Le Fou

Despite what it sometimes may look like here, I actually do buy a lot of wine. In the last year or so I haven’t been drinking as much of my own wine given the number of samples that show up at my door. However, rest assured that the Wannabe Wino Cellar is growing at an alarmingly fast rate…we just brought home 6 cases and 4 Magnums from our recent Sonoma/Napa trip tipping the basement to the over 700 bottles point! Now, the thing with samples is that the most frequent varieties that appear are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I don’t know about any of you, but I like some variety in my wine drinking, which is when I turn to my collection. We pulled the 2006 Michel Schlumberger Le Fou Pinot Noir to enjoy with a roast chicken. It clocked in at 14.6% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $36, though it arrived in a club shipment so it cost me $25 plus shipping.

On the nose I found mint, eucalyptus, funk, herbs, black cherries, spice, raspberries, and a little more barnyard-y funk. Love it. In the mouth I got black cherry, herbs, earth, spice, raspberry, and other black fruit. The structure and acidity of this wine impressed me and I thought that I wished I had another bottle or two to taste in a few years. My notes say this is a “refined” wine.


Lurking in the Basement

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Michel Schlumberger.

That sounds a tad ominous, huh? I try to approximately drink wine samples as they come in the door. At times I fail miserably…you’ve all seen my basement and its lack of organization. While I file and log all the wine I buy, I leave the samples chilling in boxes in the middle of the basement and at times a sample that’s been around for a while gets shoved to the back. Like this bottle of 2007 Pétanque Chardonnay that’s easily been in my basement since April.  Pétanque, as I’ve written before, is a second label from Michel Schlumberger, intended to be an inexpensive value line of wines for enjoying outside in the company of friends.  The Chardonnay had a plastic cork closure, clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $18.95.

On the nose I found pineapple, yellow apple, spice, cream, tropical notes, peach, crushed pineapple, and pineapple juice.  In the mouth I got apple, peach, tropical notes, tart apple and spice.  The palate was less complicated than the nose, had a short finish, and good acidity. Pick up a bottle for your next lawn bowing party.


Random Tastings

Some wines I tasted at dinner/the Grand Sonoma tasting at the Wine Blogger Conference this summer.  I thought it worth telling you about them since I took the time to take notes and many are worth your time to hunt down!

Sadly, I didn’t get to taste very many wines at the Sonoma Grand Tasting. The location (chosen I think to pre-empt our poolside party) was not large enough for anywhere near 100 people, let alone 275. I only tasted 5 wines throughout the whole event before I ran for cover from the jostling crowd which wasn’t conducive to talking, tasting, taking notes, or really, moving around!

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay: French Oak. Oak, butter, maloactic, apple, spice, white pepper, nice acidity, good fruit.

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, spice, pepper, tarragon, red fruit, nice structure, tart fruit.

2008 Lancaster Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, melon, lemon, spice, crisp, nice mouthfeel, tart citrus. Saw 10% oak.

2006 Roth Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla, strawberry, currants, blackberry, black cherry, nice structure, reserved.

2005 Roth Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Big red nose, herbs, leather, earth, black cherry, blackberry, pepper, peppery, smooth, well integrated.

2008 Titus Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, grass, hay, tart, dry, lemon , citrus. Nice.

2007 Titus Zinfandel: Bramble fruit, blackberry tart, vanilla crea, black fruit, violets, tart, nice ripe fruit.

2007 Sojourn Gaps Crown Pinot Noir: Bright red fruit nose, brown sugar, tart, raspberry, nice mouthfeel, spice, cinnamon.

2004 Michel Schlumberger Deux Terres: Leather, bramble, blackberry, dark fruit, fresh blackberry, spice, tannic.

2008 Cline Marsanne Roussane: Pear, orange blossom, spice, honey suckle, spice, orange zest, honey, crisp.

2007 Eric Ross Russian River Valley Marsanne Roussanne: Toasted spice, tinned pear, flowers, grapefruit, really nice acidity, pineapple, caramel finish. One of my top wines of the weekend.

2006 Tytanium Ty Caton: 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Petite Sirah, 20% Syrah, 5% Merlot. Vanilla cream, blue fruit, violets, pepper, chocolate syrup, tight, blueberries, coffee, espresso. Huge wine. I really wanted to see what this would be like the next day, but it was dark in the dinner room and I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle on my way out!

