Questing Again

Last night we moved on to another bottle in our quest for everyday wines. This was a bottle of 2005 Vin D’ Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer. We paired it with the last (phew!) of the turkey and some sides (still lots of those left). 13% alcohol by volume, $13.99 at Arrowine, cork closure.

Very nice flowery nose. Good spice on the finish, light, but full in the mouth. I’m sold. For the price, it will find it’s way to our table frequently.


A Bottle of White

So we decided one bottle wasn’t enough on Sunday night and cracked open a second. We are again on a quest for everyday wines and this time we were searching at Arrowine. I saw a commercial for them and signed up for their mailing list. Which was great because they sent me a coupon for 20% off a bottle of wine.

Anyway, we picked up 4 bottles while there. On Sunday we tasted a bottle from Ameztoi Vineyards in Spain. I’m not quite sure what it is, it says Cosecha 2005. And the importer says the grapes are 90% Hondarribi Zuri and 10% Hondarribi Beltza. But I don’t know what those are.

Moving on. The sales associate at Arrowine told me it is akin to a Vihno Verde which I blogged about a little while ago. He also seemed surprised with my evaluation of the Vihno Verde I had tried, as they carry the same brand.

So this bottle was slightly fizzy. I was wary after my last experience, but this was really tasty! It was a bit like a fizzy riesling minus the petrol scent. It had a lot of citrus, was light and clean and very easy to drink.

$14.99, 14% alcohol by volume and one of those plastic corks (shudder).

We’ll buy this again as I like lighter wines for a weekday.

A Bottle of Red

Leftover turkey and sides, which gives me another chance to try pairing wine with the turkey. And yet again, I’m led to the conclusion that there’s just no great wine that will pair well with it all. Oh well, it gives me yet another excuse to try more wines!

Sunday night’s was a 2003 Alexander Valley Vineyards Sangiovese. We picked this bottle up at Alexander Valley Vineyards this summer for $20. We had a great time at the vineyard. We were the only people there and our server was great. He spent a lot of time chatting with us and even gave us a nifty corkscrew when he found out we were on our honeymoon. Came in handy when we got to LA and really needed a bottle of wine!

Back to the wine. It had a lot of strawberry jam on the nose and more strawberries in the taste. Very full in the mouth. A bit unfinished at the end. It will definetly improve with age. I’d keep it around for a few more years to let it round out. The finish smoothed as it aired out and I was reminded once again that I really need to make more use of the decanters we got as wedding presents.

Do you feel wine guilt at vineyards?

And by that, I mean, do you feel the need to buy a bottle at each vineyard you visit? I do. Even if I don’t really like the wines, I try to find one I find palatable to buy. Otherwise, I would just feel bad, like I wasted their time by not buying anything.

Made with Wine

Oh how delicious. We picked up a bottle of Caramel Chardonnay Sauce at Alderbrook Vineyards. I served it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, oddly enough, with pretzel sticks. The really thin little pretzel sticks. The salt of the pretzel is a great contrast to the very sweet sauce. You can actually taste the chardonnay in the sauce and it is just fabulous. A bottle was $18.95 minus our club discount.

I loved visiting Alderbrook. We were there at the very end of the day and the wine-maker happened to be behind the counter so we got to pepper him with questions about his wine. I loved how big and open their tasting room was, as it offers a very large selection of wine merchandise and food products. I would really like to return some day when we have more time to spend there and perhaps enjoy a light lunch on their porch.

4 Pinots all in a row

Last night we went to the Aunt and Uncle’s place for some pizza and football. My husband’s uncle brought out pinot after pinot for us to try.

1.) First up was a 2004 Argyle Reserve from the Willamette Valley. My notes on this one say cherries, balanced, smooth, hint of tobacco, could probably age and have a much fuller flavor. Very light in color for a pinot noir, I almost thought it might be a slightly dark rose when it was poured.

