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November 1, 2008
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Chilling at Chatom

October 31, 2008

I had one full day to spend in Murphys so I wanted to make the most of it. Murphys boasts around 20 wineries these days, which made it impossible to visit anywhere near all of them…but I sure took a shot at it! Sadly, I failed miserably, but the wineries I did manage to visit are certainly all worth a look if you make it out to Murphys.

First thing in the morning I stopped by Chatom Vineyards. Now, as you may recall, I reviewed their 2003 Esmerelda Syrah about a year and a half ago, after my mother in law went to her high school reunion and discovered several of her classmates owned vineyards, one of which is Chatom. So I made sure to stop by there to check out the rest of their offerings.

I showed up to Chatom slightly before they officially open, but as I quickly discovered in Murphys, if someone is at the tasting room, the doors are open for you to come in and taste. Chatom had a gorgeous porch area with tables where it would have been a perfect day to enjoy some wine and a light lunch. The tasting room itself is on the small side, however, the bar is good sized, and as it was just me, it worked out perfectly.

2006 She Wines White: $12. Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend. Pineapple, pear, apple, crisp but seemed to have some sweetness/sugar to it. All the profits from this wine benefit American Cancer Society.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc: $16. Light, tropical, pineapple, peach, crisp, very nice.

2005 Semillon: $16. Pear, banana, apple, light, very different. I don’t think I’ve ever had a 100% Semillon before.

2006 Chardonnay: $18. Nice nose of pear, apple, green apple, green pepper, flowers. Stainless steel fermented. Very well done, I took one home.

2005 Gitano Sangiovese: $16. Strawberry, cherry, vanilla, earthy, nice, light mouthfeel. One of my favorites of the tasting.

2004 She Wines Red: $12. Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Touriga Nacional blend. Raspberry, cherry, red fruit, tart. The profits from this wine benefit the American Heart Association.

2004 Zinfandel: $18. Blackberry, chocolate, plum, fresh tart fruit, slight oak, cherry, red in the mouth.

2004 Merlot: $20. Berries, plums, chocolate, red raspberries, juicy fruit, tannins, yum. I purchased one bottle.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: $26. Earth, leather, forest, red fruit, coffee, raspberries, tannic.

2004 Syrah: $22. Dark charred meat, slight dark fruit, black cherries, tannins, toasted caramel, dark fruit.

2004 Esmeralda Syrah: $34. Chocolate, red berries, jam, cherry, red fruit, anise, nice finish. I loved this yet again and brought one home.

2004 Vintage Port: $28. Chocolate liquors, Tinto Cao, Sousa, Alvarelho, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barola, Chocolate, candied raisins, light, nice mouthfeel.

Twisted Fricken

October 30, 2008
The Fricken

I arrived in CA on 10.22 and immediately hopped in my (crappy) rental car to make my way up to Calaveras County. Calaveras County you say? Where’s that and why would you want to go there? Easy. Calaveras County is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, about 2 hours slightly north east of Oakland Airport. It’s also a place where some absolutely fabulous wines are being made, in particular from Twisted Oak, the impetus behind my trip.

Twisted Oak

I’ve been a Twisted Few member (thanks mom!) for about a year now and have been drinking the wines since I joined WineQ in ’07. When I pulled up to Twisted Oak, the first thing I noticed was the Fricken. That’d be a frog chicken for those who are uninitiated into the world of Twisted Oak.

A Twisted Tasting Bar

Shortly thereafter Jeff Stai, owner of Twisted Oak, pulled up and we meandered off with Nacha to tour the winery and do a little barrel tasting. I never say no to a barrel tasting! Twisted Oak keeps the barrels in a cave they blasted out during the building of the winery.

A Twisted tasting room

We tasted quite a few things from the barrels, and a couple really stood out to me. The ’07 Spaniard is just going to be a beautiful wine. It won’t be released for a year (the ’06 Spaniard just got released a month or so ago) so I expect it will be even more delicious when it’s bottled. The next vintage of the Pig Stai Port also showed incredibly well from the barrel. I could have stayed all day tasting the sample!
Jeff and the wine thief...

