Announcing: Bin Ends Wine Twitter Tasting #3!!

And Bin Ends Wine is at it again! The next Bin Ends Wine live Twitter Tasting will be held on September 18th and, and as I mentioned on Wine Biz Radio, co-hosted by yours truly!

We will be featuring one of my favorite wineries, and one I write about frequently since their wines grace many of the shelves of my cellar, Michel Schlumberger!

If you missed out last time, you missed out on lots of fun and good wine, so head on over to Bin Ends and see the details on when the tasting pack will be available. Then, join us at 7pm EST to taste through what promises to be an excellent, featuring, as a teaser…at least the current Syrah and Chardonnay releases! Plus more to come as the list becomes finalized.

Last time we had over 20 people tasting live and sharing their thoughts, let’s top it this time.

So, sign up for Twitter. Follow me, Bin Ends, and Michel Schlumbger, and get ready to taste!

I will share more details as they become available.

Celebrate Good Times


*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine for the Twitter live tasting.

The fourth and final wine (we’re going a little out of order here…) that I tasted during the Bin Ends Wine live Twitter tasting was the 2004 Hugel Riesling Jubilee. It had a real cork closure (dhonig, I’m sure this one was one of the real corks!), clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and runs about $49 from Bin Ends Wine. This was easily my favorite wine of the evening, though, I’d probably be more inclined to purchase the Gentil or Gewurztraminer given the price point.

My first note on this wine was: “Like nothing else I’ve ever smelled.” And that’s the truth. The wine had an aroma like no other wine. The nose showed peach, lime, flowers, fig, vinyl, green apple, caramel, a hint of petrol, and lemon. I would love to smell this wine in another 5-10 years. I imagine it will be nothing short of amazing. In the mouth I found lemon, peach, minerals, stone fruit, tropical notes, honey, green apple, banana, and lemon.

Overall, this wine was something amazing. I’ve never had another wine like it. I just finished the bottle 4 days after I opened it, and I did nothing but stick it in the fridge with the cork in it. It still showed really well. I’m impressed. The wine was tart, with some residual sugar, but not sweet or overpowering in any way. It had great acidity and a wonderful mineral finish. I’d recommend picking up some of this wine and socking it away for at least 5 years.

Twitter Tasting Wines


*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample so I could participate in the live tasting from Bin Ends Wine.

As I mentioned last week, I participated in the Bin Ends Wine Live Twitter Tasting on Thursday. I will also be co-hosting the next round in September, more on that later. Additionally, I was on Wine Biz Radio talking about the experience this morning! Busy busy busy. With that said, I have detailed notes to share with you on the 4 wines we tasted live!

First up was the 2006 Hugel Gentil. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, hailed from Alsace, had a real cork closure, and will run you about $10-$12. I asked the winemaker live on twitter what the blend for this wine was and he told me “It’s roughly 20% Gewurz[traminer], 20% Riesling, 20% P[inot] G[ris] and the balance Sylvaner & Pinot Blanc.”

The first thing I noted about this wine was the dark straw color. Next I moved on to the nose. The twitter tasting happened in split second timing, so I was typing notes as fast I could smell, and had to go back after the tasting was over to make sure I had covered everything! On the nose I found lemon, stone, spice, honeysuckle, flowers, lime, and orange blossom. I thought the nose was very nice and fairly complex for the price point. In the mouth I found apple, peach, lime, more flowers, nectarines, lemon, and more peach (apparently I really thought the peach was strong).

Overall, the wine was really dry, very refreshing, had a full mouthfeel, and was generally extremely well done for the price. I served it with our cheese course and it was great match. This is one I would definitely re-buy!

Tasting with the PSychos!

Matt and I were kindly invited to a tasting of Petite Sirah this Friday hosted by Loweeel of The PSychos’ Path, a blog focused entirely on Petite Sirah. Loweeel was hosting some out of towners for this event before the local Woot meet-up this Saturday. We were thrilled to be able to attend and contribute some of our favorite PS, one of my favorite grapes. Without further ado, the wines from the great line-up:

1998 Stag’s Leap Petite Sirah: Classic PS nose. Licorice, smoke, vanilla, blueberry, milk chocolate dark fruit.

1990 Sean Thackery PS: Stinky nose to start, unpleasant manure odors that blew off fairly quickly. Pepper, eucalyptus, mint, didn’t give up any fruit on the nose. Clove, little fruit in the mouth. Several hours later this had opened beautifully, showing more eucalyptus, pepper, and red fruit.

2003 Sean Thackery Sirius PS: Blueberry, vanilla cream, little heat, thinner in the mouth than I expected, tannic, blueberry, eucalyptus, slight red fruit. Definitely too young.

