this weekend. A rose wouldn't normally be my choice for tomato sauce, but, it was chilled, so why not?

The pasta sauce actually helped this wine by giving it a bit of a tart finish. My first sip was before I ate and I smelled candied fruit. I tasted very sweet raspberries and overripe strawberries. Very very sweet. After the sauce, the finish was a little tart and was easier for me to drink. Not a bad wine, but a little too sweet for me. My husband likes it a lot.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #28

November 15, 2006
I've been reading about it for a few months and I think I will participate this month since it will be the first WBW since I started my blog. The full announcement for details is over at the Culinary Fool who is hosting this month. The theme is sparklers, so I will have to peruse my collection to find something suitable or else venture out for something new.

I think I'll try to find something under $20 since I'm sure that others are just as budget conscious as I am around the holidays.

2004 Nelson Family Cabernet Sauvignon

Paired with tonight's dinner was this 2004 Nelson Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. It is at 14.7% alcohol by volume with a cork closure. Cost: $18. We picked this bottle up when we visited Nelson Family Vineyards while on our honeymoon.

For dinner I made a parmesean, bread crumb, herb and honey dijon encrusted rack of lamb and a butternut squash soup topped with parmesean and rosemary. I figured a red would be my best bet for the lamb, but was a little unsure of what kind of a red. I didn't want to go too light on the flavor because I think of lamb as a heartier meat, but not so much so that I would go with a zinfandel. So I chose this cabernet sauvignon. I wasn't pleased with the match, so I am on the hunt for a different red for next time.

The wine itself had a lot of potential, but the food combo just didn't do anything for either the meal or the wine. When I first sniffed this wine, I got a lot of berry flavor, mostly blackberry. The first sip showed me that I probably should have decanted this wine, it had a lot of alcohol flavor. I let it sit for a while and the next taste didn't show any of the alcohol. Instead, I got the berry flavor, plus a little wood, some currant and later on, a hint of cherry. It's a very full wine for a cabernet sauvignon, but now that I'm into the second glass and it's aired out some more, I'm really enjoying the fruit flavors. They aren't overwhelming and seem well balanced with the wood and now a bit of chocolate that I'm getting. I think this would have gone well with the eye of the round roast I made the other night.

If you get a bottle of this, I would keep it around for a few years. I have written down that it would be good now until 2009 and I wish I had kept it around for a while longer.

Oh, and if you get out to Sonoma, stop by Nelson. We were the only visitors at the time and serving us wine was Chris Nelson. It was great, we stayed for quite a while, played with the vineyard dogs and tasted some really great wines, especially the Orange Muscat which is sadly sold out (we have one bottle left!). Great small family operation.

Tonight's dinner and wine!

November 13, 2006

The dinner was a lemon-herb chicken sauteed in fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil that we got at Hop Kiln Winery and I am sad to say is now an empty bottle, and fresh rosemary. Green beans and biscuits with honey (yes, Pillsbury, I can't do everything yet!).

I normally think of white when I make poultry. Though I have heard the pinot noir is excellent for turkey and I will be offering a bottle on my Thanksgiving menu (more on T-day choices later). I decided to go with my first thought and pick a white. Since it was a really light sauce on the chicken and lemony, I decided a riesling would be a fair match.

This riesling came from our search for everyday wine. It's a 2005 Matheus Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett. German if you couldn't tell. Most of what I can find about this wine online is written in German, which isn't much help to me. We paid $14.99 for this bottle, but I found it for $12.95 here

Screw-cap closure, 10.5% alcohol by volume. A nice light wine for a nice light meal. However, the screw-cap was nearly impossible to open. We had to use a knife to cut around it in order to remove it. I smelled mostly honey flavors when I poured this bottle. Tasted like honey as well, with just a slight citrus/acidic note. It paired excellently with the lemon chicken and was very tasty to finish up after dinner.

Well done to the sales people at Unwined for selecting this for us. At the price and with these flavors, which my husband really loved, it will make a regular appearance at our table. Also, the low alcohol content makes this perfect in my opinion for a weekday wine....I can enjoy it and not worry about feeling any ill-effects.

Our quest for everyday wines

We bought a lot of wine while in the Sonoma area this summer. And by a lot I mean around 200 bottles. Now, not only has the storage of such a quantity been a challenge given that we live in an apartment, but many of the bottles cost more than we like to drink as a regular weekday wine. If we actually lived in Sonoma and didn't have to ship, it might be an option to drink more of it regularly. So we are currently searrching and tasting to find more affordable options in all categories to drink with dinner most nights.