By happy chance, my stay in Murphys coincided with Twisted Oak’s Crush Party, celebrating the fact that all the grapes have been picked and crushed for the 2008 vintage! So the Twisted Crew was kind enough to put up with me crashing the crush party, where of course, Twisted juice flowed! Along with the current releases, some library selections also crept into the mix. I tasted the ’03 Murgatroyd, which may just take the place of my favorite Twisted Oak wine. Drinking beautifully, full of fruit, a full-bodied red that I just wanted to drink more of. The 2003 Grenache and the 2002 Syrah were also amazing, and I think I should just let my Twisted Oak wines age for several more years as they keep getting better.

Granacha Blanc, aka Nacha, Twisted Oak's big white dog. We're tight now.

Many thanks to all the folks at Twisted Oak, especially Mary and Jeff, for being so welcoming and showing me all the hot spots in Murphys ;)

The famous Twisted Oak. Who wouldn't want to picnic here?

Pictures Pictures Everywhere

October 28, 2008
I took 400+ pictures at the Wine Blogger Conference. I'll share a few today from day two of the event.

Sara Lee tells us about her vineyards.

Grapes at Sara Lee's Vineyards (they were tasty I tried them as we hiked).
One of the winemakers talks about his wine at the lunch after the hike.
Jill of Domiane547 takes diligent notes!
The anti conference with Zensolo, WineScholarship, Penny of Coral Mustang, and Thea.

Our fearless leader Joel at the Sebastini dinner.

Russ toasts at dinner.

And that's all for today folks, I'm off to the Culinary Institute of America to taste at a press tasting!

Wine Times

October 27, 2008
I'm not quite sure where to even begin to start talking about the Wine Blogger Conference I just attended. I have so much to tell you about new wines I tasted, new wine services I learned about that you need to know about, sharing the joys of social media with folks who are just starting to dip their pinky toes in, and many many more things.

I will be staying in Healdsburg for a couple more days where I promise I will have even more to tell you about and I can guarantee it will take me weeks if not months to sort through all my notes and experience from this past week.

Some highlights and what you will definitely be hearing about shortly:

*Crush party for Twisted Oak
*Terrorizing Murphys as I attempted to visit as many wineries in 1 day as I could
*Discovering Emtu Wines
*Tasting at C. Donatiello

Stay tuned for even more as I make my way through all of the great info and wines (and I taste even more over the next 2 days!)

But until then, a few photos:

Thea of Vinquire, me, and Shana Ray of Shana; Not out on VHS Yet

Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 enjoys a fresh local fig at Sara Lee's vineyard after our hike.

Thea of Vinquire and El Jefe make nice.

What's a Murgatroyd?

October 24, 2008

Well I have no idea, but it sure tastes good when it comes from Twisted Oak. I picked the 2004 Twisted Oak Murgatroyd to drink on one of the first truly "crisp" days around these parts. Even though the weather hasn't quite caught up yet, I'm feeling the red wine season pull pretty strongly these days. The wine arrived in a club shipment, and I think it cost around $20, but I can't be sure as this vintage appears to no longer be available. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume.

The color of this wine reminded me of squished blackberries. On the nose I found nutmeg, blueberry, vanilla, spice, herbs, mint, and other dark fruit. In the mouth I got cherries, red fruit, blueberries, vanilla, raspberries, spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and plums. This was like drinking comfort food in a glass of wine. Definitely perfect for what I was looking for that night: A layered red, with nice complexity in the mouth, and big spicy fruit. YUMMY!

Overall, the wine was quite dark in the mouth, though the fruit seemed very tart. The wine showed smooth and is drinking really well right now. So if you've been hanging onto this bottle, I can easily recommend pulling it out and drinking it this fall/winter.

Rose, Rose, I Love You

October 23, 2008

I pulled out the 2007 Thomas Fogarty Rose of Barbera from Fiddletown Vineyards to drink the other night. I picked this up at the winery while Russ and I were tasting for $22. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume. I loved this at the tasting and the fact that it was made from Barbera grapes intrigued me, so I took a bottle home!

