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Bubbly Bubbly Bubbly

January 31, 2008
As we know from some past WBWs, the world is full of Bubbly that is not Champagne. One of my favorites for value and quality is Prosseco from Italy. I also love it for its low alcohol content.

This bottle was a Mionetto Valdobbiadene Prosseco Brut. I picked it up at MV Wine and Spirits in Madison, CT for $10.95 (I see it online for between $13-$20), it clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume, and had a typical sparkling wine closure.

On the nose I found green apple, honey, and and overall "fruity" aroma. In the mouth the wine has apples, peaches, and lemons. The wine had nice bubbles, it was crisp, and tart. This was a fun and easy sparkler and an excellent value!

A Long Time Coming

January 30, 2008
I've been drinking this bottle of wine for quite a long time, and probably should have gotten around to reviewing it well over a year ago when I first had a glass. My favorite bar in DC, Hamiltons, has this on their wine menu, and the bartender always has a glass almost poured for me as I come up the stairs!

So when I saw the bottle of Veramonte Reserva Sauvignon Blanc at MV Wine and Spirits in Madison, CT, I had to pick it up, just so I could finally write about it! Dr. Debs over on Good Wine Under $20 wrote up the 2007 vintage recently, but I actually have the 2006 to tell you about. And it is the one I've been drinking for about a year. From Dr. Debs' notes however, I gather the 2007 is just as worth it as the 2006.

The bottle cost $11.95 and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. It hails from the Casablanca Valley of Chile.

On the nose, the wine smelled crisp, citrus, floral, and wine. In th mouth, the wine showed flavors of lime, and citrus. Overall the wine was crisp, tart, racy, and refreshing, with a good acidic backbone. I think this is a really great value for the bottle, and a nice alternative to a New Zealand or South African Sauvignon Blanc.

Getting French on You

January 29, 2008
I think this may have been my first Sancerre. At least, I can't remember having one prior to this.

The wine was a 2006 Henri Bourgeois Les Bonnes Bouches Sancerre. My dad picked this up at MV Wine and Spirits in Madison, CT when he went to get his own champagne for New Year's Eve. I asked him to grab me a Sauvignon Blanc and this is what he returned with. I gather from a quick search that you can find this bottle from between $19-$22. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume.

And there it was on the nose: cat pee! Now, although this might sound like a retched thing to find in a wine to those of you who have cats or have smelled actual cat pee, I promise, it is not a bad thing. Also on the nose, citrus, lemon, and flowers. The nose was crisp and smelled light. In the mouth, lemon, pineapple, and some tropical fruit on the back of the palate.

I jotted down that the wine was crisp, lively, light, with good acidity, a sprightly wine! (Yes, I have no idea why sprightly came to mind, but that is what my notes say!) Overall, I would say that this was a textbook example, and a very good value.

Some Montepulciano

January 28, 2008
The wine was a 2004 La Valentina Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (Sheesh, these Italian varietals are often a mouthful!). It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost around $13 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.

An unforgiving nose on this one. Some barnyard funk (not in a good way) when I opened the bottle that eventually blew off, but underneath that, there was not much there. Maybe some spice, oak, and currants. In the mouth, the wine was flat, I'm wondering if it was past its prime. I got some indistinguishable dark fruit, spice, but overall it seemed hollow. After a few hours, I found some dark cherry and raspberries, and the wine had finally started to open up. I found it to be terribly bitter and tannic at the beginning, but that gave way a bit as the hours passed (my mom and I drank this bottle and it literally took over 4 hours for us to get through it).

I'm not sure if the wine was too young or too old, but something wasn't quite right here.

The Polls Have Closed

January 27, 2008
And the winner is that 37% of the readers who answered my poll spend between $0-$15 on a bottle of wine. Coming in a close second and third were $15-$20 (30%) and $20-$30 (28%). Overall 59 people responded.

I think this fairly represents the range of wines I tend to drink and review here. A few go over $30 a bottle, but those are just the occasional bottle and I rarely, without having previously tried it, would buy a bottle in the store that is over $30. The wines we drink that do go over that price range tend to be gifts or have come in club shipments directly from wineries. Though I do admit to the rare splurge on a bottle that a fellow blogger has raved about, or a fancy Champagne for a special occasion!

