A Perennial Favorite

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

I love this wine. Love it. I have purchased it many many many times for myself and recommend it frequently to anyone looking for a moderately priced sparkling wine. I’m fairly certain I’ve written about it before, but it bears another mention, just in case you’ve forgotten or in case my memory is faulty and I didn’t write about it! The wine in question is NV Lucien Albrecht Brut Cremant D’Alsace. It retails for about $16, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and has a traditional Champagne closure.

On the nose I got apple, pear, nuts, yeast, honey, and toasted almond. The nose has just a hint of sweetness about it that I love. In the mouth, the flavors track pretty well with the nose. I found pear, green apple, honey, honeysuckle, lemon, and bread. The wine has great bubbles and good acidity. Perfect for a mid-week sparkler or a great way to start off your weekend!


Given this Wine Blind

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Luna Vineyards

I honestly would have said that it was a Sauvignon Blanc. And that’s not a bad thing in my humble opinion. Often when I drink a Pinot Grigio my reaction is simply “meh.” Too many times they lack flavor and characteristic and just get lost in my mind in a sea of other bland, uninspiring white wines. Not so in the case of the 2007 Luna Pinot Grigio Napa. It had so much going on that I would never have pegged it as a Pinot Grigio. The Luna clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $15.

On the nose I got lime zest, lemon, green apple, and peach. The fruit jumped out of the glass, especially the citrus, which seemed quite pungent to me. In the mouth the citrus flavors carried through and showed as tart and almost mouth-puckering, like some Sauvignon Blancs. I found lime, lime zest, lemon, and grapefruit. The wine had great acidity, was quite tart and refreshing, and had I not known it was Pinot Grigio I honestly would have thought Sauvignon Blanc.

Getting Chile

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Wines of Chile PR folks in order to participate in a Wines of Chile tasting

Ok. I flat out admit that I am super duper duper behind on my posts. I have no excuse for this beyond the fact that all fall I was extremely pregnant and my energy level was at about a minus 10 and writing one post a week felt really taxing at the time. So I participated in the a red blends from Chile tasting in September? October? And I have yet to write up the wines. They were good though, so I don’t want you to miss out. One of my favorites was this 2007 Coyam Emiliana. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, retails for around $29, and is a blend of 38% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 17% Merlot, 2% Petite Verdot, and 1% Mouvedre.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, something almost floral, cigar box, an exotic spice shop, more herbs than you can shake a stick at, plum, pencil lead, and violets. In the mouth I found black cherry, black plum, fresh cracked pepper, violets, chocolate, meat, and blackberry. For me, the Syrah really dominated this wine, but the whole package was just lovely. It was silky and smooth in the mouth, and I loved it.

Cava Time

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

Bubbles! We all know how much I love bubbles. In 2010 (or was it 2009? My years are starting to blend together…) I made it a goal to drink more bubbles. I did pretty well with that goal and as a result we’ve incorporated sparkling wine into our everyday wine rotations. Nothing makes a Tuesday or Thursday night special like a glass of bubbly! Tonight we tried the NV Paul Cheneau Cava Blanc de Blancs. It had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $9.

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, pear, and nutty and toast aromas. In the mouth I found lots of fruit, lemon, pear, and peach mostly. Overall the wine had great acidity and I found it to be crisp and fruity. In my notes I wrote “I just found a new house sparkler.” For $9, it’s easily a perfect weekday sparkler.

Digging on Garnacha Blanca

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

Or Grenache Blanc if you prefer. I’ve only had a few bottles of Garnacha Blanca in my time as a [wannabe] wino. Based on those, I can say that I really enjoy the grape.  Quite some time ago I tried the Curran Grenache Blanc that I picked up from Domaine LA and loved it, and I also loved this bottle of the 2010 Bogatell Garnacha Blanca. Perhaps I just love Garnacha Blanca!  I had a chance to speak with Chad Turnbull, one of the founders of Savorian Wines about his company a few weeks ago. Savorian Wines is working with producers in Spain to produce, import, and market wines from the Terra Alta in the U.S. Currently they have the Bogatell Garnacha Blanca, but plan to expand in the future. The business model reminds me a bit of Enoforum Wines who I traveled to Portugal with last year. Though with Savorian, the wines retain the name of the original producer in Spain and Enoforum operates under a co-op system producing brands specifically for export. Currently Savorian is mostly available in the NY area in restaurants such as Beebo Seafood and Raw Bar and 101 Restaurant, both in Brooklyn.

