Blogger Template by Blogcrowds

Weekend Round-Up

September 28, 2007
Lots going on in the Northern Virginia area this weekend! You'll probably find us out apple picking as it's that time of year, but be sure to check out some of these great tastings too!

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, tonight, from 5-8pm you will be able to sample 2 Australian wines, a Chardonnay and Shiraz/Grenache Mourvedre blend that sounds very interesting.

On Saturday from 1-4pm at Out of Site you will find "Autumn Weight Wines" poured by the County Vintner, including a Shiraz-Viognier, something I've been dying to try!

Head on over to Arrowine in Arlington tonight from 5:30-7:30 to find a tasting that is great for WBW! Value wines of Portugal poured by Dionysos Imports.

Find yourself at Arrowine tomorrow from 1-4 and Michael Downey selections will be pouring Italian wines.

At the Curious Grape in Shirlington tonight from 6-8pm you will be tasting "Earth and Vine American Wines" including a CA Sauvignon Blanc and a WA Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can stop by on Saturday for a tasting of fine chocolates as well!


Drinking Virginia Wines

September 27, 2007
The wine for the evening, served with my homemade pepperoni pizza, was a 2006 Hillsborough Serefina. We picked this bottle up at Hillsborough on our recent visit, it was my favorite Hillsborough offering that day.

The wine checked in at 13% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found strawberry jolly rancher and watermelon. The wine smelled a bit sweet on the nose. However, in the mouth the wine was tart and much drier than I expected it to be. It showed strawberry and watermelon jello in a very nice balance.

The wine paired fairly nicely with our pizza though I think I would love to drink it sitting on the porch on a hot summer day.

Touring Tuesday #2

September 25, 2007
Our second stop of the day found us at Doukenie Winery, formerly Windham Winery. Doukenie was our favorite stop of the day and we have already returned since our first visit. We were supposed to go back for a third visit for an event to meet their new winemaker, but unfortunately, the weather that was called for was terrible and there was no way we were heading out over an hour's drive with torrential rain on the way!

Doukenie looks like a friendly red barn as you drive up. The grounds are gorgeous, and if we hadn't had a few more stops we wanted to make that day we would have sat out by the pond for the afternoon and enjoyed the salad of the day and some of the cheeses that were for sale in the tasting room. When we arrived, we were the only guests in the tasting room, which gave us plenty of time to talk to the attendant, until the room filled up fast and furious about half-way through our tasting!

Overall, the wines at Doukenie were fantastic! The tasting menu was solid, and each offering was very good, I liked all the wines, a first for me at a VA winery. We liked it so much we took my brother in law and sister in law to visit about two weeks later, where our tasting was poured out on the porch on a gorgeous VA day by the brand new winemaker. He was great and really knew his stuff, you can tell he loves wine and I look forward to his first vintage at Doukenie.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc: $18. Light and crisp with lemon and orange zest. Barely a bit of oak from the neutral oak aging. My favorite of the day, we bought 3 bottles.

2006 Riesling: $17. I was surprised to see a Riesling in VA, a first for me I believe. Honey, tropical, mineral notes, slightly sweet. We took home 3 bottles.

2005 Chardonnay: $15. Slight butter, tastes like candy (maybe caramel?), with a slight tropical note. A little oaky.

Mandolin: $15. Flowers, red apples, sweet on the end of the palate. Matt's favorite of the day, we took home 4 bottles.

2005 Merlot: $18. Strawberry, light, good balance, very good for a VA red.

2005 Cabernet Franc: $19. Earthy, herbs, fruity, with jammy red fruit, slightly tannic.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: $23. Earthy spice, tobacco, raspberry, plum.

Hope's Raspberry Merlot: $21 for a small bottle. Just delish. Intense raspberry, tastes like fresh berries, amazing with dark chocolate. We bought 2 bottles.

If you are in the area, I would highly suggest a stop at Doukenie. I hope that we are able to visit many times in the future.

Lurking in the Cellar

September 24, 2007
(Okay, that sounds a bit ominous.)

I found this bottle of 2005 Fritz Chardonnay hiding in our basement when Matt and I were reorganizing the wine last weekend. A surprise to me, as I thought I had written up all the white wines in my collection.

The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and cost us $20 in a club shipment.

