Bubbles and New Grapes!

Buying this bottle of wine might help you get 3 grapes for your Century Club application! It added two more to my list on my (slow) quest to reach 200. So I’m at about 208 now. At this rate I’ll make it in 10 years! I picked up this bottle of Cava Barcino from Domaine LA. Jill is always good for bubbly and new grapes! I paid about $15, it had a traditional Champagne-type closure, and clocked in at 11.5% alcohol by volume. This Cava is a blend of Xarello (not new to me), Macabeu (new!), and Parellada (new!).

On the nose I got toast, lemon, and lemon custard. While it had a simple nose, it smelled clean and fresh, and well, I like lemon custard. In the mouth I found lemon, lime, and other citrus. I thought I got a hint of the toast from the nose, but really it was mostly citrus. Overall I found the wine to be crisp, but it had a nice creamy smoothness on the finish. I’d definitely get this one again at the price point.


Living in Bubbles

I am pretty much kicking some serious butt at my goal of drinking more bubbles this year. We’ve had more sparkling wine in the first half of 2010 than I think I’ve covered in all 4 years of writing this blog. Such a painful and hard goal too…  I’ve had lots of help from Jill over at DomaineLA with picking out and getting a diverse selection of bubbly to my door. I need to restock at least once more before our weather turns too warm for shipping! We’ve fallen into the tradition of opening a bottle of bubbles on a Saturday afternoon and hanging outside when it’s nice playing board games or curled up inside with a fire and a movie if it’s rainy or cold. For one of the nice days I chose the NV Francois Pinon Vouvray Brut. I purchased this from DomaineLA for $22, it had a traditional champagne closure, and clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume.

Off the first sniff this bubbly reminded me of beer. It showed yeast, toast, and apples, with a side of marshmallow and yellow apple. Also, it sort of just smelled a little hoppy like beer to me. In the mouth I found lots more apple, though it tended toward a greener apple than the nose, more toast, and melon notes. While the bubbly had an element of sweetness (perhaps better described as a fuller creamier mouthfeel) it remained plenty crisp and had nice acidity. I think I trounced Matt in Scrabble this day!

Back to Bubbly

As I’ve mentioned a dozen or so times this year, one of my goals for the year is to drink more bubbly. Lots more bubbly. Helping me along the way is Jill of DomaineLA who happens to have a never-ending supply of interesting bubbly to sell to me to help me along the way. Which reminds me, I need to answer her last email and pick my next 6-pack of bubbly. Especially with what amounts to summer upon us (82 and muggy/humid today! What happened to spring??) I will be in desperate need of bubbly! Tonight we chose the 2007 Domaine La Grange Tiphaine Nouveau Nez. It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a traditional Champagne closure, and cost me $26 at DomaineLA.

The wine is Chenin Blanc based. On the nose I found it to be toasty with lemon and waxy notes. In the mouth, more lemon, and dough, yeast, tart green apple and an overall bready flavor had me diving in for more. Overall, the Nez is crisp and dry, and I thought it was really well done. Both Matt and I loved it and would definitely get it again. Cheers!

Everyone Loves a Little Bubbly

As you probably well know by now, bubbles are my thing this year. I’m quite happy with the goal I set to drink more bubbly….it’s only March and I’ve had more sparkling wine already than I usually do in an entire year. It’s also been a good way for me to break out of my normal CA reds pattern. While sparkling wines are made in CA, most of the less expensive ones come from from France, Spain, and Italy. I’ve already put out work to Jill at DomaineLA that I need to buy another shipment of bubbles from her and I’ve made two trips to Unwined in the last month just to get more! Tonight we opened up the NV Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and cost me $16.99 at Unwined.

On the nose this was reminiscent of a hoppy beer to me. I got lots of bread, lime zest, tart green apples, lime, and more lime zest. In the mouth I found the wine show very tart citrus, steely notes, more green apples, and just a hint of the bread from the nose. It had lots of tiny little bubbles and we truly enjoyed this bottle. A steal for the price point.

