Yummy in My Tum Tum Tummy

*Disclaimer: I received this as a sample from Lange Twins Winery

I love Viognier.  LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!  I’m always so excited to get Viognier in the mail, something a little bit different than the standard Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio that people tend to send me.  I recently reviewed and liked the Lange Twins Petite Verdot/Petite Sirah blend, so I was happy to get a bottle of the limited edition 2008 Lange Twins Viognier in the mail a couple weeks ago.  The wine had a screw cap closure (which I actually didn’t realize until I tried to use my foil removed on the foil and started cutting into the screw cap…), clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $16. (But it’s really limited, so you should go buy some. Now. It’s really good. Go. Now.)

On the nose I found peach, pear, flowers, nectarines, white pepper, tinned pears, honeysuckle, and lemon.  This had a FABULOUS nose! I kept smelling and smelling and smelling and Matt kept draining his glass. In the mouth I got lime, honey, peach, pear, lemon, spiced pears, tropical fruit, and spice.  The wine had a great round mouthfeel, but was still really refreshing.  I could easily see how Matt’s glass had a hole in it!

Duck Duck Duck Zin!

I recently found a butcher near our house and I am SO excited. I really missed having someone to order meat from and to cut what I want exactly like I want it to be cut.  So I stopped by the butcher and picked up a couple fresh duck breasts. YUM! Matt played chef for the evening and made seared duck breast with a Zinfandel fig reduction sauce. We chose the 2004 Foppiano Zinfandel to both make the sauce and drink with out dinner.  I purchased this at the winery in 2008 for $15, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

This sat out on the table open for about 4 hours and it still seemed really hot right off the bat. It took a while for the alcohol to integrate into the wine.  After a while, I went back to the wine and found brown sugar, blackberries, pepper, herbs, spice, grape hard candy, and vanilla cream on the nose.  In the mouth I thought the wine was grapey.  I also got berries, spice, pepper, vanilla, cedar, and chocolate.  Overall, the wine was smooth and is probably at its prime.

Crush It!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Don Sebastiani & Sons.

An entire line of wines name “The Crusher” showed up on my doorstep the other day.  The premise behind the wines is a low cost good value line that you can drink every day.  I have the whole line… Cabernet Sauvignon, the Viognier, the Petite Sirah, and the Chardonnay to tell you about in the next couple weeks.  Tonight I chose the 2007 The Crusher Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine had a plastic cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume and I see it available online for as little as $12.  The whole second label lower cost wine is an interesting phenomenon and I have a bunch of others to talk about in the upcoming weeks!

On the nose I found vanilla, cream, blackberries, brown sugar, caramel, and strawberry candy.  In the mouth I got flavors of maple syrup, caramel, bramble fruit, some blue fruit, brown sugar, coconut, and dusty baking chocolate.  The syrup was really prevalent to me, it tasted like real Vermonth maple syrup and pancakes.  So to me, this wine didn’t taste like Cabernet Sauvignon, it tasted like Syrah.  A pretty tasty Syrah, but not a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gewurz Time!

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

Tonight I felt like a spicy white wine. Our weather is hot hot hot! And white wine is just the ticket for nights like tonight.  I picked the 2007 Mill Creek Winery Gewurztraminer out of the basement to sip after dinner.  We had leftover meatloaf and I didn’t think the wine and and the meatloaf would work so well together….this is my second Mill Creek Winery wine and I’m digging them!  The Gewurztraminer (I have such trouble spelling that grape!) clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $18.

On the nose I find white flowers, spice, lychee, almonds, spicy pears, lots of flowers, the slightest hint of tangerine, and a touch of honey.  I love the nose on Gewurztraminer.  I could have kept smelling this one for hours, but Matt was eyeing my glass, so I thought I best get to it!  In the mouth, the wine is crisp with a great spciy characteristic.  I get the tangerine more in the mouth, with lychee, flowers, almonds, and exotic spices.  This is a tasty Gewurztraminer, and if you are so inclined to eat spicy foods, this would make a great match!

Red Red Rosé

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Artisan Family of Wines

“Red red wine you make me feel so fine….You keep me rocking all of the time…” I don’t know why that popped into my head as I wrote this post, but it did.  Now it can be stuck in your head too!  Maybe it’s the fabulous color on this Rosé. Rosé is mostly the only wine where the color actually strikes me and makes me sit up and take notice on a routine basis.  They come in such a spectrum of pretty colors!  I chose the 2008 Red Cote Rose from Suisun Valley tonight. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $13.

This was a great Rosé. Easily my favorite I’ve had in recent memory. I loved everything about it, from the color, to the nose, to the flavors. On the nose I found very aromatic strawberries, raspberries, limey lemony aromas, Sprite, and raspberry jello. I can smell this wine from 2+ feet away.  In the mouth I got cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, jello, hard candy, cranberry cocktail, nice lime on the edges, and raspberry jolly ranchers.  This isn’t totally dry, but I loved it and found it to be very refreshing with excellent fruit.

Cruvee

The Wine Blogger Conference is 28 days away! 28 days! Less than a month! Who is excited???? I AM! (Ya know, in case you couldn’t tell…) I love getting together with my fellow wine blog authors, shooting the breeze, drinking some good wine, hosting anti-conferences (if you ask me nicely, I’ll tell you about this year’s plans….) etc.  11 wine bloggers will have the opportunity to attend this year due to generous donations from companies like Cruvee.  Without their support, some really great wine blog folks would not be attending this year.

