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.

Spy This!

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

Lots of Spy Valley wines being consumed around the Wannabe Wino house these last couple of weeks. After this one, I still have a Gewurztraminer and a Pinot Noir to taste and tell you about.  Overall, I’m really enjoying the Spy Valley line, the stand out for me so far has been the Sauvignon Blanc, but I would buy any of the ones I’ve tasted.  Tonight we tried the 2007 Spy Valley Pinot Gris. It had a screw cap closure, looks to retail for around $15, and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume. That’s another nice thing about the Spy Valley line–relatively low alcohol levels overall compared to the wines I usually drink.

On the nose I found lemon zest, lemon grass, white flowers, very faint golden delicious apple, faint pear, melon, and some tropical notes.  In the mouth I got spice, white pepper, tropical fruit, star fruit, melon, a crisper apple, and a spicy kick on the end.  The fruit in the mouth showed bigger than I expected based on the nose, but it also had a spice characteristic throughout that lent the wine some depth.  We enjoyed this bottle.

Spies in the House

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

Spy Valley makes some excellent QPR wines. I’ve been really pleased with everything I’ve tried so far from the line. I’m looking forward to tasting the Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir that I still have left.  I’m not sure if the Riesling is available in the US as I don’t see it for sale online.  The 2008 Spy Valley Riesling clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, has a screw cap closure, and looks to retail for around $20.

On the nose i found lemon, spice, white pepper, white flowers, wet stone, and peach.  In the mouth I found peach, pear, lemon, orange, honey tones, stones, and lime on the finish.  The wine was crisp and a really nice effort.  I enjoyed it with grilled chicken marinated in Italian spices, probably not the best match, but it worked.

I Spy…

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

With my little eye a wine that’s an excellent buy! (Oh, and I rhyme too!)  I first came across Spy Valley wines at the 2008 Wine Blogger Conference (woohoo, only 18 days until I meet up with my wine blog friends again!) and then had a chance to try them again at the New Zealand Winemakers’ Tasting in Dc.   Folks from the winery contacted me and offered to send along a more complete sampling of their offerings, so I will have 5 wines to bring you over the next weeks!  We first tried the 2008 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for as low as $12 on the internet.

On the nose I found lime, grapefruit, citrus, crushed stone, lemon, and tropical undertones.  The nose smelled like a wine that would be tart and crisp, and the mouth did not disappoint!  In the mouth I got grapefruit, lime, almost a hint of green apple, tart citrus, passion fruit, and an herbal quality.  I found the wine to be really tart, extremely refreshing, and with great acidity and structure.  We drank it with grilled pork chops and corn on the cob, sitting on our back patio enjoying a lovely evening.

This wine got an 89 from the Wine Spectator, so I am cross-posting this post over at The 89 Project.

Pinot Pinot Everywhere!

For my next stop at the New Zealand I headed toward the table with the “fancy” Pinot Noirs, or rather, those chosen to represent the best of several growing regions.  I have only briefly tasted a few New Zealand Pinot Noirs before, so I really wanted to get a broader picture of what they have to offer.

2007 Gladstone: Vanilla, cherries, red fruit, huge aroma, smoky berries, strawberry, mint, earth, tight. One of my favorites.

2007 Craggy Range: Violets, pomegrante, cherries, earth, flowers, red fruit, raspberries.

2007 Spinyback: Earth, funk, herbs, smoke, tart red fruit, raspberries, needed some more acidity.

2007 Te Mania: Sage, Christmas Tree, cherry, strawberry, nice structure.

2007 Nautilus: Popcorn, smoke, herbs, slight red fruit, acidic, slight bitter finish, some red fruit, tasted like it might be in a dumb phase.

2007 Muddy Water: Red berries, vanilla, cream, earth, nice nose, cherries, mint, didn’t follow through in the mouth as I’d like.

2007 The Crater Rim Blacks Lot 7: Bright raspberries, cherries, raspberries, violets, great nose, perfumey, cedar, cherries, nice red fruit, bright, aliv, nice acidity/good structure. A standout.

2006 Valli: Strawberry jam, spice, cedar, pepper, fresh strawberries, really red fruit and fresh.

2007 Mud House: Red plums, red currants, pepper, tannic, red fruit.

2007 Carrick: Smoky, pepper, loam, vanilla, cherry, red berries, raspberries, spice.

New Zealand Rieslings

I headed to the New Zealand Wine Growers Tasting in DC about a week ago and had the chance to taste a TON of New Zealand wines.  I always enjoy going to the New Zealand Wine Growers Tastings…they set them up free form, so you can just wander and taste what you want when you want.  This time, they did it up fabulously with all sorts of lovely foods, a fantastic cheese display, Oysters that looked amazing, though I’m allergic, so I had to decline, 3 types of fondue, salmon, halibut….oh it just went on and on!  At this tasting I ran straight to the Rieslings.  I missed them at the last one and I wanted to see what was up.  As it was, the Wine Growers decided to spotlight Rieslings and Pinot Noirs on a separate table as wines picked by a group as the best of the best.  I started with the Rieslings.

2008 Saint Clair: Lime, lemon, honey, stone, minerals, smells acidic, tart citrus, pink grapefruit, flowers, orange blossoms.

