A Love Affair

I’ve been utterly in love with the Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut. If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you’ve probably heard me gush over the vintage years of this bubbly in the past. We first visited Roederer Estate back in 2006, on a tip from the owner of the Vintage Towers, our favorite place to stay when we visit the Sonoma area. (We missed our annual journey this year, but are hopeful we will make it out next April!) On our last yearly trip, we meandered up the Anderson Valley on our way to Mendocino and of course could not pass by Roederer without a stop in. Well worth it, we picked up (among other bottles) the 2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut. I can’t recall what I paid, but it clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and had a traditional Champagne closure.

On the nose I got lemon, crayon, wax, caramel, brioche, and apple. In the mouth I found apple, lemon, and lemon pith. Oddly, and perhaps it’s all the beer I’ve been drinking, but I thought I tasted hops.  The sparkling had great bubbles, a lovely finish, and certainly lived up to my prior experiences with the L’Ermitage Brut.


Dreaming of White Wines

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

Even though the weather refuses to cooperate, I am steadfastly refusing to accept the fact that spring is not here. Though honestly, it’s almost the middle of April and still cold and rainy. I swear I saw frost on the ground the other day. I’ll be sorely disappointed if we jump right into the sweltering summer without a hint of our usual gorgeous spring, one of the upsides of living in the DC area. Being in complete denial, I’m still keeping up my normal habit of enjoying white wine on the porch in the evenings, even if I’m doing it wrapped in a fleece blanket. Denial is powerful. With that in mind, we opened up the 2009 Haras Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for around $12.

On the nose you get a lovely aroma of a nicely built Sauvingon Blanc. I found grass, citrus, lemon, lemongrass, pineapple, tropical notes, stone, and white peach. I thought this wine had a gorgeous nose, easily one of the nicest I’ve found so far from a Chilean Sauvingon Blanc. The palate seemed dominated by grassy notes, with lemon, melon, and other citrus fruits lurking below. Overall it reminded me of a spring morning with the lawn being freshly mown. Good acidity, tart fruit, and the price point make this an easy recommendation for rotation into your porch sipping wines.

Back to My Roots

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Quivira Winery

Zinfandel, and specifically Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, is really where my journey with red wine began. If you’ve been a long time reader of the wine blog, I’m sure you’ve read where I’ve written about going to Sonoma for the first time on my honeymoon 5 years ago and how I fell in love with Zinfandel on the trip. I’d previously really been a “white wine only please” person, so it really was a turning point for me in my love of wine. These days I don’t drink nearly as much Zinfandel as I used to, but I do like to go back and revisit those wines that helped me fall head of heels for red wine. Tonight we tried the 2008 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. It clocked in at 14.8% alcohol, had a real cork closure, and retails for $20.

On the nose I got blackberry, spice, oak, herbs, baking spice, licorice, black cherry, and a caramel note. In the mouth I found tart, tart blackberry, the kind that make you pucker your lips a bit, black fruit, spice, chocolate, and juicy black cherry. The palate showed mostly juicy black fruit for me with plenty of tannins and acidity. At $20, this is a steal for a great Dry Creek Valley Zin.

Kosher Wine For Passover

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

Passover is just around the corner and I’m happy to have a Kosher wine recommendation for anyone who many still be looking for wines to serve. I’ve only had a few Kosher wines over my time as a [Wannabe] wino, but I understand from some of my friends that it can be difficult to find ones that are worth drinking. I believe I’ve had a few bottles from Galil Mountain Winery, and I can easily recommend that you check them out if you are in the market for either Kosher wines, or just looking to expand your wine knowledge by trying wines from Israel. We tried the 2008 Galil Mountain Viognier with our baked tilapia the other night. It retails for around $12, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 15% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got pear, spice, spiced pear, oak, caramel notes, and apple. But mostly pear. Lots and lots of pear. Which is kind of interesting considering on the palate I got lots and lots of apple. As well as pear, spice, toffee notes, and baking spice. The wine had crisp, clean fruit notes with the oak lending an overall creaminess to the wine and rounding out the structure nicely with the spice and toffee/caramel notes.

Spring in My Step(ping Stone)

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars.

Who wants it to be spring? ME! I’m entirely over the winter weather and I fear we are going to jump straight into the heat of summer without a stopover in my favorite season. For the spring, I usually except low 70s- mid-70s, warm breezes, and evenings that call for a chilled glass of white wine and rocking in the Adirondack chairs on our front stoop.  Alas, the weather is foiling me this year. Instead, I’m stuck inside pretending its spring by drinking some springy wine!  We decided on the 2009 Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Napa Sauvingon Blanc.  It clocks in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $16.

On the nose I found pear, melon, sweet flowers, tropical notes, and peach. Overall, a pleasant nose that hit all the right notes. In the mouth I got melon, pear, lime, citrus, and yellow apple. The wine is aged sur lie, and I thought the palate really showed that influence. I also noted good acidity and crispness on the palate. The wine definitely put me in a spring frame of mind and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to get into the spring spirit!

Not my favorite

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

We pulled a 2008 Alamos Malbec from Argentina out of the basement the other night. It retails for about $13, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and had a Diam closure. On first sniff I was turned off by this wine. It smelled overly sweet and what people often call “spoofy.” I got sweetened black fruit, sweet oak, sweet berries, chocolate, and pepper. The nose was so sweet smelling. I should come up with a better descriptor, but really, sweet is all I have to offer. In the mouth the fruit showed a bit tarter, but not much. Blackberry, black cherry, and oak are all I got on the palate. I found it to be simple and too sweet for my taste. NMS.