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Types With One Eye Shut

December 27, 2007
Well folks, in addition to the fact that I can't access the internet from my laptop at my parents' house, I, like the WineHiker last year, have been yet again struck with iritis. I'm walking around the house with two pairs of sunglasses and sitting in dark rooms when possible. I'm sure Russ can commiserate with me, it's not fun!

So what hope I had of fixing my laptop and blogging more this week seems to be fading, and I will hope to be back asap with both eyes in order.

I am drinking some good wine, and some okay wine, and some not so good wine, so I do have lots to report on, and am much looking forward to the bottle of 25th Anniversary Roederer Brut Sparkling wine that I have for New Year's Eve. Hopefully you've got something delicious stashed away to celebrate with as well!

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2007

I hope everyone that celebrates Christmas today has a wonderful holiday, with lots of good cheer (wine!)! Be safe, and may you and your families enjoy the season.
And I hope Santa was good to you!

More from the Rockpile

December 21, 2007
Many of the wines that came in my most recent Mauritson club shipment were two things: one, they were single vineyard Zinfandels, and two, they were labeled under the name Rockpile Winery, which is still made by Mauritson. They were also more expensive than previous Mauritson offerings, making me wonder if Mauritson is becoming a
"tiered" winery, offering their "special" selections under one name and keeping the more affordable line under another?

This botttle was a 2005 Rockpile Winery Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Mauritson Zinfandel. It cost $27, had a real cork closure and weighed in at 15.6% alcohol by volume. I served it with beef straganoff, cheddar biscuits, and broccoli. A little too big for the meal, serve it with a steak, bqq, or maybe a marinated pork loin.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberry, and blueberry. The wine was very dark and the berries jumped out of the glass. In the mouth there were berries, brown sugar, vanilla, pie flavors, and specifically blueberries that showed after some time in the glass. Overall the wine was a bit tannic, it could definitely use a bit more time to settle in the bottle, so I will keep the other bottle of this hanging around for another year or so. As always, I'll report back in then with an update on its condition!

Fire Roaring

December 20, 2007
I don't normally associate Riesling with a wine I would drink while sitting in front of the fireplace, but that is exactly what we did. At least I get a little credit for serving a hearty cheese fondue in front of said fire, which is why we needed a white wine!

Riesling is what started my love affair with wine, but I haven't seen a lot of it coming out of California. I gather the growing conditions aren't exactly ideal and it works better in colder climates. But there are some wineries who dabble with it in CA, and Nelson Family Vineyards is one.

We purchased this bottle of 2005 Nelson Family Vineyards Riesling for around $17 when we were visiting Sonoma in 2006. It started to occur to me the other night that I probably want to clear out the remaining few older white wines that are hanging around in my cellar. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 12.1% alcohol, with only 184 cases made.

On the nose the wine displayed honey, lemon, and orange blossoms. It smelled sweet. In the mouth I found honey with a bit of a citrus twinge, lemon, and orange blossoms. The wine was quite smooth and I'm glad we decided to haul it out of the basement, I'm not sure how much longer it would have been okay down there. This was a very different Riesling, probably, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was grown in CA. It did have the floral and citrus that I expect from a Riesling, but it wasn't the dry wine that I've come to expect from this grape.

Zin Zin Zin Petite Sirah

December 19, 2007
In this bottle of wine, I found what Petite Sirah is often used for: a blending grape in Zinfandel to add some depth and balance. The bottle was a 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfadel, and it was blended with 18% Petite Sirah. I picked this bottle up at Ridge for $33, it clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberries, oak, cherry syrup, and cedar. I believe that this bottle was my choice from Ridge, and I remember being really pleased with the nose on it then, as I am now. In the mouth, flavors of blackberry and pie dominated, with a bit of cherry thrown into the mix. Overall the wine was very fruity and fairly smooth, though it could probably hang out for another year or two, or maybe until this summer where it would make an excellent wine to have with bbq ribs.

mmmmm, ribs.......mmmmmmm, wine......

Hip and Young?

December 18, 2007
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a press sample.

Are you between the ages of about 21 (let's keep this legal folks!) and 35, give or take? Are you interested in wine, but find it hard to approach? Are you female? Do more lengthy tomes like the Oxford Companion to Wine appear to be way more information than you are ready to digest? Would you like a quick guide to the basics of wine that's geared toward you? Then this book was written for you.

Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine is a newly released book by Courtney Cochran. I fall clearly and squarely into the age group that this book is attempting to reach, mainly younger females. Its pop culture references such as rap stars drinking Cristal (or not so much anymore I guess) and calling parents "rents" flow through the book and its short, snappy titles appeal to those with not lengthy attention spans.

The chapters are brief, offering just a glimpse into each aspect of wine, tasting, hosting a party, shopping, etc. This is definitely a book for the beginner who wants a working knowledge of wine in order to feel comfortable asking a few questions in a restaurant or to confidently pick up a bottle or two at the local wine store. Overall, the 252 pages is a light and breezy easy read, taking me a flight to St. Louis to peruse.

If you are looking for an exhaustive resource for every nuance of the wine world, you aren't going to be happy with this book. However, if you want an easy to read, approachable book stuffed with tidbits about the wines you are most likely to encounter at parties and restaurants as a young female, then this is a book for you.

Dinosaur in a Bottle?

December 17, 2007
I purchased this monster of a wine from WineQ for $19.99 (free shipping!). The wine was a 2003 Deerfield Red Rex. The bottle had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume. It's a blend of everything and the kitchen sink, made up of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 4% Sangiovese, and 4% Malbec.

On the nose of the wine I found currants, raisins, spice, and oak. Overall the aroma was smoky, tinged with alcohol. This is a bottle that either needs to air for a bit, so decant, at least an hour before you want to drink or keep this one around for a few more years, I think it could benefit from some bottle aging.

In the mouth there was dark chocolate, blackberries, and spice. The wine was much fruitier than I expected based on the nose, I thought this would mostly be a spicy, leathery type of wine. Instead, after an hour or so, the flavors were fruity and not nearly what I had anticipated.

Next time, I would decant, and then serve it with food. Perhaps a lighter meat dish, a roasted chicken or maybe beef stroganoff. But definitely let this monster breathe before drinking!

Round-up: WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

December 14, 2007
Welcome to the round-up of WBW #40-Que Sirah Sirah. I’m very pleased to have been the hostess for this month’s iteration of WBW. I must of course give thanks to Lenn of Lenndevours for his creation of WBW over 3 years ago and for selecting my theme for this month.

I sent you off in search of a bottle of Petite Sirah or Durif, any bottle of your liking, as Petite Sirah is one of my favorite varietals. We had an amazing number of participants, especially given that this is such a busy time of year. I’d like to thank everyone for participating.

We had 54 blogs participate, including at least 14 who participated for the first time. Bloggers joined this WBW from Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. Even one blogger whose blog focuses exclusively on Petite Sirah joined us! Overall, 78 bottles were reviewed. Wines came from Israel, Mexico, Australia, Chile, and the US.

Onto the reviews!

