Rosé You Say?

It hasn’t taken us long to jump into the wines we purchased on our most recent CA trip.  I’ll attribute this at least partially to the fact that prior to the trip I had maybe 4 bottles of Rosé and 10 bottles of white wine left in the basement.  We brought home about a case of whites and Rosés and I was just too excited about new options to stop myself from diving right in.  The few we brought home will be dealt with in very short order, I’m afraid!  Tonight I chose the 2008 Mounts Family Winery Two Creeks Rosé.  It clocked in 14.1% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork closure, and I believe cost us around $16.

On the nose I found watermelon, strawberries and cream, strawberry, cranberry, red fruit, blueberry, spice, white pepper, and flowers.  In the mouth I got strawberry, raspberry jello, cranberry, lime on the edges, and watermelon.  This is a completely bone dry Rosé, as crisp as could be with nice acidity and clean crisp fruit.  I could drink this wine all day on the porch on a hot summer day!

Marvelous Mounts

Dont forget to duck!

Don't forget to duck!

Two years ago, we were the first ever (literally, the first) visitors to Mounts Family Winery.  We had made an appointment that day for first thing at Michel Schlumberger, a close neighbor of the Mounts’ property.  We finished up there and were heading down the road with no particular agenda, only to see some balloons flying in front of Mounts, though we weren’t really sure what was up that long gravel road at that point! What we did discover was a family owned and operated winery just producing their very first vintage.

We wanted to return to Mounts on last spring’s trip, but we were short on time last year and Mounts now mostly opens by appointment only.  So sadly, we missed it.  This year, Mounts is on Twitter, so I ran across owner Lana before we left for CA and scheduled us in for our first afternoon in the area.  We moseyed on over and met Lana’s husband for our tasting around 2:30.

2008 Rosé: $16.  Strawberry, blueberry, lime, cranberry, extremely dry, nice fruit. Two bottles made their way home with us.

2006 Zinfandel: $26. Black pepper, blackberries, perfumey, vanilla, dark fruit, cream, pie, nice structure. We took one bottle home.

2006 Syrah: $26.  Cedar, dark fruits, plums, chocolate, dust, earth, pepper, long finish.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: $32. Milk chocolate, flowers, little red fruit, something herbal dark, tannic.

2006 Petite Sirah: $32.  Blue fruit, chocolate, maple, big blueberries, pepper, dark fruit, red berries on the edges, tannic.  We bought one bottle.

2007  Cabernet Franc: This one just got bottled, and isn’t really released yet, but they had a bottle open so we got to taste is and we loved it! That surprised me since I’m not a huge Cab Franc fan.  Leather, tobacco, smoke, strawberry, herbs, dark, slight chocolate and vanilla notes, nice structure.  While this one is just a baby, you can tell it will be great.  We took home two bottles to live in the cellar for a few years.


Two years later Mounts wines are just as fabulous as I remember.  While they now make a bit more wine (though not much, honestly, they started with 500 cases and are up to 2000 now) and are experimenting with some new types (I hear wonderful things about the Malbec in barrel), they are still a small family winery that is well worth your time to visit on your next trip to Sonoma.

WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.


The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.


The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

I drank this forever and a day ago

That whole week without the internet in New Orleans and the fact that the house has become a time (and money) suck is really throwing off my rhythm over here.

The wine was a 2005 Mounts Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. It cost us $26 at the winery and had a real cork closure. The website for the winery is still very much under construction, so there’s not much info available and the bottle got recycled before I could write down the alcohol by volume content.

On the nose I found vanilla, plum, dark currants, raspberries, and chocolate. The aroma was amazing. In the mouth were raspberries, leather, and dark currants. The wine was a bit tannic and would probably do well with several more years of aging or an hour or so in the decanter before serving.

I served the wine with a not so elegant meal of bratwurst, couscous, and green beans. The match was serviceable, but didn’t blow me away by any stretch of the imagination. I think I’d drink it with a peppery steak if I had another bottle.

Trying not to be selfish

Although I had planned where we wanted to stop, sometimes you just have to explore new things. I tend to think you run across great finds that way, as was the case here. As the title implies, I almost don’t want to share this find because it was SO good. The outside doesn’t look like much, and the website isn’t all that functional yet, but what was inside these wines makes up for any aesthetic shortcomings. The winery is new. Really new. It’s called Mounts Family Winery. While the vineyard has been growing grapes for over 50 years, they just opened this spring as a winery producing their own wines. We were leaving our one appointment of the day and it was early, my list was going to be done well before the day was even remotely over. I drove us by this winery with a plastic banner and a few lonely balloons and we decided to turn in.

The driveway is long. It runs you right up through the vineyards to this old barn. There was a woman in the driveway, but no one else, and no cars. I thought maybe we were at the wrong place, so I rolled down my window and asked the woman if she was having tastings. She seemed really excited and told us to come on in. It turned out we were her first tasters ever. Literally. She told us that she was officially opening the place for business on that Saturday but on a whim had stuck out a balloon to see if anyone would stop. Apparently Matt and I are easily lured by balloons.

The tasting room, if you can call it that, is actually down in the basement of that old barn, down around the back. The owner had to pull out glasses from brand new boxes for us to use and open each of the four bottles, comprising their entire current line-up. Matt could barely fit in the room and it was packed to the gills with barrels, which I eagerly looked at and was interested to find that they were all different. The owner informed me that her husband likes to try different barrels from many different manufacturers. Overall, the winery is at a current production of 500 cases and does not appear on the old map, so make sure you get a 2007 copy if you want to find them.

It was really a ton of fun to be someone’s first tasters ever. The owner was so excited to tell us about her wines and to let us taste them. And they were so good. Really really good, I was sad that I was the driver and had to spit them out.

2005 Syrah-$22, 15.2% alcohol by volume. On the nose, oak and cherries. In the mouth, an earthy flavor with deep red fruit, cherries and plums.

2005 Cabernet Franc-$28, 15.5% alcohol by volume, only 85 cases made. Spicy, tobacco and blackberry on the nose. Blackberry and bitter chocolate in the mouth.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon-$26, 14.8% alcohol by volume, only 50 cases made. Raspberry, chocolate and leather on the nose. Smooth in the mouth with raspberries and a leathery hint. We brought 2 bottles home.

2005 Petite Sirah-$28, 15.2% alcohol by volume, 180 cases made. Absolutely the star of the show in my opinion, though everything was just delicious. Blueberry pie, vanilla on the nose. Full of fresh, dark berries in the mouth, a little spicy with hints of cracked pepper. If you are a Petite Sirah fan, do yourself a favor and get a bottle of this. We took 2 bottles home.

Mounts was by far the best discovery of this trip. The wines were delicious, the owner was so friendly and so eager and it was a blast to be someone’s first tasters. It may look humble, but the wines are anything but. I look forward to the Zinfandel they anticipate releasing in future vintages.

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