It’s Chocolate. It’s Wine. It’s Chocolate Wine!

This is an interesting wine. We bought it for my dad at Trentaude Winery a few years ago. He let it sit around for a few years since we bought it and opened it when we were visiting a couple weeks ago. The wine is the Trentadue Chocolate Amore port style wine.  It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 18.5% alcohol, and cost us $20. The wine has 8% residual sugar so it’s pretty sweet and is made of Merlot grapes with a tiny bit of chocolate infused into it.

So it tastes and smells like dark chocolate syrup.  There’s some red fruit and blackberries lurking that must come from the Merlot with some dark chocolate and baking chocolate there too.  In the mouth, it’s all chocolate and blackberries. Matt really likes this wine, it’s a touch too sweet for me, but it is what it is.

Old Patch Red

After a few days of restaurant wine reviews, I decided it was time for a good old fashioned bottle at home type review! We drank this bottle of 2004 Trentadue Old Patch Red on it’s own one (cooler) weekend afternoon. I picked this bottle up on our most recent Sonoma trip for $14.00 The wine had a screw-cap and contained Zinfandel, Carignane, and Petite Sirah.

On the nose were raspberries, spice, nutmeg, and leather. In the mouth I found raspberries and spice. Overall the wine was light and fruity with a bit of a kick at the end.

This is a great value blend and really well done. I would definitely check out the 2005 which I understand is now out!

Revisiting Trentadue

We first happened upon Trentadue last summer. And I quite literally mean happened upon. Besides the idea that we wanted to go to the Bodega Bay Wine and Seafood Festival at least one day, we had no plans on our first trip to Sonoma. That would mainly be a result of the fact that in a few short months (May 2006-August 2006) I graduated from law school, studied for and took the bar, moved to the DC area and got married. All I wanted to do on our honeymoon was relax and have as little in the way of structure as possible. When we arrived in CA, we basically grabbed a map of the Russian River/Dry Creek/Alexander Valley area, listened to our innkeeper and headed out on our merry way. And one of those tops was Trentadue, where Matt fell in love with the Chocolate Amore Port. While eating a delicious breakfast of Dutch pancakes and fresh berries on this trip, our innkeeper was chatting with us and asking where we planned to go. I had a list this time, and one appointment to make, but all the places I wanted to get to didn’t open until 11. The innkeeper suggested Trentadue, and got Matt thinking that he wanted more Chocolate Port. So off we went.

Trentadue’s tasting room reminds of a Spanish villa from the outside, with the yellow stucco walls and the burnt red roof. The gardens were looking gorgeous with plenty of new flowers blooming and if it were a little later in the day I would have wanted to stop there and picnic at some of the tables. Inside is a decent sized tasting bar with a very friendly tasting room attendant who was modeling the newest in Trentadue merchandise. Upstairs is an art gallery and in the tasting room are many different special bottlings, Magnums, wine gifts sets, posters, etc.

Our server chatted away with us about houses and trying to buy a house and moving and all such things as she poured 6 regular offerings and 3 Port offerings off a special menu. Additionally, they offer a reserve menu, but the above was quite enough for us. The 6 regular offerings were all great values, with only one bottle breaching the $20 mark, and several under the $15 mark. Following is a run-down of what we tasted:

2005 Sauvignon Blanc- $14. Pear aromas with pear and citrus in the mouth. Light and crisp, perfect for summer and for the beautiful weather that day. We bought 2 bottles.

NV Grand Cuvee California Champagne- $12. A very light sparkler with the scent and flavor of green apples, good structure and lots of tiny bubbles. We brought home 3 bottles.

2004 Petite Sirah-$18. Blueberry cobbler and blackberries on the nose, and intense aroma. In the mouth it was lighter than I expected and I thought it needed to age.

2004 Sangiovese-$18. Raspberries and spice on the nose, currants and cherries in the mouth. Drinking well now, but could age longer.

2004 Old Patch Red-$14. Spicy, oaky and dark berries on the nose. Raspberries, dark fruit and spicy inthe mouth, I liked this blend a lot. We took home 1 bottle.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon-$22. Vanilla and blackberries on the nose, blackberries and currants in the mouth. I liked this one too.

Special port tasting:
2005 Viognier Port- 375mL $25. Peach, pear and spice on the nose, citrus and orange in the mouth. A little sweet for me, but Matt liked it.

2004 Petite Sirah Port-500mL $25. Blackberries, dark spicy and smooth in the mouth. I loved this one and picked up a bottle for my dad as he loves port. A small thank you for the help he’s giving us fixing up our house.

NV Chocolate Amore-375mL $25. A perennial favorite in our house. Chocolate and raspberries on the nose, more of the same in the mouth. This wine is infused with chocolate. A lot of fun and great for something different. We bought 2 bottles.

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!

Nothing says klassy like bubbly and ham and cheese quesadillas!

Well, I’ve heard sparkling wine is good for any occassion….and since we were headed out last night to a local restaurant we wanted a snack before we left. It seemed only logical to have some bubbly to go with our ham and cheese (and tomato for Matt) quesadillas.

Last night’s choice was a bottle of Trentadue California Champagne, made in the method Charmat…which means iwth secondary fermentation before it was bottled. This was 11% alchol by volume, had a traditional champagne closure and cost us $18 at Trentadue this summer.
11% alcohol

In the glass, as you can hopefully see, were a ton of nice little bubble, though bigger than champagne method bubbles as in the bottle of Roederer we had last week. In the mouth, this was a slightly dry taste, but no so much that I would call is a dry sparkler. I could also taste just a little bit of yeast in the mouth, along with a slight flavor of tropical fruit. On the nose, it was floral and tropical fruits. I thought this wasa great value for the price and certainly something different.

Fondue + Wine= a Good Night

Tonight we had our only bottle (sob) of Trentadue 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. Such is the problem when you can only bring back so much wine. And this was a good one. Screw-cap closure, only $14.95 and 14.1% alcohol by volume. Served it with cheese fondue and crusty bread.

On the nose, I want to say the wine smells light, but I know that’s not right and I can’t truly explain it, but it does. I suppose a better description would be that it is slightly floral and certainly full of lemon. I also get a hint of fresh grass. In the mouth, this is one crisp wine. Tart and tangy and nicely acidic. The lemon on the nose certainly follows through with a touch of melon too. The end shows off very good minerality and this has a long, lasting finish.

We picked this bottle up at Trentadue this summer while we were visiting. Trentadue was a surprise stop for us, we happened upon it on our way back to the bed and breakfast we stayed at. Highly recommend the place too, the Vintage Towers in Cloverdale, best breakfasts ever! Anyway, Trentadue is a gorgeous place! We were the only visitors that afternoon. We had plenty of time to chat with the servers and we decided to stay and do the special port tasting. Trentadue makes a Chocolate Amore Port that is absolutely to die for. There are two bottles lounging in our bar, just waiting for us to break them open….go visit! I’m still regretting our choice not to join the wine club here and may yet change my mind. Excellent value for the money and fun to drink!

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