Julian of Full Pour was the first participant this month, joining us with a 2000 Morris Durif from Australia. Sadly he wasn't entirely pleased with his choice, finding it to be a bit lacking in balanced flavors, but thought perhaps it might be better with food. His choice wasn't totally without merits though, head on over to Full Pour for Julian's full review.

Over at Enobytes, Pamela participated in WBW for the very first time. She chose the 2005 "39 Degrees" Lake County Petite Sirah from Cecchettti Wine Company. Pamela was also disappointed with her choice, finding it to have a pleasant nose, but no follow through on the palate. Sorry Pamela, wish you had found one you loved! Visit Enobytes for her review.

Another first time participant, Joe of 1 Wine Dude, was our first PS success. Joe found a 2003 Stag's Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah, and reviewed it for us, despite the fact that he doesn't normally review wines! He tells us to "take the Leap and pair this one with grilled bison." You can find his review over on 1 Wine Dude.

Professor Bainbridge of Professor Bainbridge on Food and Wine found time during finals to review a bottle of PS for this WBW. He chose a 1997 Behrens and Hitchcock Napa Valley Old Vines Petite Sirah. He said that this one could age for at least another ten years but his description makes it sound delicious right now. I only wish my law professors had been cool enough to have wine blogs. His full review is available at Professor Bainbridge on Food and Wine.

We were lucky enough to be joined by El Jefe and the staff of Twisted Oak Winery for WBW, with a review of not only a Twisted Oak 2005 Petite Sirah but also a Lucchesi 2004 Lodi Petite Sirah, and a Pinot Noir (I think someone got a little confused about the theme!). They did an impromptu blind tasting on Tuesday afternoon, where the staff correctly identified the Twisted Oak PS. Head on over to El Bloggo Torcido to read all the details of their tasting.

Next up is another Jeff, from Indiscriminate Ideas. After an exhaustive search (really, he went to 5 shops and even checked up on the options offered to him in CellarTracker before settling on a bottle!) he picked up his first ever bottle of PS, a 2003 Markham Vineyards Napa Valley Petite Sirah. He suggests PS as a perfect cold, snowy day wine, and was pleased with his bottle, even though he doesn't favor "big" reds. You can read his whole review over at Indiscriminate Ideas.

Goofy Girl, of, appropriately enough, the blog Goofy Girl, is another first time WBW participant. She got her husband in on the act and they reviewed the same wine as Pamela of Enobytes, a 2005 "39 Degrees" Petite Sirah. However, she had a totally different opinion of the wine, loving it, and pronouncing it a definite rebuy. Visit Goofy Girl for such descriptors as "a bite of strawberry shortcake while smelling a fine cigar...."

Vinquire jumped into their very first WBW with a bang, tasting the most Petite Sirahs of any blog! They reviewed 9 Petite Sirahs/Durifs, but sadly came to the conclusion that it "doesn't stand on its own as a classic," but they seemed to have a great time anyway! Out of their nine wines, the two favorites were the 2004 McDowell Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Durif and the 2004 Storrs Petite Sirah, also from Santa Cruz. Read their reviews of all 9 wines over at Vinquire.

We have another first time participant, Hank of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, who also brought out the big guns for his first WBW and tasted 3 Petite Sirahs! He chose the 2003 Ehrhardt Petite Sirah, the 2004 Earthquake Petite Sirah, and the 2005 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. His winner was clearly the Twisted Oak, with the Earthquake being the loser. Head on over to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (wow that's a mouthful) for his full review.

Sean of More is Less is also joining us for his very first WBW! He found a bottle of 2004 Carmen Reserve Petite Sirah from Chile, our first Chilean wine of this WBW. Now this sounds like my kind of PS...violets, dark chocolate, vanilla, dessert in a glass! Sean terms it worthy of a rebuy. You can read his review over on More is Less. I'm happy he could participate as I understand PS is lacking in availability up North in Canada!

And yet another first timer! Loweel, over at The PSychos' Path, a blog devoted entirely to Petite Sirah, joined this very appropriate for his blog, WBW. For this particular event he reviewed the 2004 Concannon Limited Release Petite Sirah, the 1999 Lorca Napa Valley Petite Sirah, and the same 2004 Earthquake Petite Sirah that Hunter Angler Gardener Cook reviewed, though with much different results. See his full reviews over at The PSychos' Path, his coreviewer's review of the 2004 Parducci "True Grit" Petite Sirah, and also make sure to check out his post on Menu for Hope prizes that involve PS!

Sensing a theme here yet, beyond the whole PS thing? Amy of West Coast Wine Country Adventures joins us for her very first WBW as well! It took her several bottles before she could find one she would like to recommend, but she persisted and came up with a most interestingly labeled and named wine. She drank the 2004 Waltzing Bear "Bud" Petite Sirah from French Camp Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Head on over to West Coast Wine Country for her review!

I believe Darby is yet another first time WBW participant, or at least, I don't see any evidence on Vinodiversity of past participation...In any case, Darby from Australia chose, appropriately enough, an Australian Durif. The bottle was a 2005 Vale Durif. Darby pronounces it "positively elegant" and "reminiscent of cool-climate Shiarz. Visit Vinodiversity for the full review and some pairing suggestions!

Sue of Sue Courtney's blog of Vinous Ramblings joined WBW after a forced 2 month hiatus due to her inability to find the previous two months' theme wines in New Zealand. She feared she would not be able to participate this month, but fell into a stroke of luck when a fellow blogger visiting NZ brought a Petite Sirah! Sue tasted the 2005 Four Vines "The Heretic" Petite Sirah from Paso Robles and seems to have absolutely loved it. See her full review over at Sue Courtney's blog of Vinous Ramblings.

Next up is David of the Winebaer. David dove into the depths of his own cellar and produced a long hidden bottle. He chose a bottle of the 2001 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah from Mendocino. Although he liked the wine, PS isn't his style of wine, and he didn't think he could see himself enjoying more than a glass at time, though he thought a large piece of red meat might help its cause! Read his review over at the Winebaer.

Another blogger, Dale of Drinks Are On Me, chose what's shaping up to be the most chosen bottle of this WBW. It must be the name! Dale also went with the 2005 "39 Degrees" Lake County Petite Sirah. Like Pamela of Enobytes, Dale was less than impressed with this PS. He paired it with a hamburger, and enjoyed his hamburger more than the wine, unfortunately. Visit Drinks Are On Me for his full review!

A second time WBW participant, Eddie of OeNo! Not Another Wine Blog...(great name by the way!) picked a bottle of the 2005 Rosenblum Cellars Petite Sirah Heritage Clones. I think I may have found a PS convert in Eddie, after an initial shock at finding pepper on the nose of a wine, he ultimately decided the blackberry and coffee flavors were delicious and the wine was a winner. Head on over to OeNo! Not Another Wine Blog... for his review!

Edward of Wino Sapien jumped in for this month's WBW with an Australian Durif. Edward's wine choices always sound lovely, and I wish I could find more of them here in the US! Although he finds PS too sweet in general, he was able to appreciate the bottle of 2002 Stanton and Killeen Durif he found. I love the description of the wine as a "sledgehammer." Read his full review over on Wino Sapien.

