Italian Pinot Noir

I must say, Italian Pinot Noir took me by surprise. I must not be up on things because I didn’t really even realize that Pinot Noir is grown in Italy! Jay of Branford Wine and Spirits in Connecticut gave me this bottle to try when I stopped in to pick up some wine over July 4th this year. The wine is a 2005 Banfi Sartori Pinot Noir from Di Verona. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. I think it retails for around $10.

On the nose I found bright red fruit, strawberry, cherry, candied red currants, perfumed spice, flowers, and oak. I thought for the price point, the wine displayed fairly consistent varietal characteristics on the nose.  In the mouth I got black cherry, some earth, oak, spice, and a bit of espresso.  The mouth was darker than I expected based on the nose.  It had some tannins on the back palate. For the price point, if you’re looking for some easy drinking Pinot Noir, this a good bet.


You’ve Got to be %@#$! Kidding Me!

Hmm, see through.

Hmm, see through.

No, really, %@#$! is the name of this white, Rhone-style blend from Twisted Oak Winery, aka Potty Mouth White. The 2006 Twisted Oak %@#$! is made up of 41% Marsanne, 34% Roussanne, 19% Rolle, and 6% Viognier.  It clocks in at 13.6% alcohol by volume, came in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, and cost around $20.

On the nose I found apple, pear, apricot, honey, and butterscotch.  I could really smell the influence of the Viognier on the nose of this wine, even though the Viognier makes up the smallest percentage by far of the grapes in the blend.  In the mouth I found apple, pear, pineapple, crab apple, vanilla, and baked apple pie.

Pretty, confused Christmas Cactus!

Pretty, confused Christmas Cactus!

Overall, I thought the wine showed great acidity and had a huge mouthfeel. Silky, the Marsanne and the Roussanne seemed to really show through in the mouth, whereas the Viognier really lent itself well to the nose.  I have no idea what Rolle tastes like independently so I can’t speak to what it adds to the wine!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We here at the Wannabe Wino house wish a very Happy Thanksgivng to all the U.S. readers out there! Hope your day is full of wonderful food, family, and friends!

Gobble Gobble!

The first Thanksgiving turkey I ever cooked.

The first Thanksgiving turkey I ever cooked.

This is my 3rd year hosting Thanksgiving! Back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!


Checking Off Grapes

Prieto 1I’m still seeking to taste 100 different grapes to join the Wine Century Club, and Loweeel kindly gave Matt and I this bottle of wine to help us in our quest.  This marks our 76th grape, the Prieto Picudo grape from Spain.  We drank the Dehesa De Rubiales Prieto Picudo on it’s own the other night. The wine hails from Castilla y Leon in Spain, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and is available on the internet for about $14.

Prieto 2

My first reaction to the wine was: It smells like candy!  The nose showed confectioner’s sugar, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, smoke, coffee, chocolate, blackberry, and black pepper.  I also found something a little green and herbal about the nose. The wine had a very aromatic nose.  In the mouth I blackberry, a tinge of raspberry, black cherry, mint, cinnamon, espresso, and chocolate.  The mouth also had an herbal characteristic.

Overall, we loved this wine.  At $14, I would definitely buy it, especially if you too are trying to reach 100 grape varieties.  We kept sipping the wine and remarking on how different it was and how much we liked it.  Many thanks to Loweeel for sharing with us!

Kicking it at Kick Ranch

The view up the hill

The view up the hill

On Day 1 of the Wine Blogger Conference, if you arrived early enough before the first “official” event, you had the opportunity to head out to Kick Ranch Vineyard for lunch and a tasting. The tasting consisted of 12 wineries who source grapes from Kick Ranch pouring some of their current selections.  I originally thought this would be an event where each winery would pour the Syrah they make from Kick Ranch grapes, for example, but instead, the wineries seemed to be pouring lots of stuff from both Kick Ranch and from other vineyards.  The owners of Kick Ranch provided a delicious lunch for us, which I went straight for, having not eaten a thing but 2 slices of toast when I left Murphys way earlier in the day!  I only managed to taste my way through what 8 of the wineries had to offer, I ran out of time and needed to head back to Santa Rosa in time for the “speed dating” tasting, which I already wrote about here.

