Diving Into Germany

Had loads of trouble photographing this one...

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

I do so love Rieslings.  For some reason, I don’t drink that many though, probably due to my undying affection for California wines…you don’t find too much Riesling being grown in California, though there is a little bit.  So I happily accepted the chance to become part of the quarterly tasting program for Wines of Germany…Riesling delivered to my doorstep! Tonight we chose the 2007 Dr. Zenzen Elite Riesling.  For $15, I found this wine to be an easy drinking everyday wine that would pair well with a wide variety of food.  It had a screw cap closure and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

More trouble photographing...

More trouble photographing...

On the nose I found honey, peach, apricot, lemon, spice, stone, and crisp apples.  We both loved the nose on this wine.  In the mouth I got flavors of peach, specifically white peach, green apple, lots of citrus-oranges with lemons on the edges, apricots, wet stone, and a spicy finish.  Overall, this went well with our quiche, the slight sweetness melded nicely with the eggs, though a touch more acidity would have been nice.


Pinot Noir: Redux

I just reviewed this wine a little over four months ago.  I normally don’t retaste and rereview wines in such short order, but we drank this one over Christmas while visiting my parents and I perhaps didn’t give it all the attention it deserved.  So here it is again, hopefully with a note that’s a little more in depth.  The wine in question?  The 2006 Alderbrook Pinot Noir.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and cost me $24.60 in a club shipment.

My first note on this one? Matt likes it. That’s worth noting given he usually doesn’t provide an opinion unless hounded!  On the nose I found cranberry, spice, cedar, strawberry, mint, herbs, some earth, chocolate, and cherry.  In the mouth I got flavors of cherry, cranberry, strawberry, nice oak influences, some herbs, a bit of earth, but mostly clean red fruit.  Overall, I would describe this wine as having very clean red fruit and being ready to drink now.

A Hiking We Will Go!

Matt and I had the absolute pleasure of connecting with our very good friend Russ, the Winehiker, on our recent Sonoma/Napa trip.  Russ kindly agreed to mosey on up to Sonoma and meet us to go on a hike.  I promised Matt we would do something non-wine related on this trip, and while Russ’ hikes always end with wine, a hike would give us a good full day of non-wine activity.  I am the wino in the family afterall, so it’s only fair that our vacation includes something Matt would really like to do.

We met Russ on the morning of tax day, intending to go on a hike with a 2000 foot elevation on Sugarloaf Ridge in Sonoma.  That hike would have taken….well, at the rate I hike, probably 6-8 hours and I probably would have needed several packages of moleskin.  I’m so woefully unequipped to hike that the only socks I own that were higher than ankle height to wear with my hiking books (amazing I have those) were Christmas socks…Russ got a chuckle out of that.  So Russ took pity on me and had us hike in Annadel State Park instead, up to Ledson March.  Russ said the hike ran us about 6 miles round trip, so that seemed perfect for a vacation hike…especially when it was followed by a stop at Ledson Winery and then dinner at Zin!

As usual, Russ proved to be an excellent trail guide.  He’s always pointing out interesting flora and fauna, making sure you not only get a good hike in, but a lesson in the nature of the area.  Plus, he puts up with me and abject fascination with various living creatures….on our first hike I was enamored by the banana slugs…on this hike, the lizards.  We don’t get lizards in this part of Virginia, so I’ve rarely ever seen one in the wild.  I spent much of our hike attempting to get close enough to photograph the wily critters!  Following are some of the many many photos I took on our hike…next up, a review of Ledson Winery where we stopped after our hike!



Matt and me!

Flower we couldnt id.

Flower we couldn't id.

Lizard 2!

Lizard 2!





Gazing at my Navel

Quite the kerfluffle flying around the wine blog world this last week.  Navel gazing in general tires me and finding lint is never pleasant, so I try to avoid it most of the time. Plus, no one really wants to see my belly after all the wine I’ve consumed over the last nearly 3 years of writing this blog.

