First 2009?

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

I think that this is the first wine from a 2009 vintage that I’ve had. Usually I don’t see the 2009s until maybe late spring of the following year. So to have one in September, well, I was surprised! Another wine from Argentina tasted in conjunction with the Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Lives, I believe this is the last Torrontes of the bunch.  I have 2 more bottles of red wines to review and then it’s on to the Wines of Germany.  Last up for the whites, the 2009 Crios de Susana Blabo Torrontes. It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $15.

I sat up and said “Wow” when I opened this bottle.  I could smell it as soon as I took the cap off.  On the nose I found honey, white flowers, honeysuckle, slight vanilla cream, white pepper, spice, tropical fruits, and pineapples. I’d call the nose “spritzy.” In the mouth I got white peach, yellow apple, citrus, lemon, tropical notes, orange blossoms, and pear.  The wine had an almost slightly oily finish though it was crisp and acidic through mid-palate.

Dry Creek Vineyard Luncheon

Thea surveys our seating options. We were first to arrive & quickly snagged a shady table!

Staying in CA after the Wine Blogger Conference certainly has its perks.  I’m not sure that food ended up costing Thea, Ashley, and me a dime for the 2 days we spend criss-crossing Napa and Sonoma since so many wineries were hosting after after after WBC events…we tried to attend as many as possible…but I can only drive so fast!  Out first after the WBC event occurred at Dry Creek Vineyard.

Dry Creek Vineyard, along with Gustafson Family Vineyards and Rued Wines hosted a lunch on the property of Dry Creek Vineyard. In addition to some very yummy food and wine, they held a drawing for Passport tickets, won by my friends Shana and Russ! Now, the only problem was that it was hot hot hot that day. SO HOT.  And shade was limited so the wines I think suffered due to that..the reds were warm and not showing well due to the heat. For that reason, I’m just going to tell you about the two wines that were kept on ice as they were served at a decent temperature.

2008 Gustafson Rosé of Syrah: $20. Strawberry, cranberry, lime, crisp, dry, floral, light. Very refreshing on this extremely hot day.

2008 Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc: $16. Melon, lime, citrus, orange blossoms, floral, light, tropical notes, guava.  Enjoyed this one.

Dry Creek also set up a wireless signal that broadcast over the whole lawn, which many of my fellow winos really appreciated as they Twittered away on their iPhones. Not that I was/am jealous or anything.  Nope, not at all. In our info packet from the lunch was a nifty corkscrew that I absolutely adore…it’s become my go-to waiter’s corkscrew!

Someday soon I will finish telling you about my California trip. Still to come: C. Donatiello, Cornerstone, Hall, and Corison. Stay tuned!

Black Clouds Ahead

For purposes of FTC disclosure, I didn’t pay for this wine. I’m not sure I would call it a sample though. I found it after cleaning up after an after after after party at the Wine Blogger Conference.  I offered it back to its rightful owner, Brad, and he said I could keep it. So there’s the story of this wine, make of it what you will.  I will admit, I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time, having “met” Brad on Twitter several years ago and having heard about his wine for all that time without being able to get any since he’s in Canada! Also, Pinot Noir from Canada struck me as intriguing. I don’t see many wines from Canada that aren’t ice wines or ice style.

Anywho, the wine is the 2006 Black Cloud Pinot Noir, Brad’s personal winery project.  It had a plastic cork clocked in at 13.2% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $25. Pinot Noir for $25? Not bad at all. It hails from a vineyard in the Okanagan Falls in British Columbia.

On the nose I got black cherry, lots of black cherry, spice, white pepper, cranberry, a little earth, and ripe red strawberries.  In the mouth, both red cherries and black cherries competed for attention with spice, strawberry, raspberry, earth, and cranberry edges rounding out the palate for me.  I found the fruit displayed in the wine to be quite tart, with nice acidity and structure.  We drank this on its own, but I’d love to have a bottle for my Thanksgiving dinner.

In the Spice Rack

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

More Malbec! More Argentinian wines! They are like the Energizer Bunny around here, they keep coming and coming and coming.  Never fear, some day soon (very soon) I will be taking a rest from Argentina and then I have some excellent Rieslings that I can’t wait to share with you and I will be off to Portugal in a mere 10 days! Today I’m telling you about the 2006 Graffigna Malbec Grand Reserve.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $20.

On the nose I found pepper, spice, herbs, cumin, pencil lead, black plum, black fruit, grilled meat, slight black cherry, an entire spice and herb rack, and bubblegum.  Think a giant pink wad of BubbleYum. (Is that even made anymore?)  In the mouth I got cherry, blackberries, plums, all of which seemed extremely tart, spice, and a little earth.  The palate showed almost entirely tart fruit and seemed quite tight.