All I can say at first about this is wine is YUM! And I loved the bright pink color! On the nose I found slight cream, lime, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, and spice. The nose smelled refreshing and I couldn't wait to drink the whole glass and then some. Overall, the mouth showed the same flavors as the nose, though I got even more red fruit, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, in the mouth than I did on the nose.

In the mouth, the wine showed dry as a bone. It's a crisp Rose with racy acidity. I wish I had found this one when the weather was more suited for Rose as it's just fantastic! I end with the same sentiment I started with: YUM!

Whosit? Whatsit? The Great Whatsit!

October 22, 2008

You may be wondering, what exactly is The Great Whatsit? And where does it come from? How did I get it? Well I'll answer all that for you! The Great Whatsit is a Domain547 selection and this year it is a 2005 Syrah from Santa Ynez Valley. Domaine547 intends to have a Great Whatsit bottled every year, though there's no telling Whatsit will be from year to year! I purchased this wine from Domaine547 for $20, it clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and comes under a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found plums, cinnamon, baking spice, cobbler, pie, blackberries, licorice, espresso. It smelled like my kitchen when I've been baking, a veritable buffet of my favorite fruity cinnamony desserts all wrapped up into the nose of a wine! In the mouth I got flavors of black cherry, plums, bitter coffee, blackberry, and spice.

Overall, the wine had some tannins to spare, so let it air a bit or save it for a year. This is a dark wine, big and fruity, with a nice finish. Quite yummy! I think it might be up to $25 as I got it at an introductory price, but as with many of the wines Jill has recommended for me, this is great at the price point!

Leaving On A Jet(Blue) Plane

October 21, 2008
My long-awaited trip to CA for the Wine Blogger's Conference is finally here! I am joining 173 bloggers, wine folks, and other industry participants for 3 days of tasting, blogging, and good old fashioned fun in Santa Rosa.

Being that my trips to CA are few and far between, I've decided to take a few days of vacation before and after the conference and will be doing some exploring. I'm first heading up to Calaveras County to impose on the hospitality of El Jefe at Twisted Oak. I'm hoping to check out Twisted Oak and a few of the other wineries in the area before meandering down (across?) to Santa Rosa for the conference where I'll be splitting a room with Taster B!

After the conference, I'm taking advantage of Patrick and Genevieve and will be staying with them in Sonoma for a few days! During that time, I'm doing a tasting with Thea and others at Titus and attending a press tasting of St. Helena wines at the Culinary Institute of America!

Quite a busy week planned and I'm quite excited! I hope to blog live quite a bit from the conference, but will be pre-scheduling some posts to go up here while I'm gone just in case internet access is spotty.

I'm sure I'll have lots of new wineries and information to report to you when I get back!

The Last Hugel

October 20, 2008
*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine so I could participate in Twitter Taste Live

Ah, the last of the Hugels. I've written about the other 3 bottles we tasted for Twitter Taste Live, so it's time to round that out with the fourth Hugel wine from the Bin Ends Wine tasting. While this is the last wine I'll write about, we tasted it second the evening of the Twitter tasting. The 2005 Hugel Gewurtraminer may have been my favorite of the "regular" level Hugel wines that we tasted that evening. It either had Diam or a real cork, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and you can purchase it for around $17.

In the glass, this Gewurztraminer showed as a very pale, almost translucent color with just the slightest tinge of a straw color. You shouldn't be fooled by the pale color on this one though, the aroma just wafted across the room, huge! I found lychee, ginger, mango, bread fruit, spice, and roses. Just a gorgeous perfumed nose. In the mouth, I got flavors of white pepper, orange, lychee, ginger, and honey.

Overall, I would describe this wine as dancing in the mouth and quite alive. I found the wine refreshing, fun, and very tasty. This could easily be a go-to wine at the price point, and would make a really good Thanksgiving wine.