Something New

I put out the call to my friend Jill at Domaine547LA to help me with my “drink more sparkling wine” goal this year. Ever accommodating to the fact that I utterly refuse to use her website to order wine, she came back with recommendations for about a dozens bottles of sparkling, and of course some still wines too! I picked 4 sparklings and rounded it out with the best Grenache Blanc ever and a Pinot Gris. This is a new one for me, I don’t think I’ve had a Cremant de Loire…Cremant of other places in France, sure, but not Loire. We picked out the Julien Fouet Cremant de Loire on a Tuesday night to drink simply because it was a Tuesday night and that called for bubbles. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and cost me $19.99 from DomaineLA.

On the nose I found toast, bright red fruit, strawberries, lime, spice, and pepper. I loved the salmon color on this wine, though I fear my photography skills (or lack thereof) leave a lot to be desired and it appears a lot pinker in my photos than it did in real life. In the mouth I got spice, raspberry, strawberry, and an orange rind note.  Bone dry, crisp, tangy, and lots of little bubbles…this will make a frequent appearance at our back yard bbqs this summer.

A Goal I’m Good At

Setting “Drink more bubbly” as one of my 2010 wine goals may have been my best idea yet. We’ve been popping at least one bubbly a week since the new year started and I am thrilled about it. I’m trying to get us to try a wide range of bubbly styles too, and I have to thank Jill at DomaineLA (aka Domaine547) for stocking SO much bubbly for me to choose from. I just ordered 4 more bottles of assorted bubbly from her too, so more to come! Tonight we tried the NV Terres Dorées FRV 100 de Jean-Paul Brun.  It clocked in at 7.5% alcohol by volume, cost me $18.99 at DomaineLA, and had a traditional Champagne closure. The wine is a sparkling Gamay Noir, an interesting and different sparkler for me.

I loved the color on this one! It was much brighter than a normal sparkling Rosé. On the nose i found rose petals, cherries, and strawberries. In the mouth I got bright red fruit, strawberry, cherry, and cranberry.  I found it to be on the sweeter side with really tart strong cranberries. Matt was more a fan of this one than I was, but he likes his wines slightly sweeter than I do.

Another One Bites the Dust

I may have mentioned (or I may have not, given that sometimes I think I’ve told people things through the wine blog and then discover I have not….senility I tell you) that when we concluded our hunt to join the Century Club (man, I really need to submit that paperwork) I wanted to start to work on my second 100 grapes. Jill over at Domaine547 was eager to help me with my new goal, and when we were out in Los Angeles in September we stopped in to her new digs (I owe you a post on that one, her new store is fabulous). Of course, a wino can’t leave a wine store without wine (sacrelig it would be) so I picked up a few bottles, including this 2007 Roussette Du Bugey Montagnieu Altesse. It had a real cork, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me $22.

On the nose I found honeyed pear, stones, lemon, golden apple, pineapple, and tropical notes. In the mouth I got lemon, fresh pear, pineapple, golden apple, and stones. I wrote in my notes that the mineral quality in the wine reminded me of swimming in a stone quarry and getting just a spray of the water in your mouth with that chalky just slightly salty taste.  The fresh pear and lemon really dominated the palate though, giving this wine lots of life. Another great grape found on my quest to try new grapes!

WBW #60 Round Up: I Have Zinned

A hearty thanks to all who busted out some Zin to participate in the 5th birthday of WBW! As you probably gathered by now, I set the theme for this momentous occasion to I Have Zinned. I asked everyone to grab a bottle of Zin and pair it with their favorite grilled or BBQ food.  Zin and BBQ is one of my favorite pairings and it seems to be wbwlogosome of yours too! Though I did discover this time that Zins that have aged a little don’t seem to have the oopmh to stand up to sweeter BBQ sauce.  I think several others had the same revelation!

Overall, 30 folks joined us for WBW #60, with posts on 29 wine blogs!  Across the board, 46 Zins were reviewed for this WBW.  I’m happy so many joined in for the 5th birthday celebration of WBW!  I know participation lags in the summer as folks tend to be on holiday and such, so I appreciate the effort! Below are snapshots of all the posts, click through to read everyone’s full take on Zin and BBQ (or pizza in John’s case…though I kinda wish he’d grilled up some tofu or something 😉 )

Our first entry came in over a week early from David at Cooking Chat. He picked the 2007 Ridge Paso Robles Zin to pair with his ribeye. Sadly, he found it to be a bit underwhelming for the price point, though I expect it might have needed a little more time…07 is young for a Ridge Zin! Read his whole take here.

