Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm on a quest and need your help!

I'm on a quest at work, to find (and order) a good $25 California Cabernet, so I need your help, what are some of your favorite California (or other regions, we're flexible) Cabernet Sauvignons in the $25 price range?

Feel free to leave comments in the box (hee hee) telling me what your fave is and why, I'll forward this on to my boss, and keep y'all updated!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This post really goes nowhere.

So sorry for the lack of posts lately, we've officially moved into the new place in Reston, although we've still got some stuff left at the old place. We haven't had the chance to build a fire yet, but I imagine it's going to RAWK when it happens!

We opened a bottle of a very awesome wine called Condado de Haza, it's 100% Tempranillo, full of black cherries, big ripe plums, and a hint of coffee. I really like this one, it's big and fruity, and pouring this baby is half as fun as drinking it, there's just this amazing blossom of fruit and mineral and a hint of violet coming out of the glass!

I'm hoping everyone has a rockin' holiday! I might even find time to post again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wine for a cause...Aaaawww

I was wasting time online (I know, let's all pretend to be shocked) reading TMZ last night, and I came across this article about the dogs rescued from Michael Vick. Some marketing genius decided to come up with a wine brand featuring the (happy, touchy-feely) painting of the dog and their life story on the back of the bottle. According to this site, only 10% of the money made off of the ($40 a bottle) red wines goes to the Best Friends shelter in Utah, where the dogs are being taken care of, and funding for fighting dog-specific breed laws and to (hopefully) bring an end to dogfighting.

As I was researching the wine, I came across an even more bizarre website, the Dog Lovers Wine Club. They've also got a cat and horse club, in case dogs aren't your thing.

Am I the only one the finds this odd?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I've (so far) learned from working in a wine shop...

I've only been working there for about three weeks, and most of my work involves me getting someone more qualified, but here are a few of my lessons.
  1. Box cutters should never be placed in the front pocket of one's pants in a vertical position. EVER! Trust me...
  2. Wine boxes get heavy after the third case... Prepare to get sweaty. Invest in a good deodorant/antiperspirant. And some good shoes, significant others aren't always in the mood to rub said sore painful sweaty tootsies!
  3. The vendors aren't half as sleazy as you'd think they would be. Most are pretty funny.
  4. The sale of wine relies more on memorization of wine tags and reading the bottle than actual taste memory. MOST of the time...
  5. You will taste a lot of wine, a LOT. Write this shit down, it's easier to remember. Then you won't have to read so many shelf tags. ;)
  6. Rainy days make for busy wine selling days, weird, huh?
  7. There are ways around almost every wine shipping law, it just depends on one's creativity and brazenness.
  8. Being short sucks, really sucks. Stepladders are your friend.
  9. Wine bottles aren't as fragile as one would think. Saying this, keep in mind it is still glass, and can find most interesting times to break..
  10. Old people buy a lot more wine than young people. I see this as an abomination. Why do they get to have all the fun?!?! (If you're an old person reading this, I am accepting applications to be adopted)
  11. Australian wines are losing ground, South America seems to be picking up the slack.
  12. Wine shops can almost always special order something for you, don't be afraid to ask. Most of the time they enjoy the challenge, and if they get enough special requests, they might be able to sell it in the store and cut you some good deals!
  13. If said wine shop is offering a tasting, GO FOR IT! You get to meet some crazy characters, and it's really interesting to watch people have vastly differing ideas about the same wine.
Stay tuned for more (not so) insightful revelations!

Monday, October 27, 2008

2007 "Kung Fu Girl", Charles Smith Wines, Washington State

OMIGOD this wine is just straight up FUN!!! It's sassy!

It's a pale lemon green with a nose bursting of youthful citrus, grapefruits, green apple, and a hint of pear.
It's off-dry, but with this nice, saucy little bitchslap of acidity. It's like getting your pigtails pulled in elementary school, if you HAD pigtails on your tongue.... whatever, that's a quandary for another day...

The body is light, with a more defined citrus, green apple, grapefruit, lychee, and a hint of that pear again.

I seriously love this wine, it's relatively cheap (around $15), low alcohol (12.5), and has a really enjoyable acidity! Kung Fu Girl is just awesome, from the name, to the label, to the screwcap, to the taste!