Cruvee provides social media monitoring and analysis services for the wine industry.  They monitor what bloggers, twitter, wine forums, wine social networks, and more are saying daily about your brand.  After they collect all this data, they analyze it and provide you with real time results about what people are talking about concerning your brand.  If you’re in the market for this kind of service, head on over to Cruvee and check them out!

Many thanks to Cruvee for their kind support of the Wine Blogger Scholarship Fund!

It’s Mourvedre!

Now here’s a grape I don’t see a lot of as a stand alone wine.  I see a lot of it blended in small amounts into other wines, but rarely do I get one labeled as Mourvedre. I love it though, and tend to squeal with excitement when I see it on a winery’s tasting list! And if I see it and they aren’t pouring, I try hard to make friends with the host so he or she might give me a little taste. I almost always buy some when I see it, so it’s worth it to give me just a little taste….!  Tonight I chose the 2005 Navarro Mourvedre. I bought this at the winery on our 2008 CA trip, but it wasn’t on the tasting menu so I didn’t get the price written down.  It clocked in at 13.6% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.  I want to say I paid $26 for it, but don’t quote me on that!

On the nose I found smoke, juicy fruit (the gum), mulberry, blackberry, blueberry, pepper, and cedar. Despite all that, I would still describe the nose on the wine as reserved; it took quite some time for the aromas to emerge, and the wine was served at cellar temperature.  In the mouth I got blueberry, mulberry, pomegrante, cranberry, sandalwood, anise, and tart red fruit.  This wine has great acidity and structure, I’d love to try it with a roast beef or a tri-tip!

Hello Vino

I’ll see everyone in CA in 29 days! Everyone including the 11 scholarship winners we were able to fund through the Wine Blogger Conference Scholarship Fund thanks to generous donations from companies like Hello Vino!  Without their support, we would not have been able to get all these great wine blog authors to the WBC and we would have sorely missed having them participate in this wonderful opportunity.

Hello Vino is a wine and food pairing suggestion tool. You can text Hello Vino for suggestions and they also have a a free application for your iPod Touch or iPhone (for those of you lucky ducks who have those!).  Speaking of duck…I bet Hello Vino has a suggestion as to what I should pair with my duck breast dinner!  In fact it does! For a duck breast with fruit it suggests Viognier and then offers you several suggestions for actual bottles.  Head on over and check out the pairing tool today!

Many thanks to Hello Vino for their generous support of the WBC Scholarship Fund!

Lots of Artisans

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Artisan Family of Wines

Recently, Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines contacted me about sampling some of his wines.  Artisan Family is currently producing 3 labels, Sly Dog Cellars, Seven Artisans, and Red Cote. Jeff and his wife own a small vineyard in Napa and 40 acres in Suisun Valley.  Jeff is a recovering attorney (there seem to be a lot of those in the wine industry…so maybe it will work out for me someday too!) who does the wine-making for the company.  He also maintains a blog that you should check out…it’s interesting to me to a read no punches held look at how he does business.  With that said, I chose to first try the 2006 Seven Artisans Meritage.  The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $17.99.  The Meritage is a blend of mostly Merlot (technically this could be called a Merlot, it has 89.5% Merlot), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot. The fruit comes from Suisun Valley.

On the nose I found chocolate covered cherries, raisins, black currants, plums, raisinets, vanilla, and a bit of oak.  The chocolate candy definitely jumped out of the glass at me, and the Merlot definitely was the star here.  In the mouth, I found the fruit to be much redder and more tart than I expected based on the nose.  I got red raspberries, Luden’s cherry cough drops (anyone remember those? My mom used to give them to me when I had a sore throat and they tasted just like cherry candy!), cherries, an earthy quality, spice, and a hint of chocolate on the back palate.  I almost thought I got a bit of a meaty note as well.  Overall, this wine is structured with good acidity, and nice tannins.  It’s not a fruity soft in your face Merlot, so if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.  Pair this with a spiced pork loin in my opinion!

Wark Communications

30 Days until the Wine Blogger Conference! Wahoo! If you didn’t get to sign up for this year, MAKE SURE TO REGISTER FIRST THING next year!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…the conference size increased by 75 participants this year and yet there is still a waiting list.  That’s why I registered the day the announcement was made! Lucky for our Scholarship Recipients, and thanks to the generous donations of companies like Wark Communications, we were able to get 11 wine bloggers sponsored and registered before the conference sold out.  Without the kind support of companies like Wark Communications who believe wine blogs are important, we wouldn’t have been able to fund the scholarship winners and we all would have been worse off without their presence at the WBC.

If you’re in the wine world and you haven’t heard about Wark Communications, Tom Wark, or Fermentation…well, perhaps you’ve been living under a rock.  Tom Wark has long been a wine blog champion, having been continuously writing Fermentation since October 2004, making it one of the longest running wine blogs out there.  Wark Communications is Tom’s Public Relations Firm, located in Sonoma.  Wark Communications provides services ranging from product launches to event management and everything in between, targeted specifically to meet the needs of the wine industry.  So if you are in need of that type of service, be sure to check out Wark Communications.

Many thanks to Wark Communications for their generous donation to the WBC Scholarship Fund.