WBW #71 Rhones Not from the Rhone

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Hahn Family Wines.

Rejoice! Wine Blogging Wednesday is back! I missed it so. Though, admittedly, I totally missed the first reincarnation last month…having average about 4 hours of sleep a night and dealing with a fussy newborn, wine was not much happening! But I’m in for this month’s edition hosted by my friend Tim of Wine Cast. He’s chosen Rhones Not from the Rhone as this month’s theme. I must say, I am very partial to the Rhone varietals. Viognier, Grenache, Mourvedre, ets., are some of my very favorite wines. Oh, and Syrah! Who can forget a good Syrah. And some of the ones I love the most hail from outside the Rhone. A cool climate Syrah from CA is a lovely pleasure!

For this WBW, I chose a wine that represents 3 Rhone grapes. I know Tim asked us to look beyond the normal Grenache and Syrah, but with little spare time, this is my best effort these days.  I think I get a disposition given I have an 11 week old.  My wine is the 2009 Hahn GSM. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. It’s composed of 60% Grenache, 37% Syrah, and 3% Mourvedre. Yum. It had a Diam closure and clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume. I’m not sure what it retails for as it was a pretty limited release from Hahn Family Wines and I believe it is sold out. You should definitely keep an eye for the next vintage of this from Hahn. They were trying a few different wines this year, including a Grenache Blanc!

On the nose I got strawberry, spice, cedar, baking spices, cinnamon, pepper, cherry, and bacon fat. I could really smell the influence of the Syrah on the nose of the wine, though the Grenache clearly also contributed. I think the Mourvedre showed up more on the palate.  In the mouth I found strawberry, red cherry, spice, blackberry, black cherry, and earth. I found the wine to have nice acidity and structure with good tannins on the finish. Overall the fruit showed as juicy and fresh. I enjoyed this wine very much.
Many thanks to Tim for hosting and I think I got my entry done in time! As always, a tip of the hat to Lenndevours, over at the New York Cork Report, our founding father.

WBW #62 A Grape By Any Other Name

Yikes, Wine Blogging Wednesday crept up on me this month! Next month it should be the week after I get back from Portugal…hope I’ll be able to pull that one off with not much time to spare. We manage to squeak under the wire with this WBW, plucking a bottle from our cellar and enjoying it on Sunday evening.  Our host this month is Dale from Drinks Are On Me.  Dale set us to the task of drinking a grape that has two names—and choosing the lesser known of the two names.  You can read all the details here. Bonus points if you drank wines with both names and more points for obscure picks.  I’m minding my wine budget this month giving it’s shipping season and I’m a little tapped out with all my clubs shipping within about 3 weeks of each other, so I had to pick a grape I had in my basement.  I went with Syrah–more commonly known by the Australian name for it–Shiraz.  I did however, pick a Syrah from somewhere other than California! Shocker, right?

We went with the 2006 Saviah Cellars Red Mountain Syrah from Walla Walla Washington.  Catie (my WBC roomie) should be proud! I don’t often drink wines from WA state, and I’m not sure I’d ever had a wine from Walla Walla before!  However, I went to a tasting a local shop a few weeks ago that featured all Syrahs and Viogniers, so I got to try some from different reasons and I fell in love with the Saviah Syrah.  It’s a little out of our normal price range, costing me $34.99 at Unwined, but I liked it so much that I splurged.  It clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found bacon, berries, plums, pepper, roasted meat, and chocolate syrup.  I got tons of meat and bacon on this Syrah, it really jumped out of the glass along with the pepper. Mmmmm…..pepper rubbed bacon dipped in chocolate.  In the mouth I got big ripe blackberries, black plums, pepper, black cherries, and olives.  The wine was tannic and had a very long finish.  Matt really enjoyed the bottle (he was halfway done with it as I was still sticking my nose in the glass!) and it was as good as I remember from the in store tasting.  We ate this with what has become known in our house as Loweeel’s lamb, the best way to prep lamb ever, 2 cheese risotto, and green beans from our garden. I thought it was an excellent mate for the lamb.

