*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rued Winery.

This is actually the second time I’ve had the chance to taste the wines from Rued (pronounced Rue-ed) Winery.  In 2008 they made an appearance at the DC International Wine and Food Festival and I stopped by the table then, as they are located in Dry Creek Valley and I had not previously heard of them!  I happily accepted the opportunity to taste the wines again and actually spend some time with them.  Tonight we opened the 2005 Rued Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine retails for $45, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 15.4% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found dark fruit, currants, chocolate, raisins, cherries, dates, and candied fruits.  This needed some time to breathe, the aromas didn’t pop out of the glass until I’d been swirling the wine for quite some time.  I’d suggest some time in the decanter.  In the mouth I got flavors of cherry…big black cherries, black fruit, brambly fruit, prunes, currants, and some red raspberries hiding on the back of the palate.  The wine had big chewy tannins….I’d decant this one for a few hours or stash it away in the cellar for a couple of years for it to show its best.

Hanging Out in Wine Creek Ranch

I dug deep into my cellar for tonight’s wine. We haven’t been drinking much Zinfandel lately as I noted last week, but I’ve been craving it and I have a ton of bottles gathering dust in my basement. Plus, the weather is FINALLY showing signs of warming up, so my tastes will soon change from spicy reds to crisp refreshing whites…which I’ve already been dabbling in the last 2 weeks.  Tonight I chose the 2005 Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Zinfandel.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me $30 in a clun shipment.

On the nose I found juicy blackberries, fresh cracked black pepper, vanilla, spice, black currants, dark brambly fruit, and earth.  I found the nose to be very aromatic.  In the mouth I got flavors of tart blackberries, black cherry, spice, a hint of strawberry, and chocolate.  The fruit showed a ripe and the wine is definitely ready to drink…smooth and integrated, drink up soon!

WBW #56 Announced- Kosher Wines

wbw-new1Our host for the April edition of WBW will be the Cork Dork.  He’s chosen the theme of Kosher Wines in honor of Passover.  So basically, go pick any Kosher Wine and report back on April 15.  You can read all the details here.  This might be a tough one for me.  I’ve not noticed any Kosher Wines in my local shops (other than the famed Manischevitz in the grocery store….) and we leave for our Sonoma vacation on April 14, so I’ll need to have it purchased, consumed, and written about before then.  Not a lot of time to order the wine online and actually get it delivered in time….but I will try my best.

Smells Like Crayola

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Chile.

I usually pretty up my tasting notes for you.  Mainly because they often contain lines such “OMG, yum.” or “The H [meaning Matt] likes.”  Today I’ve decided to leave in one such note, which is “Smells like Crayola.” I could pretty that up and tell you it had waxy notes or some such thing, but really, I truly mean it smells like when you open a box of crayons.  I chose the last of the Viogniers I have from Chile for the evening, the 2008 Cono Sur Visión Viognier.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for around $8.  At $8, this is a fabulous buy, I’d get it in a heartbeat for that and would probably pay as much as $15 or so for a similar bottle.  Oh, and for real, my first tasting note from this bottle is “The H likes.” 😉

On the nose I found lemon, orange blossom, flowers, Crayola, stone, lime, and apricots.  It had a gorgeous sweet flowery honey characteristic that I absolutely love about Viogniers.  In the mouth I got flavors of pineapple, tropical notes, lime, mandarin oranges, lemon, minerals, wet stone, tangerines, and flowers.

All that in a bottle that can be found for as low as $7.99 on the internet.  Definitely worth your time and wine dollars given that $8 can often buy you a terrible bottle of plonk.  The gems for $8 are out there though, and I would certainly recommend this one.  It will be added to my list of “Great $10 or Under Wine Buys” for 2009.

Wine Blogs Spotlight

A few weeks back, I started noticing that Michael Wangbickler of Caveman Wines had posted several profiles of various wine blogs.  I liked the idea a lot and had previously  been considering starting to spotlight some of the wine blogs that populate my Blog Roll in the right hand column.  Doing so popped into my head around the time of the American Wine Blog Awards because in my opinion, so many worthy candidates were overlooked and I really wanted to call attention to some of my favorite wine blogs and give them some love.

Borrowed from Caveman Wines

Borrowed from Caveman Wines

Since the inspiration to actually finally start this came from Michael, my first feature will focus on his wine blog, Caveman Wines.  Michael is a Wine PR guy for a firm in Napa, and writes his blog from an insider’s perspective on how to, and how to not manage your brand.  Besides, being the inspiration for this post, I chose to feature Caveman Wines because I’m always delighted when I see a new post from Michael pop up in my Google Reader.  He offers great insight on the pulse of social media, both for bloggers and for the wine industry in addition to relevant posts on major wine events and marketing campaigns that might work for wineries.

Michael’s writing is interesting, clear and concise, and draws you in quickly.  His posts are always well worth the read, whether it’s a feature on wine companies giving back to their communities or an examination into the future of wine PR.  If you haven’t been reading Caveman Wines already, you’re missing out.  Head on over, add Micheal to your feed reader, and enjoy his take on the world of wine.

Stay tuned for features of some of my other favorite wine blogs in upcoming posts.

Tasting the New Zealand Wines Again!

At the DC International Wine and Food Festival, I made sure to stop by the New Zealand Wine Growers table.  I had the chance to free style taste some of their selections at the Wine Blogger Conference, but I only made it through a few there as my palate was just plain tuckered out by that point in the day.  So I was excited to see them again, and am pleased to be attending their regional tasting at the end of March.

2008 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc: Gooseberry, grapefruit, citrus, very nice.

2008 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc: Green pepper, gooseberry, very sitrus, herbal notes.

2008 Giesen Three Brothers Sauvignon Blanc: Peach, citrus, gooseberries, very tart, nice tropical notes.

2008 Brancott Reserve Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon, citrus, grass, crisp, nicely done.

2007 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc: Bright, floral, tropical, pear, lemon, crisp, tongue tingly.

2007 Staete Landt Pinot Gris: Pear, lemon, honey, apple, light.

2004 Vinoptima Gewurztraminer: Lychee, apricot, white peach, grassy, hay, honey.

2007 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir: Cherry cola, flowers, violets, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, very light, easy to drink.

2006 Brancott Reserve Pinot Noir: Earth, Coke, raspberry, cherry, bright fruit.

2005 Wither Hills Pinot Noir: Chocolate, berries, red fruit, sweet, cherry, raspberry, really nice in the mouth.

Wine News Round the ‘Net

Check out Wine Case for the round up of WBW #55 which Remy recently posted.  About 33 wine bloggers participated and took some interesting perspectives on North vs. South.  Head on over and see all the details.  Stay tuned for next month’s theme…I hear it involves Kosher wines!

The European Wine Blogger Conference has been announced! It will be held in Lisbon October 30-November 1.  It sounds like it will be an amazing time. I wish I lived in Eurpoe/had the means to get there to particpate.  But if you can attend, check out the site for all the details and to register.

Which brings me to the North American Wine Blogger Conference. Do you have a wine blog? Or a winery blog? Or are you a winery looking to meet wine bloggers?  Then you should sign up.  The schedule keeps shaping up and it’s going to be an amazing time! Head on over and register now!