Last Argentinian

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

One step closer to being caught up with my tasting notes! I can say with almost 100% certainty that I had never had a Viognier from Argentina prior to this event. I love Viognier though, so it definitely piqued my interest. I usually don’t go for oak on my Viognier since I find Viognier to have such a wonderful aroma on its own and typically oak will obliterate that, but here with the 2009 Cueva de los manos Reserva Viognier, the oak was used lightly and didn’t interfere at all with the characteristics I love about Viognier. The wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, smoky notes, honey, oak that quickly blew off, and pineapple. In the mouth I got nice pear flavors, honey, pineapple, tropical notes, and more honey on the finish. Overall the wine had great acidity and the oak was well integrated and didn’t cover up the true flavors and aromas of the grape.


Kosher Wine For Passover

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Galil Mountain Winery

Passover is just around the corner and I’m happy to have a Kosher wine recommendation for anyone who many still be looking for wines to serve. I’ve only had a few Kosher wines over my time as a [Wannabe] wino, but I understand from some of my friends that it can be difficult to find ones that are worth drinking. I believe I’ve had a few bottles from Galil Mountain Winery, and I can easily recommend that you check them out if you are in the market for either Kosher wines, or just looking to expand your wine knowledge by trying wines from Israel. We tried the 2008 Galil Mountain Viognier with our baked tilapia the other night. It retails for around $12, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 15% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got pear, spice, spiced pear, oak, caramel notes, and apple. But mostly pear. Lots and lots of pear. Which is kind of interesting considering on the palate I got lots and lots of apple. As well as pear, spice, toffee notes, and baking spice. The wine had crisp, clean fruit notes with the oak lending an overall creaminess to the wine and rounding out the structure nicely with the spice and toffee/caramel notes.

Drinking Washington State Wine

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

An ode to Viognier: Viognier, I love your flowery aromas, your lingering citrus, your slightly oily mouthfeel. I could drink you all day and never want for more… Ok, enough with the bad poetry. In all seriousness, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Viognier. I wish more people made it and made it well. All you wine bloggers who come to VA for WBC 2011 will enjoy the great array of Viognier VA wineries have to offer, but it also appears you got to taste some good ones at WBC 10 in Washington! Tonight we tried the 2008 Maryhill Viognier. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and retails for $12-$15.

On the nose I found honeysuckle, vanilla, flowers, honey, spiced dried pineapple, orange blossom, exotic spices, and banana. In the mouth I got pineapple, orange, pears, honey, and spice. I found the palate on the wine to be very spicy and it definitely added some zing to the wine. Overall, a great bargain at $12 a bottle!

Virginia Viognier

Last fall Matt and I had a chance to go out to VA wine country and visit Rappahannock Cellars. While there, we of course had to buy some of our favorite wines to enjoy later. What kind of winos would we be if we didn’t?? One of my favorite wines that I’m seeing coming from Virgina is Viognier. VA wineries are doing really great things with the grape and I continue to be impressed with what I’m tasting. Tonight we pulled out the 2008 Rappahannock Cellars Viognier that we purchased at the vineyard. It had a Diam closure, clocked in at 13.6% alcohol by volume, and cost me about $22.

On the nose I found honeysuckle, flowers, tropical fruits, pineapple, candied pineapple, pear, and a hint of cream. The aromatic nose drew me in. I love the nose on Viognier. In the mouth I got tons of pineapple, including candied pineapple and pineapple jello. I also found pear, spice, flowers, and tropical notes. The Rappahannock Viognier is by far one of my favorites that I’ve tasted from the state. I highly suggest you check out what VA is doing with Viognier, it would be well worth your time and effort.

Busting into club shipments

We buy a lot of wine. No lie. I belong to 8 wine clubs. I buy wine regularly from local merchants and from internet sources as well as on our visits to local vineyards and our trips to Napa/Sonoma. In any given year I easily buy 20+ cases of wine which even if we were to exclusively consume those would be more than we could taste at home in one year. Wine is a major part of our lives. It has been since before I ever knew what a blog was and will continue to be in the future, with or without the wine blog.

One of the clubs we belong to is De La Montanya. We discovered De La Montanya on our very first trip to Sonoma nearly 4 years ago. We were out for a drive one afternoon, thinking we’d just enjoy the scenery for the day when we stumbled upon a tiny sign directing us to De La Montanya. While we weren’t looking for tasting rooms that afternoon, we couldn’t resist checking it out once we followed the signs to the small, well-hidden tasting room.  That day we attempted to join the wine club, as these weren’t wines we were going to find in any local shop back home. Much to our dismay, they had a waiting list as the club had no further capacity at the time. We signed up anyway, and indicated that they should simply add us when they could and start shipping the wine. Our first club shipment arrived about 3 months later and we were delighted to be members and have been enjoying the wines ever since. I even served all De La Montanya selections at Christmas last year after a fantastic shipping/discount offer that came in my fall club shipment. As we watch our wine overfill our racks at an alarming rate, I decided it was time to jump back in and start tasting them. We plucked the 2007 De la Montanya Viognier out of a previously unopened box. The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.2% alcohol by volume, and I think it ran about $20 in the club shipment.