Zinning Again

October 17, 2008

Even though the 90 degree weather doesn't seem to be supporting my theory that it's actually fall here, I'm still digging the big red wines after a summer of lovely light whites and roses. Do for the evening, I picked a bottle of the 2006 Alderbrook Old Vine Zinfandel. It's from Dry Creek Valley, clocks in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost me $19 in a club shipment.

The wine showed as a dark purple color with red tinged edges in the glass. On the nose I found blackberry, boysenberry, vanilla, pie, spice, pepper, and cedar. The nose smelled really jammy. I got flavors of vanilla, blackberry, raspberry, cherries, pepper, and licorice in the mouth.

Overall, I'd describe this Zin as fruity, jammy, and big. It had tannins to spare though, so it might benefit from a little more time in the bottle.

Drinking from the Q

October 16, 2008
*Disclaimer: I received this bottle as a sample from WineQ because I am a member of their Beta Club.

We were looking for an after dinner wine the other night, something light and low in alcohol. The 2006 Ceja Sauvignon Blanc fit the bill nicely. You can buy this bottle from WineQ for $25.99, it clocks in a 12.9% alcohol by volume, and it had a real cork closure.

I loved the color on this wine. It had a great pale straw hue in the glass. On the nose I found aromas of grass, citrus, lime, lemon, grapefruit. The nose showed an incredible bouquet of tons of citrus. I love the grassy characteristic that California Sauvignon Blancs often have. In the mouth I got flavors of pineapple, star fruit, melon, lemon, grapefruit, and a nice herbal element.

Well chilled, this wine went perfectly with the muggy weather that we seem to still be having here in the DC swamp. As I said, we drank this on its own after dinner, but it would be perfect to whet your appetite as a before dinner drink.

Visiting Acorn Winery

October 15, 2008

We stopped by Acorn Winery on our last day in Sonoma at the recommendation of Patrick and Genevieve. If you'd like to make a stop at Acorn, you'll need to call and make an appointment as they don't (or at least they didn't) have a tasting room open to the public. We called the morning we wanted to visit and had no problem getting a tasting later that afternoon.

Acorn has been in the hands of the current owners since 1994. All of the wines are made from estate grown grapes and all the wines are field blends. The grapes come from 26 acres of the Alegria Vineyards and the annual production is about 2800 cases.

2005 Medley- A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cinsaut, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Mouvedre, Viognier, and a bunch of Muscat varieties. Raspberry, red cherries, peppery, nice fruit, well done. Matt loved this one, Acorn places a 3 bottle per customer limit on it and we took home 3 bottles.

2005 Sangiovese- Black cherry, plum, smoky, leather, toasted vanilla, mocha. We took home one.

2005 Heritage Vines Zinfandel-Vines planted in the 1890s. Smoky oak, peppery, plums, black fruit.

2005 Axiom Syrah-Vanilla, black cherries, earth smoke, red fruit, vanilla bean. Delicious, my favorite. Two bottles came home with us.

While we only tasted four of the current offerings, Acorn makes many other varieties. I would love to go back when they are tasting some of the other ones. The line up we did taste showed fantastically well, and I wish we could have taken home even more than we did, but we were trying to limit ourselves to no more than 6 bottles from a single winery so that we could bring home a greater selection. Next trip!

It's Still Summer

October 14, 2008
Or well, I'm pretending it is. The weather isn't helping either, as it's still in the 80s here. SO Rose weather reigns! I picked out one of the Roses from my 12 under $10 case from Total Wine and More. The 2007 Rserve Grand Veneur hails from the Cotes Du Rhone, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and contains Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault.
Reserve Grand Veneur

The wine looked like melted watermelon jolly ranchers in the glass. On the nose I found lime, raspberry, crab apple, and a slight spice. It smelled really good. In the mouth I got flavors of limes, strawberries, raspberries, and hard candy. The wine showed tart, crisp, and dry in the mouth. I found it quite refreshing and definitely a good simple wine for the price.