On the nose I found lemon, oak, butter, vanilla cream, and apple. In the mouth I found the wine to be buttery and oaky. Additionally, I got lemons, peach and more oak in the mouth. Overall, this was an oaky, buttery Chardonnay. It wasn't flabby or anything, but I was overwhelmed by the butter and oak. It's just NMS.

IHO Domaine 547

September 23, 2007

I noticed Domaine 547's post on Christmas/Holiday packaging for wine, and I know they were looking for ways to display multiple bottles in a gift basket minus the basket kind of way, but wanted to share this anyway. Last Christmas when I was looking for a gift bag for wine for friends at Christmas time, I came across this gem and just had to buy it.

BTW, apparently, I can't figure out how to get an image to appear in comments. Can you even do that??

Weekend Round-Up

September 21, 2007
At Arrowine in Arlington this weekend, you will find two events:

Friday Wine Down
Friday, September 21, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Francisco "Friday Fran" Astudillo of Elite Wines Imports will be here to present a selection of wines from around the world. Among the selections will be the new vintage of Torbreck's "Woodcutter's" Shiraz, the Parker favorite that has scored between 91 and 93 points in the Wine Advocate for four years running and has been called a "knock-out" and "one of the great values in the marketplace". Take advantage of special discounts during the tasting.

Saturday Tasting
Saturday, September 22, 1-4 pm

Tom Kiszka of Potomac Selections will be here with new wines from France. Try lots of new wines and new vintages including the great new vintage of Crozes Hermitage wines from Domaine des Hauts Chassis. These reds have earned raves in the Wine Spectator and they're only at Arrowine. Try lots of great new wines and load up on your favorites; we'll have special discounts on all the wines in the tasting!

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, two events will also be going down:

  • 2004 Rijckaert Macon-Montbellet - This Chardonnay has a lot of the characteristics you would expect from Burgundy: pronounced minerality, pleasing acidity and good barrel flavor integration. But Rijckaert has a style that is unmistakably unique and somewhat difficult to describe. The word that comes to mind is precision. But rather than reading our words, better that you come and taste it.
  • Bookwalter Lot No. 21. Having been exposed to a lot of great wines from Washington State over the summer, we were pleased to find yet another. Bookwalter fits the classic image of a cult winery - small production of finely made wines that are snapped up immediately upon release. This wine is a delicious multi-vintage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. We're told there is quite a celebration in Washington State when these wines are released; come join our celebration in Vienna as we introduce you to this wine. (We don't expect it to last long. We're told that only 40 cases come to VA and it sells out at wholesale in only a day or two each year.)

Cindy Yim, one of the owners of Elite Wines, has just returned from a week in northern Spain where she visited the producers whose wines Elite imports. In addition to their direct imports, Elite is our distributor for the imports of Aurelio Cabestrero's Grapes of Spain. That gives them one of the best portfolios of Spanish wines in VA. We've worked with Cindy to select four terrific Spanish wines to feature on the tasting bar this Saturday. Beyond her discussion of the wines, if you offer her a little encouragement surely she will tell you something about the people, their vineyards, their wineries, and even their cuisine.

That's it for this weekend folks, I'll let you know if I hear of anything else!

Hiking + Wine

September 20, 2007
Not at the same time, of course, but a day that involves hiking followed by wine has to be an excellent one in my opinion.

Now that Russ the Winehiker has returned from his long, and as of yet unexplained, absence, I believe it is high time that I got around to writing a review of his site!

Picture this: You are out in CA wine country doing the usual ho-hum visiting of tasting room after tasting room after tasting room. After the 20th or so visit, you have to think, there has to be more to do than just following the crowd from winery to winery. And then it dawns on you! Contact the Winehiker at California Wine Hikes to schedule a fabulous day of hiking in the gorgeous wine country, ending with a personalized trip to a winery for a tasting and tour.

Here comes the hard part! How do you choose just one of the fantastic sounding tours that Russ offers? If I were you, I'd mosey on over to the tours section of the website and start reading about all the options, from Walking the Zinfandel Trail to Elephant Seals, Fir Forests and Formal Tasting. I notice that Russ does have many pictures of each of his tours, but I think that the pictures are a major selling point, and make it hard to resist spending a day hiking around the wine country. I think that Russ should try to feature his beautiful pictures more prominently to entice people in!

The Wine Hikes website offers much information to digest, and the set-up is very easy to navigate. From helpful sidebar forms to find a hike you might enjoy to every FAQ you could possibly imagine, Russ covers it all. I do wish he had a section for reviews from former hikers, rather than just the one the changes in the sidebar, I'd love to hear what more people had to say.

