Types With One Eye Shut

Well folks, in addition to the fact that I can’t access the internet from my laptop at my parents’ house, I, like the WineHiker last year, have been yet again struck with iritis. I’m walking around the house with two pairs of sunglasses and sitting in dark rooms when possible. I’m sure Russ can commiserate with me, it’s not fun!

So what hope I had of fixing my laptop and blogging more this week seems to be fading, and I will hope to be back asap with both eyes in order.

I am drinking some good wine, and some okay wine, and some not so good wine, so I do have lots to report on, and am much looking forward to the bottle of 25th Anniversary Roederer Brut Sparkling wine that I have for New Year’s Eve. Hopefully you’ve got something delicious stashed away to celebrate with as well!

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone that celebrates Christmas today has a wonderful holiday, with lots of good cheer (wine!)! Be safe, and may you and your families enjoy the season.
And I hope Santa was good to you!

More from the Rockpile

Many of the wines that came in my most recent Mauritson club shipment were two things: one, they were single vineyard Zinfandels, and two, they were labeled under the name Rockpile Winery, which is still made by Mauritson. They were also more expensive than previous Mauritson offerings, making me wonder if Mauritson is becoming a
“tiered” winery, offering their “special” selections under one name and keeping the more affordable line under another?

This botttle was a 2005 Rockpile Winery Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Mauritson Zinfandel. It cost $27, had a real cork closure and weighed in at 15.6% alcohol by volume. I served it with beef straganoff, cheddar biscuits, and broccoli. A little too big for the meal, serve it with a steak, bqq, or maybe a marinated pork loin.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberry, and blueberry. The wine was very dark and the berries jumped out of the glass. In the mouth there were berries, brown sugar, vanilla, pie flavors, and specifically blueberries that showed after some time in the glass. Overall the wine was a bit tannic, it could definitely use a bit more time to settle in the bottle, so I will keep the other bottle of this hanging around for another year or so. As always, I’ll report back in then with an update on its condition!

Fire Roaring

I don’t normally associate Riesling with a wine I would drink while sitting in front of the fireplace, but that is exactly what we did. At least I get a little credit for serving a hearty cheese fondue in front of said fire, which is why we needed a white wine!

Riesling is what started my love affair with wine, but I haven’t seen a lot of it coming out of California. I gather the growing conditions aren’t exactly ideal and it works better in colder climates. But there are some wineries who dabble with it in CA, and Nelson Family Vineyards is one.

We purchased this bottle of 2005 Nelson Family Vineyards Riesling for around $17 when we were visiting Sonoma in 2006. It started to occur to me the other night that I probably want to clear out the remaining few older white wines that are hanging around in my cellar. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 12.1% alcohol, with only 184 cases made.

On the nose the wine displayed honey, lemon, and orange blossoms. It smelled sweet. In the mouth I found honey with a bit of a citrus twinge, lemon, and orange blossoms. The wine was quite smooth and I’m glad we decided to haul it out of the basement, I’m not sure how much longer it would have been okay down there. This was a very different Riesling, probably, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was grown in CA. It did have the floral and citrus that I expect from a Riesling, but it wasn’t the dry wine that I’ve come to expect from this grape.

Fire Roaring

I don’t normally associate Riesling with a wine I would drink while sitting in front of the fireplace, but that is exactly what we did. At least I get a little credit for serving a hearty cheese fondue in front of said fire, which is why we needed a white wine!

Riesling is what started my love affair with wine, but I haven’t seen a lot of it coming out of California. I gather the growing conditions aren’t exactly ideal and it works better in colder climates. But there are some wineries who dabble with it in CA, and Nelson Family Vineyards is one.

We purchased this bottle of 2005 Nelson Family Vineyards Riesling for around $17 when we were visiting Sonoma in 2006. It started to occur to me the other night that I probably want to clear out the remaining few older white wines that are hanging around in my cellar. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 12.1% alcohol, with only 184 cases made.

On the nose the wine displayed honey, lemon, and orange blossoms. It smelled sweet. In the mouth I found honey with a bit of a citrus twinge, lemon, and orange blossoms. The wine was quite smooth and I’m glad we decided to haul it out of the basement, I’m not sure how much longer it would have been okay down there. This was a very different Riesling, probably, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was grown in CA. It did have the floral and citrus that I expect from a Riesling, but it wasn’t the dry wine that I’ve come to expect from this grape.

