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D.C International Wine and Food Festival

February 29, 2008
Thanks to Craig Camp of The Wine Camp Blog for his assistance in getting me a press pass for this event!

I will be attending both days of the festival, and look forward to visiting many of the over 200 wineries and vineyards that will be pouring their wines. I'm also hoping that John of Anything Wine will be able to attend as well, he was also granted press credentials, and it would be exciting to meet more Virginia Wine Bloggers! By the way, if you haven't been checking out John's blog, it's definitely one to add to your list.

The D.C. International Wine and Food Festival is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at the Reagan Building in D.C. The festival features around 240 exhibitors, both of wine, spirits, food, and other related items. I found this short list of featured Wineries/Vineyards/Distributors but cannot find a full list. Anyone have any suggestions of places not to miss based off the short list?

Also, anyone have any thoughts on strategies for tackling such a large festival? I have not attended anything of this magnitude in the past! I'm thinking backpack instead of purse so I can have a hand free for my notebook and another for my wine glass, probably sneakers since I'll be on my feet most of the day, dark clothes because I'm bound to spill on myself or be spilled on, I'm considering attaching my Nalgene to my backpack via my Carabiner Hook so I don't have to be concerned about having a 3rd hand to carry a water bottle....Anything else anyone thinks I must do (besides the obvious of eating a solid breakfast/lunch and making sure to spit/dump and continue to eat while there!)?

Take Your Rubber Chicken to Work Finalist!

February 28, 2008
Dear Readers,

My photo for Twisted Oak's Take Your Rubber Chicken to Work Week has been chosen as a finalist!

He's up against some pretty good competitors to win, so if you would, please cast your vote for Bob the chicken. Voting is at El Bloggo Torcido through March 4, and you can only vote once, so please consider Bob's photo, #3! Additionally, if you leave your email address with your vote, you will be entered to win a $20 coupon to Twisted Oak Winery.

Thank you for your support, and go Bob!

Is it summer yet?

February 27, 2008
Although I grew up in New England and didn't leave until about 5 years ago, I'm tired of winter this year. It hasn't even been a particularly bad winter here, and certainly not by the standards I was used to, but nonetheless, I want summer. So with that in mind I am pretending and drinking more Sauvignon Blanc.

The bottle for the evening was a 2004 Mazzocco Sauvignon Blanc. It has a real cork, weighed in at 15% alcohol (holy smokes!), and cost us $14 at the winery.

On the nose I found melon, grass, vanilla, oak, and lemon. I was surprised. I don't really remember tasting this wine at the winery, but I must have, and I usually don't care for oaked Sauvignon Blanc. In the mouth, the flavors were melon, lemon, grass, and lime. The wine was citrusy overall, but the oak gave it a really full body.

Perhaps Better Late Than Never: WBC #1

February 26, 2008
Our assignment for the first edition of the Wine Book Club (WBC) came from David of McDuff's Food and Wine Trail. He tasked us with a book longer than any I have read in the last 5 years, unless you count Harry Potter and law school case books. Yes, this makes me less than intellectual, but honestly, I don't have much of an inclination to read any more. I got tired of it to be truthful, and I still read so much for work, that the thought of picking up a long book when I get home just doesn't appeal to me. I clearly read a bit, I've reviewed a few wine books here for you before, and will continue to do so as I get more from PR people and publishers (in fact, I've got one for you soon, I read half on the plane to Atlanta and intend to finish is Friday on the way home!). So I must say, I was actually quite glad when Dr. Debs proposed the idea of a wine book club. Like other wine geeks, wine books pile up on my shelves, and I really should get around to them!

With that in mind, I picked up this month's book, Vino Italiano, by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch, and got to reading. It's 531 pages including all indexes and appendices. It took me the whole assignment time, but I did it.

