Need Strikethrough

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines.

I really wish you could use “effects” in the titles of posts. Or maybe you can and I’m just not that technologically advanced (a very good possibility). I wanted to title this post “Brothers Grimm Frei” but alas, you got a rant instead. Anywho, we popped open this bottle of 2007 Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. If you recall, I visited the Frei Brothers property owned by Gallo on one of my recent CA trips. The Zin had a real cork closure, clocked in at 15% alcohol by volume, and retails for as low as $17 on the internet.

On the nose I got blackberry, spice, pepper, cream, vanilla, back cherry, black fruit, and black currants. I found the nose to be fairly fruity overall.  In the mouth, more black fruit, black cherry, blackberries, plum, a touch of strawberry, pepper, and a hint of bell pepper. It seemed a little astringent on the finish to me.



A Twisted Night

We actually dug into our own wines the other night…it’s been a while and trust me, with my club shipments back on for the season, it’s been piling up like there’s no tomorrow. All of our wine racks are totally full, as well as at least 9 styrofoam shipper bottoms and a good 4 cases I haven’t even opened yet. If you’re following along, that would be about 400 bottles. Yikes, it would take us over 2 years to drink that many bottles! So we pulled out the 2008 Twisted Oak Viognier that came in a recent club shipment. With the club discount it cost $17.60, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

I paired this with some homemade chicken soup which I think is actually a match I’ve made before, though I’m having trouble finding the post! On the nose I found pear, pineapple, tropical notes, spice, banana, and cream.  In the mouth I got pear, peach, tropical notes, pineapple, banana, and spice. The nose and palate tracked pretty well and the wine had excellent acidity. Perhaps a good mate for upcoming holiday dinners? Though really, I’m still not sure anything goes well with sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows!

Gruner in my Glass

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Folio WineMakers.

I love coming home and finding wine on my doorstep. I previously wrote about visiting Folio WineMakers with Thea on the last vacation Matt and I took to CA.  We enjoyed the wines and purchased a few bottles between us. I was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from someone at Folio telling me they had wine for me and could they come by my house to drop it off. When I opened the box, I was doubly delighted to find two bottles of Gruner Veltliner. I don’t drink a lot of Gruner, but I must say I do enjoy them! Tonight we tried the 2007 Laurenz & Sophie Singing Gruner Veltliner from Austria. It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for $12.99.

On the nose I found white pepper, pineapple, tropical notes, pears, tinned pears, and herbs.  In the mouth I got herbs, spice, citrus, tinned pears, tinned peas, and lemon sour candy.  This is another wine I’d classify as a “drink while making Thanksgiving Dinner” wine. It fits the bill of what I’m looking for—light, sprightly, inexpensive, and tasty.  Though this year I’m not hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in 4 years! I’m hosting Christmas instead…so maybe I’ll have to think again and call these “Christmas dinner prep” wines! Anyway, at $12.99, it’s a screaming bargain and I see that Folio is offering free shipping if you buy 6 bottles of wine!



Lurking in the Basement

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Michel Schlumberger.

That sounds a tad ominous, huh? I try to approximately drink wine samples as they come in the door. At times I fail miserably…you’ve all seen my basement and its lack of organization. While I file and log all the wine I buy, I leave the samples chilling in boxes in the middle of the basement and at times a sample that’s been around for a while gets shoved to the back. Like this bottle of 2007 Pétanque Chardonnay that’s easily been in my basement since April.  Pétanque, as I’ve written before, is a second label from Michel Schlumberger, intended to be an inexpensive value line of wines for enjoying outside in the company of friends.  The Chardonnay had a plastic cork closure, clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $18.95.

On the nose I found pineapple, yellow apple, spice, cream, tropical notes, peach, crushed pineapple, and pineapple juice.  In the mouth I got apple, peach, tropical notes, tart apple and spice.  The palate was less complicated than the nose, had a short finish, and good acidity. Pick up a bottle for your next lawn bowing party.


Convicts in the House

My dad gave me a subscription to a wine of the month club several months ago. I think this is the last bottle from that subscription. I have a story to write for Palate Press coming up about my experiences with wine clubs, big box, winery direct, and other, so that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say that my club shipments from winery direct clubs are much preferred.  Tonight we tried the 2008 Convict’s Reward Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes. You read that right. 2008. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, comes from South Eastern Australia, and I can’t find any information on what it retails for.

On the nose I got cedar, eucalyptus, mint, spice, pepper, blackberry, and black currants. Overall I found the nose to be woody.  In the mouth I got dark black stewed fruit.  I found it to be tannic, acidic, and bitter. NMS.


