WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.


The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!

Still drinking Rose….

I’m tasting Roses for Thanksgiving this year! Last year at Thanksgiving I made printed wine menus and asked our guests to select from a few bottles for each course. No one seemed terribly interested in it, so this year I will just be setting up the wine myself and I am 99% convinced I am going with a Croze Rose from WineQ but I am still testing other because, well, I love Rose and this gives me a great excuse!

This bottle was a 2006 Chateau Grande Cassagne Rose from
Costieres de Nimes. I picked it up at UnWined in Alexandria, it cost me about $10, and clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose there were strawberries and limes. The citrus was very present in the aroma with sweeter berries making up the rest of the nose. In the mouth the wine tasted like raspberry jolly ranchers and liquid strawberry Jello with a nice lime hint that gave it a great acidic backbone.

Definitely a good value and one I’d look out for to drink for next summer!

Attack of the Killer Crab Legs Redux!

It is most definitely the season for crab legs, whole she-crabs and other light seafood to match with light summer whites here in VA! We actually went to our first crab-feast of the summer this weekend, thanks to a gracious invite from Leah of DC Gastronome.

The wine I chose to pair with these Snow Crab leg clusters was another bottle I discovered in our move that I purchased from Unwined back in November. The bottle was a Domaine de la Croix Senaillet Vin de Bourgogne Saint Veran. It cost $14.99 and was 13% alcohol by volume.

The nose of this wine was incredibly aromatic, I could smell the citrus as I poured it into my glass! The nose displayed tangerines, mandarins, and white flowers. In the mouth, the citrus flavors can only be described as tangy. Specifically there were oranges and other orange citrus fruits. Additionally, I could find melon, which I thought was cantaloupe. I also noted that the minerality of the wine was excellent and the finish was very long.

A perfect match for our crab dipped in drawn butter and topped with fresh lemon juice. I’m sure we will be enjoying many similar meals as the summer progresses!

Weekend Round-Up 3/30/07

Lots of great tastings in the area for you to check out this weekend!

On Saturday Out of Site Wines in Vienna, VA will have “Superstars from France and Spain” on the tasting bar from 1-4pm.

Unwined in Alexandria is having a great event on Sunday at 5pm, West Coast Wine Tasting. You need to RSVP though as space is limited: Please RSVP to 703.820.8600 or vanessa@unwinedva.com

Tonight at Arrowine in Arlington you will find a tasting off Italian wines from 5:30-7:30pm.

Saturday at Arrowine there will be more than 10 wines being poured at the Super Tasting of values.

At the Curious Grape in Shirlington from 6-8pm tonight is a tasting of Springtime in Italy.

Tomorrow at the Curious Grape from 12-4pm is the Art of the Blend featuring “interesting” blends.

On Wednesday, April 4, at the Curious Grape (I know, not the weekend, but you’ll deal) are New Arrivals from Austria from 6-8pm.

Spring Selections from France and California will grace the tasting bar at the Curious Grape on Thursday April 5 from 6-8pm.

Tonight at Church Street Cellars in Vienna, VA wines from Australia will be poured.

Weekend o’ Citrus

Apparently we were destined to drink wines that showed lots of citrus flavors this weekend! I’m feeling much better today, so onward with the wine tasting.

Tonight’s dinner was leftover Chinese and I thought I’d give it another shot with pairing a white wine. The choice? Another from the 6 we bought from Unwined in our quest for everyday wines, also suggested by the helpful associate. Here, a West Brook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Screw-cap, 13% alcohol by volume and cost us $13.99. I gather it’s a small family vineyard that wins many New Zealand wine awards, among others.

Grapefruit, lime, lemon. Mostly grapefruit upon sniffing it, but all kinds of citrus in the taste. Very crisp and a long, lingering finish in the mouth. Acidic. An excellent match with the Chinese. For the price, I loved it. Sadly, my husband poured himself the last glass and then said, oops, sorry honey.

Tonight’s dinner and wine!

The dinner was a lemon-herb chicken sauteed in fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil that we got at Hop Kiln Winery and I am sad to say is now an empty bottle, and fresh rosemary. Green beans and biscuits with honey (yes, Pillsbury, I can’t do everything yet!).

I normally think of white when I make poultry. Though I have heard the pinot noir is excellent for turkey and I will be offering a bottle on my Thanksgiving menu (more on T-day choices later). I decided to go with my first thought and pick a white. Since it was a really light sauce on the chicken and lemony, I decided a riesling would be a fair match.

This riesling came from our search for everyday wine. It’s a 2005 Matheus Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett. German if you couldn’t tell. Most of what I can find about this wine online is written in German, which isn’t much help to me. We paid $14.99 for this bottle, but I found it for $12.95 here

Screw-cap closure, 10.5% alcohol by volume. A nice light wine for a nice light meal. However, the screw-cap was nearly impossible to open. We had to use a knife to cut around it in order to remove it. I smelled mostly honey flavors when I poured this bottle. Tasted like honey as well, with just a slight citrus/acidic note. It paired excellently with the lemon chicken and was very tasty to finish up after dinner.

Well done to the sales people at Unwined for selecting this for us. At the price and with these flavors, which my husband really loved, it will make a regular appearance at our table. Also, the low alcohol content makes this perfect in my opinion for a weekday wine….I can enjoy it and not worry about feeling any ill-effects.

Our quest for everyday wines

We bought a lot of wine while in the Sonoma area this summer. And by a lot I mean around 200 bottles. Now, not only has the storage of such a quantity been a challenge given that we live in an apartment, but many of the bottles cost more than we like to drink as a regular weekday wine. If we actually lived in Sonoma and didn’t have to ship, it might be an option to drink more of it regularly. So we are currently searrching and tasting to find more affordable options in all categories to drink with dinner most nights.

Our search led us to Unwined a local wine shop I read about on Virginia Vine Spot

We picked up 6 bottles and have tasted our way through 3 so far. The first two weren’t worth mentioning, except for the point of interest that one was a Vihno Verde from Portugal. I had never seen anything like it before and had to try it. For $7.99, it was worth it just for the experience. Vihno verde literally means green wine, but this bottle was completely clear in color. I gather that it’s generally a sparkling wine, but I would say it’s a lot less fizzy than any other sparkling wine I’ve ever had. Ours was Gatao Vihno Verde. I can’t say I was disappointed since I didn’t know what to expect, but this was an almost flavorless, slightly fizzy (think sparkling table water), lemony gingerale type of drink. I wouldn’t rush to buy it again, but might consider trying a different brand. If unique wines are your thing, give it a go for the novelty.

In the interest of not writing novels, I’ll put my notes from tonight’s wine in a new post.