Our search led us to Unwined a local wine shop I read about on Virginia Vine Spot

We picked up 6 bottles and have tasted our way through 3 so far. The first two weren't worth mentioning, except for the point of interest that one was a Vihno Verde from Portugal. I had never seen anything like it before and had to try it. For $7.99, it was worth it just for the experience. Vihno verde literally means green wine, but this bottle was completely clear in color. I gather that it's generally a sparkling wine, but I would say it's a lot less fizzy than any other sparkling wine I've ever had. Ours was Gatao Vihno Verde. I can't say I was disappointed since I didn't know what to expect, but this was an almost flavorless, slightly fizzy (think sparkling table water), lemony gingerale type of drink. I wouldn't rush to buy it again, but might consider trying a different brand. If unique wines are your thing, give it a go for the novelty.

In the interest of not writing novels, I'll put my notes from tonight's wine in a new post.

Jumping in

November 12, 2006
Tonight we drank a bottle of 2004 Roshambo Taylor Vinyeard Zinfandel. This was our first bottle of this wine, though I think we have 2 more cellared. I suppose we probably tasted it on our actual visit to Roshambo though one cannot be so certain. We visited 26 vineyards in our 7 days in the Sonoma area. I did enjoy Roshambo while there. The atmosphere was entirely different from any other winery I have ever visited. Very modern tasting room, lots of young people, just a completely different vibe. We joined their wine club, and have received at least one, if not two, shipments from them so far.

Alright, back to the wine. I made an eye-of-the-round roast tonight with broccoli for myself and peas(yuck) for my husband and added a rice pilaf to finish out the meal. I'm still working on pairing food with wine, but thought a nice hearty red with the roast would work splendidly. And I was right! This wine is big and fruity to start, with a little peppery kick at the end. I did notice that as we worked our way through the bottle, the pepper finish was less noticeable and the fruity flavors (tastes a little like cherries to me) made an even bigger appearance. Very full flavored with lots of body, running an alcohol content of 15.4%, definetly not for a lighter meal! It probably could have stayed in our cellar for a little while longer. I will keep the other bottle hanging around. This cost us $28 minus the club discount. A great wine, but a little steep of a price tag to be an everyday wine for us. I'll enjoy taking the next bottle out of the cellar.

Voila! A new wine blog.

Welcome to my wine blog! I've recently discovered the world of wine blogs and I have much enjoyed exploring them over the past few weeks. In fact, I was so inspired that I'm finally joining the blogging world myself and adding my thoughts about wine.

As my profile says, I dream of some day owning my own vineyard. I've been saying that long before I even appreciated wine, mainly because I grew weary of folks asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up, so I came up with, what I thought at the time was an outlandish answer, being that I was 16 and had spent my whole life living in New England. Apparently, I'm "grown-up" now, yet, despite graduating college and law school, I still tell people I want to own a vineyard. So my dream has grown with me.

My love affair with wine began over a bottle of Schmitt-Sohne Riesling, vintage 2000 somewhere in the summer of 2001. Watch this because it makes me laugh: Schmitt-Sohne Commercial and it's apropo for the season. And thus my long hot summer days of drinking this lovely riesling in the blue bottle began with my 4 best friends from college. Thanks to the great fortune of one of their mothers being a wine critic, we were kept in constant supply of very excellent wines, though I doubt we were savvy enough to realize it at the time. We still drink the Schmitt-Sohne, though nothing compares to those lazy days in the summer, when we thought college could never end. For around $7 a bottle, this is just a great wine, very light and crisp with lots of fruit flavors. My father was kind enough in my college years to procure it by the case for me, clearly quite bemused by my affinity for wine, given that he is mostly a beer and whiskey type of guy.

Enough waxing poetic about the good old days when my dad supplied my alcohol. Let's fast forward to now. I am recently married and I was lucky enough to meet my now husband before his own taste in libations was developed. Thus, he too is an avid wine-drinker. In fact, we spent the better part of our honeymoon in the Russian River Valley (probably not a great idea given what we spent while we were there,) but c'est la vie, we will be in plenty of good wine for a while to come.

I hope to use this blog to chronicle our wine tasting adventures and development of our knowledge. We drink 5-7 bottles a week, so I believe I will have plenty to write about. Bear with me, I'm learning and I won't pick out tar, dirt or other such descriptors for what I am tasting, but I will give my honest opinion about whether or not I like something and why.

And in a tribute to my Irish heritage, Slainte!