Many thanks to Dale for hosting this month and for the theme.  As always, a virtual tip of the hat to our founder Lenn.  I’ll let you know when the round up is posted and I look forward to next month’s theme!

WBW #61 At the Source

Oh yes folks, it’s that time of the month again: Wine Blogging Wednesday! I’m trying my best to participate in as many this year as I can, I’ve done a fairly decent job since I started the blog, though some months just get away from me or I can’t find a suitable bottle for the topic.  This month, our fearless leader Lenn has taken back the reins for the 61st edition of WBW. Ever the champion of local wines from the New York area, he has set us to the task titled “At the Source.” By this, he asked us to go taste wine at a vineyard local to us and write about the experience.  I almost didn’t think I could make this happen.  While the vineyards aren’t TOO far from  my house in VA, it’s still a 45 minute -1 hour drive each way to the closest ones depending on traffic. And yes Virginia, your traffic is still miserable on the weekends.  So I really have to plan to be able to get out there..plus, I have to cajole the husband into going, and he seems to think that the several trips I/we take to CA each year should satisfy my vineyard visiting desire…silly man.

Fate intervened and the heavens smiled down and I had the happy circumstance of connecting with Rappahanock Cellars on Twitter (though I had visited in the past), my brother in law(BIL) and sister in law (SIL) visiting, and a husband who didn’t mind driving us that day. Rappahannock is about an hour and half from where we live, so a bit of a hike. But all in the name of wine and WBW, right? Turns out, the voice behind Rappahannock Cellars on Twitter is actually Allan Delmare, one of the 13 12(yes, 13 12) children of the Delmare family, the owners of Rappahannock Cellars.  We arrived promptly at 11:30am on Sunday morning, found Allan and were whisked down to the cellar. Very exciting and different for my BIL/SIL who had never been in a winery cellar before nor had a winery tour! Allan had set up a table in the cellars with 3 glasses each, water bottles, and what looked like a case or more of wine.

While we tasted through the wines, I peppered Allan with questions (poor guy) and he did a fabulous job of explaining the operation especially to my BIL/SIL who weren’t so familiar with winemaking and cellaring and all the goes into the production of wine.  The Delmare family hails from Santa Cruz where they owned a vineyard before moving to VA in 1998 and purchasing the property in Rappahannock County.  They built the vineyard from the ground up and released the first vintage in 2000 with purchased fruit. I learned that about80% of the fruit Rappahannock uses comes from either Estate vineyards or vineyards they leased, planted, and manage from other folks.  They have 30 acres of vineyards and produce between 6,000-8,000 cases of wine a year.

Now, the wines. Overall, Rappahannock Cellars is producing an extremely solid line up of wines. They seem to have really figured out what works in VA and what isn’t so hot. Our climate here is a little tough on most vinifera grapes, though folks persistently grow them, with mixed results overall. Rappahannock seems to even have that down, refusing to produce a wine when the fruit isn’t perfect. For example, the 2007 vintage is the first Cabernet Sauvignon they have produced since 2000! (I know, you’re thinking, Cab Sauv from VA? But I promise, it was actually a very good effort.)

2008 Seyval Blanc: $17. Orange blossom, orange, lemon, citrus, crisp, dry, light, refreshing. A great picnic wine.  VA does really well with hybrid white grapes.

2008 Viognier: $22. Floral, apricots, honeysuckle, crisp, citurs, orange, grassy. I’m extremely pleased to see so many VA wineries getting serious about Viognier. They produce some fantastic examples of the grape…I’d say it should be the flagship wine from VA, though I know everyone seems to think that’s Cabernet Franc. We purchased two, and the BIL/SIL bought a chilled one for us to drink over lunch.

2007 Chardonnay: $22. Grass, pear, apple, flowers, butter, creamy on the finish, mid palate shows crisp apple.

2007 Headwaters Vidal Blanc: $16.50. Sweet on the nose, honey, candied orange, lemon, a little sweet. This has a touch of residual sugar, but isn’t overwhelming n any way.

2008 Noblesse Viognier: Another wine with some residual sugar. Candied sugar, apricot, candied honey, honeysuckle.

2007 Claret: $20. Raspberry, spice, pepper, strawberry jam, very light, red fruit.

2007 Cabernet Franc: $24. Raspberry, pepper, oak, cedar, roses, tight, raspberry, tannins, spice, peppery. We bought 1 bottle.