2008 Mount Gray: Melon, lemon, apricot, passion fruit, pear, round fruit, sweet peach.

2007 Babich: Stone, smoky, lemon, light, reserved.

2007 Spy Valley: Stone fruit, pear, tropical notes, light.

2007 Palliser Estate: Lime, melon, honeydew, honey, stonefruit, floral, delicate.

2008 Dry River: Stony, minerals, citrus, pear, lemon, orange edges, citrus, minerals.

2007 Spinyback: Honey, peach, prickly pear, acidity, almost something herbal, pear, citrus, dry, lemon, delicate.

2007 Neudorf: Smoky, lemon, lime, pear, peach, racy acidity, dry, really liked this one.

2007 Allan Scott: Lime, stones, peach, round, slight lemon, dry, nice.

2007 Forrest Estate: Lime, light, citrus, pear.

2007 Mud House: Lime, tropical notes, stones, pear, peach, nicely done. A stand out for me.

2007 Mount Gray Estate: White flowers, tropical, peach, melon, lime, prickly  pear, light, very nice.

2007 Amisfield: Lemon, lime, peach, pear, acidic.

2007 Felton Road: Soft peach, lime, sweet, seems to have residual sugar, honey, apricot, nicely done.

Star of the Show

The entire New Zealand tasting came down to one wine for me.  It stood out above all the rest. I’d never heard of it before, and actually it barely registered to me that New Zealand produced any Gewurztraminer.  I’ve never seen any Gewurz from New Zealand around anywhere, but I do love a good Gewurz.  And actually, everything I tasted from this one winery impressed me.  I’d certainly seek them out in the future.  The Winery in question? Lawson’s Dry Hills.

Lawson’s Dry Hills is a family run winery in New Zealand.  They produce Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Rose, and Late Harvest Riesling.  However, their production began in 1992 with jut 15 tons of Gewurztraminer! While the Gewurz clearly won as my favorite, I’ll give you my notes here for everything I tasted.

2007 Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewurztraminer: Huge aroma, lychee, almond, apricot, lime, tropicl fruits, nice mouthfeel, great acidity, spice.

2006 Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Noir: Smoky, cherry, black pepper, nice red fruit, great mouthfeel, bright raspberries, cherries, tart.

2007 Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc: Lime, passion fruit, ripe melon, grapefruit, gooseberry, fleshy, citrus, round mouthfeel (it sees some oak).

2008 Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Gris: Smoky, spice, pear, cream, vanilla, apple, spice apple pie, nice finish.

2004 Lawson’s Dry Hills Late Harvest Gewurztraminer: Nice color. Honeysuckle, lychee, orange blossoms, apricot, pear, light, nicely done.

Same Wine, New Vintage

I know I’ve mentioned many times that the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is among the staple everyday wines in my house.  It is always consistent and represents and excellent value.  I’ve never been disappointed in it, and will continue to seek it out as one of my house whites.  So when I saw the new vintage on sale at Costco, I had to grab some! We drank it the other night with one of our Friday fish meals for Lent. The 2008 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc retails for $14.99 at Costco, had a screw cap closure, and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found grapefruit, gooseberries, lime, tropical notes, and stones.  I wrote in my notes that the wine smelled “tart.”  In the mouth I got flavors of lime, grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon, and fresh lime.  I’ve never tasted a wine before that was quite so limey.  I found the wine to be nicely acidic, but not mouth puckering.  A value for sure!

Tasting the New Zealand Wines Again!

At the DC International Wine and Food Festival, I made sure to stop by the New Zealand Wine Growers table.  I had the chance to free style taste some of their selections at the Wine Blogger Conference, but I only made it through a few there as my palate was just plain tuckered out by that point in the day.  So I was excited to see them again, and am pleased to be attending their regional tasting at the end of March.

2008 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc: Gooseberry, grapefruit, citrus, very nice.

2008 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc: Green pepper, gooseberry, very sitrus, herbal notes.

2008 Giesen Three Brothers Sauvignon Blanc: Peach, citrus, gooseberries, very tart, nice tropical notes.

2008 Brancott Reserve Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon, citrus, grass, crisp, nicely done.

2007 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc: Bright, floral, tropical, pear, lemon, crisp, tongue tingly.

2007 Staete Landt Pinot Gris: Pear, lemon, honey, apple, light.

2004 Vinoptima Gewurztraminer: Lychee, apricot, white peach, grassy, hay, honey.

2007 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir: Cherry cola, flowers, violets, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, very light, easy to drink.

2006 Brancott Reserve Pinot Noir: Earth, Coke, raspberry, cherry, bright fruit.

2005 Wither Hills Pinot Noir: Chocolate, berries, red fruit, sweet, cherry, raspberry, really nice in the mouth.

Back in New Zealand

My parents were here visiting last week, and my Dad always likes to bring some wines for me to try from a local to him shop in CT, Branford Wine & Spirits. Now, I’ve actually had the 2006 of this wine, and I believe the 2005, also all purchased from Branford Wine & Spirits.  You can read my review of the 2006 here. We chose the 2007 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc for the evening. It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $8.

On the nose I found grapefruit, lemon, citrus, hay, the infamous cat pee smell (I swear this is not a bad thing), topical notes, banana, pineapple, almonds, and grass. It had a fairly typical for the price range nose, with the exception of the banana. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled that on a Sauvignon Blanc before.  In the mouth I got citrus, grapefruit, gooseberry, star fruit, and pineapple.  The seemed less citrusy than the nose.

I found the wine to be tart, refreshing, and crisp. The Oyster Bay is one I can always count on to provide a value for the price point, and it makes an easy summer drinker for the hot days to come. (And even though it’s snowing today, I know the hotter days are right around the corner!!)