I'm seriously thinking of buying a case, because I just can't shut up about this one...
Drink it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2006 White Fences Vineyard, Midnight Red

This is another Virginia wine, also 100% Chambourcin. I know, I'm seeing the trend, too. I promise to start being more geographically promiscuous!

This baby is as deep and mysteriously dark in the glass as the name suggests.
We got pronounced black and white pepper, black cherry, plum, fig, black tea, and oddly enough; something meaty or leathery.

Thankfully, the wine was very fruity, not at all gamy, full of figs, stewed raisins, anise, and blackberries.
It was dry, with low tannins and a really nice finish. I would drink this now, as I can't see this standing up to cellaring very well, but it's definitely something great to have around the house!

It's only 12.5% alcohol, which means you can have a glass and *still* manage to keep up your end of the conversation! Unless it's about something crazy, like how hot they think Jancis Robinson is, or how devastatingly witty he/she/it thinks Alice Fiering is. (Then I'd suggest you smile and nod, hide all the sharp implements, point to something shiny, take the booze and RUN!)

2005 Davis Valley Winery Chambourcin, Virginia

Let me just say, I freaking LOVE this wine!!

It's rich and full of juicy, ripe red cherries, white pepper, cloves, some sweet spice, a touch of smoke, some dark chocolate, and something like blackcurrant leaf.

It's off dry, with medium tannins and body. I got flavors of prunes, stewed raisins, cherry, stone fruits, a touch of vanilla, I swear I kept thinking Dr. Pepper!!!

It's great on it's own, was great chilled, and is even better now that it's getting cold outside! I should know, I've got the windows open and I'm drinking a glass right now... It's really good with some dark chocolate, and not so good with salted cashews or a tomato & bacon sandwich (shut up, I'm an AMAZING cook!), but I digress...

This is one of those really great introductory wines. It's smooth and easy drinking, with some residual sugar, and it's so approachable! I can't wait to slip some to my sister, who is currently in love with both Inca Kola *shudder* and had a grand old time with the (bone dry) Cava I brought her. Who knew?

I'm not sure how much this was, since I'm drinking the last of what we got at sale prices for the Wine Expo, but I promise you, if you buy it and don't like it, you can give it to me and I'll LOVE you for it! (Just make sure you don't drink from the bottle, backwash is nasty. It is not cool to drool.)

Tir Na N'og, 2006 Old Vines Grenache, McLaren Vale, Australia

According to the back of the bottle, "Tir na N’og (pronounced “Tier nah Nohg”) is Gaelic for “Land of the Youth”. Irish legends and myths tell of a land where mortal time was suspended and everyone was young and beautiful. A place we all no doubt aspire to live in."

Blah blah blah, cool marketing gimmick, yada yada... I wasn't impressed with the $30 price tage, and (call me cheap) but I expected more from this.

It's a dark, inky purple, almost opaque in the glass, with a nose full of black fruits, plum, slate, and a touch of pepper. The body is light/medium, same with the tannins. So all you fans of the "I just licked a cotton ball" feeling, sorry...
I was surprised, as the first pour fills you with old world style black fruits of plum and blackberry, some violets, with a nice kick of pepper. Very not like McLaren Vale....

It *did* taste a little too hot for me, but at 14.5%, it's almost a port, so don't worry, kill a bottle with your friends and you'll all be on your asses together! Just don't drive, start an impromptu karaoke session, or start drunken emailing people!

Spend a little time with this, and you'll notice the in glass transformation into something fruitier, younger, but still with a hint of saltwater brine.

Again, not something I'd turn down, but not something I see as being worth thirty bucks!

I'm just sayin'

Friday, October 17, 2008

And this is why I'm not an Economics major....

So I was sent this link to an article in the Contra Costa Times about the effect the economy is playing on the wine industry, and how it's changing the way people drink wine. That someone must be psychic, since I was pondering something very similar while disposing of all the glass bottles I saved for recycling ( I need a job, and one with an employee discount would be awesome!). I kind of felt like *maybe* someone had a drinking problem, dumping out four cases of wine bottles in my apartment's recycling bins (no idea if they're strictly for the office or not), but in all fairness, they had been accumulating since April! And they're school related!! So shut up!!