I'm going to stick up another poll, this time about how much wine you keep on hand.

Thanks for participating!

Contests Abound!

January 26, 2008
Farley (of Behind the Vines and Wine Outlook) is hosting a contest over on Behind the Vines. She is once again participating in Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) and is highly encouraging everyone else to participate as well.

The premise behind OTBN is to go ahead and pop the cork on one of those bottles you've been saving for a special occasion and just haven't gotten around to opening yet for whatever reason. The evening to open? Saturday, February 23. All Farley wants you to do is head on over to her blog and leave a comment about what bottle you think you will open by February 20. And in return, you are entered into a contest to win two bottles of wine from Rosenblum Cellars! You can read all the details, and tell her about the wine you will drink here.

Next, over on El Bloggo Torcido, El Jefe has announced "Take your Rubber Chicken to Work Week." He's asking everyone to pick a day between Feb. 4-10, and take your rubber chicken to work with you and document it with pictures. Then submit the pictures to Twisted Oak and everyone will win something. He will be announcing further details and prizes over the coming week, so keep your eyes open. You can read his initial announcement here. And, if you don't happen to have an actual Twisted Oak chicken, you now order one for only $6.95 or you can bring whatever rubber chicken you already own (?) or can get your hands on before the deadline.

WBW Logo Contest!

January 25, 2008

Back a few months ago, along with the announcement of the new Wine Blogging Wednesday website, Lenn of Lenndevours mentioned that in the near future, a contest to create a new logo for WBW would be occurring.

Well that time is now! All the details are available here, but suffice it to say, be creative, and submit your entry by March 31, 2008.

We will bid a found adieu to our old logo, which has served WBW well for 41 iterations.

Just think, your new logo could live on in hundreds of blogs, several times a month for many years! Get cracking!

Christmas-a Month Late

The wine for Christmas dinner was this bottle of 2004 Lake Sonoma Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I picked this bottle up at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria for around $22, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found currants, red berries, oak, leather, earth, and licorice. In the mouth the flavors were dark berries, cream, vanilla, black currants, and spices. Everyone loved this bottle of wine.

It was served with a surf and turf dinner of beef tenderloin and baked stuffed shrimp, prepared by my cousin and my Godmother. Just turf for me, shrimp and I are not friends! The wine was an excellent match with the beef tenderloin, a perfect match for the dinner!

Exploring New Kitchens

January 24, 2008
The wine photos coming up for the next month or so were mostly taken in kitchens other than my own. We consumed A LOT of wine over the Christmas holiday and I am just caught up enough to start writing about it.

One of the first was a 2005 De Martino Organic Sauvignon Blanc. It hails from the Maipo Valley of Chile, has a real cork closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume and cost about $10 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.

On the nose I found lemon, flowers, grass, and peach. In the mouth, the wine showed citrus, lemon, and tropical fruit. It was crisp, but not nearly as tart as New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. I think the Chile style is good one for wine drinkers who want a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc but who can't stand the mouth-puckering acidity of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely a good buy at this price point.

WBW #42 Just Seven Words

January 23, 2008

The newest edition of WBW has been announced, and this one will take some explaining! (Or perhaps not so much explaining.) Our host for the month is the Wine Scribbler from across the pond, at Spittoon.

Andrew has asked us to pick any Italian red wine. This is not the challenge. The challenge comes in the seven words. In that he wants us to describe the wine in just seven words for our WBW entry. The caveat is that the note has to make sense, be mostly grammatically correct, and preferably contain punctuation.

All the details (or lack thereof) can be found here on Spittoon. The deadline this month to get your note in is February 13. See you then!

More Wine Gifts

I got a lot of wine this Christmas. I took about a case to CT with me for holiday dinners and such and I returned back to VA with 2.5 cases of wine. People really like giving a wino more wine apparently!

This bottle was a 2005 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection
Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon. (Wow, that's a mouthful of a name for the wine.) It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

The nose on the wine was minty (something I've noticed in a a few Cabernet Sauvignons lately), and had vanilla and strawberry aromas. I thought this was oddly light on the nose with only a bit of spice, not what I usually expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon. In the mouth the wine was a bit darker. I found muted blackberry and thought the wine was a bit earthy. After a while some strawberries and black currants came through. The second glass of wine (drank about an hour after the first) was much better and more developed than the first.

