Chill in NZ?

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

Yes, please.  Brancott Estate out of New Zealand is currently running a contest to enter to win a trip for two to New Zealand. Head on over to Facebook to enter for your chance to win.  The contest runs through August 31.  I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand, ever since I did my very first term paper on New Zealand culture in my 7th grade language arts class. Attempting to promote the contest and, of course, the wine, a bottle of the 2012 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc arrived on my porch recently. The wine retails for about $9-$10 depending on your market, sports a screw cap closure, and Mr. Wannabe Wino recycled the bottle before I could record the alcohol content.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A bottle of the Brancott Sauvignon Blanc usually makes it into my 12 under $12 cases at the Total Wine.

2.) I often serve the Brancott (though not this vintage) at parties and our guests guzzle it.

3.) This particular vintage wasn’t my favorite of the ones I’ve had from Brancott, it had too much green pepper and even jalapeño on the nose.

4.) The pepper followed through to the palate for me and I just couldn’t get past it.

On the nose I found lime, grass, lots of green pepper, melon, tropical notes, and jalapeño. On the palate I got more peppers, lime, lemon, pink grapefruit, and slight tropical notes. While the palate showed tons of citrus, the pepper just threw me for a loop and I couldn’t get into this wine.




I spy with my little eye

*Disclaimer: I took this wine home from a luncheon thrown by the PR firm for the winery.

A perfect wine for the summer. I recently attended a lunch for the wine brand Heritance, with owner/creator/winemaker Bernard Portet.  At the end of the lunch a lone unopened bottle of 2011 Heritance Sauvignon Blanc begged for a home so that it wouldn’t have to be checked in baggage on the flight Bernard needed to hop right back to CA. Of course, I obliged and carted it home with me.  The Heritance Sauvignon Blanc retails for $24, has a screw cap closure, and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Bernard Portet might be the most charming man I’ve met in quite some time. I truly enjoyed the experience of lunch with him, and our very small group of 5 total folks.

2.) I am particularly taken with this Sauvignon Blanc. It is blended with 12% Roussanne which lends an interesting heft to the palate while not overpowering the fruit apparent in the Sauvignon Blanc.

3.) At lunch I had the wine paired with a mesclan greens, applewood smoked bacon, poached egg with a citrus vinagrette dressing salad. Amazing salad and a solid pairing with the Sauvignon Blanc. At home, we had it with Quiche Lorraine, which confirmed my initial reaction that it pairs quite well with eggs.

4.) I was jonesing for some grilled scallops while I drank this wine.

On the nose I got lemongrass, citrus, tropical notes, peach, passion fruit and a hint of the acidity to come. In the mouth I found melon, lemon, grass, tropical notes, lemongrass, and grapefruit.  The Roussanne definitely became apparent on the palate and while the wine certainly had nice acidity, the Roussane lent some weight to the wine and gave it some interesting character.

Sipping Sauvignon Blanc

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

Snow? Cold? Rain? Gray fog? Nothing says Sauvignon Blanc like that kind of weather, right? Well, I often like to pretend it’s summer or spring when we’re in the dead of winter. Plus, the overgrown rodent in PA says it will be an early spring.  Cheers to hoping it’s right.  We opened up the 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to go with a quiche Lorraine the other day.  The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.1 percent alcohol by volume, and retails for $25.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It had me dreaming of heat waves, so it served that purpose.

2.) You can’t see me but I’m making that motion with my fingers to my lips and saying “perfecto” about the pairing with the quiche Lorraine.

3.) I’ll take a bottle for the first 90 degree day of the year.

4.) I’d also drink this with grilled white fish, fondue, pasta with cream sauces, on it’s own on a tropical beach somewhere…

On the nose I found lime, lemon, white peach, grapefruit, and pear. I could smell the acidity and it made my mouth water.  In the mouth I got grapefruit, white peach, lemon, and pear.  Tart and refreshing, my final note on the wine (twice, that is) is “yummy.”



2010 Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

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

Although our weather is turning a little cooler here, I’m still tossing plenty of white wines into the mix. Even at only 80 today the humidity is a bear. Hunting in the basement I went for the 2010 Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. I haven’t previously had any wine from this producer, so I was eager to give it a shot. The wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I loved the nose.

2.) On the palate I found it to be a bit too “fat.” I didn’t think it had quite enough acidity to hold all the tropical fruits in check.

3.) Chill it really well and have it with some sharp cheeses and the fattiness is curbed a bit.

4.) I’m still more a fan of Sauvignon Blanc from other regions over Napa.

On the nose I found melon, pear, orange cream, pineapple, and other tropical notes. The nose was quite aromatic and I really enjoyed sniffing it.  The palate was simpler, with more grapefruit and guava notes and some pineapple and other tropical notes.




Speed Tasting #2

2009 Decibel Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

The wine comes from a sustainable vineyard. White pepper, lime, nice acidity. Isn’t a mouth-puckering sauvignon blanc from New Zealand at all. Currently distributed in PA, NY, and NJ. Stone fruit, stones, citrus zest, with some cream. very nicely done. 100% stainless, but lees stirred. Retails for $16 and they offer direct shipping.