First thoughts: The organization, especially with the appendices and indexes, makes this the ideal reference book on Italian Wine. You can find anything about Italian wine that you never thought you wanted to know instantaneously. Each chapter has a handy guide at the end giving the quick and dirty on the region, the principle grapes, key vintages, etc. I found the guides to be one of the most useful parts of the book, if you aren't inclined to read it in its entirety, and trust me, I'd be the last to blame you for that one, you can easily flip to the guides and get a fast overview of the region, which can assist you in deciding if the chapter is one that will intrigue you or not. I see myself turning to this book both as a reference in the future, and for more knowledge on particular grapes and regions.

Second thoughts: The stories at the beginning of each chapter kept me going to the next chapter, even when I felt a little bogged down in the weeds. They were fun and charming tales of a slice of life in each region, and I salivated over some of the food described, while feeling a bit repulsed by other "delicacies."

Third thoughts: The book contains so much information, that it's hard to digest all at once, and I think perhaps the pick and choose as you are interested in a region approach might be the best in tackling this book.

Fourth thoughts: Italian wines and varietals were on my list this year of things to learn about. So really this was a perfect book for me to read. I dove in, and was again astounded by the sheer volume of types of Italian wine. But alas, I came away a touch disappointed as I learned that many of the very small production local grapes are just not available here in the US. I guess that cements my desire to make our next BIG vacation to'll satisfy the classical historian in Matt and my desire to drink lots of Italian wines and gorge myself on priscutto drizzled with fresh pressed olive oil....::drifts into a daydream of cheese, cured meats, and wine::

And ultimately, that's where Vino Italiano left me: hungry (thirsty?) to try more Italian wines (and cured meats), and to continue referencing the book to learn more as I am drinking. Which, I think might be my next adventure. Pick a chapter, find a wine from that region, and drink the wine while learning about the region.

Thanks to David for hosting this month and to Dr.Debs for the WBC idea!

Technical Difficulties

I am currently experiencing technical difficulties of an earlier than anticipated/scheduled meeting this morning (come on folks, it's before 6am my time, this is way before I am usually up and ready to go for the day) variety and of an internet connectivity variety.

Please stay tuned, I do have a review of Vino Italiano for you for the first meeting of the Wine Book Club, and I hope to be able to get to a WiFi spot after my conference this evening and post it for you.

Drink Up!

February 25, 2008
The wine of the evening was a 2005 Michel Schlumberger Syrah from Dry Creek Valley. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and cost us $25 in a club shipment. It doesn't appear to be available on their website yet, so I have no idea what it would cost on its own.

On the nose I found berries, cherries, jam, vanilla, spices, earth, and pepper!! The nose was very very fruity. In the mouth, the flavors were of berries, cherries, black currants, and pepper. The wine was smooth and incredibly fruity, much more so than I expect from a Syrah.

Overall, the wine was slightly tannic on the back of the palate when we first started drinking but by the second glass, that was gone. The flavors really came out in the second glass, and the wine seems smooth and ready to drink. I wouldn't hang onto this one much longer if you have it in stock.

Open That Bottle Night!

February 24, 2008
I took quite a while in narrowing down the bottle I was going to open for Open That Bottle Night, after Farley alerted me to the event. I initially put out a few thoughts on which one I wanted to open in her post on OTBN, but hadn't quite decided exactly which one would fall victim to my palate this evening. We have several bottles that we are "saving," in that they are slightly more expensive than bottles we normally drink, and they came to us through different channels. I am always hesitant to open them, thinking I should wait.

But I suppose that is the main goal of OTBN. Get down in your cellar and pull out a bottle you've been hoarding, and make an occasion of a random Saturday night in February. After some thought and deliberation, I settled on the 2000 Cyrus from Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Matt and I picked this bottle up on our honeymoon, and it is quite a bit more pricey than our usual bottle, so we'd been letting it sit in the basement, thinking we'd find some special occasion on which to open it. Well, just over a year and a half has passed, and we've celebrated an anniversary and purchasing our first house, plus several promotions and two new jobs, yet the bottle still had not been opened. So tonight was the night!

