My First Chablis

And a bit of a disappointment at that. We took my younger brother, who was visiting us this past weekend, to the Melting Pot for dinner on Saturday. You’ll kind of see him mugging for the camera in the back of my picture. Our fondue for the night was sea-food heavy choice, with yummy lobster tails, so I decided to pick a white wine for the evening.

I chose a 1998 Regnard Chablis from France. It cost $40 and rang in at 12.5% alcohol by volume. I think this wine was past its prime. Or else I don’t know what to look for in a Chablis, also quite possible. The wine seemed tired, none of the flavors were very dominant and it was “blah” on the palate.

I found a bit of lemon and yeast on the nose. It smelled kind of like a very flat champagne. In the mouth there was some lemon and other vague citrus, with a bit of smoky vanilla. The flavors were reserved and the wine was dry. It was smooth and easy to drink, but overall, it just didn’t do too much for me.

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Touring Tuesdays

From our travels this summer, I have quite a few Virginia wineries to review for you, so I will be starting a weekly series for the next 6 or 7 weeks to tell you about the vineyards we visited in Loudon County.

We spent our anniversary visiting the Northern VA vineyards. Our first stop of the day was to Hillsborough Vineyards. We tasted through the menu of 3 whites, 2 reds and one dessert wine. Hillsborough has a non-refundable $5 per person tasting fee, so as usual I will gripe about that.

The winery has a lovely patio where you could easily spend the day overlooking the vineyards, sipping a bottle of wine, and munching on one of the selections of cheese and crackers available inside the tasting room. I really enjoyed the koi pond on the edge of the patio. The tasting room is long and narrow, and was quite crowded when we arrived around noon. A second room where you could sit inside on a not so nice day had plenty of tables and looked cozy.

All of Hillsborough’s wines are blends and named after various gemstones:

2005 Carnelian: $18, a blend of Chardonnay and Roussanne. Slightly butttery with some oak. Light, dry and floral.

2005 Opal: $18, a blend of Viognier and Chardonnay. Peach, apple, light and silky. Another dry wine.

2006 Serefina: $18, Rose, blend of Viognier and Tannat. Very fruity on the nose, crisp, not sweet, dry. Very refreshing, strawberry, watermelon. Our favorite of the day, we took home two bottles.

2005 Garnet: $20, blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Strawberry, light mouthfeel, but a spicy wine.

2004 Ruby: $22, blend of Tannat, Touriga Nacional, and Petit Verdot. Chocolate, leather, cherry. A very strong and powerful wine.

2005 Moonstone: $18, a blend of late harvest Viognier and Chardonnay. 6% residual sugar. Apricots, honey, sweet, but not overly so. Very well balanced. Matt really liked this one, we took home a bottle.

All in all, an excellent first stop, though again, I am never happy when tasting fees are not refunded.

WBW #37 Round-up and WBW #38

Dr. Vino has posted a great round-up of all the wines from WBW #37 Go Native! A record number of participants (52 at last count!) tasted a ton of interesting and different wines, many that I have never even heard of. Thanks again for hosting Dr.Vino and thanks for getting the post up so quickly!

Also today, the announcement for WBW #38 has been made and will be hosted by Catavino. Our theme is Portuguese Table Wines. Ryan and Gabriella have asked us to stay away from the obvious, Port and Madiera and even, if you can, Duoro and Vinho Verde. Full details are available here. I think I’ve only sampled Vinho Verde or Portugal’s wine, and I wasn’t blown away, so I will have to look harder for this assignment.

First Soup of the Season!

The wine for the evening was a 2004 Seghesio Sangiovese. We picked this bottle up when we visited Seghesio last spring. This was Matt’s favorite bottle at Seghesio and we took home 3 bottles.

We paid $28 for this at the vineyard, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume. A fun fact from the back of the bottle states the Seghesio is the oldest grower of Sangiovese in America.

On the nose I found black cherry, currants, sweet flowers, and cloves. I really like the aroma on this bottle of wine. In the mouth the wine was smooth. The flavors were spicy, with floral notes and an overall sense of fresh fruit. Juicy black fruit, cherries, and leather were the predominant flavors.

I served the wine with the first soup of the season! Yay for fall!! I made Sarah’s (who writes the blog Beadimous) Zuppa Toscana, which became our favorite soup last winter. It’s a chicken stock/broth based soup with Italian sausage, bacon, potatoes, kale and cream. Delicious and a fairly good match for the lighter fruit flavors of this Sangiovese. I’m very glad we’ve got a few more bottles of this hanging around.

Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t you think? 🙂

Punchy at this hour of the morning I tell you!

Just wanted to let you know that our filter at work once again allows blogs! Yay!

But it won’t let me comment on them.

So I’m lurking, but reading regularly again!

Well, sorta, we’re super busy at work, so my downtime is severely restricted.

I will attempt to step up the commenting when I am at home.

Weekend Round-Up

Head on over to Arrowine in Arlington for 3 tastings this weekend!

Friday Wine Down
Friday, September 14, 5:30 – 7:30

Join Mark Magness of Select Wines and take a wine tour around the world. Take advantage of special discounts during the tasting.

Saturday Double-Header Tasting
Saturday, September 15, 1-4 pm

One store. One time. TWO GREAT TASTINGS!

The French Wine Tasting: Jonas Gustafsson of Dionysos Imports will be presenting a fabulous selection of wines from some of the top areas of France. There will be white wine from Alsace, Pouilly Fume and Sancerre. Red wines will be open from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Try ’em and buy ’em. The special tasting discounts make it easy!

The Italian Wine Tasting: Alberto Panella of Grappoli Imports will be showing excellent new wines from Italy! Alberto will show beautiful new Tuscan reds from Carlo Vittori, a big red from Umbria, and many more. Once again you’ll be able to take advantage of great discounts during the tasting.

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, you will find:

ON THE TASTING BAR THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 5-8 PM: NEW 2006 THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE BAROSSA SHIRAZ!

2006 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Barossa Shiraz. Every fall folks look forward to stocking up on the latest vintage of this perennial favorite. It always arrives in September or October, and it always runs out months before the next vintage is released. Be the first in your group to taste the new vintage — we’ll have it open for sampling this Friday evening on the tasting bar.

To induce you to buy your stash from us, we’ve put it on sale for 3 days. Buy 6 bottles or more and take 10% off our low regular price, which is unchanged from last year despite a cost increase. We want your business on this wine.

ON THE TASTING BAR THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1-4 PM: MOSTLY ITALY; PRIMITIVO VS. ZINFANDEL

September is a transition month, sometimes reflecting summer and at other times hinting at autumn. This Saturday we’ll capture the spirit of transition by looking back a few weeks by showing a refreshing rosĂ© and a verdicchio, and then we’ll set our sights to cooler days to come by showing a hearty primitivo and zinfandel. John Grimsley of Grappoli Imports will lead the tasting.

A heads up to next week’s event at UnWined in Alexandria:

Wednesday September 19 Tuscan Tasting, 6-8pm
This drop-in tasting will feature Proprietor Guido Andretta from Tenuta Vitanza of Montalcino. We’ll feature four wines from his estate, including the 2001 Brunello!
Reservations are not required.

Finally, stop by the Curious Grape in Shirlington for:
**TOP CHOCOLATES FROM MICHAEL RECCHIUTI + WINE** (Fri, Sept 14, 6-8 pm)

  • a rich, buttery Chardonnay paired with Recchiuti’s Burnt Caramel Sauce
  • a black cherry-like New Zealand Pinot paired with dark milk chocolate
  • the intense 85% bars (one jazzed up with the addition of crunchy cacao nibs) paired with a single-vineyard Argentine Malbec and an earthy red from southern France

CELEBRATE CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH! (Sat, Sept 15, 12-3 pm)

  • a gorgeous, intense Chardonnay made in the seemingly emerging style that holds the oak in favor of riveting flavors of pineapple, lime, and green apple
  • a super value in Sonoma Cabernet that you’ve never heard of, made in a lush, approachable style
  • a bold, smoky blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah as only California could do it

2005 IN THE RHONE: A BUYER’S MARKET! (Wed, Sept 19, 6-8 pm)

  • an old favorite in red from the Cotes-du-Rhone that’s better than ever in the 2005 vintage
  • a newly-imported, 90-Point Chateauneuf made by the flamboyant mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape
  • a pair of gorgeous, spicy reds from Chateau Fortia and Bosquet des Papes (90+ points each!)

Too much for too little

I was not impressed with this bottle of wine. It was a 2004 Marimar Don Miguel Vineyard Dobles Lias Unfiltered Chardonnay. At a price point near $40, I really expect a very good bottle of wine that has some depth and complexity. While this was not a bad bottle of wine, it just wasn’t a lot for the money.

It had a real cork closure, hailed from the Russian River Valley and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume. The wine came in a club shipment.

I got wood, lemon and flowers on the nose. In the mouth there was lingering lemon and ginger. The whole wine was buttery and a bit on the oaky side. NMS of Chardonnay.