Grower’s Reserve

Giving away a little bit of how behind I am on posts, we drank this 2004 Mauritson Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley on Super Bowl Sunday. This will also show that while in theory I like the concept of pairing food and wine, really I just like the drink what I like with what I like to eat, though I will occasionally comment on whether or not a pairing worked for a wine.

Point in case: I served this Zin with a mish mosh of Super Bowl type appetizers- cheeses and crackers, various chips and dips, bourbon chicken, etc. It didn’t work, but no one much cared as the wine was good and the appetizers yummy!

The wine clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, cost us $26.40 in a club shipment, and only 275 cases of it were made in a mix of grapes from 3 vineyards.

My first note on the wine was that the juice was not as dark as I thought it would be, based on it being a Zin and all the other Zins I have consumed. On the nose I found pepper, jammy blackberries, vanilla, and other dark fruit. It had a very nice and aromatic nose that didn’t seem to succumb to the alcohol content at all. In the mouth, the fruit was incredibly juicy with blackberries and blackberry pie being dominant. It also showed all spice and had a peppery kick on the back palate.

Overall, a very tasty Zin, and a good value for the money.

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More from the Rockpile

Many of the wines that came in my most recent Mauritson club shipment were two things: one, they were single vineyard Zinfandels, and two, they were labeled under the name Rockpile Winery, which is still made by Mauritson. They were also more expensive than previous Mauritson offerings, making me wonder if Mauritson is becoming a
“tiered” winery, offering their “special” selections under one name and keeping the more affordable line under another?

This botttle was a 2005 Rockpile Winery Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Mauritson Zinfandel. It cost $27, had a real cork closure and weighed in at 15.6% alcohol by volume. I served it with beef straganoff, cheddar biscuits, and broccoli. A little too big for the meal, serve it with a steak, bqq, or maybe a marinated pork loin.

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberry, and blueberry. The wine was very dark and the berries jumped out of the glass. In the mouth there were berries, brown sugar, vanilla, pie flavors, and specifically blueberries that showed after some time in the glass. Overall the wine was a bit tannic, it could definitely use a bit more time to settle in the bottle, so I will keep the other bottle of this hanging around for another year or so. As always, I’ll report back in then with an update on its condition!

WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.


The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.


The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

Mauritson Again!

The bottle for the night was a 2005 Mauritson Westphal Vineyard Rockpile Zinfandel. I think we drink a lot of Zinfandel. This bottle came in my latest shipment from Mauritson, which we are working through at fairly quick pace, which is alarming, given that we won’t see another shipment from them until next October. It had a real cork closure, cost us $27.60, and Matt tossed the bottle again before I could write down the alcohol content…perhaps that’s why he looks a little sheepish in my picture!

On the nose I found vanilla, blackberries, dark fruit, and oak. The wine had a sort of sweet perfume about it, which is different from what I’m used to with Zinfandels, I sort of expect an overall spicy aroma. In the mouth the wine showed blackberries, black cherry, and a bit of oak. Overall, is was smooth and balanced in the mouth.

I served it with what is known around our house as “Liz’s Mom’s Chicken Casserole,” a recipe I got in 2nd grade from a friend at the time whose name is Liz. By this point, the recipe has been passed around to many people now, all with that title on the recipe card. It’s a yummy, fattening concoction of sour cream, cream of chicken soup, chicken breasts, Ritz Crackers, and butter….clearly not healthy, but so good on a cold winter night. I will be the first to admit that the wine choice was not great with this casserole. So we drank most of it after dinner. I’d pick a Viognier or a fuller bodied Chardonnay with this next time.

Overall, this was a tasty Zinfandel, but I though it was a bit simple for the price tag. I have another bottle in the basement that I will hang onto for a bit to see how it tastes down the road. I understand that single vineyard Zins tend to be more expensive, but I really prefer the Mauritson Grower’s Reserve we had the other night that was significantly less expensive.
yummy, but $$ for a zin…even a single vineyard.

It’s a Mauritson Month

And time to root around in my cellar to see what’s ready for drinking!

In my last post about this wine, I said you should hold it for at least another year or so. Well, it’s been 7 months and I just couldn’t leave this one in the cellar anymore. We needed a less expensive bottle for drinking after dinner and this one fit the bill at $19.20. I believe this bottle came in a club shipment, though I honestly couldn’t say for sure as we picked up a case at Mauritson on our very first trip over a year ago and have subsequently received 3 more shipments from them. Whatever the case, this bottle arrived before I started using CellarTracker. The wine was a 2003 Mauritson Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel. It clocked in at 15.1% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

No alcohol on the nose this time. White pepper, blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, fresh blackberry on the nose. Definitely very prominent white pepper. More vanilla shows through as the wine airs. In the mouth, totally mellowed. Tannins are gone, smooth, very ready to drink. Fruit is there, but not overwhelming. Blackberry cobbler, vanilla, blueberries, creamy. Has turned into an excellent bottle of wine for the price point. I would definitely suggest drinking this now or fairly soon as I don’t really see it getting much better.

Not Quite Summer


But I still love Sauvignon Blanc! And this one arrived in my latest shipment from Mauritson, whom I haven’t had any new wines from in a year as they were kind enough to combine my shipments for me to help my wine budget! So I was very excited to try out some of the offerings from the past year.

The wine was a 2006 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc. It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost us $13.60.

On the nose I found figs, grapefruit, wet stone, grass, and mainly citrus. The nose was fairly reserved, but easier to detect after it had warmed up a bit. In the mouth I found peach, grapefruit, and minerals. The wine was acidic and crisp, but well rounded.

We drank this on it’s own one night, but I would serve it with crab or perhaps some nice creamy cheeses as an appetizer!