Train Wreck!

Continuing on the theme of big winter reds, we dug deep into the cellar for this gem.  In 2009 I, along with a bunch of other bloggers, invaded Calaveras County, specifically the town of Murphys, CA.  One of our stops on that trip was Newsome Harlow, a favorite of mine from my first visit to Murphys.  So this wine has spent a bit of time since then chilling in my basement waiting for me to open it up.  The 2006 Newsome Harlow Train Wreck retails (at the time) for $19, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.4%.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A divine chocolate covered blueberry blackberry tart dusted with cinnamon and campfire jumps out of the glass.

2.) I actually enjoyed this more sipping it after dinner than with my burgers. Maybe it was the burgers, but I think it was because I just wanted to savor it on its own.

3.) In my notes, I might have the favorite thing I’ve ever written about a wine in my comments on this bottle: “It’s like a s’more in a glass!”

4.) Calaveras County is pumping out some great wines and is well worth your time to visit and try all the wineries.

On the nose I got chocolate, herbs, cinnamon, blueberry, blackberry, cedar, campfire smoke, and graham cracker. The graham cracker cinched the “s’more” reference for me.  The wine had one of those noses I wanted to dive into and swim around in.  In the mouth I found cinnamon, red hots, smooth fruits, blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, and spice. The 2006 Train Wreck has well integrated tannins with a long finish and is drinking fantastically at this point. Drink up!




Riesling from Napa

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

I know what you are thinking. Napa? Riesling? Really? Yes really, and it’s good.  I can’t say that I’ve had a lot of Riesling from Napa.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever previously had any.  The 2010 Cornerstone Stepping Stone Riesling registers at 13.5% alcohol by volume content, has a real cork closure, and retails for $18.  I seem to have misplaced my photos for this bottle.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A warmer climate riesling, the tropical fruits stood out for me in this offering.

2.) Don’t serve this wine too cold, it will mute the flavors.

3.) I’m universally impressed with the new line of offerings from Cornerstone Cellars.

4.) I would recommend this wine as a great value from Napa.

On the nose I found lemon, stone, honeysuckle, star fruit, and floral notes.  In the mouth I got lemon rind, pineapple, spice, honeysuckle, white flowers, perfume, and wet stone. Overall I found the wine to be tropical without being sweet.




Rock This Way

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

Although our weather is still oddly behaving as if it’s spring rather than winter, I’m getting in the big red wines while I still am in the winter mindset!  We have had a few random colds days here and there, and that’s when we busted open the 2007 Rodney Strong Rockaway, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Rockaway clocks in at 15.2% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails fro $75.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I served the wine with herb roasted chicken. I’d suggest something with a little more fat to stand up to the wine.

2.) The wine is a nose and mouthful of blackberry juicy goodness with a side of chocolate and espresso.

3.) With Valentine’s Day coming up, pair this wine with a steak and a chocolate torte for a great evening.

4.) The Rockaway comes in one hefty bottle.

On the nose I found juicy blackberry, black currant, pepper, chocolate, espresso, and a little note of campfire.  In the mouth I got black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, black currant, earth, and more black fruit.  A dark fruit wine with lots of juicy notes complemented by earth, spice, and chocolate, serve it with your next steak dinner.


Popping a Cork: ‘The Devil’s Wine’

Mr. Wannabe Wino returns with a second installment!

Champagne has long been a favorite party drink, no doubt partly due to the theatrical nature of opening a bottle which results in a satisfying – POP! fizzle.  (Plinking an in-law with a cork from all the way across the room is only an added bonus…)  Originally created accidentally in the Champagne region of France, the effervescence was a byproduct of wine being bottled after cooler weather prematurely halted an incomplete fermentation process, which would resume with the onset of warmer weather.  With no place for the carbon dioxide produced as a fermentation byproduct to go, the pressure would cause bottles to explode, at times setting off a chain reaction sending glass shrapnel everywhere.  Twenty to ninety percent of the bottles could explode in a single cellar.  For this reason, the poor monks tending such bottles labeled the wine “le vin du diable,” or the Devil’s wine, and great efforts were undertaken to remove the offending bubbles.  Today, thankfully, the explosions only take place on our pallets, but the next time you sample a glass of your favorite champagne, spare a thought to those poor monks who risked their lives to help create such a celebratory treat.