Enkidu Wines:

2006 Kick Ranch Syrah: Black cherry, floral, spice, toasted oak, brown sugar, tannins earth.

2006 Odyssey Syrah: A little funk, pepper, herbs, black pepper, black fruit, oranges.

2005 Fazekas Petite Sirah: Dark chocolate, black fruit, vanilla, dark, slight red fruit on the edges, tannic. I loved this wine!

Bedrock Wine Company:

2008 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion: Barrel sample. Pinapple, lime, lemon, tropical, crisp, dry.

2007 Pinot Noir: Roses, red fruit, earth, red berries.

2007 Bedrock Heirloom Blend: Zinfandel and Mourvedre I think. Spicy, pomegrante, red fruit, spice, nice and smooth. Really liked this one.

2007 Syrah: Barrel Sample. Red fruit, violets, bright fruit, dark red in the mouth, tannic.

Rosenblum: ( I was sad Farley wasn’t there 😦 )

2006 Roussane: Honey, pineapple, tropical fruit, really nice mouthfeel, crisp.

2005 Reserve Kick Ranch Syrah: Big, meaty, red, anise, bacon, blackberries.

2005 Kick Ranch Petite Sirah: Blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, big blue fruit, tannic, pepper.

Loxton Cellars:

2005 10th Anniversary Syrah: Red fruit, charred meat, raspberries, smooth, pepper, great structure.

2005 Reserve Syrah: Darker, meatier, peppery, blackberries, tannic.

2007 Late Harvest Viognier: 18% residual sugar. Apricot, pineapple, tropical, sweet, nice acidity, very tasty.

Carica Wines:

2006 Sauvignon Blanc Blend: 40% Sauvignon Musque. Pineapple, citrus, lime, grapefruit, crisp, very tropical.

2006 Kick Ranch Syrah: Floral, violets, red fruit, pepper, blackberry, plum, black fruit, excellent structure.

Sanglier Cellars:

2006 Hibou Gewurztraminer: Lychee, almonds, flowers, dry, grapefruit.

2007 MTL: Syrah, barrel sample. Plums, black fruit, vanilla, currants, meat, tannic, dark, big.

2007 MTL+: Syrah, barrel sample. More toast, pepper, smoke, very little fruit on the nose, dark fruit in the mouth, incredibly smoky.

Pax Wine Cellars:

2006 Cuvee Christine: Syrah. Bright red fruit, flowers, berries, vanilla, toast, violets, slight chocoalte, spice, pepper, dark, tannic.

2007 Syrah: Blackberries, cream, vanilla, very fruit forward,smoke, dark smooth, very well done. Really enjoyed this wine.

Lynmar Estate:

2006 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Apple, pineapple, slight toast, light, lemon, green apples.

2005 Estate Chardonnay: Star fruit, more tropical, more toast, pear, a little butter, good structure.

2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Smoke, leather, earth, strawberry, raspberry, nice red fruit.

2005 Estate Pinot Noir: Really smoky, darker, earthy, forest, dark fruit. Really loved this one.

2006 Syrah: Funky, dark earth, charred, big, pepery, smoke, veyr dark, not giving up much fruit.

2007 Kick Ranch Syrah: Barrel sample. Smoky, dark, charred meat, no fruit on nose, plums, black fruit, very dark.

John from Anything Wine

John from Anything Wine

Revisting Coral Mustang Rose

I’ve written about Coral Mustang’s Rose before, over a year ago.  You can read those notes here. However, when I was out in California for the Wine Blogger Conference, I finally got to meet Penny, the winemaker and owner. We’d been trying to catch up for quite some time now, but always kept missing her.  I loved the bottle of Rose that I got from WineQ so much, that Penny brought one for me to take home with me! The is her 2006 Coral Mustang Tempranillo Rose.  I also just bought 2 cases of the 2005, that’s how much I love this Rose! It has a real cork closure, clock in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and can be purchased for $14.99.

