2011 Alexana Pinot Gris

Coming up towards the end w have the 2011 Alexana Pinot Gris. I’m happy to get so many OR wines representing at the speed dating! It retails for $26.  Melon and pear on the nose.  In the mouth the acidity shines through with bright pear, green apple, and a mineral streak.

With the acidity, I’d recommend this for anything with a butter based sauce. It would have been lovely with my Eggs Benedict this morning.


2011 Duck Pond Pinot Gris

First up at speed dating for WBC 12 is the 2011 Duck Pond Pinot Gris. Up front I find lots of pear, melon, and floral qualities. In the mouth it’s crisp with nice acidity, lots of pear, melon, and tropical notes.

This would be excellent as an apertif or on a hot humid day like we’ve been experiencing both in Portland and in Virginia. Also might be very good with grilled white fish or cream sauces.

Spring Time Wine

I bought this wine quite some time ago. I went to a Pinot and Pinot tasting at a local wine shop (Unwined) back in the spring of 2009.  I picked up a couple of different bottles, including this 2008 Sineann Pinot Gris from Oregon. Then somehow (can’t imagine how…unless you’ve seen my basement recently) it got shuffled behind other things and I lost track of it. We decided to pop it open the other night. It had a glass closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and I see it for about $11 online, though I think I paid closer to $15.

On the nose I found lemongrass, freshly mowed grass, lemon, pear, honey, and honeysuckle. It smelled like a fresh spring day to me.  In the mouth I got lemon, pear, green apple, honey, and honeysuckle.  This wine made for an easy sipper with light and lively flavors. At an $11 price tag it would make a great wine for a garden party…in the spring of course!




She sells sea shells by the seashore

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Taste Live event.

A few weeks (maybe more, I’m a little behind on my posts with all the travel I’ve been doing) ago I participated in a Taste Live event with Nautilus wines. I love Taste Live events, it’s tons of fun to get together virtually with all my wino friends and geek out of wines for an hour. Don’t judge. Our second wine for the evening was the 2008 Nautilus Pinot Gris. It had a screw cap closure closure, retails for around $18.99, and Matt tossed the bottle before I could record the alcohol content.

On the nose I found spiced pear, spice, ginger, and nutmeg. While I visited Portugal early this year with Enoforum Wines I had a dish of baked quince. I thought this wine smelled remarkably like that dish. In the mouth I got lots of pear. Almost all pear with some nutty undertones, melon notes, and baking spices. The wine had some weight on the palate, feeling a little heavy to me. Overall I thought this was a very well done white and would put a bottle on the Thanksgiving table!

Visiting Alsace

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Helfrich.

Continuing on wines not from California, I dug into a box of samples from Alsace this week. With all the heavy food around I felt like wines that were light and crisp and would contrast entirely with gobs of mashed potatoes and pounds of cookies. In the vein, I pulled out a bottle of 2007 Helfrich Pinot Gris.  The wine had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for $9.99.

On the nose I found honey, lemon, white pepper, and flowers. In the mouth I got lemon, yellow apple, honey, honeysuckle, and apricot.  The wine had a round mouthfeel which surprised me a bit, as I was kind of expecting it to be crisp, but the round mouthfeel made it very nice on its own.

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.

Delicious Pinot Gris

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Hahn Winery.

I’ve been sitting on two samples of wine from Hahn winery since I went to the Wine Blogger Conference and Wine Diver Girl handed them to me.  We just haven’t (despite the continuance of posts here) been drinking as much as we normally do from our own stock since it’s the holidays and we’ve been out and about on the town quite a bit.  I’m much looking forward to the Meritage that I have left to try, however, I chose the 2007 Hahn SLH Pinot Gris for this evening.  The wine clocks in at 14.2% alcohol by volum, had a real cork closure, and is available for $20 from Hahn.

Before I had a chance to smell or taste the wine (often happens since I usually pour Matt a glass before I set up my photos) Matt declared the wine “good.”  That’s high praise from him, since I often ask him what he thinks and the answer is normally “I don’t know, it’s fine.”

When I smelled it, the pear knocked me over.  I loved it! It smelled like fresh pear! I also found orange zest, mandarin, citrus, white peach, lemon, and a hint of vanilla of the nose.  In the mouth I got tropical fruit, pear, lemon, green apple, and tons more pear.

