In the Willamette

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

Harkening back to our trip to Oregon this summer, Mr. Wannabe Wino and I popped the cork on the 2010 Cornerstone Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to get to Cornerstone and connect with Craig Camp you are totally missing out. Especially if you haven’t stopped by their tasting room to do a tasting paired with local cheeses. The 2010 Pinot Noir has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $50 a bottle.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I would pay $50 for this wine, no questions asked.

2.) Expanding their OR offerings would make me love Cornerstone even more.

3.) My notes for this wine say “Excellent.” I couldn’t describe it better.

4.) If you like dusty earth, dried violets and cherries, and baking cocoa in your Pinot, this one is for you.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, herbs, cedar, smoke, berries, dried cherries, dried violets, dusty earth, and dried raspberries on the nose. As the wine opened in my glass I kept diving back in and finding more good things to smell. The palate echoed the nose with cocoa notes, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and herbs. All the fruits tasted a bit dried to me and very concentrated.  Overall the wine had excellent acidity and long finish. A very complex and well done wine for the price point, that over-delivered.





Barolo for a Cold Winter Night

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Wine Chateau.

I don’t drink a lot of Barolo.  Mainly because I oddly don’t drink a ton of Italian wines in general, which is a shame.  There was a time there where I was in love with Negromara. I should probably revisit Italy through wine as I’ve had some fun ones lately, including a new grape to add to my list of grape varieties tried.  In any event, we plucked the 2007 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano from the cellar to enjoy by a roaring fire one cold night.  The Chiarlo clocks in at 13.5 percent alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $37.09 from Wine Chateau.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I generally don’t drink much Barolo because I find it expensive. But I do love it, and this one is wonderful in the price point.

2.) I always want to put on a smoking jacket and play some refined card game when I drink Barolo. The roaring fire fit nicely with how I imagine Barolo should be consumed.

3.) While it was lovely on its own, I could easily see if with a duck ragu or a mushroom risotto.

4.) The wine felt a little young, it definitely got better and better as it aired in my glass.

On the nose I got cherry, raspberry, wood, anise, flowers, some earthy notes, spice, and other red fruits.  In the mouth I found tarter red fruit, with raspberry, wood, black cherry, spices, dried roses, dried cherries, and more black cherry. It felt expensive on the palate.

Sipping Sauvignon Blanc

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

Snow? Cold? Rain? Gray fog? Nothing says Sauvignon Blanc like that kind of weather, right? Well, I often like to pretend it’s summer or spring when we’re in the dead of winter. Plus, the overgrown rodent in PA says it will be an early spring.  Cheers to hoping it’s right.  We opened up the 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to go with a quiche Lorraine the other day.  The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.1 percent alcohol by volume, and retails for $25.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It had me dreaming of heat waves, so it served that purpose.

2.) You can’t see me but I’m making that motion with my fingers to my lips and saying “perfecto” about the pairing with the quiche Lorraine.

3.) I’ll take a bottle for the first 90 degree day of the year.

4.) I’d also drink this with grilled white fish, fondue, pasta with cream sauces, on it’s own on a tropical beach somewhere…

On the nose I found lime, lemon, white peach, grapefruit, and pear. I could smell the acidity and it made my mouth water.  In the mouth I got grapefruit, white peach, lemon, and pear.  Tart and refreshing, my final note on the wine (twice, that is) is “yummy.”



Syrah Kind of Day

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

We had a cold cold week in the DC area last week and I was digging red wines. I wrestled the 2008 Bonny Doon Bien Nacido Syrah from it’s comfortable resting place in the cellar and dragged it upstairs to pair with some good old fashioned meatloaf.  Seems like comfort food and red wine make it just a little cold out. Especially when your heating system decided to give out for the second time in the winter and you needed to seek alternate sources of warmth. The Bonny Doon Syrah sports a screw cap closure, clocks in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $42.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The Bien Nacido has  a nose you can get lost in.

2.) I’d recommend decanting the Bien Nacido and letting it get some serious air. It kept getting better and better with time in the glass.

3.) I think, given how the wine developed in the glass, combined with the acidity and tannins, the Bien Nacido could easily age for quite some time.

4.) Meatloaf was good, but next time I’d go with my rosemary/mint/mustard/breadcrumb crusted rack of lamb.


On the nose I found spice, cedar chest, cinnamon, baking spice, the aroma of Christmas, (pine tree, spices, cookies), espresso, pepper, cherry, and raspberry.  I would have kept sniffing at the wine, but I was afraid to lose my second glass to Matt if I didn’t move on to the palate.  In the mouth I found meat, black cherry, leather, spice, raspberry, plum, pepper, earth, and more black fruit.  Overall, the wine had great structure and acidity and seemed alive in the glass to me.