Michael of A Food and Wine Blog joins us for his first WBW! Michael is a rather local blogger to me, hailing from Baltimore, and I'm happy to have found his site through WBW! He chose a 2005 Vinum Cellars PETS Petite Sirah, which he found to be not only a good wine, but a good cause as some of the profits go to local animal shelters. A first in a PS description, he found buttered toast in his wine!. Visit A Food and Wine Blog to read his review.

Over at A Passionate Foodie, Richard went rummaging in his cellar and came back out with the 2003 Sean Thackrey Sirius Petite Sirah from Mendocino. Richard's pockets are a bit deeper than mine, clearly, the wine ran him $70!! He absolutely loved this bottle of wine and it sounds right up my alley as well. Head on over to A Passionate Foodie to read his review and his review of the 2000 Sean Thackrey Orion.

John of Anything Wine, who just switched his platform and came out with a snazzy new layout, is also a first time WBW participant. John drank a bottle of the 2005 Peltier Station Petite Sirah, that he picked up from a local shop after a tasting. It sounds like I've found yet another PS convert among John, clearly my evil plot is working. He very much enjoyed his PS and you can read his review over on Anything Wine.

Over at the Wine Scamp, Andrea tasted a bottle of the 2005 Peirano Estate Vineyards "Heritage Collection" Petite Sirah. And based on her drool worthy dinner that she paired it with, I certainly wouldn't mind being a guest for dinner at her house! Her wine choice was "all minty blueberry madness" and it seems to me to be a toss up between the wine and dinner for what sounds more delicious. Check out her review over on Wine Scamp.

Then there's me. I reviewed 4 Petite Sirahs/Durifs that I served at a blind tasting for our friends. It was supposed to be 5, but sadly one of the bottles was corked. Our favorites of the evening were the 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia and the 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah from Lodi. You can read my full post and see pictures of my dining room on my blog, Wannabe Wino.

Carol at Celebrate Wine also brought out the big guns for this WBW. She tasted 4 different Petite Sirahs. Carol chose the 2004 Foppiano Petite Sirah, the 2004 Concannon Limited Release Petite Sirah, the 2002 Barkan Petite Sirah, and the 2005 Huntington Petite Sirah. Phew, quite the line up! Overall her favorite by far was the Huntington, read all about her experience on Celebrate Wine.

Brooklynguy, the host of last month's WBW came out for this month as well, despite the fact that PS is not quite his thing! He chose the 2006 Fleur North Coast Petite Sirah. Although he prefers other wines, he was able to appreciate it, and has grudgingly agreed to try another with soul food! Read his full review over on Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog.

Over on McDuff's Food and Wine Trail, David chose a bottle of 2004 Trinitas Cellars "Old Vine" Petite Sirah from Lodi. David is another blogger who is not so big on Petite Sirah, but was willing to try it again for WBW. Sadly, the bottle didn't do anything to change his opinion on Petite Sirah but his bottle sounded pretty good to me! Check out his review over on McDuff's Food and Wine Trail.

Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 has excellent taste, and chose one of the bottles that I did, a 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. Dr. Debs and I often tend to like similar wines, I've noticed our Qs over at WineQ tend to be identical. And like me, she loved this wine, describing it as "a palate of plummy richness with notes of fig." Head on over to Good Wine Under $20 to read her full review.

Farley of Behind the Vines and Wine Outlook was delighted with the PS theme and did a blind tasting of two wines from her new gig over at Rosenblum Cellars. She chose the 2006 Rosenblum Cellars Heritage Clone Petite Sirah and a barrel sample of 2006 Rosenblum Cellars Patio Vineyard Petite Sirah. You'll have to read her blog at Behind the Vines to discover the results and learn about Rosenblum PS.

Our next review comes from Jill of Domaine547, where a 2003 Saracina Petite Sirah from Mendocino was her choice. She thought the wine was a bit lacking for the price tag, but definitely wouldn't say no to future vintages and other offerings from Saracina. Head on over to Domaine547 to read her full review.

I think Russ, the Winehiker, just might sweep this WBW for most dramatic, hilarious, and over the top post. Chandler Bing and wine? Who woulda thunk. Russ chose the 2004 EOS Reserve Petite Sirah, and the one tidbit I will share is "Oh. My. Gawd." Check out his highly entertaining review over on Winehiker Witiculture.

Andrew of Rouge and Blanc chose a 1998 Guenoc Petite Sirah from the North Coast. Not quite the oldest bottle making a WBW appearance, but almost! Andrew found this bottle to still be quite youthful, having stood the test of time, and in his analysis, probably not optimal storage conditions. Andrew also presents a nice history of PS. Visit Rouge and Blanc to read his full review.

Serge the Concierge, the French Guy from New Jersey, tasted a bottle of the 2005 Vinum Cellars PETS Petite Sirah, the same bottle as Michael of A Food and Wine Blog. Serge also appreciated the donation made to local shelters for the purchase of this wine. He found it to be a "good, decent wine" for the price. Head on over to Serge the Concierge for his review.

Jim Eastman over at Music & Wine rejoins WBW after a long hiatus and chose what sounds like an absolutely delicious bottle of PS. He picked the 2004 C G diArie Petite Sirah from Lodi. Jim notes that he would have loved to taste the wine after 90 minutes or even 2 or 3 hours, but it sounds like my house where wine simply doesn't last that long! Read his full review over on Music and Wine.

Derrick from An Obsession with Food found himself in the unusual position of getting in on a WBW this month before it was over. He chose a bottle of the 2004 Parducci "True Grit" Petite Sirah from Mendocino. Derrick found the wine to be lightweight and subtle, unusual for a Petite Sirah, but an excellent sounding bottle nonetheless. You can find his review over on An Obsession with Food.

Jack and Joanne of Fork and Bottle, who will host WBW next month, took this month's theme as an opportunity to test their interest in 2 bottles of PS. They chose the 2002 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Petite Sirah and the 2002 Carver Sutro Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah. Both seemed more impressed with the Switchback, but Jack wasn't blown away by either bottle. Read their full review over on Fork and Bottle, and make sure to watch for the January WBW announcement!

Andrew of Spittoon joined us from England, but sadly his first choice of an Australian Durif was not delivered on time. Luckily, he found another PS in a pinch, the 2005 L A Cetto Petite Sirah from Baja, Mexico. It rated fairly well on his site, and seems like an excellent value, looks to be just over $10 US? Head on over to Spittoon to read the full write-up.

Next up is Tim of Winecast. Tim is a fellow fan of PS and was pleased with this month's theme. He chose two bottles to review, the 2004 Foppiano Vineyards Petite Sirah from the Russian River Valley and the 2005 Peltier Station Winery Petite Sirah. Tim was a big fan of the Peltier and after reading several reviews now, I think I will have to pick some of it up myself. Check out his review of both wines over on Winecast.

Joe of Joe's Wine is another PS skeptic, having never tasted a bottle he liked. This WBW allowed him quite a few firsts, an Aussie Durif and a wine from Mexico, the second bottle of Mexican wine so far (and the same bottle as Andrew from Spittoon)! He chose the 2004 L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah from Baja, Mexico and the 2005 Deen de Bortoli Vat 1 Durif from Australia. I don't think I've made a total PS convert out of Joe, but both bottles scored well on his scale! Read his full review over on Joe's Wine.

