Southern Chardonnay

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Matt seemed in the mood for a Chardonnay the other night. Not terribly common around these parts, but hey, strike while the striking is hot since so many folks send Chardonnay our way, they tend to pile up just a bit. I really need to have people over and just taste through all of one variety of wine to clear out some stuff. Like a brown bag lunch, but you get to take home wine in brown bags if you like it. Anywho, we settled on the 2007 Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume (I prefer my whites a little less alcoholic than that) and looks to retail for about $15.

On the nose the wine smelled woody, with peach, mango, tropical fruit, yellow apple, vanilla cream, butter, and more peach. In the mouth I got lemon, butter, apple, tropical notes, a little wood, and a little more butter. I found it to be crisper than I expected based on the wood and butter notes, but I thought that compared to the nose the palate fell off a bit.


Walla Walla Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from L’Ecole Winery.

As my fellow wine bloggers jet off to Walla Walla, Washington this week for the 2010 Wine Blogger Conference, I’ve decided to toast them with another wine from Walla Walla! This is the first time I’ve missed the blogger conference, much to my dismay, but sometimes these things can’t be helped. I’m hoping it might come to VA next year so I could be sure to make it! Out of the Walla Walla 6-pack sent to me by L’Ecole, I chose the 2006 L’Ecole Apogee. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail online for between $34-$45.

On the nose I found clove, herbs, berries, plums, blackberries, red fruit, spice, and slight chocolate notes. I thought the fruit smelled fresh and I wanted to get lost in this wine. In the mouth I got plums, blackberry, anise, chocolate, bright fresh black fruits, and herbs. I found the wine to be nicely structured with dry tannins.  Cheers to all those up in Walla Walla this week!

Last of the Bubbles

Well, that’s not QUITE true, but it’s the last of the bubbles I have that I haven’t written about. I’ve got some nice Roederer tucked away, but I’ve written about the Roederer before! Not that it will stop me from writing about it again, but I do like to bring you some variety. Spring definitely presented some lovely weather for drinking bubbles on the porch. I think that should become an annual spring tradition at our house! Matt and I stopped after work at Grape and Bean in downtown Alexandria on a random Friday to pick up some bubbles. We came out with a bottle of the Céline and Laurent Tripoz Cremant de Bourgogne. I paid $23.50 for the wine, it had a typical Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got bread, honey, yeast, and honeysuckle. In the mouth I found honey butter, apricot, pear, and a chalky mineral quality. I found the wine to be crisp and tart with good bubbles. The Cremant is made from 100% Chardonnay and the estate is Demeter certified (biodynamic).

You Light Up My Life

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from L’Ecole.

Imagine me crooning that in an entirely off pitch sort of way. Because that’s what I’m doing as I write this blog post! I’m pretty much tone deaf though, so feel free to throw tomatoes and such at me as it’s a less than pretty sound. Anywho. In anticipation of the upcoming Wine Blogger Conference in Walla Walla Washington (which, sadly, I will be missing this year 😦 ) I received some wines from various Washington State Wineries. One of those wineries is L’Ecole. I think this is the last or second to last of the 6 bottles they sent, and overall I must say I find their offerings to be very strong. The 2008 L’Ecole No 41 Luminesce is a blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and retails for $19 from the winery.

On the nose I got bananas, tropical fruit, coconut, cream, banana coconut cream pie, honeysuckle, pear, and banana Laffy Taffy.  In the mouth I found pineapple, tropical fruit, banana, honey, pear, orange peel, lemon oil, and lots more tropical fruit. The wine in the mouth instantly had that oily characteristic I associate with Semillon, but it also had nice acidity. It’s unlike any other blend I’ve tasted and definitely worth a look!

Bubbles in the Air

I’m running low on bubbles and it’s too hot to have anymore shipped to my house! I am going to have cast my net far and wide to wine shops I don’t usually visit in the area since I’ve pretty much bled the local collections dry. I wonder what Matt would say to a day trip to visit out of the way wine shops…he’d probably just (continue to) think I’m crazy. We stopped by a small wine shop in downtown Alexandria the other day, Grape and Bean, where I picked up this Charles Orban Carte Noir Brut. It cost me $39, had a traditional Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got apricot, lemon, and toasty brioche. While the nose didn’t seem terribly complex, it did smell very good, like walking into a shop where they bake fresh bread. In the mouth, more apricot, figs, toast, and apples. I thought the bubbles on this Champagne were fantastic, small, and lots of them. Overall I enjoyed this Champagne very much and would definitely by it again.

Merlot Rocks

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from L’Ecole.

In preparation for the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 being held in Walla Walla, WA (which I will not be attending this year, sob!) several Washington State wineries sent out samples to bloggers for a “tour of Washington wine.” I hadn’t previously had much wine from WA, so I jumped at the chance to try some more examples. The first winery to ship samples was L’Ecole and I’ve written about a few of their wines already. Tonight we chose the 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Estate Merlot. The Estate Merlot hails from the Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $37.

Anyone who is still wallowing in the “Merlot is insipid” phase need only give the L’Ecole a chance. On the nose i got pepper, spice, bright black berry, black plums, earth, and cinnamon. In the mouth blackberry, plum, spice, earth, and cinnamon…just like the nose. I found it to be juicy with nice acidity and really well done overall. My notes say: this isn’t your gramma’s Merlot unless you have a really cool gramma.

Bubbles and New Grapes!

Buying this bottle of wine might help you get 3 grapes for your Century Club application! It added two more to my list on my (slow) quest to reach 200. So I’m at about 208 now. At this rate I’ll make it in 10 years! I picked up this bottle of Cava Barcino from Domaine LA. Jill is always good for bubbly and new grapes! I paid about $15, it had a traditional Champagne-type closure, and clocked in at 11.5% alcohol by volume. This Cava is a blend of Xarello (not new to me), Macabeu (new!), and Parellada (new!).

On the nose I got toast, lemon, and lemon custard. While it had a simple nose, it smelled clean and fresh, and well, I like lemon custard. In the mouth I found lemon, lime, and other citrus. I thought I got a hint of the toast from the nose, but really it was mostly citrus. Overall I found the wine to be crisp, but it had a nice creamy smoothness on the finish. I’d definitely get this one again at the price point.

I found a Unicorn

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the folks at Lange Twins Winery.

“You got your cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, you’re never gonna see no unicorn…” Under $20 Pinot Noir that actually tastes like Pinot Noir is sort of like the wine world’s unicorn. It’s mythical, lots of folks hunt for it, but it’s incredibly difficult to find. Pinot Noir is a difficult and therefore expensive grape to grow when it’s done right. It’s finicky. When I find one for under $20 that displays varietal characteristics, is well made, and tastes good, I can’t wait to share it with you. Here we have the 2008 Lange Twins Pinot Noir. The Lange Twins retails for $16, has a screw cap, and clocked in at 13.2% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got spice, cherry coke, earth, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, another berry I couldn’t place, and slight peppery notes. In the mouth, more fresh, tart red berries dominated with strawberry and raspberry taking the lead and cherry playing back up fiddle. I also got the spice and earth notes I found on the nose. I served this Pinot with baked and breaded chicken which was good, but I think it would have been pretty stellar with the roasted chicken with bacon Matt made a couple weeks ago!

Happy Birthday Matt!

(Sorry for the radio silence the last few days, I went out of town for Memorial Day weekend and didn’t touch a computer the whole time I was gone!)

Today is Matt’s birthday! Hope it’s a great day and sorry you have to work!

We’re headed to Charlie Palmer’s Steak House for dinner, yum!