The 2000 Cyrus is a Bordeaux style blend made of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot. It weighed in at 14% alcohol by volume, cost us $55, and had a real cork closure. I served it with pasta and homemade sauce, but it needed a bit of time to open, so we really enjoyed it after dinner.

On the nose of the Cyrus I found spice, tar, pine trees, blackberries, leather, like a worn jacket, and white pepper. The wine was very aromatic, as I sat here, I could smell black cherry wafting out of the glass as the wine aired. In the mouth, the flavors were black cherries, blackberries, plums, and vanilla. The fruit was fresh and tart.

Overall, the wine was smooth, and drinking beautifully now. The mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I expected from the nose, but the fruit did not disappoint, and the finish was long and lingering.

So now, I'm sitting here with a full stomach, just enjoying the aroma of the wine, the company of Matt, and a movie. An otherwise terribly ordinary evening in the Wannabe Wino house, but what a better occasion than to open a special bottle of wine and make a night of it? Thanks to Farley for telling me about OTBN!

Virginia Chardonnay

February 23, 2008
The wine for the evening was a Linden Vineyards 2005 Avenius Chardonnay. It clocked in at 12.8% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. This was a gift from a guest at our PS tasting back in December.

On the nose of the wine I found pear, oak, butter, and toast. Or perhaps buttered toast. In the mouth the flavors were entirely of pear and apple. The wine had a slightly oily mouthfeel, and the flavors were smooth.

Overall I thought this was a well done VA white. It was not overpowered by the oak and butter that I found on the nose, but seemed to have just enough oak to give it a full body.

I served the wine with spaghetti carbonara, a recipe I was trying for the first time. I'm not sure if it was the recipe, or if I did something wrong, but it was quite dry. I don't expect my carbonara to be creamy per se, but this was just dry. I got the recipe from my Silver Spoon cookbook. I don't think I'll try that one again, but I will keep looking for a good recipe, carbonara is one of Matt's favorite dishes.

WBW #43-Comfort Wines

February 22, 2008
Our host for this month is Joel, formerly of Vivi's Wine Journal fame, but currently of Wine Life Today and OpenWine Consortium fame. Not to mention he's got a new baby on the way within a few weeks! Talk about a busy guy.

Anyway, he's come up with a new twist for this month: Comfort Wines. Your task? Simply pick any wine you love to unwind to and tell us about why it's a comfort wine for you on March 5! This one will be a bit difficult for me...I don't really return to the same bottle over and over again. So I'll think on this one for the next few days to figure out what to drink!

All the details are over here on the Wine Life Today blog.

Also, don't forget that the new WBW logo contest is still ongoing. Details here.

Open That Bottle Night is tomorrow! So dust off that bottle you've been hanging onto and drink it tomorrow night (or day or morning, whatever your inclination)! You can find more details here.

And, one more reminder, the Wine Book Club's first "meeting" on Vino Italiano is next week, Feb. get reading. Details here. I'm getting there. I'm over 300 pages in, and the real meat of the book is 385...the rest is sort of an appendix, so if I can mange 85 more pages in the next few days, I'm golden!

Is that a Rubber Chicken?

February 20, 2008
My rubber chicken came to work with us today, and hopefully had a good time. He got a little bored on our 40+ minute commute into the city and tried to drive, but Matt was having none of that.

Now, I'm not sure how many of you have ever walked the streets of a major city carrying a rubber, chicken, but for some reason, people seem to stare at you while you do. And all my poor chicken Bob wanted to do was see the sights! It also makes people talk to you, something that doesn't happen a lot here.

First he (my chicken is a boy, he's a little confused as to why he's a chicken) got a gander at the Washington Monument on his walk to work. He wasn't that impressed with the size, but I explained to him that it's much bigger than it appears.

He didn't realize that the walk to work is 14 blocks, and he got tired, so he took a break on this lion while trying to see if any muckety mucks were at the Capital Grille this early.

