Playing in My Spice Rack

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

Baking spices peppered the nose of this wine, causing thoughts of Christmas cookies to dance in my head. We just started in on the HOT weather here and I’m already dreaming of Christmas. Though can you blame me? Christmas will be extra special at our house this year with our daughter’s first birthday to celebrate at the same time! What wine am I talking about? The 2007 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $20.

On the nose I got woody note, cinnamon, baking spice, vanilla, dark fruit, blackberry, black plum, and black cherry. This smelled so much to me like baking cookies that it almost made me want to fire up my oven in the heat. Almost. In the mouth I found blackberry, black plum, black cherry, pepper, baking spice, anise, and cinnamon. The wine had nice tannins and good acidity and was quite spicy, which was very yummy.

More Beaujolais

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

I feel like the little engine that could. I am so close to being caught up on old posts that I can almost taste it. Everyone at my house is looking at me because I’ve been sitting here all day bloggering away trying to catch up. I have a limit though. If the baby will let me, I’m hoping to type up 5 more posts for the day which will put me at having written up 15 today. I’ll be just a few short of being caught up again then and we can move back into what I’m tasting right now, since I’m back to drinking wine again! Up next in the Beaujolais tasting was the 2009 Chateau des Pethieres Beaujolais which clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $10.

On the nose I got smoked meat, mint, sweet fruits, cherry, sweet strawberry, and smoky notes. In the mouth I found the wine to be darker than I expected given the sweet red nose. Black cherry and black currants dominated with some smoky edges. The fruit still seemed sweet to me, but so much darker than the nose. This wine had more tannins and less acidity than the other two reds in the tasting.

Wine with Dad

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

I got a pitch from a PR person a few months back for a wine for Father’s Day. Now personally, I think the person who you are celebrating should get to choose the wine, but since I happened to be going to visit my parents at the same time as the wine was arriving, I thought, why not? I’ll take it with me and see if my Dad would like to have this wine as his Father’s Day wine. Dad gave it a big thumbs up and wanted to know where he could buy some because he thought many of his friends would also really like the wine. The wine in question? The 2007 Lucente Toscana.  It retails for around $20 and had a real cork closure. I forgot to record the alcohol content in my sleep deprived state.

On the nose I found berries, black cherry, earth, leather, spice, and herbs. I thought this was a big, powerful red wine based on the nose, and it followed through on the palate. In the mouth I got tart cherry, blackberry, earth, leather, more black fruit, and some creamy vanilla. With air the wine smoothed out nicely and displayed some sweet tannins and good acidity.

So grab a bottle and enjoy with your dad! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially my own and to Mr. Wannabe Wino on his first Father’s Day!

Dad and me toasting!

Loving on the Beaujolais

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

I’m almost embarrassed to admit how little experience I have with French wines. But it’s true. I fell in love with California wine and while I make forays into other areas (see my affairs with Gruner Veltliner and sparkling wines for examples) I usually find myself coming back to my first love time and again. I should really spend more time with French wine though because as I learned through the Beaujolais tastings I participated in, you can get a lot of bang for your buck among these wines. Next up for this tasting we had the 2009 Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees L’Ancien which clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork, and retails for around $13.

My first notes on the wine say “holy aroma on this one” and “it’s like the wine is jumping out of the glass.” A good start, no? I found blackberry, blackberry pie, raspberry, cherries, smoky notes, and more yummy tart fruit. In the mouth I found the fruit to be bold, with cherries, strawberries, and raspberries dominating and spice and herbs rounding it out nicely. Add to that excellent acidity and a pocketbook friendly price point and I’d put this wine high up there on my list of excellent Thanksgiving wines to stand up to the medley of dishes served on that holiday. (What, too early to be thinking of Thanksgiving?)

Slightly More Recent Live Tasting

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

Most of my old tasting notes have been from the live tastings I’ve participated in. I find it very difficult to enter my thoughts into Twitter, respond to my fellow tasters, ask questions of the wine makers AND type notes into a blog post at the same time, so I jot down my notes on paper. Egads, paper! How quaint and old fashioned of me. However, the problem then becomes motivating myself to retype those notes into the computer instead of writing them up as I go along, my normal modus operandi. In any case, for this tasting we focused on Beaujolais. Not the Beaujolais Nouveau stuff.  We tasted the 2009 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais which clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for around $13.

On the nose I got tart berries, raspberries, blueberry, blueberry pie, spice, cinnamon, cream, currants, and pepper. In the mouth I found tart blueberries, raspberries, black currants, pepper, and cherries. For $13 this wine had a lot going on with good structure and nice acidity to boot.

Last Argentinian

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

One step closer to being caught up with my tasting notes! I can say with almost 100% certainty that I had never had a Viognier from Argentina prior to this event. I love Viognier though, so it definitely piqued my interest. I usually don’t go for oak on my Viognier since I find Viognier to have such a wonderful aroma on its own and typically oak will obliterate that, but here with the 2009 Cueva de los manos Reserva Viognier, the oak was used lightly and didn’t interfere at all with the characteristics I love about Viognier. The wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, smoky notes, honey, oak that quickly blew off, and pineapple. In the mouth I got nice pear flavors, honey, pineapple, tropical notes, and more honey on the finish. Overall the wine had great acidity and the oak was well integrated and didn’t cover up the true flavors and aromas of the grape.

I liked this one

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

Here’s a wine from this tasting I will recommend wholeheartedly. The 2009 Crios Malbec Rose. I found this wine to be quite interesting, retailing at a good price point, and definitely something I would personally purchase. The Crios clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $12.

The nose of the wine smelled slightly meaty to me (not a bad thing, I promise) and looked like melted watermelon. What an awesome color. On the nose I found berry, cherry, spice, white pepper, and vanilla. In the mouth I got strawberries, ripe cherries, very ripe red fruit, and spice. It was juicy with good acidity and struck me as fantastic for the meltingly hot weather I tasted it in.