On the nose I found the wine to be very perfumey, like I expect from a Viognier. (I just had a Viognier tonight at Bistro Bis that simply smelled and tasted like fresh honey, and nothing else, not at all what I was anticipating and I was disappointed that it lacked the aroma and characteristics I expect from Viognier, a grape I’ve come to expect great things from.) This was not the case at all with the De La Montanya, thankfully.  I got white flowers, orange spice, honeysuckle, orange spice cake, and citrus. In the moth I found citrus, lemon, spice, orange, lemon zest, and honeysuckle. I enjoyed this Viognier quite a bit and intend to savor my second bottle this summer while sitting on my deck and soaking up the sun.

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.

Oregon Viognier!

Back in August I went to a Viognier and Syrah tasting at Unwined in Alexandria. Matt was out of town and I was looking for something to do! Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying something, because, well, I have a problem. A wine collecting problem. I don’t mean to hoard wine, but I do! So I purchased this bottle of 2008 Penner Ash Viognier from Oregon, it was my favorite of the tasting. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, cost me $32.95, and had a screw cap closure.

On the nose I found pineapple, tropical notes, flowers, white peach, white pepper, honeysuckle, pear, and vanilla. In the mouth I got pear, white peach, honey, pineapple, and tropical notes. The Viognier had an slightly oily mouthfeel, which I love in a Viognier, with a crisp finish. One of my favorite Viogniers this year!

A Twisted Night

We actually dug into our own wines the other night…it’s been a while and trust me, with my club shipments back on for the season, it’s been piling up like there’s no tomorrow. All of our wine racks are totally full, as well as at least 9 styrofoam shipper bottoms and a good 4 cases I haven’t even opened yet. If you’re following along, that would be about 400 bottles. Yikes, it would take us over 2 years to drink that many bottles! So we pulled out the 2008 Twisted Oak Viognier that came in a recent club shipment. With the club discount it cost $17.60, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume.

I paired this with some homemade chicken soup which I think is actually a match I’ve made before, though I’m having trouble finding the post! On the nose I found pear, pineapple, tropical notes, spice, banana, and cream.  In the mouth I got pear, peach, tropical notes, pineapple, banana, and spice. The nose and palate tracked pretty well and the wine had excellent acidity. Perhaps a good mate for upcoming holiday dinners? Though really, I’m still not sure anything goes well with sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows!

Not Crushing It

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Don Sebastiani and Sons.

The Crusher series of wines is one of several labels from Don Sebastiani and Sons. It falls under the Three Loose Screws brand and is intended to be a line of affordable single varietal wines mostly from Clarksburg, CA. I wrote earlier about the Cabernet Sauvignon that didn’t much taste like Cabernet Sauvignon. This time I have the the 2007 The Crusher Viognier.  It had a plastic cork, retails for about $12, and clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume…pretty high for a white wine.

I wanted to like this wine. I really did. In general, I love Viognier. But I didn’t love this.  The nose showed banana, flowers, honey, lemon, melon, pineapple cream, underlying yellow apple, and pear.  A good start. But in the mouth I found it to be very bitter and acidic.  I also got vanilla, pear, peach, some oak, cream, apricot, and a spicy aftertaste.  I see other reviews around the wine blog world that really liked this.  NMS.

Yummy in My Tum Tum Tummy

*Disclaimer: I received this as a sample from Lange Twins Winery

I love Viognier.  LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!  I’m always so excited to get Viognier in the mail, something a little bit different than the standard Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio that people tend to send me.  I recently reviewed and liked the Lange Twins Petite Verdot/Petite Sirah blend, so I was happy to get a bottle of the limited edition 2008 Lange Twins Viognier in the mail a couple weeks ago.  The wine had a screw cap closure (which I actually didn’t realize until I tried to use my foil removed on the foil and started cutting into the screw cap…), clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, and retails for $16. (But it’s really limited, so you should go buy some. Now. It’s really good. Go. Now.)

On the nose I found peach, pear, flowers, nectarines, white pepper, tinned pears, honeysuckle, and lemon.  This had a FABULOUS nose! I kept smelling and smelling and smelling and Matt kept draining his glass. In the mouth I got lime, honey, peach, pear, lemon, spiced pears, tropical fruit, and spice.  The wine had a great round mouthfeel, but was still really refreshing.  I could easily see how Matt’s glass had a hole in it!