When visiting California Wine Hikes, you need to be sure to stop by the other half of the site, Russ' blog, Winehiker Witiculture. I love his blog. Up until last month and his strange disappearance, Russ regularly posted at least once a day and his writing is fantastic. He's witty, descriptive, and interesting all rolled into one. I will only complain since he has been absent so long and we have not had any updates in a very long time! :)

My only regret is that on our last trip to CA wine country, Russ and Matt and I were unable to mesh our schedules so we could join him on a hike. I will be sure to make it work on our next visit to the West Coast!

Russ is running several contests on his site right now to win free wine, one of which is to write up a review of his site. For details, click here.

My First Chablis

September 19, 2007
And a bit of a disappointment at that. We took my younger brother, who was visiting us this past weekend, to the Melting Pot for dinner on Saturday. You'll kind of see him mugging for the camera in the back of my picture. Our fondue for the night was sea-food heavy choice, with yummy lobster tails, so I decided to pick a white wine for the evening.

I chose a 1998 Regnard Chablis from France. It cost $40 and rang in at 12.5% alcohol by volume. I think this wine was past its prime. Or else I don't know what to look for in a Chablis, also quite possible. The wine seemed tired, none of the flavors were very dominant and it was "blah" on the palate.

I found a bit of lemon and yeast on the nose. It smelled kind of like a very flat champagne. In the mouth there was some lemon and other vague citrus, with a bit of smoky vanilla. The flavors were reserved and the wine was dry. It was smooth and easy to drink, but overall, it just didn't do too much for me.

Touring Tuesdays

September 18, 2007
From our travels this summer, I have quite a few Virginia wineries to review for you, so I will be starting a weekly series for the next 6 or 7 weeks to tell you about the vineyards we visited in Loudon County.

We spent our anniversary visiting the Northern VA vineyards. Our first stop of the day was to Hillsborough Vineyards. We tasted through the menu of 3 whites, 2 reds and one dessert wine. Hillsborough has a non-refundable $5 per person tasting fee, so as usual I will gripe about that.

The winery has a lovely patio where you could easily spend the day overlooking the vineyards, sipping a bottle of wine, and munching on one of the selections of cheese and crackers available inside the tasting room. I really enjoyed the koi pond on the edge of the patio. The tasting room is long and narrow, and was quite crowded when we arrived around noon. A second room where you could sit inside on a not so nice day had plenty of tables and looked cozy.

All of Hillsborough's wines are blends and named after various gemstones:

2005 Carnelian: $18, a blend of Chardonnay and Roussanne. Slightly butttery with some oak. Light, dry and floral.

2005 Opal: $18, a blend of Viognier and Chardonnay. Peach, apple, light and silky. Another dry wine.

2006 Serefina: $18, Rose, blend of Viognier and Tannat. Very fruity on the nose, crisp, not sweet, dry. Very refreshing, strawberry, watermelon. Our favorite of the day, we took home two bottles.

2005 Garnet: $20, blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Strawberry, light mouthfeel, but a spicy wine.

2004 Ruby: $22, blend of Tannat, Touriga Nacional, and Petit Verdot. Chocolate, leather, cherry. A very strong and powerful wine.

2005 Moonstone: $18, a blend of late harvest Viognier and Chardonnay. 6% residual sugar. Apricots, honey, sweet, but not overly so. Very well balanced. Matt really liked this one, we took home a bottle.

All in all, an excellent first stop, though again, I am never happy when tasting fees are not refunded.

WBW #37 Round-up and WBW #38

September 17, 2007
Dr. Vino has posted a great round-up of all the wines from WBW #37 Go Native! A record number of participants (52 at last count!) tasted a ton of interesting and different wines, many that I have never even heard of. Thanks again for hosting Dr.Vino and thanks for getting the post up so quickly!

Also today, the announcement for WBW #38 has been made and will be hosted by Catavino. Our theme is Portuguese Table Wines. Ryan and Gabriella have asked us to stay away from the obvious, Port and Madiera and even, if you can, Duoro and Vinho Verde. Full details are available here. I think I've only sampled Vinho Verde or Portugal's wine, and I wasn't blown away, so I will have to look harder for this assignment.

First Soup of the Season!