My chicken was utterly unimpressed with my cube, which may be the crappiest one in the office since I was last hired in my group, so he took off and wandered the building. Bob found himself at a podium and tried to give a speech, but unfortunately government minions don't seem to understand "chicken."

Bob got a real scare later. He was suddenly surrounded by terrifying Government agencies, and he didn't know where to turn.

Ack! The FBI!! Bob has some %$#* in his past, let's get out of here!

Freaking A! The Department of Justice. I acted nonchalantly for Bob's sake, and told the Justice Agents who guard the building that Bob and I were on a scavenger hunt. They nodded and understood when I told them the prize was wine, or maybe they just like my new hairdo....

And the worst of all, the IRS!

Bob was ready to run now, so we skeedadled out of there as fast as we could, but Bob got distracted by this engraving on the front of the National Archives. Hey, who can blame him? He's a chicken, and it did have the word seed in it. And harvest, bonus! But we were far enough away (in Bob's mind anyway) from the really scary government agencies, so he mellowed out .

Finally, it was time to go home, and Bob took in one last sight, the Capitol, as we waited for Matt to come out so we could go home.

All in all, it was a long tiring day for Bob, and he was happy to get home and go back to roosting in my kitchen chandelier, where he's been chilling since his long journey from Twisted Oak to my house.

Thanks to El Jefe and the Twisted Crew for "Take your Chicken to Work Day." I had a lot of fun with Bob, and my coworkers got a good chuckle over my chicken companion.

Devil's Gotcha

February 19, 2008
The wine for the evening was a 2006 Devil's Corner Pinot Noir which I served in our schmancy new Reidel stemless glasses. The wine hails from Tasmania, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, screw-cap closure and cost me $16.99 minus a 10% case discount at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria. I've never had a wine from Tasmania before!

On the nose the wine was spicy and herbal, with leather, pepper, oak must, and perhaps a tiny bit of cherry, but that was barely there. In the mouth I found tart cherry, raspberry, leather, and earth. The wine was tannic, so perhaps it needs a little more time to mellow out.

Overall, a decent Pinot Noir for the money.

A Different Kind of Wine

February 18, 2008
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle of wine from Bottlenotes as part of a sample pack.

Several months ago (okay, perhaps more like 6 months ago) a PR firm for the wine club and online wine store Bottlenotes contacted me and asked if I would like to participate in a blogger trial of their online wine club. They gave me a credit which I could use to join any of their many clubs for a few months. After perusing the options, I chose the Dinner Party Club for 3 months, 2 bottles at a time. Though I must admit, I was sorely tempted by the Little Black Dress Club, I was curious about a wine club geared toward women and touted by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow!

The concept behind the Dinner Party Club is just that, a dinner party worth of wines in a box. Though I would guess to get the full experience you would have to go for a larger shipment than the 2 bottle one, since that would give you the whole meal!

I had to ship the club to my parents' house, since at the time (not sure if that's changed) Bottlenotes could not ship to Virginia. The shipments arrived like clockwork on my parents' doorstep and I was eager to collect them over Christmas as I had been reading the emails with what the shipments contained for months.

My second shipment brought a bottle of white and a bottle of red. The white, which I will review here, was a 2006 Amehlo, which can be purchased for $14.50 and the red a Cabernet Sauvignon that I have yet to taste.

The Amehlo comes from Alain Moueix in Stellenbosch, South Africa. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and was a blend of 63% Sauvignon Blanc and 37% Semillon grapes. Because I was curious, and the label told me, Amehlo means "the eye" and represents the leopards that live by the vineyard.

On the nose of the wine I found pineapple butter. It was neither pineapple or butter, but what I would imagine a spread made in apple butter style but with pineapple instead would smell like. I also got pear, pastry cream (the kind of custard like stuff in eclairs) and an almost minty/herbal aroma. The nose was dominated by tropical flavors. The nose was unlike any other wine I've smelled. In the mouth I found lemon cream, tropical fruit, and a bit of a grassy flavor. The wine was crisp with a really light mouth feel that I didn't expect after the nose. The flavors were clean.

