Spring Time Wine

I bought this wine quite some time ago. I went to a Pinot and Pinot tasting at a local wine shop (Unwined) back in the spring of 2009.  I picked up a couple of different bottles, including this 2008 Sineann Pinot Gris from Oregon. Then somehow (can’t imagine how…unless you’ve seen my basement recently) it got shuffled behind other things and I lost track of it. We decided to pop it open the other night. It had a glass closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and I see it for about $11 online, though I think I paid closer to $15.

On the nose I found lemongrass, freshly mowed grass, lemon, pear, honey, and honeysuckle. It smelled like a fresh spring day to me.  In the mouth I got lemon, pear, green apple, honey, and honeysuckle.  This wine made for an easy sipper with light and lively flavors. At an $11 price tag it would make a great wine for a garden party…in the spring of course!

 

 

 

It’s All About the Bubbles

I continue on my quest to taste lots of sparkling wines this year! While I’m totally failing at the rest of my goals (read books, write about restaurants, etc…..) I am knocking this bubbly one out of the park. So a 1/3win? Books should pick up soon though as I begin a hectic travel schedule for work and find myself on many an airplane and in strange cities with nothing to do but read (or sit at the bar alone, but that starts to feel pretty pathetic fairly quickly). So the bubbly. Tonight we pulled out the NV Wolfberger Brut Rose Cremant d’Alsace. I picked this one up at Unwined in Alexandria for $18.99, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume,  and it had a traditional Champagne closure.

On the nose I got bright lime, raspberries, cranberry, strawberries, and watermelon. Mostly the tart red fruits, especially the cranberry, dominated the nose. In the mouth, more of the same red fruits showed up. Watermelon, cranberry, fresh picked strawberry, and tart raspberries. Overall I found the fruit to show as quite tart with the wine being crisp and dry. Another great bubbly for relaxing outside in our finally nice weather!

Gruner Kick

Like I said earlier this week, I was inspired by the GruV Olympics to go out and fetch some Gruner of my own. My only problem is that I normally only find one or two bottles in any given wine shop and often one of those bottles is a 1.5L bottle that I don’t want to drink. So I was delighted to find that Unwined in Alexandria actually had a pretty good selection of Gruner and I snagged a few different bottles to try. We sipped on the 2008 Tegernseerhof  T 26 Gruner Veltliner while enjoying a nice afternoon in our rocking Adirondack chairs on the front porch. This Gruner cost me $14.99 at Unwined, had a screw cap closure, and clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found tinned pears, tinned peas, white pepper, tropical notes, pineapple, and apple. In the mouth I got more pears, pineapple, tinned veggies, lemon, apple, and grapefruit. Overall I really thought this had great acidity and I promise the tinned veggies weren’t a turn off at all!

Gruner Gruner Gruner Gruner

After participating in the GruV Olympics (which I still need to write about…now where are those notes…) I got on a bit of a Gruner Veltliner kick. The weather turned nice and Matt and I were spending time outside playing Battleship (he lost, both games) and a light crisp wine seemed just the ticket. Luckily, I got lost driving home from UPS the same day (cut me some slack, I swear the mixing bowl changes every time I have to go through it) and I happened to take the route by Unwined home, which I usually never do. Somehow, my car magically steered into the parking lot and I just had to go into the store and pick up some spring-time wines. I think I got 2 or 3 bottles of Gruner Veltliner and a couple bottles of sparkling wine. First we tried the 2008 Anton Bauer Gmork Gruner Veltliner. It had a screw cap closure, cost me $10.99 at Unwined, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found white pepper, lemon, tropical notes, exotic vanilla, green apple, and crushed gravel. In the mouth I got lime, white pepper, more lime, green apple, and more lime. Overall I thought the wine had good acidity and for around $11 was a great example of Gruner Veltliner. You’ll have to ask Matt how it tasted alongside a helping of defeat at Battleship!

Everyone Loves a Little Bubbly

As you probably well know by now, bubbles are my thing this year. I’m quite happy with the goal I set to drink more bubbly….it’s only March and I’ve had more sparkling wine already than I usually do in an entire year. It’s also been a good way for me to break out of my normal CA reds pattern. While sparkling wines are made in CA, most of the less expensive ones come from from France, Spain, and Italy. I’ve already put out work to Jill at DomaineLA that I need to buy another shipment of bubbles from her and I’ve made two trips to Unwined in the last month just to get more! Tonight we opened up the NV Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and cost me $16.99 at Unwined.

On the nose this was reminiscent of a hoppy beer to me. I got lots of bread, lime zest, tart green apples, lime, and more lime zest. In the mouth I found the wine show very tart citrus, steely notes, more green apples, and just a hint of the bread from the nose. It had lots of tiny little bubbles and we truly enjoyed this bottle. A steal for the price point.

Oregon Viognier!

Back in August I went to a Viognier and Syrah tasting at Unwined in Alexandria. Matt was out of town and I was looking for something to do! Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying something, because, well, I have a problem. A wine collecting problem. I don’t mean to hoard wine, but I do! So I purchased this bottle of 2008 Penner Ash Viognier from Oregon, it was my favorite of the tasting. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, cost me $32.95, and had a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found pineapple, tropical notes, flowers, white peach, white pepper, honeysuckle, pear, and vanilla. In the mouth I got pear, white peach, honey, pineapple, and tropical notes. The Viognier had an slightly oily mouthfeel, which I love in a Viognier, with a crisp finish. One of my favorite Viogniers this year!

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!

Still drinking Rose….

I’m tasting Roses for Thanksgiving this year! Last year at Thanksgiving I made printed wine menus and asked our guests to select from a few bottles for each course. No one seemed terribly interested in it, so this year I will just be setting up the wine myself and I am 99% convinced I am going with a Croze Rose from WineQ but I am still testing other because, well, I love Rose and this gives me a great excuse!

This bottle was a 2006 Chateau Grande Cassagne Rose from
Costieres de Nimes. I picked it up at UnWined in Alexandria, it cost me about $10, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose there were strawberries and limes. The citrus was very present in the aroma with sweeter berries making up the rest of the nose. In the mouth the wine tasted like raspberry jolly ranchers and liquid strawberry Jello with a nice lime hint that gave it a great acidic backbone.

Definitely a good value and one I’d look out for to drink for next summer!

Attack of the Killer Crab Legs Redux!

It is most definitely the season for crab legs, whole she-crabs and other light seafood to match with light summer whites here in VA! We actually went to our first crab-feast of the summer this weekend, thanks to a gracious invite from Leah of DC Gastronome.

The wine I chose to pair with these Snow Crab leg clusters was another bottle I discovered in our move that I purchased from Unwined back in November. The bottle was a Domaine de la Croix Senaillet Vin de Bourgogne Saint Veran. It cost $14.99 and was 13% alcohol by volume.

The nose of this wine was incredibly aromatic, I could smell the citrus as I poured it into my glass! The nose displayed tangerines, mandarins, and white flowers. In the mouth, the citrus flavors can only be described as tangy. Specifically there were oranges and other orange citrus fruits. Additionally, I could find melon, which I thought was cantaloupe. I also noted that the minerality of the wine was excellent and the finish was very long.

A perfect match for our crab dipped in drawn butter and topped with fresh lemon juice. I’m sure we will be enjoying many similar meals as the summer progresses!

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