However, given the nature of this particular brouhaha I find that perhaps my policies regarding this blog bear repeating or reinforcing at this time.  You can find my original statements, which I addressed in October, 2007, in the context of FAQs about Wannabe Wino here.  But for the sake of redundancy, let’s update again, and then I will post links to both these posts on my “About” page so that they may be easily located in the future and hopefully I won’t feel compelled to do this again.

FAQs updated/added to.

1.) What is Sonadora? Is that your real name?

Sonadora means “dreamer” in Spanish. No, it is not my real name. Somewhere along my path, I got my degree in Spanish language and am arguably fluent in it, and I always like the lyrical nature of “Sonadora.”

2.) What’s your deal with samples?

This one merits an update. Back when I wrote my first FAQs, I’d only gotten a few samples and most were books. Now, as frequent readers will have noted, I receive quite a few more samples than I used to.  If you are interested in sending me something, shoot me an email at ctsonadora@gmail.com to discuss the details.  I don’t guarantee a review or a good review, but let it be known that I have yet to receive a wine that I have not written about, except one that was corked.  I will always disclose that the wine was received as a sample and from whence it came.  Sometimes it might take me a few weeks or so to get to your bottle, but I will taste it and so long as samples don’t start arriving by the hundreds (hahaha) it will most likely get a review at some point because I am only one person, I post nearly every day, and if I drink the wine, I generally need it for material here!  In that respect, here on Wannabe Wino, I have chronicled nearly every wine I have tasted in the last 3 years.  In tasting rooms, at dinners out, the wines I buy, and the wines I am sampled on. Some wines from large tastings don’t make it up here, but that’s simply because I find it tedious to write up posts that are laundry lists of short tasting notes.

3.) Who pays for your wine travel?  You seem to go to California quite a bit!

Me, myself, and I!  My husband and I travel to CA wine country because we LOVE IT THERE. We honeymooned in Sonoma and delight in going back each year.  Recently, I’ve had the ocassion to go several times a year due to our regularly scheduled vacation, work travel, and the Wine Blogger Conference.  As to the Wine Blogger Conference, I like the rest of the wine bloggers, paid for my own hotel room, rental car, plane tickets, etc.  As I will again this year. I even get a roommie every year to try to save money!

4.) Do you get paid for anything to do with your blog? How do you support it?

I do not make a dime. I do not accept advertising. I stand to gain NO MONETARY BENEFIT from anything I write here.  In fact, the blog costs me money because I pay for the domain, to host it, and some other small feautres so I can customize it a bit better.  I support it out of my own pocket because I love wine and everything to do with wine! It’s my hobby…some people have scrapbooking, I have wine. To each their own!

5.) So basically you’re just a big ol’ wino?

Yep, that’s me. Many folks have suggested it’s time for me to drop the “Wannabe” from the title of the blog, but ya know, it’s kinda my brand at this point, I like alliteration, and I’m too damn lazy to re-do everything.

That’s all folks.  If you have any other questions, please email me or comment on the blog and I will try my best to answer (appropriate) ones…yes, I, from time to time, get inappropriate questions.  If the need arises (and I sincerely hope it doesn’t) I will post a FAQs update again. (You’d think we’d be jovial, we all drink enough…) But this ethics mumbo jumbo seems to creep its way up again and again…like that annoying itch in the middle of your back.

How Many Bears? Four!

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

I like the story behind this wine.  It’s named 4 Bears in honor of the four children of the owners.  I had a chance to taste the Cabernet Sauvignon back at the Wine Blogger Conference last October and was quite impressed with the value I found in that $17 bottle of wine, so I jumped at the chance to try some other offerings from Four Bears.  You’ll see some additional reviews in the coming weeks.  Tonight I’m drinking the 2006 4 Bears Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc.  It retails for $14, had a real cork closure, and clocked in 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found grapefruit, lime, citrus, orange, tropical notes, melon, and figs.  This one had a fruit cup for a nose! In the mouth I got flavors of pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, and white peach.  I found the wine to be quite limey in the mouth.