Back in Argentina

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

I think after this bottle I still have 5 more Argentinian wines to tell you about from the Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Live series.  I participated in every Argentina Twitter Taste Live so I got to taste through quite a range of wines! And since we are only two people, we weren’t really opening up any other bottles during that time as we couldn’t drink them fast enough!  One of my favorite Torrontes was this 2008 Bodegas Etchart Ayres Torrontes Reserve.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and I have no idea what it retails for.

My first note for this bottles says: Wow, what a nose! The nose on the wine was great. It had florals, perfume, orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle, white pepper, white flowers, pear, tropical fruit, citrus, grapefruit, and something sweet lurking on the nose that I almost want to call marshmallow.  In the mouth I got citrus, grapefruit, meyer lemon, florals, tangerines, clementines, soft pear, tropical notes lurking behind, and an overall delicate citrus sensation. The wine had racy acidity and we really enjoyed it.

Mourvedre My Darling, Mourvedre

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Quivira Winery

I feel like that commercial for hair club for men…I’m not only the founder, I’m a client too…I’ve been a member of the Quivira Wine Club for going on 4 years now. I have tons of their wines in my basement. I usually tend to sit on the reds for a bit though, so I’m happy to have a chance to taste them earlier through sampling so I can decide what more to order for myself and how long to hold my own bottles.  Now, I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Mouredre, Monastrell, Mataro, whatever you want to call it.  One of my favorite “obscure” grapes.  Tonight I pulled the 2006 Quivira Mourvedre from the basement, thinking it might work well with a pot roast I had made.  I’m guessing this retails for around $30….I know I paid $27 for the one I got in a club shipment, it had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume.  It appears this vintage received a score of 89 from Wine Enthusiast, so I’m going to go ahead and cross post this blog over on the 89 Project.

On the nose I found campfire smoke…I love that smell in wine, black fruit, blackberry, boysenberry, cedar, vanilla, chocolate, spice, and herbs.  It had that dark brooding nose I love in wine. In the mouth, more black fruit with black cherry thrown in, blackberry, herbs, chocolate and pepper, also some tart raspberries lurking in the background.  The wine had nice tannins that will see it through a few years, though we really enjoyed it now with our pot roast!

Great Bargain Zin

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Sobon Estate.

Fall is in full swing here in the DC area. Actually, yesterday I thought perhaps winter was coming…it’s too early for that though, give me fall back! There’s nothing I like more when the whether turns crisp and cool than hearty stews, casseroles, and red wines.  Except maybe fresh apple cider. I love hot fresh apple cider.  Anyway, the wine. I picked the 2007 Sobon Estate Old Vine Zinfandel to go with our homemade pizza dinner the other night while my friend Feisty was visiting. It had a screw cap closure, hails from Amador County, clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for as low as $9!

On the nose I found spice, cranberry, cherry, dates, pepper, and red fruit.  In the mouth I got cranberry, cherry, red berries, spice, blackberries, and some smoked wood on the finish.  The wine had some nice tannins and structure and overall I liked the juicy nature of the wine.  For $9 this is a steal for a Zinfandel. I first came across Sobon Estate on Twitter and then purchased their Sauvignon Blanc at Total Wine, which I enjoyed. Since then, the folks at Sobon sent me a tasting pack and I’ve found the wines to be excellent values. Perfect for everyday and would be great for parties!

WBW #62 A Grape By Any Other Name

Yikes, Wine Blogging Wednesday crept up on me this month! Next month it should be the week after I get back from Portugal…hope I’ll be able to pull that one off with not much time to spare. We manage to squeak under the wire with this WBW, plucking a bottle from our cellar and enjoying it on Sunday evening.  Our host this month is Dale from Drinks Are On Me.  Dale set us to the task of drinking a grape that has two names—and choosing the lesser known of the two names.  You can read all the details here. Bonus points if you drank wines with both names and more points for obscure picks.  I’m minding my wine budget this month giving it’s shipping season and I’m a little tapped out with all my clubs shipping within about 3 weeks of each other, so I had to pick a grape I had in my basement.  I went with Syrah–more commonly known by the Australian name for it–Shiraz.  I did however, pick a Syrah from somewhere other than California! Shocker, right?

