Alexander Valley Vineyards

I realized shortly after heading to Sonoma that I had far too many posts left to make from the DC International Wine and Food Festival and the trip to Sonoma was only going to make me further behind on those. I was entirely right and found it more interesting to talk to you all about our actual experiences in Sonoma, so the posts about the Festival took a backseat. I still have plenty of vineyard visits from Sonoma to tell you about, but I’m going to throw one in now from the Festival.

Though to be honest, we actually visited Alexander Valley Vineyards on our very first trip to Sonoma in 2006. I’ve reviewed some of their wines here before, most recently the delicious Cyrus for Open That Bottle Night. When I saw the vineyard at the Festival I was very interested to taste the new line-up, especially since OTBN had only been a few days before.

2006 Estate Chardonnay: 70% Stainless Steel, 30% Neutral barrel with no maloactic. Pineapple, pear, nicely done.

2005 Temptation Zin: 92% Zin, 8% Sangiovese. Strawberry, spice, dark berries, fruity. Well done, I liked this one.

2006 Sin Zin: Berry, spice, cherry, raspberry.

2005 Redemption Zin: Spicier than the others, with darker fruit, some leather. This one was all from Dry Creek Valley, where the Temptation is Dry Creek and Alexander Valley fruit and the Sin is all Alexander Valley fruit.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: Blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Leather, red berries, funk, spicy, layered berries, fruitier as I swirled.

I’ve quickly learned that if you actually pay attention and are interested in what the wineries have to offer, they like to talk to you and offer to let you taste special wines. With that in mind, I got to taste a special one from Alexander Valley Vineyards!

2004 Top of Crop Cabernet Sauvignon: 200 cases made, aged 18 months in oak, picked specially for the great fruit. This was a big wine with lots of dark fruit, spice, smoke, dark berries and chocolate. Very good.


Open That Bottle Night!

I took quite a while in narrowing down the bottle I was going to open for Open That Bottle Night, after Farley alerted me to the event. I initially put out a few thoughts on which one I wanted to open in her post on OTBN, but hadn’t quite decided exactly which one would fall victim to my palate this evening. We have several bottles that we are “saving,” in that they are slightly more expensive than bottles we normally drink, and they came to us through different channels. I am always hesitant to open them, thinking I should wait.

But I suppose that is the main goal of OTBN. Get down in your cellar and pull out a bottle you’ve been hoarding, and make an occasion of a random Saturday night in February. After some thought and deliberation, I settled on the 2000 Cyrus from Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Matt and I picked this bottle up on our honeymoon, and it is quite a bit more pricey than our usual bottle, so we’d been letting it sit in the basement, thinking we’d find some special occasion on which to open it. Well, just over a year and a half has passed, and we’ve celebrated an anniversary and purchasing our first house, plus several promotions and two new jobs, yet the bottle still had not been opened. So tonight was the night!

The 2000 Cyrus is a Bordeaux style blend made of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot. It weighed in at 14% alcohol by volume, cost us $55, and had a real cork closure. I served it with pasta and homemade sauce, but it needed a bit of time to open, so we really enjoyed it after dinner.

On the nose of the Cyrus I found spice, tar, pine trees, blackberries, leather, like a worn jacket, and white pepper. The wine was very aromatic, as I sat here, I could smell black cherry wafting out of the glass as the wine aired. In the mouth, the flavors were black cherries, blackberries, plums, and vanilla. The fruit was fresh and tart.

Overall, the wine was smooth, and drinking beautifully now. The mouthfeel was a bit lighter than I expected from the nose, but the fruit did not disappoint, and the finish was long and lingering.

So now, I’m sitting here with a full stomach, just enjoying the aroma of the wine, the company of Matt, and a movie. An otherwise terribly ordinary evening in the Wannabe Wino house, but what a better occasion than to open a special bottle of wine and make a night of it? Thanks to Farley for telling me about OTBN!

A Bottle of Red

Leftover turkey and sides, which gives me another chance to try pairing wine with the turkey. And yet again, I’m led to the conclusion that there’s just no great wine that will pair well with it all. Oh well, it gives me yet another excuse to try more wines!

Sunday night’s was a 2003 Alexander Valley Vineyards Sangiovese. We picked this bottle up at Alexander Valley Vineyards this summer for $20. We had a great time at the vineyard. We were the only people there and our server was great. He spent a lot of time chatting with us and even gave us a nifty corkscrew when he found out we were on our honeymoon. Came in handy when we got to LA and really needed a bottle of wine!

Back to the wine. It had a lot of strawberry jam on the nose and more strawberries in the taste. Very full in the mouth. A bit unfinished at the end. It will definetly improve with age. I’d keep it around for a few more years to let it round out. The finish smoothed as it aired out and I was reminded once again that I really need to make more use of the decanters we got as wedding presents.