Overall I’d describe the wine as crisp, light, dry, and easy to drink.  This would be a great wine for the upcoming months, especially at this price point.  And it went really well with the Tilapia I so love to make in the warmer weather! Drink up!

Sprightly Sauvignon Blanc

On our second full day in Sonoma we went by David Coffaro to do some barrel tasting so we could decide what to put in our futures case this year. I’ll do a full write up on that later. I’ve always liked David Coffaro’s Sauvignon Blanc, and with the gorgeous weather we were treated to in California I wanted nothing more than a crisp, cool Sauvignon Blanc to sip when we got back to our Bed and Breakfast. Ask and you shall receive! Steve kindly provided us with a bottle to enjoy later!

The 2007 David Coffaro Sauvignon Blanc clocks in at 14.4% alcohol by volume and has a screw-cap closure like all current Coffaro releases.  I want to say it retails for around $17, but to be honest, I don’t know for sure.  We enjoyed our bottle after a nice soak in the hot tub at our B&B, followed by watching the Princess Bride.

On the nose I got grass, grapefruit, lemon white grapefruit, bell pepper, and lime.  In the mouth I found lots of citrus, lemon grass, a hint of bell pepper, white grapefruit, wet stone, sweet peach, orange blossom, and tangerine.  My notes actually track fairly well with the notes I took last spring while tasting at the winery…I love when that happens!

Overall, this Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for a hot (summer) day.  We got lucky with the weather and experienced mostly mid-80s on our whole trip, so this wine was just what the doctor ordered after a a traipsing around wine Country!  It is crisp, with lip-smacking acidity, just what I love in a Sauvignon Blanc!

Wine Blog Spotlight: Wine Camp

In my continuing series on wine blogs I think you should read, I’m again reaching into the depths of my blogroll, down to the “Ws” where folks don’t often seem to venture.  I’m actually contemplating reverse alphabetizing the blogroll for a while to encourage people to click on the wine blogs in the latter half of the alphabet.  Today I bring you Wine Camp, the wonderful wine blog authored by Craig Camp.

Craig, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person at the wine blogger conference last year, started Wine Camp way back in April of 2005.  Four years at wine blogging makes you one of the founding fathers in my humble opinion….there weren’t many around then, and even fewer that are still at it four years later.  Wine Camp’s slogan is “A points free zone.”  Craig, like me, doesn’t rate wines, he talks about them in the context of what he finds in the glass, the company he shares them with, and where the wine came from, putting it into place compared to other wines from the same region or variety.

However, Craig brings much more to the table than simply wine reviews on Wine Camp.  Craig currently works with Cornerstone Cellars in Napa, and previously worked up at a winery in Oregon.  He knows his wine stuff inside and out, and delivers a a well-rounded perspective on the wine world, whether that is commentary on happenings in the wine blog world or timely pictures of bud break in Napa.  I’ve been reading Wine Camp for about three years now, and it’s high on my list of “do not miss” reads.  You should hop on over to Wine Camp, add it to your feed reader, and enjoy the musings of the well-written and entertaining Craig Camp.

HBG Meetup!

Patrick kindly organized a happy hour while we were visiting for our first night in town at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill. This made me extremely happy as I still couldn’t get their truffle oil parmesan cheese fries off my mind. So GOOD.  Matt and I ate two baskets and I got to have the very adult mac and cheese.  I love mac and cheese very much and never miss a chance to have it….as I seem to be incapable of making it myself for some reason.

Over the course of the evening, quite a crowd came by to say hello and socialize for a bit.  We saw Patrick, Genevieve, Penny, Chris, Jeremy, Shana, Robert, and others.  Penny and Chris both brought wines to try (yay!) which I happily did.

From Penny, barrel samples of her newest Tempranillos….she’s going to make two for 2008!

2008 Coral Mustang Vista Creek Tempranillo: Dark, berries, vanilla, spice, jam, plum, currants, grat dark fruit. Looks to be a good one, though it clearly won’t be released for a little while!