Bella, How I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

October 13, 2008

Bella has to be one of my favorite vineyards for big red wines. I regret the day I ever had to cut their club and am VERY happy to now be a member again. On the other hand, joining up again means that if I want another club I have to give up one that I already have. Ack!

I still have massive numbers of tomatoes in my garden (seriously, I think I grew mutant tomato plants, we must have picked hundreds of tomatoes and are still picking them) so I whipped up some fresh sauce, tossed in a bunch of basil and parmasean cheese, cooked up some pasta and called it a meal. With the dinner, I picked a bottle of the 2005 Bella Hillside Cuvee to drink. We picked up 2 bottles of this on our latest trip to Bella and received a 3rd in a club shipment. The wine cost $28 minus a club discount, clocked in a 14.9% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. The Hillside Cuvee is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 10% Petite Verdot.

On the nose of the wine I found espresso, dark cherries, blackberries, plum, chocolate, brown sugar, currants. The fruit struck me as big and dark, with lots of hints of other enticing aromas. In the mouth I got flavors of blackberry, plum, currants, boysenberry, blueberry, spice, and a bit of chocolate. The fruit came through as fresh and tart.

Overall, the wine seemed a bit tannic, and it had a little bit of heat. I think this one needs some time, so I'll hang onto my other two bottles and will report back over the next couple of years as we drink them. Not such a great match with my pasta dinner, but made for an excellent after dinner drink!

High Octane Wine

October 10, 2008

First off, holy high alcohol batman. I chose the 2006 Mauritson Rockpile Madrone Spring Vineyard Syrah for our wine the other night. It clocked in at 15.9% alcohol by volume!!!! That alone made it a one glass kind of wine. Now, as you know, I'm not one of those "high alcohol wines are all evil and unbalanced" type of people. However, I do like to have a glass of wine with dinner and one after. When the alcohol content is THAT high, I just can't. The wine cost us $38 minus a 20% discount in a club shipment and had a real cork closure.

In the glass, the wine showed as a deep dark purple, almost inky color. On the nose I found aromas of cinnamon, red hots, vanilla, pie, plum, black cherry, baking spice, espresso, and violets. The wine had an incredibly complex and intriguing nose and I didn't get any of the heat I expected from the alcohol level. In the mouth, the flavors came through as plum, black cherries, pepper, licorice, and a little leather.

Overall, in the mouth, the wine seemed a bit hot. It also had some tannins to spare, so perhaps with a bit of age this one would settle down. I really loved the nose, and thought the mouth had potential, maybe some decanting to let the heat integrate a little better.

Twitter Taste Live!

October 9, 2008
*Disclaimer: I received this wine from Michel Schlumberger as a sample to participate in the BinEndsWine Twitter Taste Line.

As you all probably know, I had the pleasure of co-hosting the most recent Twitter Taste Live with Michel Schlumberger and BinEndsWine in September. We had a great line up of wines for the evening, with the first being the 2006 Michel Schlumberger La Brume Chardonnay.

On those nose I found apple butter, pear, oak, green apples, spice, pineapple, tropical fruits, citrus, sweet corn, and caramel. In the mouth I got flavors of apple butter, melon, pears, pineapple, lemon, oak, and green apple. The pear seemed to show through the most, and at times I thought I would like to describe it as pear butter (like apple butter, but made of pears) though I can't say I know if such a thing even exists.

Overall, I thought the wine showed nice fruit, and I could see this being a really good match with a roast chicken. It retails for $28.80 and had a real cork closure.

WBW #50 Which Wine Which Wilderness

October 8, 2008

That's right folks, WBW crept up on us again this month. Our host for this golden birthday of WBW is a man who recently celebrated his own golden birthday, Russ, the Winehiker! In keeping with his interests and passions, Russ has set the theme for this WBW at Which wine, which wilderness? By this he meant he would like us to choose a wine we would like to drink after hiking a trail. He wants us to name the wine and the trail, and you get bonus points for choosing a local wine to the trail you select. You can get all the details here.

