WBW #31 Announced

This month’s theme is Box Wines and Non Traditional Packaging and is being hosted over on Box Wines. Box Wine Guy has a nice write-up about box wines and other packages that are acceptable.

Now, I have to admit, the thought of box wine brings back horribly horribly painful memories of playing “Never Have I Ever” with my girlfriends in college and drinking some fine Dr. Franz. Though I have to say, the Dr. Franz was a welcome departure from the usual “Fire and Ice” shots that accompanied that game. And I can’t say that I’ve ever had, nor have I ever looked for a box of wine outside of that capacity.

So I guess this month will find me out beating the bushes for a box of wine that doesn’t taste like sweet, burnt rubber. (You think I’m joking, come on, fess up, you’ve had a box of Dr. Franz on occassion.) Hopefully my grocery store will carry something, I can say with about 99% certainty that my local wine shops do not carry boxed wine!

Get your entry in by March 14. Happy box wine hunting!

More bubbles!

We are still celebrating. And probably will be for a while, and then again when we close and move in to our new house. I love even saying it, yay, a house!! And then celebrating some more in May when through an enormous housewarming party. Any readers/winebloggers in the area who want to come celebrate? I don’t think we’ll be serving Cristal, but it will fun!

Anyway, we celebrated a bit more on Saturday and had a another bottle of Korbel, this time a Moscato Frizzante. This bottle is only available in the tasting room and through the Korbel wine club, and I think it cost us around $15. I know it was Matt’s favorite wine of our tasting.

In aroma and flavor, this was much like a Moscato d’Asti. On the nose it was floral and sweet. In the mouth, there were pears, apples and peaches. It’s a sweet bubbly, one I will like to consume on our new patio come summertime! The wine in the glass displayed a tiny little bead, itty bitty bubbles that carried over into the mouth. While sweet, the structure of this wine is very well done and it would make an excellent apertif.

I know it’s not fancy

However, I think that this is a decent bottle of sparkling wine for the price. I understand that Korbel gets the brush off from many wine lovers, and that’s fine, but I’ve never been a fashionable person myself, so when I’m looking for a bottle of sparkling wine that is very inexpensive and I know will deliver a reliable flavor, this is what I go for. Since we are celebrating our house and our “champagne” tastes are going to have to shrink in cost from the Roederer we love, we had a bottle of this Korbel Blanc de Noir. We picked this bottle up for around $8 at Korbel Cellars last summer.

In the glass, the color is of toasted almonds. It has a tiny bead and lots of them, I’m not sure my photography skills are quite good enough to pick them up. When I poured it at first there was a lot of foam in the glass.

On the nose, there were peaches and a slight yeasty quality. In the mouth, dry strawberries and rapsberries. It’s a crisp sparkler with good bubbles on the palate. Overall, it’s quick and easy and consistent in flavor and what you expect of it. Simple and fun, and does not disappoint for the price.

We bought a house!

Sorry, this has nothing to do with wine, but does explain my slower than normal posting and my lack of timely responses to everyone’s comments. We are incredibly excited to have our own place and to be homeowners! We close April 30th and will be moving in over the month of May. So I expect that I will be back to normal with posting and responses for the next 2 months and then things will be a little hectic again. Not that I don’t have things to post, I think I have a backlog of about 8 posts at this point!!!

What was wrong with my wine?

So the Sauvignon Blanc from Steenberg was not the only bottle we tried to drink the other night. I also opened a bottle of 2005 Ferrari-Carano Sauvignon Blanc. This one came in a club shipment this fall. It was $15.60, had a cork closure and was 14.2% alcohol by volume. I am absolutely convinced we had a bad bottle.

The notes on the bottle read: Clean, crisp and vibrant, this wine was made from a unique grape clone of the Sauvignon Blanc family called Sauvignon Musque. Nicely balanced, this wine displays an intense floral aroma with hints of citrus and fruit flavors. Bone dry with lively acidity, this very limited special wine underwent extremely cold fermentation to retain its varietal characteristics. Perfect with delicate dishes or as an apertif.

I will give it this much: it certainly had an intense aroma. Such an intense aroma that I kind of wanted to gag. It was a muskily sweet aroma. I would call it rotten oranges or peaches with a little applesauce thrown in. I have to admit it was hard to get it past my nose to actually taste the wine. Matt only made it through one sip before declaring it undrinkable. I got about halfway through my glass before I too had to admit defeat. In the mouth it was flat. It really tasted like slightly sweet juice, but of no distinct flavor. The color was also off. Matt poured it down the drain before I could take a picture, but the wine was a very dark yellow color in the bottle and glass. It was eventually the aroma that did me in, it was so hard to get past it. Not to mention the flat and lifeless taste in the mouth.

Holy Grapefruit Batman!

Last night we opened the last bottle from my most recent quest for everyday wine at the Curious Grape. This was a 2006 Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc. I picked it up for $10.99, it’s 12.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

My kind of Sauvignon Blanc! Big ol’ grapefruit and nothing much else, but that’s okay with me. I love the crisp citrus flavors of this style of Sauvignon Blanc. The grapefruit was all over the nose and in the mouth of this wine.

I served this with ham, cheese and pineapple omlettes last night. It was actually a really good match. Although this wine was fairly simple, it was a great and inexpensive everyday wine and I’d definitely get it again.