2008 Coral Mustang Tres Palmeras Tempranillo: I slightly preferred this one.  It was lighter in color and flavor.  I found spice, red currants, red fruit, cedar, nice structure, nice acidity, raspberries.  This one will make a fabulous food wine.

Chris brought along a bottle from a new line they will be releasing that will retail for around $14-$15.

2007 Healdsburg Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon.  Screw cap, Sonoma County, 13.9% alcohol.  Mint, leather, herbs, spice, herbal, black currants, anise, black fruit, some red fruit around the edges, nicely done for a $14ish Cabernet!

All in all, a lovely evening catching up with old friends and making some new ones.  It’s always great to meet new people, and I love the feeling that when we go out to CA we have so many folks to visit, yet we aren’t even from Northern California (though Matt is from Southern California….).

Lambert the Sheepish Lion

I know I’ve said this before, but every single time I think of this winery, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, a cartoon from my childhood, pops into my head and I spend the rest of the day singing the Lambert song to myself.  Yep, there is goes again, now it will be stuck in my head all day!  Anyway, I chose the 2004 Lambert Bridge Merlot the other night.  We drank it with our Easter dinner (this review is slightly tardy due to our vacation) of steak over risotto with raspberry/wine reduction sauce. We left for our vacation the day after Easter, so we didn’t want to make a ham or anything that would have leftovers…so we had steak instead!  We purchased this wine at the winery on last year’s Sonoma trip for $40, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.1 percent alcohol by volume.

My first thought about this wine: it smells like raspberry jam.  Perhaps I was influenced by the raspberry jam I used in the reduction sauce, but I really don’t think so as I hadn’t yet opened the jam when I opened and started taking notes on the wine!  I also found strawberry, plum, spice, pepper, black fruit, and some slight oak on the nose. Overall, a very fruity nose.  In the mouth I got pepper, plums, strawberry, spice, black cherry, herbs, licorice, and blueberry.

Overall, probably not the best match ever with the steaks, but the wine is smooth and ready to drink.  Get to it if you have a bottle!  Both Matt and I really enjoyed this wine, both when we tasted it at the winery and when we finally popped the cork on the bottle.

Blogging Around

Quite a few happenings in the wine blog world these days, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring them to your attention!

First, the summary for Wine Blogging Wednesday #56, Fine Kosher Wine, is up over at the Cork Dork.  A wide range of Kosher wines made an appearance with a lot of varied reactions from the wine blog folks. Head on over and check it out!

Next, Wine Blogging Wednesday #57 was announced today by Jeff over at Good Grape. In honor of the 1 year anniversary of the passing of Robert Mondavi Jeff asked us to pick a California wine that inspired you, made wine memorable for you, or really helps you tell your wine story.  Entries are due on May 13.  Check out Jeff’s blog for all the details.

Then, how would you like $1000 for writing a wine blog post?  Then you need to read this post at PinotBlogger.  Josh wants to know what motivates you to wine blog and then to open a bottle of wine and use it to tell the world a little bit about your opinion of the role of the wine reviewer.  The more folks that participate, the higher the prize will be.  Entries are due on May 23.  I’ll certainly be happy to participate, though I will remove myself from consideration for the prize for personal reasons.  The nifty part is that Josh is aiming to add to your wine knowledge…half of your prize will be cash and half will be a scholarship for you to further your wine education formally.  All the details here.

Finally, are you 21 or older?  Do you love wine?  Are you fluent in Wine 2.0?  Would you like to earn $60K in 6 months?  If so, than Murphy Goode Winery has the job for you.  For $10K a month, for a 6 month contract, the winery is seeking a blogger/tweeter/videographer/wine loving person who will work at the winery and detail their adventure across the internet through various mediums.  You can read the preliminary details here, but get ready for more info coming soon…and if you are in the San Francisco area you can meet the boss in front of the Hyatt Regency and get early insider info on April 28! (By boss, do they mean Jess Jackson??)  Anyway, awesome opportunity and I wish those who intend to apply the best of luck.