2006 Meritage: $29. Pepper, smoky, dusty, blackberry, black cherry, juicy, spice. BIL/SIL purchased one of these.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon: Honestly surprised by this one. I didn’t expect much, but really, well done.  Vanilla, cream, smoke, spice, mulberry, juicy, raspberry, nice acidity and structure. Certainly not a monster Cab Sauv, a totally different style.

2008 Chapellet Charlemagne Chardonnay: Pineapple, tropical notes, pears, orange, orange zest, lemon. I liked this best of the two Chards, this one was done all in stainless steel.

2007 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon: From what I understand, a family member owns a vineyard out in Mendocino and sends fruit back East for this wine. It’s 97% Cab Sauv, 3% VA Cab Franc. Spice, pepper, blackberry, cedar, spice, big nose, herbs, red fruit, tannins to spare.

2008 Norton: Chocolate, spice, mint, juicy, tannic, big fruit.

2008 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc: $18.50 375 mL. Pear, pineapple, apricot, honey, peach, pineapple, tropical fruit.

2007 Port Style Wine: $39. Raisin, sweet, chocolate, blackberry, Welches grape juice. You’d have to taste this to believe it. We bought a bottle for my dad.

Solera: $32 375mL. Quite possible the oddest wine I have ever tasted. This is made by placing barrels of wine on the roof of the building and letting them bake in the summer sun. Then all the barrels are mixed together and one full barrel is pulled out to be put into next year’s wine…that way there’s always a continuation of vintages. Toffee, maple, nutty, almonds, caramel, pecan pie, peanuts. Goodness, not my thing at all, I hate nuts, but it sure lingered in your mouth and nose.

After we finished up our tasting, Allan toured us around the facility where we saw barrels, lots of cases of wine, a destemmer, and lots of other fun wine related things.  We made our way up to the tasting room to make some purchases and headed outside to one of the many tables to enjoy the picnic lunch we packed. While Rappahannock sells cheeses and crackers in their tasting room, they also let you bring your own lunch to enjoy outside.  The weather was perfect, and we lounged outside enjoying the chilled bottle of Viognier and our picnic lunch. The vineyard cat even joined us and politely waited until I’d finished my rib before jumping onto the table, grabbing the entire bone and running off with it. Never seen that before!

Brazen kitty.

Brazen kitty.

All in all, a great day. Thanks to Lenn for kicking my butt back out to the VA vineyards. If Rappahannock is any indication, things have come a long way since I last visited VA wine country about 2 years ago. I’ll have to get out some more this fall to see what everyone else has going on!

WBW #60 Round Up: I Have Zinned

A hearty thanks to all who busted out some Zin to participate in the 5th birthday of WBW! As you probably gathered by now, I set the theme for this momentous occasion to I Have Zinned. I asked everyone to grab a bottle of Zin and pair it with their favorite grilled or BBQ food.  Zin and BBQ is one of my favorite pairings and it seems to be wbwlogosome of yours too! Though I did discover this time that Zins that have aged a little don’t seem to have the oopmh to stand up to sweeter BBQ sauce.  I think several others had the same revelation!

Overall, 30 folks joined us for WBW #60, with posts on 29 wine blogs!  Across the board, 46 Zins were reviewed for this WBW.  I’m happy so many joined in for the 5th birthday celebration of WBW!  I know participation lags in the summer as folks tend to be on holiday and such, so I appreciate the effort! Below are snapshots of all the posts, click through to read everyone’s full take on Zin and BBQ (or pizza in John’s case…though I kinda wish he’d grilled up some tofu or something ;) )

Our first entry came in over a week early from David at Cooking Chat. He picked the 2007 Ridge Paso Robles Zin to pair with his ribeye. Sadly, he found it to be a bit underwhelming for the price point, though I expect it might have needed a little more time…07 is young for a Ridge Zin! Read his whole take here.