Zin Zin Zin Petite Sirah

In this bottle of wine, I found what Petite Sirah is often used for: a blending grape in Zinfandel to add some depth and balance. The bottle was a 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfadel, and it was blended with 18% Petite Sirah. I picked this bottle up at Ridge for $33, it clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberries, oak, cherry syrup, and cedar. I believe that this bottle was my choice from Ridge, and I remember being really pleased with the nose on it then, as I am now. In the mouth, flavors of blackberry and pie dominated, with a bit of cherry thrown into the mix. Overall the wine was very fruity and fairly smooth, though it could probably hang out for another year or two, or maybe until this summer where it would make an excellent wine to have with bbq ribs.

mmmmm, ribs…….mmmmmmm, wine……

Zin Zin Zin Petite Sirah

In this bottle of wine, I found what Petite Sirah is often used for: a blending grape in Zinfandel to add some depth and balance. The bottle was a 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfadel, and it was blended with 18% Petite Sirah. I picked this bottle up at Ridge for $33, it clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberries, oak, cherry syrup, and cedar. I believe that this bottle was my choice from Ridge, and I remember being really pleased with the nose on it then, as I am now. In the mouth, flavors of blackberry and pie dominated, with a bit of cherry thrown into the mix. Overall the wine was very fruity and fairly smooth, though it could probably hang out for another year or two, or maybe until this summer where it would make an excellent wine to have with bbq ribs.

mmmmm, ribs…….mmmmmmm, wine……

Hip and Young?

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a press sample.

Are you between the ages of about 21 (let’s keep this legal folks!) and 35, give or take? Are you interested in wine, but find it hard to approach? Are you female? Do more lengthy tomes like the Oxford Companion to Wine appear to be way more information than you are ready to digest? Would you like a quick guide to the basics of wine that’s geared toward you? Then this book was written for you.

Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine is a newly released book by Courtney Cochran. I fall clearly and squarely into the age group that this book is attempting to reach, mainly younger females. Its pop culture references such as rap stars drinking Cristal (or not so much anymore I guess) and calling parents “rents” flow through the book and its short, snappy titles appeal to those with not lengthy attention spans.

The chapters are brief, offering just a glimpse into each aspect of wine, tasting, hosting a party, shopping, etc. This is definitely a book for the beginner who wants a working knowledge of wine in order to feel comfortable asking a few questions in a restaurant or to confidently pick up a bottle or two at the local wine store. Overall, the 252 pages is a light and breezy easy read, taking me a flight to St. Louis to peruse.

If you are looking for an exhaustive resource for every nuance of the wine world, you aren’t going to be happy with this book. However, if you want an easy to read, approachable book stuffed with tidbits about the wines you are most likely to encounter at parties and restaurants as a young female, then this is a book for you.

Hip and Young?

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a press sample.

Are you between the ages of about 21 (let’s keep this legal folks!) and 35, give or take? Are you interested in wine, but find it hard to approach? Are you female? Do more lengthy tomes like the Oxford Companion to Wine appear to be way more information than you are ready to digest? Would you like a quick guide to the basics of wine that’s geared toward you? Then this book was written for you.

Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine is a newly released book by Courtney Cochran. I fall clearly and squarely into the age group that this book is attempting to reach, mainly younger females. Its pop culture references such as rap stars drinking Cristal (or not so much anymore I guess) and calling parents “rents” flow through the book and its short, snappy titles appeal to those with not lengthy attention spans.

The chapters are brief, offering just a glimpse into each aspect of wine, tasting, hosting a party, shopping, etc. This is definitely a book for the beginner who wants a working knowledge of wine in order to feel comfortable asking a few questions in a restaurant or to confidently pick up a bottle or two at the local wine store. Overall, the 252 pages is a light and breezy easy read, taking me a flight to St. Louis to peruse.

If you are looking for an exhaustive resource for every nuance of the wine world, you aren’t going to be happy with this book. However, if you want an easy to read, approachable book stuffed with tidbits about the wines you are most likely to encounter at parties and restaurants as a young female, then this is a book for you.

Dinosaur in a Bottle?

I purchased this monster of a wine from WineQ for $19.99 (free shipping!). The wine was a 2003 Deerfield Red Rex. The bottle had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume. It’s a blend of everything and the kitchen sink, made up of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc, 4% Sangiovese, and 4% Malbec.

On the nose of the wine I found currants, raisins, spice, and oak. Overall the aroma was smoky, tinged with alcohol. This is a bottle that either needs to air for a bit, so decant, at least an hour before you want to drink or keep this one around for a few more years, I think it could benefit from some bottle aging.

In the mouth there was dark chocolate, blackberries, and spice. The wine was much fruitier than I expected based on the nose, I thought this would mostly be a spicy, leathery type of wine. Instead, after an hour or so, the flavors were fruity and not nearly what I had anticipated.

Next time, I would decant, and then serve it with food. Perhaps a lighter meat dish, a roasted chicken or maybe beef stroganoff. But definitely let this monster breathe before drinking!