Under My Thumb

I have a problem. I’d call it an addiction actually. I joined another wine club while in CA. In my defense, we had just broken up with 3 others, so it felt like it was time to mix things up a bit. I first ran into Thumbprint Cellars perhaps 3 years ago when they sent me a bottle of wine. I really liked it, so on our last trip out to CA we swung by their tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. The rest of their line up was just as impressive, so we signed up for their wine club and took home a few bottles, including this 2010 Thumbprint Cellars Gewurztraminer bottled under screw cap and clocking in at 14.2% alcohol by volume. It retails for $24, though I paid a bit less than that with the club discount, and the grapes hail from Sara Lee’s Vineyard (where I’ve actually visited and had lunch courtesy of the Wine Blogger Conference in 2008!).

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Check out Thumbprint Cellars. They have some great things going on, including this Gewurz.

2.) I’ve really been digging Gewurz from CA lately. This, Cartograph Cellars, and Toulouse are some excellent examples.

3.) The nose on the Thumbprint was classic Gewurz. All lychee, honeysuckle, spice, and pepper.

4.) Picture a swampy, hot, humid day and you on a porch relaxing with a refreshing glass of white wine. Make it a glass of thei Thumbprint Gewurztraminer.

On the nose I got lychee, honeysuckle, honey, flowers, pineapple, spice, and white pepper. A delicious nose. In the mouth I got lemon, other citrus, spice, white pepper, tropical notes, white peach, and pineapple. This was a true dry Gewurz with tons of acidity to spare.





More Hugel

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

I’ve had this wine several times in the past. You can read my review of the 2005 vintage here. I’ve also purchased it many times and not written about it since it was always the 2005 I found in stores. Here we have the 2007 Hugel Gewurztraminer “Hugel.” At around $18 this is one of my steady go to white wines for character and reliability. It clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume and has a Diam closure.

On the nose I got white flowers, lychee, spice, peach, tropical notes, star fruit, white pepper, and lemon. This has always been one of those wines with a nose I just want to bottle and carry around with me.  In the mouth I found lychee, orange citrus, mandarins, nectarines, bananas, lemon, tropical fruit, and star fruit. Basically a whole fruit bowl in a glass. The wine had that great oily mouthfeel quality that I sometimes find in Gewurztraminers and Vigonier. The 2007 definitely deserves a place on your holiday table.

What Do You Spy?

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Spy Valley Winery.

Well, if you were sitting in my living room, it would be a bottle of the 2007 Spy Valley Gewurztraminer!  This is the 4th in a series of wines I’ve sampled from the Spy Valley line, which arrived here about 3 week ago.  Following along with the others, I also really enjoyed the Gewurztaminer.  We had it after dinner the other night, though I snuck outside to snap my photos as I couldn’t get the lighting in the house right to capture the label.  Too much flash! The Spy Valley Gewurztraminer had a screw cap closure, looks to retail for somewhere around $16, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found spice, lychee, mandarin oranges, lemon, flowers, honeysuckle, a touch of cracked pepper, and jasmine. This wine had the kind of nose you just want to keep sniffing forever.  In the mouth I got flavors of spicy pear, lemon, honey, yellow apple, and tangerine.  The mouthfeel seemed a touch oily, but the fruit showed as quite clean. We both enjoyed this bottle.

Gewurz Time!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Mill Creek Winery.

Tonight I felt like a spicy white wine. Our weather is hot hot hot! And white wine is just the ticket for nights like tonight.  I picked the 2007 Mill Creek Winery Gewurztraminer out of the basement to sip after dinner.  We had leftover meatloaf and I didn’t think the wine and and the meatloaf would work so well together….this is my second Mill Creek Winery wine and I’m digging them!  The Gewurztraminer (I have such trouble spelling that grape!) clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $18.

On the nose I find white flowers, spice, lychee, almonds, spicy pears, lots of flowers, the slightest hint of tangerine, and a touch of honey.  I love the nose on Gewurztraminer.  I could have kept smelling this one for hours, but Matt was eyeing my glass, so I thought I best get to it!  In the mouth, the wine is crisp with a great spciy characteristic.  I get the tangerine more in the mouth, with lychee, flowers, almonds, and exotic spices.  This is a tasty Gewurztraminer, and if you are so inclined to eat spicy foods, this would make a great match!