Ryan over at Oe-no-phile also joined with an early entry. He went off the beaten Zin path and picked a 2006 Old Vine Zin from Sineann, a winery with a Zin vineyard that straddles Oregon and Washington…so technically it’s a Washington State Zin. In short, he loved loved loved it.  Check out his fully review here.

Another early entry, Jason of This Blog and 20 Bucks Can Definitely Get You a Great Bottle of Wine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) picked a Zin I am very familiar with the 2006 Camellia Cellars Leconi Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel.  He paired it with an Heirloom tomato salad and grilled Moroccan chicken. You can read his review and check out his dinner here.

Randy, The Wine Whore, joins us for the WBW, and chose a Zin that I also have hanging around waiting for me to taste it!  He picked the 2006 J. Keverson Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfandel and presents us with a fun pictorial review of his experience tasting it.  Visit The Wine Whore for his review.

Bill from Wine for Newbies brought out the big guns for this WBW, tasting through 6 Zins! Though he admits he only tasted one of them with his BBQ! All 6 hail from Lodi and he picked the 2007 m2 “Old Vine” Soucie Vineyard, the 2007 Bargetto Zinfandel Old Vine, the 2007 Macchia Zinfandel “Oblivious”, the 2006 Mettler Vineyards Zinfandel “Epicenter”, the 2006 Harney Lane Zinfandel “Lizzie James” Vineyard, and the 2006 Michael David Gluttony “Old Vines”. Head on over to Wine for Newbies to read all about them.

Richard, who writes Silene’s Cellar, told us a lovely story of his first eye-opening Zin experience with a 1977 Monteviña Special Selection Zin.  He follows up that tale with a a blind tasting of 3 Zins (great minds think alike!).  Richard picked that 2005 Hendry Block 7 Napa Zin, the 2005 Dendor Patton Wisdom Mendocino Old Vine Zin, and the 2005 Sequum Riverwash Dry Creek Zin. Which won? You’ll have to visit Silene’s Cellar to find out!

Next up, Shea of Just Grapes. Shea chose to write up his visit to Mazzocco Winery after the Wine Blogger Conference where they make many Zins (I’ve visited before, but not in years). He tells us about the 6 Zins he tasted, with his favorite being the mighty pricey $120 2006 Antoine Phillipe Reserve. Read about them all here.

My roomie from WBC, Catie, aka the Walla Walla Wine Woman, brings us, what else? Zin from Walla Walla, Washington! I was actually surprised by the number of Washington Zins that popped up for this WBW, though I would expect nothing less from Catie!  She picked the 2005 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel and paired it with Bulgogi, which sounds delish! Head on over for her recipe and wine review.

Our first Zin mishap comes from Rob over at Wine Post. (Who, by the way, recognizes how multi-talented I am at smiling and talking at the same time.) He picked up one of my favorites, a 2006 Titus Zinfandel. Sadly, he found it cooked. What a shame, it’s a great wine!

Then there’s me. I also did a blind tasting of 3 Zins! I chose the 2003 Sky Saddle, the 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs, and the 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemtery Vineyard.  I tasted mine with BBQ and found my BBQ sauce seemed to overwhelm the Zins, but of course, I didn’t let that get in my way! Read about my Zins here.

Kevin over at Under the Grape Tree joined us with a Zin from afar.  Now, I don’t see too many Zins coming out of Australia, so I was thrilled with this obscurish pick.  He chose the 2006 Groom Bush Vine Zin from Barossa. Over two days, he paired the wine with a grilled steak and BBQ ribs, and thankfully had better luck than I did with the BBQ sauce pairing! His review is here.

The Brix Chicks went all out for this WBW! Brix Chick Janesta reviewed the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel one of many Zins the Brix Chicks tasted that evening! They also smoked some meat and Janesta posts a photo of Sean Connery as 007…how does that connect with the wine? You’ll have to read to find out!

Jim from VineGeek submitted the post on Zin he did last month, seeing as how he had just written about the exact topic at hand, I decided to let him slide 😉 He chose the 2006 Cline Bridgehead Contra Costa County Zin, and sadly found it a bit lacking for the price point.  His full write up is here.

