Train Wreck!

Continuing on the theme of big winter reds, we dug deep into the cellar for this gem.  In 2009 I, along with a bunch of other bloggers, invaded Calaveras County, specifically the town of Murphys, CA.  One of our stops on that trip was Newsome Harlow, a favorite of mine from my first visit to Murphys.  So this wine has spent a bit of time since then chilling in my basement waiting for me to open it up.  The 2006 Newsome Harlow Train Wreck retails (at the time) for $19, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.4%.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A divine chocolate covered blueberry blackberry tart dusted with cinnamon and campfire jumps out of the glass.

2.) I actually enjoyed this more sipping it after dinner than with my burgers. Maybe it was the burgers, but I think it was because I just wanted to savor it on its own.

3.) In my notes, I might have the favorite thing I’ve ever written about a wine in my comments on this bottle: “It’s like a s’more in a glass!”

4.) Calaveras County is pumping out some great wines and is well worth your time to visit and try all the wineries.

On the nose I got chocolate, herbs, cinnamon, blueberry, blackberry, cedar, campfire smoke, and graham cracker. The graham cracker cinched the “s’more” reference for me.  The wine had one of those noses I wanted to dive into and swim around in.  In the mouth I found cinnamon, red hots, smooth fruits, blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, and spice. The 2006 Train Wreck has well integrated tannins with a long finish and is drinking fantastically at this point. Drink up!





Another Request

Before we all moseyed on up to Murphys, El Jefe asked for requests of places that we’d like to visit. I’d guess to give them fair warning a herd of cats (wine blogger) was about to descend on their tasting room…or to get some to stay open just a little bit later than usual so we could visit!  For our second stop on the tour, we headed to Newsome Harlow. Now, Newsome Harlow is the personal label for Scott Klann, the winemaker at Twisted Oak and at Tanner (our next stop). Seeing a pattern here? I love Twisted Oak, I love Newsome Harlow and I love Tanner….hmmmm…..!  Somehow, we all crowded into Newsome Harlow, despite having added to our numbers along the way.  For the wine blogger who got there late, it really wasn’t too hard to find our rowdy group on Main Street.

Jefe gets in on the action.

Jefe gets in on the action.

2008 Sauvignon Blanc: $16. Smells like beer! Really yeasty, grapefruit, citrus, lemon, orange, crisp, light. I bought two bottles, one of which I shared at the Wine Blogger Conference.

2006 Train Wreck: $19. Berries, cranberry, red fruit, pomegranate, spice, red berries, fruity, tart cherry finish.

2006 Meritage: $30. Blackberry, spice, herbs, raisins, chocolate, berry, milk chocolate.

2007 Calaveras Zinfandel: $24. Bright red plums, berries, pomegranate, spice, cranberry, juicy, tart fruit.

2007 Big John’s Vineyard Zinfandel: $36. Darker fruit, pepper, spice, blackberry, herbal, orange peel, cardamom, herbal finish.

2007 Shake Ridge Ranch Zinfandel: $36. Blackberry, anise, very dark, black plum, coffee, brown sugar.

Scott talks about his wine.

Scott talks about his wine.

2007 The Donner Party Zinfandel: $36. Raisins, dark, tannic, huge, big fruit, chocolate, coffee beans.

2007 Petite Sirah “El Portal”: $24. Blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, spice, blue fruit, pepper, dark berries.

The Dash: $24. Muscat Canelli, Orange Muscat, Viognier. Perfume, honey, flowers, apricots, dried oranges, white pepper, dried pineapple.

I bought something else at Tanner. But I can’t remember what.  I think I got a Train Wreck.  All I know is that my arms hurt after hauling the wine to Tanner and then they hurt even more on the way back from Tanner as I had even more wine to hike back to my hotel room.  I think Matt would kill me if I signed up for another wine club, but that is literally all that stopped me.  I would happily drink any of the Newsome Harlow wines any day of the week. Yum yum yum!

WBW #60 Round Up: I Have Zinned

A hearty thanks to all who busted out some Zin to participate in the 5th birthday of WBW! As you probably gathered by now, I set the theme for this momentous occasion to I Have Zinned. I asked everyone to grab a bottle of Zin and pair it with their favorite grilled or BBQ food.  Zin and BBQ is one of my favorite pairings and it seems to be wbwlogosome of yours too! Though I did discover this time that Zins that have aged a little don’t seem to have the oopmh to stand up to sweeter BBQ sauce.  I think several others had the same revelation!