Ryan over at Oe-no-phile also joined with an early entry. He went off the beaten Zin path and picked a 2006 Old Vine Zin from Sineann, a winery with a Zin vineyard that straddles Oregon and Washington…so technically it’s a Washington State Zin. In short, he loved loved loved it.  Check out his fully review here.

Another early entry, Jason of This Blog and 20 Bucks Can Definitely Get You a Great Bottle of Wine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) picked a Zin I am very familiar with the 2006 Camellia Cellars Leconi Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel.  He paired it with an Heirloom tomato salad and grilled Moroccan chicken. You can read his review and check out his dinner here.

Randy, The Wine Whore, joins us for the WBW, and chose a Zin that I also have hanging around waiting for me to taste it!  He picked the 2006 J. Keverson Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfandel and presents us with a fun pictorial review of his experience tasting it.  Visit The Wine Whore for his review.

Bill from Wine for Newbies brought out the big guns for this WBW, tasting through 6 Zins! Though he admits he only tasted one of them with his BBQ! All 6 hail from Lodi and he picked the 2007 m2 “Old Vine” Soucie Vineyard, the 2007 Bargetto Zinfandel Old Vine, the 2007 Macchia Zinfandel “Oblivious”, the 2006 Mettler Vineyards Zinfandel “Epicenter”, the 2006 Harney Lane Zinfandel “Lizzie James” Vineyard, and the 2006 Michael David Gluttony “Old Vines”. Head on over to Wine for Newbies to read all about them.

Richard, who writes Silene’s Cellar, told us a lovely story of his first eye-opening Zin experience with a 1977 Monteviña Special Selection Zin.  He follows up that tale with a a blind tasting of 3 Zins (great minds think alike!).  Richard picked that 2005 Hendry Block 7 Napa Zin, the 2005 Dendor Patton Wisdom Mendocino Old Vine Zin, and the 2005 Sequum Riverwash Dry Creek Zin. Which won? You’ll have to visit Silene’s Cellar to find out!

Next up, Shea of Just Grapes. Shea chose to write up his visit to Mazzocco Winery after the Wine Blogger Conference where they make many Zins (I’ve visited before, but not in years). He tells us about the 6 Zins he tasted, with his favorite being the mighty pricey $120 2006 Antoine Phillipe Reserve. Read about them all here.

My roomie from WBC, Catie, aka the Walla Walla Wine Woman, brings us, what else? Zin from Walla Walla, Washington! I was actually surprised by the number of Washington Zins that popped up for this WBW, though I would expect nothing less from Catie!  She picked the 2005 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel and paired it with Bulgogi, which sounds delish! Head on over for her recipe and wine review.

Our first Zin mishap comes from Rob over at Wine Post. (Who, by the way, recognizes how multi-talented I am at smiling and talking at the same time.) He picked up one of my favorites, a 2006 Titus Zinfandel. Sadly, he found it cooked. What a shame, it’s a great wine!

Then there’s me. I also did a blind tasting of 3 Zins! I chose the 2003 Sky Saddle, the 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs, and the 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemtery Vineyard.  I tasted mine with BBQ and found my BBQ sauce seemed to overwhelm the Zins, but of course, I didn’t let that get in my way! Read about my Zins here.

Kevin over at Under the Grape Tree joined us with a Zin from afar.  Now, I don’t see too many Zins coming out of Australia, so I was thrilled with this obscurish pick.  He chose the 2006 Groom Bush Vine Zin from Barossa. Over two days, he paired the wine with a grilled steak and BBQ ribs, and thankfully had better luck than I did with the BBQ sauce pairing! His review is here.

The Brix Chicks went all out for this WBW! Brix Chick Janesta reviewed the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel one of many Zins the Brix Chicks tasted that evening! They also smoked some meat and Janesta posts a photo of Sean Connery as 007…how does that connect with the wine? You’ll have to read to find out!

Jim from VineGeek submitted the post on Zin he did last month, seeing as how he had just written about the exact topic at hand, I decided to let him slide ;) He chose the 2006 Cline Bridgehead Contra Costa County Zin, and sadly found it a bit lacking for the price point.  His full write up is here.