The wine was very different overall. I've never had a blend of these two grapes before, so I like that it got me to try something I likely would never have picked up in the store. We drank this on it's own, which was great, but I think it would do well with a light white fish dish or with cheese and crackers!

A Barbera Kind of Month

February 17, 2008
I picked up this bottle of 2006 Ruvei Marchesi di Barolo Barbera D'Alba at The Winery in Old Town, Alexandria for $18.99 minus a 10% case discount. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and had one of those terrible plastic cork closures.

On the nose I found cherries and leather. The nose was sweet with spicy undertones. In the mouth I got flavors of dark cherry and spice. The wine was lighter in the mouth than other Barbera's that I've had. It didn't have as much going on as similarly priced bottles either.

It was a nice quaffing wine, but look for other bottles in the same price range that offer a better value.

WBW #42- Round Up Posted!

February 16, 2008
Andrew over at Spittoon has posted his round-up for WBW #42 Just Seven Words. Apparently he was trying to rival me in how fast one could get a round up posted! ;)

So head on over and check it out, lots of participants and interesting takes on the assignment, plus, Andrew is not sharing what wines people drank, just their seven words, so you will have to click through to discover what wine the words represent! Thanks again to Andrew for hosting this month!

Also, just a quick reminder that the contest to design a logo for WBW is still on going, with several great prizes now available for the winner. Stop by Wine Blogging Wednesday for all the details!

As always, I'll let you know as soon I know what the next theme will be!

I don't know where I got this wine

Literally, I have no idea. I usually write these things down, but it had no price tag on it, which makes me think it didn't come from The Winery. I think perhaps my brother gave it to me for Christmas, I know he gave me two bottles of wine, but I have several Italian reds of unknown origin, and I don't remember which one was from him! See, I told you I'm losing my mind!

Anyway, the wine as a 2003 Camp' du Rouss Coppo Barbera D'Asti. It looks like you can find it for about $18 online, it clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

The wine had a deep and bitter nose. It showed a little barnyard funk, but it blew off quickly. A little fruit, but it comes and goes, raspberry, blackberry, and dark cherry. The nose was leathery, very leathery. In the mouth, I found red raspberry, a little spice, and leather on the back of the palate. Overall the wine was smooth, a tiny bit tannic at the finish, but well integrated. The flavors were dominated by the leather. For around $18 I think this is a good value for a Barbera.

Losing Pictures (and my mind apparently)

February 15, 2008

Disclosure: I received this bottle of wine from WineQ as part of my Beta Club Membership.

I swear I took a picture of this wine. I remember taking the pictures. But it's not on my memory card or loaded into my computer, so I'm stumped as to what happened to it. Apparently this is the week of lost wine pictures.

In any case, the wine was a bottle of 2006 Jeriko Estates Rose. It can be purchased from WineQ for $12.99 (and free shipping if you spend $35), it clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. The wine is from Mendocino and is organically produced as are all wines from Jeriko Estates.

On the nose I found strawberry, lime, and kiwi. I wish I had my picture, I especially recall noting the cool salmon color of this wine. You'll have to deal with the giant stock photo courtesy of WineQ though! In the mouth the wine showed strawberry, lime, and watermelon.

Overall, the wine was quite fruity, but it had good acidity and structure so the fruits weren't sweet, but nice and tart. In my ever so eloquent notes, I described the wine as "Yummy!" and I really enjoyed the fruit qualities in the bottle. This is one I really enjoyed, especially for the price, and have already added to my Q at WineQ!

More Dessert Wine

February 14, 2008
And just a very quick review as I seem to have misplaced the picture for this bottle!

The wine was a 2005 Bella Vineyards Late Harvest Zinfandel from Big River Ranch Vineyards. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost us $20.40. I can't recall if this came in a club shipment or if we picked it up at the actual vineyard.

We drank this for dessert on Christmas (did I mention that I got really backlogged on wines over December?) with various cookies and puff pastries. On the nose I got blackberry and spice. The nose was sweet and very pungent. In the mouth, it tasted like blackberry wine and was quite sweet.