Over on Vinewords, Cass chose the 2003 Beringer Single Vineyard Tuttle Ranch Petite Sirah that she received in her latest club shipment. Cass is another first time WBW participant and was not very familiar with PS, but very much enjoyed her choice. Head on over to Vinewords for her review.

Another first timer, Shea of Just Grapes (who is a law student, like I used to be, and I don't envy her!) joined us in her first month of blogging. Shea chose the 2003 Earthquake Petite Sirah from Lodi. She fell in love with PS on a trip to Napa and seems to have hunted all over Vancouver, BC for every available bottle (a city I love that we visited on our honeymoon!). Shea enjoyed this bottle, but found it a bit overpriced. Check our her full review on Just Grapes.

Diane over at Wine Lover's Journal chose a bottle of 2005 Courtney Benham Petite Sirah from Paso Robles. Her description makes me want to run out and buy this wine that she terms "BERRYLICIOUS." However, she does suggest serving it with something other than pork casserole. Visit Wine Lover's Journal for her review.

Well, Jeff over at Good Grape may win for strangest post title with "Even a Blind Squirrel....Wine Blogging Wednesday." In addition to his title, he reviewed two bottles for this WBW, the 2006 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah and the 2005 Jewel Petite Sirah, both from Lodi. For a good review of wine shopping and squirrels, visit Jeff at Good Grape.

(Yes, I'm starting to get punchy at about 40 some odd reviews in!)

Over on Wine Blogging Wednesday, Susan, posting as Sonoma33, shared a review of the 2004 Carver Sutro Petitie Sirah. Susan pronounces the bottle one of the best Petite Sirahs she has ever had and she can't wait to share a bottle with family and friends over Christmas. Head on over to Wine Blogging Wednesday for her full review.

Mike of Wicker Parker (love his slogan by the way, "Points on wine, without the points") chose a bottle of the 2005 Elizabeth Spencer Special Cuvee Petite Sirah from the North Coast. Mike also came out of his comfort zone to participate in WBW, and recommends this bottle to those of us who love PS, but it's just not for him. Read his thoughtful review over on Wicker Parker.

The Corkdork picked a bottle of the 2001 Lolonis "Orpheus" Petite Sirah that he received as a gift. Unfortunately, it did not live up to his expectations based on previous experiences with Lolonis Zinfandels and he can't recommend it to us. You can read his full review over on the Corkdork.

Tim over at Cheap Wine Ratings also chose the 2006 McManis Petite Sirah and loved it, giving it 90 points on his scale. Oddly enough, he's drawn a connection between WOW (World of Warcraft for those who aren't up on their massively multiplayer virtual worlds) and Petite Sirah, a first for me, I must admit! Head on over to Cheap Wine Ratings to find out what that connection is.

Alder from Vinography joined us this month with a review of the 2005 Storrs Winery Petite Sirah from the Santa Cruz Mountains. He gives a detailed description of the Santa Cruz AVA, an area I'm not that familiar with, so I was happy for the lesson. The wine earned between an 8.5 and a 9 on Alder's scale, visit Vinography to find out why.

James over at Second Leaf chose the 2005 Mount Aukum Winery Petite Sirah, in part based on a description of the previous vintage written by his local wine merchant. James has an excellent photo of his wine posted, I'd visit just for that, but the review will also draw you in. Find out James' opinion of the wine on Second Leaf.

Well then. I can't say tofurky and wine, um, sorry Petite Sirah, is ever a pairing I would make, but that's what Kathleen Lisson of Wine and Stories from the Vinyarrd chose with her Petite Sirah, a 2005 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah. She tells us it was an excellent match. You'll have to visit Wine and Stories from the Vineyard for the whole non-meaty scoop!

Erika of StrumErika chose the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah, the same wine we tried to drink. However, her's was great AND she managed to work her WBW participation into a first date. According to her, all was cool, which is great...maybe her first date will turn into a second! Head on over to StrumErika to read her account of the evening.

The Mad Wino, excellent pen name!, of My Wine Information, reviewed the 2003 Westend Estate 3 Bridges Durif. His descriptors include plums, blackberries, and vegemite? I can't say I know what vegemite is, so I make no judgment on whether that's a good or bad thing. Visit My Wine Information for the full scoop!

Grazza from the blog Tales of a Sommelier chose a bottle from deep in his cellar that he came across many moons ago. He chose the 1995 Ridge York Creek Petite Sirah, which is officially the oldest bottle consumed for this WBW. And how did this bottle taste after 12 years? You will have to visit Tales of a Sommelier to find out!

Our founder, Lenn of Lenndevours has joined us! Better late than never, and good thing blog posts are super easy to edit! Lenn chose the 2006 Fleur Petite Sirah from the North Coast. Apparently wine shops in his area don't really carry much PS (shame on them!) so he had to order this, and found it to be a fairly decent bottle, but won't be ordering any more. Check out his full review over on Lenndevours.

And finally I heard from the folks over at Classic Wines, more first time participants for this WBW! They reviewed the 2005 Rosenblum Heritage Clones Petite Sirah, the earlier vintage of the wine Farley from Behind the Vines chose. Sadly they weren't so thrilled with the bottle, expecting more given their experiences with Rosenblum's other offerings. Head on over to Classic Wines to see their review.

Whew. That was quite an experience as the hostess of WBW! I cannot believe the level of participation this month, and I am overwhelmed by the contributions! Thank you all for your reviews, I've very much enjoyed visiting old friends and checking out a great number of new blogs!

If I've missed you, please email me at and I will be happy to add your review. If you did not get an email response from me, I did not get your review.

WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

December 12, 2007
As the hostess of this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount's Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.

The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please.......after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you've got it, even hours out didn't really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I'm returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can't wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can't wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

Drinking Some Pinot Noir

December 11, 2007

Now, Pinot Noir is not a varietal you see a lot of over here at Wannabe Wino. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that it normally falls way outside the price range I like to spend on a bottle of wine. However, our club membership to Michel Schlumberger sends us two bottle of wine every other month for a fixed cost, no matter what's in the box. One month we got a bottle that retails for around $100! So with that in mind, club shipments are about the only way Pinot Noir lands on my doorstep.

The bottle was a 2005 Michel Schlumberger Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir. It clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and can be purchased from the winery for $32. My first bit of advice is to let this one breathe, it had a lot of alcohol on the nose and needed to air out. It took until after dinner for the wine to be ready to drink.

On the nose I found cedar, raspberry, roses, and cherry. After the alcohol dissipated, it was a very pretty nose. In the mouth I got flavors of cherry, raspberry, and flowers. I took a note that said the wine had a nice bite, a bit tangy on the palate. A good bottle of wine after it aired, and next time I'd pair it with some cedar planked salmon after letting it air for a while.

Last Reminder! WBW #40 Tomorrow!

Hope you've found your Petite Sirah!

Send me your link or your review if you don't have a blog tomorrow at! And I'm shocked by the early reviews, way to be on the ball wine bloggers!

