Getting Higher

Sheesh, the wine of the evening clocked in at 16.1% alcohol by volume! I almost didn’t serve it with dinner because we had to go to work the next day and I was a bit leery over the alcohol content. But being the good wino that I am, and for the sake of the blog, of course, I pressed on and found this to be an excellent bottle of wine.

The wine was a 2005 Felta Creek De la Montanya Zinfandel that came in a club shipment, had a real cork closure and cost $20.80.

On the nose I found blackberries, spice, black currants, and old leather. Yes, old worn in leather. In the mouth there were peppery spices, blackberries, black cherries, and plums.

The wine had a spicy kick which almost completely disappeared after an hour sitting out. Overall, this was rounder than most Zinfandels I have had, and despite the high alcohol content, really not overwhelming. The fruits were actually smooth and soft and the wine had excellent flavors after being allowed to sit out.

I served this one with a steak on the grill, and the match was pretty good given the peppery spices in the wine!

Getting good at this!

We drank this bottle of De la Montanya 2004 Pin-Up Caberet with homemade pizza. It will appear to the very attentive reader over the next weeks that I make pizza every other day, but really the case is that I lost some posts and am just getting around to catching up on what we’ve been drinking. New house + new job =total time suck.

The wine came in our most recent club shipment and cost us $30.40 plus shipping. Only 245 cases of this wine were produced, it had a real cork closure, and weighed in at 14.6% alcohol by volume.

It’s a red blend, and as soon as I opened the bottle I picked out Zinfandel and Syrah as some of the grapes involved in this wine. I was quite proud of myself when I turned the bottle over and discovered that it was 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Zinfandel, and 12% Syrah!
Got Zin and Syrah right away!

On the nose I found cedar, tobacco, oak, vanilla extract and black currants. Quite an aroma on this one, with each of the grapes seeming to contribute well to the nose. In the mouth I found lots of dark fruit and would describe the wine as smoky. The flavors were roast meat, blackberries and currants. I’m really loving these red blends, and this one was especially well-balances and went fantastically well with the pizza. However, I am a little concerned with the price tag, but am willing to let it go because I was very much impressed with the blend.

It’s not cooked!

Or at least the 2005 De la Montanya Tina’s Vineyard Pinot Noir seems to not have cooked on it’s arduous journey from CA to VA. This despite being stuck in a UPS truck for 2 full days and sitting for 3 full days over a long weekend in a warehouse! I’m hoping since this once is fine the other 5 bottles in the shipment are as well, though only time will tell, clearly.

The wine came in a club shipment (as you may have realized given my ranting about this wine over the past weeks), cost $25.60 for the bottle, has a real cork closure, and weighs in at 14% alcohol by volume.

The nose of the wine displayed spicy cedar wood, oak, spices and raspberries. In the mouth were more raspberries, tart cherries and spices. Overall the wine had what I would call a smoky characteristic, mostly imparted by the wood aromas on the nose. The wine was very light in the mouth, with the fruit feeling very fresh.

It was actually a great match with dinner! I’m experimenting with our new grill and purchased a cedar plank to cook on. Using that, our dinner was cedar-planked salmon steak with lemon, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Now, I know you are thinking that the cedar quality in the wine was my nose playing tricks on me with the cedar planked salmon, but I assure you that I opened and tasted the wine before the salmon was even brought in the house. And, if I do say so myself, the salmon was delicious, especially with the wine. The light body of the wine and its smoky quality paired incredibly well with the heavy salmon.

Another Old Friend

Apparently this is the week where I revisit wines I tasted in November. Tonight it was a 2005 Felta Creek Summer White (De la Montanya). I first tasted the Summer White over Thanksgiving, but we had company and I didn’t exactly write the best notes, really just a general overview with perhaps one specific reference to the flavors. For some reason at the time I felt awkard sitting there writing detailed notes in front of company. Have since gotten over that though and now I explain what I’m doing since many of our friends don’t know I write a wine blog and I’ve certainly gotten confused looks when I whip out a note pad and bury my nose in the wine!

And again, since I tasted this wine quite a while ago I find myself wondering if I’m getting better at picking out flavors and aromas or if it was simply the lack of notes I took last time?

Anywho, the wine had a real cork closure and cost us $15.20 in a wine club shipment. I can’t find anything about the alcohol level and the bottle is long gone. I served it with ravioli topped with fresh parmesan and butter. And actually, I think my belief back in November that this would be a good Thanksgiving wine was spot on, as the buttery cheesy flavors in the ravioli were easily cut through by the crisp and acidic structure of this wine.

On the nose I found pineapple, papaya, citrus and an overall sense of tropical fruit. In the mouth I found citrs, green apple, pear and just the slightest tinge of honey. The wine was crisp and light and the tropical fruits made me want to be sitting in a hammock on a beach somwhere with crystal clear water. And sun, lots of sun. Perhaps I’m projecting my desire for better weather as it has once again turned cold and I think I heard a report of a “wintery mix” on the radio. Thankfully we are off to sunny shiny CA for a week and a bit, so I will miss some of the delightful ups and downs of Spring on the East Coast.