Gwendolyn, aka the Art Predator, (gee, what’s with all these bloggers with several aliases, lol), joins us with yet another Ridge Zinfandel.  Folks love Ridge Zins, one of the kings of Zin in my mind! She picked the 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs to go with her marinated tri tip and it blew her out of the water! Check out her review here.

We got another Brix Chick post out of the event too! Liza wrote up several of the other wines that they enjoyed with their brisket.  To round out the tasting, they enjoyed the 2006 Harney Lane Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zin, the 2007 m2 Wines Soucie Vineyard 1916 Block Lodi Old Vine Zin, and the 2007 Newsome Harlow Big John’s Vineyard Calaveras Zinfandel. Quite the tasting. Head on over to the Brix Chicks for the details!.

Over at Drink What You Like, Frank brings us yet another Washington State Zinfandel! That’s three so far! I had no idea so much Zin was coming out of Washington, but that makes my mission clear: I must have some.  Frank searched through 5 wine shops in Seattle before finding the 2006 Maryhill Zinfandel.  He find it to be a decent QPR wine and hopes to taste more Washington Zin in the future. His review is here.

Joe, the Suburban Wino, has a great sildeshow/video up of the tantalizing ribs he made to go with his Zin. It’s worth a visit just for the drool worthy BBQ, as well as his review! He chose the 2006 Cartlidge and Browne Amador Zinfandel. It appears he preferred his ribs to the Zin, but thought it was fine for the price point. Visit Suburban Wino for the full review!

Our 4th Washington State Zinfandel comes from Kori over at Wine Peeps! She tasted 2 Zins blind (clearly another great mind!), the 2005 Forgeron Zin (same as Catie!) and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zin.  The meal she had with it made me want to hop on a plane and beg her mother to make BBQ for me too!  Find out which Zin prevailed by heading over to Wine Peeps.

Not a traditional WBW post, but Hello Vino participated by bringing us some info about Zin!  They write about the history of Zin, talk about how alcohol levels affect the fruit, and offer suggested grilled and BBQ foods to pair with it! Head on over to Hello Vino to read all about Zinfandel.

A fairly new wine blogger, Dee Wineo loses his WBW virginity on the Zin and BBQ theme!  He BBQ’d up some pork steak (which I just learned about last week when friends of mine made it for dinner while I was out in St. Louis!) and pulled out a value Zin to pair with it, the 2007 Foxglove Zinfandel.  Read about how his pairing turned out here.

My favorite Lush, Thea, aka Winebratsf, of course joined us for this WBW as she has a similar affection for Zinfandel like me! Raising it up yet another notch, Thea attended the ZAP summer outing and visited 3 wineries and tasted a plethora of Zins. She chose to focus on Rockwall Wine Company and D-Cubed Cellars in her post, highlighting 2 of their Zins along with the BBQ at the event. Visit Luscious Lushes for the full report.

Debbie, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, had a mishap with her post too: her dog ate her tasting notes! Now there’s a new twist on the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse!  Not to fear, being a trooper, Debbie sacrificed and opened another Zin in time for WBW! She chose the 2006 Truett Hurst Red Rooster Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfanel.  Read her review here.

My friend John over at Anything Wine joined in on the fun, though being a vegetarian he skipped the toss some meat on the grill part….I think he should do a follow up on how Zin pairs with grilled tofu or veggie burgers! John picked the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel.  A sure winner, head on over for his take on the wine.

Now, I hope the link for this participant will work. Grace, the CellarMistress, posted her WBW on FaceBook. I’m not sure if you have to be her friend to read it, if so, let me know and I’ll reproduce the whole thing here. Grace chose the 2006 Seghesio Family Vineyards Della Costa Alexander Valley Zin.  You can (hopefully) read her review here!

Michelle from My Wine Education had to do a local twist on the theme, being loyal to her beloved Cincinnati (and also started Wine Blogging Thursday)! She picked the 2006 Zincinnati Zinfandel from Mendocino. The story on this wine is that a local distributor teamed up with a CA Zin producer to create this wine! Swing by My Wine Education for the full story!