The wine for the evening was a 2004 Seghesio Sangiovese. We picked this bottle up when we visited Seghesio last spring. This was Matt's favorite bottle at Seghesio and we took home 3 bottles.

We paid $28 for this at the vineyard, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume. A fun fact from the back of the bottle states the Seghesio is the oldest grower of Sangiovese in America.

On the nose I found black cherry, currants, sweet flowers, and cloves. I really like the aroma on this bottle of wine. In the mouth the wine was smooth. The flavors were spicy, with floral notes and an overall sense of fresh fruit. Juicy black fruit, cherries, and leather were the predominant flavors.

I served the wine with the first soup of the season! Yay for fall!! I made Sarah's (who writes the blog Beadimous) Zuppa Toscana, which became our favorite soup last winter. It's a chicken stock/broth based soup with Italian sausage, bacon, potatoes, kale and cream. Delicious and a fairly good match for the lighter fruit flavors of this Sangiovese. I'm very glad we've got a few more bottles of this hanging around.

Isn't it ironic?

September 14, 2007
Don't you think? :)

Punchy at this hour of the morning I tell you!

Just wanted to let you know that our filter at work once again allows blogs! Yay!

But it won't let me comment on them.

So I'm lurking, but reading regularly again!

Well, sorta, we're super busy at work, so my downtime is severely restricted.

I will attempt to step up the commenting when I am at home.

Weekend Round-Up

Head on over to Arrowine in Arlington for 3 tastings this weekend!

Friday Wine Down
Friday, September 14, 5:30 - 7:30

Join Mark Magness of Select Wines and take a wine tour around the world. Take advantage of special discounts during the tasting.

Saturday Double-Header Tasting
Saturday, September 15, 1-4 pm

One store. One time. TWO GREAT TASTINGS!

The French Wine Tasting: Jonas Gustafsson of Dionysos Imports will be presenting a fabulous selection of wines from some of the top areas of France. There will be white wine from Alsace, Pouilly Fume and Sancerre. Red wines will be open from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Try 'em and buy 'em. The special tasting discounts make it easy!

The Italian Wine Tasting: Alberto Panella of Grappoli Imports will be showing excellent new wines from Italy! Alberto will show beautiful new Tuscan reds from Carlo Vittori, a big red from Umbria, and many more. Once again you'll be able to take advantage of great discounts during the tasting.

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, you will find:


2006 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Barossa Shiraz. Every fall folks look forward to stocking up on the latest vintage of this perennial favorite. It always arrives in September or October, and it always runs out months before the next vintage is released. Be the first in your group to taste the new vintage -- we'll have it open for sampling this Friday evening on the tasting bar.

To induce you to buy your stash from us, we've put it on sale for 3 days. Buy 6 bottles or more and take 10% off our low regular price, which is unchanged from last year despite a cost increase. We want your business on this wine.


September is a transition month, sometimes reflecting summer and at other times hinting at autumn. This Saturday we'll capture the spirit of transition by looking back a few weeks by showing a refreshing rosé and a verdicchio, and then we'll set our sights to cooler days to come by showing a hearty primitivo and zinfandel. John Grimsley of Grappoli Imports will lead the tasting.

A heads up to next week's event at UnWined in Alexandria:

Wednesday September 19 - Tuscan Tasting, 6-8pm
This drop-in tasting will feature Proprietor Guido Andretta from Tenuta Vitanza of Montalcino. We'll feature four wines from his estate, including the 2001 Brunello!
Reservations are not required.

Finally, stop by the Curious Grape in Shirlington for:
  • a rich, buttery Chardonnay paired with Recchiuti's Burnt Caramel Sauce
  • a black cherry-like New Zealand Pinot paired with dark milk chocolate
  • the intense 85% bars (one jazzed up with the addition of crunchy cacao nibs) paired with a single-vineyard Argentine Malbec and an earthy red from southern France
  • a gorgeous, intense Chardonnay made in the seemingly emerging style that holds the oak in favor of riveting flavors of pineapple, lime, and green apple
  • a super value in Sonoma Cabernet that you've never heard of, made in a lush, approachable style
  • a bold, smoky blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah as only California could do it
2005 IN THE RHONE: A BUYER'S MARKET! (Wed, Sept 19, 6-8 pm) -
  • an old favorite in red from the Cotes-du-Rhone that's better than ever in the 2005 vintage
  • a newly-imported, 90-Point Chateauneuf made by the flamboyant mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape
  • a pair of gorgeous, spicy reds from Chateau Fortia and Bosquet des Papes (90+ points each!)