We actually stopped in at the Coppola Winery on our first trip to Sonoma, but we didn't taste. They have lovely grounds and a beautiful patio with a restaurant, which is where we ate lunch one day. A lovely way to spend an afternoon, with sweeping views of the vineyard.

Something Twisted This Way Comes

January 22, 2008
The wine for the night was a 2005 Twisted Oak Sierra Foothills %@#$!. I purchased the wine in a club shipment from WineQ for $23.99(with free shipping!). It's a Rhone style blend made of 58% Roussanne and 42% Marsanne. The wine clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. Many more Twisted things will be showing up at the Wannabe Wino house in the near future, as I was a very good Wino this year and Santa brought me a Twisted Few membership for Christmas!

I first noted the color on the wine, it was deep golden straw color. On the nose I found honey, a buttery note, sweet fruit, nectarines, and pears. In the mouth the flavors were pears and nectarines, with a but of butter and cream. This was a very different wine, I've had both Roussanne and Marsanne as stand alone bottles, but never as a blend before. I found it to be very interesting, and it had a great long finish.

WBW #41-White Friuli Wines Round-up Posted!

January 21, 2008

Jack and Joanne have the WBW round-up posted over on Fork and Bottle! Looks like around 43 participants this time, and a ton of wines to read about, as many people tasted two or more Friuli wines for this WBW.

Head on over to Fork and Bottle to see what everyone tasted this month, and watch out for the next WBW announcement which will be coming from Spittoon.

Wild Horses!

January 20, 2008
The wine for the evening was a 2005 Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon. We decanted it because the flavors were really tight when we poured the first glass. We're also using our stemless Riedel glasses that we got as a Christmas gift (my first Riedel!).

The wine was also a gift, it clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and hails from Paso Robles.

On the nose I found dark blackberries, cherries, black currants, and spices. It also had a little minty/vegetal essence to the aroma. In the mouth I got flavors of blackberries, spice, leather, and currants. The wine was really tannic and needs to be decanted for hours if you want to drink it now. I would estimate that we had the wine in the decanter for around 3 hours before it really opened up enough.


January 19, 2008
I've been meaning to do this review for quite a while, and have been really remiss in not getting it up sooner. Several months ago, Jill of Domaine547 contacted me and asked if I would like to receive a blogger sample pack for review. I accepted her kind offer and shortly thereafter a box with 3 bottles of wine, cute Domaine547 coasters, a newsletter, and descriptions of the wines arrived at my doorstep. I've reviewed two of those wines, the 2003 Vinas del Cenit Tempranillo and the 2005 Braida di Giacomo Montebruna Barbera. I have one more bottle left to review, which I will hopefully have up for you soon.

I took the first two bottles of wine as an indication of Jill's taste in wine and was thrilled with both bottles. Matt and I loved both of them, and wouldn't hesitate to buy either again (actually, I tried to buy more of the Cenit, but Jill has sadly sold out of that one recently, well, I guess sadly for me and happily for her!). In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that when it came time to send one of my best friends a ChristmaHanukairthday gift I didn't hesitate to return to Domaine547 and ask Jill to ship out a bottle of it (plus a couple others) out to my friend. My friend was thrilled with the wine and Jill was very prompt in packaging it up and shipping it out. I was also very happy with her recommendations. I gave her a price range and asked her to suggest some fun bottles in that span and she came back very quickly with many suggestions, all of which would have been excellent choices.

I've been incredibly pleased with the customer service from Domaine547, I recently had Jill ship me a case of Grande Cassagne Rose at a most excellent price (cheaper even with the shipping than I could find it around me!) and am currently working with her to buy some more interesting and different wines for my cellar (or stomach, we all know how long wine lasts around my house....)!

I look forward to a continued relationship with Jill and Domaine547, as I am always thrilled to find someone who is able to quickly and easily recommend wines that are to my liking. With her fun website, easy-going personality, and quick response time, I highly recommend Jill and Domaine547 as an online wine merchant.