John of Brim to the Dregs came out of WBW hiding to join in on the BBQ and Zin theme on Wine Blogging Thursday as well. He had a little trouble with the grilling part…first it rained and then his cooking skills failed him and his steaks were a bit more well done than intended. Good thing he had an excellent bottle of Zin to make things right! John chose the 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Zinfandel (one I’ve had many times!) and you can read his review here.

Our founding father Lenn also came in for Wine Blogging Thursday ;) with a Zin he had trouble finding.  He picked the 2000 (oldest Zin for this WBW!) Neyer’s Pato Vineyards Zinfandel. Unfortunately, he thought it seemed tired and speculated that perhaps it hadn’t been stored properly for the time it lived in the store. Head on over to Lenndevours for his review.

Another Wine Blogging Thursday participant, Jill of Domaine 547 came out of blog, Zinfandel, and WBW hiding to join in the fun! Jill doesn’t drink a lot of Zin, so I appreciate her stepping out of her wine zone and trying a Zin! She picked the 2007 Homefire Homecoming Dry Creek Zin. It made her reconsider stocking some Zins in her soon to be open brick and mortar store! Read her review here.

For a Wine Blogging Sunday entry, we have Andrew of Spittoon, our first international participant for this WBW!  He had a bit of trouble finding a Zin, his stores only had two options.  With little in the way of choices, he ended up with the 2007 Bonterra Vineyards. Sadly, he didn’t find it very food friendly.  Read his full review here.

And finally, joining us for Wine Blogging Monday is Erika of StrumErika.  Erika plucked the 2007 Merryvale Jan Vineyard Napa Zinfandel from the share pile at work to pair with her sister’s famous hot wings.  While the wine didn’t live up to expectations, the hot wings sound mighty fine to me! Visit StrumErika for her full review and wing recipe!

Thanks again to everyone for breaking out the Zin in honor of WBW’s 5th Birthday and Zinning with me. And as always, a nod of the hat to Lenn for founding such a lasting event and for having me host this month! If I missed your post, please let me know and I will happily add it in!

WBW #60: I Have Zinned

The Contenders

The Contenders

Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #60! This month I am hosting the 5th birthday of WBW, and I set the theme to “I Have Zinned.”  You can read all the original details here, but the short and sweet version is that I asked you to pick a Zinfandel and make some BBQ or grill some meat! Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines with grilled or BBQed food, so I drink lots of it in the summer and I want to hear about your great matches with it!

Seeing as how I’m hosting, I had to pull out some stops for my own post.  I decided to pluck 3 Zins that had been resting comfortably in my cellar and do a blind tasting quasi-vertical tasting. Quasi-vertical meaning that I picked wines from 3 consecutive years but from different producers. I actually probably could have pulled this off with Zins from the same producers, but, hey, it was my birthday and I wanted to do it this way!  I picked the bottles and bagged them in brown paper bags.  Then Matt uncorked them and mixed them up so I wouldn’t know which was which. We numbered them and set about tasting with BBQ ribs and without.

In the glasses.

In the glasses.

Zinfandel #1: Spicy, pepper, cranberry, brown sugar, black fruit, black currants, milk chocolate, raisins, chocolate covered cherries, blackberry, black cherry edges, some red fruit on the finish. At first I found the wine to be lighter/thinner in the mouth than I expected but after it aired I found it to be rounder and smooth.  This got top marks for being the best on its own.

In my natural state.

In my natural state.

Zinfandel #2. Tart fruit nose, bright blackberry, bright dark fruit, fresh, juicy nose, cream, vanilla, pepper, raspberry edges, mint, red fruit in the mouth , peppery, spice, dry tannins, smoke, herbs, eucalyptus.  I liked this one more on its own than number 3, but I didn’t care for it with BBQ.  We only tasted the small sips we poured into our glasses and finished the bottle the next night after leaving it out on the counter with just the cork stuck in.  On night two, this had transformed into a delightful wine, with big dark fruit in the mouth, nice structure, and herbs.  I’d suggest running this into a decanter.

Zinfandel #3. Jammy black currants, blackberries, spice, black cherry, tart cherry, blackberry, dried rose, blue fruit, nice acidity, a hint of candied fruit, meaty, red fruit, ready to drink.  This got top marks for drinking with BBQ.  I didn’t like it as much on its own, but you’ll have to ask Matt how this tasted on night 3 as I had taken off to St. Louis for work.

