In Handcuffs

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Not too long ago I reviewed the 2008 version of this wine. Then, poof, the other day the 2009 arrived on my doorstep. It’s like magic. My opinion of it remains much the same, a fun fruity wine on the cheap that’s great for the hot weather or to serve at a party. The 2009 Big House White had a screw cap closure and retails for about $8. Matt tossed the bottle before I could record the alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found pineapple, jasmine, white flowers, tropical notes, peach, and pear.  In the mouth I got pineapple, spice, white peaches, tropical fruit, and flowers. Overall it’s crisp and refreshing and could definitely knock a couple grapes off your Century Club application with the mixture of grapes it contains!

Down By the Sea

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Taste Live event.

I guess it must have been about a month ago (yikes, I’m a little behind here…) I joined my fellow winos for a Taste Live event exploring Nautilus Wines from Marlborough. Color me excited, I love wine from New Zealand, especially Sauvignon Blanc. And lucky me, up first for the night was a Sauvignon Blanc! We tried the 2009 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc. It had a screw cap closure, looks to retail for about $15, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got herbal notes, white grapefruit, lime, kiwi, and some other tropical fruit notes hiding below the citrus. In the mouth I found lime, grapefruit, kiwi, and tropical fruit. Basically everything I got on the nose except the herbs. I thought the wine had good acidity but definitely stayed away from the lip-puckering side of things.

Caught Again

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Nothing quite like a glass of nicely chilled Rosé in the summer. Not only does it play well with BBQ (my favorite summer-time treat) but it’s refreshing and I can drink it outside in the heat whereas red wine in the summer is best consumed in the cool interior with air conditioning. With that in mind, we pulled out a bottle of the 2008 Big House Pink.  The wine had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for $8.

On first impression: This wine smells like hops. I also got a little cranberry, but overall, not much of a nose. In the mouth, more of the same to me, beer and cranberry, and that was not a good thing. I found it sharp and strong, and overpowering for its 13% alcohol tag. NMS.

He’s Wily, Wily Jack

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks representing the brand.

I tried out the Wily Jack Zinfandel a couple months ago and found myself pretty impressed with the fella. For the around $8 price tag, I thought the wine really delivered for a Tuesday night wine or a party wine. No one would say no to a glass. I’m happy to report that the 2007 Wily Jack Cabernet Sauvignon follows in in the same pattern. It had a real cork, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for between $5-$12 online.

On the nose I found black currant, dusty chocolate, earth, cocoa powder, blackberry, black plum, pepper, and spice. The nose had a lot going on for this price point. In the mouth the fruit ruled the day. Blackberry, black cherry, and black plum with a touch of earth, spice, and pepper. Juicy, juicy fruit made this easy and fun to drink. A great $8 everyday wine.

Zin Time!

I wrote last week about how all my thoughts turn to white wines during the DC spummall. That’s not totally true. My thoughts also encompass grilling out and bbq and all those good things. Usually to go with that kind of food, you’ll still find me reaching (as fast as I can!) for a nice spicy Zinfandel. We pulled the 2006 Nelson Family Vineyards Zinfandel from our basement tonight to go with the ribs I made. Mmmm. Ribs. I think it cost me around $19 in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 15.7% alcohol by volume.

My first thought on sniffing this Zin was that it seemed pretty port-like with deep dark blackberry aromas and the stronger alcohol. It definitely needed some serious time to air. I also got cream, pepper, spice, and more brambly black fruit. In the mouth I found blueberries, blackberries, spice, pepper, and earth. Overall I found this to be a big, tight wine that really needed to be decanted for a couple hours.

My first time

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

I’ll get to today’s wine in just a minute. First, a little story. I bought my very first bottle of wine in 1998. In Spain. On my Spanish class’ school trip. I knew zero, zip, zilch, about wine other than the fact that adults seemed to like it and I had a bunch of adults at home I needed to bring gifts for because they had all helped me out with various parts of this trip in order to be able to afford it. My bosses at the antique store gave me spending money, family friends gave me a converter, a titanium umbrella, spending money, etc., and my parents paid for the lion’s share of the trip. Wine seemed pretty logical since I knew from studying Spain that one of its main products was wine. I went to the local wine shop in one of the towns we visited and I spotted a bottle that was wrapped in gold wire formed into diamonds. Being 17 at the time and not knowing anything, that’s what I bought. Had I been just a few years older, I would have been the target market who buys based off packaging! Why am I telling this story today? Because the bottle of wine we tasted last night is wrapped in hte same gold wire and I had a flashback to that first purchase 12 years ago!

So today’s wine. Thankfully it was much better than what I purchased that day in Spain. Turns out buying by packaging alone wasn’t a good idea, even in Spain 12 years ago.  We pulled the 2008 Guy Saget Estates Les Clissages D’Or Muscadet Sevre et Maine from the basement for Matt to drink with some crab legs. I don’t know what it retails for, but it’s made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got melon, watermelon, honeydew, fresh sweet grass, honey, apricot, tropical notes, and flowers. In the mouth I found melons, lemon, tropical notes, and sweet hay. Overall I thought the fruit showed as slightly creamy, which would make sense given the winemaker made this wine sur lie, but it still had a crisp note that kept up with the rounded flavors and overall matched really well with the crab dunked in drawn butter!

Tis the Season…

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

For white wines! Oh yes, the DC swamp has returned for the spummall. That would would be spring/summer/fall. Or what I used to call spring, summer, and fall when I lived somewhere with more distinguishable seasons. This year is felt like we got unburied from our 12 million feet of snow and then it was summer. Hot summer. Perfect for all those crisp, white wines that I seem to ignore in the winter. While I had to miss the Wine Blogger Conference this year (sob!) some of the lovely wineries in Washington State sent me some wines so I could taste from afar what my fellow bloggers would be treated to. We tried the 2007 Maryhill Winemaker’s White the other evening. This blend of 49% Chardonnay, 36% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Sémillon, and 4% Viognier had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $12.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, apple, honeysuckle, spice, and white pepper. In my notes I wrote “Could it have Viognier in the blend?” before I went to look at the tech sheet to see exactly what this wine contained. To me it was strongly reminiscent of Viognier, even though it turned out to only contain 4%. In the mouth I got yellow apple, cider, spice, slight tropical notes, and melon. Overall I found the wine to be crisp with nice acidity and perfect for a DC spummall evening.