Pin Up Platinum

De la Montanya has an interesting concept for the labels for their Pin Up Collection. They let anyone (I think just females, but who knows?) from their wine club throw their name in the hat, literally, and then they draw the names for the models. Now, Matt said he wouldn’t be thrilled if I tossed my name in, so I don’t think you’ll see me in a negligee on a wine bottle any time soon, but a cool idea nonetheless and a great way to get club members interested in the process.

Anywho, the Pin Up Platinum is a Pinot Gris from Christine’s Vineyard. It is 14.1% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and only 135 cases were produced.

On the nose of this one I found spiced peaches, pears and a tropical note. The nose was very aromatic and pleasant. In the mouth I got pears, clementines and tangerines. The wine had a nice long and tasty finish. Overall it was very light and crisp and would make a great summer sipper. It had good acidity and structure.

It went really well with our summery dinner, which was breadcrumb and parmasean encrusted Asian Basa Fillet over cheddar cheese and parmasean polenta with broccoli on the side. The acidity went well with the creamy polenta and the light wine was great with the flaky fish. I would drink this one now or soon. And with the weather in the 70s here this week, I’m all about the summer whites!

Friday Night Causulties

We hosted a dinner party on Friday night for several of Matt’s coworkers. Since it was my day off, I got to spend the day prepping food and picking out wine to serve. A total of 5 bottles of wine fell here on Friday, 2 whites, 2 reds and a dessert wine. With them I served a platter of assorted cheese and crackers, bruschetta, homemade pizza (1 pepperoni, 1 ham and pineapple) and chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

The first wine served was a 2005 Fritz Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, served with the assorted cheese and crackers. I’m almost always a fan of a crisp sauvignon blanc with cheese, especially when I’m serving creamy, tongue coating cheese, and this was no exception. We picked this bottle up at Fritz for $16.20 this summer, real cork closure and 13.6% alcohol by volume. A great match! Crisp, tart and acidic on the finish. Fairly citrusy, with lemons and grapefruits on the nose and the mouth. A nice long acidic finish. I’m glad we have a few more of these hanging around.

Second was a bottle of Quivira 2004 Syrah. I don’t remember if this came in a club shipment o if we bought it at Quivira, but it was $28.00, had a real cork closure and is 14.4% alcohol by volume. This bottle was a big hit with all of our guests and was served with the pepperoni pizza. A deep inky purple, it was a beautiful glass of wine. I decanted it for nearly an hour before serving, which was definetly a good call. There was vanilla and spice on the nose, and also a distinct scent of bacon. In the mouth there were blackberries and currants. It had a big mouth feel and was smooth, but the alcohol was there, so decant!

Third was a bottle of Ferrari Carano 2003 Zinfandel. At 14.8% alcohol by volume, this was a big wine. It had a real cork closure and ran us $21.60. This one is done, it didn’t need to be decanted at all, if you have it drink it now. We have one other bottle and I will serve it asap. Raisins and black currants on the nose, with blackberries in the mouth. It had a very nice finish and I didn’t even notice the big alcohol. This was not the typical big zinfandel, it was more reserved and not too fruit forward, but an excellent balanced bottle. I served this with the ham and pineapple pizza. Drink up now!

Forth was a bottle of Trentadue Chocolate Amore Red Dessert Wine. Now, if you want to talk about big alcohol levels, here it is! This one sits at 18.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and I don’t remember what it cost. It’s a very tasty and well done dessert wine, though the chocolate is flavor added. Under the chocolate, there were layers of red raspberry. It was fairly thick, but this is probably Matt’s favorite dessert wine ever. I served it with chocolate mousse.

Finally, a bottle of 2005 De La Montanya Fume Blanc. 14.6% alcohol by volume, a real cork closure and cost us $16 at the vineyard. This was floral and aromatic on the nose. In the mouth there was green apple. A crisp wine with a good structure and a decent finish. I thought the flavors in this bottle were very well done and it was definitely a good value. I think we have 2 more of these hanging around.

Phew, that was a long one, but an excellent party, with excellent food if I do say so myself and delicious wine!

And then there were 8

Seven of these were from our collection and were consumed between Wednesday and now. The Champagne was a gift from my husband’s Aunt and Uncle who came to our house for Thanksgiving.

Let’s start with Wednesday evening.

Out of this collection, far and away my favorite was the Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up for $25 while visiting Fritz Winery. Fritz was great, we joined their club and got to meet several members of the Fritz family who served our wine that day and wandered in and out while we were there for our tasting.

Of course, we didn’t really do this wine justice as we drank it while eating a Pizza Hut delivery and waiting for the call that my husband’s brother and our sister in law had arrived, but nonetheless, it was fabulous. It had a lot of big fruit, cherries and blackberries and I also got a hint of tobacco. It was smooth and big and easy to drink. I have two more bottles that I will keep in our collection as I expect this will just get better with age.

The next wine of the evening was a De La Montanya Felta Creek Vineyards 2005 Summer White. Even my sister in law, who is not a big fan of white wine, liked this one. I wrote on my note pad that this was crisp, quite acidic and tasted like pears. I also jotted down that it probably would have done well with Thanksgiving as it could have easily cut through all the creamy buttery flavors.

Finally, we moved on to a Columbia Winery Spirit of Washington Dinner Train 2004 Riesling. Columbia Winery is in Washington State and we did pick up this bottle when our Dinner Train stopped at the winery. For $7.00 it was quite a bargain. A nice sweet riesling, very easy to drink and a good way to finish the evening.