Zin 1-2005 Mauritson Cemetery Vineyard

Zin 1-2005 Mauritson Cemetery Vineyard

#1- 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemetery Zinfandel- $28 club shipment.

Zin 2-2003 Sky Saddle

Zin 2-2003 Sky Saddle

#2- 2003 Sky Saddle Zinfandel-$27 WineQ.

Zin 3-2004 Ridge York Creek

Zin 3-2004 Ridge York Creek

#3-2004 Ridge York Creek Zinfandel-$28 purchased at winery.

We had a lot of fun doing this tasting. I rarely get around to blind tasting mainly because it’s just the two of us and we normally only open one bottle of wine at a time. I think what surprised me the most was how little I liked the wines with the BBQ ribs.  Our BBQ was maybe just a touch too sweet and it really made the wines taste thin.  I laughed, because my whole premise for this WBW was that I love Zin with BBQ.  And I usually do. But I also usually grab for the really young fruit and pepper up in your face Zins to pair with it.  Here, I chose older Zins that had mellowed and smoothed and perhaps didn’t have the oomph left to stand up to the BBQ sauce.

I can’t wait to see how everyone else fared! I hope you all had a good time with the theme too! Get me your entries by leaving a link here or sending me an email at ctsonadora@gmail.com. As always, a tip of the virtual hat to our founder Lenn.

Dessert & Birthday Celebration!

Dessert & Birthday Celebration!

Announcing WBW #60: I Have Zinned

Many Happy Returns to Wine Blogging Wednesday! This August, when I get the honor and pleasure of hosting for the second time, is the 5th birthday of WBW! Lenn of Lenndevours deserves some huge credit for starting the tradition 60 months ago.  That’s older than most wine blogs around today, so for it to have survived the comings and wbwlogogoings of original participants, the proliferation of wine blogs and wine social networks, and everything else that’s changed in the last five years is a testament to how many wine lovers enjoy this event every month.

In case you are new to the world of wine blogs, WBW is a once monthly event where a host blogger (that’d be me) sets a theme and bloggers and wine enthusiasts from around the world choose a wine to meet the theme.  The host then rounds up the posts in some fashion so everyone can discover some new blogs and visit with old friends to see their takes on the theme.

Zin fangirls (and guys), Zin Freaks, and even those of you who aren’t so sure about Zin, get ready! The theme for this 5th birthday of WBW is “I Have Zinned.”  Nothing too crazy there. It’s summer and I’m not sure about the rest of you, but we are grilling and BBQing almost every night here at the Wannabe Wino household.  Zinfandel is my absolute favorite wine to pair with grilled foods and bbq, so in honor of the height of grilling season, I’m asking everyone to pull out a Zinfandel, throw something on the grill (or the Foreman or in a pan if you don’t have either), and tell me about your favorite grilled or BBQ’d food and how it goes with Zinfandel.

The deadline to submit is August 12th.  You can leave a comment here or shoot me an email at ctsonadora@gmail.com with a link to your blog post. As always, if you don’t have a blog and would like to play along, send me an email with your write up and I’ll toss it up as post here. I’m hoping for some record participation for the 5th Birthday event, so don’t let me down!

Boys and girls, get Zinning!

WBW 57- California Inspiration

wbwlogo

Yes folks, it is once again that time of month–Wine Blogging Wednesday!  Our host this month is Jeff of Good Grape.  In honor of the first anniversary of the passing of Robert Mondavi, a legend in his own right and certainly a “California wine inspiration,” Jeff tasked us with picking our own California Inspiration.  A California wine that made us sit up and take notice, that inspired us. You can read all the details here.

When I first read the assignment, I jumped for joy.  This would be easy.  California was my wine inspiration.  It moved me away from straight Riesling and mostly white wines and into the deep dark world of red wines.  Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah enticed me…and from there…Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre….just a long downward spiral that resulted in…at last count about 300ish bottles of red wine in my basement.