2007 was a great year wine-wise for me. I've now got three places that are my go-tos for wine that I love and is well priced. One is local, The Winery in Alexandria, and the others are online, WineQ, and Domaine547.

For a Change

January 18, 2008
Well, I do have several more Italian Reds to review for you, but I like to mix things up sometimes and keep it interesting (well, hopefully!). So today we leave Italy and Europe and return to North America for one of the California wines that lives in my basement. As you probably know by now, most of the wines that hang out in my basement are from California and I supplement with purchases online and from local wine shops to bring you wines from other areas.

We're diving back into one of my favorite California producers, as I just received a half case of wine from a club shipment. The wine is a 2006 De La Montanya Felta Creek Summer White. I've previously reviewed the 2005 vintage of this wine, you can read that review here. The wine came in a club shipment, is available for $19 a bottle, but cost us $15.20 with the club discount, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found peach, vanilla, orange, and tropical fruit. In the mouth there were flavors of honey, pear, peach, citrus, pineapple, and tropical fruit. I really enjoyed the flavors in this wine. It would make a great summer wine (duh) and I can picture us drinking it on the patio in 100 degree weather...which we sadly get quite a bit of here in VA in the summer months! The wine had a great mouthfeel, not too heavy, but crisp and it felt just right. It goes down easy and is nice and smooth.

It Keeps Coming....

January 17, 2008
and coming! The Italian Reds you see....but you can't say I didn't warn you! I've been very interested in the Italian reds since the WBW-Go Native theme, and picking them up in my mixed cases has now become routine.

The wine was a 2005 Le Volte Ornellaia Toscana. I picked it up as a replacement to the David Bruce Petite Sirah that was corked at my WBW blind tasting. It cost $24.99 minus a 10% case discount, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found blackberry, sandalwood, leather, and pepper. I could also smell spice, but the nose was very dark. It also smelled a little syrupy on the nose. In the mouth, the flavors were cherry and blackberry. Those nose was much more complex than the mouth. The wine was bitter, but oddly a little sweet, and quite tannic overall. It was different than any other red I've had and it was lighter in the mouth than I expected.

WBW #41-White Friuli Wines

January 16, 2008

Jack and Joanne of Fork and Bottle are our kind hosts for this edition of WBW, the brainchild of Lenn of Lenndevours. The task they set us to for this month was to find a white wine from Friuli, any white we wanted. Though they suggested that we spend $18 or above or else we might be disappointed in the wine we chose.

This was a difficult assignment for me. I checked our usual local haunts and had not luck. Three or four stores, and I didn't turn up a single bottle! I was getting desperate when we went to my parents' in CT for the holiday. Fortunately, I accompanied my dad to his local wine store, and there on the shelf was one single bottle of white from Friuli! (There was a red to, but that didn't fit this WBW!)

The wine I finally found was a Livio Felluga 2005 Tocai Friulano. I purchased it at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT, it cost $27, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume.

First impression: I can smell the floral bouquet across the room. After I buried my nose in the glass (as is my habit, much to both the delight and chagrin of Matt...delight because it means I drink less of the bottle, chagrin because I chide him for drinking more than his share!) I found peach, tropical fruit, almonds, and apple. The flavors were a bit bitter. In the mouth I got flavors of pear, peach, apple, tropical fruits, almonds, and spicy white pepper.

I would describe this wine as lively in the mouth. It was refreshing and fun, and very nicely done. I served it with Roz's Zuppa Toscana, and it was actually a really tasty match with the slightly creamy flavors of the soup. It did really well cutting through the soup and reviving the palate. My only reservation is the price tag. It's more than I'm willing to pay for an unknown bottle, but both Matt and I really enjoyed what was in the bottle, Matt wants to get it again! Though I have no idea where to find it around here, so that will have to wait.

And a bonus! We went out to dinner last night at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar in DC and they actually had several bottles of Friuli wine on the menu. I suppose that's one of the great things about WBW, it causes me to keep my eye out for new things. I never would have even noticed "Friuli" before this WBW because I knew nothing about the region. So true to my nature as an inquisitive wine blogger, I had to jump at the chance to taste at least one. The restaurant offered tasting sized pours of one of the Friulis, $5 for 3 ounces....which I must say, was a VERY generous 3 ounces!