We went with the 2006 Saviah Cellars Red Mountain Syrah from Walla Walla Washington.  Catie (my WBC roomie) should be proud! I don’t often drink wines from WA state, and I’m not sure I’d ever had a wine from Walla Walla before!  However, I went to a tasting a local shop a few weeks ago that featured all Syrahs and Viogniers, so I got to try some from different reasons and I fell in love with the Saviah Syrah.  It’s a little out of our normal price range, costing me $34.99 at Unwined, but I liked it so much that I splurged.  It clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found bacon, berries, plums, pepper, roasted meat, and chocolate syrup.  I got tons of meat and bacon on this Syrah, it really jumped out of the glass along with the pepper. Mmmmm…..pepper rubbed bacon dipped in chocolate.  In the mouth I got big ripe blackberries, black plums, pepper, black cherries, and olives.  The wine was tannic and had a very long finish.  Matt really enjoyed the bottle (he was halfway done with it as I was still sticking my nose in the glass!) and it was as good as I remember from the in store tasting.  We ate this with what has become known in our house as Loweeel’s lamb, the best way to prep lamb ever, 2 cheese risotto, and green beans from our garden. I thought it was an excellent mate for the lamb.

Many thanks to Dale for hosting this month and for the theme.  As always, a virtual tip of the hat to our founder Lenn.  I’ll let you know when the round up is posted and I look forward to next month’s theme!

Portuguese Wines!

In honor of my upcoming trip, here are some wines I tasted at the Wine Blogger Conference.  At the conference, Gabriella and Ryan brought tons of wines from Portugal courtesy of Wines of Portugal (I think that’s who sponsored it, the agenda seems to have been replaced by next year’s conference already!) and I went and tasted some…though it was very crowded and hard to get to to many different bottles!

2007 Marques de Borba Alentejo: Smoky, bright red fruit, spice, cedar, floral, tart red fruit, cranberries.

2004 Adegaborba Reserva: Black currants, spice, strawberry, red currants, red fruit, raspberry, tight red fruit.

2005 Adega Coop Reserva: Spice, red fruit, berries, simple.

2007 Aveleda Alvarinho Vinho Verde: Melon, grapefruit, flowers, really citrusy, lemon, refreshing.

2006 Twisted Douro Tinto: Smoke, black fruit, anise, tannic, dry, black fruit.

2005 Incógnito Cortes de Cima Red Wine: Raisins, red currants, spice, meat, espresso, dark fruit, tannic, very dry.

I’m looking forward to trying so many more Portuguese wines on my trip! I’ve only ever had a few in my life, and most have been Ports, so it should be great to try others from different regions and grapes!

Portugal Here I Come!!!

Towards the end of the month, I have something for you that will be entirely different here at Wannabe Wino.  I’ll be off to Portugal to visit a couple wine regions and to attend the European Wine Blogger Conference!  I won the trip through a contest Jo at Wine Blog Juicy Tales By Jo Diaz held for her new client, Enoforum Wines.  I had to write why I wanted to travel to Portugal with Jo, and then Jo selected the winner from the applicants.  As a result, my trip will be paid for by Enoforum Wines. They also offered a stipend for my writing, however, I turned that down as I do not want to be paid for my writing.  So let’s make that abundantly clear: ANYTHING I WRITE HERE ABOUT PORTUGAL OR THE TRIP WILL BE BECAUSE I WANT TO NOT BECAUSE I AM PAID TO OR REQUIRED TO WRITE. Got that all you ethics police? TURNED DOWN STIPEND. Ok. Now that we have that out of the way, let me give you a preview of the trip, because I am super duper excited to have won!!

I’ve never been to a wine region outside the United States.  That in itself is making this trip worth it me! Not only that, but Jo and I will be doing lots of things outside of just wine tasting and vineyard visiting which also makes me happy as I’d hate to get all the way to Portugal and miss out on the history of the country. We’ll be arriving on October 29 and departing November 6.  During that time we will take about 2 days to attend the European Wine Blogger Conference, which just happened to fall over the time we are visiting! It will be great to catch up with some of the European wine bloggers that I met at the 08 North American Wine Blogger Conference and to meet so many more that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of encountering.

After the conference, we’ll be playing wine tourist! We’ll be visiting Lisbon, Sintra, Évora, Monsaraz, and the Algarve region.  We’ll tour old town Lisbon, see the S. Jorge Castle, visit Pena National Palace, wander around Belém…it just looks like a fabulous trip, and something I probably would never get to do if I hadn’t won this trip.  I look forward to telling you all about Portugal and the European Wine Blogger Conference, and Portuguese wines! Wannabe Wino will become a bit of a mix of a travel/food/wine blog for a week and a bit! So look for those posts starting toward the end of October!