Two New Grapes!!!

I’m super excited about this wine, not only because it tasted good and represented a great deal, but also because it knocked two more grapes off on the Century Club application for us! This wine provided grapes 86 and 87….only 13 more to go!!  I purchased the 2007 Chateau la Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Blanc from the Domain547 for $18, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.  It’s a White Rhone blend of Clairette (new grape!), Bourboulenc (new grape!!), Roussanne, and Marsanne.  And it rocked.

On the nose I got lots of flowers, tropical fruit, a cream note, apple, banana, lime, citrus, and tangerines.  This is definitely one you should let warm up a bit.  I stuck it in the fridge for about 15 minutes and it came out all muted…I had to warm it up in my hands.  In the mouth I found citrus, lime, tropical fruit, apples, and star fruit.

I wrote down that the wine “is calling out for crab legs.”  Last night we drank it with some cheese crackers before a late evening dinner reservation and it worked well with those.  Overall, I found the wine to be crisp with a great mouthfeel that I associated with Marsanne and Roussanne.

Curses, Foiled Again!

I thought I had a new grape here.  Major disappointment on my part to learn that Monastrell is simply Spanish for Mouvedre, a grape I love and have already tasted many times.  So I guess I’ll just have to keep searching for my Century Club application…these last few grapes just aren’t coming quickly!  Anyway, I chose the 2006 Juan Gil Monastrell to drink with the cheese dinner we had the other night .  The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me (I think) $18 from Domaine547.

On the nose I found chocolate, wood, licorice, spice, smoky campfire, herbs, and cranberry.  The nose had this amazing and intriguing campfire smell.  In the mouth I got flavors of dark fruit, blueberries, cranberries, licorice, and smoke.  This wine was ready to drink with smooth fruit, good acidity, and nice structure.  Definitely a bargain at the price point!

So Close, Yet So Far Away

We are at 83 grapes now in our Century Club quest. I believe this was grape number 82, and we just had grape number 83 this weekend, so look for a post on it soon.  I still have 4 more grapes in the basement to try, so that will put us at 87…I think those last 13 will be tough to ferret out.  I’m contemplating ordering a mixed case of obscure grapes that I haven’t tried yet, as I seem to have exhausted the collections of my favorite online and brick and mortar stores at this point.  Anyway, I chose the 2007 Curran Grenache Blanc for the evening.  I purchased this wine quite a while ago from Domaine547 when I first got on the kick to start finishing up our Century Club application.  I believe I paid $22 for it, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

On those I found aromas of creamy orange rind, pineapple, lemon, grapefruit, pears, and apples.  Having never had a Grenache Blanc before, I likened the nose to Pinot Blanc.  I really enjoyed smelling this wine (and drinking it….!).  In the mouth I got lots of pear, citrus, orange zest, lemon, grapefruit, and green apple.

Both Matt and I really liked this wine.  It’s crisp and refreshing with a great round mouthfeel.  The wine had great structure and acidity, I think it would make an excellent substitute for any dish you’d drink a Pinot Blanc with…personally, I like mine with crab cakes.  This is definitely a wine I’d re-buy.

Sauvignon Blanc and Fondue

Red wine is multiplying and having babies in my basement. We used to have just slightly more red wine than white wine down there….the red lived in 9 wine racks and the white lived in one old wine rack and 7 styrafoam shipper halves.  Now, the red wine takes up the original 9 racks, plus the old rack, and more than 4 of the styrafoam shippers.  I’m not really sure how that happened, but I think I need to start collecting some more white wine. My selection is dismal at the moment.  So that would explain why I’m quickly drinking the few whites I got in my Domaine547 shipment last week!

On our ski trip, we decided that fondue would make a great meal after a day on the mountain.  However, when I packed to go, I realized I had absolutely no bone dry Riesling in the basement to take with us. (My usual choice with fondue.)  So instead I grabbed the 2007 Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon Blanc that I bought from Domaine547 for $13.  It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork, and hails from France.

