Old Chardonnay

When we did our basement re-org back in March, it came to light that we had quite a few old white wines hanging around. I have no idea how I forgot about them, or why they weren’t in CellarTracker, but there you have it. We’ve been trying to drink through them before they get too old.

With that in mind, the wine for the evening was a 2004 Fritz Chardonnay. It hails from the Russian River Valley, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and since it wasn’t recorded, I have no idea what it cost, though I’d venture a guess in the mid $20s. I believe it probably came in a club shipment back when we were members.

I first noticed the strong aroma and dark yellow color of the wine. It was easy to tell this was an older white. The nose smelled of citrus, lemon, apple, pineapple, oak, caramel, and spice. In the mouth I found pineapple, green apple, oak, and citrus. The wine was heavy in the mouth, and it was well structured.

Overall, I’d say if you managed to hang onto this one all these years, drink it up. It was starting to lose the flavors in the mouth.

Spare Ribs and Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine was a 2004 Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine came in a club shipment, cost us $28 minus a club discount, clocked in at 14.2%, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found raisins, cherry, spices, and oak. I also noted some earthy undertones. In the mouth I found berries and a bit of cherry. The wine was tannic and didn’t seem ready to drink. I’d hold onto this one if you have any.

I served this with BBQ spare ribs, corn, and rice pilaf when my folks were here visiting. I think the wine would have been a really good match with the dinner had I let it decant for a few hours or saved the bottle for a couple more years.

Lurking in the Cellar

(Okay, that sounds a bit ominous.)

I found this bottle of 2005 Fritz Chardonnay hiding in our basement when Matt and I were reorganizing the wine last weekend. A surprise to me, as I thought I had written up all the white wines in my collection.

The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and cost us $20 in a club shipment.

On the nose I found lemon, oak, butter, vanilla cream, and apple. In the mouth I found the wine to be buttery and oaky. Additionally, I got lemons, peach and more oak in the mouth. Overall, this was an oaky, buttery Chardonnay. It wasn’t flabby or anything, but I was overwhelmed by the butter and oak. It’s just NMS.

More 6 Months Later

We drank our very last bottle of 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. I’m quite sad. This was a great bottle of wine that cost us $25, rang in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. We last drank this bottle about 6 months ago in early February. You can read that review here. I’m currently dipping into wines we drank over 6 months ago to see if they’ve changed in that time.

This time, I served the wine with pepperoni pizza (from Pizza Hut, I was not in a cooking mood for once!). A good match to the pizza sauce and spicy pepperoni.

On the nose of the wine I found, currants, spice, sweet red licorice, and raspberries. In the mouth I found red raspberries, blackberries, and smoky vanilla. The fruit tastes really fresh. The heat I found last time seems to be gone.

Unfortunately, we aren’t getting wine from Fritz anymore. As much as I love the wines, they got a bit too expensive as they won some awards recently. Alas, perhaps when I win the lotto ;)

2005 Fritz Pinot Noir

Drank my 2005 Fritz Pinot Noir the other night with Roz’s Zuppa Toscano. We had tried Pinot Noir with the soup before the match was a good one, so I didn’t want to mess with success. And it was a good match, but I found this Pinot Noir to be a bit heavier in the mouth than I am used to for Pinot Noir.

The Fritz was 13.9% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and came in a club shipment so I have no idea how much it cost. We also have a bottle with “Clonal Select” written on it and I am not sure if they are the same thing…they have the same alcohol levels and since the actual science of winemaking escapes me, I have no idea if you could do bottlings with two different sets of grapes and come out with the exact same alcohol content.

On the nose of the wine were black cherries, raspberries and spice, and then strawberries a little later. In the mouth it was smooth, though as I mentioned it was heavier than I am used to for a Pinot Noir. Flavors in the mouth were mostly strawberries and I would describe this wine as a fruity red. I would also suggest letting it air a bit before drinking as it seemed to develop nicely in the glass.

2003 Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon

I picked this bottle of 2003 Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon from our collection to pair with a dinner of homemade tomato sauce and ravioli. It cost us $30, is 13.9% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a real cork. We picked this one up from Fritz this summer and I have one more bottle still in the racks.

