Rose Rose Everywhere

The wine for the night was a 2003 Iridesse Zinfandel Rose. Patrick and Genevieve brought this out to DC for us when they were in town a few months ago. The wine hails from the Russian River Valley, clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, and the fruit comes from the Rodgers Family Vineyard.

On the nose I found strawberry rhubarb pie, white pepper, orange, spice, red berries, and candied cherries. I loved the nose on this Rose. In the mouth I got flavors of crisp strawberries, raspberries, oranges, cherries, blackberries, and citrus. This was one of the darkest Roses I’ve seen, most definitely influenced by the Zinfandel grapes.

Overall, the wine was incredibly dry and very refreshing. I served it with my easy bbq ribs and it was perfect. It was a nice complement to the spice of the bbq sauce. The wine retails for $12, which is already a great deal, but Patrick and Genevieve are currently running a summer sale and offering 50% off a case. That’s an incredible value and I’d definitely run to scoop that up for the summer months.

Many thanks to Patrick and Genevieve for sharing this wine with us!


Showing off my Harvest

I planted a garden this year. From seeds. And nearly every single seed I planted grew. I have 20 green bean plants, 18 tomato plants, 7 pots of basil, 2 pots of mint, and a pot of rosemary. The rosemary actually did the worst, I planted 3 pots and only got one to come up, and even then, only with a few sprigs. I do not have a green thumb, so this delights me. Plus, the squirrels and I are locked in an epic battle for my garden. First, they dug up the seeds I planted, and now that I managed to grow things, they are eating my green tomatoes. Behold, the first harvest from my garden:

To go along with my first harvest and the beautiful Alaskan sockeye salmon I picked up at the store that morning, I served a 2006 Erath Pinot Noir. My dad picked this up at Branford Wine and Spirits, it had a screw cap closure, and I see you can find it online for about $15. Sorry, didn’t note the alcohol content before I left for St. Louis.

The first thing I noted about the wine was the color. We sat outside to eat dinner and in the light the color of the wine seemed more like a very dark rose than a Pinot Noir. Though, it could just be that I’m used to a California style Pinot Noir. On the nose I found cherry, smoke, oak, spice, Coke, and raspberry. The nose was quite pleasant and promised good things from the glass. In the mouth I got sweet fruit, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, some spice, and a touch of a tannic feeling on the finish. On its own, the wine was a bit thin/watery, but as we sat outside and it warmed up a touch, it developed a nice body and went quite well with food. As it developed, I found coffee grounds, mocha, and tart cherry flavors in my glass.

Overall, this wine is best with food, and best as it warms up just a touch. For $15 a bottle, it certainly displays the varietal characteristics you would expect from a Pinot Noir, and for that price point, that’s not something you can say about many Pinot Noirs. I think you can see my garden in the background! Yes, it’s all growing in pots, we haven’t had time to build beds in our yard yet, but we will get there….our ground is solid clay and poor little plants do not even have a chance to grow in it, so pots had to suffice for this year. I will soon be rolling in more tomatoes than I know what to do with…each plant has at least 20 tomatoes on it!

PS-These pictures were all taken with my new camera, whadda ya think?

Wine Friends Are Great!

Farley, formerly of Behind the Vines and soon to be of….well, yet to be announced, but we all know that whatever she chooses to do next will be a great success, gave me and Matt this bottle of 2005 Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer last year as a house warming present! It hails from Monterey, California, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume. I doubt this vintage is widely available any longer since it’s now 2008, but if the quality I found in this wine is an indication of future vintages, I can easily recommend it.

On the nose I found vanilla, ginger, floral aromas, honey, and tropical fruit. The nose was quite aromatic…I had to force myself to stop smelling it so I wouldn’t lose my share of the bottle to Matt!. In the mouth I got peach, tropical fruit, honey, spice, and minerals. The wine had a very full mouthfeel, and was silky smooth. With the great acidity and structure, I can see how this would be a good match with spicy food as Farley suggested (though, my heartburn can’t handle spicy food, so we just drank it on it’s own!).

I described the wine as “yummy” and “very yummy” in my notes, so I guess that’s a good vote about what I thought of it! Many thanks to Farley for sharing this with me!

Barrel Oak Winery: Visiting VA Vineyards

Several months ago, Brian Roeder, the owner of Barrel Oak Winery, contacted me, and invited me to come visit his brand new winery in Virginia. After some back and forth, given that I am traveling for work a lot these days, we finally came up with a good weekend and Matt and I ventured forth to Virginia Wine Country.

