HBG Meetup!

Patrick kindly organized a happy hour while we were visiting for our first night in town at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill. This made me extremely happy as I still couldn’t get their truffle oil parmesan cheese fries off my mind. So GOOD.  Matt and I ate two baskets and I got to have the very adult mac and cheese.  I love mac and cheese very much and never miss a chance to have it….as I seem to be incapable of making it myself for some reason.

Over the course of the evening, quite a crowd came by to say hello and socialize for a bit.  We saw Patrick, Genevieve, Penny, Chris, Jeremy, Shana, Robert, and others.  Penny and Chris both brought wines to try (yay!) which I happily did.

From Penny, barrel samples of her newest Tempranillos….she’s going to make two for 2008!

2008 Coral Mustang Vista Creek Tempranillo: Dark, berries, vanilla, spice, jam, plum, currants, grat dark fruit. Looks to be a good one, though it clearly won’t be released for a little while!

2008 Coral Mustang Tres Palmeras Tempranillo: I slightly preferred this one.  It was lighter in color and flavor.  I found spice, red currants, red fruit, cedar, nice structure, nice acidity, raspberries.  This one will make a fabulous food wine.

Chris brought along a bottle from a new line they will be releasing that will retail for around $14-$15.

2007 Healdsburg Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon.  Screw cap, Sonoma County, 13.9% alcohol.  Mint, leather, herbs, spice, herbal, black currants, anise, black fruit, some red fruit around the edges, nicely done for a $14ish Cabernet!

All in all, a lovely evening catching up with old friends and making some new ones.  It’s always great to meet new people, and I love the feeling that when we go out to CA we have so many folks to visit, yet we aren’t even from Northern California (though Matt is from Southern California….).


Biting Into Ripe Cherries

Last Spring, when Patrick and Genevieve visited DC, they were kind enough to leave a bottle of their 2001 Irisdesse Anam Cara Red Wine with us.  The Anam Cara is a blend of 85% Sangiovese from Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, 10% Old Vine Zinfandel from Calistoga, Napa Valley, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga, Napa Valley. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and is available from Iridesse for $36.

On the nose I found spicy cherry, spices, leather, tack room, earth, forest, cherry, mint, eucalyptus, strawberries, and raspberries.  The nose smelled delicious. As is common in our house, Matt made his way well into his second glass before I even took my nose out of mine! You might think this is unfair, but you have to remember, he’s 6’5″ and outweighs me by quite a bit….2 glasses of wine for him is nothing compared to what it is for me!  In the mouth I got flavors of tart red berries, fresh cherries…literally tasted as if I took a bite into a perfectly ripe cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and earth.
Overall, the wine showed really well integrated tannins. With a low alcohol content, it didn’t have any heat on the nose or in the mouth at all. Even though the Cabernet Sauvignon is only 5% of this wine, I felt it really came through on both the nose and the mouth. It’s always amazing to me how the different elements of a blend add to the final product.  Well-aged, and drinking perfectly, I’d love to have another bottle of this!

Leaving On A Jet(Blue) Plane

My long-awaited trip to CA for the Wine Blogger’s Conference is finally here! I am joining 173 bloggers, wine folks, and other industry participants for 3 days of tasting, blogging, and good old fashioned fun in Santa Rosa.

Being that my trips to CA are few and far between, I’ve decided to take a few days of vacation before and after the conference and will be doing some exploring. I’m first heading up to Calaveras County to impose on the hospitality of El Jefe at Twisted Oak. I’m hoping to check out Twisted Oak and a few of the other wineries in the area before meandering down (across?) to Santa Rosa for the conference where I’ll be splitting a room with Taster B!

After the conference, I’m taking advantage of Patrick and Genevieve and will be staying with them in Sonoma for a few days! During that time, I’m doing a tasting with Thea and others at Titus and attending a press tasting of St. Helena wines at the Culinary Institute of America!

Quite a busy week planned and I’m quite excited! I hope to blog live quite a bit from the conference, but will be pre-scheduling some posts to go up here while I’m gone just in case internet access is spotty.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of new wineries and information to report to you when I get back!

Rose Rose Everywhere

The wine for the night was a 2003 Iridesse Zinfandel Rose. Patrick and Genevieve brought this out to DC for us when they were in town a few months ago. The wine hails from the Russian River Valley, clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, and the fruit comes from the Rodgers Family Vineyard.

On the nose I found strawberry rhubarb pie, white pepper, orange, spice, red berries, and candied cherries. I loved the nose on this Rose. In the mouth I got flavors of crisp strawberries, raspberries, oranges, cherries, blackberries, and citrus. This was one of the darkest Roses I’ve seen, most definitely influenced by the Zinfandel grapes.

Overall, the wine was incredibly dry and very refreshing. I served it with my easy bbq ribs and it was perfect. It was a nice complement to the spice of the bbq sauce. The wine retails for $12, which is already a great deal, but Patrick and Genevieve are currently running a summer sale and offering 50% off a case. That’s an incredible value and I’d definitely run to scoop that up for the summer months.

Many thanks to Patrick and Genevieve for sharing this wine with us!

Drinking with Patrick, Genevieve, and Russ

As I’ve mentioned before, Patrick was kind enough to escort Matt, Russ, and me around his stomping ground of Healdsburg one of the days we were out in California this spring. Not only did he play tour guide, but he also chauffeured us around, acted as the local restaurant critic, and provided Russ with accommodations!

For dinner that night, we were joined by Patrick’s wife and partner in crime, Genevieve at Zins in Healdsburg. An excellent choice, I’m still enamored by the Zinfandel glazed duck breast I had there, and I hope to return on my upcoming CA trip this October. While at the restaurant, Patrick put on yet another hat and played sommelier and wine provider!

We tasted through some of his and Genevieve’s current offerings from Iridesse wines, as well as through some of the wines Genevieve made while at Chateau Felice:

Iridesse 2005 Lodi Albarino: 13% alcohol, $18. From Sueno Vineyard. Floral, lemon, tropical fruit, crisp, almost a hint of cream.

Iridesse 2003 Russian River Valley Rose: 13% alcohol, $9. From Rodgers Family Vineyard. Berries, candy, spice, white pepper, very aromatic, really dry and refreshing.

Chateau Felice 2002 Tall Woman Likes Red: 13.8% alcohol, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel blend. Baking spice, white pepper, blackberry, plum, peppery, spicy, blueberry.

Chateau Felice 1999 Cabernet Franc Reserve: 14.5% alcohol. Dark, layered spice, strawberry preserves, full, fruity, earth.

Libe Lula 1999 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: 14.1% alcohol. Strawberry, cherry, earty, smooth, spicy, red fruit, very nice.

Many thanks again to Patrick and Genevieve, and to Russ for the company! Looking forward to seeing you all again in October!