So here's the thing. On the scale of athletic to unathletic, I fall squarely in the "unathletic" camp. I force myself to exercise because it's good for me and with the amount of wine I consume I'd probably be the size of adult elephant in no time flat if I didn't. Sure, I've been on hikes. I hiked halfway up Mt. Moosilauke in NH before the altitude made it too hard for me to breathe and I got an asthma attack....but in reality I'm more of a "wine stroller" than a hiker.

Another notch against me is that within the Metro DC area, trails are simply not abundant. You'd have to drive a bit to get to anything remotely strenuous.

After considerable thought, I've decided that my trail is the Mt. Vernon Trail. We walk this one quite frequently as it's beautiful and very close to our house. The Mt. Vernon Trail goes all the way from Mt. Vernon to Roosevelt Island, all along the banks of the Potomac River. It's about 18 miles long, fully paved, and is open to both walkers/runners and bicycles. Matt and I like to walk back and forth along about a 4 mile stretch of this trail, through a pretty marsh land and up into Old Town Alexandria.

If I were to have a glass of wine at the end of this, I'd stop along the way at one of the many picnic spots along the scenic Potomac (you can see lots of the monuments from the trail) and pop the cork on a bottle of the 2006 Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer in honor of Russ himself and the wine hike he took me on a few weeks ago that ended with a tasting at Thomas Fogarty in the Santa Cruz Mountains!

The above picture is a Banana Slug I took a picture of while hiking with Russ. These creatures fascinated me and I'm sure it annoyed Russ to no end that I kept stopping to examine them and take loads of photos!

The Thomas Fogarty 2006 Gewurztraminer hails from Monterey County. It cost me $17 at the winery, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. On the nose I found orange blossom, honey, ginger, lime, spice, tropical fruit, lychee, flowers, and something almost nutty. The nose on this wine kept going and going, so aromatic. You could smell your glass across the room. In the mouth I got flavors of citrus, oranges, tropical fruit, spice, and ginger.

Overall, the wine seemed light and sprightly. It had a great mineral quality, and the acidity really made it a refreshing wine. I would drink this at the end of a long hike/walk on the Mt. Vernon Trail because it it would be the perfect pick me up and would be a wonderful wine to drink while surrounded by great views of Washington, DC.

Many thanks to Russ for hosting us in this edition of WBW and as always, a tip of the hat to Lenn of Lenndevours, our founder who has kept WBW going for 50 iterations.

Beautiful Viognier

October 7, 2008

I picked the 2007 Nelson Family Vineyards Viognier for the wine of the evening. It had a real cork closure, cost me $16.80 in a club shipment, and Matt tossed the bottle before I could write down the alcohol content.

I have to say, this was one of the best Viogniers I have ever had and a terrific value at that. I wish I had more, I would definitely serve this bottle at Thanksgiving this year.

On the nose I found peach, flowers, prickly pear, honey, and apricots. The nose made you want to dive into the glass and take a swim. The aromatics wafted out of the glass and across the room and you couldn't wait to drink the wine inside. An absolutely beautiful nose. In the mouth I got flavors of peach, pears, honey, a touch of spice, apricot, and orange zest.

The flavors showed as clean and crisp fruits, but the fruits were well developed and gave a full mouthfeel. A well done finish, clean and tasty. The wine just blew me away at this price point. I wanted more to drink. I can easily recommend this bottle.

A 2nd Look

October 6, 2008

I first reviewed this wine nearly 2 years ago. You can read that review here. At the time I said I wanted to hang onto the bottle for another year or so and see what it was like then. As luck would have it, moves and multiple rearranging projects in our basement kept this one hidden for nearly 2 years. We purchased the 2003 David Coffaro Terre Melange on our first trip to Sonoma in August, 2006. It cost us $24 at the time, clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, and had a plastic cork closure. Terre Melange is a blend of 41% Carignan, 26% Peloursin, 26% Syrah, and 7% Mourvedre. We last drank this wine on December 3, 2006.