2007 Teresina Sonoma Valley Zinfandel: Raspberry, cranberry, pomegrante, spice, smooth, cherry, hard candy, pepper.

2006 Kopriva Cassidy Ranch Carneros Chardonnay: Spice apple, pear, spice, cinnamon, overripe peach, nice round mouthfeel, with clean acidity, baked apple pice, green apple.

2006 Titus Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla cream, black, tannic, blackberry pie, dusty milk chocolate, raspberry, tart fruit, anise.

2006 Titus Cabernet Franc: Pepper, herbs, leather, raspberry, tannic, dark, spice, anise, strawberry.

Obviously, I was hanging out just a bit with Christophe from Titus, given how many wines from them I tasted and reviewed. Always a good time, Christophe was sporting a ‘hawk at this year’s WBC, taking the place of Ward from last year!

It had a nice nose

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Michel Schlumberger.

We’ve been drinking our way through Michel Schlumberger’s second label, Petanque.  Tonight I grabbed the 2007 Petanque Sauvignon Blanc to drink with the grilled Cod I made.  The Petanque line is designed to be easy drinking backyard wines to enjoy with friends over a lawn bowling game.  The Sauvignon Blanc retails for $12.95, has a plastic cork closure, and clocks in at 13.8% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found lime, spice, tropical notes, white flowers, pineapple, orange blossom, melon, and molasses. (That last note was a bit odd.)  I liked the nose…I thought it promised good things in the mouth. In the mouth I got melon, lime, peach, and a general sense of overripe citrus.  The mouth seemed to fall off and it wasn’t crisp like I expected from the nose.

A Repeat Winner

I must sound like a broken record with this wine. Here’s the review of the 2007. And the 2006.  But really, it is my absolutely favorite Michel Schlumberger wine year to year. Of course….I don’t drink the Cabernet Sauvignon in my club shipments because I’m gathering a 10 year vertical to serve….well, it will have to be in a few years because I currently have 1998 through 2005. I’m almost there.  Don’t you want to be my friend when I pop that open? Totally off point though. I picked the 2008 Michel Schlumberger Pinot Blanc to drink this evening. I’d been ITCHING to open it since it arrived in one of my recent club shipments.  The Pinot Blanc sports a real cork closure, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and I believe it retails for $21, though I got it in a club shipment and every M-S club shipment is $50 regardless of what’s in the box.

On the nose of the Pinot Blanc I found sweet ripe pear, white peach, white pepper, a hint of honey, spice, lemon, honeysuckle, and white flowers.  I liked this wine so much last year that I put it in the Summer Sipper Wine Blog Pack I helped design for Jill.  In the mouth the wine showed lemon, peach, honey, ripe pear, ripe apple, melon, and a little essence of apple cider.  Overall, it’s crisp, light, and consistently delivers a bottle of wine that I love.

Lawn Bowling. Kind of. And Wine.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Michel Schlumberger.

Michel Schlumberger recently released a new second label called Petanque. Petanque is a French game that I sorta equate with Bocce. A little different I guess, but I’m not quite so sure since I’ve never played! But the idea behind the line is that they are wines you’d enjoy while playing a leisurely game with friends. Nothing to ponder, just something to drink while hanging out.  We tried the 2006 Petanque Syrah the other night with bacon blue cheese burgers. It retails for $12.95 a bottle, has a plastic cork, and clocks in at 14.4% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found spicy plums, blackberries, chocolate, pepper, black currants, and oak.  In the mouth I got plums, blackberry, black fruit, raspberry, spice, and pepper, along with a good dose of oak.  It went fabulously with the burgers, the oak seemed to do well with the grilled food.  We served the second bottle this weekend with bbq ribs and chicken and it was gone in an instant!

Goes Down Easy

My folks were in town this weekend, and while waiting to pick up Matt at the Metro, my Dad and I decided we wanted a glass of wine (who could blame us, we were going to be waiting for 3 hours before he’d need a ride! and it was a Friday afternoon!).  After hunting around in the basement, we picked the 2005 Michel Schlumberger Maison Rouge.  The Maison is a red Rhone blend, it has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $20. Mine came in a club shipment, so I’m not really sure what I paid for it.

On the nose I found spice, herbs, earth, raspberries, spicy, pepper, and plum. In the mouth I found cherry, plum, raspberries, and red fruit.  This was one of those wines that I just didn’t notice how much of it I was drinking.  It went down really easy, and did seem to be a great table wine.  You didn’t have to think deeply about it, and it made a great accompaniment to my afternoon with my folks, whom I hadn’t seen in a while!