I Love Zinfandel

Really, I do. I think I would have been in paradise if I could have attended the ZAP event that was held recently. I love the big fruit, the subdued fruit, the juicy, the jammy, the spices, basically everything about it. I even love the way it stains my lips. Well, I could go on and on and on about how much I love the wine made from this grape, but I think we’ve just about covered enough of it for the moment.

We are also apparently on a Fritz kick this week, what with the Syrah for WBW and this bottle of 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel last night. Now, I know you are possibly (if you read my blog frequently) thinking, hey didn’t she review this just the other day? Well, I did, but I promise this bottle is actually different. It doesn’t have a little red banner in the corner indicating that it is a reserve or estate bottle or whatever it says, I can’t remember.

14.2% alcohol by volume, real cork closure and cost us $20ish in a club shipment. On the nose were blackberries, raspberries and pepper. In the mouth, there were crisp raspberries. I wouldn’t describe this as either juicy or jammy, but more on the tart side, like a raspberry that makes you pucker a little, but not in a bad way at all. The taste of this one lingered for a long while after swallowing.

I think it could age just a little bit more, but I would say only up to a year. It’s almost perfect to drink now, just a little heat from alcohol that showed on the end in the first hour. This could easily be solved by decanting or just letting the bottle sit open for an hour or so before serving. After an hour in my glass, this was smooth, easy to drink, with no heat from the alcohol.

I served this with grilled filet mignon with a currant and (this Zin) wine sauce over a bed of cheese risotto. Though this time I just threw in whatever cheese I had hanging around which happened to be extra sharp cheddar and fresh parmesean. Matt proclaimed it the best risotto yet. I give all the credit to the Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. If you have never had Cabot cheese you are missing out, big time. Best. Stuff. Ever. I was so excited a few weeks ago when the Cabot people were in my grocery store to celebrate the store starting to carry their cheese. I talked with the rep for a while and got a cow magnet and a Cabot t-shirt. I lived on Cabot cheese in college. I guess it’s a Northern East Coast thing. Clearly we’ve hit on two of my favorite topics tonight: Zinfandel and Cabot Cheese. Make macaroni and cheese with a block of the Seriously Sharp. It will be the best tasting mac and cheese you’ve ever had. Okay, I’ll shut up about the cheese now, this is a wine blog after all.

American Wine Blog Awards

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest thing going on in the wine blogging world at the moment. Tom Wark over at Fermentation has designed, orchestrated and is hosting the first ever American Wine Blog Awards. During the nomination period, anyone could nominate up to three wine blogs in each of seven categories with the caveat that the blog produced a certain number of posts in the year 2006 and was written in English (the American part was not an indication of where a blog had to be from). I nominated many of my favorites for the various categories during the nominations and there were a ton of great blogs that were mentioned.

Now, the finalists in each category have been announced, selected from a panel of very distinguished judges, ranging from editors of wine publications to winery executives. So it’s time for wine blog readers to pick the winners! You can vote for one blog in each category, one time. In order to get to the voting, click on the link in Tom’s post announcing the finalists. American Wine Blog Awards Finalists Announced.

Many of my favorites (and some of the ones I nominated!) made it to the finals.

I encourage you to check out these blogs in particular:

Best Single Subject

Best Winery Blog

Best Wine Blog Graphics
Wine Waves
Vivi’s Wine Journal

Best Wine Reviewing Blog
Wine Waves

Best Wine Blog Writing

Best Overall Wine Blog
Dr. Vino

Go vote!

WBW #30 New World Syrah

For this WBW, Tim of Winecast is our host and he requested that we choose a New World Syrah (or Shiraz, same thing!) to review this week. So that leaves a lot of the world to choose from…Australia, North American, South America, etc. My choice was made easy by two factors. One, I have a ton of California Syrahs hanging around and two, I’m trying to limit my purchases of wine. Thus, a California Syrah for me!

The wine I chose was a 2004 Fritz Alexander Valley Syrah. This came in our last shipment from Fritz and cost us around $21. It is 14.2% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got roasted meat and tons of dark fruit, plus an earthy quality and a hint of violets. In the mouth it transformed to pepper and spice with cherries and a leather taste.

I believe that there is at least one other bottle of this Syrah in our collection. I will leave it on the shelf as I think this has great potential to age for several years. There were enough dry tannins in the mouth to hold this one together and I really believe the dark blackberries will come out more, along with the violet which appeared after several hours in my glass (I usually end up drinking about a glass and a half out of a bottle since I like to watch it develop and by the time I get ready for my second glass there isn’t much left in the bottle!). The berries really made their appearance as my glass sat out. If you are going to drink it now, I would suggest decanting or at least letting your glass sit out for an hour or so.

2005 Milton Park Chardonnay

Sunday night we drank this bottle of 2005 Milton Park Chardonnay from South Australia. We actually went to a Superbowl party but peaced out at half-time mainly cause I was having an allergic reaction to the place we were. By the time we got home I was all better and we decided to watch the rest of the game and drink a bottle of wine. I picked this bottle up for $8.99 at the Curious Grape. It had a screw cap and is 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose of this botttle I found an herbal scent with wafts of vanilla coming out of the glass plus oak and just teensy bit of butter.

In the mouth, there were spices, a little lemon and a bit of peach. It had a fairly long finish. Overall, a very drinkable everyday wine, especially for the price!