Now I’ve recently been worried that perhaps our wine has been cooked over this winter by the heat in our apartment. As hard as I try, it’s very difficult to regulate the temperature in an apartment building that insists on keeping the heat on even when it’s 70 out. I try my best and have been freezing my tush off sleeping with out window in the bedroom open even when it’s 20 or below out. However, my fears have been put to rest over the past few days as we have had bottle after bottle that has been perfect. I’m now more inclined to believe that it may have simply been a case that got cooked in shipping, which actually makes sense to me now that I have pulled UPS records. One of our cases arrived suspiciously late compared to the others, despite the fact that all 14 were shipped on the same day. I can’t say for sure that all the wines I’ve been “eh” about lately came from that box, but if I were a betting woman….

Back to the wine. On the nose, I got dark fruit aromas, possibly black currants. Later, I could detect blackberry. Then layers of leather and a spice I can’t identify, plus something that smells like a spicy tree or plant, but isn’t oaky or woody or cedar or vegetal. (Could I be more vague?)

In the mouth I found black currants. After a while some oak and spices showed through. Overall, this wine was incredibly smooth in the mouth, I would even call it silky after airing for a while. The wine is drinking very well right now, though I will be curious to see how the next bottle drinks. This time I will be more careful about actually saving the second bottle, though really, I could drink it now and be perfectly happy with it.

I Love Zinfandel


Really, I do. I think I would have been in paradise if I could have attended the ZAP event that was held recently. I love the big fruit, the subdued fruit, the juicy, the jammy, the spices, basically everything about it. I even love the way it stains my lips. Well, I could go on and on and on about how much I love the wine made from this grape, but I think we’ve just about covered enough of it for the moment.

We are also apparently on a Fritz kick this week, what with the Syrah for WBW and this bottle of 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel last night. Now, I know you are possibly (if you read my blog frequently) thinking, hey didn’t she review this just the other day? Well, I did, but I promise this bottle is actually different. It doesn’t have a little red banner in the corner indicating that it is a reserve or estate bottle or whatever it says, I can’t remember.

14.2% alcohol by volume, real cork closure and cost us $20ish in a club shipment. On the nose were blackberries, raspberries and pepper. In the mouth, there were crisp raspberries. I wouldn’t describe this as either juicy or jammy, but more on the tart side, like a raspberry that makes you pucker a little, but not in a bad way at all. The taste of this one lingered for a long while after swallowing.

I think it could age just a little bit more, but I would say only up to a year. It’s almost perfect to drink now, just a little heat from alcohol that showed on the end in the first hour. This could easily be solved by decanting or just letting the bottle sit open for an hour or so before serving. After an hour in my glass, this was smooth, easy to drink, with no heat from the alcohol.

I served this with grilled filet mignon with a currant and (this Zin) wine sauce over a bed of cheese risotto. Though this time I just threw in whatever cheese I had hanging around which happened to be extra sharp cheddar and fresh parmesean. Matt proclaimed it the best risotto yet. I give all the credit to the Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. If you have never had Cabot cheese you are missing out, big time. Best. Stuff. Ever. I was so excited a few weeks ago when the Cabot people were in my grocery store to celebrate the store starting to carry their cheese. I talked with the rep for a while and got a cow magnet and a Cabot t-shirt. I lived on Cabot cheese in college. I guess it’s a Northern East Coast thing. Clearly we’ve hit on two of my favorite topics tonight: Zinfandel and Cabot Cheese. Make macaroni and cheese with a block of the Seriously Sharp. It will be the best tasting mac and cheese you’ve ever had. Okay, I’ll shut up about the cheese now, this is a wine blog after all.

WBW #30 New World Syrah

For this WBW, Tim of Winecast is our host and he requested that we choose a New World Syrah (or Shiraz, same thing!) to review this week. So that leaves a lot of the world to choose from…Australia, North American, South America, etc. My choice was made easy by two factors. One, I have a ton of California Syrahs hanging around and two, I’m trying to limit my purchases of wine. Thus, a California Syrah for me!

The wine I chose was a 2004 Fritz Alexander Valley Syrah. This came in our last shipment from Fritz and cost us around $21. It is 14.2% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got roasted meat and tons of dark fruit, plus an earthy quality and a hint of violets. In the mouth it transformed to pepper and spice with cherries and a leather taste.

