Kick Ass Kick Ranch

By happy coincidence, WineQ has started carrying some of the awesome wines made from Kick Ranch Vineyards grapes, some of the same ones I got to taste at the Wine Blogger Conference. Brittany of WineQ gave me this bottle in September when I was out in San Francisco for work! The wine is the 2006 Carica Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc. The wine clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume and can be purchased from WineQ for $20.99.

On the nose I found lemon grass, meyer lemon, grass, grapefruit, and more citrus. This wine was all citrus, all the way! And just because I love all my readers, I actually went out recently and ate a Meyer lemon just so I would finally be able to have a reference point for a commonly used wine descriptor! I’ll tell you more about where I got that lemon in a later post! In the mouth, grapefruit, citrus, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit, fig, and kiwi showed in the mouth.

At first in the mouth, all I could taste was grapefruit and citrus, but that soon gave way to a mouthful of tropical fruit! I found the wine to be crisp and dry, with great acidity and structure.  The had some minerality and great fruit. I really enjoyed this bottle of wine! I served it with a dinner that I actually really like, and took pictures of, but the pictures make it look disgusting. I made chicken breasts stuffed with bacon and cream cheese and finished with a sauce of chicken stock, cream cheese, and drippings. Great food, and an excellent match with the wine, but I won’t share the pictures!

You say Garnacha, I say Grenache

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from WineQ because I am a Beta Club Member.

It’s all the same thing and it all tastes good to me. I love Grenache. I wish someone would name it the next “it” grape so that I could have many more to choose from! But alas, or, well, I guess not alas at all, since I love it too, I hear lots of predictions that Petite Sirah will be the next big thing. Who knows though? As long as it’s wine and it’s good, I’ll drink to whatever the next big grape is!

I chose the 2006 Bokisch Garnacha from WineQ for the evening. Mainly because I love Grenache and I really wanted to taste this one. I tried an Albariño from Boskich the other night and loved it!

The wine had a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5%, and can be purchased for $17.99 from WineQ.  My first note for this wine involved the color. I really thought it looked exactly like a Pinot Noir in the glass. On the nose I found pomegrante, raspberry, strawberry, spice, red plum, and flowers.  In the mouth I got flavors of bright red fruit, cranberry, sour red cherry, pomegrante, pepper, spice, herbs, sage, and more red fruit.

Overall, my first impression of the color being like a Pinot Noir carried through to the actual wine. If I had tasted this blind, I would have guessed Pinot Noir, hands down. Now, I’m not sure what that says about my blind tasting skills, but there you have it.  I found the wine to be juicy, full of tart fruit,with nice acidity and herbal qualities. I actually remarked to Matt that it was like drinking a glass of alcoholic pomegrante juice!

Drinking from the Q

*Disclaimer: I received this bottle as a sample from WineQ because I am a member of their Beta Club.

We were looking for an after dinner wine the other night, something light and low in alcohol. The 2006 Ceja Sauvignon Blanc fit the bill nicely. You can buy this bottle from WineQ for $25.99, it clocks in a 12.9% alcohol by volume, and it had a real cork closure.

I loved the color on this wine. It had a great pale straw hue in the glass. On the nose I found aromas of grass, citrus, lime, lemon, grapefruit. The nose showed an incredible bouquet of tons of citrus. I love the grassy characteristic that California Sauvignon Blancs often have. In the mouth I got flavors of pineapple, star fruit, melon, lemon, grapefruit, and a nice herbal element.

Well chilled, this wine went perfectly with the muggy weather that we seem to still be having here in the DC swamp. As I said, we drank this on its own after dinner, but it would be perfect to whet your appetite as a before dinner drink.

On the Road to Jeriko


I picked the 2003 Jeriko Syrah as the wine for the evening. With cooler weather rolling, I am in the mood for the big red wines that I have ignored for going on 4-5 months now as I live in the hot humid swamp that is the greater DC area. I’m also getting excited to make casseroles and soups again, heavier fare to pair with my heavy reds. I purchased the Jeriko from WineQ for $25.99 (free shipping!), it clocked in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.


