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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.