Overall, 30 folks joined us for WBW #60, with posts on 29 wine blogs!  Across the board, 46 Zins were reviewed for this WBW.  I’m happy so many joined in for the 5th birthday celebration of WBW!  I know participation lags in the summer as folks tend to be on holiday and such, so I appreciate the effort! Below are snapshots of all the posts, click through to read everyone’s full take on Zin and BBQ (or pizza in John’s case…though I kinda wish he’d grilled up some tofu or something 😉 )

Our first entry came in over a week early from David at Cooking Chat. He picked the 2007 Ridge Paso Robles Zin to pair with his ribeye. Sadly, he found it to be a bit underwhelming for the price point, though I expect it might have needed a little more time…07 is young for a Ridge Zin! Read his whole take here.

Ryan over at Oe-no-phile also joined with an early entry. He went off the beaten Zin path and picked a 2006 Old Vine Zin from Sineann, a winery with a Zin vineyard that straddles Oregon and Washington…so technically it’s a Washington State Zin. In short, he loved loved loved it.  Check out his fully review here.

Another early entry, Jason of This Blog and 20 Bucks Can Definitely Get You a Great Bottle of Wine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) picked a Zin I am very familiar with the 2006 Camellia Cellars Leconi Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel.  He paired it with an Heirloom tomato salad and grilled Moroccan chicken. You can read his review and check out his dinner here.

Randy, The Wine Whore, joins us for the WBW, and chose a Zin that I also have hanging around waiting for me to taste it!  He picked the 2006 J. Keverson Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfandel and presents us with a fun pictorial review of his experience tasting it.  Visit The Wine Whore for his review.

Bill from Wine for Newbies brought out the big guns for this WBW, tasting through 6 Zins! Though he admits he only tasted one of them with his BBQ! All 6 hail from Lodi and he picked the 2007 m2 “Old Vine” Soucie Vineyard, the 2007 Bargetto Zinfandel Old Vine, the 2007 Macchia Zinfandel “Oblivious”, the 2006 Mettler Vineyards Zinfandel “Epicenter”, the 2006 Harney Lane Zinfandel “Lizzie James” Vineyard, and the 2006 Michael David Gluttony “Old Vines”. Head on over to Wine for Newbies to read all about them.

Richard, who writes Silene’s Cellar, told us a lovely story of his first eye-opening Zin experience with a 1977 Monteviña Special Selection Zin.  He follows up that tale with a a blind tasting of 3 Zins (great minds think alike!).  Richard picked that 2005 Hendry Block 7 Napa Zin, the 2005 Dendor Patton Wisdom Mendocino Old Vine Zin, and the 2005 Sequum Riverwash Dry Creek Zin. Which won? You’ll have to visit Silene’s Cellar to find out!

Next up, Shea of Just Grapes. Shea chose to write up his visit to Mazzocco Winery after the Wine Blogger Conference where they make many Zins (I’ve visited before, but not in years). He tells us about the 6 Zins he tasted, with his favorite being the mighty pricey $120 2006 Antoine Phillipe Reserve. Read about them all here.

My roomie from WBC, Catie, aka the Walla Walla Wine Woman, brings us, what else? Zin from Walla Walla, Washington! I was actually surprised by the number of Washington Zins that popped up for this WBW, though I would expect nothing less from Catie!  She picked the 2005 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel and paired it with Bulgogi, which sounds delish! Head on over for her recipe and wine review.

Our first Zin mishap comes from Rob over at Wine Post. (Who, by the way, recognizes how multi-talented I am at smiling and talking at the same time.) He picked up one of my favorites, a 2006 Titus Zinfandel. Sadly, he found it cooked. What a shame, it’s a great wine!

Then there’s me. I also did a blind tasting of 3 Zins! I chose the 2003 Sky Saddle, the 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs, and the 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemtery Vineyard.  I tasted mine with BBQ and found my BBQ sauce seemed to overwhelm the Zins, but of course, I didn’t let that get in my way! Read about my Zins here.