Too much for too little

September 13, 2007
I was not impressed with this bottle of wine. It was a 2004 Marimar Don Miguel Vineyard Dobles Lias Unfiltered Chardonnay. At a price point near $40, I really expect a very good bottle of wine that has some depth and complexity. While this was not a bad bottle of wine, it just wasn't a lot for the money.

It had a real cork closure, hailed from the Russian River Valley and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume. The wine came in a club shipment.

I got wood, lemon and flowers on the nose. In the mouth there was lingering lemon and ginger. The whole wine was buttery and a bit on the oaky side. NMS of Chardonnay.

WBW #37 Go Native!!

September 12, 2007
Our assignment for this month's WBW came from Dr.Vino, who challenged us to "go native." By that, he meant go find a bottle of wine made of grape that's native to the country where the wine was produced. Bonus points if you are drinking a native grape in that country. I tried my best to procure a bottle of Norton so I could drink this grape in Virginia, from whence it came, but unfortunately, none of the vineyards we visited in the last month (and we went to 6!) produced any Norton-based wines. I suppose we'd have to head to Chrysalis or Horton to find that, but they were not on the part of the wine trail we were stomping this month.

Instead, I decided to check out the selection of a wine store that is new to me, the Winery in Old Town Alexandria. While the selection of the store is not huge, it was very carefully chosen and well put together with many interesting wines lining the shelves. Tossing a twist into the mix, Dr.Vino asked us to avoid the obvious grapes, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, etc.

At the Winery, I found this bottle of 2003 Duca Carlo Guarini Piutri Negromara Salento. It's 13% alcohol by volume, cost me $15.99, and had a real cork closure. The wine hails from Scorrano, Italy. The main grape in this red table wine is Negromara, a native Italian varietal.

Jancis Robinson in The Oxford Companion to Wine says the Negromara grape fell victim to the EU's Vine Pull Scheme and hectacres planted fell by nearly half between 1990 and 2000. It apparently forms the base for several DOCs and is used to produce a rose. The grape is native to Puglia (aka Apulia which is located on the Adriatic Coast in the far south east of Italy) and Jancis Robinson says it's the most interesting native grape from the area. Otherwise, there's not a lot of information about this grape out there, either in my books or on the internet.

The wine! The nose was really complex, especially given the price point for this wine. Apparently it's the week of complex wines for me and again Matt drained his glass before I even got my nose out of mine. I found leather, barnyard, bitter spice, dark dry cherries, an almost smoky bitter quality, and an earthy note on the nose. In the mouth the wine was bitter in a really interesting way. Overall the wine was medium-bodied with slight tannins. Intriguing. I got flavors of red fruit, red currants, and cherries. The wine was deep, earthy, with a bitter woody finish. I keep emphasizing the bitter part because that was what stuck with me most, it was a really intriguing flavor.

Matt and I really enjoyed this bottle of wine. And I'm glad I couldn't find any Norton to review, it made me break out of the box and try something a bit different, as I often fall into CA, VA or NZ, ruts around here. Many thanks to Dr.Vino for being our gracious host this month, I certainly look forward to seeing what varietals everyone tried out!

It finally dawned on me

September 11, 2007
We've been drinking many repeats in the last few weeks of wines that we had first consumed 6 months to a year ago. I've written about some of them where I felt they could use an update and have ignored others where I didn't find anything worth sharing. It just occurred to me as I went to write up this wine, a bottle I first reported on over 8 months ago in this post, that the reason I've been having repeats recently is that I haven't gotten any new wine shipments for nearly 4 months!

The wine is a 2003 Reserve Wilson Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up last summer at Wilson Winery for $22, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 16% alcohol by volume. Again I found the alcohol of this one to be off-putting. We couldn't drink it with our dinner because the heat was too much. It took over an hour for the alcohol to blow off, but it revealed a wine with the tannins of last time fairly smoothed out and I think this wine is at a good drinking point, though I would suggest decanting it.

On the nose I found currants, cedar, pepper, and blackberries. In the mouth, I got flavors of blackberries, currants, and red berries. The wine was smoother in the mouth than I remembered, though I wish I had remembered that last time I said it took quite a while for the alcohol to blow off.