2005 Sean Thackery Sirius PS: Vick’s Vapo Rub, dirty, slight slight blueberry on nose. Blueberry, tannic, again slight red fruit. Bigger fruit than the 2003, seemed more ready to drink, though still young.

1998 Turley PS: Blueberry cream pie, anise, walnuts, smooth, well integrated, roses, black cherries, baking spice. My favorite so far, very good wine.

2001 Foppiano Reserve PS: Matt and I brought this. Little funk that blew off quickly. Black cherry, blueberry, little pepper, cassis, chocolate, spice, tannins, fairly well integrated, but still very young.

2004 Camellia Cellars PS: We also brought this. Cigarette smoke, blueberry, cream, tannic, short finish, cassis, a bit hot, licorice, fresh caramel.

2005 Chase PS: Baking spice, heat, pepper, white pepper, lots and lots of tannins, some fruit I couldn’t distinguish, not ready to drink yet.

2005 St. Helena Winery Violation PS: Vanilla, oak toast, cassis, blackberry, blueberry undertones, black cherry, chocolate, carmalized top of the creme brulee, a bit sharp.

All in all, a great line up, one I was happy to be able to participate in. Also, Loweeel made the BEST lamb we’ve ever had. Thanks for the invite Loweeel!

WBW #48-Back to Your Roots


Our fearless leader Lenn of Lenndevours has posted the round-up for WBW #48 Back to Your Roots. You can see the participant list here. Looks like just about 40 participants after Lenn adds the folk who have commented! I have to click through a few more posts, but I’ve read most of them! It’s highly entertaining to see where everyone began their journey with wine, and it appears I wasn’t the only one sucking down blue bottles of Schmitt Sohne Riesling!

Thanks for hosting Lenn, and as always, stay tuned, I’ll let you know when the theme for next month is up!

A Rose I Could Drink All Day


Rise and shine and a Rose and an omelet for breakfast. Perhaps a Rose and a turkey club for lunch, followed by Rose on the porch, ending with my bbq ribs and a Rose for dinner. Really, this Rose was so good that I would honestly want to drink it all day long.

The wine was the 2007 Nelson Family Vineyards Zinfandel Rose. It came in a club shipment, cost me $12.80 with a club discount, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13.8% alcohol by volume. I’m not sure if the condensation in the picture is because I chilled it too much or we’re cheap and keep our house a touch warm…probably a combo of both, but it tasted perfect, especially that day as the weather hit the high 90s with oppressive humidity! Ah, the joys of living in a (former) swamp.

On the nose I found watermelon, cream, berries, spice, and flowers. It smelled delicious and I wanted to jump in an take a swim in my glass. In the mouth, dry fruit dominated, lots of berries, but especially raspberries, cherries, and a hint of the watermelon from the nose. The wine really had just an absolutely beautiful structure and flavor and the color was fabulous. The tart fruit, combined with the dry acidity in the mouth make the wine a perfect sipper for before dinner, after dinner, with dinner, any old time. At this price, well worth it.

My Garden or My Wine?


The wine for the evening was a 2006 Freie Weingartner Wachau Gruner Veltliner. My dad picked this up for me from Branford Wine and Spirits in CT, but I gather it sells for around $12, it clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and had a screw cap closure. We drank this on its own after dinner, and it was perfect that way.

On the nose I found almonds, peanuts, lime, white pepper, green beans, nutmeg, and crayon. Yes, you are reading that right, an aroma as if you were sniffing a box of a Crayola! In the mouth I got white pepper, exotic spices, grapefruit, lemon, and limes. Overall, I’d describe this wine as smelling like my garden. I often brush up against my tomato plants as I’m picking, pruning, or watering, and touching the actual plant has a very distinct aroma. That, mingled with the fragrant basil in my garden, was what this wine reminded me of.

A tasty little bottle of wine for the price, good structure and acidity, some of the typical varietal characteristics…not much more I could ask for in a $12 bottle of wine. Definitely one I’d snag again for a hot summer’s day.

Rockaway Baby in the Vineyard


*Disclaimer: I received this wine as sample.

Let’s talk about something really cool and revolutionary from a long established Sonoma Winery. A first, that I am aware of, in the wine industry, in what I can only hope will become an industry standard. Rodney Strong is a well-recognized and well respected wine brand, and they are breaking ground in many ways with their new wine project.

Rodney Strong chose to do something with their new allocated brand, Rockaway, that no other winery I know of has done: they released it in a concentrated effort to wine bloggers before it was released to main stream media, in a pr campaign that culminates in the release of the first vintage on September 1. I am happy and honored to join the company of Jeff from Good Grape, Dr. Debs from Good Wine Under $20, Tim of WineCast, Kori of WinePeeps, Renee from Feed Me/Drink Me, and Joe from 1 Wine Dude, in being among the first to announce this wine to you. I highly suggest you visit all of the above mentioned sites for further reviews of Rockaway, all from the unique perspectives of these great bloggers.

