Speed Tasting #3

2008 Afton Mountain Tete De Cuvee Brut. A VA sparkling! You don’t see that very often, so very cool to be able to taste this. It’s not yet released. Retail will be $30 when released. Family has owned the winery since 2009. Apple pie, cinnamon, spice, yeasty. Only 200 cases produced. Great spice on the finish to carry through the slightly sweet note on the finish.

Speed Tasting #2

2009 Decibel Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

The wine comes from a sustainable vineyard. White pepper, lime, nice acidity. Isn’t a mouth-puckering sauvignon blanc from New Zealand at all. Currently distributed in PA, NY, and NJ. Stone fruit, stones, citrus zest, with some cream. very nicely done. 100% stainless, but lees stirred. Retails for $16 and they offer direct shipping.

Speeding Tasting #1

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

I had this last week at the Rootstock Festival and really enjoyed it. It’s a RRV Chardonnay that has a nice handle on its oak and acidity balance. A lot spice and a little cream on the nose with lovely pear and apple on the palate.

This particular wine is a small lot wine from Rodney Strong. It retails for around $35 and I’ve always enjoyed it.

Leaving on a

jet plane train boat, er, car that is. This year’s Wine Blogger Conference is actually in my backyard, in Charlottesville, VA, so I can take my own wheels! Does wonders for the cost of attending considering the last 3 years have found the bloggers migrating to the west coast. Which for me involves planes and car rentals and airport parking…

I’ll be trying to do a bit of a mix this year with some live reporting on the spot and take home posts as well. I’m hoping that the conference will help to show the wide world of wine bloggers what VA has to offer! With this heat though, bring on the Viognier!

A Pinot Day

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

Who loves Pinot Noir? Me me me me! (Picture me jumping up and down with my hand up in the air.) I recently had the good fortune of participating in a Taste Live event focused on Pinot Noir from 3 different AVAs in Sonoma. Among them was the current vintage of the wine I tasted last night. Get that? This post is about the previous vintage, though I also tasted the current vintage last week. Today’s wine is the 2008 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir. The wine clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and the current 2009 vintage retails for $30

On the nose I found pepper, cherry, raspberry, herbs, and clove. In the mouth I got red berries, cherry, raspberries, spice, and lots of herbal notes on the finish. Excellent acidity complements the juicy red fruit notes and makes for a delicious bottle of wine.

Back to School

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

No, not really. I’m done with formal education myself. 4 years of college + 3 more of law school seems quite sufficient, thank you very much! I’m talking about tonight’s wine, the 2008 Liberty School Cab Sauvignon from Paso Robles. It retails for around $13, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Big wine. That’s what went through my head as I sniffed my glass. Though, surprisingly low alcohol for a CA Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I found big black fruit, black currants, blackberry, black cherry, and black plum, with a little oak and spice. However, mostly fruit. I would describe this as a very fruit forward wine. In the mouth I found mostly black cherry, oak, and chocolate, with almost a hint of red fruit on the finish.

Grenaching it Up Again

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

I seem to be on a bit of a Grenache kick lately. Who can blame me though, Grenache makes some lovely wines! I found this bottle lurking on my shelves and decided to give it a go. I’m also a club member at Quivira, so I’ve got at least another bottle of this hanging around from a club shipment. The wine in question is the 2008 Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Grenache. It clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and the 2009 (current vintage) retails for $26.

On the nose I found sweet raspberry, cherry, cherry coke, spice, pepper, strawberry, and vanilla. In the mouth I got all the same red fruits as the nose along with some spice and a bit of oak. I think this wine could use some bottle age to really bring it around. I’ve had many other vintages of this wine and have always enjoyed those very much, though they have usually had a bit more time to age than this one.

Oops. A Hidden Bottle.

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

Sometimes these wily wines escape me in my cellar. Last year Cornerstone Cellars sent me their newly released Stepping Stone line. I thought I had tasted through them all, but sadly I left this lonely little bottle all by itself in the box. The 2009 Stepping Stone Corallina hid from me until the other night. The current vintage is the 2010, which I also just tasted (review shortly). Both of these are excellent choices for these broiling hot summer days we are having here in the DC Metro area. The wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah, clocks in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, the current vintage retails for $10, and has a real cork closure.

I first had to note the great color on this wine. It’s simply vibrant. On the nose I found raspberry, cranberry, and lime. In the mouth, I got the same, with pomegranate and some stone fruit on the finish. The acidity really carried this wine through to the finish line, making it perfect for a summer night.

In the Middle of the Night

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Langetwins

I go walking in my sleep…sorry, got side-tracked for a minute there. Back to the wine. What do you get when you mix 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petit Verdot, 13% Merlot, and 3% Malbec? The 2006 Langetwins Midnight Reserve, for one. This vintage retailed for $30, though it is sold out, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13.62% (very specific there) alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found juicy blackberry, pepper, cinnamon, dark chocolate, coffee, and black cherry. I’m batting a thousand lately for wines I just want to sit back and enjoy sniffing. Especially with that coffee note. Yum. In the mouth I got coffee beans, espresso, chocolate, blackberry, black cherry, spice, and pepper. This wine is drinking quite well at the moment, I’d definitely open up a bottle if you have some.

Loving on Russian River Zin

By my own admission, what lead me to a love of red wine was Zinfandel. Specifically Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Which, truly, I still love, adore, and consume with great frequency. However, after that initial lightbulb of “wow, I actually like red wine” went off, I quickly moved to anything and everything red under the sun. In doing so, I also learned an appreciation of what different AVAs can do with the same grape. This brings me back to the subject of today’s post: my love of Russian River Valley Zinfandels. The Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley are neighbors. You wouldn’t think the Zinfandels would be THAT different, right? Oh, but you would be wrong. The cooler climate and the fogs that help define the Russian River Valley produce an entirely different kind of Zinfandel. And it is delicious. Tonight we opened the 2006 Bella Russian River Zinfandel. The wine retails for $30 (I paid a few dollars less in my club shipment), had a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose, big blackberries jump out, followed by pepper, cinnamon, black currant, pomegranate, milk chocolate, smoke, and blueberry. This had one of those scrumptious noses you would like to just keep sniffing, but that would mean you’d miss actually tasting the wine. In the mouth I got blackberry, black currants, black cherry, and chocolate notes. Smooth, with well integrated tannins and beautiful fresh fruit, this wine is very ready to drink.