A Wine Gift

This bottle of wine arrived on my doorstep many months ago from my Mother In-law who discovered at her high school reunion that several of her classmates now own vineyards. And she sent me a bottle from each classmate’s vineyard. The first one we drank was a bottle of Esmeralda from Chatom Vineyards.

Tonight’s wine was a 2004 Buehler Papa’s Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon, another one from California. The wine had a real cork closure and was 14.9% alcohol by volume. The winery lists it as sold out, but it was selling for $45 a bottle.

On the nose I found black plums, Coke, all spice, and vanilla. In the mouth my notes say “holy big wine.” Sometimes I get a little punchy when jotting things down 🙂 It was a big, dark, powerful wine. You could have put a light directly against the glass and not even seen a glimmer on the other side of the glass. This was one of the darkest wines I’ve ever seen. Besides that lovely description, I found more plums, spice, cherries, and raspberries in the mouth.

The wine was a bit tannic in the mouth. I would say this one could easily sit around for another 10 years or so, but my Mother In-law was hoping I would drink them a lot faster than that to give her an opinion on the wines! The wine had real depth and many layers of flavor. It kept getting better with each sip. The fruit was really fresh and I could see it still being that was in 5-10 years. A delicious wine.

WBW #37-Go Native!

This month’s WBW has been announced and will be hosted by the Dr. himself of Dr. Vino. The idea is to drink a grape that is indigenous to the place where the wine is made. With that caveat to skip the big six of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon if you decide to go hang out in France’s native grapes.

This one seems like a great one for me. I should head out to VA wine country and bring back some Norton, one of the only native grapes to the US and native to VA!

The due date this month is September 12, so get out there and find your wine! You can find all the details over at Dr. Vino in this post.

Hope to see everyone participating this month!

Old Patch Red

After a few days of restaurant wine reviews, I decided it was time for a good old fashioned bottle at home type review! We drank this bottle of 2004 Trentadue Old Patch Red on it’s own one (cooler) weekend afternoon. I picked this bottle up on our most recent Sonoma trip for $14.00 The wine had a screw-cap and contained Zinfandel, Carignane, and Petite Sirah.

On the nose were raspberries, spice, nutmeg, and leather. In the mouth I found raspberries and spice. Overall the wine was light and fruity with a bit of a kick at the end.

This is a great value blend and really well done. I would definitely check out the 2005 which I understand is now out!

Back in New Zealand

I couldn’t abandon my New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs for too long, I love them too much. Wednesday evening found us having dinner with friends at the Lebanese Taverna. (I’m guessing that I sometimes sound like a broken record when I talk about where we go for dinner…..) We ordered the Table Mezza for the 4 of us, which is an absolutely fabulous deal. I never know when it will be offered, but I always get excited when I see the little slip of paper in the menu announcing it for the evening.

The Table Mezza comes with 5 appetizers, beef and lamb shwarma, chicken shwarma, rice pilaf, and of course, freshly baked pitas. All that food and only $25 a person. We always have enough left over for another meal each when we order this.

To go with our mish-mosh of food, I selected a Southbank Estate 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. It had a screw top, cost us $33 at the restaurant, and was 13% alcohol by volume. I can only seem to find it in UK shops online, where it’s going for about 8 pounds.

The wine smelled tart, with aromas of gooseberry, citrus, and grassy undertones. As soon as my taste was poured I could tell this was going to be my kind of wine. In the mouth there were tropical fruits, gooseberries, and grass. It was incredibly refreshing and crisp and went perfectly with our smorgasboard of food. I thought this was a great value for a wine in a restaurant.

Wine from Switzerland? And White Merlot?

Egads, the world must be coming to an end! Now, as strange as a White Merlot, and one from Switzerland at that, sounds, the wine geek in me could not pass up this bottle of wine. I saw it on the menu and went, huh, White Merlot? Now that’s a new one. And to me it is, I had never heard of such a thing.

We ventured to Il Porto Ristorante with my inlaws last week in Old Town, Alexandria. We haven’t really had the time (or money) to check out many restaurants in our ‘hood yet, but we were in the mood for Italian and they had open tables when we wanted, so off we went. And not a bad choice at all! The food was very tasty and reasonably priced, I had the fettucini alfredo. I know, a heart attack on a plate, yada yada yada, but I really don’t care, I love the stuff and only get it perhaps twice a year.

The wine was a Ticino Chiar di Luna 2005 Bianco di Merlot. It is from V&D Angelo Delea SA, Losone-Swizzera. I gathered from the label that it is from the Italian Alps region of Switzerland. I had heard that wine was made in Switzerland, but that it was so little they didn’t really export. So color me surprised to find this on the wine list of a tiny Italian restaurant in Northern Virginia.

The wine was 12% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. The nose was reserved, showing a slight sweet floral aroma. In the mouth the wine was light and fruity with tropical fruits. It was pleasant and tasty and otherwise hard to describe. The wine was easy to drink and made me think of fruit drinks with ice on the porch. I’d say it’d be a decent valued at the $10-$15 price point and certainly worth trying as an oddity. White Merlot???

I drank this forever and a day ago

That whole week without the internet in New Orleans and the fact that the house has become a time (and money) suck is really throwing off my rhythm over here.

The wine was a 2005 Mounts Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. It cost us $26 at the winery and had a real cork closure. The website for the winery is still very much under construction, so there’s not much info available and the bottle got recycled before I could write down the alcohol by volume content.