The wine was a 2006 Di Lenardo Vineyards "Toh" Tocai Friulano. You could purchase the whole bottle for $35 if you wanted. In the glass, I noted the golden straw color of this wine, something I also noted about the Livio. On the nose I found lemon, herbs, almond, passion fruit, and peach. In the mouth there was lemon, almond, tropical fruit, and peach. Overally, the dominating flavor and aroma in this wine was peach. The wine wasn't nearly as lively in the mouth as the Livio, but it was still quite tasty.

I enjoyed my foray into Friuli and I will definitely keep looking for more bottles from the area in the future. It also helped me gain a new grape variety as I had never had a Tocai Friulano before! Thanks to Jack and Joanne for hosting, and I look forward to the round-up!

It's Raining Italian Reds

January 15, 2008
The wine for the evening was a 2005 Rosso Salento Promessa. It was a blend, 70% Negroamara and 30% Primitivo. I picked the bottle up at the Winery in Old Town Alexandria for $12.99 minus a 10% case discount. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

The nose of the wine smelled bitter, of coffee, licorice, cherry, leather, and earth. In the mouth I found bitter cherry, alongside fresh cherries, and an almost cranberry flavor. The wine was smooth, but had a nice tart element. It was a very dark wine.

I'm really enjoying the value I'm finding in native Italian varietals. For around $10, I feel like I got a lot of bang for my buck with this wine, and quite a complex bottle too. Very good value.

Sweet Nectar of Bacchus

January 14, 2008
I love this wine. And I am not one for sweet wines. But I absolutely adored this bottle of wine when we bought it (the last bottle available at the winery!) and can't wait to drink more of the 2006 either. The wine in question is a 2005 Nelson Family Vineyards Orange Muscat.

We picked this bottle up at the vinyard, where it cost us $16.18 (that's with a club discount), clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

The aroma of the wine is very perfumed. I found scents of flowers, honey, orange blossom, and lemon zest. I could smell this bottle of wine for hours. In the mouth the wine is sweet, but has the acidity to hold the sweetness in check. I found orange, mandarins, lemons, and honeysuckle. The citrus really gives the wine body and makes it a great after dinner sipping wine. A great value.

Poll Time

January 13, 2008
I've been reading a bit around the blogosphere about how well do you know your readers. I would like to get to know you and your wine preferences better, so we will start here.

I would like to know, on average, how much you spend on a bottle of wine. I've put the poll in the sidebar, and would be very happy if you could take a minute to choose your answer!

Cork Reindeer Ornament

January 12, 2008

Last year I put up a post asking what to do with the neverending bag of corks that accumulates in my kitchen pantry. I mentioned some of the things I had done with them, place cards for our wedding, a cork board/dry erase board, and that my mom had purchased a cork reindeer ornament at a craft fair for me.

Since then, one of the search terms I see most often is some combination of "reindeer," "cork," and "ornament." Sadly, I don't think any other information exists on the internet about these things, and I feel bad for the people that keep ending up here looking for for instructions on how to make such a thing.

So this year, I took pictures for all those of you who arrive here looking for reindeer. This doesn't look that hard to make if you are at all crafty and have a glue gun (this is how non-crafty I am, do people actually still use glue guns?), some corks, a bit of twine, ribbon, and googly eyes!

Have at it folks. If you make one, send me a picture and I'll post your version up here. I'm thinking about going into the cork ornament reindeer business myself, but have no clue what I'd do with an army of cork reindeer.

Kicking Some More

January 11, 2008
What can I say? I like all wines, all the time, regardless of the weather! This bottle was a gift from a guest invited to our WBW Petite Sirah Blind tasting. He almost had me fooled, telling me that it was his brother's winery since he shares a last name with the wine. I felt a bit sheepish for buying that one hook line and sinker, but cut me some slack, we were through the 5 bottles of PS by that point....

So the wine was a 2006 Gordon Brothers Sauvignon Blanc from the Columbia Valley, Washington State. It clocked in at 13.2% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found mango, pineapple, minerals, and something else tropical that I can't quite place. If you aerate your glass a bit the pineapple will jump up and bite you! In the mouth I got flavors of pineapple and mango, with almost a hint of cream midpalate.