The wine. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and I understand should retail for somewhere between $10-$15 when it reaches retail markets. At that price, this makes a perfect crisp, refreshing wine for these long hot summer months that are rapidly approaching. (I’m still mourning spring here people. It’s just not fair that we seem to have missed it.) On the nose I got pineapple, melon, star fruit, white pepper, spice, and cream. In the mouth I got more melon, pineapple, and star fruit, and then mandarin orange and lime zest. We drank this with herb marinated grilled chicken and it made a nice match with the citrus flavors in the wine.

More Bears

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

I’m afraid a box of wine from Sean Minor got lost in my basement. We had a bit of a problem in the basement when our hot water heater let go and things got shifted around and buried. I finally have time to catch my breath again after having the baby and resort everything out and I came upon this box of Sean Minor wines from 2007.  I’m two vintages behind on the 4 Bears Chardonnay. The current vintage is from 2009 and these notes are from the 2007 4 Bears Chardonnay. The wine clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and the current vintage retails for around $9.

On the nose I got pear, pineapple, tropical notes, and peach. In the mouth I got apple, green apple, pineapple, pear, and tropical notes. This wine was all fruit for me, and holding up quite well for the price point.  The 4 Bears Chard would be perfect for your next party, with a wallet-friendly price and a taste that’s easy to please.

Grooner Gruner

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

Lots of wines that are fun to say in recent days around here. GROOOOOOOOOONNNNER. And lots of Gruner! Told you I was revisiting my liaison with Gruner this spring. I think I’m out now though. I’ll need to go peruse the local shops and see if they’ve got anything new and interesting. I’m still having trouble finding much Gruner on local shelves. The 2009 Grooner Gruner Veltliner (still giggling at the name here) was everything I like about Gruner all in one bottle. and all for as little as $7 online, with a screw cap.

On the nose I got spice, jasmine, lemon, pear, and white pepper. The pear and white pepper just drew me into this glass of wine. In the mouth I got more pear, lime, tropical fruits, and herbs. The fruit showed fresh and the wine displayed excellent acidity. At this price point, the Grooner is a total winner in my book.

Singing Gruner

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

We all know I had a love affair last spring with Gruner Veltliner. I’m gearing up to repeat that liaison this spring.  I just find Gruner to be so light and sprightly and perfect for the spring. I love it. I especially love the Laurenz V. Gruners from Folio Winemakers. I’ve written about them several times, and here we have the newest version of the Laurenz and Sophia Gruner, the 2009 Singing Gruener Veltliner.  It has a screw cap closure, retails for around $16, and the bottle got recycled before I could record the alcohol content.

On the nose I found pear, pineapple, honeysuckle, flowers, tangerine, and jasmine. I wrote in my notes that it smells like the tropics. In the mouth I got tons of pineapple, pear, white pepper, and a spicy note. The wine overall had a very plush mouthfeel.

Lots of Bears

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

The current vintage of this wine is a 2009. Somehow this 2007 got a little lost in my basement. But that’s okay, we still enjoyed it! Especially since it’s a Pinot that retails for under $15 and stays true to the Pinot Noir grape at that price point, something you don’t find a lot of in the under $20 range. We opened up the 2007 Sean Minor 4 Bears Pinot Noir with our roast the other night. The fruit hails from Carneros, the wine clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and it has a real cork closure.

On the nose I found spice, earth, oak, cranberries, cherry, and more red fruit. Overall I thought the nose smelled a bit like a forest. In the mouth I got bright red fruits, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and spice. The fruit flavors came through as fresh and clean, making the wines still seem vibrant and young.

Tasting Live

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong in order to participate in a Taste Live Event.

I hadn’t done a Twitter live tasting event in quite some time. I really enjoy tasting the same wines with my blogger friends all over the country so I was happy to have a chance to participate in this event. We tasted through 4 wines from Rodney Strong, two of which I had already very recently written about here on ye ol’ wine blog, so I won’t talk about them again now, you can read my previous reviews here and here. We did get to try the 2007 Rodney Strong Symmetry, which I hadn’t yet reviewed. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 15.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $55. The Symmetry is a red blend, heavy on the Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec, Merlot, Canbernet Franc, and Petite Verdot making up the remaining 15%.

This baby needs some time to breathe. Or some vigorous swirling in a decanter or a run through the Soiree, which was our solution. On the nose I found black cherry, blackberry, dusty chocolate, baking spice, cinnamon, blueberry pie, and vanilla. I thought it smelled a lot like my kitchen after baking cookies. In the mouth I got blackberry, black fruit, pepper, spice, more pie, and currants. The Symmetry has tannins and the acidity to carry it through many years in your cellar, though with a good bit of time in the glass, we very much enjoyed it right now as well.