Always a Good Day

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

My day definitely looks up when my wine glass contains a treat from Jordan Winery.  Particularly when that wine happens to be their signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Our weather has been, shall we say, chilly, and a big red wine warms the soul when the thermometer can’t seem to get up over 9 degrees.  On this evening, we had the fortune to try the 2009 Jordan Cab Sauvignon. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $53.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) We drank this with grilled lamb done with rosemary and garlic. Absolutely fabulous match.

2.) I really appreciate that Jordan keeps their alcohol levels pretty darn reasonable for a CA cab. I enjoy not feeling like my nose is on fire when I smell a wine.

3.) I’m not sure I ever got around to posting about our visit to Jordan, but if you get the chance, you should definitely try to go on your next trip to Sonoma.

4.) Jordan only does two things: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. And it does them really well.

Jordan in the spring.

On the nose I got pepper, black fruit, bramble, slight green notes, black cherry, and baking spice. In the mouth I found blackberry, black cherry, a mineral streak, and herbal notes. Overall the Jordan had great structure and acidity to carry it through.




Cold Winter’s Night

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

Cold has settled into the DC area. Most days it’s been 13 degrees or under when I leave for work and the same when I return. Standing on an outside platform to catch the Metro is extremely unpleasant, and I come home chilled to the bone. On one of those nights, I bundled up for a trip to the basement and returned with the 2010 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It seemed like an excellent choice to counteract the weather. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $28.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) On the cold cold night, this wine warmed my soul.

2.) Rodney Strong is an incredibly consistent producer.

3.) This Cab offered lip-smacking black and blue fruit.

4.) I will get to Rodney Strong on my next Northern CA trip. Now to work on having that trip!

On the nose, I found the Alexander Cab to be quite spicy, with pepper, herbs, a slight green note, black berries, and other blue fruit.  In the mouth I got blueberry, brambly fruit, black fruit, spice, and pepper. The wine had nice tannins and mouth-filling fruit.


Jordan Wins Again

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Jordan Winery.
Jordan knows how to make a good thing, so they stick to it. They make Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and that’s pretty much it. (Sorry, I appear to have misplaced my photos of this bottle. For some reason I lost a week’s worth of photos somewhere in the ether.)  Tonight we tried out the 2008 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon which clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $52. Jordan also makes estate olive oil, which is very yummy. Technical term.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Serving something juicy, red, and cow-based for Christmas? Serve this.

2.) You can get lost in the nose of this wine.

3.) If you can unbury your nose from your glass, the palate of the wine has a ton to offer as well.

4.) Jordan’s Cabernet is great right out of the bottle but they age wonderfully as well, as evidenced by a tasting I did at Jordan last spring.

On the nose I got black currants, berries, cigar, herbs, spice, cardamom, chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and bay leaf. The wine has one hell of a nose. In the mouth I found black cherry, black currants, spice, chocolate, herbs, and berries. Overall I found the wine to be juicy with lots of a depth and a long finish.



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.


Sitting in the Corner

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars

We actually got some snow the other day/night in VA. In October.  That is pretty much unheard of for this area of the country.  The snow turned my thoughts to the big red wines that have been patiently waiting in my cellar all summer for me to drink them. I decided it was the perfect time to crack open the 2007 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $60.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s still a baby. But some time the decanter cures that easily.

2.) If you’re thinking about serving something along the lines of beef tenderloin for any of your holiday meals, this is the wine for you.

3.) Cornerstone Cabs have been among my favorites since I first tasted them…many moons ago now!

4.) If big, black fruit and hints of pepper are what you look for in a Cab, you will love this wine.

On the nose I got berries, chocolate, earth, pepper, herbs, and black cherry. In the mouth I found more black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, blueberry, and anise.  The wine was quite tight at first, with tannins to spare. I ran it through my Soiree which definitely helped open it up, but I think a few hours in the decanter before serving would really do the trick for this wine. I served it with NY Strip steaks on the grill, and as always, this Cab is plenty big and firm to marry nicely with the steak.


Wine and Philanthropy

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR company for Markham Vineyards.

Community activism + wine = Markham’s Mark of Distinction. Three years ago Markham Vineyards began a program called “Markham Mark of Distinction,” inviting charities to apply for a $25,000 grant in order to make a tangible difference in their communities. This year’s nomination period ended on July 31, however, I urge those of you who might be interested to keep the program in mind for next year. At the end of this month voting on the finalists will open, so be sure to check back on the nomination page to vote for the cause you find most inspiring. Past winners have ranged from an organization that delivers perishable food that would otherwise have been discarded to the hungry for immediate consumption to a sled hockey team for the disabled. Through the Mark of Distinction award, these organizations were able to further their missions and provide services directly to their communities.