The wine was crisp, but not at all like a New Zealand or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. It's a totally different style of Sauvignon Blanc for me. It seemed a lot more food friendly, but still had the acidity I expect from a Sauvignon Blanc. I really liked the mouthfeel on this one.

On a White Wine Kick

January 10, 2008
No particular reason, but I'm not feeling the cold weather reds right now. Could be the warm weather, but really, that just started this week. I just haven't been a heavy red wine mood. I need to shake that as the reds are piling up alarmingly fast in my basement!

The bottle of the night was a Valminor 2006 Rias Bhixas Albarino. I picked it up at the Winery in Old Town Alexandria as part of a mixed case. It cost me $12.99 minus a 10% case discount, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and had a screw cap.

The nose of the wine was perfumy, very aromatic. It showed tropical fruit, citrus, grapefruit, orange blossoms, and was quite floral. In the mouth I found grapefruit, citrus, and a nice sweet orange note. The wine was crisp in the mouth, but not too tart. Overall I found the wine to be intriguing and a great value for the price.

Getting Twisted(er)

January 9, 2008
The wines from Twisted Oak have a sneaky habit of filling up my Q over at WineQ, and my last few WineQ shipments have been heavily Twisted! The bottle I am currently referring to is a 2005 Twisted Oak Viognier. I purchased it from WineQ in my last club shipment for $21.99 (free shipping), it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

I served this with turkey soup, homemade by me! We tend to keep our house a little chilly in the winter, so perhaps you can see the steam rising from the's not because the soup is all the hot, it's just that cold in our house! The wine was an okay match for the soup, but I think it made a better after dinner wine, though I bet it would be great as an appetizer wine, or just sipping on its own.

On the nose I found aromas of pear, honey, apricot, and, oddly enough, caramel. I also noted something a bit spicy, but I couldn't quite place it. In the mouth, flavors of citrus, especially white grapefruit and lemon dominated, with notes of apricot and caramel/toffee/some kind of sweet candy.

The wine was sweet at the front of the palate but had great acidity and a bit of spice later on to keep the sweetness in check. This was a bigger white, and a touch creamy overall. I'm not sure if the picture does it justice, but the wine was really golden in color. Great wine, definitely something I'd get again.

DC Restaurant Week

January 8, 2008
The twice yearly event is back in gear for its winter edition, beginning January 14 and going through January 20. Restaurants will be offering a 3 course lunch for $20.08 and a 3 course dinner for $30.08. You can find all the important details over here, including participating restaurants.

We always try to take advantage of this event, as it gives us a chance to go to restaurants that would normally stretch our dining out budget just a bit too much. I had wanted to go back to Farrah Olivia, a restaurant we went to a while ago, of which I owe you a review!, but sadly, even trying to book several weeks out it was impossible to get a reservation. Chef Morou, the owner, recently competed on America's Next Iron Chef, and since then, it's been very difficult to get in. A shame too, the restaurant is near our house and very good.

So instead, we are going to check out a new restaurant and wine bar I've been meaning to get to, Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar in DC. We'll also be heading back to the Melting Pot, a dinner event we've always enjoyed.

So if you are in the DC area, check out the restaurants and make a reservation or two!

We've previously gone to 1789, 15 Ria, Butterfield 9, the Melting Pot, the Capital Grille, Jaleo, and a few others that don't appear on the list any more! The next edition is usually in early August, though we've missed it the last two years, once because we got married and the other because I was traveling for work!

I warned you about the Italian Reds

We picked up this bottle of Girone Dei Folli 2003 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Villa Bizzarri at the Winery in Old Town Alexandria as part of a mixed case. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a real cork, and cost us $12.99 minus a 10% case discount.

On the nose I found what can only be described as a mist of Vick's cherry cough syrup, bitter espresso (though I suppose "bitter espresso" is kind of an oxymoron), leather, and Eucalyptus. Overall, I found the nose to have a slightly medicinal quality. In the mouth flavors of tart cherries dominated, with hints of the same cherry Vick's cough syrup, and a little bit of spice. The wine was very dark, and reminiscent of Negroamara, but with different qualities. It was more herbal and medicinal than the Negroamara, but that's the closest thing I can compare it to.