2.) Next we had an Orogeny 2003 Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Now I know I said I wouldn’t be picking out dirt flavors in my wine. I lied. I got a big Earthy, dirt flavor throughout this wine. Raisins, currants and a hint of cherry. There was also a sour scent on the nose, I still can’t place what it is, it’s been driving me nuts since it was poured into my glass last night.

3.) Third was a Belles Soeurs 2000 “The Wild Thing” Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. My notes say excellent, smooth, perfect balance, lots of cherry, full in mouth, currants. May I please have more? I gather only 625 cases were made of this and it might be at its perfect drinking time now. The website says between 2003-2007 would be best for this bottle. I want to buy it all and drink it now.

4.) Finally, was a 2005 Saintsbury Carneros Garnet Pinot Noir. Sweet meats, soda, like a Coke. Flat. No flavor really, an odd finish. Perhaps the bottle wasn’t good? This is supposed to be their finest pinot, but I wasn’t impressed.

Overall, my favorite was #3, then #1, then #2, then 4. Uncle Bruce said 3, 2, 1, 4, my husband said 3, 4, 1, 2, Aunt Terry said 3, 1, 2, 4 and Ella(sister in law) said 2, 1, 3, 4.

And please, does anyone want to find some bottles of #3 for me? Please?

A duet of reds

Friday evening found us going with my husband’s brother and our sister in law to the Melting Pot for a fondue feast (just what we needed after Thanksgiving was to expand our belts a little more, right?). Cheese fondue, then meat fondue and finally chocolate fondue for dessert. It presented another conundrum, what to drink with such a mixture? The Melting Pot offers a surprisingly extensive wine list, with prices up over $200 for a bottle. Those were not to be in our price range for the evening. Our sister in law was inclined to want a red that night so I concentrated on those.

I chose a 2005 Trinity Oaks California Pinot Noir. It’s produced by Trinchero Family Estates in Napa. $30 on the menu, cork closure, but our waitress had a terrible time getting the cork out. I found it online for $9.00, so a $21 mark-up, not terrible for a restaurant I suppose. I certainly wasn’t going to pay $45 for a Chateau St. Michelle Riesling which I know I can get for $13 at the store.

Back to the wine. I wasn’t impressed. It was very thin in the mouth to start. It tasted of cherries and raspberries. I put it aside for a bit and let it open and air. It tasted better toward the end of the meal, a little fuller, but still a very thin wine. But what could I expect for the price?

We came home and opened a 2004 Quivira Steelhead Red Dry Creek Valley Blended Red Wine. 14.2% alcohol by volume, cork closure, cost us $15 after our club discount. I think I read somewhere that this wine supports the restoration of trout to the creek at Quivira. This wine was spicy, but well balanced and easy to drink. Tart berry flavors, and a lot of spice. I think this would go well with an Italian dish that had some sausage in it.

What do you serve with this:

I believe that is the question that many a wine lover (or blogger) has been asking him or herself over the past few weeks. This was the plate of food that was served to everyone at my house. Sweet potatoes with marshmellows, candied carrots, mashed potatoes with cheese, turkey, etc. Is there really a perfect wine to serve with this disharmonious collection of food that somehow all tastes good together?

I think the answer I have arrived at is that no, there is no perfect wine to serve. But that’s okay. Since nothing will go fantastically well, why not just serve what you like and add it into the mix of all the other random foods put together on a plate?

With that in mind, 4 bottles fell at our house on Thanksgiving. I was little off in my predictions. I thought we would drink 2 white, a red and a dessert. It ended up being 2 white, a dessert and a Champagne. As noted before, we let our guests choose off our pre-prepared list. My husband’s brother and his wife chose the first bottle, a 2005 Ferrari-Carano Sauvignon Blanc. My brother in law said it was because it had Ferrari in the name. Everyone seemed to like it, though I think most were more concerned with tasting all the food at the table than with the wine! It’s a slightly sweet sauvignon blanc with a good bit of citrus rounding out the flavor. I remember really enjoying this the day we tasted it and we do have another bottle hanging around for later. Cork closure, $15.