On the nose I found aromas of boysenberries, chocolate plums (and yes, I mean that as one entry), blackberries, spice, leather, earth, vanilla, black cherry, and charred meat (As I write some of these descriptors, I realize that some of them might turn people off rom the wine. However, I swear to you that charred meat or grilled meat, or meat in general as an aroma in a Syrah is not uncommon or unwelcome!). The nose showed as quite fruity and perfumed.

In the mouth I got flavors of espresso, black cherry, blackberries, raisins, licorice, raspberries, and plums. The flavors were very fruity. I found the finish to be fairly tannic, so I would say this one has quite a few years left in it to develop. Overall, I loved this bottle of wine. It had so many complex flavors and just got better over the course of the evening. I can easily recommend this bottle!

Thanksgiving Wines, Already


The wine for the evening arrived on my doorstep via a WineQ shipment, coming from a vineyard I’ve now tried a few times with great results, the 2004 Hannah Nicole Fume Blanc. I purchased the bottle for $14.99 (free shipping!) from WineQ, it clocked in at 14.65% alcohol by volume (can’t say I ever remember an alcohol content being brought out to the 2nd decimal place before), and had a real cork closure. The wine hails from Contra Costa County, CA.


On the nose I found cream, peach, apple, pineapple, vanilla, orange blossom, spice, and a touch of oak. In the mouth I got flavors of orange, pineapple, grapefruit, other citrus, and cream. I’m not usually a Fume Blanc fan, to be honest. I tend to find them overoaked, but this version may make me a convert! The fruits showed through as clean and crisp, and overall the wine was dry. It had great balance and acidity, I’d actually consider this as a Thanksgiving wine. (Wow, it’s that time of year already, isn’t it? I’ve already got people arriving to the blog via Thanksgiving search terms….scary.)

Blends Rule!

*Disclaimer: I received this bottle as a sample because I am a member of WineQ’s Beta Club.

The wine for the night was the 2005 Vare Vineyards Bianco. It’s a blend of Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. I love wine blends, I find them to be really interesting and I like to see how the different grapes work together. The wine comes in a 500mL bottle, has a plastic cork, clocks in at 14.5% alochol by volume, and can be purchased from WineQ for $22.49.

On the nose I found toffee, caramel, honey, oak, sandalwood, clove, lemon, tropical fruit. In the mouth the wine was creamy! I got flavors of cream, grapefruit, apple, lemon, pineapple, and tropical fruit. The wine had a medium body, was surprisingly tart, very crisp, and had a long finish. I thought it was quite tasty and totally different form any other wine I’ve ever had. I think I’m digging the Ribolla Gialla grape, this is now the second time I’ve had it from Vare vineyards and I really like it. I also love that the wine comes in a 500mL bottle, it’s perfect for just a couple glasses.

Merlot or Cuvee? Merlot or Cuvee?

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample because I am a member of WineQ’s Beta Club.

The wine for the evening was a 2004 Deerfield Ranch Merlot Cuvee. It’s a blend of 75% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Sangiovese, 5% Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Being 75% Merlot, the wine qualifies to be labeled as a single varietal Merlot, however, Deerfield has chosen to call it a Cuvee instead. I admit to being confused, but upon reading the label, the winery says it wanted to emphasize the blended nature of the wine rather than it being just a regular old Merlot. The wine had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.2% alcohol, and is available for $26.49 from WineQ.

On the nose I found chocolate, anise, plum, spice, oak, flowers, and red berries. A very nice and captivating nose. In the mouth I got flavors of plums, berries, milk chocolate, anise, and strawberry. Overall the wine was smooth and rounded with a full mouthfeel.


I served the wine with grilled cheeseburgers admist the tomato plant forest in our backyard. We’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having and eating outside these last few days. The wine was very food friendly with nice acid and a good backbone. It went really well with our hamburgers and baked potatoes.