Speaking of Italian Reds

January 7, 2008
The wine of the evening was a 2005 Sedara Nero d'Avola. It also said "Donnafugata" on the label, but I can't say I know what that means! The wine had a real cork closure, hailed from Sicilia, and clocked in at 14% alcohol. I picked this up at the Winery in Old Town Alexandria for $15.99 minus a 10% mixed case discount.

On the nose I found aromas of raisins, deli meat, and dark berries. There was a smoky note emanating from my glass as well. In the mouth, flavors of tart dark blackberries and bing cherries were present. The fruit was sour! The wine overall was mouth puckering, very dark, with a fairly long finish, and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

I served the wine with turkey soup that I made out of our Thanksgiving Tom, but I think the wine was too dark for the soup. It was a heavy soup too, so I was little surprised it didn't stand up to the wine. Overall, the wine was interesting, but I'm not sure I would get it again.

WBW #41-White Friuli Wines

January 6, 2008
I've been remiss in posting an announcement for the next edition of WBW. Jack and Joanne of Fork and Bottle have chosen the theme for WBW this month, picking white wines from Friuli.

You can pick any white wine you would like from the region, though they caution you that wines priced under $18 may not deliver much bang for the buck. All the details are available on Fork and Bottle. The varietals from the region run the gamut, you can find Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, among many others, however, speaking from personal experience, and the warning on Fork and Bottle, the wines are NOT easy to find. I went to 4 wine shops before finding anything, so if you are going to participate, get going, the deadline to drink and report on your bottle is January 16, which is rapidly approaching!

I'm looking forward to this WBW since this is a wine region about which I know next to nothing, so the round-up should be an excellent way to increase my knowledge. Many thanks to Jack and Joanne for hosting!

Wine in the New Year

January 5, 2008
As I've said before I'm not too big on resolutions. I rarely keep to them, and never feel accomplished. I, however, did set some "plans" last year, with the encouragement of Dr. Debs who had asked what our wine resolutions were. And again this year, she has the same question.

Looking back on last year, I set some general goals, which were to buy a house and go to Oktoberfest. We got the house, which then sort of got in the way of any travel plans.....owning a house is expensive! This year, I don't so much have any plans in the general sense of my life, as I also managed to get a new job this year that I really enjoy, we got the house, we're making good progress on fixing it up, and I'm generally pretty content!

As far as wine goes, I had a few plans last year.

They were:
1.) Decant wines more often: Honestly, I'm still not great about this. Pity too, we have some really pretty decanters!

2.) Convince Matt I need a bigger wine storage area: Well, we bought the house and now I have the whole basement to take over if I want, and it keeps at a pretty constant temperature, so I'm hunky-dory with that one for now.

3.) Try some non-California Reds: I think we did okay with this one, especially helped along by WBW. WBW got me out to try lots of new things this year, and Italian reds have been calling my name ever since Dr. Vino's Go Native WBW theme.

4.) Learn something new about wine every week: Well, this was actually a really easy one. I learned something new about wine almost every day this year, simply by drinking new things and reading my fellow winebloggers posts. Thanks for all the help everyone!

5.) More logically pick my everyday wines: Totally failed on this one, but ultimately, that was a very good thing. I tired tons of new stuff this year and was more willing to try just about anything!

So what about 2008? What will that bring in the world of wine for the Wannabe Winos?

1.) Read more. I'm really excited that Dr. Debs has started up the Wine Book Club, I really hope it will get me off my rear end and encourage me to plunge into my ever-growing stack of wine and food books!

2.) Cook more with wine. I rarely cook with wine, except for a few reduction sauces. I got several cooking with wine cookbooks for Christmas and I hope to take full advantage of them!

3.) Visit a new area of CA Wine Country. I'm 90% sure we are heading up to visit El Jefe's territory in early April, so hopefully this one will be easy!

4.) Continue building a relationship with wine merchants so I keep getting great advice on what to buy!

Check back in next year to see how I made out with this year's plans!

Wine Book Club

January 4, 2008
I thought I would let everyone know that there is a new wine group forming on the internet, courtesy of Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20. Dr. Debs recently contacted a group of wine bloggers with the idea to start a Wine Book Club on the idea of Wine Blogging Wednesday.