WBW #42 Just Seven Words

February 13, 2008
Wine: 2005 Carpineto Dogajolo Dry Red Table Wine
Cost: About $12 at The Winery
Alcohol Content:13%
Closure: Real cork
Locale: Tuscany, Italy
Blend: 80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

Many thanks to Andrew of Spittoon who is hosting this iteration of WBW, with the theme "Just Seven Words." Andrew asked us to choose an Italian red, any Italian red, and put our tasting notes into just 7 words that are grammatically correct.

My 7 words:

Riding horses through eucalyptus and berry fields.

Invasion of Domaines

February 12, 2008
Two quick reviews today, of two wines from different Domianes!

First up, the 2005 Robert Martin Saint Veran Domaine de la Denante from France. I picked this bottle up at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria for $15.99 back when BrooklynGuy was hosting Silver Burgundy wines from Macon for WBW. It was going to be a potential contender for my post for that WBW, but I am glad I chose the other bottle instead. This bottle clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and cost me $15.99 minus a 10% case discount. On the nose I found lemon, vanilla, oak, and asparagus. Yes, you read that right, asparagus, it was unmistakable. In the mouth the wine was oaky and I only found lemon. This was a very dry white wine, and not very complex.

Next up, a 2005 Domaine Longval Tavel. This was a Rose, I picked it up at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT for around $10, it clocked in at 14.5% alcohol and had a real cork closure. The alcohol absolutely dominated this wine and ruined it for me. 14.5% for a Rose is absurd, the light flavors and refreshing quality I expect from a Rose are crushed by such high alcohol. The nose eventually gave up strawberry and minerals and the mouth showed only strawberry and alcohol. NMS.

Big Dark Cabernet Sauvignon

February 11, 2008
Even though this bottle of wine clocked in at 14.1% alcohol (which in my opinion, for a CA Cabernet Sauvignon is actually low) it was still a BIG wine. Kind of sad when I feel that 14.1% alcohol is low, but given that I have seen over 16% alcohol for some bottles, I would gather my perspective is a bit skewed, but that is a discussion for another day.

The wine in question was a 2004 Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley. It had a real cork closure and was purchased by my dad, so I don't know what he paid, but it looks to be available online for about $20. A word of caution, this wine needs more time in the bottle or a good decanting before you drink it.

On the nose of the wine I found black cherry, blackberry, leather, and plums. In the mouth there were cherries and dark berries. The wine was tannic and the mouth didn't open up while I was drinking it, and I really only got the one glass since 6 of us were sharing the bottle!

Polls Closed and 2 reminders!

February 10, 2008
Reminder #1: WBW #42 Just 7 Words is coming up this Wednesday! So get your red Italian wine and your editing pencil ready, and be creative! I drank my bottle the other night, and I think I have crafted 7 words that capture pretty well what the wine is like.

Reminder #2: WBC #1 (Wine Book Club) arrives in the blogosphere on Tuesday, February 26. The book is Vino Italiano and it is a long one, so if you haven't started reading, get cracking! I am not very far along, but am making progress every day, so hopefully I will make it through by that date!

And finally, the 2nd poll of Wannabe Wino readers has closed. The question this time was "How many bottles of wine do you keep around?" The slight winner, with 8 votes and 23% of the vote goes to 40-100 bottles, with 0-15 coming in a close second with 7 votes and 20% of the vote. Apparently, quite a few winos read the blog, with 6 of you voting for "Please don't make me count, I don't have that many fingers and toes." 34 people total voted in this poll. Personally, we have between 150-200 bottles on hand in the Wannabe Wino house at any given time. That number dwindles drastically in the summer when wine clubs can't ship because of the weather, but we try to make up the difference with local vineyard and wine shop purchases!

I'm going to stick up another poll over in the sidebar, this time on what country's wine do you drink most frequently. As always, I'm very interested to see where my readers fall, and I thank you for participating!

