Back With A New Grape

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

Still alive over here in Wannabe Wino land. Though clearly it’s been a while. Sleep deprivation and an infant really cuts into my blogging (and wine tasting time). So I’ll pop in today to introduce you to a new grape from a wine from a new to me wine region. I got the chance to taste the 2012 Vinkara Winery Narince Reserve. Narince is a native grape to Turkey where this wine is made. Grab this one to add a check mark to your Century Club application! (If you’re here in the DC area, there are several local wine stores where you find this, including MacArthur Beverages and in June, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits.) The wine has a real cork and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways:

1.) It sort of smells like a chardonnay.

2.) Continuing to try to relate this to more familiar wines, it tastes and feels a little like a viognier on the palate, particularly on the finish where it is a bit viscous.

3.) The winery produces a regular and a reserve Narince. I tasted the regular at a lunch and it’s a great spring wine and an easy on the purse price at around $16.

4.) Grab the whole line of wines from Vinkara and add several native Turkey grapes to your list of wines tried.

On the nose I found lemon, apple, slight vanilla and a tropical note. In the mouth I got lemon, pear, and apricot. It had good acidity through the mid palate and was viscous on the finish.



The Joy of Franc

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

Whenever I pop the cork on a bottle of Cabernet Franc, my first thought is always “Why don’t I drink more Cabernet Franc?” Cabernet Franc can be such a delightful, aromatic wine with great structure and fruit on the palate and I should make a greater effort to include more of it in my wine diet. In particular, I (and you) should definitely make the effort to get a bottle of the 2012 Cornerstone Cabernet Franc into my wine diet, it’s a wonderful example of all that can be great about this wine. The Cornerstone Cab Franc comes in at 14.7% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $50. (I seem to have misplaced my photos for this wine, my apologies.)

Takeaways from this wine:

1.) Pairs well with shattered nerves from your infant not sleeping.

2.) Also pairs well with BBQ ribs.

3.) Cornerstone Cellars offers one of the most consistently well-rounded and well-executed wine portfolios I’ve had the pleasure to taste.

4.) I always feel like Cabernet Franc offers a great bridge between lighter and heavier reds.

On the nose I found black cherry, raspberry, baking spice, clove, and herbs. In the mouth I got cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and black tea. Overall I found the wine to be bright and fresh with a long, smooth finish.


Budget Friendly Cava

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review.

Just in time for the holidays I’ve started to open up some bubbly. If you come around these parts with any regularity you know how much I love bubbles. Which is why the holiday season is particularly wonderful since people open more bubble, even though I firmly believe bubbles should be enjoyed frequently just because it’s Tuesday, for example.  Tonight we tried the Segura Viudas Brut Cava which retails for around $9.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Hosting a big holiday party this year? This budget Cava is wallet friendly and crowd-pleasing.

2.) If you want to step it up a bit, try the Segura Viudas Riserva, which has the added benefit of coming in an incredibly cool looking bottle. (I made one of mine into a lamp!)

3.) Cava in general, and the Segura Viudas Brut in particular, offers a lot of bang for your buck.

4.) I’d serve the Segura Viudas with my cheese plate this Thanksgiving.

On the nose I got a waxy note, pepper, flowers, and lemon. In the mouth I found peach, orange peel and melon. The wine had long-lasting bubbles and good acidity.


Wannabe Wino Turns 9!

Ye olde wine blog turns 9 today! Faithful readers have no doubt noticed I’ve been very quiet on here lately. I have a good excuse. I recently had another baby and have been off my wine for about a year. The wine blog has seen me through 9 years of marriage, 2 moves, buying 2 houses, selling one, and countless other adult-y type milestones. When I pushed “Publish” on the wine blog 9 years ago, I never imagined I’d still be here, even in a diminished capacity. Most of all, I value the relationships I’ve developed over the years, both in real life and virtually. Cheers to all my friends, the best benefit I never expected when I decided to launch a wine blog.

Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from a PR firm.

In case it’s not abundantly clear from my many posts on sparkling wines, I love bubbles. I love them so much that several years ago I got together with other wine bloggers and we made our own sparkling wine. So I’m always delighted when either the UPS or Fed Ex truck pulls up and brings me bubbles. This particular box came with the Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique inside. The Champagne had a traditional closure and retails in the low-mid $30 range. The bottle got recycled before I could note the alcohol level.

1.) Run, don’t walk, to pick this up for this price. It drinks like a much more expensive Champagne. It might be the bargain of the year.

2.) For that reason, stock up for the holidays. Everyone will love this wine. Give it as a gift. Put it out for your holiday meals. Drink a bottle on New Year’s Eve.

3.) Persistent small bubbles and great acidity really made this bubbly stand out for me.

4.)  Add this to my list of highly recommended wines for Thanksgiving.

On the nose I found the Champagne to be toasty, with brioche, lemon, apple and white flowers. In the mouth I got apple, citrus, apple flowers, and lemon. Overall I found it to be crisp with great acidity and bubbles.



Pretty in Pink

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

Although the calendar has turned to September, the weather in DC is no closer to fall than it was last week. Rather, it seems even hotter and more like the dog days of summer than any other time of the year. Which to me means it’s still a great time for a crisp rosé.  With that in mind, I ferreted out a bottle of the 2014 Cornerstone Cellars Corallina Rosé from the cellar to pair with the weather.  The Corallina retails for $25 and sports a screw cap closure.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) An excellent choice to pair with our rocking Adirondack chairs and the steamy DC day, cold from the fridge with great acid, tart flavors and refreshing citrus notes.

2.) The Syrah gives the Corallina a meaty note on the nose, but then gives way to more delicate red fruits, melon, and citrus on the palate.

3.) Although I just made a big deal about drinking the Corallina with the hot weather, I’m going to add it to my list of top choices for your Thanksgiving meal. The zesty acidity on the palate will cut right through the traditionally heavy Thanksgiving fare.

4.) Besides Thanksgiving, I’d serve the Corallina with your next cheese plate.

On the nose I found cherry, strawberry, a meaty note, pepper, flowers, and orange zest. Perhaps almost an orange blossom note as well. In the mouth I got strawberry, cherry, citrus, and melon. Tart red fruits and refreshing acidity carried the day on the rosé.



Chardonnay with a Cause

Mr. Wannabe Wino has been taking my photos for me…

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

I have a soft spot for wine with a cause, I must admit. And this one comes with the face of a particularly cute puppy adopted by the family that makes the wine. The wine also bears his name, Baron Cooper.  I’ve written about wines with a cause several times over the years and am also happy to discover additional bottles. Tonight I tried the 2013 Baron Cooper Chardonnay from Santa Rose, which retails for $24, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and sports a plastic closure.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The flavors on this Chardonnay took me straight to fall: apple, spice, nuts and pie.

2.) 5% of the sales from all Baron Cooper wines go to Best Friends Animal Society in honor of Baron Cooper, an organization dedicated to no-kill animal shelters.

3.) The wine displayed great acidity on the finish, holding together the toast and oak nicely.

4.) I’m going to start recommending wines for your Thanksgiving early, and this will be among the ones I would be happy to put on my table.

On the nose of the wine I found apple, oak, pear, spice, pie, and nuts. In the mouth I got pear, apple, toast, and spice. The body was lighter than I expected from the nose and the acidity supported the wine through a refreshing finish.


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