Barrel Oak is one of the newest of Virginia’s ever-growing winery population. About 3 and a half years ago, Brian and his wife decided to go ahead with purchasing land to start a vineyard, an idea they had been tossing around in a casual/semi-serious manner for a few years.

Right now, as you can imagine, Barrel Oak is in its infancy. They are currently producing wines with fruit sourced from various Virginia vineyards and they used the facilities of Pearmund and La Grange for their first vintage. They intend to have their first estate harvest in 2009 and will crush and make the wine at Barrel Oak this coming season. Brian’s wife is the head winemaker, having trained at many VA vineyards, she is assisted by the former assistant winemaker from Pearmund. Brian designed Barrel Oak with the future in mind: they have the capacity to produce 10,000 cases within 10 years, with 9000 square feet of production space. They also intend to boast 3 full tasting bars on the premises.

We tasted through the current line up and reserve line up:

Bow Haus White 2007: $18. 70% Vidal Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, it recently won gold at the VA State fair. Citrus, grapefruit, touch of honey, light good texture, pineapple, great summer white. We bought 2.

2007 Seyval Blanc: $19. Includes 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Minerals, wet stone, lemon, grass, crisp, dry. We took home 2.

2007 Chardonnay: $24. Stainless steel fermented, no maloactic, aged in neutral French oahk. Oak, apple, spice, lemon, green apple, light in the mouth.

2007 Viognier: $20. Maloactic fermentation and oak aged. Honey, peach, pear, honey suckle, creamy, nice mouthfeel.

2005 Bowhaus Red: $18. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Tourig, 11% Malbec, 6% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot, some Norton in there too. Chocolate, earth, sweet, light, strawberries, berries. Would be good slightly chilled.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: $20. Very light in color, 12% Petite Verdot. Light, berries, strawberry, raspberry, nice finish.

2005 Merlot: $20. 100% Merlot. Earth, leather, berries, wood, oak, nice body, tannins, cherry, plums, very well done.

2005 Norton: $18. 10% Cabernet Franc. Perfumey, violets, fruity, grapey, berries.

2005 Tour Ga Franc: $26. 40% Cabernet Franc, 60% Touriga. $2 from each bottle are donated to Lance Armstong’s Foundation. Spice, red fruit, herbs, pepper, red berries.

2006 Cabernet Franc: $26. 10% Chambourcin. Herbal, leather, tobacco, red fruit, very light, peppery finish.

2005 Petite Verdot: $26. 12% Merlot. Chocolate, plum, red fruit, very aromatic, nice fruit, good structure. One of my favorites of the day, we took home one bottle.

2006 Late Harvest Viognier: $25. Picked late October. Honey, citrus, spice, pineapple, sweet, thick.

2006 Chocolate Lab: $26. Muscadine, Merlot, Viognier. Cocoa nibs are added along with neutral grape spirits. Chocolate, slight berry, port-like.

Barrel Oak has a beautiful facility. Their porch looked so inviting, and had it been a little later in the day, we definitely would have parked ourselves out there with a glass of wine to enjoy the view (well, and also, if the sprinklers weren’t on drenching the porch!). The tasting bar of Barrel Oak is huge, and that’s just the first one! They also have a space in the loft for a 2nd bar, and space downstairs for a 3rd bar. Though I think we’ll have to avoid the 2nd floor as Matt was a bit too tall.

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of wine being produced by Barrel Oak. It honestly surprised me for such a young winery as I have certainly tasted many established VA wines that don’t come anywhere close to the quality being produced here. I thought the reds were very well done, and would have taken home more if it weren’t so hot here now that red wine doesn’t really enter my mind. Also good to note, Barrel Oak is extremely dog friendly. You are more than welcome to bring your pooch with you to enjoy the day in VA Wine Country.

My one pet peeve, and I say this about all wineries: I hate tasting fees that aren’t returned if you buy bottles. I realize that many folks say that people will buy the cheapest bottle to get the fee back, blah blah blah. I have no problem if you put a “Buy 3 bottles get your fee refunded, or buy $50 worth and get your fee refunded.” And maybe I missed the sign or notation on the menu where it told you the cost, but I don’t think so. I must admit, I was thus a bit surprised to find a tasting fee charge on my tab.

I will certainly return to Barrel Oak in the future to see how their wines develop as they move toward harvesting their own fruit.

Michel Schlumberger Jumps In!

Into the blogging pool that is. I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the newest winery blog, coming from one of my favorite Sonoma area wineries, Michel Schlumberger. They just started blogging 4 days ago, so they are new to the scene. A big congrats for taking the leap into the blogging world. You can check out their new blog, Benchland Blog, which I’ve also added to my winery blogroll.