Walking in the Vineyards

Back in September, Thea, Brittany, and I spent the better part of the day at Michel Schlumberger with Judd.  We really could have spent the rest of the day tasting the delicious Michel Schlumberger wines and just chatting with Judd, but the call of bacon at Bovolo proved too strong. Its siren song lured us away from our spot in the Michel Schlumberger private tasting room.

View from the top of the hill.

View from the top of the hill.

However, before it called us away, we toured all the way to the top of the hill in the vineyard, and back down through the barrel room and the bottling machine which hummed away as we passed.  Judd told us all about the different grape vines, when they were planted and some interesting facts about pre-phylloxera clones that they still have at Michel Schlumberger. It’s always fun to see the inner workings of a winery!

After our lovely stroll (sadly, the sheep that mow the vineyard were not out and about, I would love to see them! They are miniature sheep!!) we headed back to the private club tasting area to taste through the current line up and a vertical of Cabernet Sauvignon.

2006 La Brume Chardonnay: Apple, pear, yeast, fresh, slight oak, lemon.  Fermented in new oak for 2 months and then in old oak.

2007 Pinot Blanc: Honey, peach, nectar, pear, minerals, stone, light, citrus, orange blossom. I adore this wine.

2005 Pinot Noir: Strawberry, mint, mushroom, earthy, straw, leather, tart fruit, it smells like the Pinot Noir vineyards we walked through.

2005 Syrah: Vanilla, dark cherry, plums, spice, big, perfumed, dark berries, cedar, sandalwood, licorice, floral.  Love this one.

2004 Merlot: Berry, plum, spice, licorice, dark, has hints of red fruit.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: Cherry, leather, earth.

1998 Cabernet Sauvignon: Smells delicious. Cherry, tart, leather, spice, dark, yummy, still tannic.

1999 Cabernet Sauvignon: Vegetal, herbal, earth, forest floor, not too fruit driven, some red fruit in the mid-palate.

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon: Strawberry, oak, berries, perfume, flowers, fresh fruit, dirt, earth.

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon: Berry, big fruit, spice, vanilla, still needs time, blackberry, pepper, licorice, fruit driven, tannic.

2006 Cabernet Franc: Very new, can still smell the yeast, strawberry, dust, wood, currants, dark, herbs.

Many thanks to Judd for a fabulous day.  Any time you are out in Sonoma, make sure to give Michel Schlumberger a call to schedule an appointment to stop by!  And don’t forget to follow their award-winning and very well done blog!

PS-If you like Wannabe Wino Wine Blog consider signing up for my feed.

Twitter Taste Live!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine from Michel Schlumberger as a sample to participate in the BinEndsWine Twitter Taste Line.

As you all probably know, I had the pleasure of co-hosting the most recent Twitter Taste Live with Michel Schlumberger and BinEndsWine in September. We had a great line up of wines for the evening, with the first being the 2006 Michel Schlumberger La Brume Chardonnay.

On those nose I found apple butter, pear, oak, green apples, spice, pineapple, tropical fruits, citrus, sweet corn, and caramel. In the mouth I got flavors of apple butter, melon, pears, pineapple, lemon, oak, and green apple. The pear seemed to show through the most, and at times I thought I would like to describe it as pear butter (like apple butter, but made of pears) though I can’t say I know if such a thing even exists.

Overall, I thought the wine showed nice fruit, and I could see this being a really good match with a roast chicken. It retails for $28.80 and had a real cork closure.

Tasting Live on Twitter!

In just 2 short days, I will be co-hosting the 3rd edition of the Bin Ends Wine Twitter Tasting Live. This month, we are tasting wines from one of my favorite wineries, Michel Schlumberger. I just had the chance to stop by Michel Schlumberger on Thursday (more about that later) to pick up the wines for the tasting, and to taste through them, of course, and everything is drinking wonderfully. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of the wines!

Bin Ends has set up a host site to archive all the tasting notes and questions that we ask of Michel Schlumberger. You can join here, at Twitter Taste Live. If you type “#ttl” without the quotes, your tweets will show up on the live feed! You can also see all the profiles of everyone participating and click on our Twitter IDs to follow us live on Thursday, 7pm est.

I hope to see you all on Twitter this Thursday! There’s still time to pick up the wines at one of your local wine shops, we’d love to have you join even if you can only find one of the bottles!