Boo!

Happy Hallowine all you spooky winos!

I tried to take pictures of our pumpkins, but it’s really hard to get lighting right with just a candle glowing!

So you get a bonus of me in last year’s costume.

Be safe and responsible this Halloween and if anyone gets any chewy sweet tarts, please share with me.

Cool Label….

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Sort This Out Cellars.

Not so cool wine. Overall, I really enjoyed the wines I received from Sort This Out Cellars. However, this bottle was the exception to the rule.  We tried the 2005 Sort This Out Cellars Rockabilly Red with our burgers the other night.  Although it clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, I found it be overwhelmingly alcoholic.  It had a real cork closure and retails for $25.

On the nose I found spice, cranberry, raisins, alcohol, chocolate, and cherries.  In the mouth I got dark berries, dark cherries, and sour fruit.  The tannins, acidity, and alcohol just didn’t seem in balance to me and it threw off the whole wine.

 

Pig Roast!

The Matthiasson Vineyard

After the Wine Blogger Conference, the Matthiasson Family kindly hosted a pig roast for any wine bloggers who still happened to be in the area.  Our favorite meat being roasted in a pit and the Matthiasson’s wines? Thea and Ashley and I were there, along with several other wine bloggers who we convinced to make the trek over to Napa with us!

Now, I’ve written about the Matthiasson wines before, and I maintain that their white wine is absolutely the best white wine I’ve tasted all year.  Hands down.  You can read my review of it here. However, with the roasted pig, which was divine, by the way, I would recommend one of the Mattiasson Red wines, probably the red blend.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying just a little bit of the white wine at the pig roast….but not much seeing as how I was our designated driver!

Wine Country Dog LOVED the pig roast. Clean plate club!

Instead, I took some pictures, walked in the little vineyard that backs right up to the Matthiasson’s house, and chatted with some of the many wine folks the Mattiasson’s had invited to the party, including Judd of Judd’s Hill!  Who kindly invited us all back to his tiki lounge for drinks, but the merry band of wine bloggers was exhausted and in need of some R&R before another big day in Napa the following day.  I didn’t manage to snap a shot of the final roasted pig, so you’ll have to ask Ashley for that!  I highly recommend the Matthiasson White Wine for your upcoming Thanksgiving feast, though you’ll have to act fast to get any of it since they produce all their wines in extremely limited quantities.

Tasting Bradford Mountain

After tasting at C. Donatiello, we scooted next door with Chris to try the wines from Bradford Mountain Winery.  The label is produced on the C. Donatiello property with the tasting room also located behind the C. Donatiello tasting room. It’s a little difficult to spot, but a few people wandered in while we were there.  Chris jumped behind the bar to pour for us and tell us a little about the winery.

2007 Healdsburg Ranches Chardonnay: Pear, green apple, crisp, cool, lemon, tart, tropical notes.

2005 Bradford Mountain Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel: Spicy, pepper, black cherry, blackberry, juicy, black fruit.

2005 Bradford Mountain Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Oak, cedar, spice, perfume, red fruit, big juicy fruit, pepper, tart berries.

2005 Bradford Mountain Grist Vineyard Syrah: Oak, spice, white pepper, violets, dark, tannic, juicy, black plum.

2007 Healdsburg Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon: Pepper, green peppers, black fruit, mint, herbs, tart fruit.

2005 Bradford Mountain El Grandote Dry Creek Creek Valley: Blackberry. syrup, blue fruit, chocolate, nice structure. My favorite.

I’ve tried some of the Bradford Mountain wines last year when Chris sent them to me as samples and I thought you could really see the winery finding a style as the years went by. My favorite out of those was the 2005 Syrah, which I also enjoyed again at this tasting.  I actually still have one set of Zins in my basement that I still need to try, I left them down there to see what a year of age would do to them.  I’ll haul them out soon and report back!

Last of the Prums

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Germany in order to participate in a Twitter Taste Live.

With the Wines of Germany S.A. Prum Twitter Taste Live in the bag, I’ve had quite a few Rieslings lately that I truly enjoyed.  I would recommend any of the S.A. Prum Rieslings we tried as great accompaniments to any upcoming Thanksgiving dinners or holiday parties.  I think the wine lovers and newbies alike can appreciate the S.A. Prum line up of Rieslings.  Up last for the night we tried the 2006 S.A. Prüm Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 9% alcohol by volume, and retails for as low as $20.

On the nose the wine smelled herbal with notes of honey, gasoline, lemon cream, wet stones, orange blossoms, flowers, and other orange fruit.  In the mouth I found honey, honeysuckle, candied apricot, candied, peach, candied peach, wet stone running through, and the herbal quality from the nose.  This was the “sweetest” wine of the group  and it kept evolving and changing as it warmed in my glass.

 

Riesling Week

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Germany so I could participate in the Wines of Germany Twitter Taste Live.

Let’s call a spade a spade here…with the 3rd day of Riesling in a row, it’s pretty much Riesling week around here! I don’t drink enough Riesling. It’s sad really, because I do love the stuff, but I often just don’t want to spend *quite* as much as it tends to cost to get a really tasty one. Another reason I’m glad I participated in this Twitter Taste Live, I found a whole line of reasonably priced delicious Rieslings.  Third up for the evening we had the 2007 S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett. It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 8.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $19.

On the nose I definitely found that classic German Riesling petrol smell, stone fruit, almost a sense of pine needles, stones-like swimming in a quarry, herbs, peach, and lemon zest. In the mouth I got apricot, honey, candied peaches, lemon drops, sweet apples, and a little bit of the herbal from the nose following through to the mouth.  Overall I found the wine to have fantastic acidity and to be dry with a slightly sweet sensation.

