2011 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bonny Doon Winery.

With the weather finally turning to spring here (perhaps?) my thoughts have turned to white wines and (even more) bubbly. Keeping that in mind when I dove into the cellar for something to drink the other night, I popped up with the 2011 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc. I previously reviewed the 2010 vintage here. The current vintage is a bit more Grenache Blanc heavy, at 62% with the remainder being Roussanne. Last vintage was only 55% Grenache Blanc. The wine has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $28.

Four takeaways from this mine:

1.) While the Roussanne still made its presence known with the mouthfeel and the viscosity, it felt less dominant to me in this vintage.

2.) I imagined myself eating crab with this wine, which we often indulge in during the spring and summer months.

3.) Or simply sipping it on one of those delightful spring nights where it is still cool enough to rock on the front porch.

4.) Overall, I’ve been mightily impressed with the quality of the wine coming out of Bonny Doon.

On the nose I got yellow apple, melon, pear, lemon, orange zest, flowers, mineral notes, and slight honey.  In the mouth I found green apple, lemon, pear, and grapefruit.  The wine had a lovely mouthfeel with a slight viscosity and a long finish.




Blending the ‘Annes

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the winery.
Marsanne and Rousanne that is. This wine is an equal blend of the 2 grapes. It hails from the team at Hope Family Wines out of Paso Robles.  We pulled this from the cellar to drink with roast chicken the other night. I’m not making a turkey before Thanksgiving and I wanted to give it a run with poultry to assess it as a potential Turkey Day wine.  The 2010 Treana White retails for $23, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Gobble gobble gobble.

2.) Being serious, the flavors and structure of this wine, combined with the “oily” nature of the grapes would make it a great contender to stand up to the array of foods served at your Thanksgiving celebration.

3.) I was really surprised by the depth of flavors in this wine.

4.) I’ve been enjoying all the wines coming from Hope Family Wines I’ve had lately.
On the nose I got pear, cream, orange, honeysuckle, and stone fruit. I found that I could smell the oily nature of the grapes on the nose, along with the round fruit flavors to come. In the mouth I found pear, peach, stone fruit, tropical notes, honey, flowers, and melon. The wine had a lot of weight on the palate, along with the oily quality I noted earlier and the round fruit flavors.




Ooo La La!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

What do you get when you combine 55% Roussanne and 45% Grenache Blanc? The current 2010 vintage of Bonny Doon’s Le Cigare Blanc. Did you think I was going to tell a joke? I don’t joke about wine. Well, that’s not true at all, but there’s no just kidding font that shows through the computer screen. Though I could really use one, along with a sarcasm font. Anywho. The 2010 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 12.7% alcohol by volume, and I think it retails for around $24.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The Roussanne is very evident in the oily, big mouthfeel of this wine.

2.) I’ve had Roussanne. I’ve had Grenache Blanc. I don’t think I’ve ever had the 2 blended together before. It works.

3.) Bonny Doon always has some really interesting wines going on.

4.) The Le Cigare Blanc is perfect for the transitional spring weather we are having in DC with our cooler, windy evenings.

On the nose I found tropical fruits, apples, wax, honey, and flowers. In the mouth I got apple, tropical notes, guava, honey, and flowers. The Roussanne very much dominated the blend for me and lent a heavier, oily, waxy quality to the wine. Pair with roast chicken.


Locked up again

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Big House Wines.

I already used the pun “In the Big House”……and I thought cutesy labels needed cutesy post titles. Not sure I got there this time, but hey, I tried. My first experience with the Big House Wines was the Red a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t such a big fan, so I didn’t really know what to expect from any of the other wines. I must say, I found the 2008 Big House White to be pleasantly surprising. Big House white is a blend of 56% Malvasia Bianca, 22% Muscat Canelli, 18% Viognier and 4% Rousanne. This would be a good one to cheaply knock out some Century Club grapes if you are just starting your quest! It clocked in a 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap, and retails for $7.

I thought this wine smelled a lot like Gewurztraminer. I think that was probably from the Muscat, but I’m not sure. I got flowers, lychee, tropical notes, and spice on the nose. I found it to be very perfumed. In the mouth I found sweet peach, pear, melon, and lots of white flowers. This was mostly all melon in the mouth. I found it refreshing and pretty interesting for the $7 price tag.

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!

Two New Grapes!!!

I’m super excited about this wine, not only because it tasted good and represented a great deal, but also because it knocked two more grapes off on the Century Club application for us! This wine provided grapes 86 and 87….only 13 more to go!!  I purchased the 2007 Chateau la Canorgue Cotes du Luberon Blanc from the Domain547 for $18, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.  It’s a White Rhone blend of Clairette (new grape!), Bourboulenc (new grape!!), Roussanne, and Marsanne.  And it rocked.