This is going to sound bad, but I'm kind of thankful the economy is going down the toilet, because it's forcing people (who actually care about this) to focus on quality, not prestige. It's forcing people to look beyond their comfort zones, and making us all (I hope) stop and think about what we're buying. We're focusing on areas of production we don't normally look to, like South America. According to,sales of South American wines are up over 88% in the first half of 2008 over 2007. In fact, sales of Argentinean wines increased by 47%, the most popular variety being Malbec.

I'm glad we're looking for better values and demanding better quality. But I'm also really bummed, because this means all the local wineries will suffer. Gallo (and their evil empire of doom) will go on making crap like Boone's and Thunderbird, but we're going to lose small start up wineries! There will always be a market for Opus One, Screaming Eagle, Etude, and all the Grand Crus ( I included Y'Quem in that group, b/c seriously, 3 grand a pop? Are you kidding me?). Wineries are being bought out, or downsized. This idea depresses me.

It's like an alcoholic apocalypse!
(now you see why I have so many wine bottles everywhere, I'm not being "a drunk", I'm "saving the economy!")

And don't forget kids, next time you fart, you're not being outré, you're "Volatilizing your esters"!!!! (It's what you do when you swirl the wine in your glass and spill it everywhere, to bring out the aromatic compounds in the wine)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Atlantic City

Wow, Atlantic City was a BLAST!!!
It wasn't as glitzy or depressing as I imagined, nor was the wine scene all that. I was expecting more of an emphasis on beer and wine, and definitely more sparkling wine, but this was mostly liquor.

We stayed at the Tropicana, in a room of the Havana Tower. It wasn't bad, but next time I'd rather stay at Caesar's or The Borgata. The sheets felt cheap, but at least we had a good view! There was this little castle style church thing with this big sign that says "Christ Died For Your Sins" that we could see from the window that made me wonder if the sign creators were seriously that fervent, or had a very particular brand of humor....

All the restaurants in The Quarter were pretty expensive. We ate at Red Square, which had a really cool ambiance it was (you guessed it) Soviet Russian themed. The Muzak was pure Euro-Trash and we were loving it! The walls were done in red, there was this cool chandelier made to look like minarets, and two giant columns made of ice! I forgot to lick them on my way out.... The food was REALLY good! We had tuna tartare, steak tartare, lamb ribs with crushed hazelnuts, god I could go on for days... The wine was really great, I had a French Pinot Noir full of old world sexy dust and violets!! They had literally more than a hundred different vodkas from all over the world! They had vodka flights!! And they have this special vodka vault, the key to getting in is to buy a bottle of vodka, then you and your friends get to put on expensive furs (you can tell I didn't go in, I was tempted up to that point) and military uniforms and act like drunken fools. There are cameras all over the room, and they snap pictures of you and your drunken fool friends (because you're not a drunken fool) and they email them to you! It was way cool, and if you ever get the chance, I SERIOUSLY recommend you hit it up!! And take me, too!

We started gambling at the Tropicana casino, where I got carded every thirty feet until some kind old woman took pity on me and got took me to the security desk so I could have my hand stamped, proclaiming to everyone my license was indeed valid and I was indeed over the age of twenty one. There was lots of shiny things, and trampy women, so I was in heaven!

We took a walk on the beach, I got my feet wet and found some shells and got sand all over my pants and feet. I got my palm read, and apparently I'm bossy, I don't trust women, and I'm going to be getting married soon (ha!), as well as being rich, having "tree" kids (they have roots?), and I'm supposed to be a lawyer or something..

Caesar's casino was next on the list, after stopping to ogle some shirts with witty phrases like, "Tell your tits to quit staring at my eyes" and my personal favorite, "No Bitch Ass Ness". Caesar's was a nicer casino, the dealers and pit bosses made it a point to get your name and shake your hand. The women also seemed to be wearing more clothes, which, depending on your personal viewpoint may or may not be a good thing. We were there for a while, we broke even, and I came to the shocking discovery that Absolut Vodka, all on it's own, is absolutely NASTY!!!

