You Need This Wine

You haven’t tried wines from Bill Wertzberger? What are you waiting for, a personal invite? Don’t wait. Bill makes small lot wines from small lots of grapes that he buys from his million and one contacts in the Northern CA wine world. He’s also an accomplished artist (all his wine labels are his own artwork), a musician, and he works at Teldeschi as well. Look him up and tell him I sent you his way. In addition to all of the above, he’s a generally all around good guy and someone who is awesome to spend an afternoon with.  I suggest you do so, immediately.  The wine. We tried the 2010 Wertzberger Pedroni Vineyards Cabernet Franc with our roast the other night.  It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $30 with 72 cases produced.

1.) I’m always impressed with the depth of the wines in Bill’s portfolio.

2.) Cab Franc is my (not so secret) wine love.

3.) Get lost in the nose of this wine.

4.) I buy a lot of wine from Bill, at least 4 cases a year. His Cab Franc is perennially one of my favorite wines.

On the nose I got spice, herbs, green pepper, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, more herbs, red cherry, and flowers. In the mouth I found raspberry, black cherry, strawberry, spice, herbs, pepper, and chocolate. The fruit was more prominent on the palate than on the nose for me. The wine had excellent acidity and good tannins on the finish.




Lobstah. It’s what’s for dinnah.

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

I’m on a bit of an Albariño kick these days.  We traveled North for Christmas this year to see my parents for the holidays in CT. In CT, lobster is $4.99 a pound. In VA, it’s $8.99 a pound if you can find it. And, you can almost never (read: it’s happened ONCE in the decade I’ve lived here) find steamers.  We enjoyed this lobster and some steamers with the 2011 Bonny Doon Albariño. The wine clocks in at 13.2% alcohol by volume, has a screw cap closure, and retails for around $15.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I could drink this all day, every day with steamers. Add in the lobster and I’m in heaven.

2.) The Bonny Doon Albariño is a super value at sub-$20. It easily makes my list of best white wines I tasted in 2012.

3.) I sort of feel bad for lobsters, but they can rest easy knowing they were paired with such an excellent match.

4.) It appears the 2011 is nearly sold out (or sold out) but be sure to keep an eye out for the 2012.

On the nose I found honeysuckle, tangerine, candied pineapple, lemon, lemongrass, and orange.  The nose smelled tart and promised good things to come to help cut through the butter and rich lobster flavors.  In the mouth I got lemon, lime, tangerine, orange blossom notes, more lime, and pineapple. The promise of the nose held true with excellent acidity and tart fruit flavors.



Invading Carlton, OR

Post Wine Blogger Conference this year, Mrs. Wannabe Wino and I received a kind invitation from the town of Carlton, OR to visit.  Yes, that’s correct, a town invited us to come and stay and see what their little corner of OR had to offer.  For a quaint, small town, they certainly had a lot to offer and put on the ritz to really show us the best of their town.

While there,the Wannabe Winos stayed at the Carlton Inn, a lovely B&B about a five minute walk from the center of the town.  Although the Inn itself has been in existence for many years, it was only taken over by the current Innkeeper Karen Choules shortly before our arrival in August 2012.  Poor Karen, I’m sure she had no idea what she was in for when she took over an Inn and was shortly thereafter informed she would be playing hostess to a group of 5 wine bloggers for a night!  Taking it all in stride, Karen was a gracious hostess, and made us feel right at home.  We stayed in the Yamhill-Carlton Suite, a comfortable set of rooms decorated in a contemporary American style.  (I, for one, slept like a bear hibernating in winter in these cozy quarters.)

The Carlton Inn boasts 4 guest rooms, so with 5 wine bloggers, we took over the entire place.  One room had a jetted tub that Thea took full advantage of during our stay.  In addition to the well-appointed rooms, the Inn boasts a quaint living room, a spacious dining room, and a comfortable porch overlooking a garden that Karen uses for ingredients for her breakfast. The breakfast was excellent, as you can see in the photos.  We had a french toast bake with berries, fresh fruit, and bacon.  We all came away stuffed, and Karen indulged the wine blogger love of bacon and was happy to add some local farmed bacon to our breakfast!

Overall, we highly recommend the Carlton Inn to anyone looking to explore the area’s wineries or spend some time in a welcoming, adorable town.  Tell Karen hello for us!

(Post authored by Sonadora and Mr. WannabeWino.)

Switching Gears

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review.

Jumping around a bit as we kick of this new year.  From CA to Spain and red to white.  Variety keeps the wine palate alive and kicking and for me, it’s what makes wine endlessly interesting, unique, and fun to drink. Tonight we tried out the 2010 Benito Santos Albariño.  The Albariño has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $16.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.)  Nice and racy on the palate, just like I enjoy in an Albariño.

2.) That said, as it warmed up, the fruit softened and became rounder.

3.) If you keep it nice and chill, this seems like a great wine for the dog days of summer. (Just around the corner, right?)

4.) I’d pair with a light white fish dish this summer.

On the nose I got tangerine, orange, spice, white peach, and white pepper. The aroma was quite nice.  In the mouth I found lime, tangerine, citrus fruit, white pepper, and white peach as it warmed.  Overall, when chilled the fruit was crisp, acidic, and tart. As it warmed, the fruit turned softer and rounder.




Starting off the New Year

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

What should you drink in the New Year? Wine from Bonny Doon, clearly. I’ve been quite impressed with many of the Bonny Doon wines I’ve tasted over the last year or so and can easily recommend many of them.  In fact, I pulled out this one to start off 2013, the 2008 Le Cigare Volant.  The 2008 has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $38.  The 2008 is a blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsault, and 5% Carignane.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I went to a college where the tradition for freshmen is to run the number of their class year in laps around a giant bonfire on the green. My first thought on tasting/smelling this wine was that it evoked the memory of the smell of that fire for me.

2.) I thought the Syrah really sung in this blend, but the Mourvedre gave it a nice heft and color.

3.) Drink with bacon.

4.) Randall Graham is even cooler in person than online. 🙂 I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at the Wine Blogger Conference in Oregon this year!

On the nose I found black cherry, black plum, campfire, crushed violets, blue fruit, spice, and forest floor.  In the mouth I got black cherry, campfire, blueberry, spice, and forest floor.  Overall I found the fruit to be juicy and tart.


Happy New Year!


Hope your evening was full of bubbles, family, and friends!