Best Chardonnay In Ages

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

For dinner tonight we tried the 2007 J. Keverson Starkey’s Court Chardonnay. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume. I see that the current vintage is the 2008, retailing for $32. I’ve heard great things about the 2008. We paired the wine with a simple oven roasted chicken with Kosher salt.  The wine was everything I like about a Chardonnay.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) If your faith in delicious Chardonnay from California has been shaken, try this wine.

2.) I can easily see how this would pair nicely with a game of lawn bowling. (The story of the brand begins with 4 friends playing bocce.)

3.) Chardonnay and roast chicken remains a favorite pairing of mine.

4.) I would pay $32 for this wine.

On the nose I found pineapple, tropical fruits, peaches, the slightest hint of oak and cream, green apple, and a little spice. In the mouth tropical fruits reigned with star fruit and pineapple dominant, followed by peach and apple with a hint of cream and spice on the finish. The acidity and use of oak balanced nicely to give a full, clean mouthfeel to the wine. Fantastic.



Happy 5th Anniversary Matt!

Today is my and Matt’s 5th wedding anniversary.  Five years certainly went by very quickly. Many changes over these last five years as well. Who would have thought that a blind date 10 years ago would lead to a marriage and my beautiful daughter! This year we are celebrating in Vegas as I’m off speaking at a conference. Next year, we’ll celebrate in Portland at WBC 12!


Always Solid

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

Tonight’s wine was the 2009 Hugel Riesling. It had a Diam closure, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for somewhere between $15-$19.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) You can always count on Hugel to be a good bet for the money when you are faced with the (often confusing) Riesling wine section of the store. That goes for their Gewurtraminer and Pinot Gris  as well. I’ve purchased it many times.

2.) Riesling is what I consider a “gateway” wine to move folks who have always been only Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay people into different wines.

3.) My mom liked this wine. She doesn’t like wine at all.

4.) We drank it with roast chicken. Sort of like turkey, which is often recommended for a pairing with Riesling. I made a simple roast chicken rubbed with butter and sprinkled with Kosher salt. Yum.

On the nose I got lemon, white pepper, honey, honeysuckle, flowers, and pear. In the mouth I got lemon, pear, honey, and honeysuckle. The citrus and pear flavors dominated the palate whereas the honey/honeysuckle aromas were more prevalent on the nose. With good acidity and clean flavors, the wine made a great match with the roast chicken and mashed potatoes.


Oaky oaky oaky

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

Tonight we tried the 2009 Blackstone Winemaker’s Select Pinot Noir. It had a plastic cork, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume and retails for about $7-$8.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A heavy hand with the oak on this wine made it sweet, oaky, vanilla-y and just over the top for me.

2.) I’m not having much luck locating the blend, but I imagine this has a good dose of perhaps Syrah in it?

3.) It’s an $8 grocery store Pinot Noir. An under $20 Pinot from CA is hard to find…

4.) The wine is NMS.

On the nose I got lots of oak and oak influence. Sweet vanilla, sweet oak, cream, sweet red fruit, and lots of chocolate cherry, raspberry and cola aromas. In the mouth I got more oak. Also some spices like nutmeg, more vanilla, and sweet red fruits.



In the Summertime

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

The whites flow like water in our house.  It is close to 100 degrees here every day and the humidity.  Oh the humidity.  The weather cries out for tart white wines or a cold cold beer.  Something I have also been enjoying quite a few of this year. But this isn’t a beer blog.  Though it could be with the number of IPAs I’ve tried in the last 7ish months! The wine. On this hot night we opened the 2008 Tapeña Verdejo. The Verdejo clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $7-$8.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A bottle of Yellowtail will run you $6-$9. This wine is, at most, a dollar more expensive. And a million times better for your money and much much more interesting.

2.) Drink a bottle with chicken. Or your favorite white fish on the grill.

3.) If it’s swelteringly hot at your house too and you are looking for something different to drink this fits the bill.

4.) You can have a party, buy enough of this wine for everyone, and not break the bank.

On the nose I got flowers, lime, lemon, peach, light green apple, and tropical notes.  In the mouth I found tart lime, lemon, grapefruit, and peach. The citrus showed prominently on the palate. Overall I found the wine to be tart, refreshing, and fruity.


Too Green For Me

*Disclaimer: I received this wine to participate in a Wines of Chile online tasting.

