Getting Cubed

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

I connected with DCubed Cellars quite some time ago on Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about them until recently, but I’m totally hooked after reading the materials they sent with the wine. DCubed is owned and operated by Duane D. Dappen (get it?), who comes to his own project via a storied history as a wine maker for many esteemed Napa Estates including Grgich Hills and Frank Family.  DCubed produces mostly Zinfandel, but also some Petite Sirah (swoon) and Primitivo. You can taste and purchase the wines at Vintner’s Collective in Napa. First up for tasting for me was the 2008 DCubed Cellars Korte Ranch Napa Valley Zinfandel which has a real cork closure, retails for $32, and clocks in at 15.2% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Whenever I have a Napa Valley Zinfandel I’m reminded again why I should drink more of them. The DCubed Korte Ranch is no exception.

2.) Don’t worry about the 15.2% alcohol content. You won’t even notice it, the wine is so well made. Wait, maybe you should worry because you would think it was much lower!

3.) BBQ season is here. This wine was made for BBQ.

4.) The Korte Ranch is drinking great now, but could easily take a couple years in your cellar as well

On the nose I got black fruit, bramble, dark berries, cedar, chocolate, spice, herbs, pepper, black cherry. I found the nose to be very perfumey and almost a little flowery. In the mouth I found black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, espresso, dark chocolate, and spice. The wine has great acidity and good tannins on the finish. The fruit is tart and fresh, with just hints of red fruit.


A Titus Kind of Day

Continuing on my recap of our recent trip out West, we spent one of our days in Napa. We had places to go and friends to see! (Ahem, Thea.) This day was planned months in advance. We’ve had both Cornerstone and Titus wines at home many, many times, and I’ve visited both in the past, but Matt had never accompanied me. (Though Thea has been my partner in crime on each visit I’ve made previously! Sensing a pattern here?

Christophe in repose

Titus was our first stop of the day. I’ve known Christophe, Titus’ chief wine club/social media/all around bottle washer, since before the very first Wine Blogger Conference. He’s such an awesome guy that he invited all of us over to his house for dinner latter that evening!

2010 Sauvignon Blanc: green notes, pepper, lemongrass, melon, peach, very light, crisp, nice acidity.


2009 Merlot: pepper, spice, black fruit, violets, perfume, roses, slight coffee notes, black cherry, lean, mineral, black raspberry, spice, great acidity.




2009 Cabernet Franc: (took home 3 bottles) chocolate, strawberry, herbs, berry compote, rose petals, smooth, black cherry, dark strawberry, bright fruit, delicious.

2008 Cabernet Sauvginon: chocolate, coffee bean, caramel, strawberry, tobacco leaf, currants, dark, black berries, black currants.

Through the drinking glass

2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: smoky, toasty, graphite, pepper, spice, herbs, needs some age, the bones are there though, black cherry, black currants.

2007 Lot 1: dark chocolate, black raspberry, earthy, minty, dark, black fruit, pomegranate, brooding, plenty of tannins.

If you have time on your next visit to Napa, I can’t recommend a stop at Titus enough. There is nothing quite like sitting at the sun soaked picnic table outside the building on the property, adjacent to acres and acres of Titus’ vineyards. Especially if you can spend that time with fabulous people like Thea, Christophe, and my partner in crime, Mr. WannabeWino. Tasting wines in the place from which they originate is a unique experience not to be undervalued.

Is that a rocket in your pocket?

Producing delectable wine making grapes requires protecting vines from meteorological menaces like hail. Of course, it isn’t easy to defend yourself from the sky unless you
happen to be Swiss.

Since the 18th Century, Swiss farmers have stood ready to confront brooding storm clouds with a first strike capability of rockets kept ready at strategic points. One Swiss farmer, Ernst Spoehel explains: You can see the front coming, and when you have the feeling that danger is near, you start to shoot. And not just once! Having lived in Switzerland for 2+ years, I can attest to watching dozens of rockets streak into the heavens near the shores of Lake Geneva, exploding amongst the clouds in an attempt to subdue the icy threat. The rockets are
fitted with packets of silver iodide, which in theory causes moisture to crystallize into small bits of ice that fall harmlessly to the ground, before it can form larger more destructive hail. Who knew a bottle of wine could have such a history of violence behind it?

Ooo La La!

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

What do you get when you combine 55% Roussanne and 45% Grenache Blanc? The current 2010 vintage of Bonny Doon’s Le Cigare Blanc. Did you think I was going to tell a joke? I don’t joke about wine. Well, that’s not true at all, but there’s no just kidding font that shows through the computer screen. Though I could really use one, along with a sarcasm font. Anywho. The 2010 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 12.7% alcohol by volume, and I think it retails for around $24.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The Roussanne is very evident in the oily, big mouthfeel of this wine.

2.) I’ve had Roussanne. I’ve had Grenache Blanc. I don’t think I’ve ever had the 2 blended together before. It works.

3.) Bonny Doon always has some really interesting wines going on.

4.) The Le Cigare Blanc is perfect for the transitional spring weather we are having in DC with our cooler, windy evenings.

On the nose I found tropical fruits, apples, wax, honey, and flowers. In the mouth I got apple, tropical notes, guava, honey, and flowers. The Roussanne very much dominated the blend for me and lent a heavier, oily, waxy quality to the wine. Pair with roast chicken.