The next day we met up with a friend and went to an Irish (that was more Scottish than Irish) Festival, and that was also a blast! Except for having to face three of my biggest fears, chickens, puppets, and clowns... It was terrible, I'm glad we stopped and got some wine before the arrival of the demoniacally demented clowns who almost came in to the store I was hiding in. I'm not sure if a certain someone told them to go in there, but thankfully I had someone else there, to warn the clowns that I get a little bit "punchy" when I'm scared, so instead they waved.... like that isn't creepy enough to make me need a month's supply of Valium!! I did get some AWESOME yellow pirate knee socks, so that kind of makes it better. And I got an adorable peace sign bracelet (it matched my flip flops) and a new purse with this adorable skull on it! So apparently I support peaceful pirates...

I can't wait to go back, maybe next time we'll stay longer, so we can take in a show or two!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Field Trip!!!

I've found the alcoholic's version of Graceland!
Apparently, it's got exhibits (like all respectable museums should, y'know?) on really cool alcohol related patents, and the origins of the cocktail!! They've even got seminars on mastering mixology, imagine getting drunk in a museum!

New Orleans anyone??

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Is Irony...

I'm hoping by now everyone's had the chance to see "Bottle Shock", the awesome movie about the 1976 Judgment Of Paris, where judges couldn't tell which wines were American, and which were French. It's a great movie, and I cried throughout the WHOLE thing! they've even got a few Gallo digs, which just makes me all tingly inside! The only thing that would have topped it was if Alice Fiering and Jancis Robinson got into a celebrity death match and got mutilated by the surprise referree Jennifer Rosen in a belly dancer costume, dripping with shiny jangly things!!! *sigh* Oh well, a girl can dream.

Chateau Montelena, the winery the movie is based on, has just been sold by "Bo" Barrett (with Dad's approval) to Michel Reybier who owns Cos d'Estournel, a winery in Saint- Estephe.(Bordeaux, France)

I don't know how I feel about that.

On one hand, I'm happy, as this kind of implies The United States is finally getting some recognition (not by our amazing ability to throw high-class hissy fits) but from the "authorities on good wine" a.k.a. The French.

On the other, is this a sign of how bad our economy is failing? Is this really the American dream? Find a niche, fill said niche, then sell out to the highest bidder?

Monday, September 1, 2008

2004 Montecillo Crianza, Rioja, Spain

Bought this on a whim, as the $7 price tag was too hard to pass up, and I think I'm becoming a "Temp Tramp" (as in Tempranillo, jerk!) !

Pouring this baby gives you an indication of it's character right away! It's a beautiful, brooding garnet color, the nose is big with dark chocolate, espresso, black tea, black currant, and blackberries.

It's dry, full bodied, medium tannins, very "firm" in the mouth, with pronounced black pepper, smoke, violets, dark chocolate, black cherry, espresso flavors.

It's medium alcohol, at 13.5% but, *DAMN*!
It's got a great finish, long but not terrible, it's so full and robust, and in-your-face about it's flavors! This is NOT a sissy wine, and I can't decide if I'd rather have it with buffalo steak, barbecue, or spicy sausage gumbo....

After spending some time with this (including a bubble bath) I'm really liking this more and more! Sure, it's a little showy, and puts hairs on your chest, but I'm kind of digging that. If it's too much for you, try chilling it, putting your big girl panties on, or letting it breathe for about twenty minutes. It's nice to witness the in-glass transformations of this particular Temp; it becomes more savory, more bacon and game and meat flavored. (And if that doesn't get you drooling, I won't mention the chocolate covered bacon I'm plotting on next!!!)

I bet Robert Parker would cream his jammies if there was more oak in this!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Is A (bunch of) Good Wine

Just got done reading this article about a large tasting of Virginia wines in London, and the rave reviews they got. I was really impressed with the quality and variety of wines I saw at yesterday's wine showcase. I'm also really excited, because Virginia is starting to garner world attention. Which (hopefully) means more vignerons are going to start looking into the Virginia area, and maybe the damned AVA will give us some respect. Or at least we can get more than "But the eastern state that, after New York, offers the most excitement today is unquestionably Virginia, home to more than 100 small, intensely ambitious wineries, with Merlot and the Cabernets being particularly successful." (taken from the World Atlas Of Wine)
I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Virginia Wine Showcase

Wow, had a BLAST!!!!
I can't even begin to describe how cool it was. I can only imagine that this is what Napa was like, twenty years ago. Virginia is fifth in wine production in the U.S. and I bet it's going to continue to grow.