Getting Springy With It

The weather seems to have turned a corner here! We’ve had 70 degrees or better the last couple of days and I’m breaking out the white wines I’ve been craving. I must stock the cellar though, as white wines are in short supply around here.  Perhaps we’ll hunt for some nice whites on our Spring CA trip.  we leave in 36 days!  Tonight I chose the 2006 Navarro Gewurztraminer to sip while Matt went out with some friends.  We picked this wine up at Navarro last spring, it had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and cost $19.

I found the nose to be incredibly floral.  I also got aromas of white pepper, lychee, orange blossoms, white flowers, and honeysuckle.  In the mouth I found flavors of lemon, mandarins, lychee, almonds, minerals, and oranges.  I really enjoyed this wine and found it to be crisp and refreshing with excellent acidity.  I drank it with some grilled haddock and it went perfectly.

Grand New Zealand Tasting

So on the first day of the Wine Blogger Conference, not only did we have the Kick Ranch Tasting, the “speed dating” tasting, and the Dry Creek Growers tasting, we also were treated to a grand tasting of New Zealand wines sponosred by the New Zealand Wine Growers Association.  This is actually the 2nd time I’ve had the pleasure of tasting the wines of the New Zealand Wine Growers Association, the first time was at the DC International Wine and Food Festival.

The New Zealand folks brought over 100 wines for us to taste, ranging from the typical Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs, to Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.  I think this was one of the more popular tastings at the Conference, as you could pour everything yourself, meander around at your leisure, and you were able to relax and mingle with the conference participants in an open format.  Now, with over 100 wines, and only an hour to taste, I honestly didn’t get through very many. But I really enjoyed the one I did!

2008 Crossroads Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, gooseberry, all citrus, tart, not bracing. Very nice.

2008 Vavasour Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Jalapeno, gooseberries, bracing, tart, really tart.

2008 Care Campbell Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, lemon sherbet, green pepper, asparagus, tart.

2008 Mount Grey Estate Waipara Pinot Gris: Pear, tinned pear, banana, lemon, cooked pear, nice acidity.

2007 Staete Landt Marlborough Pinot Gris: Honeysuckle, pear, peach, crisp, nice acidity. Excellent.

2007 Seifried Gewurztraminer: Oak, pear, peppers, flowers, pear, peach, almond. Very nice.

2008 Spy Valley Gewurztraminer: Really expressive nose, lychee, flowers, pears, honesuckle, crisp, tart, pear. Extremely well done.

2008 Omaka Springs Sauvignon Blanc: Light nose, gooseberry, citrus, pepper, slight lemon, tart, very nice.

I didn’t get anywhere near the reds, sadly. I wish I had the time to, as I don’t think I’ve ever had a red wine from New Zealand. I heard lots of good feedback from other folks on the quality of the Pinot Noirs. However, having just come off an all Zinfandel tasting, I was really feeling the white wines and the Sauvignon Blancs (as we all know, I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) really hit the spot.

The Last Hugel

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bin Ends Wine so I could participate in Twitter Taste Live

Ah, the last of the Hugels. I’ve written about the other 3 bottles we tasted for Twitter Taste Live, so it’s time to round that out with the fourth Hugel wine from the Bin Ends Wine tasting. While this is the last wine I’ll write about, we tasted it second the evening of the Twitter tasting. The 2005 Hugel Gewurtraminer may have been my favorite of the “regular” level Hugel wines that we tasted that evening. It either had Diam or a real cork, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and you can purchase it for around $17.

In the glass, this Gewurztraminer showed as a very pale, almost translucent color with just the slightest tinge of a straw color. You shouldn’t be fooled by the pale color on this one though, the aroma just wafted across the room, huge! I found lychee, ginger, mango, bread fruit, spice, and roses. Just a gorgeous perfumed nose. In the mouth, I got flavors of white pepper, orange, lychee, ginger, and honey.

Overall, I would describe this wine as dancing in the mouth and quite alive. I found the wine refreshing, fun, and very tasty. This could easily be a go-to wine at the price point, and would make a really good Thanksgiving wine.

WBW #50 Which Wine Which Wilderness

That’s right folks, WBW crept up on us again this month. Our host for this golden birthday of WBW is a man who recently celebrated his own golden birthday, Russ, the Winehiker! In keeping with his interests and passions, Russ has set the theme for this WBW at Which wine, which wilderness? By this he meant he would like us to choose a wine we would like to drink after hiking a trail. He wants us to name the wine and the trail, and you get bonus points for choosing a local wine to the trail you select. You can get all the details here.