The premise is this: One wine blogger, every other month, will choose a book for everyone to read. You'll read the book and post your review and the host will round-up all the entries for the month. I like the slightly less ambitious schedule of every other month, as it might be difficult to keep up a monthly schedule, though, who knows, in the future it could become more frequent.

You can read all the details over on Good Wine Under $20, and you can head on over to McDuff's Food and Wine Trail to read the details on our first book, Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy. David has kindly offered to serve as the first WBC host.

The Weather Outside is Frightful

But the wine is so delightful! This bottle of wine is a great winter red, big and fruity in all the right ways, and perfect to drink in front of the fire with some beef stew. Which is what we did. Winter has really arrived this week, it was 10 out yesterday with the wind chill!

The wine was a 2005 Quivira Anderson Ranch Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. It came in a club shipment, cost us $27.20, clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found blackberry, spice, cranberry sauce (yes, I do mean the kind you serve with turkey), and vanilla. In the mouth, the wine was tannic at first, but after we let it sit, the flavors came shining through. I got tart cherries, blackberries, and cranberries. Overall, the wine was really dark. The fruit appeared fresher and more vibrant as the wine opened up. A delicious bottle of wine.

Press Credentials for Wine Tastings

January 3, 2008
Do you think a blogger like me would qualify for press credentials at a wine tasting event? I would love to attend the DC International Wine and Food Festival, but am unsure if I would be considered "press."

You can find the press policy here.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Lots of Gruner Veltliner

Prior to Thanksgiving I believe that I had consumed a total of 2 bottles of Gruner Veltliner. Matt's Aunt and Uncle offered to bring the wine for Thanksgiving and arrived bearing many, many bottle of Gruner Veltliner from 3 different producers! They brought so much that Matt and I were drinking it for weeks after.

This bottle, the 2006 Leth Gruner Veltliner Langenreserve from Austria ( it also said: Wagram Steingrund on the bottle, but I confess I don't know what that means) was my favorite of the three. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume and had a screw cap.

On the nose I found citrus, lemon, a tropical aroma, spicy white pepper, fresh cut grass, and oddly enough, green beans. The nose was quite strong and distinct. In the mouth flavors of oranges and white pepper dominated, with a bit of something fruity and tropical. The finish on this one was very smooth and we enjoyed it all by its lonesome, though it would be a great wine for appetizers!

Not so sure

January 2, 2008
Why we bought this bottle of wine. Dutcher Crossing was the first winery we stopped at on our honeymoon, so it might have been sheer excitement, or the notion that we had to buy at least a bottle or two from every winery we stopped at, or that we thought this was how Chardonnay was supposed to be. While we were big wine drinkers before we went to Sonoma for the first time, we honestly didn't drink a lot of California wines (how ironic given how many we drink now) and we mostly stuck unoaked white wines....

So we bought this bottle of 2005 Dutcher Crossing Chardonnay from Castello Vineyard for$26. It clocked in at 14.3% alcohol and had a real cork closure. On the nose it was all oak and butter at first and that took a while to blow off to reveal any other aromas. After a bit of time, I found lemon, vanilla, green apple, and a touch of pear. However, it was heavily dominated by the butter and oak. In the mouth I got flavors of lemon, pear, and oak. The wine was buttery overall and oaky. It was not at all a bad wine, just NMS. I much prefer unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay, this one was a little heavy for my taste.

I served it with cedar planked salmon and mashed potatoes. I forgot I had no veggies left that night, so nothing to go with it. The wine was actually a fairly good match for the food, since salmon and mashed potatoes are fairly heavy foods, and the wine's body matched nicely with the food.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2008

I hope everyone had plenty of good bubbly to celebrate with last night, and that 2008 will be a wonderful year for all of you!

We celebrated at my parents' house in CT, and had a nice quiet night watching movies and drinking the lovely bottle of Roederer Brut. Now how's that for a wild night? ;) Not so much, but I seem to be doing better, have the okay from the doc to drive and such, so I will be fresh and new and back at the blogging gig tomorrow, with lots to report on, and tons of wine for 2008!