On the nose I got lots of flowers, tropical fruit, a cream note, apple, banana, lime, citrus, and tangerines.  This is definitely one you should let warm up a bit.  I stuck it in the fridge for about 15 minutes and it came out all muted…I had to warm it up in my hands.  In the mouth I found citrus, lime, tropical fruit, apples, and star fruit.

I wrote down that the wine “is calling out for crab legs.”  Last night we drank it with some cheese crackers before a late evening dinner reservation and it worked well with those.  Overall, I found the wine to be crisp with a great mouthfeel that I associated with Marsanne and Roussanne.

BWACK! Rubber Chickens on the Loose!

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

I think this wine should be called “Prince.”  It’s been known as so many different things over the years….it used to be a %@#$! aka Potty Mouth White. (I reviewed the 2006 here.)  This year, it is called the 2007 Twisted Oak Ruben’s Blend.  Ruben is the Twisted Oak rubber chicken for the uninitiated!  It’s a white Rhone style blend that has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $24. The blend is 46% Marsanne, 23% Roussanne, 21% Vermentino, and 10% Viognier.

Right away I noted the gorgeous straw color.  It also had great aromatics, I could smell the wine from over 2 feet away.  I found pineapple, peach, pear, apple, stone fruit, candied apricot, and a slightly creamy note.  A really enticing nose that makes you want to jump right into the glass.  In the mouth I found a little oak, cream, apple, honey, pears, nuts, a hint of spice, pineapple, and spiced pear.

Overall, I found the wine to be dry, and a bit viscous with a nice mouthfeel.  It had great acidity and I imagine would be really good with a roast chicken. (No offense meant to Ruben and his brethren…)  I like the 2007 even better than the 2006.  Matt even gave it great praise saying it was his favorite Twisted Oak wine yet.

You’ve Got to be %@#$! Kidding Me!

Hmm, see through.

Hmm, see through.

No, really, %@#$! is the name of this white, Rhone-style blend from Twisted Oak Winery, aka Potty Mouth White. The 2006 Twisted Oak %@#$! is made up of 41% Marsanne, 34% Roussanne, 19% Rolle, and 6% Viognier.  It clocks in at 13.6% alcohol by volume, came in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, and cost around $20.

On the nose I found apple, pear, apricot, honey, and butterscotch.  I could really smell the influence of the Viognier on the nose of this wine, even though the Viognier makes up the smallest percentage by far of the grapes in the blend.  In the mouth I found apple, pear, pineapple, crab apple, vanilla, and baked apple pie.

Pretty, confused Christmas Cactus!

Pretty, confused Christmas Cactus!

Overall, I thought the wine showed great acidity and had a huge mouthfeel. Silky, the Marsanne and the Roussanne seemed to really show through in the mouth, whereas the Viognier really lent itself well to the nose.  I have no idea what Rolle tastes like independently so I can’t speak to what it adds to the wine!

Something Twisted This Way Comes

The wine for the night was a 2005 Twisted Oak Sierra Foothills %@#$!. I purchased the wine in a club shipment from WineQ for $23.99(with free shipping!). It’s a Rhone style blend made of 58% Roussanne and 42% Marsanne. The wine clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure. Many more Twisted things will be showing up at the Wannabe Wino house in the near future, as I was a very good Wino this year and Santa brought me a Twisted Few membership for Christmas!

I first noted the color on the wine, it was deep golden straw color. On the nose I found honey, a buttery note, sweet fruit, nectarines, and pears. In the mouth the flavors were pears and nectarines, with a but of butter and cream. This was a very different wine, I’ve had both Roussanne and Marsanne as stand alone bottles, but never as a blend before. I found it to be very interesting, and it had a great long finish.

Crab and Roussanne

I swear we eat things other than crab legs and pizza. I know you can’t tell that right now, but I am really just behind in getting up posts. A virus infected my work computer so I have had no internet access during the day as I am sans computer at the moment and just haven’t been able to catch up on getting posts up!

We drank this 2005 Marry Me Roussanne by Roshambo with a dinner of snow crab leg clusters with fresh lemon and butter. (I will admit, this is one our favorite summertime dinners!) The wine came in a club shipment, had a real cork closure, weighed in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and cost us $12.00.

On the nose I found lemon, honeysuckle, something tropical, pear, and white flowers. The nose was very aromatic. In the mouth the wine tastes a bit like a slightly heavy unoaked chardonnay, though it was a bit tart. Flavors displayed in the mouth were pear, honey, and apricots.

I thought this was a good effort from Roshambo and for the price point was a very good value. I also like trying new varietals, so that made my day as well.