Tasting the Rockaway initial release, a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, presented an opportunity I could not pass up. Being part of a release of a brand new wine brand, before it even hits the standard wine publications is part of a breakthrough effort.

A little about Rockaway. Rockaway is a “winery within a winery” project for Rodney Strong, currently under the leadership of owner Tom Klein. Over the last 10 years, Rodney Strong has undergone a program of replanting or purchasing high quality vineyards in the Alexander Valley. The result is Rockaway, and its soon to be followers from the 2006 and 2007 vintages, Brother’s Ridge and Alexander’s Crown. To craft these wines, grapes from only the best (meaning most tasty) vines/rows of the vineyard are selected and sorted in the vineyard before being delivered directly to the tanks where they will undergo fermentation. In a final feat of expressing the best of the land, the wine is made completely of free-run juice, meaning that it is crushed without the use of a press, and thus containing only the grape juice, without interference from the pressing of skins and seeds, which can add bitter flavors and more tannins to the wine.

Now the wine. 2005 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, and 4% Petite Verdot. It has a real cork closure and clocks in at 15.4% alcohol by volume. Rockaway is a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley. The wine is expected to cost about $75 and will be released only through an allocation program. An allocation program means that you sign up for the winery’s list and are then entitled to purchase a certain number of bottles. It will be the only way to get your hands on a bottle of Rockaway.

On the nose I found vanilla and another slightly sweet aroma that I can’t place. The vanilla on the nose blew off fairly quickly, revealing raspberries, blueberries, spice, earth, leather, mint, a hint of eucalyptus, blackberry, black currant, and cedar. The fruit smelled quite ripe and the aroma was wonderful. I had to yell at Matt to not drink it too quickly as I really wanted to enjoy this wine after getting a whiff of the nose! In the mouth I found black currant, earth, forest, spice, cloves, wood, cedar, blackberries, strawberry, and the slightest hint of cocoa. The fruit was dark and prominent.

I served the wine with petite fillet mignon which may have been the best match of Cabernet Sauvignon and steak I have ever had. As soon as I new I was getting this wine, I started planning my steak dinner to go with it. The wine had excellent structure and great balance, even with the higher alcohol content. The tannins were also there, making it the perfect match with the juicy meaty and slightly fatty steak. A definite must of a pairing for this absolutely delicious wine. I would be most interested to see how this wine tastes in 5-10 as I think it will be able to age with the best of them and will only get better with time.

If this sounds up your alley, be sure to head over to the Rockaway Vineyard site and add your name to the allocation list so you’ll be able to get your hands on some!

Happy Anniversary!


On a morning much like today in 2006, slightly hazy and overcast, with the sun trying to burn through, and at about this same time, I was headed up to pick up my bridal party to get our hair done for my wedding. The day turned out gorgeous, and everything was as I could have hoped for.

Two years ago today Matt and I were married. We must be very lucky because it’s been a lovely two years filled with fun, big milestones, great friends, and wonderful family. Not to mention, lots of great wine. Tonight we will be celebrating our 2nd Anniversary at Dino in DC, a restaurant we have not tried before, but are much looking forward to.

The last two years have quite literally flown by, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings. Happy Anniversary Matt!

Live Twitter Tasting!

But first an announcement. I quietly passed by 600 posts. Today marks post number 602 here at Wannabe Wino. Wow, I’ve been quite the busy wino for the last less than 2 years. Now onto your regularly scheduled programming 🙂

I, along with several other wine bloggers, among them, Tim of WineCast, Andrew of Spittoon, Sharon of Bloviatrix, Richard of A Passionate Foodie, Ryan and Gabriella of Catavino, Dale of Drinks Are On Me, and Joe of 1 Wine Dude, will be participating in a live Twitter Tasting hosted by Bin Ends Wine.

Bin Ends Wine is a retail shop in the Braintree, Ma and has recently opened up into online sales. The concept is that they offer fine wines at steep discounts, and if you are lucky enough to live in the greater Boston area, the shipping is free.

The participating Bloggers, joined by Etienne Hugel, will be tasting through 5 of Hugel’s current offerings. Hugel will be right there with us, providing information and his thoughts about the wines. The tasting is on August 21, and you can read all the details here. Hugel is a high end producer of wonderful wines from Alsace, so we’ll be tasting Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer….yum!

The best part is, Bin Ends Wine is selling 2 bottles each of 3 of the wines for only $85, which is a steal. So you can join in on the fun! Just buy the wines, and follow me on Twitter and follow Bin Ends Wine, and join us next Thursday for our live thoughts on what promise so be some fantastic wines from Alsace.