On the nose I found grassy aromas, citrus, hay, lemon, herbs, tropical notes, and star fruit.  I also thought I detected a hint of wet stone.  In the mouth I got flavors of lemon, fresh cut grass, herbs, pineapple, stones, minerals, and other tropical fruit.  Overall, I found the wine to be light and refreshing, and it went fabulously well both in the fondue and with it.  At $13, this is a great bargain…Matt is still talking about it days later!

WBW #54-Wines of Piedmont

WBW crept up on me again this month. It has a nasty of doing that these days…especially in short months like February.  Our host this month is David of McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail.  David set us to what seemed like an easy task at the time, drinking any wine, white, red, or otherwise from Piedmont.  However, after checking out my local wine shop and finding only a $50+ bottle of Barolo, I had to make a rush order from Jill at Domaine547, who again humored my refusal to use her website and quickly helped me choose a half case of wine (the most economical way to ship to me that I’ve found…plus, I can always use another half case of wine…right?  RIGHT?).

I always like the opportunity to taste reds from Italy as I tend to find them to be great values, so I’m happy that Domaine547 had a red from Piedmont to offer me!  I chose the 2006 Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto D’Alba.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me $22.99 from Domaine547.

On the nose I found chocolate covered cherries, currants, berries, anise, spice, white pepper, cherry, and plums.  The nose kept evolving as the wine aired, it definitely needed some time to open up.  In the mouth I got juicy cherries, earth, some bitter notes, raspberry, cedar, dark fruit, and chocolate.  Overall, I found the wine to be incredibly juicy.  The fruit showed as fresh and bright.  The wine had nice tannic structure and acidity.  We ate this with roast beef and it stood up well to the meat, but I also really enjoyed sipping it after dinner.  The wine is young and would definitely benefit from some vigorous decanting or some more time in the bottle.

Many thanks to David for hosting and for pointing me to Italy once again.  I really should drink more Italian wines!  And as always, a tip of the virtual hat to Lenn, the founder of WBW.  See you next month!

New Grape! New Grape! New Grape!

Grape number 79 in my quest to reach the Century Club number of 100! Only 21 more to go…and I think I have 5 more new ones to try kicking around my cellar.  I’m like the little engine that could…I’ll get there at some point, no rush, slow and steady.  It is getting harder and harder though, I’m already into fairly obscure grapes….this bottle being no exception!  I chose the 2007 MonteNovo Godello from Valdeorras Spain for the evening.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and cost me $12 from Domaine547.

On the nose I found lemon cream, vanilla, tropical fruit, star fruit, pineapple, a waxy lemon note, cream, and butterscotch.  The nose on the wine kept evolving as the wine warmed, proving to be surprisingly complex for the price point.  In the mouth I got flavors of lemon, pineapple, nice tropical notes, and citrus around the edges.

Overall, the wine reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc. It had lots of citrusy acidity, though as it warmed up, the acidity tamed and the wine became rounder.  I think the most apt comparison would be to a very lightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc.

Bargain Pinot Noir

I chose the 2006 Le Jardin de Charlotte Becky Wasserman & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir as the wine for the evening.  I purchased this from Domaine547 several months ago for $17.99.  It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume and had a Diam closure.

On the nose I found vanilla cream, tart berries, leather, cedar, earth, spice, and black cherries.  In the mouth I got flavors of raspberry, black cherry, more red fruit, red cherries, a little earth, and spice.  I found the fruit to be tart and fresh, with the mouth showing darker than I anticipated from the mouth.

At $17.99, this is an excellent deal for a Pinot Noir. Especially with the holidays upon us, I’m looking for great wine at a great price to serve with all the guests coming over and stopping by throughout the season.  This one certainly fits the bill.