Pretty Darn Tasty

December 10, 2007
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle from WineQ because I am a member of their Beta Club.

This bottle of 2005 Barreto Cellars Verdelho came several shipments ago from WineQ and I have been very delinquent in reviewing it. It hails from the Lodi appellation on the Central Coast of California. It had a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.7% alcohol by volume, and can be purchased from WineQ for $14.99.

On the nose I found citrus, tropical fruits, honeysuckle, and minerals. The nose was quite aromatic, you didn't have to get too close to your glass to smell this one (hence, I didn't end up with a nose full of wine this time!). In the mouth there were flavors of grapefruit, other citrus, peach, and tropical notes.

Overall the wine was tangy, very very crisp, acidic and a bit different than anything else I've had. I believe this is only my second Verdelho, so I'm still not sure quite what to expect from them, but I really like them. I think this would be a great choice for appetizers at all those upcoming holiday parties as the grapefruit flavors are quite strong and palate cleansing and would do well up against creamy dips and cheeses.

From the Village

December 7, 2007
Village Winery in VA, that is. I picked this bottle up at Village Winery on our tour this summer, it cost $17, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a fake cork, and I believe it is NV, or at least I can't find any vintage info on the bottle.

On the nose I found spice, smoke, leather, and raspberries. Oddly enough, I also smelled what I can only describe as fireworks after you've shot them off. In the mouth the wine was fruit, light and pleasant, showing raspberries and a bitter chocolate essence. Overall, a little tannic and a little too sweet to go with the pasta and fresh tomato sauce.

Lava Flows

December 6, 2007
The bottle for the evening was a 2003 Lava Cap American River Red. We purchased this bottle from WineQ for $11.99 with free shipping! It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. The wine is a blend of 46% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Sangiovese, and 7% Merlot, and hails from El Dorado County.

On the nose I found oak, spice, cedar, blackberries, and dark fruit. In the mouth there were black fruits, black currants, and a slight hint of blackberry. The wine was spicy and had an alcohol kick, but was great after it aired a bit.

My overall impressions were "woah" and this still needs a bit of time or to be decanted for a while before serving. We drank this on it's own, but I would suggest serving it with pasta or meatloaf!

Reminder: WBW #40 in 1 Week!

December 5, 2007

So get out there and find your Petite Sirah! You can find lots of resources over at PS I Love You as to who produces Petite Sirah.

Happy hunting of your beast, as Alder has named Petite Sirah!

Report back to me at on December 12 with the link to your entry or your tasting note if you don't have a blog.

Mauritson Again!

December 4, 2007
The bottle for the night was a 2005 Mauritson Westphal Vineyard Rockpile Zinfandel. I think we drink a lot of Zinfandel. This bottle came in my latest shipment from Mauritson, which we are working through at fairly quick pace, which is alarming, given that we won't see another shipment from them until next October. It had a real cork closure, cost us $27.60, and Matt tossed the bottle again before I could write down the alcohol content...perhaps that's why he looks a little sheepish in my picture!

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberries, dark fruit, and oak. The wine had a sort of sweet perfume about it, which is different from what I'm used to with Zinfandels, I sort of expect an overall spicy aroma. In the mouth the wine showed blackberries, black cherry, and a bit of oak. Overall, is was smooth and balanced in the mouth.

I served it with what is known around our house as "Liz's Mom's Chicken Casserole," a recipe I got in 2nd grade from a friend at the time whose name is Liz. By this point, the recipe has been passed around to many people now, all with that title on the recipe card. It's a yummy, fattening concoction of sour cream, cream of chicken soup, chicken breasts, Ritz Crackers, and butter....clearly not healthy, but so good on a cold winter night. I will be the first to admit that the wine choice was not great with this casserole. So we drank most of it after dinner. I'd pick a Viognier or a fuller bodied Chardonnay with this next time.

Overall, this was a tasty Zinfandel, but I though it was a bit simple for the price tag. I have another bottle in the basement that I will hang onto for a bit to see how it tastes down the road. I understand that single vineyard Zins tend to be more expensive, but I really prefer the Mauritson Grower's Reserve we had the other night that was significantly less expensive.
yummy, but $$ for a zin...even a single vineyard.

Spaniard Invades!

December 3, 2007
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle as a sample from WineQ because I am a Beta Club member.

This hefty bottle arrived at my doorstep via a WineQ delivery. Little was I to know what lay inside that box.....

....a giant red from Twisted Oak Winery in the form of a bottle of the 2005 Spaniard. A close up picture of the label and excellent depiction of the Twisted Oak for you:

The bottle clocked in at 14.6% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and can be purchased from WineQ for $44.99. It's a red blend of 64% Tempranillo, 21% Graciano, and 15% Garnacha. This is one not to miss for the lively PrincessBride-esq description on the label.

On the nose the wine showed blackberries, black currants, spice, your favorite leather couch, cloves, and something really dark and almost earthy that I can't quite place, kind of like walking through a cedar grove. In the mouth, there are very fresh blueberries, currants, blackberries, and baking spices. Overall, the wine was very smooth with a big mouthfeel. This is a very big wine. It goes down easy and is delicious.

I served the wine with ravioli and homemade tomato sauce and this was a pretty good match, though I am sure the lamb suggested on the label would be even more fabulous!

A Sight to See

December 2, 2007
I know this isn't a food blog, but sometimes I can't resist sharing what goes on in the Wannabe Wino kitchen. I think Matt wanted to compete, or at least show that he can do cool things too, with my delicious Thanksgiving meal...

so on the morning after Thanksgiving, he pulled out this.

And his drill (new drill bit that we sterilized for those who are concerned about that sort of thing!).

And he made a spectacle in the kitchen to impress our guests, serving them Ostrich Egg! He was inspired by "Battle Egg" on the Iron Chef and decided this was something we had to try. So he opened it and I cooked up a huge batch of scrambled eggs for our guests!

I suggest serving at your next brunch with Mimosas or perhaps a nice Moscato d'Asti.

Barn Blend

November 30, 2007
We finally drank our bottle of the 2006 Nelson Family Vineyards Barn Blend! This came in a club shipment in April, but I somehow neglected it. Matt and I were lucky enough to attend the barn blending party this year, you can see me playing mad winemaker in the picture below, but we unfortunately did not win. My love of Zinfandel led me to encourage my table to concoct a Zin heavy blend, while the two finalists were Cabernet Sauvignon heavy. As was the previous year's winner.

The 2006 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel, in order from greatest to least, though I either didn't record the exact percentages or they weren't available. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume and cost us $18.40.

On the nose I found currants, earth, leather, saddle room, spice, and cloves. And interesting mix and a complex nose that kept showing more as it aired. In the mouth the wine has mellowed from our tasting at the Barn Blend Party, but it still has it tannins. I found leather, berries, currants, cloves, and a hint of red raspberries. Overall the wine was very dark and I enjoyed it a lot now, it seems to have settled a bit and is coming into its own. A good value for a red blend!

Old Vines

November 29, 2007
I must admit, I'm never quite sure what "old vines" are. I know I've seen other bloggers debate this topic quite a bit. In this case the vines are all over 90 years old. (Sometimes I've seen "old vine" on 30 year old vines and that doesn't make me happy, 30 isn't old!)

