2008 Maryhill Zinfandel

Round 7 of speed dating and we find the 2008 Maryhill Zinfandel from WA state on our table. I’m very familiar with Maryhill and absolutely love their Cab Francs. The Zin retails $17ish and you can find it in 28 states. On the nose spice, vanilla bean, pepper, blackberry, and chocolate. In the mouth I get more spice, lots of fruit, and great acidity.

Serve with your next Thanksgiving dinner.


2010 Chatte D’Avignon Seven of Hearts GSM

Round 6 of speed dating tasting brings us the 2010 Chatte D’Avignon Seven of Hearts GSM. The wine has a 252 case production and comes to us from WA state. You can buy it for $25 at the winery and in OR. On the nose I”m getting spice, cedar cigar box, black fruit, perfume, yum. In the mouth I’m finding spice, cherries, black fruit, and great acidity. I love a good Grenache Syrah Mourvedre.

Drink with beef tenderloin.

2008 August Cellars Riesling

The 4th round of speed dating at the WBC 12 is the 2008 August Cellars Riesling, made with fruit from Eastern Washington and retailing for $14. Lime, stone, minerals, spice, and white flowers on the nose. The palate shows residual sugar with tangerine, honey, honeysuckle, and nice acidity.

Drink alone or with a lovely cheese tray.

Love at First Sip

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

I’ve been digging on Cabernet Franc lately. Something about the fresh fruit notes and lovely spices and earthy bits is just really appealing to me. I happily plucked the 2007 Maryhill Cabernet Franc from the basement to sip on the other night. It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, and the current 2008 vintage retails for $18.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) $18 is a steal. Run, don’t walk, to scoop up this wine.

2.) The nose on the Cab Franc was pure deliciousness. Hit many of the classic Cab Franc notes.

3.) The flavors followed nicely to the palate with great acidity.

4.) I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve tried from Maryhill Winery.

On the nose I got pepper, violets, black cherry, espresso, chocolate and spice.  In the mouth I found black cherry, spice, cedar, espresso, black plum, raspberry, and a mineral note.  Overall, the fruit was very fresh and it had great acidity carrying the finish.


Scary and Spooky

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

One of the very cool things about running this wine blog is the opportunity it gives me to learn about producers I’m not likely to have otherwise discovered.   Here is another one of those instances, where the folks from Ash Hollow Winery in Walla Walla, WA reached out to me.   The more I taste of the wines from Walla Walla, the sadder I am that I had to skip last year’s Wine Blogger Conference there.  That whole 20 weeks pregnant thing put a damper on my wine drinking last summer!  Just in time for the Halloween season, we tried the 2008 Ash Hollow Headless Red. It’s a blend of 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Syrah, and 8% Malbec.  The had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and I can’t find the retail price.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I’d never heard of Ash Hollow until they started following me on Twitter a few weeks ago. That’s a shame, if this wine is any indication of the rest of their line up.

2.) The video they made to promote the wine is funny: Link

3.) I was fighting Matt over my fair share of this wine, that’s how much I enjoyed it.

4.) The label is awesome for Halloween.

On the nose found pepper, spice, plum, violets, chocolate, and blackberry syrup. The wine had a wonderful aroma, it just jumped out of the glass.  In the mouth I found blue fruit, blackberry, black cherry, spice, earth notes, raspberry, and chocolate.  Overall the wine felt luscious and supple and plush on the palate, with delicious fruit.



I’ll Take Another Glass. Or 2.

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

Fall approaches. Not too long ago I was wishing for summer and dreaming of white wines. Now my thoughts are edging back to the red end of the spectrum again and I’m dabbling in some of the reds that have sat, neglected, in my basement all summer long. Cabernet Franc seemed like a good choice to get back into the red groove, so we opened up the 2007 Maryhill Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Franc. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol by volume, and retails for $34.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Cabernet Franc is quickly becoming my go-to red.

2.) This wine would be perfect with a marinated London broil on the grill.

3.) On the other hand, it was lovely on its own.

4.) Imagine a cedar chest, filled with chocolate, raspberries, black cherries, pepper, and smoke. Put it in a glass and add some herbs and you’ve got this wine.

On the nose I found herbs, pepper, white pepper, earth, chocolate, peppers, raspberry, black cherry, berry, cedar, and smoke. In the mouth I got black cherry, raspberry, herbs, smoke, pepper, and chocolate notes. Altogether this wine was deliciousness wrapped into a glass.

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!

Tis the Season…

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

For white wines! Oh yes, the DC swamp has returned for the spummall. That would would be spring/summer/fall. Or what I used to call spring, summer, and fall when I lived somewhere with more distinguishable seasons. This year is felt like we got unburied from our 12 million feet of snow and then it was summer. Hot summer. Perfect for all those crisp, white wines that I seem to ignore in the winter. While I had to miss the Wine Blogger Conference this year (sob!) some of the lovely wineries in Washington State sent me some wines so I could taste from afar what my fellow bloggers would be treated to. We tried the 2007 Maryhill Winemaker’s White the other evening. This blend of 49% Chardonnay, 36% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Sémillon, and 4% Viognier had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $12.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, apple, honeysuckle, spice, and white pepper. In my notes I wrote “Could it have Viognier in the blend?” before I went to look at the tech sheet to see exactly what this wine contained. To me it was strongly reminiscent of Viognier, even though it turned out to only contain 4%. In the mouth I got yellow apple, cider, spice, slight tropical notes, and melon. Overall I found the wine to be crisp with nice acidity and perfect for a DC spummall evening.

Walla Walla Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from L’Ecole Winery.

As my fellow wine bloggers jet off to Walla Walla, Washington this week for the 2010 Wine Blogger Conference, I’ve decided to toast them with another wine from Walla Walla! This is the first time I’ve missed the blogger conference, much to my dismay, but sometimes these things can’t be helped. I’m hoping it might come to VA next year so I could be sure to make it! Out of the Walla Walla 6-pack sent to me by L’Ecole, I chose the 2006 L’Ecole Apogee. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail online for between $34-$45.

On the nose I found clove, herbs, berries, plums, blackberries, red fruit, spice, and slight chocolate notes. I thought the fruit smelled fresh and I wanted to get lost in this wine. In the mouth I got plums, blackberry, anise, chocolate, bright fresh black fruits, and herbs. I found the wine to be nicely structured with dry tannins.  Cheers to all those up in Walla Walla this week!

Merlot Rocks

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from L’Ecole.

In preparation for the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 being held in Walla Walla, WA (which I will not be attending this year, sob!) several Washington State wineries sent out samples to bloggers for a “tour of Washington wine.” I hadn’t previously had much wine from WA, so I jumped at the chance to try some more examples. The first winery to ship samples was L’Ecole and I’ve written about a few of their wines already. Tonight we chose the 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Estate Merlot. The Estate Merlot hails from the Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $37.

Anyone who is still wallowing in the “Merlot is insipid” phase need only give the L’Ecole a chance. On the nose i got pepper, spice, bright black berry, black plums, earth, and cinnamon. In the mouth blackberry, plum, spice, earth, and cinnamon…just like the nose. I found it to be juicy with nice acidity and really well done overall. My notes say: this isn’t your gramma’s Merlot unless you have a really cool gramma.