I Drink While Making Thanksgiving Dinner

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

Rieslings have been gracing the pages of ye olde wine blog with much more frequency in the last year due to the Wines of Germany folks sending me quarterly shipments of new releases. Riesling was my first real wine love, though admittedly the sweeter side of Riesling. Over the years I’ve grown to very much appreciate the dry refined side of Riesling.  We pulled the 2007 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese from the last 2 bottle shipment to try the other night.  Even my mom really enjoyed this bottle and she’s not a wine drinker at all!  The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 7.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $29.

On the nose I found lime zest, honeyed pear, green apple, wet stones, flowers, white pepper, lemon, and spice. In the mouth I got peach, honey, lemon, spice, lime zest, honey, and apple.  Overall I found the wine to be spritzy and tingly in the mouth with a very long finish.  With the low alcohol content, this wine would be great to sip while you’re prepping your upcoming Thanksgiving meal. (What, I’m not the only one who drinks while I cook that big meal, right? RIGHT? Humor me!)



Wine With A Cause V

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Agent for Change Wines.

Last year around the holiday season I brought you a series of 4 posts on wines with a cause.  That is, wines whose producers donate part or all of their profits to charity.  I’m happy to start up this series again this year, and hope that in the coming months I will have several more wines to share with you.  Our first wine with a cause for 2009 comes from Agent for Change Wines.  Agent for Change Wines donate 50% of profits to community based organizations that care for the uninsured and underinsured.  If that sounds up your alley, consider adding a bottle for gifting this holiday season to your wino friends.  First up we tried the 2006 Agent for Change Paso Robles Zinfandel. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $16.

On the nose I got blackberries, big black fruit, plums, spice, pepper, black cherry, and red edges.  Overall I found the nose to be fairly reserved with mostly dark fruit and a slight hint of alcohol.  In the mouth I found tart black cherry, black berry, spice, pepper, leather, and currants.  This was an easy to drink, not too complex wine with lots of tart fruit and just a bit of heat that faded quickly.

Add a wine that supports a charity you believe in to your holiday wine list and feel good about drinking wine with a cause!



It’s a Meritage

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Branford Wine & Spirits.

Sterling Vintner’s Collection holds a special place in my heart…we served the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Sauvignon Blanc at our wedding. Budget constraints and the ability of our venue to secure anything from their distributor (that’s a rant for another day…I handed them a list of 10 white and 10 reds that were NOT very obscure wines and they couldn’t get any of them!!) led us to Sterling Vintner’s which I have always found to be an easy, varietally correct, inexpensive crowd pleaser of a wine for parties.  Tonight we tried the 2007 Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for as low as $8.

On the nose I found chocolate, pepper, smoke, berries, big berries, plums, black cherries, and chocolate syrup. Overall the nose was big and fruity.   In the mouth I found pepper, blackberry, black plum, chocolate, and some black cherry.  The wine was juicy with a slightly sharp finish that mellowed as it sat in my glass. I’d recommend this over a critter wine any day for way more bang for your buck at $8.



Two Seas

When we opened this I thought that we had consumed an earlier vintage of the same bottle. I distinctly remembered the “Entre Deux Mers.” But I went back and looked through the blog, and while we had a bottle with the same title, it wasn’t from the same winery.  Tonight’s bottle was the 2008 Chateau Grand Rousseau Entre Deux Mers.  It arrived in a shipment from a wine of the month club that I got as a gift, had a pressed cork, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and I think it retails for somewhere around $10-$13.  This bottle was the best of the wine of the month club…I haven’t really been a fan of any of the other wines that came in those shipments…in fact, some of them were downright awful!

On the nose I found lemon, melon, lime, tropical notes, apple, white peaches, lime zest, and citrus.  In the mouth I got more lime zest, tart peach, citrus, and slight tropical notes.  Overall I found the wine to be tart and acidic with a simpler palate than nose.  It was very refreshing and easily the best of the bunch from this wine club.


Back to Bears

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

The UPS and Fed Ex trucks come to my door with alarming regularity.  Almost always it’s a surprise as to what they will be bringing.  I personally order anywhere from 20-30 shipments of wine a year myself….but during the fall and the spring, the delivery trucks arrive at least 2-3 times a week.  Just last week they delivered 22 bottles of wine.  It’s like Christmas every time I get a box! One recent box came bearing the most current releases from Sean Minor’s 4 Bears line, and we tried the 2008 Sean Minor 4 Bears Sauvignon Blanc this other night.  I tried the previous vintages of this line, you can read the reviews here. This time the line came with some new things, including a Pinot Noir. The idea is to create an affordable line of quality wines.  The Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $13.

I first noted that I found the wine to be very aromatic…I could smell it wafting out of my glass.  I got grass, grapefruit, flowers, hay, tropical notes, honeysuckle, lime, and orange zest on the nose.  In the mouth I found orange, tangerine, grass, flowers, tropical fruit, and passion fruit. Overall the wine had nice acidity and I found it to be a very good effort for the price point.  Definitely a crowd pleaser for a party.