I believe that there is at least one other bottle of this Syrah in our collection. I will leave it on the shelf as I think this has great potential to age for several years. There were enough dry tannins in the mouth to hold this one together and I really believe the dark blackberries will come out more, along with the violet which appeared after several hours in my glass (I usually end up drinking about a glass and a half out of a bottle since I like to watch it develop and by the time I get ready for my second glass there isn’t much left in the bottle!). The berries really made their appearance as my glass sat out. If you are going to drink it now, I would suggest decanting or at least letting your glass sit out for an hour or so.

Worth Another Look

We drank a first bottle of this wine over Thanksgiving, in this post, but I don’t feel I did it much justice, both in the food pairing and the short treatment I gave it in my post. It deserves another look! I was going to let the remaining bottles of our Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel age for a while, but we just got another shipment and it had an additional 2 bottles, so I thought we’d drink one.

This cost us $25 in a club shipment, has 14.2% alcohol by volume and came with a real cork closure. On this bottle, I found blackberries and raspberries on the nose, with a bit of currant. That’s a little different than the last time where I found blackberries and cherries. In the mouth I got the same fruit I found in the nose, plus earth, tobacco and cedar.

I paired this with a leftover filet mignon and risotto and it did really well with the steak. I can definitely picture this as a great bbq rib bottle of wine. After dinner we had some dark dark bittersweet chocolate and this wine just shone with the chocolate. It was perfect. The raspberry flavors and the chocolate together were fabulous.

Friday Night Causulties

We hosted a dinner party on Friday night for several of Matt’s coworkers. Since it was my day off, I got to spend the day prepping food and picking out wine to serve. A total of 5 bottles of wine fell here on Friday, 2 whites, 2 reds and a dessert wine. With them I served a platter of assorted cheese and crackers, bruschetta, homemade pizza (1 pepperoni, 1 ham and pineapple) and chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

The first wine served was a 2005 Fritz Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, served with the assorted cheese and crackers. I’m almost always a fan of a crisp sauvignon blanc with cheese, especially when I’m serving creamy, tongue coating cheese, and this was no exception. We picked this bottle up at Fritz for $16.20 this summer, real cork closure and 13.6% alcohol by volume. A great match! Crisp, tart and acidic on the finish. Fairly citrusy, with lemons and grapefruits on the nose and the mouth. A nice long acidic finish. I’m glad we have a few more of these hanging around.

Second was a bottle of Quivira 2004 Syrah. I don’t remember if this came in a club shipment o if we bought it at Quivira, but it was $28.00, had a real cork closure and is 14.4% alcohol by volume. This bottle was a big hit with all of our guests and was served with the pepperoni pizza. A deep inky purple, it was a beautiful glass of wine. I decanted it for nearly an hour before serving, which was definetly a good call. There was vanilla and spice on the nose, and also a distinct scent of bacon. In the mouth there were blackberries and currants. It had a big mouth feel and was smooth, but the alcohol was there, so decant!

Third was a bottle of Ferrari Carano 2003 Zinfandel. At 14.8% alcohol by volume, this was a big wine. It had a real cork closure and ran us $21.60. This one is done, it didn’t need to be decanted at all, if you have it drink it now. We have one other bottle and I will serve it asap. Raisins and black currants on the nose, with blackberries in the mouth. It had a very nice finish and I didn’t even notice the big alcohol. This was not the typical big zinfandel, it was more reserved and not too fruit forward, but an excellent balanced bottle. I served this with the ham and pineapple pizza. Drink up now!

Forth was a bottle of Trentadue Chocolate Amore Red Dessert Wine. Now, if you want to talk about big alcohol levels, here it is! This one sits at 18.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and I don’t remember what it cost. It’s a very tasty and well done dessert wine, though the chocolate is flavor added. Under the chocolate, there were layers of red raspberry. It was fairly thick, but this is probably Matt’s favorite dessert wine ever. I served it with chocolate mousse.

Finally, a bottle of 2005 De La Montanya Fume Blanc. 14.6% alcohol by volume, a real cork closure and cost us $16 at the vineyard. This was floral and aromatic on the nose. In the mouth there was green apple. A crisp wine with a good structure and a decent finish. I thought the flavors in this bottle were very well done and it was definitely a good value. I think we have 2 more of these hanging around.

Phew, that was a long one, but an excellent party, with excellent food if I do say so myself and delicious wine!

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