More Wine from the Coppola Estate

February 9, 2008
My Dad was on a real kick of wines from the Francis Ford Coppola Vineyards while we were visiting CT. I think he had gone a tasting at a local place and that was what they were serving, so we had a least a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Rose while there. The Rose was better than the Cabernet, but I still stand by recommending the vineyard as a place for lunch and the views over the wine. In case you haven't tasted in the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley areas, there aren't exactly many food options for lunch unless you want to head into downtown Healdsburg and leave the tasting trails! We mostly ate lunch at the Dry Creek General Store, where Matt swears by the potato salad. However, when you are tasting for a week + in the area, it's nice to change it up and have something different!

In any case, the wine. The bottle was a 2006 Sofia Rose Francis Ford Coppola Carneros Pinot Noir Rose. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume. I didn't purchase it, but it looks like it probably cost around $16-$17. If I had this bottle, it would annoy the heck out of me because the shape would take up more than its fair share of room on my wine rack!

On the nose of the wine I found lime, bananas, and strawberries. In the mouth I got roses, strawberries, and a little tart citrus on the finish. The wine was smooth, but it was sweeter than I prefer in a Rose...I like my Rose dry!

Eiswein! Real Eiswein!

February 8, 2008
I've hardly had any real Eiswein in my time as a wino, so I was very excited to taste a few different bottles over the Christmas holiday. The first was from Canada, and very good, however, this one from Germany took the prize.

The wine was a 2002 P.J. Vlackenberg Worms Au Rhein Rheinhessen Qualitatswein mit Pradikat Madonna Eiswein. (Phew, that was quite the mouthful.) My dad bought this at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT, so I don't really know the price point, but it appears to go for around $30 for 375 mL. It clocked in at 8.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

The first thing I noted on the wine was the golden honey color. On the nose, the aromas were honey, apricot, a touch of lemon. The nose smelled sweet with a bit of bite behind it. In the mouth, the wine showed honey, apricot, orange, and a a stony minerality.

The wine was delicious, sweet, as you would expect from an ice wine, but with great acidity and backbone. I got the wine when it was around 6 years old, but I could see how this could be one you could tuck away in your cellar for years to come.

Diving Back In to Montepulciano

February 7, 2008
After my last post on Montepulciano, Tasters A and B of Smells Like a Grape were quick to email me and assure me that there are excellent Montepulcianos out there, as they had just done an enormous tasting of them. Little did they know that I rarely (if ever) fully fall off the horse with a wine grape and will almost always give it another shot. As I had already done with the Montepulciano, with much more success.

The bottle was a 2005 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It has a real cork closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and ran me around $15 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.

On the nose I found spice, leather, raspberries, oak, red currants, a little saddle room, and eucalyptus. In the mouth I found raspberries, eucalyptus, and leather. The wine was a lot lighter in the mouth than I had anticipated based on the color and nose, and had the bitter element I have come to expect from Italian varietals.

This bottle definitely leads me to believe that my previous bottle of Montepulciano must have been flawed in some way, either it was too old or perhaps it got cooked along the way.

Happy New Year (again)!

February 6, 2008
Alternative title: I love Roederer. I really do. We first were introduced to Roederer in August of 2006 while out in Sonoma. The inn keeper suggested we stop at Roederer on our way up to Bodega Bay, and I am very glad we did. While there we picked up several lovely sparklers, including my perennial favorite, the 1999 L'Ermitage Brut. Sadly, I have trouble finding that one any more, but I still pick up a bottle of Roederer when we are in a fancier sparkling wine mood.

With that in mind, I scooped up this bottle of Roederer 25th Anniversary Brut the second I saw it on the shelf at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria, thinking it would be perfect for New Year's Eve. It cost me $23.99 minus a 10% case discount and had a traditional sparkling wine closure. We drank it out of the stemless Champagne flutes my Dad received for Christmas!