To me, it’s a great thing for wineries to blog. Personal communication, on a routine basis, allows me to feel like I’m a part of what is going on at that winery, even when I’m 3000 miles away. Reading about events, and what’s happening to the grapes, and all the jazz makes me feel connected to the process and more vested in that winery’s products. I’m happy to see more wineries joining the blogging community. (Especially a winery I really enjoy!)

Welcome Michel Schlumberger!

PS-If you are attending the Wine Bloggers’ Conference this fall, Michel Schlumberger is one of the options on Zephyr Adventures’ vineyard hikes. I’d suggest joining that one if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Michel Schlumberger and tasting the wines. You can also pick up the 2007 Pinot Blanc as it’s included in the bloggerpack I created for Domaine547!

PPS-Picture taken on my visit to Michel Schlumberger in April 2007. I returned for another taste of their wines this past March.

Shameless Plug

I mentioned about a month ago that I moved Wannabe Wino to its own domain, I’ve since discovered that I’ve totally lost my page rank on Google for the blog, sad, and my technorati authority has declined to nothing.

I would really, really, really, truly appreciate it if you could update your links on your blogs to me to reflect the new address.

Many thanks for you time and help in getting some recognition for my new address.



My Twisted Chicken

Bob, my Twisted Oak chicken, roosts in the chandelier in my kitchen. Despite the dazzling array of culinary delights prepared on the table below and the scintillating dinner conversation, Bob gets bored. Apparently Twisted Oak was far more entertaining than my house! He did get to go on an excursion earlier this year, for Take Your Chicken to Work Day, but ever since, he’s been stuck up in the chandelier. Although he was a finalist in Take Your Chicken to Work Day, he did not win. He’s been depressed ever since.

Until the other day when he overheard me mention the Wine Blogger’s Conference, coming up this October. I was telling Matt that I might head up to Twisted Oak and spend two days before the WBC visiting El Jefe and Company and the other Murphy’s area wineries. Since then, Bob won’t stop squawking! He wants to come to CA and accompany me to the WBC.

So what do you think, dear readers? Should Bob get to leave his roost and come to CA?

Wino Wordle

I first read about Wordle over on Good Grape, then saw it again this afternoon on Wino Sapien and decided I had to check it out for myself. Wordle will take the feed from any RSS site and create a word image aggregation of the terms used frequently on your blog.

I present the Wannabe Wino Wordle:

Drylands Sauvignon Blanc

And on a recurring theme here at Wannabe Wino, the wine for the night was both a Sauvignon Blanc and part of one of my mixed cases for under $10 a bottle from Total Wine and More. Hey, gas is outrageous, food prices are increasing, something’s gotta give, so I’m trying to stretch those wine dollars further! This particular bottle was a 2007 Drylands Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, it clocked in at 13% alcohol and had a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found cantaloupe, honeydew, green apple, gooseberries, and lime. In the mouth I got grapefruit, green apple, gooseberries, and almost a hint of green pepper. The wine was tart, crisp and delicious. It also had the racing acidity I look for in these wines. I drank it and thought, wow! This is the first Sauvignon Blanc this year that really hit the mark with me. Perfect for the horribly hot and humid weather and a great deal for the price.

Long Name Good Wine

We stopped at Zina Hyde Cunningham on our first day in California. Several of the other wineries recommended them, so we made it our last stop on our way back to town. I didn’t take any pictures for some reason, or if I did, I can’t find them, so the image is from the winery’s website. The tasting room was great inside, it had a huge tasting bar, plenty of room to meander about, and we were the only people there, so it was great to have the place all to ourselves!

2005 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc: $18. Melon, pineapple, tart, acidic, good.

2005 Pinot Noir: $40. Syrupy, cherry, plum, spice, light flavors.

2004 Redwood Valley “Old Wine” Zinfandel: $28. Made from 100 year old vines. Berries, peppery, raspberry, tasty.

2004 Lake County Petite Sirah: $24. Chocolate, blueberry, spice, lots of berries. We took home 2 bottles.

2004 Redwood Valley Zinfandel Reserve: Brown sugar, less fruit, berries.

2004 Lake County ‘Cepage’: $34. 44% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec, 3% Petite Verdot. Caramelized sugar, dark fruit, very tannic.

I wanted to take home the Sauvignon Blanc and the Old Vine Zin as well as the Petite Sirah, but since it was the end of the day and I had already way blown the budget for the day, I had to settle for just the Petite Sirah, which was actually my favorite Petite Sirah from the whole trip!