Roshambo Gewurtztraminer

I’m a little behind in my wine reviews, which I suppose is fine because there won’t be any wine drinking tonight (I’m still recovering a bit from last night) so at least I have a few back-ups to post!

Anyway, on Monday we drank a bottle of 2005 Roshambo Gorey Gewurtztraminer. It had a real cork, cost us around $15 and is 14.1% alcohol by volume. I paired it with some more of the Zuppa Toscana because it struck me that it might be a good match with the spiciness of the sausage.

It smells like Gewurtztraminer……it’s aromatic, floral, lightly sweet with an undertone of spice. Honeysuckle especially seemed to jump out.

In the mouth, it’s a little greasy. Very heavy and palate coating and an odd kick of maybe petrol at the end? Also quite sweet. NMS.

Tuesday Wine Down

Leah of DC Gastronome told me a few weeks ago that she and some friends were hosting a wine happy hour today. I had said I could probably make it, and Matt and I made plans to attend. Now, come to find out, Leah is the new co-host of Meetup DC’s Wine Group! (I was slightly confused when the second invite showed up in my non-blog email, but quickly figured it out.) And, tonight’s activity is her happy hour.

I have yet to attend a Meetup event, so this will be my first. And it looks good. It will be held at David Greggory in DC, with I gather is on the corner of 21st and M. Happy hour starts at 4:30pm and goes until 10:00pm. The Meetup group is scheduled to gather at 6ish. I’ll be there, with Matt in tow and I’d love to meet some new people in the area…I just moved here in September and don’t know a lot of folks yet (especially any that really enjoy wine!).

Looks like the specials are $4.75 wines by the glass (doesn’t say which wines though), $4.25 Microbrew Drafts, Smirnoff vodka drinks $5.00 and Sangira for $3.75. Some good looking appetizer specials, all at $5.00 and a small but tasty looking regular menu. Fairly decent wine menu, though a bit lacking in bottles under the $30 mark….oh well, hopefully the wine by the glass specials will be interesting!

So come on out! I’ll be the one in a gray suit and I now have kind of blonde hair (my picture up in the corner was taken in October when I decided to be auburn for the fall/winter until I got bored of it last week.) Hope to see you there!

A Virginia Red that Merits a Look

I will be the first to say that I have tasted red wines at a good handful of Virginia Wineries. And usually, I’m not all the impressed. We don’t have a fantastic climate here for some red grapes, it’s hard to get some to ripen before the cold sets in. However, I have recently had a few Virginia Pinot Noirs, and I must say, they are really coming along.

Last night I served Roz of Beadimous‘ Zuppa Toscana (Matt really loved it and requested it again this soon!). Last time, we drank a Roederer Pinot Noir with it one night and I thought it was a good match. I figured I’d try again with this bottle of 2005 Pinot Noir from Swedenburg Winery. We picked this up at Swedenburg a few weeks ago for $18, it has a real cork closure and is 12% alcohol by volume.

I found ripe raspberries in the nose and mouth of this wine. It also had undertones of strawberries and spices (mostly black pepper) in the mouth. It was smooth and delicate and I thought it paired very well with the creamy and slightly spicy soup. A very light wine in the mouth and a great effort for a red from Virginia. Overall, it had flavors kind of like a subtle (if that’s possible) raspberry jolly rancher.

Matt wasn’t such a fan, he found it sharp, which I thought was odd, the flavors seemed very smooth to me and the finish was simple and easy

The Finished Corkboard

I did eventually (actually rather quickly) get around to making that corkboard out of my bag of corks. Oddly enough, the bag itself doesn’t really look much emptier than when I started. And it really only took around 120 corks to finish. Really not that big of a dent in a bag that had nearly 400 corks in it…… 🙂 Perhaps I ought to get on mass producing cork reindeer (again, my apologies to the person who keeps searching for how to make one of these things, I don’t honestly know!).

Anyway, it probably took us around an hour and a half to make this thing. The hardest part was finding corks that were long enough to fit tightly. Ocassionally we had to sacrifice a pretty cork for a less pretty one just to be able to fit them all in so there were no gaps. I’m fairly pleased with how it came out, but less pleased with the quality of the product. The dry erase board won’t stay in like it is supposed to and the corner of the wood frame has already separated. Also, make sure you have your own container of wood glue around to glue in the corks. The little tub they provide is not nearly enough to put a “generous amount” of glue on each cork, nor does it want to come out of the tub all that easily. Now I just need to get to the hardware store to pick up some kind of a brace to hold the frame together while the glue dries so that I can finally hang the thing up.

Worth Another Look

We drank a first bottle of this wine over Thanksgiving, in this post, but I don’t feel I did it much justice, both in the food pairing and the short treatment I gave it in my post. It deserves another look! I was going to let the remaining bottles of our Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel age for a while, but we just got another shipment and it had an additional 2 bottles, so I thought we’d drink one.

This cost us $25 in a club shipment, has 14.2% alcohol by volume and came with a real cork closure. On this bottle, I found blackberries and raspberries on the nose, with a bit of currant. That’s a little different than the last time where I found blackberries and cherries. In the mouth I got the same fruit I found in the nose, plus earth, tobacco and cedar.

I paired this with a leftover filet mignon and risotto and it did really well with the steak. I can definitely picture this as a great bbq rib bottle of wine. After dinner we had some dark dark bittersweet chocolate and this wine just shone with the chocolate. It was perfect. The raspberry flavors and the chocolate together were fabulous.

Another Excellent Value

My spreadsheet of wines was missing an entry in the price column for the wine I picked as our after dinner bottle. What can I say, the spreadsheet isn’t perfect (sorry Huevos Con Vino, I know how much you love spreadsheets) especially when I found some of our receipts had gotten tossed as we worked our way down the west coast this summer. So I was a little afraid I might be choosing a pricey bottle, but I was wrong!