So here’s the thing. On the scale of athletic to unathletic, I fall squarely in the “unathletic” camp. I force myself to exercise because it’s good for me and with the amount of wine I consume I’d probably be the size of adult elephant in no time flat if I didn’t. Sure, I’ve been on hikes. I hiked halfway up Mt. Moosilauke in NH before the altitude made it too hard for me to breathe and I got an asthma attack….but in reality I’m more of a “wine stroller” than a hiker.

Another notch against me is that within the Metro DC area, trails are simply not abundant. You’d have to drive a bit to get to anything remotely strenuous.

After considerable thought, I’ve decided that my trail is the Mt. Vernon Trail. We walk this one quite frequently as it’s beautiful and very close to our house. The Mt. Vernon Trail goes all the way from Mt. Vernon to Roosevelt Island, all along the banks of the Potomac River. It’s about 18 miles long, fully paved, and is open to both walkers/runners and bicycles. Matt and I like to walk back and forth along about a 4 mile stretch of this trail, through a pretty marsh land and up into Old Town Alexandria.

If I were to have a glass of wine at the end of this, I’d stop along the way at one of the many picnic spots along the scenic Potomac (you can see lots of the monuments from the trail) and pop the cork on a bottle of the 2006 Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer in honor of Russ himself and the wine hike he took me on a few weeks ago that ended with a tasting at Thomas Fogarty in the Santa Cruz Mountains!

The above picture is a Banana Slug I took a picture of while hiking with Russ. These creatures fascinated me and I’m sure it annoyed Russ to no end that I kept stopping to examine them and take loads of photos!

The Thomas Fogarty 2006 Gewurztraminer hails from Monterey County. It cost me $17 at the winery, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure. On the nose I found orange blossom, honey, ginger, lime, spice, tropical fruit, lychee, flowers, and something almost nutty. The nose on this wine kept going and going, so aromatic. You could smell your glass across the room. In the mouth I got flavors of citrus, oranges, tropical fruit, spice, and ginger.

Overall, the wine seemed light and sprightly. It had a great mineral quality, and the acidity really made it a refreshing wine. I would drink this at the end of a long hike/walk on the Mt. Vernon Trail because it it would be the perfect pick me up and would be a wonderful wine to drink while surrounded by great views of Washington, DC.

Many thanks to Russ for hosting us in this edition of WBW and as always, a tip of the hat to Lenn of Lenndevours, our founder who has kept WBW going for 50 iterations.

Can You Pronounce This?

The wine for the evening happened to have a very strange name, the 2006 Navarro Edelzwicker. We picked this bottle up at the winery on our March Sonoma trip, it cost $12, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Navarro bills the wine as “Mendocino Table Wine,” and it’s a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris.

In the glass, the wine displayed a pale yellow color, which unfortunately, you can’t see from my photo. Even though I got a new camera, I’m still working on the settings and actually taking good photos. Perhaps I should just give up and accept the fact that as a photographer, I suck.

On the nose I found perfume, spice, flowers, some underlying citrus, and 7-Up. Really, I said to Matt, “This wine smells like grapes.” No, I don’t mean to suggest it smells like the folks over at Smells Like Grape, though it could, I’ll let you know after the Wine Blogger Conference as I’m sharing a room with Taster B. In the mouth I got flavors of lemon, lime, (so really, if I knew what 7-Up tasted like, this might be it in wine form), flowers, honey, and a touch of spice. The flavors and body of the wine were quite light, though it did have just a hint of a creamy texture. Overall, an excellent bargain for the price.

Wine Friends Are Great!

Farley, formerly of Behind the Vines and soon to be of….well, yet to be announced, but we all know that whatever she chooses to do next will be a great success, gave me and Matt this bottle of 2005 Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer last year as a house warming present! It hails from Monterey, California, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume. I doubt this vintage is widely available any longer since it’s now 2008, but if the quality I found in this wine is an indication of future vintages, I can easily recommend it.

On the nose I found vanilla, ginger, floral aromas, honey, and tropical fruit. The nose was quite aromatic…I had to force myself to stop smelling it so I wouldn’t lose my share of the bottle to Matt!. In the mouth I got peach, tropical fruit, honey, spice, and minerals. The wine had a very full mouthfeel, and was silky smooth. With the great acidity and structure, I can see how this would be a good match with spicy food as Farley suggested (though, my heartburn can’t handle spicy food, so we just drank it on it’s own!).

I described the wine as “yummy” and “very yummy” in my notes, so I guess that’s a good vote about what I thought of it! Many thanks to Farley for sharing this with me!