Our wine for the evening was a 2004 Old Vine Seghesio Zinfandel. We picked this up on our visit to Seghesio in April, one of our stops along our Sonoma trip. The bottle cost us $33, a bit more than we normally spend, but I really liked this bottle of wine at the tasting. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.3% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found leather, raspberries, spice, and licorice.
In the mouth the wine showed raspberries and blackberries and just a touch of the licorice. Overall the wine was smooth and balanced, though slightly sharp on the finish. It's drinking fairly well now, not sure if it will smooth out any more.

We drank it on it's own, but my affinity for Zinfandel is to grill up a nice big steak. This one would have worked well with my steak and jam/wine reduction sauce.

Purple Beauty

November 28, 2007
The wine for the evening was a 2005 Quivira Mourvedre. You'll be noticing lots of new wines around here as the shipments are pouring in from my wine clubs after a long summer break. Hopefully come April I'll have a new selection of wineries for you as we are planning to head up to Calaveras County to visit El Jefe.

The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, came in a club shipment and cost around $24 (can't find the price on line, this is my best guess).

On the nose I found vanilla, leather, spice, pepper, and bramble fruit. Overall the nose was did not display much fruit. In the mouth I found licorice, blackberries, cherry pie, and what I think might have been eucalyptus, or in any case was a medicinal note. The wine was fruitier in the mouth than on the nose. I found it to be dark and earthy with a slightly bitter component. It was a bit tannic, so I think it could age. We have another bottle in the basement, so I'll try to hand onto that one for a while.

This wine was very different, unlike anything else I'd ever had. I really liked this bottle and would definitely seek it out again.

It's a Mauritson Month

November 27, 2007
And time to root around in my cellar to see what's ready for drinking!

In my last post about this wine, I said you should hold it for at least another year or so. Well, it's been 7 months and I just couldn't leave this one in the cellar anymore. We needed a less expensive bottle for drinking after dinner and this one fit the bill at $19.20. I believe this bottle came in a club shipment, though I honestly couldn't say for sure as we picked up a case at Mauritson on our very first trip over a year ago and have subsequently received 3 more shipments from them. Whatever the case, this bottle arrived before I started using CellarTracker. The wine was a 2003 Mauritson Grower's Reserve Zinfandel. It clocked in at 15.1% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

No alcohol on the nose this time. White pepper, blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, fresh blackberry on the nose. Definitely very prominent white pepper. More vanilla shows through as the wine airs. In the mouth, totally mellowed. Tannins are gone, smooth, very ready to drink. Fruit is there, but not overwhelming. Blackberry cobbler, vanilla, blueberries, creamy. Has turned into an excellent bottle of wine for the price point. I would definitely suggest drinking this now or fairly soon as I don't really see it getting much better.

Not Quite Summer

November 26, 2007

But I still love Sauvignon Blanc! And this one arrived in my latest shipment from Mauritson, whom I haven't had any new wines from in a year as they were kind enough to combine my shipments for me to help my wine budget! So I was very excited to try out some of the offerings from the past year.

The wine was a 2006 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc. It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost us $13.60.

On the nose I found figs, grapefruit, wet stone, grass, and mainly citrus. The nose was fairly reserved, but easier to detect after it had warmed up a bit. In the mouth I found peach, grapefruit, and minerals. The wine was acidic and crisp, but well rounded.

We drank this on it's own one night, but I would serve it with crab or perhaps some nice creamy cheeses as an appetizer!

Thanksgiving Recap

November 25, 2007
15 pounds of turkey (with all but a drumstick gone as of lunch today!)
10 pounds of potatoes
8 guests
6 bottles of wine
3 pounds of green beans
1 pounds of cranberries
1 package of burnt rolls (oops)
1 burn and 1 accidental grating of my thumb
=5 pounds heavier and one exhausted wine blogger.

Another Thanksgiving under my belt, my second, but my first in our new house!

Back to work and regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and didn't have to loosen their belts too much!

Gobble Gobble

November 21, 2007
I am in full prep for Thanksgiving. Hosting for Matt's family, 8 of us total. That's the most people I've ever cooked a meal for, so I'm a wee bit nervous!

I'm not big on the whole "here's my ultimate Thanksgiving pairings" post thing, but as an fyi, we are having an Austrian Riesling provided by Matt's Aunt and Uncle, two lovely Roses, one from domaine547 and the other from WineQ, and a raspberry Merlot from a local vineyard for dessert. I've also got a few bottles of Pinot Noir stuck off to the side in case anyone wants some red with dinner!

I wish you and your's a happy and safe Thanksgiving and I hope your turkeys cook perfectly! I'll likely be off the posting while my house is full of relatives, but I'll attempt to pop on.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday #40-Que Sirah Sirah

November 20, 2007
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, sends you off in search of what is arguably my favorite red wine varietal: Petite Sirah. So often confused with Syrah or Shiraz, it deserves it's own time to shine, and this is it.

Petite Sirah is lesser known by the name Durif. I have noticed, and actually picked one up, Durifs coming out of Australia recently, so they are out there, it just takes some hunting. I haven't found any from France yet, but maybe one of you will have better luck than me.

The assignment is simply that. Report back on any Petite Sirah that strikes your fancy.

Post your review on Wednesday, December 12 and send me an email at with a link to your review. If you don't have a blog, please send me your tasting notes and I will be happy to publish them here and include you in the round up.

I am thrilled that my theme suggestion was taken by our fearless leaders over at Wine Blogging Wednesday and am incredibly happy to be hosting this month. Many thanks to the creator of WBW, Lenn of Lenndevours and to last month's host, Brooklynguy for his excellent theme and write-up! Can't wait to read about all the delicious Petite Sirah everyone discovers!

Freshly Pressed: WBW #39 Round-Up

November 19, 2007
Y'all should mosey on over to BrooklynGuy's blog to read his excellent round-up of all the WBW #39-Silver Burgundy wines.

Despite crushing computer problems, he's got his round-up posted and it looks like lots of excellent wines were again tasted for us to seek out on upcoming wine shop visits, not to mention for me to pick up another bottle (or 6) of the wine I tasted!

Happy reading to all and stop by here tomorrow morning for the WBW #40 announcement!

Bubbly from the Folks

My parents were down visiting not too long ago and in their tradition of supporting my wine-drinking habit, showed up bearing a bottle of NV Lamiable Grand Cru Brut Champagne. We enjoyed this after dinner, and even my mom had a glass, and enjoyed it, which is quite unusual for her!

The nose of the wine displayed honey, apple, yeast and a hint of lemon. The yeast was the most prominent aroma and it carried through nicely to the mouth with a good biscuit aroma. I also found lemons and apples in the mouth.

Overall, the wine was dry and tart, with good bubbles (or bead for my friends who seem to like picking up wine terms from me!) We enjoyed this after our meal was over, and I could easily see how this would be a crowd pleaser. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and I believe can be purchased for around $50.