Cuvee Cuvee

I picked the Ortman Family Vineyards 2006 Cuvee Eddy as the wine for the evening. I purchased this bottle from Domaine547. It now costs $16.99, originally $21.99, though I can’t remember what I paid for it.  I bought it in one of my searches for interesting new wines that Jill helped me with.  It clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, hails from San Luis Obispo, and had a real cork closure.  The blend is 44% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Petite Sirah, 9% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.  Right there you have 5 of my all time favorite grapes blended into one wine…how can you go wrong?
I set the wine for the evening on our coffee table, mainly because I have coasters there, and it requires Matt to get up and pour me wine, rather than the other way around. The first thing I notices about the wine is that I can smell it from 3+ feet away before I’ve even got a glass of it in front me me.  On the nose I found berries, lots of berries. Blackberries, blueberries, black cherry,  spice, pepper, earth, baking spice, and cinnamon all wafted our of my glass.

In the mouth, big tart berries, blackberries, earth, red currants, chocolate, vanilla, pepper, and spicy wood dominated.  More red cherry and red fruit showed in the mouth than I would have expected from the nose. My thought in drinking this wine turned to bbq….I think it would stand up excellently to spicy bbq sauce.  The wine had tannins to spare and a firm structure.  Ready to drink now, or should keep for a few more years if you wish. Yum!

Whosit? Whatsit? The Great Whatsit!

You may be wondering, what exactly is The Great Whatsit? And where does it come from? How did I get it? Well I’ll answer all that for you! The Great Whatsit is a Domain547 selection and this year it is a 2005 Syrah from Santa Ynez Valley. Domaine547 intends to have a Great Whatsit bottled every year, though there’s no telling Whatsit will be from year to year! I purchased this wine from Domaine547 for $20, it clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and comes under a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found plums, cinnamon, baking spice, cobbler, pie, blackberries, licorice, espresso. It smelled like my kitchen when I’ve been baking, a veritable buffet of my favorite fruity cinnamony desserts all wrapped up into the nose of a wine! In the mouth I got flavors of black cherry, plums, bitter coffee, blackberry, and spice.

Overall, the wine had some tannins to spare, so let it air a bit or save it for a year. This is a dark wine, big and fruity, with a nice finish. Quite yummy! I think it might be up to $25 as I got it at an introductory price, but as with many of the wines Jill has recommended for me, this is great at the price point!

As Promised: Visiting Michel Schlumberger Redux

Matt and I love Michel Schlumberger. So on our most recent CA adventure it was a no brainer to stop by for a 2nd attempt at a tasting when we were out and about with Russ (who I will be hiking with on Wednesday!) and Patrick (who hopefully can join me for lunch on Thursday, haven’t talked to him yet…) in Sonoma. I will also be heading back to Michel Schlumberger this coming week for another tasting! I promised you yesterday that I’d take a look and dig up my notes from the latest tasting as a preview for the upcoming Bin Ends Wine live Twitter tasting!

We tasted through the current line up, and some barrel samples, though I know since the tasting, the 2006 Chardonnay has come out, as well as the 2007 Pinot Blanc (which you can get through the tasting pack I created for Domaine547.)

2006 Pinot Blanc: Crisp, citrus, melon, tropical, one of my favorite CA white wines that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting.

2005 La Brume Chardonnay (the 2006 will be part of the Bin Ends Wine tasting): apple butter, lemon, pinepple, very tasty.

2004 Pinot Noir: Estate grown, cherry cola, cherries, raspberries, tannic, I bought two bottles to bring home with us.

2005 Syrah (part of the Bin Ends Tasting): chocolate, tannic, dark fruit, dark berries. I have a bottle from a club shipment. You can find my full tasting notes from the post I wrote on this wine here.

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Deux Terres: minty, herbal, strawberry, tannic, needs some time, very nice though

2003 Cabernet (the 2004 will be part of the Bin Ends Wine tasting): sweet currants, cherry, very fruity, tasty. I have the 2004 from a club shipment.

2005 Deux Terres Cabernet Sauvignon: Barrel Sample. Dark chocolate, herbs, slight berry, licorice, dark fruit, tannic. I expect this one to be excellent on bottling.

So there you have it. I don’t have any notes for the Merlot we will be tasting, though I did have the 2002 Merlot in 2007 and thought it was good. I hope you will all join us on September 18, 7pm est for the live Twitter tasting!