I really just adore this Rose. I intend to serve some of the 2005 with my Turkey Dinner on Thursday. I think it will be well received, and I already know Matt loves it!

On the nose I found candied strawberries, bananas, roses, cranberries, raspberries, slight spice, and racy citrus. I enjoy the very fruity qualities in the nose on this Rose.  In the mouth I got flavors of red apples, raspberries, lime, cranberry, tart fruit, raspberry jello, and a nice hint of spice on the back palate. It’s even better than I remember!

I’m not really one for Thanksgiving wine matching posts, but you may have noticed that I note around this time of year if I think a wine would work well with Thanksgiving dinner.  The Coral Mustang Rose gets my stamp of approval for Thanksgiving for several reasons. It’s budget friendly. You can get the 2005 for $12 a bottle and the 2006 for $14.99. I tend not to want to serve super expensive bottles of wine with Thanksgiving dinner, because really, at Thanksgiving, the food is king, and there’s so much of it and it’s so diverse, that I don’t think there’s a “perfect” wine to go with it all. I look for wines with refreshing acidity, good structure, and lighter fruit flavors.  The 2006 Coral Mustang Rose certainly fits that bill!

WBW News

Over at 1WineDude, Joe, our host for WBW #51 “Baked Goods,” has posted his round up of the event. Looks to be like we had about 20 participants this time, drinking all manner of “baked wines” and fortified wines. Some winners and some losers as always, but it seems everyone had a good time.  I still think we need to do WBW “Any Port in the Storm” and focus just on Port and Port-type wines!  You can read the round-up and find links to all the participants here.wbw-new

WBW #52 has also been announced!  Our host for this month will be Tim from Cheap Wine Ratings, and in keeping with the nature of his blog (bet you can’t guess what his subject is… 😉 ) he has sent us on a search for “Value Reds from Chile.”  By this, he means he’d like us to get out there and find a red wine from Chile for under $20. I don’t think I’ve ever had a red wine from Chile (I like Sauvignon Blanc from there though!) so I will be off on a hunt for something suitable this month.  All the details are here, and the deadline is Dec. 10!  Happy hunting!

Solomon Divides the Wine

Literally.  A bit of a play on a reference there, but my final stop for the day in Murphys landed me at the Solomon Wine Company.  Solomon divides their wine offerings into 3 groups, the Muse Wines, the Garsa Wines, and the Cloud 9 Wines.  I had been at Solomon the night before and really liked their Composition Cloud 9 wine, so I wanted to return and check out the rest of the offerings.

I stopped in at 10 minutes to closing, and didn’t want to be a bother, but luckily Solomon has the philosophy of staying open as long as people keep coming in. I think this worked out for them as about 4 more groups came in after me, and well after the normal closing time!

The tasting room boasts a huge tasting bar. Plus, a second smaller bar. I’d bet a good 30-40 people could comfortably fit at the bars with no problem, probably even more.  Solomon also offers a large array of local products for purchase, wine related and not, and I spent a good bit of time wandering around the tasting room examining the wares. Producing their first vintage in 2000, the winery now makes 5,000 cases of wine a year.

2007 Garsa Roussanne: $19.99. 1st vintage, oak aged. Honey, apricot, flowers, light orange, good body, clean fruit.

2006 Garsa Rosado de Sangiovese: $15.99. From El Dorado County. Dark, strawberry jam, cherry, little bit of citrus, dry, crisp, racy. I bought 1 bottle.

2006 Muse Genie: $12.99. The blend on this wine changes every year. This year it’s Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Muscat Canelli, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. Crisp, bright, light nose, honey, citrus, grapefruit, easy to drink.

