Coolest Tasting Room Ever

At the very end of the second day of the Wine Blogger Conference, my bus loaded up with the rowdy crowd and we made our way to Conn Creek for dinner.  I’d never heard of Conn Creek before, but honest to Bacchus they have the coolest tasting room ever.  The entire room is lined with wine barrel.  Most have Cabernet Sauvignon from the various appellations in Napa, but others have blending elements such as Petite Verdot.  Each barrel has a tap and is outfitted with an interior balloon system that inflates as wine is removed.  You get to play with all the wines and make your own blends!  I understand you have to call ahead to go to this special tasting room, and there is a fee, but it’s so much fun and so different that it would be a great experience that differs entirely from the normal tasting room visit.

We had dinner at Conn Creek (my favorite was the dessert) and enjoyed wines from Conn Creek, Napa Valley Farms, and Cornerstone Cellars.  Wow did I get a lot of Cornerstone Cellars on this trip, lucky me! I still have a tasting at Cornerstone Cellars new tasting room that we went to after WBC to tell you about!

2008 Conn Creek Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, grapefruit, lemon, white pepper, tart, acidic, tropical notes, orange zest, stone fruits, crisp, easy drinking, white flowers.

2006 Napa Valley Farms Viognier: Floral, aromatic, white flowers, stone fruit, soapy, tropical notes, orange blossoms.

2005 Napa Valley Farms Syrah: Smoky, licorice, vanilla cream, plums, some herbal qualities, violets, red fruit, tannins, smooth fruit.

2006 Conn Creek Cabernet Franc: Strawberry, bright red fruit, raspberry, spice, tannins.

2001 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Napa Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla cream, blackberry, spice, herbs, soft fruit, smooth , integrated, pepper, some red fruit showing on the edges.

2005 Napa Valley Farms Cabernet Sauvignon: A little funk, leather, earth, dirt, mint, eucalyptus, strawberry.

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In Defense of a Fence

The Offensive Fence

The Offensive Fence

This post has absolutely nothing to do with wine. At all. Other than the fact that it has me completely preoccupied and as a result I’ve been shirking my wine related duties. Sorry to all who need stuff from me right now, hopefully after this morning I will be able to focus on all the wine blog happenings I need to tend to but until then….As many of you have seen over the last 6 months, I’ve been Tweeting and Facebooking about my fence.  My county wants me to remove a fence that’s been on the property for 20+ years before I bought the place.  I don’t want to.  Today is my hearing to save my fence!

So wish me luck, and if all goes well, my attention will refocus on wine.

Don’t Cry for me Argentina

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine in order to participate in Twitter Taste Live.

You knew I’d have to go for the cheesy title at some point, right? I can’t resist! Especially since this is the fifth Argentinian wine I’ve written up…I’m surprised I held off this long. I don’t usually have that much restraint when it comes to the cheese factor.  I believe this was the last wine of the evening…it was the darkest, though one of the lightest in terms of alcohol content.  The 2006 Michel Torino Don David Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, black fruit, pepper, black plum, black currants, black cherry, earth, raisins, peppers, and chocolate.  I thought the nose was fruity and very very peppery. As it sat in my glass, more layers appeared.  In the mouth I found tart sour cherries, blackberry, cherry, spice, tart fruit, and earth.  I had hope this would be a bit more complex in the mouth given the depth of the nose, but I think it might just be young as it had tons of tannins and dried my tongue out.

More Torrontes!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine in order to participate in Twitter Taste Live.

The Argentinian wines are invading my wine blog! This is the 4th in a series of wines from Argentina that I tasted during Twitter Taste Lives sponsored by the trade group Wines of Argentina.  Next month is Wines of Germany, which promises to be much fun too!  One of the Torrontes on the first night was the 2008 Michel Torino Torrontes Reserve Don David.  It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got pineapple, white flowers, apricots, tropical notes, honey, pear, lemon, spice, and white pepper.  The nose on Torrontes wines is almost immediately recognizable…the florals and honey notes just float out of the glass without you having to get close to it.  In the mouth I found lemon, orange zest, lemon zest, pineapple, and lime. This wine had great acidity and I found it to be a really good effort.

Pie Pie Pie

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine in order to participate in the Twitter Taste Live.

Oh yes folks, I promised lots of Argentina and here’s some more! Hope you aren’t tired yet cause I found some real winners among the Argentinian wines, and this is one of them! I have no idea why I never really explored Argentina before for good bargain wines…between Chile and Argentina, it appears South America is primed to take over the bargain $10-$20 sweet spot for wines.  We had another Malbec for the first Twitter Taste Live, the 2007 Bodega Colomé Malbec Estate.  It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 15% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got blueberry, blueberry crumble, cream, white pepper, crushed violets, black cherry, and boysenberry.  I want my next pie to smell like the nose of this wine.  In the mouth, I found it to be almost Syrah like.  I found black plum, black cherry, more blueberry crumble, pepper, blueberry, boysenberry, earth, and a little anise.  It had a long finish with some tannins hanging out on the end.  YUM!

Lemon Pledge in my Glass

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine in order to participate in Twitter Taste Live.

As I mentioned yesterday, you’ll be seeing lots of Argentinian wines around yee old wine blog for the next few weeks. I think I have around 20 to write up at this point after participating in 4 Argentina Twitter Taste Lives. I love Twitter Taste Live, it’s so much fun to taste along with many of my favorite wine bloggers and compare notes instantly! One of the first Torrontes we tasted was the 2008 Bodega Colomé Torrontes.  It weighed in at 13% alcohol by volume and had a plastic cork closure.

On the nose I got pineapple, white flowers, honeysuckle, orange zest, fresh pear, and white pepper. In the mouth I found jasmine, lemon, tropical fruit, honeysuckle, and grapefruit.  Oh yes, and the lemon Pledge…or what I would imagine lemon Pledge would taste like if I were so inclined to drink it.  The wine seemed very perfumey in the mouth and while it had tart aspects, I mostly found it oily.

Diving into Argentina

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample form Bin Ends Wine in order to participate in the Twitter Taste Live.

For the last month, I’ve spent my Wednesday evenings having an affair with Argentinian wines. The theme for Twitter Taste Live all this month has been wines from Argentina.  In the past I haven’t had many wines from Argentina, so I was excited to spend this month getting to know them a little better.  You’ll be seeing a ton of Argentinian wines around the wine blog in the next few weeks as I finally get around to writing my reviews.  The first wine I want to tell you about is the 2008 Bodegas Etchart Reserve Malbec. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 14% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got espresso, bittersweet chocolate, herbs, spice, pepper, dark black fruit, plums, apple cider (yea, I realize that’s odd and out of place), earth, cloves, wood. I said in my notes “this smells like Christmas!”  In the mouth I found black cherry, black plum, tart fruit, almost some red fruit on the edges, pepper, spice, earth, and tobacco. The palate on this wine was TOTALLY different from the nose! I enjoyed it though.