Then I actually sat down to try to figure out what wine to try and write about.  I thought about the wine that made my head turn.  But I couldn’t pinpoint it to a specific wine.  As I’ve written before, my first red wine love, which came from California, is Zinfandel.  I couldn’t and can’t get enough of it.  There’s more Zin in my basement than any other variety.  It’s too obvious though. I’ve written that story before. So I decided to tell a different story. Of how love and wine are so intermingled in my mind that I often have trouble separating the two.  My husband and I fell in love sharing bottles of wine over movies together in college, over dinners where we splurged and went to the fancy steakhouse and ordered a bottle of wine, and over weekends spent together where the usual long distance (close to 1200 miles) didn’t seem too far as long as we had some laughs and some wine, particularly one where a hurricane and no power for 5 days wasn’t so bad since we had plenty of wine, candles, and Scrabble.

On our honeymoon.

On our honeymoon.

We eventually headed to Sonoma for our honeymoon. It was there we first discovered the real joy of visiting vineyards (though we’d been to many through the years in other states) and red wine.  It is that trip that inspired my choice for this WBW.  When we got married, I was just over 2 weeks out from taking the bar exam, I’d moved my stuff 3 hours north to what would be our new apartment, and I was burnt out in every possible sense of the expression.  For once in my life, I didn’t micro-manage, and I didn’t really plan. I figured, we were headed to Sonoma, there simply was no way the trip could go wrong.  And I was right.  We knew pretty much nothing other than the fact that we really liked wine and we had a cute B&B to stay at.  And that was fine with me.  I chose this particular wine, not because of the actual wine, but because of the producer. It is one we’ve returned time and again to visit, always enjoying the wines, joining the club, and consistently buying futures. Our first visit in 2006 probably could be credited with our love of red wine as it was the first place we bought red on the trip (granted, it was only our second stop of the very first day…!).

I’m speaking of David Coffaro, a winery you’ve seen frequently on these pages.  While we didn’t have any of the 2003 Terre Melange or the 2005 My Zin left that we purchased on our honeymoon trip, we did just receive our case of 2007 futures this fall.  So I chose a bottle from that collection.  It didn’t really matter which bottle I chose. For me, this WBW isn’t really about that one singular wine–it can’t be. Wine, and particularly California wine, is the story of my adult years, and an integral part of the 8 years Matt and I have been together.  From the nearly 500 bottles of wine in our basement (about 80% California!) to the cork board made of corks in our kitchen to this wine blog that was entirely inspired by small California wineries, it’s difficult to extract wine from the whole.

I eventually decided on the 2007 David Coffaro Estate Cuvée.  You can read my quick initial assessment of this wine here.  It had a screw cap closure, cost us $17 at the future price, and clocked in at 15.3% alcohol by volume.  The wine is a blend of 33% Zinfandel, 33% Spicy Cabernet, 25% Carignan, and 9% Peloursin.

On the nose I found smoky aromas, followed by chocolate, anise, blackberries, black cherry, campfire, brown sugar, cranberry, and pencil shavings.  On the initial attack, the wine showed all fresh rip sun kissed blackberries as I poured it into my glass.  In the mouth I got black fruit, black cherries, blackberries, spice, pepper, star anise, cranberry, red raspberries, and chocolate on the finish.  I kept remarking all night about how fresh and juicy the fruit on this wine showed.  I loved it.  We have two more bottles in our basement, and while they might have some room left to mellow a bit more, I’m loving the way it was drinking now.  Matt and I were each eying the bottle, not wanting to miss out on our share!

In the end, California wine inspired me.  While I always enjoyed experimenting with new wines, before our California trip I remained solidly in the “I prefer white wines” camp.  It turns out, I just wasn’t drinking the right red wines.  In California, I found a world of possibilities…producers who made tiny lots of parcel specific Zinfandels, blends with everything and the kitchen sink, and new grapes I hadn’t yet fallen in love with, but can’t imagine not having access to now.

Many thanks to Jeff of Good Grape for the theme, and I hope you don’t mind the liberties I’ve taken with it! And as always, a virtual tip of the hat to our founder Lenn over at Lenndevours.  Looking forward to seeing the round up on this theme and I will notify you when it’s up!

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