Blue Label

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Germany in order to participate in the Wines of Germany Twitter Taste Live.

As I did yesterday, I have another Riesling for you today.  And another great bargain Riesling that would be elegant for any Thanksgiving dinner table.  Our second bottle for the evening was the 2007 S.S. Prüm Blue Label Riesling Kabinett. It had a screw cap closure, retails for about $19, and clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found lemon drops, lime zest, smoke, a touch of petrol that went away as soon as I smelled it, stones, stone fruit, sourdough bread, and pineapple.  This just had a fantastic nose that I wanted to keep sniffing, but alas, I had to move on so as not to hold up the Twitter Taste Live!  In the mouth I got green apple, citrus, lemon zest, lemon curd, apricots, stone fruit, and a touch of wet stones from tubing down a river.  Overall, I found the wine to be extremely dry and to have great acidity running through.

An Essence

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the P.R. folks for Wines of Germany in order to participate in a Twitter Taste Live.

Germany! We’ve moved on from Argentina and South America and found ourselves squarely in Germany. Sadly, due to a combination of circumstances, I was only able to participate in one Wines of Germany tasting, although I would have LOVED to participate in more since this first set of wines was so excellent.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Twitter Taste Live with more universal agreement as to the quality of the wines.  First up for the evening, the 2008 S.A. Prum Essence Riesling. It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $14.

On the nose I found apple, wax, peach, pear, and flowers. In the mouth I got tropical notes, lots of pear, apple, peach, apricot, and slight honey.  I found it to be spritzy and zippy in the mouth.  The Essence is a great entry level wine, and I think it would please a lot of palates at your next party.

I Dream of Pinot

Chris gets animated in the garden

Chris gets animated in the garden

After the Wine Blogger Conference, Thea, Ashley, & I did a whirlwind tour of Sonoma and Napa.  And I really do mean whirlwind….on one day we did both Sonoma and Napa in the same day and STILL managed to stop by to see Patrick and Genevieve and their adorable new son.  Our first stop after lunch was a must visit for me after I learned of this winery at last year’s WBC. Oh, and by the way, I still adore those glasses and am now the proud owner of my own pair…you might have seen them popping in pictures over the last 8 months or so! I’m talking about C. Donatiello Winery.  If you haven’t been here before, go! Not only are the wines great, but the grounds are worth a trip on their own.  I wrote last year all about the aroma garden, which we toured again this year. I found it interesting to see it 3 months earlier in the year since so many different things were in season….I even got to eat some fresh raspberries right off the bush.

I like trees.

I like trees.

However, before touring the facilities (still the CLEANEST winery facilities I have ever, ever visited) we got to sit down for a private tasting with Chris Donatiello.  Chris is one of the most animated people I’ve ever seen when he’s talking about his wines.  It’s hard not to catch his enthusiasm as he talks about his winery and winemaking and everything else that goes on at the estate.  I think Thea and I may have been the only repeat visitors from last year’s blogger visit to C. Donatiello, but we were happy to spread the word to all our new friends and bring them along with us!

And grapes.

And grapes.

2008 Russian River Valley 809 Clone Chardonnay: $32. Lemon, pear, apple, fairly crisp, nice fruit, lemon, citrus, nice acidity, spice, stone, peach.

2006 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: $28. Spice, little bit of wood, cream, apple, golden apple, little chewy, nice fruit, round, spice.

And flowers.

And flowers. Which I swear smelled like chocolate.

2007 Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay: $38. Cream, much rounder, oak, tropical, green apple, tart pear.

2006 Russian River Pinot Noir: $48. Cherry, spice, herbs, raspberry, tart, cranberry, spice, tannins, little pepper.

Thea gets friendly with celebrity wino Hardy Wallace

Thea gets friendly with celebrity wino Hardy Wallace

2007 Maddie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir: $62. Strawberry, violets, tobacco leaf, raspberry, roses, tart red fruit, refined. I bought a bottle to add to my 2006 Maddie’s…I hope to amass a vertical and share them with some very lucky winos in about 5 years 🙂

2007 Floodgate Block 15 Pinot Noir: $55. Black cherry, pepper, spice, raspberry, fruit forward, spice, on the finish, red fruit, tannic.

Even Twitter celebrity Wine Dog made an appearance!

Even Twitter celebrity Wine Dog made an appearance!

I highly recommend a visit to C. Donatiello next time you are in the Russian River Valley area. Make sure you leave some extra time to enjoy the beautiful grounds, and don’t be afraid to taste and smell things from the aroma garden…that’s why it’s there!

Shana, Ashley, Thea, & I pose in the vines.

Shana, Ashley, Thea, & I pose in the vines.

Odd Blend

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

Perhaps this is a common blend in Argentina. I don’t really know. But it was a bit odd to me, especially given the common flavor profiles of the Bonarda and Syrah Grapes. Up 2nd to last at the last Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Live was the 2007 Crios Susana Balbo Syrah Bonarda. It’s a 50/50 blend of each grape.  The wine had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $14.

On the nose I found graphite, red berries, rare meat, then grilled meat, black cherry, black fruit, black plum, currants, red currants, a little earthy/leathery thing going on, and some spice. It was quite the nose and I think the Syrah most definitely dominated since my other two Bonarda experiences gave me some grapey and spicey notes and not much else.  In the mouth I got bitter chocolate, bitter espresso, a little grapeyness, currants, black plums, dark fruit.  Overall I found the wine to b very dark and a little astringent.