2006 Muse Mingle: $12.99. Blend changes every year. Currently Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Chocolate, red fruit, light, berry, spice.

2004 Garsa Tempranillo: $19.99. 2.5% Muscat Canelli blended in. Blueberry, black cherry, spice, tannins, some underlying red fruit.

Rapport Ruby Dessert Wine: From Madera County. Souza, Touriga, Tinta Madiera. Blackberry, raisiny, port-like.

I also took home a bottle of the Garsa Grenache and the Cloud 9 Composition. Look for notes on those in the future! Overall, the people at Solomon were incredibly friendly, and I coulld have easily spent another hour there tasting the wines as they had many more to offer!  Well priced and quite a few good selections.


Guess who took this photo?

Guess who took this photo?

I felt like a nice Pinot Noir the other night, so I swooped down into the basement and snagged a bottle of the 2006 De La Montanya Felta Creek Flying Rooster Ranch Pinot Noir. The wine came in a club shipment, clocked in a 14.2% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost me $19.20. I am eagerly awaiting my next De La Montanya shipment…I just saw that they charged my credit card, so it should be here in short order. So many of their wines work wonderfully with Thanksgiving dinner!

On the nose, I first smelled vanilla covered cherries.  That aroma quickly blew off, and I found sandalwood, leather, earth, forest, spice, and raspberries. The nose didn’t give up much fruit, but the aromatics were beautiful.  In the mouth I got flavors of black cherry. Huge black cherries! Other flavors showed as raspberries, blackberries, spice, dark fruit, oak, espresso, and sage.  I know sage sounds a little strange, but I swear, I tasted fresh sage leaves!

Overall, the Flying Rooster Ranch Pinot Noir is just gorgeous. It’s drinking beautifully now, showing tart fruit, lots of structure, and a good varietal profile. I think this bottle in particular would be lovely with your Thanksgiving turkey!

Poppies and Wine

Not exactly a combination I’d think of, but when I walked back to the Zucca Mountain tasting room, the tasting room attendant happened to be sitting outside packaging California Poppy Seeds. He kindly gave me a package to take home and suggested I plant them in containers if I’m trying to grow them in VA….our climate is a touch different than Northern CA!

If you are pretty much any taller than I am (which isn’t difficult, I’m really not that tall) you’d best watch your head as you duck (literally) into the Zucca Mountain tasting room.  It’s carved into the tiniest portion of the “basement” of the building that also houses its gift shop.  If you put 5 people in the cave-like area, that would be too many.  The tasting bar is also tiny, but I found it cozy and perfectly sized for me 😉

2006 Chardonnay: $16. Pear, peach, light, honey, apricot, crisp.

2006 Sangiovese Rosato: $15. Crab apples, berries, crisp, red berries, lime, very dry.

2005 Sangiovese: $34. Bright cherries, strawberries, red fruit, sweet note, tannic, nice structure.

2006 Barbera: $32. Smoky, plums, stewed fruit, raspberries, red fruit, chocolate on the back palate, totally different wine, really nice.  My favorite of the tasting, I took home one bottle.

2005 Syrah: $28. Meaty, vanilla, smoky spices, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, long finish.  I took home one bottle.

2005 Sorprendere: $25. Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera blend.  Blackberries, cracked pepper, plums, vanilla, chocolate, espresso, smooth, very drinkable.

2007 Syrah Port: $26. Really fruity, berries jump out, huge nose, flowers, chocolate, dark berries, great with chocolate.  My dad is a huge Port fan and I always pick one up for him, so I bought one of these to give him next time I see him! I’d never had a Syrah Port before.

Overall, a great selection of wines.  The reds were fantastic and I wanted to take all of them home.  The tasting room attendant was excellent too, very knowledgeable about wines of all kinds. He worked in the area as the wine buyer for Safeway for 30 years. And surprisingly enough to those of us not in CA….you can actually buy pretty good wine at the Safeways in Northern CA!