Old Chardonnay

When we did our basement re-org back in March, it came to light that we had quite a few old white wines hanging around. I have no idea how I forgot about them, or why they weren’t in CellarTracker, but there you have it. We’ve been trying to drink through them before they get too old.

With that in mind, the wine for the evening was a 2004 Fritz Chardonnay. It hails from the Russian River Valley, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and since it wasn’t recorded, I have no idea what it cost, though I’d venture a guess in the mid $20s. I believe it probably came in a club shipment back when we were members.

I first noticed the strong aroma and dark yellow color of the wine. It was easy to tell this was an older white. The nose smelled of citrus, lemon, apple, pineapple, oak, caramel, and spice. In the mouth I found pineapple, green apple, oak, and citrus. The wine was heavy in the mouth, and it was well structured.

Overall, I’d say if you managed to hang onto this one all these years, drink it up. It was starting to lose the flavors in the mouth.

Ta da!

Welcome to the new Wannabe Wino!

It took me all day, and I’m partially bald from tearing my hair out, but here is the new version of the site to go along with my new address!

I hope you like the changes, and I will still be tweaking things in the next few weeks as I play with the new template, but this is it. I welcome any comments or thoughts, as always!

Petanque? Who?

I gather from the wine label that Petanque is a game of sorts, perhaps slightly bocce like. The wine was a 2007 Michel Schlumberger Viognier. It came in my last club shipment, and since Michel Schlumberger keeps their wine club shipment to $50 no matter what wine is in there, I have no idea what this bottle would retail for. Otherwise, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.4% alcohol by volume.

I’ve never had a Viognier from Michel Schlumberger before, but boy have I been missing out because this one was a fabulous example of all that can be right about this grape.

On the nose I found pear, honey, peach, honeysuckle, flowers, and lemon. The nose was delightful, very aromatic, making my think of walking by the honeysuckle that used to grow at the top of the road I grew up on.

The mouth was like biting into a fresh, sweet, juicy, just ready to eat pear. Have you had the pears from Harry and David? The flavors were reminiscent of those pears, which to me are the best pears I’ve ever eaten. I also found some melon, honey, and citrus.

The wine was crisp, but had a nice rounded finish. I don’t think this juice saw any oak, which really let the flavors of the grape shine through. I could see how this would be a great wine to sip while playing an outdoor summer game, even if I don’t know what that game is!

Budo Kun Says: Wannabe Wino Blogger Pack is Here!

And it’s only available now through Domaine547! Many moons ago, Jill of Domaine547 approached me with the idea that I would create a bloggerpack of wines that she would sell with my stamp of approval through her wine shop. (Please note, I am not in any way financially involved in Domaine547 and the benefits I received for doing this are not monetary, but instead it was for the experience. In other words, I have no financial stake in you buying this bloggerpack.)

I alluded to this project in an earlier post on Breggo Rose, mentioning how it would be part of an upcoming project. I’ve been working with Jill for several months now to come up with wines that I really like and that Jill could get. We tossed back and forth a bunch of ideas and I finally settled on a selection of summer sippers from California. All of the wines come from wineries that Matt and I have visited in our travels, and I am very happy to be able to present them all in one place through Domaine547.

In my humble opinion, these wines are perfect for the summer weather we’ve been experiencing here in the DC area, and I would easily recommend them to sweep away the summer heat. Without further ado, the wines are:

2006 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Michel Schlumberger Pinot Blanc

2007 Breggo Rose of Syrah

The total cost of the pack is $55 plus shipping and handling, which represents a really great deal for these 3 wines. So if you are so inclined, head on over to Domaine547 and buy one! Make sure to let me know what you think of the wines!

Many thanks to Jill for the opportunity and for letting me borrow Budo Kun for the announcement!

Beautiful Bella

On our last trip to Sonoma, one of my absolute must visits was to Bella Vineyards. I fell in love with Bella on our honeymoon and we joined their club at that time. However, when we bought our house, we had to make some sacrifices and I had to give up my membership. It was a difficult choice, and I was determined to rejoin as soon as we could.

We twisted Russ’ arm to come to Bella with us on our last day in Sonoma (trust me, it didn’t take too much convincing!) and off we went, to meet him as soon as the place opened. We expected it to be a slow day, since we were there first thing, and it was a weekday morning, but alas, that was not the case. The cave was packed! I think Bella gets specific accolades from Russ though, as it was the only winery we visited where Russ bought wine!

Somehow, we carved out a tiny spot for ourselves at the tasting bar, and eagerly jumped into the current line up of wines.

2006 Dry Creek Zinfandel: $25. Peppery smoke, blackberries, dark berries, smoky fruit, toast.

2005 Big River Ranch Zinfandel: $36. Bark berry, blueberry, peppery, vanilla, fruity, oak, cinnamon. Very good.

2006 Belle Canyon Zinfandel: Sweeter nose, floral, chocolate, chili pepper, tannic.

2005 Hillside Cuvee: $28. 50% Cabernet Sauvigon, 50% Zinfandel, some Petite Sirah, some Petite Verdot. Big fruit, dark, plum, bold fruit, currants, earth, tannic, a little red fruit. We took home 2 bottles.

