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 rosé 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.

WBW #37 Go Native!!

Our assignment for this month’s WBW came from Dr.Vino, who challenged us to “go native.” By that, he meant go find a bottle of wine made of grape that’s native to the country where the wine was produced. Bonus points if you are drinking a native grape in that country. I tried my best to procure a bottle of Norton so I could drink this grape in Virginia, from whence it came, but unfortunately, none of the vineyards we visited in the last month (and we went to 6!) produced any Norton-based wines. I suppose we’d have to head to Chrysalis or Horton to find that, but they were not on the part of the wine trail we were stomping this month.

Instead, I decided to check out the selection of a wine store that is new to me, the Winery in Old Town Alexandria. While the selection of the store is not huge, it was very carefully chosen and well put together with many interesting wines lining the shelves. Tossing a twist into the mix, Dr.Vino asked us to avoid the obvious grapes, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, etc.

At the Winery, I found this bottle of 2003 Duca Carlo Guarini Piutri Negromara Salento. It’s 13% alcohol by volume, cost me $15.99, and had a real cork closure. The wine hails from Scorrano, Italy. The main grape in this red table wine is Negromara, a native Italian varietal.

Jancis Robinson in The Oxford Companion to Wine says the Negromara grape fell victim to the EU’s Vine Pull Scheme and hectacres planted fell by nearly half between 1990 and 2000. It apparently forms the base for several DOCs and is used to produce a rose. The grape is native to Puglia (aka Apulia which is located on the Adriatic Coast in the far south east of Italy) and Jancis Robinson says it’s the most interesting native grape from the area. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of information about this grape out there, either in my books or on the internet.

The wine! The nose was really complex, especially given the price point for this wine. Apparently it’s the week of complex wines for me and again Matt drained his glass before I even got my nose out of mine. I found leather, barnyard, bitter spice, dark dry cherries, an almost smoky bitter quality, and an earthy note on the nose. In the mouth the wine was bitter in a really interesting way. Overall the wine was medium-bodied with slight tannins. Intriguing. I got flavors of red fruit, red currants, and cherries. The wine was deep, earthy, with a bitter woody finish. I keep emphasizing the bitter part because that was what stuck with me most, it was a really intriguing flavor.

Matt and I really enjoyed this bottle of wine. And I’m glad I couldn’t find any Norton to review, it made me break out of the box and try something a bit different, as I often fall into CA, VA or NZ, ruts around here. Many thanks to Dr.Vino for being our gracious host this month, I certainly look forward to seeing what varietals everyone tried out!

It finally dawned on me

We’ve been drinking many repeats in the last few weeks of wines that we had first consumed 6 months to a year ago. I’ve written about some of them where I felt they could use an update and have ignored others where I didn’t find anything worth sharing. It just occurred to me as I went to write up this wine, a bottle I first reported on over 8 months ago in this post, that the reason I’ve been having repeats recently is that I haven’t gotten any new wine shipments for nearly 4 months!

The wine is a 2003 Reserve Wilson Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up last summer at Wilson Winery for $22, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 16% alcohol by volume. Again I found the alcohol of this one to be off-putting. We couldn’t drink it with our dinner because the heat was too much. It took over an hour for the alcohol to blow off, but it revealed a wine with the tannins of last time fairly smoothed out and I think this wine is at a good drinking point, though I would suggest decanting it.

On the nose I found currants, cedar, pepper, and blackberries. In the mouth, I got flavors of blackberries, currants, and red berries. The wine was smoother in the mouth than I remembered, though I wish I had remembered that last time I said it took quite a while for the alcohol to blow off.

Wine from Farley

When Matt and I went to Sonoma, Farley was kind enough to come down from the mountain and meet us halfway between Sonoma and the Bay Area. She also brought us a few bottles of wine as a housewarming gift as we had just closed on our house. We finally found a night we though would be great to drink the half bottle of Clos LaChance 2003 Central Coast Syrah. We were just looking for a glass of wine each last night and this fit the bill perfectly!

The bottle had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume. You’ll have to go ask Farley where you can find this wine as there seems to be no info online about it!

On the nose I found roasted meat, blackberries, clove cigarettes, and smoke. The nose was very complex and Matt managed to drink most of his glass and was eying mine while I still had my nose in mine. Needless to say I thwarted his attempts for the greater good of the blog so I could give my impressions to you! 😉

In the mouth there was black cherry, blackberry, and cracked pepper. The wine was round and smooth on the palate but had a kick at the end. I really enjoyed this little bottle of wine and was glad to get the chance to try it, despite Matt’s best efforts to snag my glass!

Weekend Round-Up

Seems like just yesterday when I posted last week’s round-up!!

Over at Arrowine in Arlington, there will be two events this weekend:

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

Bill McKenney of Michael Downey Selections will be presenting a delicious range of wines from Italy. Take advantage of special discounts during the tasting.

Saturday Tasting
Saturday, September 8, 1-4 pm

Tom Kiszka of Potomac Selections will be here with wines from France and California, some new ones and some old favorites. Take advantage of special tasting discounts!


At Out of Site Wines in Vienna, you also have two great tastings to choose from!

ON THE TASTING BAR THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 5-8 PM: A COUPLE OF BEAT-THE-HEAT REFRESHERS

Summer hangs on, as it often does this time of the year. Many of you can’t wait to open up big cool weather reds, but the stretch of warm weather underway has many of our customers running out of wines to refresh. We have a delightful new Spanish Cava Brut and an Italian Orvieto to help keep you cool this weekend.