We got to taste some awesome wines, and a lot of interesting varietals I'd never heard of before, like "Traminette" and "Chambourcin", which seems to be a favorite for Virginia growers. I'm going to have to do some research, find out why. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend giving it a shot!

There were some awesome wineries, and I believe my visiting schedule is about to drastically fill up!! I got to talk to a few winemakers and owners, and had some really funny conversations.It was cool to get to know them, find out what they're about, like how they feel about things like sulfides, cornichons, the mixing of Skittles and wine, all kinds of random things! There was this awesome little shop selling wine stave furniture. I'm DEFINITELY buying the adorable candle holder, and I wish I had room for the adirondack chairs, they don't look like it, but they were so damn comfy!

We tried a lot of fruit wines, and even a wine made from 30 different kinds of peppers. Omg, it was so fucking hot I thought I was going to explode, I broke out in a sweat! My sinuses were clear!!! We got some cute stickers out of the deal that say I kissed the devil or something cute like that. Obviously we got a bottle! It's now referred to as the "Dare Wine". We also got one called "Chili Dawg", which was 97% apple wine, 3% chili pepper wine, and went GREAT with cheese whiz.

I even got invited to come help with the harvest!! How cool is that ?!?!?!? I get to help pick grapes, get dirty, really experience what it's like!! I can't wait!

Needless to say, we had a blast, our pockets were considerably lighter (like, $300 lighter), and our arms were definitely full of purchases!

Some of my favorite wineries and their links:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why Is This So Difficult?

Can you name all 5 Grand Crus from north to south?

After having the infamous Court Of Master Sommeliers exam question come up in two different conversations, one almost reverently, the other in more of a disparaging, put-me-in-my-place kind of way, I decided to look up this information once and for all. Without much luck...

Seriously, if this is such a deep and difficult examination question, don't you think someone *somewhere* would have posted the answer?!?!?

I had no no freaking idea, and finding a clear, concise answer online was like searching for a sane person among a PETA rally. Or the one goth kid at an emo concert. Or something else as ridiculously hard.

All I'm saying, is hooray google maps! I'm not sure how accurate this is, because some of the Chateau had less than clear addresses on their websites.

Anyway, in case you're wondering, from north the south:
  • Château Mouton Rothschild
  • Château Latour
  • Château Margaux
  • Château Lafite-Rothschild
  • Château Haut Brion

If you *really* want to get dorky, you can mention that there were only 4 Grand Crus in the original 1855 classification, as Château Mouton Rothschild was reclassified from Second Growth status in 1973...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spirits of Mt. Vernon, Seriously, WTF...

So this is my second trip to "Spirits of Mt. Vernon" today, as my first visit ended with an old man sitting in the window telling me to come back in 10 minutes.
"You're there, can't you help me?"
"No, ten minutes, ten minutes"
(Where'd they go, to get your heart pills?)

Seriously, if your hours state you're open from 11-9 p.m. then, WHY are you NOT OPEN?!? Are you too cheap to spring for a "closed be back in hour" sign? Shit, how about writing it on one of the many wine-ruining windows you've got all over your store? Yours truly, in a different city, being within walking distance to a "Fine Wine Store", and not having it open is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment as far as I'm concerned.... It's just mean!

Every time I go in this sunshine-shithole of a store, I'm (barely) greeted by an older woman with bad manners and the personality of a pregnant, rabid, echidna. The selection is terrible, the wine is stored improperly. Here's a hint: if the sun has FADED your "Come In, We're Open" sign, imagine what it's doing to the WINE you have SITTING in the windows! IN DIRECT SUN.

I'm not a difficult customer, and trust me, if I have a question, I'll ask. Directly. Subtlety is not a strong point of mine.. So when I tell you for the THIRD time that I don't need any help or have any questions, that usually means I DON'T NEED ANY HELP. I'm sorry to bother you, as I know you were ever so busy sitting there with your piss drinking mother of a circus whore associate, discussing how terrible it is that you can't get out of jury duty for a second time. I just really wanted some Cava. And when I told you I wanted Cava, not something imported by Freixenet, and you sent me to the mini bottles of Freixenet, I knew ours was a relationship doomed.