On the nose I found vanilla, plum, dark currants, raspberries, and chocolate. The aroma was amazing. In the mouth were raspberries, leather, and dark currants. The wine was a bit tannic and would probably do well with several more years of aging or an hour or so in the decanter before serving.

I served the wine with a not so elegant meal of bratwurst, couscous, and green beans. The match was serviceable, but didn’t blow me away by any stretch of the imagination. I think I’d drink it with a peppery steak if I had another bottle.

I may have fibbed

I thought that for sure I had consumed my last bottle from WineQ that was hanging out in my cellar. But again, my lack of organizational skills caused me to lose track of this bottle of 2005 Egret Chardonnay.

The bottle had a plastic cork, cost us $14.99 (free shipping!) through WineQ, and was 14.4% alcohol by volume.

On the nose there was a smell of slight oak and yeast, followed by lemons and a strong scent of apples. In the mouth I didn’t find any of the oak that I got on the nose. It was creamy up front with a crisp finish. The major flavors were citrus and apples.

Overall, the wine had a great structure and balance. It made the perfect sipping wine for a deadly hot Washington evening. We did drink it alone, though I’d love it with some mild creamy cheese. An excellent value.

Getting Naked with Lenn!

This month’s WBW is hosted by none other than the founder of WBW, Lenn of Lenndevours fame. As the theme for this month, we were tasked to find a “naked,” meaning unoaked, bottle of Chardonnay.

Not a hard theme for me to go along with. I much prefer the unoaked (or very lightly oaked) style of Chardonnay myself. If I really wanted to chew on a tree I’d head out to my backyard. For quite a while I was actually an “anything but Chardonnay” wine drinker as all I’d been exposed to were overoaked monsters. Then I discovered the absolute joy of Chardonnay done in a lightly oaked or unoaked style. Though to be honest, I will still avoid the Chardonnay at most weddings and parties as I live in perpetual fear of getting a mouthful of buttered oak from those!

So the wine. For this month’s WBW, I headed to the roots of my current home and went for a Virginia Chardonnay. I tend to be of the opinion that Virginia does whites a lot better than it does its reds and my pick for this month was no exception to the success I’ve had with VA white wines.

I chose a bottle of Breaux Vineyards 2005 Madeleine’s Chardonnay. It clocked in at 13.2% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost us $16.90. You can find it online through the vineyard for the same price. We picked this bottle up on our recent visit to Breaux’s Key West Wine Festival, a post I hope to write up shortly.

The wine was steel fermented and I can find no mention that it spent any time at all in oak, unlike the bottle I drank last night that I was really excited about only to find that after the steel fermenting it spent several months in oak. So I’ll save that one for another post.

Madeleine’s Chardonnay showed aromas of honey, lemon, tropical fruit, and pears on the nose. The aroma was light and pleasant. In the mouth the wine was smooth with a touch of creaminess and had a round finish. The predominant flavor in the mouth was pear with just a touch of the honey from the nose. Straightforward in the mouth and easy to drink, with a slight lingering sweetness.

We drank the wine with ham and cheese omelets and it fared okay with the meal. I think it would do well on it’s own or with a fruit and cheese appetizer. I was supposed to serve it with grilled pork chops and rice pilaf, but the pork chops were still frozen solid when I got home. I’m glad I didn’t though, because I think the delicate flavors would have been overpowered by that meal.

Overall, a good value for the money and a wine I would certainly get again.

Thanks very much to Lenn for hosting this month’s WBW! I’ll certainly be looking forward to the round-up in hopes of discovering lots of great naked wine for the remainder of our hot summer in DC!

PS-Happy Anniversary to WBW and many congrats to Lenn on his successful continuation of this monthly event!

Happy (belated) birthday to me!

And a picture of what happens when you give your husband the camera and ask him to take a picture of the cake! In any case, my in-laws were here visiting this weekend and it was also my father-in-law’s birthday. Mine happened on Wednesday while I was away on business, so we shared a cake for the two birthdays instead.

Of course, we shared a bottle of wine to mark the occasion, this time a bottle of 2005 De la Montanya Syrah. The wine came in our last club shipment, cost around $24, had a real cork closure, and was 14.4% alcohol by volume. It was served with grilled steaks, fresh corn, and green beans prepared by Matt and my mother-in-law.

The nose showed dark fruit, cedar, oak, leather, and black currants. In the mouth there were big gobs of dark fruit. Specifically I found black currants and blackberries. Overall the wine was a bit tannic and was a big wine. I think I would let this one sit around for a bit before drinking it, or at least decant it before serving.

Another year older, the jury is still out on the wiser bit.

Tasting and Reporting Again!

The wine of the evening, after we came home from dinner was a 2006 Nelson Pinot Grigio. A great bottle of wine for a hot summer evening’s sipping. I can’t find a picture that I took of this one, but that might be because I cleaned my camera out in order to take many photos of a wedding we attended last weekend.

On the nose of this bottle I found lemon, honeysuckle, figs, and wet stones. In the mouth I would describe the wine as minerally, with figs and some citrus. Overall the wine was smooth and had excellent structure. As they sometimes do, my notes say “yum.”

The wine came in a club shipment and cost us $12. At regular cost you can buy it for $15 from the vineyards. I thought this was an excellent value for the money. I am not normally a Pinot Grigio fan, but this one surprised me and I really enjoyed it.