I’ve previously talked (written?) about the Wines of Chile online tastings that I sometimes participate in. For this one, the tasting focused on Carmenere based wines. Carmenere can, for me, still be a pretty wild and untamed grape. One of the wines for this tasting was the 2007 Terra Andina Altos 2007 Carmenere Carignan. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $15.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The finish was sharp. I’m not sure time would help this.

2.) On the other hand, the nose was quite intriguing.

3.) I prefer Carmenere without Carignan.

4.) Green pepper notes can be a good or bad thing. In this case I am not a fan.

On the nose I got green pepper, pepper, black plum, blackberry, oak, licorice, and espresso. In the mouth I found the wine to be spicy and sharp, especially on the finish. I got green pepper, blackberry, black plum, and strong coffee notes.



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

Today’s wine is the NV Broadbent Vinho Verde. It clocks in at 9% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $8. In keeping with my earlier post this week, I’m trying a slightly different format here at Wannabe Wino. We’ll give this one a couple weeks, reevaluate and then decide where to go from there.

4 takeaways from this wine:

1.) Drink this on your porch in the 100 degree heat. It’s sure to liven up your evening and your palate.

2.) $8 and you can’t go wrong with this at your neighborhood party. The low alcohol content is also a plus if your rowdy neighbors tend to guzzle wine.

3.) The wine is more true to the Vinho Verde style that I tasted all through Portugal than many other Vinho Verdes I’ve tasted in the US, but it’s not quite the same. Perhaps that is the wine or perhaps it was the experience of drinking Vinho Verde in Portugal with the food with which it was intended to be consumed.

4.) Overall, the racy acidity and tart fruit notes make this a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and make it seem slightly reminiscent of a fruit salad. A real fruit salad, not the kind from a can.

On the nose I found lemon, white pepper, lime, green apple, and a slight floral note. In the mouth more lemon, lime, and green apple. My notes say “bam!” after I wrote in them about the racy acidity, tart fruit, and slight tingly feeling of the wine.

Wine and Philanthropy

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR company for Markham Vineyards.

Community activism + wine = Markham’s Mark of Distinction. Three years ago Markham Vineyards began a program called “Markham Mark of Distinction,” inviting charities to apply for a $25,000 grant in order to make a tangible difference in their communities. This year’s nomination period ended on July 31, however, I urge those of you who might be interested to keep the program in mind for next year. At the end of this month voting on the finalists will open, so be sure to check back on the nomination page to vote for the cause you find most inspiring. Past winners have ranged from an organization that delivers perishable food that would otherwise have been discarded to the hungry for immediate consumption to a sled hockey team for the disabled. Through the Mark of Distinction award, these organizations were able to further their missions and provide services directly to their communities.

Every year Markham produces two wines, one to honor each of the past year’s Mark of Distinction recipients. Both are Cabernet Sauvignon, one called the Philanthropist and one called the Altruist. The idea behind the wines is to recognize the recipients and raise awareness of the Mark of Distinction program. The 2007 Markham The Altruist had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $55.

What about the wine? It’s lovely. I’m trying something just a bit different here at Wannabe Wino based on the wineblogger conference I just attended. I heard a lot of murmuring that people (I guess bloggers since that was who was in attendance) don’t want to read tasting notes. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, and my target audience isn’t other bloggers, so it’s really neither here nor there. I’ll put my traditional tasting notes in my tried and true style at the bottom of this post, but lets try a slightly new format just for a moment.

4 takeaways from this wine:

1.) If I could only have this wine for a year I would be perfectly happy to continue sniffing and drinking it. The wine had beautiful aromas and flavors that kept revealing themselves as it aired.

2.) I would pay the price tag for this wine myself.

3.) You should drink it with a marbled steak and finish off the night with a cigar and an after dinner glass, if you’re into that sort of thing. Share it with someone who really appreciates the Napa Cabernet style.

4.) Overall the wine reminded me of walking into a coffee shop that happened to be growing an herb and berry garden in addition to grinding fresh beans and baking coffee cakes.

Now for my traditional notes format. On the nose I found black currants, blackberry, herbs, fresh bay, sage, and plum. In the mouth I got blackberry, black cherry, cream, herbs, bay, espresso notes, and toffee. Nicely integrated tannins and some time in the glass made this a wine I could pair with a good steak or enjoy sipping on its own.