Wine from Farley

September 10, 2007
When Matt and I went to Sonoma, Farley was kind enough to come down from the mountain and meet us halfway between Sonoma and the Bay Area. She also brought us a few bottles of wine as a housewarming gift as we had just closed on our house. We finally found a night we though would be great to drink the half bottle of Clos LaChance 2003 Central Coast Syrah. We were just looking for a glass of wine each last night and this fit the bill perfectly!

The bottle had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume. You'll have to go ask Farley where you can find this wine as there seems to be no info online about it!

On the nose I found roasted meat, blackberries, clove cigarettes, and smoke. The nose was very complex and Matt managed to drink most of his glass and was eying mine while I still had my nose in mine. Needless to say I thwarted his attempts for the greater good of the blog so I could give my impressions to you! ;)

In the mouth there was black cherry, blackberry, and cracked pepper. The wine was round and smooth on the palate but had a kick at the end. I really enjoyed this little bottle of wine and was glad to get the chance to try it, despite Matt's best efforts to snag my glass!

Weekend Round-Up

September 7, 2007
Seems like just yesterday when I posted last week's round-up!!

Over at Arrowine in Arlington, there will be two events this weekend:

Friday Wine Down
Friday, September 7, 5:30 - 7:30

Bill McKenney of Michael Downey Selections will be presenting a delicious range of wines from Italy. Take advantage of special discounts during the tasting.

Saturday Tasting
Saturday, September 8, 1-4 pm

Tom Kiszka of Potomac Selections will be here with wines from France and California, some new ones and some old favorites. Take advantage of special tasting discounts!

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, you also have two great tastings to choose from!


Summer hangs on, as it often does this time of the year. Many of you can't wait to open up big cool weather reds, but the stretch of warm weather underway has many of our customers running out of wines to refresh. We have a delightful new Spanish Cava Brut and an Italian Orvieto to help keep you cool this weekend.


Despite the current heat, cool weather can't be very far away. That calls for whites with more body and richness, as well as heartier red wines. Rob Davis of Associated Distributors is back with some standout wines this Saturday. Two of these wines are made by superstar winemakers of the Southern Hemisphere -- Aurelio Montes of Chile and Rolf Binder of Australia.

  • 2005 Montes Alpha Chardonnay (Chile/Casablanca Valley). In 2000 this wine was voted "Best Chardonnay in the World" in a simultaneous cyber-tasting in 26 cities hosted by Slow Food and VinItaly. About this vintage the Wine Spectator said (89 points): "Pretty pear, apple and piecrust notes on a creamy frame. Judicious toast on the finish lets the minerality come through. Nice length." During an April 2007 blind tasting event of over 60 Chardonnays from Chile and Argentina, The Wall Street Journal selected Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2005 as the Best. Nice pedigree.
  • 2005 Incognito Viognier (California/Lodi). The Viognier formerly known as Roussanne. The vines that provide the grapes for this award-winning wine have an interesting and controversial history. Previously awarded "Best Rhone in the World" as a Roussanne at the 2000 Los Angeles International Wine Competition, subsequent DNA testing at U.C. Davis determined that this unique grape is a rare clone of Viognier that mysteriously appeared in California during the past decade and is not, in fact, a Roussanne after all. Properly named Viognier, the wine won Gold at the 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition as Best in Class. Tempted?
  • 2004 Santa Ema Merlot Reserve (Chile/Maipo). Since Rob introduced this wine to the shop in early August, it has been one of our best sellers. We couldn't resist sharing it with those of you haven't found it yet. By the way, it's also got good press. Ask Rob.
  • 2004 Rolf Binder Heinrich (Australia/Barossa Valley). 45% Shiraz, 35% Grenache, 20% Mataro. Wine Spectator (91 points): "Light on its feet. Dances across the palate with berry, pomegranate and rhubarb, picking up sweet spice and fresh orange peel notes on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2014." Robert Parker, Jr. calls Binder "one of Australia's finest winemakers." This wine is delicious!
At the Curious Grape in Shirlington, look out for these tastings:

**WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: CHERYL'S FAVORITES FROM HER TRIP TO AUSTRALIA** (Fri, Sept 7, 6-8 pm) -- Out and about this Friday night? Stop by the tasting bar and say G'Day to Cheryl! She's just back from a quick trip Down Under and she's dying to share her photos and all her favorite wines from the tour, which included visits to well-known wineries like Thorn-Clarke, Morambro Creek, and Step Rd, as well as lesser-known boutique estates like Heathvale and Schwartz.