Gwendolyn, aka the Art Predator, (gee, what’s with all these bloggers with several aliases, lol), joins us with yet another Ridge Zinfandel.  Folks love Ridge Zins, one of the kings of Zin in my mind! She picked the 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs to go with her marinated tri tip and it blew her out of the water! Check out her review here.

We got another Brix Chick post out of the event too! Liza wrote up several of the other wines that they enjoyed with their brisket.  To round out the tasting, they enjoyed the 2006 Harney Lane Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zin, the 2007 m2 Wines Soucie Vineyard 1916 Block Lodi Old Vine Zin, and the 2007 Newsome Harlow Big John’s Vineyard Calaveras Zinfandel. Quite the tasting. Head on over to the Brix Chicks for the details!.

Over at Drink What You Like, Frank brings us yet another Washington State Zinfandel! That’s three so far! I had no idea so much Zin was coming out of Washington, but that makes my mission clear: I must have some.  Frank searched through 5 wine shops in Seattle before finding the 2006 Maryhill Zinfandel.  He find it to be a decent QPR wine and hopes to taste more Washington Zin in the future. His review is here.

Joe, the Suburban Wino, has a great sildeshow/video up of the tantalizing ribs he made to go with his Zin. It’s worth a visit just for the drool worthy BBQ, as well as his review! He chose the 2006 Cartlidge and Browne Amador Zinfandel. It appears he preferred his ribs to the Zin, but thought it was fine for the price point. Visit Suburban Wino for the full review!

Our 4th Washington State Zinfandel comes from Kori over at Wine Peeps! She tasted 2 Zins blind (clearly another great mind!), the 2005 Forgeron Zin (same as Catie!) and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zin.  The meal she had with it made me want to hop on a plane and beg her mother to make BBQ for me too!  Find out which Zin prevailed by heading over to Wine Peeps.

Not a traditional WBW post, but Hello Vino participated by bringing us some info about Zin!  They write about the history of Zin, talk about how alcohol levels affect the fruit, and offer suggested grilled and BBQ foods to pair with it! Head on over to Hello Vino to read all about Zinfandel.

A fairly new wine blogger, Dee Wineo loses his WBW virginity on the Zin and BBQ theme!  He BBQ’d up some pork steak (which I just learned about last week when friends of mine made it for dinner while I was out in St. Louis!) and pulled out a value Zin to pair with it, the 2007 Foxglove Zinfandel.  Read about how his pairing turned out here.

My favorite Lush, Thea, aka Winebratsf, of course joined us for this WBW as she has a similar affection for Zinfandel like me! Raising it up yet another notch, Thea attended the ZAP summer outing and visited 3 wineries and tasted a plethora of Zins. She chose to focus on Rockwall Wine Company and D-Cubed Cellars in her post, highlighting 2 of their Zins along with the BBQ at the event. Visit Luscious Lushes for the full report.

Debbie, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, had a mishap with her post too: her dog ate her tasting notes! Now there’s a new twist on the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse!  Not to fear, being a trooper, Debbie sacrificed and opened another Zin in time for WBW! She chose the 2006 Truett Hurst Red Rooster Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfanel.  Read her review here.

My friend John over at Anything Wine joined in on the fun, though being a vegetarian he skipped the toss some meat on the grill part….I think he should do a follow up on how Zin pairs with grilled tofu or veggie burgers! John picked the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel.  A sure winner, head on over for his take on the wine.

Now, I hope the link for this participant will work. Grace, the CellarMistress, posted her WBW on FaceBook. I’m not sure if you have to be her friend to read it, if so, let me know and I’ll reproduce the whole thing here. Grace chose the 2006 Seghesio Family Vineyards Della Costa Alexander Valley Zin.  You can (hopefully) read her review here!

Michelle from My Wine Education had to do a local twist on the theme, being loyal to her beloved Cincinnati (and also started Wine Blogging Thursday)! She picked the 2006 Zincinnati Zinfandel from Mendocino. The story on this wine is that a local distributor teamed up with a CA Zin producer to create this wine! Swing by My Wine Education for the full story!