Dreaming of White Wines

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Chile

Even though the weather refuses to cooperate, I am steadfastly refusing to accept the fact that spring is not here. Though honestly, it’s almost the middle of April and still cold and rainy. I swear I saw frost on the ground the other day. I’ll be sorely disappointed if we jump right into the sweltering summer without a hint of our usual gorgeous spring, one of the upsides of living in the DC area. Being in complete denial, I’m still keeping up my normal habit of enjoying white wine on the porch in the evenings, even if I’m doing it wrapped in a fleece blanket. Denial is powerful. With that in mind, we opened up the 2009 Haras Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for around $12.

On the nose you get a lovely aroma of a nicely built Sauvingon Blanc. I found grass, citrus, lemon, lemongrass, pineapple, tropical notes, stone, and white peach. I thought this wine had a gorgeous nose, easily one of the nicest I’ve found so far from a Chilean Sauvingon Blanc. The palate seemed dominated by grassy notes, with lemon, melon, and other citrus fruits lurking below. Overall it reminded me of a spring morning with the lawn being freshly mown. Good acidity, tart fruit, and the price point make this an easy recommendation for rotation into your porch sipping wines.

Spring in My Step(ping Stone)

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars.

Who wants it to be spring? ME! I’m entirely over the winter weather and I fear we are going to jump straight into the heat of summer without a stopover in my favorite season. For the spring, I usually except low 70s- mid-70s, warm breezes, and evenings that call for a chilled glass of white wine and rocking in the Adirondack chairs on our front stoop.  Alas, the weather is foiling me this year. Instead, I’m stuck inside pretending its spring by drinking some springy wine!  We decided on the 2009 Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Napa Sauvingon Blanc.  It clocks in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $16.

On the nose I found pear, melon, sweet flowers, tropical notes, and peach. Overall, a pleasant nose that hit all the right notes. In the mouth I got melon, pear, lime, citrus, and yellow apple. The wine is aged sur lie, and I thought the palate really showed that influence. I also noted good acidity and crispness on the palate. The wine definitely put me in a spring frame of mind and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to get into the spring spirit!

The overgrown rat said spring was coming

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

So how about we spring into a more spring-like wine? Corny? Indeed. But so is waiting for a large rodent to see its shadow or not every year.  Plus, it’s 20 degrees here as a I write this…so I’m not seeing any sign that spring is around the corner!  We popped open the 2009 Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has always been a strong (ha! I’m full of the corny puns this morning.) as far as I’m concerned, offering a great CA Sauvignon Blanc at a wallet friendly price of around $10. It clocks in at 13.8% alcohol by volume and has a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found grapefruit, grass, hay, flowers, melon, peaches, citrus, lemon, lemon zest, and an overall fresh and tart aroma.  In the mouth I got peach, citrus, grapefruit, some lemon, melon, and a little hint of the grass from the nose. I realize that I often list “citrus” as an aroma or flavor and then distinguish specific citrus fruits that I find in a wine. I do this because not only do I find those specific fruits, but the wine has an overall citrus characteristic that I can’t (or rather don’t think I can) attribute to one particular citrus fruit. Initially I found this wine to be quite tart at the front of the palate, but it rounded out nicely mid palate leaving me with the sensation of clean, crisp fruit.



I have a system

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Wines of Chile PR folks.

And it usually works fairly well, in terms of how I take notes and write up bottles of wine.  Whomever opens the wine takes the pictures. Then, I taste with dinner. After dinner, I move over to my little couch and take notes as I’m tasting directly into a draft blog post. The bottle of wine gets finished over the next day or two and then I put it beside my couch, until such time as I am going to post, so that I have it for any information I want off the bottle. At times, the bottles go missing. I think little wine bottle elves make off with them. This throws my system off. Like today. I have 20 empties next to me. But I’m missing the one I am writing, the 2009 Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc. It retails for about $13 and had a screw cap closure.

On the nose I got lime, tropical undertones, steel, white grapefruit, and peach notes. Overall I found the nose to be fairly citrusy.  In the mouth, more lime, peaches, and grapefruit, along with lime zest showed up. It still had that flinty, steel note from the nose, but it lacked the sweeter notes on the palate that I perceived on the nose.  In comparison with the other Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I tasted that evening, this was had more acidity and leaned more toward the mouth puckering element of Sauvignon Blanc. I found it very refreshing.



Bargain Summer White

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Wines of Chile online tasting.

In what might have been my favorite wines of Chile tasting yet, a box of Sauvignon Blanc arrived at my doors. What a way to my heart, I love Sauvignon Blanc all the time, but especially in the dregs of the DC spummall. I believe we had 8 bottles that night. A perennial favorite of mine came in the box-o-fun, the 2009 Reserva Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve written about this great value wine before, and continue to purchase it year after year. In fact, I had plenty of it on hand for my birthday party just a couple weeks ago that I picked up over at the Total Wine and More! The Veramonte had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $10.

On the nose I found citrus, lemon, lime, green apple, and tropical notes. I wrote in my notes that I thought the nose seemed “spritzy.” By that I generally mean fresh and lively. In the mouth I got more citrus, lime and lemon mostly, and more green apple. As always, the wine had racy acidity, but not the mouth-puckering acidity that I hear some folks complain about in certain Sauvignon Blancs. I love this wine year in and year out.