On the nose, I first found some funk that blew off within a few minutes. I got aromas of eucalyptus, red fruit, currants, sour cherries, some berries. Overall, I found it a bit funky throughout, something like a Cabernet Sauvignon, but there's no Cab in this blend. I found red currants, sour cherries, raspberries, and a bit of spice in the mouth. The fruit was quite tart and nicely integrated. The finish was long and smooth, quite different from the last time we drank this bottle.

The overall feel of the wine was quite a bit darker than I expected, especially since I found mostly red fruit flavors and aromas. I served it with BBQ ribs and my own take on a Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes and basil from our garden.

On the Road to Jeriko

October 3, 2008

I picked the 2003 Jeriko Syrah as the wine for the evening. With cooler weather rolling, I am in the mood for the big red wines that I have ignored for going on 4-5 months now as I live in the hot humid swamp that is the greater DC area. I'm also getting excited to make casseroles and soups again, heavier fare to pair with my heavy reds. I purchased the Jeriko from WineQ for $25.99 (free shipping!), it clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found aromas of boysenberries, chocolate plums (and yes, I mean that as one entry), blackberries, spice, leather, earth, vanilla, black cherry, and charred meat (As I write some of these descriptors, I realize that some of them might turn people off rom the wine. However, I swear to you that charred meat or grilled meat, or meat in general as an aroma in a Syrah is not uncommon or unwelcome!). The nose showed as quite fruity and perfumed.

In the mouth I got flavors of espresso, black cherry, blackberries, raisins, licorice, raspberries, and plums. The flavors were very fruity. I found the finish to be fairly tannic, so I would say this one has quite a few years left in it to develop. Overall, I loved this bottle of wine. It had so many complex flavors and just got better over the course of the evening. I can easily recommend this bottle!

Visting Foppiano

October 2, 2008
For some reason I didn't take my camera out to take pictures of our visit to Foppiano. We stopped in on our spring Sonoma trip before our appointment at Acorn Winery. I'm a little ambitious and we arrived quite early for the appointment, so we had some time to kill. Foppiano is just down the street from Acorn, and I recognized the name as a great Petite Sirah producer.

From what I remember, the tasting room is fairly small, longish and thin. The walls are covered with images from the history of the winery and awards and ribbons decorate the tasting room.

2004 Merlot: $15, Blueberry, fruity, peppers, a bit spicy on the back palate.

Lot 96 Bin 002 NV: $12. Blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese. Leather, dark fruit, earthy, tannic. We took home one bottle.

2006 Pinot Noir: $28. Cherries, raspberries, cola.

2004 Zinfandel: $15. Blackberry, licorice, pepper, spice. One bottle came home with us.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: $17.50. Holy pepper! Red berries, tannic.

2004 Petite Sirah: $25. Blueberries, dark fruit, slight vanilla, tannic.

2001 Petite Sirah Reserve: $48. Blueberry, cream, great nose vanilla, drinking really well. We took one home and I brought it to the Petite Sirah tasting we went to recently, where it wa sa huge hit. I wish I had several more to cellar for the next 5 years or so!

Better Late than Never

October 1, 2008
*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine so I could participate in the Twitter Live tasting.

We drank this bottle back in August as part of the Hugel Twitter Tasting Live with Bin Ends Wine. I'm a bit late in getting around to reviewing it, but at the time didn't want to overwhelm everyone with 4 posts in a row about wines from the same producer! Scheduled as the 2nd bottle of the evening, we drank the 2005 Hugel Pinot Blanc over the course of 3 nights. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had either a real cork or a diam closure (can't remember and didn't write it down), and looks to retail for around $15.

In the glass, the wine appeared to be paler than the Gentil, the first wine of the night. On the nose I found fig, spice, pepper, flowers, limes, lemon, grapefruit, stone fruit, and stone. The nose seemed light and quite delicate. In the mouth I got flavors of lime, wet stones, stone fruit, pears, peaches, and minerals.

Overall, I found the wine to be crisp, very refreshing, and excellent at the price point. I think this struck me as the most fruit driven wine of the night.