Anyway, the second bottle we drank last night was Nelson Family Vineyards 2005 Viognier. At only $16.80, this was quite a value. It was 14.8% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. Sorry, no picture, I forgot to take one!

The nose on this bottle was incredibly aromatic and I could smell it easily without even bringing my nose into my glass. Many flowers jumping out with a touch of honey, it made for a pleasant aroma. It actually reminded me of when honeysuckle was in bloom in my yard as a kid.

In the mouth, there were spiced peaches and a bit of honey, following through on the nose, but surprising me with the peaches and the spice! Overall, I thought the structure and acidity were very well done, holding in what could have been very sweet flavors, but turned out to be an enjoyable, balanced and surprising mouthful of flavors.

This is our only bottle of this one and unfortunately, it appears to be sold out. Oh well, there’s always next year’s release, which I’m sure we’ll get in a club shipment. Great value, keep an eye out for next year’s.

The Forrest Through the Trees

Last night’s wine was all about the pine! The bottle was a 2004 Quivira Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Weighs in at 13.8% alcohol by volume (thankfully less than the night before!), cost us $13.60, though I found it online for $11.99, and had a real cork closure. I served it with chicken roll-ups, cream sauce, broccoli and white rice. I thought a crisp Sauvignon Blanc would be a good match for the creamy, cheesy chicken dish. I thought it turned out well, with the acidity cutting through the creaminess and cleansing the palate.

Thie one was full of pine on the nose, with some lemon (but not smelling like pinesol, I promise!). Citrus flavors were in the mouth, with crisp apples and a little bit of a creamy melon flavor at the end.

Overall, the wine had good acidity and structure holding it together which balanced well with the fruit flavors. It’s not terribly complex, but is easy to drink and was a pleasant match with dinner. And if you can find for around $12, I think it’s an excellent deal and would easily be something we could use as an everyday wine. It was especially nice to see a wine under 14% alcohol by volume!

Alcohol Alert!

Last night’s wine was a 2003 Reserve Wilson Estate Zinfandel Reserve. We picked this up at Wilson for about $22 and it had a real cork closure. However, it must be the week of high alcohol contents. I know over at Barreled, Barrld tasted a Viognier the other night that came in at 16.1%(that’s huge for a white!) and the wine Matt and I had last night came in at 16%.

Now overall, I have nothing against high alcohol wines, my main concern is that the alcohol be kept balanced by the flavors and the structure of the wine. I must say I was slightly worried last night, as I poured some of the wine into the currant red wine sauce for our steak and I thought Matt might pass out from the fumes alone.

However, since it was sitting out for a while before we ate, the alcohol seemed to have almost dissipated by the time we were ready. I served it with a bacon wrapped pan seared filet mignon with currant red wine sauce over 4 cheese risotto and a side of green beans. It was actually a very good match with the dinner, though in general I think this wine needs to age for a few more years. The end was tannic, but I really think it will get better.

On the nose there was cedar and a few spices. In the mouth, blackberies, vanilla, more spices and currants as it aired out a little more. As I said, the end was tannic, but not that bad and it definitely faired better as the night progressed. The alcohol didn’t bother me because the structure was good and the flavors were enough to make it good for me. However, I will say that I had trouble getting through my 2 glasses of wine. It made me a little tipsy. I would say that’s the worst part of the high alcohol wines.
Really good with dinner

Second Night of the Mauritson

We drank the rest of the bottle of Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc last night. Now, I had no other option for preserving it on hand except my vacuum pump. So I went ahead and gave it a shot (it was the first time I had used, DH had always done it before) without much hope for how it would taste last night.

However, I think perhaps I used it correctly…..? I took Dr. Deb of Good Wine Under $20‘s advice and I let the bottle warm up on the counter a while before serving it. It wasn’t perfect, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near as degraded as past bottles that we had saved. I still got the citrus and the grass in the mouth, but I also got a little bit of pear. Overall tasty, but I’m glad we didn’t have to try to keep it for a 3rd night!

I served it with fried chicken, biscuits and broccoli. Matt cooked us dinner, which was a nice break for me! I attempted to help with the gravy by offering the suggestion that perhaps cornstarch is a better thickening agent than flour, but alas, the gravy was still quite a failure. The wine was fairly tasty with the fried food though, so at least the pairing was good!

I think I will shortly be looking into the alternative ways of preserving that everyone suggested last night. Thanks to all!

Thinking About Obscure Regions and Varietals

Yes, these are the types of thoughts that run through my head when I am sitting in a fairly dull training class all week. If I get lucky, I’ll remember them at lunch time so I can jot some notes down, and that’s what happened today (yay for lunch, the bright spot in an otherwise deadly boring day).

So as I sat in training, mesmorized, of course, by the topic at hand (types of government contracts and the risk assumed by the government based on each type, thrilling, huh?) my mind was running over some of the more obscure wines I’ve had lately. And I was wondering, what is the most obscure region or varietal you have tried in recent memory?

I didn’t write about this one (or at least I’m fairly certain I didn’t….I can’t find it if I did) but we had a red (forgive me, the type is slipping my mind) from Bulgaria this year. We have this kind of kitschy little Bulgarian place near our apartment building (very tasty and interesting food, especially for a cold night) and they carry Bulgarian wine on the menu. I remember thinking it was really reasonably priced for a restaurant ($18) and I really enjoyed the bottle, though it did need to be a touch cooler. I’d drink it again, and next time I’d remember. I think that was easily the most obscure region from which I’ve tasted a bottle.

So the question remains, what varietal or region has been your most obscure?