Spare Ribs and Cabernet Sauvignon

November 16, 2007
The wine was a 2004 Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine came in a club shipment, cost us $28 minus a club discount, clocked in at 14.2%, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found raisins, cherry, spices, and oak. I also noted some earthy undertones. In the mouth I found berries and a bit of cherry. The wine was tannic and didn't seem ready to drink. I'd hold onto this one if you have any.

I served this with BBQ spare ribs, corn, and rice pilaf when my folks were here visiting. I think the wine would have been a really good match with the dinner had I let it decant for a few hours or saved the bottle for a couple more years.

More Negroamara

November 15, 2007
Apparently I've either been spelling "Negromara" wrong or there are several ways to spell it since this one was spelled "Negroamara" though regardless of how this is spelled, the lack of information about this bottle on the internet is definitely immense.

The bottle was a 2005 Villa Mottura Negroamara from the Puglia region of Italy. I picked this bottle up at UnWined in Alexandria for $9.99. I know it had a real cork closure, but Matt tossed the bottle (again) before I could record the alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found raisins, currants, and raspberries. I also noted a peppery aroma and a smoky note similar to the Negroamara I drank for WBW-Go Native. In the mouth the wine was dark with fresh raspberries and a bit bitter, but not exactly bitter in the same way our last bottle of Negroamara was.

Overall the wine was smooth and dark and I thought I detected something slightly meaty about the wine. I like it and fro $9.99 it's definitely a good value.

WBW #39 Silver Burgundy

November 14, 2007
Neil of Brooklyn Guy's Wine and Food Blog is our host for this monthly installment of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the brainchild of Lenn of Lenndevours. The theme Neil has set for us this month is Silver Burgundy, by which he was referring to wines from Cote Chalonnaise or the Maconnais. Other than Chablis or Beaujolais, we had free reign to choose a wine. Neil gave the slight suggestion that great wines could be found for between $12-$25, so off I went to The Winery in Old Town Alexandria (my new favorite wine shop!) in search of a fitting bottle.

I found a bottle of 2005 Jean Manciat Macon Charnay White Burgundy Wine. Otherwise, the bottle proclaims Appellation Macon Charnay Controlee Franclieu. I'm not very good at reading these bottles, I rely on Marcus for that! The wine clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost me $15.99 at The Winery. I understand from the owner of The Winery (excellent lady with great wine suggestions every time we visit) that the wine is made from Chardonnay grapes. Which, after a quick search, I find that Neil actually drank this wine in May!

On the nose of the wine I found lemon, lemon rind, spice, minerals, and a slight tropical aroma, The wine smells very crisp and acidic and I looked forward to tasting it. In the mouth the wine was dry, acidic, and tart. I found lemons, minerals, wet stone, and a little bit of pineapple. Overall I though the wine was really well done.

This is my kind of chardonnay, it definitely didn't see any oak, so it fits back with WBW of past "Get Naked" theme from Lenn for WBW's 3rd birthday. I would definitely buy this bottle again, an excellent value for the price and a style of wine that is right up my alley!

Thanks very much to Neil for hosting and once again sending me outside of my norm of wine drinking window and getting me to try something new. I look forward to reading the round-up and hope Neil doesn't set the bar too high for when I host next month!

Barbera d'Asti, how I Love Thee

November 13, 2007
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle in a sample pack from Domaine547.

I have very recently fallen in love with Barbera. We've had several bottles in the last month and they have all been gorgeous. It's not a varietal I have a lot of experience with, but you can bet that I will be continuing to seek it out in the coming months. A nice, earthy red, with plenty of tasty fruit, it seems perfect of the pastas and stews we tend to eat in the winter. Jill of Domaine547 sent this bottle to me, not knowing (as I have yet to post those reviews) that this is quickly becoming a prized grape in our house!

The wine was a 2--5 Braida di Giacomo Bologna "Montebruna Barbera" d'Asti. It's made of 100% Barbera grapes and is actually fermented in stainless steel for 2 weeks before being aged in oak for a year. The wine clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and can be purchased from Domaine547 for $24.99.

On the nose, there was a little bit of sour funk that quickly blew off to reveal an excellent wine. Showing through were aromas of leather, black cherries, and a slightly earthy note. At this point, I finally tasted the wine and my first note was "omg yum." I found black cherry, which reminded me a bit of cherry Juicy Juice(which is still one of my favorite things, I am a kid at heart), but for adults. Plummy, with both red and black berries, the wine was smoky and had a lot of depth of flavor. This is one I would definitely buy at this price.

Thanks Domaine547, we really enjoyed this bottle!

Wannabe Wino Turns 1!

November 12, 2007
One Saturday morning, November 12, 2006 to be exact, I said to Matt "I think I'm going to start a wine blog. I've been reading all these great wine blogs, Vinography, Wine Waves, Good Wine Under $20, El Bloggo Torcido, and I think I can do it. We drink a really different selection of wines, I think I can add something to the conversation."

388 blog posts, about 20 vineyard visits, over 230 bottles of wine, and 365 days later I am amazingly still at it. I've made lots of friends through this blog and even had the opportunity to meet some of them, Farley, Ken, Leah, for starts, and still hope to catch up with many more on my travels.

What amazed me most was that people started reading (besides those who knew me before and whom I badgered into coming here, thanks Jenny, Kelli, Ebs, Cfimac, etc.) and then started linking to me (many thanks to my friend Sarah, Dr.Debs, Edward, David, Alex, and John who were among the very first to link to me) and left comments.

I've spent much time this year learning from my fellow wine bloggers whose preferences swing to wines outside my norm (Marcus, Neil, Joe to name a few), joining communities (WineQ, Wine Life Today, Domaine547 for starters), meeting new bloggers along the way (Russ, David McDuff, Deb, Nate, and Foodette have been new friends in recent months), and finding many VA wine bloggers who always have a local suggestion for me (John, Dezel, Allan, Wine With Dinner).

I'm looking forward to the second year of WannabeWino, to continued friendships, and to new ones yet to come. Thanks for reading!

Showing off my Wine Rack

November 11, 2007
So I'm a day late and a dollar short to this party, but I did notice that Lenn of Lenndevours had asked all the wine bloggers to show off how and where we keep our wine. Sadly, technical difficulties (of the camera and allergy related variety) have kept me away from the blog for the past few days.

A little late, but I present our basement racks where our wine is stored, and the staging area at our basement door where wine sits for a few days after it has arrived as I catalog it and Matt decides where there is room for it in the basement!

We also have a small wine fridge, but have yet to unpack it after our move. I should get on that fairly soon!

Berries in the Q

November 8, 2007
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle of wine from WineQ as a sample because I'm a member of their Beta Club.

The bottle was a 2004 Joseph Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley. It clocks in at 14.4%, had a real cork closure and can be purchased from WineQ for $39.99.

I've got two pictures of this bottle because I wanted to make sure you could see the very nifty drawing of a mountain lion on the label. Also very cool was the mountain lion head on the foil and again on the cork. However, when I went to read the back of the label, I must confess that I have no idea what a stone fruit is, and the bottle says the wine is characterized by fleshy stone fruit.