Btw, next time, when you're giving the "hard sale" speech and recruiting your shriveled up coworker,going on about how much depth this one has as compared to the Cristalino, make sure you c-l-e-a-r-l-y say the name of whatever it is the customer is purchasing, as I bought a CAVA, not a comma..... Although maybe that's a business venture better suited to your temperament. And it would give you all the time in the world to gossip to your little group of twittering hags you had hanging out on the "tasting bar".

What's even funnier, is the people over at that Korean Market, who didn't know Cava from Crappola, were so awesome, I don't think I'll ever go anywhere else in Baltimore. The EXACT opposite from Spirits of Mt. Vernon; friendly, helpful, and has about just as a much of a selection, without the snooty exclusiveness...

I'm done ranting for the day... I hope....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Alice Feiring book review, or my book-based bitchfest...

So on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, while wandering in their pathetically tiny wine section, I saw a book, "The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved The World from Parkerization" and I bought it. With a title as arrogant as that, it was hard to resist! Here's a book about someone who's going to save us all! How can you not buy a book like that?!? I mean, there it is, salvation, supposedly without all the confession and need to say "Hail Mary" a billion times. I might even get away without a time out OR a spanking!!

I shoulda known it wasn't going to be that easy. If you were thinking about buying the book, don't! Seriously! It's 258 pages full of Alice's own mental masturbation! She spends about thirty pages actually giving information about wines, and the rest is just her whining. It's worse than reading Dostoevsky!!

The book is all about our "heroine's" *snort* journey through the sometimes convoluted world of wine, and her (mis)adventures along the way. It's a fucking joke, I don't care about her first wine love and the scandal that she's never been able to clear up surrounding the winemaker. I also don't care about her stupid ass (lack of) love affairs, her friends and roommates, her dance therapy shit, her travels, her amazing super tasting skills, or her allergies and aches and pains.

What I care about are her views of wine and the wine world, her insights, and her purported saving of the world. And so far, I haven't gotten much. All I've gotten is that she doesn't like Robert Parker, which I happen to agree with her on. I also agree that the reason he rates so many in-your-face fruit bombs so high is because he is, as she calls it, "quantifying" as opposed to the rest of us, who "qualify". I also happen to enjoy wines grown with sustainable practices, and am a big fan of artisan wines.

I missed the part in the book where she saved the world. Did they leave that chapter out? I know I'm being petty and trivial, but if she says she saved the world, I'd like to see some evidence of it. Why do I still see Robert Parker scores on everything? Is she not realizing that by saying shit like that, and writing a book that goes nowhere, she's becoming exactly like the man she loves to bitch about?

Maybe I need that spanking after all....


The box wine champs, Franzia, own the Bronco Wine Company. Their other labels include:
  • Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck)
  • Crane Lake (a Baltimore specialty!!)
  • Dona Sol
I don't know why, I'm really getting into reading wine labels all of a sudden...

Is it just me, or is wine (especially American wine) becoming more and more like Coke and Pepsi??
Maybe I'm just paranoid?

2007 Bitch Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia

Having heard glowing remarks about this wine, I (impatiently) ordered it from
Maybe the heat, or the vibrations had an impact, because I was sorely disappointed.
I got raisin, black pepper, smoke, something medicinal, maybe copper. Honestly, all I can say is that it was diluted. I'm having a hard time finding information online about this wine, particularly concerning rain, because then I might be able to understand. But probably not, as there are ways of concentrating the fruit to make up for this dilution, and at 15% alcohol, they could have given de-alcoholifying a shot!!!!
Seriously can't believe this was $13!

NV Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, Penedes, Spain

I love this stuff!!
Clear, Pale Lemon Green, nice thin strings of tiny bubbles!
It's clean, light intensity, seems youthful, although that just be the effervescence.
The nose is full of citrus, honeysuckle, lime, peach, toast, bread, and biscuity.
It's dry, with medium acidity, obviously low tannins, it just dances in your mouth!
The flavors are again, citrus, peach, honeysuckle, toast, and bread. It's low alcohol, medium length, it's a great quality, I've bought four bottles of this, and I'm already down two!!
At $20 it's not the cheapest out there, but I think it's worth it. Also makes a great gift!