Every year Markham produces two wines, one to honor each of the past year’s Mark of Distinction recipients. Both are Cabernet Sauvignon, one called the Philanthropist and one called the Altruist. The idea behind the wines is to recognize the recipients and raise awareness of the Mark of Distinction program. The 2007 Markham The Altruist had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $55.

What about the wine? It’s lovely. I’m trying something just a bit different here at Wannabe Wino based on the wineblogger conference I just attended. I heard a lot of murmuring that people (I guess bloggers since that was who was in attendance) don’t want to read tasting notes. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, and my target audience isn’t other bloggers, so it’s really neither here nor there. I’ll put my traditional tasting notes in my tried and true style at the bottom of this post, but lets try a slightly new format just for a moment.

4 takeaways from this wine:

1.) If I could only have this wine for a year I would be perfectly happy to continue sniffing and drinking it. The wine had beautiful aromas and flavors that kept revealing themselves as it aired.

2.) I would pay the price tag for this wine myself.

3.) You should drink it with a marbled steak and finish off the night with a cigar and an after dinner glass, if you’re into that sort of thing. Share it with someone who really appreciates the Napa Cabernet style.

4.) Overall the wine reminded me of walking into a coffee shop that happened to be growing an herb and berry garden in addition to grinding fresh beans and baking coffee cakes.

Now for my traditional notes format. On the nose I found black currants, blackberry, herbs, fresh bay, sage, and plum. In the mouth I got blackberry, black cherry, cream, herbs, bay, espresso notes, and toffee. Nicely integrated tannins and some time in the glass made this a wine I could pair with a good steak or enjoy sipping on its own.

Back to School

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

No, not really. I’m done with formal education myself. 4 years of college + 3 more of law school seems quite sufficient, thank you very much! I’m talking about tonight’s wine, the 2008 Liberty School Cab Sauvignon from Paso Robles. It retails for around $13, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Big wine. That’s what went through my head as I sniffed my glass. Though, surprisingly low alcohol for a CA Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I found big black fruit, black currants, blackberry, black cherry, and black plum, with a little oak and spice. However, mostly fruit. I would describe this as a very fruit forward wine. In the mouth I found mostly black cherry, oak, and chocolate, with almost a hint of red fruit on the finish.

Playing in My Spice Rack

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

Baking spices peppered the nose of this wine, causing thoughts of Christmas cookies to dance in my head. We just started in on the HOT weather here and I’m already dreaming of Christmas. Though can you blame me? Christmas will be extra special at our house this year with our daughter’s first birthday to celebrate at the same time! What wine am I talking about? The 2007 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $20.

On the nose I got woody note, cinnamon, baking spice, vanilla, dark fruit, blackberry, black plum, and black cherry. This smelled so much to me like baking cookies that it almost made me want to fire up my oven in the heat. Almost. In the mouth I found blackberry, black plum, black cherry, pepper, baking spice, anise, and cinnamon. The wine had nice tannins and good acidity and was quite spicy, which was very yummy.

Under $50 Napa Cab

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars

And one that you should really check out. Few and far between (in my humble opinion) do you find a Napa Cab in the under $50 price range that actually display all the hallmarks of a good, solid Cab without the heavy hand of oak.  The 2008 Cornerstone Stone Stepping Stone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa really delivers for the price point. It retails for $35, clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and has a real cork closure.

On the nose I got ripe blackberry, black cherry, black plum, spice, red berry notes, earth, and floral notes. I enjoyed the nose on this Cab and kept commenting on the fresh ripe fruits it displayed. In the mouth I got similar fruits as I did on the nose, but with more cherry and spice characteristics in addition to some pepper notes. I thought the wine had firm tannins and seemed a bit young, but with lots of potential.

Emblem Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Folio Winemakers.

I’ve written before about Folio Winemakers. (And a brief line about this wine before…my notes from 2 years ago actually track fairly well with these new notes!). The whole concept is a Michael Mondavi project, where wines are imported from various countries as well as made on the Mondavi Estates, among other places, and are available for tasting all in one location. It’s pretty cool and the tasting room is just lovely. Whiling away a day on the back porch overlooking the vineyards would be easy to do. One such Mondayi project is this 2006 Emblem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. It clocks in at 13.3% alcohol by volume (wow, that’s one of the lowest abv levels I’ve seen on a Cab in quite some time), had a real cork closure, and MSRP of $50, though I see it in various online shops for around $40.

Black fruit is the name of the game on the nose of this Cab. Blackberry, black currant, black cherry, and black plums are all present on the nose, with some earthy and chocolate notes bringing up the tail. The nose had a an overall earthy/dusty character to it that I really enjoyed. In the mouth, more black fruit, blackberry, black cherry, black currants, and some of the chocolate I found on the nose. The wine had excellent acidity to help it along, which married well with the palate of mostly very juicy black fruit.