THE WEEK'S MOST EXCITING NEW ARRIVALS (Sat, Sept 8, 12-3 pm) -- It's that time of year: Just as everyone goes back to work and gets serious after Labor Day, so too, the wine industry starts to heat up, with hot new arrivals and a few great deals starting to pour in for the fall season. Stop by the tasting bar this Saturday and sample a knockout line-up of impressive new arrivals -- including a powerhouse Rioja -- as well as a great deal on on of our favorite California Chardonnays!

The Last Rose of Summer

September 6, 2007
Well, probably not the last Rose, but I'm running short on creative titles this morning, forgive me, it's before 7am.

The wine was a 2006 Domaine Bellevue Touraine Rose from the Loire Valley. It cost me $9.99 at The Winery, a wine shop I just discovered in downtown Alexandria right on the GW Parkway. I also picked up my WBW Go Native wine while there.

At 12% alcohol by volume, this would make a great wine for an afternoon picnic or for sipping by the pool, but we drank it with risotto, broccoli, and one of the those rotissere chickens from the store.

The nose of the wine showed aromas of watermelon, lime, and strawberry. I noted that the wine had a really intriguing aroma. In the mouth there were flavors of strawberry cream and it was tangy on the finish.

As I hope you can see, the color of the wine was great, it looked like melted watermelon Jolly Ranchers. My overall impressions of the wine were that it was a lively and vibrant wine and it was lovely all--around. I also noted that this was one of the best value wines I've had. Both Matt and I were really impressed with this wine and I intend to head back to the Winery to snag a few more bottles.

More VA Wines!

September 5, 2007
We're on a real VA kick over here at the Wannabe Wino house! Several trips have been made to VA wine country this summer, including two within the last month! I have lots to report on about 6 wineries we have stopped at for the first time, so look forward to those reviews.

We picked this bottle up for $13 (that's with a case discount) at Doukenie (formerly Windham Winery, hence the label on the bottle). It's a Doukenie Virginia Table White that clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

The wine was sweet on the nose with orange blossom, honeysuckle, and oranges. In the mouth I found orange creamsicle, madarin oranges, and honey. This is a sweet wine, though not cloying, and one I am happy having a glass of, but I'm not much for sweet wines. Matt loved this one, and he is a big fan of the sweet wines. It was easily his favorite at the winery, while mine was a toss up between the Riesling and the Sauvignon Blanc.

I served it with a concoction that I made up that evening from stuff in the fridge. It turned into chicken breasts stuffed with blue cheese and spinach, a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli. An interesting dinner, but not great with the wine. Again, the sweet wine didn't do much for me with the dinner and I preferred it on its own after dinner.

More 6 Months Later

September 4, 2007
We drank our very last bottle of 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. I'm quite sad. This was a great bottle of wine that cost us $25, rang in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. We last drank this bottle about 6 months ago in early February. You can read that review here. I'm currently dipping into wines we drank over 6 months ago to see if they've changed in that time.

This time, I served the wine with pepperoni pizza (from Pizza Hut, I was not in a cooking mood for once!). A good match to the pizza sauce and spicy pepperoni.

On the nose of the wine I found, currants, spice, sweet red licorice, and raspberries. In the mouth I found red raspberries, blackberries, and smoky vanilla. The fruit tastes really fresh. The heat I found last time seems to be gone.

Unfortunately, we aren't getting wine from Fritz anymore. As much as I love the wines, they got a bit too expensive as they won some awards recently. Alas, perhaps when I win the lotto ;)

Not Really a Dinner Wine

September 3, 2007
The wine of the evening was a 2005 Ferrari Carano Fior di Moscato. I honestly have no idea what this wine cost as it is only available in the tasting room. I'm certain we bought it last August while visiting, but that receipt never made it home with us. The wine had a real cork closure, was 13.5% alcohol by volume and is a Muscat Canelli.

This a very sweet wine. You can smell the sweetness on the nose. The aromas are floral, apricots, honey, and an orange essence. In the mouth, again, the wine is very sweet. The prevailing flavors are honey and apricots. There's also something slightly tangy on the back of the palate.

I served this wine with bourbon chicken and macaroni and cheese. It was an awful match. Really bad, the sweetness of the wine overwhelmed the food. It was much better as a sipping wine after dinner. However, I could imagine that it would be excellent with a sharp or blue cheese.