John of Brim to the Dregs came out of WBW hiding to join in on the BBQ and Zin theme on Wine Blogging Thursday as well. He had a little trouble with the grilling part…first it rained and then his cooking skills failed him and his steaks were a bit more well done than intended. Good thing he had an excellent bottle of Zin to make things right! John chose the 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Zinfandel (one I’ve had many times!) and you can read his review here.

Our founding father Lenn also came in for Wine Blogging Thursday 😉 with a Zin he had trouble finding.  He picked the 2000 (oldest Zin for this WBW!) Neyer’s Pato Vineyards Zinfandel. Unfortunately, he thought it seemed tired and speculated that perhaps it hadn’t been stored properly for the time it lived in the store. Head on over to Lenndevours for his review.

Another Wine Blogging Thursday participant, Jill of Domaine 547 came out of blog, Zinfandel, and WBW hiding to join in the fun! Jill doesn’t drink a lot of Zin, so I appreciate her stepping out of her wine zone and trying a Zin! She picked the 2007 Homefire Homecoming Dry Creek Zin. It made her reconsider stocking some Zins in her soon to be open brick and mortar store! Read her review here.

For a Wine Blogging Sunday entry, we have Andrew of Spittoon, our first international participant for this WBW!  He had a bit of trouble finding a Zin, his stores only had two options.  With little in the way of choices, he ended up with the 2007 Bonterra Vineyards. Sadly, he didn’t find it very food friendly.  Read his full review here.

And finally, joining us for Wine Blogging Monday is Erika of StrumErika.  Erika plucked the 2007 Merryvale Jan Vineyard Napa Zinfandel from the share pile at work to pair with her sister’s famous hot wings.  While the wine didn’t live up to expectations, the hot wings sound mighty fine to me! Visit StrumErika for her full review and wing recipe!

Thanks again to everyone for breaking out the Zin in honor of WBW’s 5th Birthday and Zinning with me. And as always, a nod of the hat to Lenn for founding such a lasting event and for having me host this month! If I missed your post, please let me know and I will happily add it in!


When it gets warm out, I start to think “bubbles.” Which is odd. Drinking sparkling wine routinely doesn’t usually occur to me.  I have plenty of sparkling wine in the basement, but when I’m considering what to pop open that night, it’s not often that I say to myself “Oh, let me grab a sparkler.”  I should more often. Sparkling wine is so refreshing and goes really well with almost any food group….from eggs to french fries!  I plucked the NV Jean Francois Mérieau Bulles Loire Sparkling Wine from the basement for an aperitif the other night.  I purchased this wine from Domaine547 a long time ago…I want to say it was around $17, it had a traditional champagne closure, and clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found lemon, honey, yeast, citrus, and sea salt.  It smells like a Blue Moon!  In the mouth the wine had nice bubbles.  I found it to be yeasty, with lemon, bread, toast, green apple, lemon drops, and almonds.  Overall, the wine showed as tart and refreshing and definitely got our palates ready for the big steak and Cabernet that came next!  Plus, the bottle had such a cute label 🙂

Slurping Syrah

Hands down, this is the BEST Syrah I’ve had in recent memory. I loved it. LOVED IT.  I’m so sad I don’t have any left as I really want to drink more of this.  I ordered some wine from Domaine547 a few months back when Jill was running a a buy $75 worth of wine and get a free bottle deal…the free bottle the day I ordered happened to be the 2004 Curran Black Oak Vineyard Syrah.  It generally retails for about $30, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.6% alcohol by volume.

Oh what a great nose. This turned into one of those nights where I had to yell at Matt for drinking too fast (not really, but he finished a glass before I even tasted mine!) since my nose remained buried in my glass for an hour!  I found lots of black fruit, plums, spice, vanilla, plum pie, blackberry, violets, smoke, anise, flowers, and blueberry.  A wonderfully powerful nose delighted me and I would have just kept sniffing but I feared the rest of the wine would be gone if I didn’t start tasting.  In the mouth, I found the wine to be just as powerful and juicy as the nose suggested.  I got black fruit, plums, spice, Juicy fruit (like the gum, I swear), anise, earth, and blackberry cobbler.

If I had to describe the wine in sentence it would be: It smells and tastes like blueberry/blackberry cobble with anise laced plums on top.  I found this wine to be captivating both on the nose and in the mouth.  I’d recommend it in a heartbeat, this is my kind of wine.