Kevin over at Under the Grape Tree joined us with a Zin from afar.  Now, I don’t see too many Zins coming out of Australia, so I was thrilled with this obscurish pick.  He chose the 2006 Groom Bush Vine Zin from Barossa. Over two days, he paired the wine with a grilled steak and BBQ ribs, and thankfully had better luck than I did with the BBQ sauce pairing! His review is here.

The Brix Chicks went all out for this WBW! Brix Chick Janesta reviewed the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel one of many Zins the Brix Chicks tasted that evening! They also smoked some meat and Janesta posts a photo of Sean Connery as 007…how does that connect with the wine? You’ll have to read to find out!

Jim from VineGeek submitted the post on Zin he did last month, seeing as how he had just written about the exact topic at hand, I decided to let him slide 😉 He chose the 2006 Cline Bridgehead Contra Costa County Zin, and sadly found it a bit lacking for the price point.  His full write up is here.

Gwendolyn, aka the Art Predator, (gee, what’s with all these bloggers with several aliases, lol), joins us with yet another Ridge Zinfandel.  Folks love Ridge Zins, one of the kings of Zin in my mind! She picked the 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs to go with her marinated tri tip and it blew her out of the water! Check out her review here.

We got another Brix Chick post out of the event too! Liza wrote up several of the other wines that they enjoyed with their brisket.  To round out the tasting, they enjoyed the 2006 Harney Lane Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zin, the 2007 m2 Wines Soucie Vineyard 1916 Block Lodi Old Vine Zin, and the 2007 Newsome Harlow Big John’s Vineyard Calaveras Zinfandel. Quite the tasting. Head on over to the Brix Chicks for the details!.

Over at Drink What You Like, Frank brings us yet another Washington State Zinfandel! That’s three so far! I had no idea so much Zin was coming out of Washington, but that makes my mission clear: I must have some.  Frank searched through 5 wine shops in Seattle before finding the 2006 Maryhill Zinfandel.  He find it to be a decent QPR wine and hopes to taste more Washington Zin in the future. His review is here.

Joe, the Suburban Wino, has a great sildeshow/video up of the tantalizing ribs he made to go with his Zin. It’s worth a visit just for the drool worthy BBQ, as well as his review! He chose the 2006 Cartlidge and Browne Amador Zinfandel. It appears he preferred his ribs to the Zin, but thought it was fine for the price point. Visit Suburban Wino for the full review!

Our 4th Washington State Zinfandel comes from Kori over at Wine Peeps! She tasted 2 Zins blind (clearly another great mind!), the 2005 Forgeron Zin (same as Catie!) and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zin.  The meal she had with it made me want to hop on a plane and beg her mother to make BBQ for me too!  Find out which Zin prevailed by heading over to Wine Peeps.

Not a traditional WBW post, but Hello Vino participated by bringing us some info about Zin!  They write about the history of Zin, talk about how alcohol levels affect the fruit, and offer suggested grilled and BBQ foods to pair with it! Head on over to Hello Vino to read all about Zinfandel.

A fairly new wine blogger, Dee Wineo loses his WBW virginity on the Zin and BBQ theme!  He BBQ’d up some pork steak (which I just learned about last week when friends of mine made it for dinner while I was out in St. Louis!) and pulled out a value Zin to pair with it, the 2007 Foxglove Zinfandel.  Read about how his pairing turned out here.

My favorite Lush, Thea, aka Winebratsf, of course joined us for this WBW as she has a similar affection for Zinfandel like me! Raising it up yet another notch, Thea attended the ZAP summer outing and visited 3 wineries and tasted a plethora of Zins. She chose to focus on Rockwall Wine Company and D-Cubed Cellars in her post, highlighting 2 of their Zins along with the BBQ at the event. Visit Luscious Lushes for the full report.

Debbie, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, had a mishap with her post too: her dog ate her tasting notes! Now there’s a new twist on the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse!  Not to fear, being a trooper, Debbie sacrificed and opened another Zin in time for WBW! She chose the 2006 Truett Hurst Red Rooster Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfanel.  Read her review here.

My friend John over at Anything Wine joined in on the fun, though being a vegetarian he skipped the toss some meat on the grill part….I think he should do a follow up on how Zin pairs with grilled tofu or veggie burgers! John picked the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel.  A sure winner, head on over for his take on the wine.