I really enjoyed this wine.  Overall, I found it to be crisp, tast, and a little viscous on the back palate.  The fruit was fresh and clean.  I imagine this a perfect porch wine for the summer.

Grand New Zealand Tasting

So on the first day of the Wine Blogger Conference, not only did we have the Kick Ranch Tasting, the “speed dating” tasting, and the Dry Creek Growers tasting, we also were treated to a grand tasting of New Zealand wines sponosred by the New Zealand Wine Growers Association.  This is actually the 2nd time I’ve had the pleasure of tasting the wines of the New Zealand Wine Growers Association, the first time was at the DC International Wine and Food Festival.

The New Zealand folks brought over 100 wines for us to taste, ranging from the typical Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs, to Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.  I think this was one of the more popular tastings at the Conference, as you could pour everything yourself, meander around at your leisure, and you were able to relax and mingle with the conference participants in an open format.  Now, with over 100 wines, and only an hour to taste, I honestly didn’t get through very many. But I really enjoyed the one I did!

2008 Crossroads Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, gooseberry, all citrus, tart, not bracing. Very nice.

2008 Vavasour Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Jalapeno, gooseberries, bracing, tart, really tart.

2008 Care Campbell Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, lemon sherbet, green pepper, asparagus, tart.

2008 Mount Grey Estate Waipara Pinot Gris: Pear, tinned pear, banana, lemon, cooked pear, nice acidity.

2007 Staete Landt Marlborough Pinot Gris: Honeysuckle, pear, peach, crisp, nice acidity. Excellent.

2007 Seifried Gewurztraminer: Oak, pear, peppers, flowers, pear, peach, almond. Very nice.

2008 Spy Valley Gewurztraminer: Really expressive nose, lychee, flowers, pears, honesuckle, crisp, tart, pear. Extremely well done.

2008 Omaka Springs Sauvignon Blanc: Light nose, gooseberry, citrus, pepper, slight lemon, tart, very nice.

I didn’t get anywhere near the reds, sadly. I wish I had the time to, as I don’t think I’ve ever had a red wine from New Zealand. I heard lots of good feedback from other folks on the quality of the Pinot Noirs. However, having just come off an all Zinfandel tasting, I was really feeling the white wines and the Sauvignon Blancs (as we all know, I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) really hit the spot.

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pinot Gris

I plucked a bottle of the 2006 Navarro Pinot Gris out of the basement for the evening. We drank this on its own after dinner, as is our modus operandi these days given the nature of our schedules, no time to chill a white wine before we eat, so we end up drinking it mostly after dinner or at the very tail end of our meal. I picked this bottle up when we visited Navarro this spring, it cost me $18, clocked in at 13.4% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

The first thing I noticed about the wine happened to be the very pale straw color. I really liked the way this wine looked in the glass. On the nose I found aromas of melon, lemon (ooooh, anagrams), lime, honeydew, orange blossom, and citrus. I wanted to jump in and swim in the glass based on the aroma alone. In the mouth I got flavors of grapefruit, lemon, citrus, green apple, and wet stone.

Overall, I thought the wine had a great mineral characteristic. In the mouth, I found it to be tart, dry, and refreshing, with good acidity. I’d serve this with a light white fish in place of my normal choice of Sauvignon Blanc.

PS-How are you finding my attempt at two pictures of each bottle? I’ve been trying it out for a couple of weeks now.

Can You Pronounce This?

The wine for the evening happened to have a very strange name, the 2006 Navarro Edelzwicker. We picked this bottle up at the winery on our March Sonoma trip, it cost $12, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Navarro bills the wine as “Mendocino Table Wine,” and it’s a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris.

In the glass, the wine displayed a pale yellow color, which unfortunately, you can’t see from my photo. Even though I got a new camera, I’m still working on the settings and actually taking good photos. Perhaps I should just give up and accept the fact that as a photographer, I suck.

On the nose I found perfume, spice, flowers, some underlying citrus, and 7-Up. Really, I said to Matt, “This wine smells like grapes.” No, I don’t mean to suggest it smells like the folks over at Smells Like Grape, though it could, I’ll let you know after the Wine Blogger Conference as I’m sharing a room with Taster B. In the mouth I got flavors of lemon, lime, (so really, if I knew what 7-Up tasted like, this might be it in wine form), flowers, honey, and a touch of spice. The flavors and body of the wine were quite light, though it did have just a hint of a creamy texture. Overall, an excellent bargain for the price.