Next we moved on to a dessert wine, which was the choice my husband’s Aunt and Uncle. Being slightly wary of the VA dessert wines on the list, they chose a 2005 Bella Late Harvest Zinfandel. This was also a cork closure and cost $20.50. At 15% residual sugar, I expected this to be a very sweet wine, but it really reminded of a very young port. I thought it had a great finish, a lot of blackberry flavor and I probably should have served it with an assortment of chocolate, but, chocolate would not seem the dessert of choice for Thanksgiving.

Up third for the evening was a bottle of Preston Vineyards 2005 Dry Creek Valley Viognier. Cork closure, $22 after a case discount. If you ever have a chance, try Preston’s olive oils. They are superb and I only wish we had taken home a few bottles. This was a good choice for a wine to drink as we did, sitting around playing Trivial Pursuit. It was light and easy to drink, but surprisingly full in the mouth and very smooth going down. It had a bit of spice that I can’t place and maybe a hint of tropical fruit. This was my choice as I realized we were hunkering for a long battle of the wits.

Finally, to finish the evening, we opened the bottle of champagne that our Aunt and Uncle were so kind to bring. It was a G.H. Mumm & Cie. Cordon Rouge Brut. I gather it runs around $37 for the bottle and sadly the cork was thrown away before I could see what year it was. I thought this was a very tasty bottle and a great way to finish our evening. I tasted a lot of apple, and thought it was slightly sweet for a brut champagne. A good finish, with just a bit of yeasty undertone. I’d definetly get this bottle again.

And then there were 8

Seven of these were from our collection and were consumed between Wednesday and now. The Champagne was a gift from my husband’s Aunt and Uncle who came to our house for Thanksgiving.

Let’s start with Wednesday evening.

Out of this collection, far and away my favorite was the Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up for $25 while visiting Fritz Winery. Fritz was great, we joined their club and got to meet several members of the Fritz family who served our wine that day and wandered in and out while we were there for our tasting.

Of course, we didn’t really do this wine justice as we drank it while eating a Pizza Hut delivery and waiting for the call that my husband’s brother and our sister in law had arrived, but nonetheless, it was fabulous. It had a lot of big fruit, cherries and blackberries and I also got a hint of tobacco. It was smooth and big and easy to drink. I have two more bottles that I will keep in our collection as I expect this will just get better with age.

The next wine of the evening was a De La Montanya Felta Creek Vineyards 2005 Summer White. Even my sister in law, who is not a big fan of white wine, liked this one. I wrote on my note pad that this was crisp, quite acidic and tasted like pears. I also jotted down that it probably would have done well with Thanksgiving as it could have easily cut through all the creamy buttery flavors.

Finally, we moved on to a Columbia Winery Spirit of Washington Dinner Train 2004 Riesling. Columbia Winery is in Washington State and we did pick up this bottle when our Dinner Train stopped at the winery. For $7.00 it was quite a bargain. A nice sweet riesling, very easy to drink and a good way to finish the evening.

Fountains of WIne

At last count, since Wednesday afternoon, we have consumed 9 bottles of wine. Phew. I haven’t had a chance to post about any of them yet, but I have my notes all assembled and ready to go. Our company leaves tonight, so hopefully tomorrow I will get the time to write about everything we drank this week (which will probably be added to tonight!).

Thanksgiving went incredibly well. My first bird came out perfectly and I managed to get all the dishes prepared and out of the oven at the right time. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I ignored my friends who encouraged me to make a bad meal in order to escape from further Thanksgiving responsibilities. And I was really pleased with how everything tasted and turned out. The homemade cranberry sauce was a big hit as was the homemade ice cream.

We’re off to lunch with our company now, so more later on the massive amount of wine we drank.