Now, I hope the link for this participant will work. Grace, the CellarMistress, posted her WBW on FaceBook. I’m not sure if you have to be her friend to read it, if so, let me know and I’ll reproduce the whole thing here. Grace chose the 2006 Seghesio Family Vineyards Della Costa Alexander Valley Zin.  You can (hopefully) read her review here!

Michelle from My Wine Education had to do a local twist on the theme, being loyal to her beloved Cincinnati (and also started Wine Blogging Thursday)! She picked the 2006 Zincinnati Zinfandel from Mendocino. The story on this wine is that a local distributor teamed up with a CA Zin producer to create this wine! Swing by My Wine Education for the full story!

John of Brim to the Dregs came out of WBW hiding to join in on the BBQ and Zin theme on Wine Blogging Thursday as well. He had a little trouble with the grilling part…first it rained and then his cooking skills failed him and his steaks were a bit more well done than intended. Good thing he had an excellent bottle of Zin to make things right! John chose the 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Zinfandel (one I’ve had many times!) and you can read his review here.

Our founding father Lenn also came in for Wine Blogging Thursday 😉 with a Zin he had trouble finding.  He picked the 2000 (oldest Zin for this WBW!) Neyer’s Pato Vineyards Zinfandel. Unfortunately, he thought it seemed tired and speculated that perhaps it hadn’t been stored properly for the time it lived in the store. Head on over to Lenndevours for his review.

Another Wine Blogging Thursday participant, Jill of Domaine 547 came out of blog, Zinfandel, and WBW hiding to join in the fun! Jill doesn’t drink a lot of Zin, so I appreciate her stepping out of her wine zone and trying a Zin! She picked the 2007 Homefire Homecoming Dry Creek Zin. It made her reconsider stocking some Zins in her soon to be open brick and mortar store! Read her review here.

For a Wine Blogging Sunday entry, we have Andrew of Spittoon, our first international participant for this WBW!  He had a bit of trouble finding a Zin, his stores only had two options.  With little in the way of choices, he ended up with the 2007 Bonterra Vineyards. Sadly, he didn’t find it very food friendly.  Read his full review here.

And finally, joining us for Wine Blogging Monday is Erika of StrumErika.  Erika plucked the 2007 Merryvale Jan Vineyard Napa Zinfandel from the share pile at work to pair with her sister’s famous hot wings.  While the wine didn’t live up to expectations, the hot wings sound mighty fine to me! Visit StrumErika for her full review and wing recipe!

Thanks again to everyone for breaking out the Zin in honor of WBW’s 5th Birthday and Zinning with me. And as always, a nod of the hat to Lenn for founding such a lasting event and for having me host this month! If I missed your post, please let me know and I will happily add it in!

An Easy Pick

As it turns out, Fermento of Twisted Oak has his own label too! That made it easy for me to choose to stop by since I figured I love Twisted Oak, I’d love Newsome-Harlow.  Newsome-Harlow currently produces 750 cases, but intends to up their production to 2700 next year. The tasting room is modern and cute, and resides on Main Street in Murphys. One of the nice parts about Murphys’ wineries is that many of them have space on Main Street, so you can just wander around downtown, stop into a tasting room, go next door for some shopping, then hit up another tasting room.

2006 Big John’s Zinfandel: $24. Berries, dark fruit, vanilla, cracked black pepper, roses, dark fruit.

2005 Train Wreck: $19. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend (mostly…there might be some other grapes tossed in there.) Peppers, strawberries, chocolate, black berries, tart fruit. I took one home.

2005 Meritage: $30. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot. Blackberries, vanilla, chocolate, dark berries, tannic, pepper, spice, cherries.

2006 El Portal: $24. 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Zinfandel. Blueberry, spice, vanilla, big berries, chocolate, big tart fruit, some red berries coming through as I swirl. Yum! I bought one.

2006 Syrah (not bottled yet): Blackberry, currants, roses, raisins, flowery nose, violets, nice dark fruit.

I loved all the wines here. The El Portal definitely ranked among my favorite wines tasted in Murphys.  I wish I hadn’t promised Matt I’d try to keep my purchases at/around 2 cases.  Overall, I did pretty well….I bought 22 bottles in Murphys and picked up 6 more in my two days in Napa/Sonoma. So I kept it to 2 cases and 4 bottles.  I’ve done much much worse on other trips….oh wait…don’t tell Matt about the 2 full cases of Rose, but I swear I got a great deal on them!