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.