ON THE TASTING BAR THIS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1-4 PM: DECIDEDLY NEW WORLD WINES STYLED FOR FALL DINING AND ENTERTAINING

Despite the current heat, cool weather can’t be very far away. That calls for whites with more body and richness, as well as heartier red wines. Rob Davis of Associated Distributors is back with some standout wines this Saturday. Two of these wines are made by superstar winemakers of the Southern Hemisphere — Aurelio Montes of Chile and Rolf Binder of Australia.

  • 2005 Montes Alpha Chardonnay (Chile/Casablanca Valley). In 2000 this wine was voted “Best Chardonnay in the World” in a simultaneous cyber-tasting in 26 cities hosted by Slow Food and VinItaly. About this vintage the Wine Spectator said (89 points): “Pretty pear, apple and piecrust notes on a creamy frame. Judicious toast on the finish lets the minerality come through. Nice length.” During an April 2007 blind tasting event of over 60 Chardonnays from Chile and Argentina, The Wall Street Journal selected Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2005 as the Best. Nice pedigree.
  • 2005 Incognito Viognier (California/Lodi). The Viognier formerly known as Roussanne. The vines that provide the grapes for this award-winning wine have an interesting and controversial history. Previously awarded “Best Rhone in the World” as a Roussanne at the 2000 Los Angeles International Wine Competition, subsequent DNA testing at U.C. Davis determined that this unique grape is a rare clone of Viognier that mysteriously appeared in California during the past decade and is not, in fact, a Roussanne after all. Properly named Viognier, the wine won Gold at the 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition as Best in Class. Tempted?
  • 2004 Santa Ema Merlot Reserve (Chile/Maipo). Since Rob introduced this wine to the shop in early August, it has been one of our best sellers. We couldn’t resist sharing it with those of you haven’t found it yet. By the way, it’s also got good press. Ask Rob.
  • 2004 Rolf Binder Heinrich (Australia/Barossa Valley). 45% Shiraz, 35% Grenache, 20% Mataro. Wine Spectator (91 points): “Light on its feet. Dances across the palate with berry, pomegranate and rhubarb, picking up sweet spice and fresh orange peel notes on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2014.” Robert Parker, Jr. calls Binder “one of Australia’s finest winemakers.” This wine is delicious!

At the Curious Grape in Shirlington, look out for these tastings:

**WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: CHERYL’S FAVORITES FROM HER TRIP TO AUSTRALIA** (Fri, Sept 7, 6-8 pm) — Out and about this Friday night? Stop by the tasting bar and say G’Day to Cheryl! She’s just back from a quick trip Down Under and she’s dying to share her photos and all her favorite wines from the tour, which included visits to well-known wineries like Thorn-Clarke, Morambro Creek, and Step Rd, as well as lesser-known boutique estates like Heathvale and Schwartz.

THE WEEK’S MOST EXCITING NEW ARRIVALS (Sat, Sept 8, 12-3 pm) — It’s that time of year: Just as everyone goes back to work and gets serious after Labor Day, so too, the wine industry starts to heat up, with hot new arrivals and a few great deals starting to pour in for the fall season. Stop by the tasting bar this Saturday and sample a knockout line-up of impressive new arrivals — including a powerhouse Rioja — as well as a great deal on on of our favorite California Chardonnays!

The Last Rose of Summer

Well, probably not the last Rose, but I’m running short on creative titles this morning, forgive me, it’s before 7am.

The wine was a 2006 Domaine Bellevue Touraine Rose from the Loire Valley. It cost me $9.99 at The Winery, a wine shop I just discovered in downtown Alexandria right on the GW Parkway. I also picked up my WBW Go Native wine while there.

At 12% alcohol by volume, this would make a great wine for an afternoon picnic or for sipping by the pool, but we drank it with risotto, broccoli, and one of the those rotissere chickens from the store.

The nose of the wine showed aromas of watermelon, lime, and strawberry. I noted that the wine had a really intriguing aroma. In the mouth there were flavors of strawberry cream and it was tangy on the finish.

As I hope you can see, the color of the wine was great, it looked like melted watermelon Jolly Ranchers. My overall impressions of the wine were that it was a lively and vibrant wine and it was lovely all–around. I also noted that this was one of the best value wines I’ve had. Both Matt and I were really impressed with this wine and I intend to head back to the Winery to snag a few more bottles.

More VA Wines!

We’re on a real VA kick over here at the Wannabe Wino house! Several trips have been made to VA wine country this summer, including two within the last month! I have lots to report on about 6 wineries we have stopped at for the first time, so look forward to those reviews.

We picked this bottle up for $13 (that’s with a case discount) at Doukenie (formerly Windham Winery, hence the label on the bottle). It’s a Doukenie Virginia Table White that clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

The wine was sweet on the nose with orange blossom, honeysuckle, and oranges. In the mouth I found orange creamsicle, madarin oranges, and honey. This is a sweet wine, though not cloying, and one I am happy having a glass of, but I’m not much for sweet wines. Matt loved this one, and he is a big fan of the sweet wines. It was easily his favorite at the winery, while mine was a toss up between the Riesling and the Sauvignon Blanc.

I served it with a concoction that I made up that evening from stuff in the fridge. It turned into chicken breasts stuffed with blue cheese and spinach, a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli. An interesting dinner, but not great with the wine. Again, the sweet wine didn’t do much for me with the dinner and I preferred it on its own after dinner.