On the nose the wine was toasty and nutty. I also found aromas of apples and lemons. In the mouth, the apples and toasty notes dominated the flavor. The wine was tangy and dry, and very crisp in the mouth. The bubbles were tiny in the glass and there were tons of them.

Absolutely a great wine to ring in the New Year with and one I would get again, easily.

Sauvignon Blanc Again!

February 5, 2008
So there you have it. I drink what I want, when I want, regardless of the weather :) We drank quite a bit of Sauvignon Blanc over the last month or so, and particularly over the holiday season. The particular bottle for this night was a Nederburg 2005 Sauvignon Blanc from the Westeer Cape of South Africa. The wine clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and cost me $11.95 at MV Wine and Spirit.

On the nose I found kiwi, gooseberries, tropical fruit, and flowers. I really liked the nose on this wine. In the mouth the wine showed gooseberry, citrus-particularly lemon and lime, and a hint of tropical fruit.

The wine was crisp overall, and tart, but not mouth-puckering like some New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, and softer than some of the bottles I've been drinking from Chile. I thought this bottle was a good value and one I wouldn't hesitate to pick up again.

Wine Upon Wine....

February 4, 2008
One evening at my parents' house, a lot of wine was consumed in one evening. We had around 10 people at the house and the wine was flowing all evening.

I believe this was the second bottle of the evening. We started with a Sauvignon Blanc, but my Aunt didn't like it and requested a Merlot. I just happened to have a Merlot blend on hand!

The wine was a Chateau Rocher Corbin 2002 Montagne Saint Emillion. I purchased it for $18.99 minus a 10% case discount at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. The wine was a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

On the nose I found dark fruit, blackberries, oak, and black currants. In the mouth the flavors were of black currants, plums, and other dark fruit. The wine was tannic and a bit chewy in the mouth, this was definitely a wine that would benefit from being consumed with food. We finished the bottle up over a roast turkey and all the fixings, but I think it would be better with a pork roast.

Babich Sauvignon Blanc

February 3, 2008
I picked up this bottle of 2006 Babich Sauvignon from Marlborough, New Zealand at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT for $8.95. It had a screw cap closure and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol.

On the nose I found gooseberries, citrus, and tropical fruit. The wine smelled crisp. In the mouth the wine was dry, crisp, and acidic. It showed gooseberries and citrus.

The profile was typical for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but it didn't seem right. The flavors were forced and it tasted processed.

A Little Mouthful

February 2, 2008
That's about all you need of Ice Wine! While we were visiting the folks in CT, my dad wanted to try ice wine, which he had seen me drink at a restaurant a while back. So we went to MV Wine and Spirit one night and bought a bottle. Now, this is an actual ice wine, frozen on the vines, but it's not from Germany, but the Niagara Peninsula.

The bottle was a Peller Estates Limited Edition Founders Series 2003 Vidal Ice Wine. It clocked in at 11.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost $44.95.

On the nose of the wine I found honey, apricots, and golden raisins. These flavors all carried through to the mouth, into a gorgeous smooth concoction that went down very easily. The wine was sweet, as ice wines tend to be, but it had great structure with the acidic backbone.

This wine was the hit of the evening, and given the 6 bottles were consumed that night, that should say something. It met with universal approval and everyone asking for seconds! Too bad the ice wine bottles are so small!

Drinking the Dr. Loosen Riesling

February 1, 2008
I've heard a lot about Dr. Loosen Riesling over the years but just hadn't gotten around to trying it. While at my parents' house I found a bottle at the local wine shop and had to have it! I picked up this 2002 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Spatlese Riesling from the Mosel Saar Ruwer at MV Wines for $34. It clocked in at only 7.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose of the wine I found honey, flowers, minerals, petrol, and a stony note. In the mouth the wine was dominated by honey and apricots. The wine was smooth and drinking really well, but I could see how you could hang onto this one for years with the acidic structure.

This bottle may have been the hit of the Christmas holidays, although an Eiswein we had gave it a run for its money. I would definitely buy this wine again.