On the nose I found lots and lots of berries of all kinds. Blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries....I also got vanilla cream and some underlying hints of leather. In the mouth, more blueberries and blackberries, with black currants and vanilla.

I served this bottle with what I knew was not going to be a fantastic match (parmesan baked tilapia and cheese risotto), but it didn't so much matter as the wine needed much time to air/time to breathe before it was ready to drink. After about an hour in our glasses it was great and is very drinkable now, though I would guess that with some more time in the bottle this will be a fabulous bottle of wine.

No wine reveiw today

November 7, 2007
I= allergy attack stricken and can't muster the energy to do a write-up that would do justice to the bottle of wine.

Hopefully back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled programming.

Between 2 Seas

November 6, 2007
The wine was a 2006 Chateau Bonnet Entre_Deux-Mers Bordeaux. I picked this up for $11.99 at the Harris Teeter at the last minute as Matt was cooking dinner and needed an inexpensive white wine to put in the sauce. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc 50%, Semillon 40%, and Muscadelle 10%, the wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found lemon and other citrus. In the mouth more citrus and lemon. The wine was simple and refreshing, with a bit of a creamy mouthfeel. It was easy to drink, but there are better wines at this price point. Not something I would get again, but I wouldn't say no to it at a party.

Getting Things Shaking

November 4, 2007
This bottle of 2005 Earthquake Zin Zinfandel from Lodi came courtesy of my friend Lindsay as part of my birthday present earlier this year. With the temperatures finally settling into cold here (I miss fall, we seem to have gone straight from summer to winter....) it's time to break out the big reds. The wine had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found blackberries, raisins, black currants, other dark fruit, and spiced cedar. In the mouth there were blackberries, black currants, a bit of spice and some other dark fruits.

Overall the wine was fruity, big, and dark. Apparently I thought it was a REALLY big wine because I wrote and underlined BIG 3 or 4 times in my notes. I served the wine with ravioli, tomato sauce and fresh parmesan. Not a great match for the dinner, the acidity of the tomato sauce didn't do any justice to the wine.

A Bee on the Bottle

November 2, 2007
Another bottle from my first WineQ shipment of the season, this time a bottle of 2006 Esca Pinot Grigio. The wine hails from Sonoma, cost me $17.99 (free shipping!), and had a real cork closure. Again (becoming habit around here!) Matt tossed the bottle before I could record the alcohol content. You can get this wine here, from WineQ.

I really liked the label on this bottle with the cute little bee! I'll put one of Matt's "artistic" photos at the end for a hopefully better angle....

On the nose of the wine I found pear, flowers, sweet citrus, and honey. The wine was steel fermented and then aged in neutral oak barrels, but I didn't notice any oak on the nose. In the mouth there was lemon, other citrus, peach, and pear.

Overall the wine was crisp and light, though I think the oak added a nice body to the wine. A good value, I'd get this bottle again.

Still drinking Rose....

October 31, 2007
I'm tasting Roses for Thanksgiving this year! Last year at Thanksgiving I made printed wine menus and asked our guests to select from a few bottles for each course. No one seemed terribly interested in it, so this year I will just be setting up the wine myself and I am 99% convinced I am going with a Croze Rose from WineQ but I am still testing other because, well, I love Rose and this gives me a great excuse!

This bottle was a 2006 Chateau Grande Cassagne Rose from
Costieres de Nimes. I picked it up at UnWined in Alexandria, it cost me about $10, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose there were strawberries and limes. The citrus was very present in the aroma with sweeter berries making up the rest of the nose. In the mouth the wine tasted like raspberry jolly ranchers and liquid strawberry Jello with a nice lime hint that gave it a great acidic backbone.

Definitely a good value and one I'd look out for to drink for next summer!

Another Quickie

October 30, 2007
Just a short review today, for a not too complicated wine. The wine was a 2002 Loudon Valley Vineyard Red Table Wine. We picked this bottle up at the vineyard for $9, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

The wine was sweet with spices, cloves, cinnamon, and cherries on the nose. In the mouth the wine was sweet with raspberries and currants. It was very sweet. I think it needed to be very chilled, which is not something I usually say about red wines, but this was very sweet. I served it with linguine, homemade sauce, and parmasean cheese. Not a good match, the wine was too sweet for the food.

I like Mosiacs

October 29, 2007
And I definitely like Mosaic Chardonnay. We picked this bottle of 2004 Mosaic Chardonnay up at the winery on our first trip to Sonoma. It somehow got lost in the shuffle of multiple moves and reorgs, and thus escaped me until now. I believe the bottle cost us $16 and had a real cork closure. Matt tossed the bottle before I could record the acv.

On the nose I found pineapple, lemon, slight oak and butter, and spiced vanilla. In the mouth the wine was surprisingly crisp with citrus, white grapefruit, tart apple, and a butter note. Overall the wine was tangy and refreshing.

I don't think I tasted at Mosaic as I was our designated driver for our trip (and I believe we had already been to 6 vineyards by this stop so I didn't think even spitting was a good cal at this point), so I let Matt pick the wines from this stop...sometimes a dangerous proposition since he likes really sweet wines a lot and I do not. But he definitely gets an A for effort with this bottle given the price point! I think the other place where I left the decision totally up to him was Mauritson and there we ended up taking home over a case of wine and joining the club, also an excellent decision!

I served the wine with parmasean baked tilapia and fruit salad. Definitely a good match for the fish, the flavors paired nicely with the flaky white fish and tangy parmasean.

Bonus Blogging!

October 26, 2007
Usually on Fridays you just get my weekend round-up, but my reviews are piling up on me and I need to get them posted without overloading the blog with content. So since the round-up is short this week I thought I'd post a review too.

The wine was a Marimar 2004 Torres Family Vineyards Don Miguel Vineyards Pinot Noir. Whew, now that's a mouthful of a name for a wine. Unfiltered and hailing from the Russian River Valley, the wine clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and cost us (gasp!) $39 from a club shipment.

On the nose I found smokey leather, cherries, and raspberries. I described the aroma as fresh, strong fruit in my notes with an earthy hint and a medicinal note. In the mouth I found sour red cherries and raspberries. The wine was tart and tannic.

Overall, this a bottle that could certainly lay down for much more time before you drink it. If I had any more, I'd sock it away for at least 3-4 years, it should develop nicely. Alas, $39 for a bottle of wine plus shipping is way out of my everyday wine budget these days, so we won't be seeing another one of these. I also had to cancel my membership in this club as the prices kept rising and while I felt some of the wine were worth it, others were not, and I don't like the 50% or so success rate on wines that all cost over $30.

Weekend Round-Up

Short this week, only two local stores that I am aware of are hosting tastings.

Arrowine, Arlington VA:

Tonight, 5:30-7:30, Spanish Selections from The Henry Group.

Tomorrow, two tastings. 1-4, all wines from October's Spain special will be on the tasting bar and The Country Vintner will be pouring a selection of Italian wines.

Out of Site Wines, Vienna, VA:

Tonight: 5-8, dueling Chardonnay from Tolosa Vineyard in CA. Taste the oaked and unoaked versions.

Tomorrow: 1-4, 4 under $20 value wines from CA, WA, France and Spain.