2007 Late Harvest Zinfandel: $24. 375 mL. Chocolate milk, earth, plum, blackberry, very nice.

After a lovely visit, I am very happy to be a member of the Bella Wine Club again. We received our first shipment about a month ago and I look forward to many more in the future. If you haven’t had a chance to taste Bella’s wines, you should seek them or stop by the vineyard if you have a chance!

WBW News! And the WBC NA!

I’ve been remiss in letting you know that Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 has posted her round up of White Wine Varietals from WBW #46. You can check out all the details here, but the quick breakdown was that 43 bloggers participated and nearly everyone liked their wine. So get out there and try some Rhone whites for the summer!

Second, the next WBW has been announced! Our hosts this month are Erin and Michelle of Grape Juice and they have chose the theme “Brought to you by the letter “S.”” By that they want you to choose any wine in the world directly associated with the letter “S.” So choose a South African Sauvignon Blanc, or a Seghesio Sonoma Sangiovese, or whatever your heart desires so long as the appellation or the grape or the producer, or something else directly related to the wine starts with “S.” Find all the details here.

And finally, the current biggest event in the wine blog world is the Wine Bloggers Conference! Hosted by Open Wine Consortium and Zephyr Wine Adventures, this promises to be the event to meet and greet and learn with all your fellow wine bloggers. The event will occur in October in Sonoma County, lots of good wine will be poured and I for one am very excited to meet the folks that I’ve been interacting with for almost 2 years now! (Crossing my fingers, it looks about 90% odds that I will be there!)

New Address!

Hi there. Wannabe Wino has graduated to its very own domain name and is now located at www.wannabewino.com. I’m still redirecting from Blogger, so you can reach me from all old links, but I’d certainly appreciate it if you updated how you get here. And if you link to me, I’d very very much appreciate it if you could update your links to me!

I might be trying some other new format changes around here, so please stay tuned.

Feeling Inspired

*Disclaimer: I received this bottle of wine as part of a Blogger trial of Bottlenotes.

The wine for the evening was a 2005 Inspiration Vineyards Zinfandel. It hails from the Alexander Valley, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork closure, and can be purchased from Bottlenotes for $22.

On the nose I found currants, cedar, oak, earth, spice, cigars, pipe tobacco, red berries, and pepper. Very aromatic and layered nose for a Zinfandel. Color me impressed. In the mouth I found black cherry, blackberry, white pepper, and spice.

The wine was full of fresh fruit, especially the black cherry flavors. However, this was not by any stretch of the imagination a fruit bomb. The flavors were not all up in your face, instead, it was a really well integrated, very balanced Zinfandel. It could actually be a dangerous one, as I didn’t feel like the alcohol content was even noticeable while I was drinking it. Overall, a smooth, balanced, delicious Zinfandel. I can easily recommend this one at this price point.

It smelled like Viognier


The wine was a 2006 Quivira “Hommage A Ampuis” Syrah. The wine hails from the Dry Creek Valley (please go see Dr. Deb’s excellent rant on the value of multiple varietals from the DCV), clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, and cost me $36 minus a club discount in my club shipment. The notable part about the winemaking technique of this bottle is that the Syrah juice was fermented on Viognier skins (this also makes me wonder if Quivira has a Viognier they’ve been holding out on!).

And the oddest part was the it smelled like Viognier. If I were doing a blind tasting and hasn’t yet actually tasted this wine, I would have said “Viognier!” and been very confident in that proclamation (except for maybe the slightest hint of dark berries, that would have thrown me for a minutes, but I still would have said “Viognier”). The nose was floral, with pears, violets, honeysuckle, and just a suggestion of dark berries. My notes helpfully say “How very odd.”

The color of the wine was dark purple, like any other Syrah. So I was expecting it to be big and chewy like a Syrah despite its time spent playing with Viognier skins. Instead, this was a much lighter and delicate red wine on the front of the palate. It showed blackberries, blueberries, spice, cinnamon, and black cherry.

My first glass was tannic on the back of the palate. The wine needed air or time or both to loosen up. I have a second bottle of this in the basement and I will hold it for another year or so to see if the time in the bottle will help the wine integrate a bit more. This is the first Syrah I’ve had that involves Viognier, though I’ve seen/read about some that contain upwards of 5% Viognier juice. I think I’d like to get my hands on one of those and see how it compares to this one that simply fermented on the Viognier skins.

I Spier with My Little Eye

The wine for the dreadfully hot afternoon was a 2007 Spier Sauvignon Blanc. I picked this bottle up at Total Wine and More in Alexandria as part of a mixed case of under $10 Sauvignon Blancs. I was hoping that would get us through a bit of the summer, but alas, it’s only June 19 and the case is gone. Another Total Wine trip may have to work its way into my weekend plans.

The wine hails from South Africa and is made by Spier Stellenbosch. More specifically it is from the Western Cape, had a plastic cork closure, and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume.

Figs, tropical fruit, tart grass (yes, I realize that sounds strange and it would probably be me aptly described as freshly mowed grass, but tart was the first adjective that popped into my head), asparagus, and citrus. In the mouth, I got a fruit salad. Peach, fig, pineapple, citrus, melon, it was the drinkable equivalent of a refreshing hot afternoon snack.

The wine was crisp, but not mouth puckeringly so like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and exceedingly refreshing. Matt gave this one some high praise, proclaiming it “very drinkable.” For an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc, this is definitely a great value.