Sparkle This Way….

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Sleigh bells ring, snow is glistening and all I can dream about is sparkling wine in my glass. Much to my wondrous eyes did appear a box full of J Vineyards holiday cheer. Enough with my mixing of Christmas songs and tales and onto the wine. I couldn’t help but bust open the J Brut Rose almost as soon as it arrived.  The J clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, has a traditional Champagne closure, and retails from the winery for $38, though I see it around the internet for less.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I could drink it by the case and never tire of the J Brut Rose.

2.) I’m bringing some to my Christmas feast this year, I suggest you do the same.

3.) The color on the rose is gorgeous. I had to tear myself away so Mr. Wannabe Wino didn’t steal all the bubbles.

4.) If the color doesn’t win you over, the racy citrus backbone and perfumey nose will seal the deal.

On the nose I found orange zest, raspberry, strawberry, an an almost apricot note. In the mouth I got tart berries, raspberry, and a racy citrus backbone.  The nose of the wine was fantastically full of citrus and berry perfume and the mouth had lovely little bubbles and excellent acidity. Cheers!

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

What’s on the wine menu at your house today?

The WannabeWinos will choose from: 2 Roses, 1 Sancerre, 1 Pinot Blanc, 4 Gruner Veltliners, 3 Pinot Noirs, 2 Cabernet Francs, 1 Grenache, 1 Sauternes, 1 Tokaji and one Viognier blend dessert wine.

Gobble Gobble!

2011 Reserve Le Cigare Blanc

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

When I want something interesting and unique to taste from my basement, it’s easy to turn to a wine from Bonny Doon. Randall Graham’s wines are nothing if not unique.  The 2011 Reserve Le Cigare Blanc is no exception. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussane, heavier on the Grenache Blanc. The wine has a screw cap, retails for $28, and clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Don’t get it too cold or you will mute the nose and palate and miss out on how interesting it is.

2.) I could not get my nose out of my glass when I poured this wine and Matt got to taste more than his fair share.

3.) Even with the Roussanne, which usually adds heft and sometimes a bit of an oily quality to a wine, the Cigare Blanc has surprising acid on the palate.

4.) I suppose you could pair this with something, but really I just enjoyed sipping this as it warmed.
On the nose I got honey, honeysuckle, herbs, and caramel apple. In the mouth I found kiwi, green apple, and pear. The fruit on the palate trended towards being quite tart with lots of acid.

*Disclaimer: I received these wines as sample to participate in a live Twitter tasting.

A few weeks ago, four rieslings from the Finger Lakes arrived so I could do a live tasting. Fun! I’m particularly excited to try more wines from this region since the 2015 Wine Blogger Conference will be held. I’ve signed up for my hotel room and need to get on booking my actual conference attendance! Back to the wines. We’ll start with one of my favorites of the bunch, though frankly, it was quite hard to choose. The 2013 Heron Hill Winery Dry Riesling sported a screw cap and 12% alcohol by volume. (Which is apparently really important to my blog according to a recently released study on wine blogs…)

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) One thing all four wines in this tasting had in common was great acidity.

2.) The wine stood up very well on its own, but would also work really well with food with a bit of spice and heft – I kept imagining chorizo with this.

3.) Our weather was still quite warm in DC in late September at this tasting and I found the wine quite refreshing for the heat.

4.) I’m hoping all the wines at the upcoming wine blogger conference will be as tasty as this one!

On the nose I found orange flowers, honey and green apple. In the mouth I got lime, stones, stone fruit, and peach. Overall the wine had acidity to carry it through and balance out some sweeter fruit flavors.

 

 

 

A Syrah A Day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Keeps the doctor away. That’s how that expression goes, right? Well, that’s how it should read, particularly if the Syrah in question is the 2012 Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Syrah. The weather here in DC turned (for a moment anyway) to chilly and the reds in the cellar started to call my name.  The Cornerstone Syrah has a real cork closure and retails for $35.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The nose. Oh, my, the nose. This Syrah has that meaty note I love in Syrahs.

2.) We had this with beef stew. Perfect for a cold evening.

3.) I could also see this in the summer with my BBQ ribs.

4.) Cornerstone Cellars really delivers across their portfolio.

On the nose I got spice, cinnamon, baking spice, berries, black cherry, meat, and the scent of bbq. In the mouth I found black cherry, spice, black fruit, berries, and anise.  I loved the tart black fruit with the spice lurking around.

 

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR company for the brand.

Eenie meanie miny mo, which Pinot should go?  Tonight it was the 2011 Star Angel Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The Star Angel has a real cork closure and retails for about $27. It hails from the Santa Rita Hills in California, though the Star Angel brand is the invention of the winemaker for the Montes brand from Chile.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Serve this at cellar temperature or slightly below.

2.) As it warmed I found the wine a bit soft.

3.) I served this with salmon, one of my go-tos for Pinot. I think I’d serve it with a vinegar based BBQ sauce given a 2nd chance.

4.) Overall, the wine is ripe and plush and would be a crowd pleaser for those “I don’t like red wine” folks.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, strawberry, and smoke. In the mouth I found strawberry jam, raspberry, and other plush red fruits. There was some acidity on the finish.

 

Dreaming of Seafood

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

I ate a lot of seafood this summer. Between Portugal and Maine my late July and early August were all about seafood. So I had seafood on the brain when I plucked the 2012 The Clambake Chardonnay from my sample roulette. Perhaps it was the lobster on the label that drew me to the bottle. I don’t know what it retails for, as I can’t find anywhere to buy it online…but I’m guessing maybe $14 or so?

Four takeaways from this wine:

 

1.) I often tend to reach for a slightly oaky Chardonnay to go with my shellfish and lobstah. This wine showed none of that, but was a great foil for the rich lobster meat and butter.

2.) Since I think it retails at a fairly reasonable price, this would actually be a great clambake wine for a crowd.

3.) Here in the DC area, we actually tend to do crabfests around this time of year and it would work really well for that as well.

4.) Fresh and fruity, this is a fun summer wine.

On the nose I got melon, lime, apple, and lemon. Overall it displayed a bright fruit nose. On the palate I found apple, yellow apple, lemon rind, and tropical notes. The wine had good acidity and bit into butter quite well.

 

 

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