According to their website, it's 67% Macabeo, and 33% Parellada.

If you get the chance, DEFINITELY pick this one up! And if you find it anywhere near the Baltimore region, drop me a line, you'll be making one of my lab rats' day!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wine Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Creepy Wine Empire, you're doing it right....

Ernest and Julio Gallo, the "we want to be the Campbell's Soup of the wine world" guys creep me out!! Seriously, am I the only one freaked out by exactly how FAR their creepy little fingers have spread?!?!?!? Maybe it has something to do with the sordid tale of their lives, involving a murder/suicide of their mother by their father.
The significant campaign contributions to people like Nancy Pelosi are interesting.
Although I totally give them kudos on implementing the "Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practices"
Here's a list, by no means complete, of all the labels owned by the Gallo brothers.
  • Anapamu
  • André
  • Ballatore
  • Barefoot Cellars
  • Barefoot Bubbly
  • Bartles & Jaymes
  • Bella Sera
  • Black Swan
  • Boone's Farm
  • Bridlewood Estate Winery
  • Carlo Rossi
  • Cask & Cream
  • Clarendon Hills
  • Dancing Bull
  • DaVinci
  • Don Miguel Gascon
  • E. & J. VS Brandy
  • E. & J. VSOP Brandy
  • E. & J. XO Brandy
  • Ecco Domani
  • Frei Brothers
  • Frutézia
  • Gallo Family Vineyard Estate
  • Gallo Family Vineyard Single Vineyard
  • Gallo Family Vineyard Sonoma Reserve
  • Gallo Family Vineyard Twin Valley
  • Ghost Pines
  • Hornsby's (the gross hard cider)
  • Indigo Hills
  • Liberty Creek
  • Livingston Cellars
  • Louis M. Martini
  • MacMurray Ranch
  • Marcelina
  • Martĩn Cõdax
  • Maso Canali
  • Mattie's Perch
  • McWilliam's
  • Mirassou
  • New Amsterdam Gin
  • Peter Vella
  • Pölka Dot
  • Rancho Zabaco
  • Red Bicyclette
  • Redwood Creek
  • Red Rock Winery
  • Sebeka
  • Tisdale Vineyards
  • Thunderbird (omg eew!)
  • Turning Leaf
  • Turning Leaf Sonoma Reserve
  • Whitehaven
  • William Hill Estate
  • Wild Vines
  • Wycliff Sparkling

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The fault, dear Riesling, is not in our stars....

So I was listening to NPR's Kojo Nnamdi show, with Michael Franz ( wine review online) and Paul Lukacs (Washington Times) as his guests. The topic of the segment was Riesling. Mainly, it was about Riesling's popularity, and yet it never actually manages to take off in the way of Merlot or Pinot Noir,or hell, even Pinot Grigio from Italy (lemon water) and exploring why that is. And then, naturally, callers called in claiming their undying love and allegiance to Rieslings.

This topic of discussion is getting old. Really old. Go to any wine tasting, read any wine article or blog or book, and sooner or later this debate comes up. Why are we beating a dead horse? Riesling is a wonderful grape, when vinified skillfully, it produces an amazing wine. Lots of people love it. I'm one of them! Just like pizza and sex, even when it's bad, it's still pretty good! I think most people start out on Riesling and then branch out from there, like Riesling is the gateway drug of the wine world.

Lots of people are still scarred from what I like to call the "Blue Nun" years. The demand increased for these amazing German babies, and then the market was flooded with horrible sugar bombs, even the hobos wouldn't touch it,stuff so bad it offended the jug wines! Then Germany stepped in and, well, you know the rest....

What I'm saying is that I think Riesling has HAD it's day. I think it will always be the next big thing, that perennial emotional favorite. That's it's place in the wine world. Riesling has it's niche, just like Merlot or Pinot or hell, even jug wine for that matter. Can't we just enjoy it and find something else to nitpick about already? Like the sad homogenization of wine, or the lack of easy to understand information. Or why don't we go back to the Right Bank vs. Left Bank one, I never get tired of that!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2005 Bonny Doon Cardinal Zin, Central Coast

Bought this on a whim, as I'd been meaning to get more into the much-maligned Zins. Drinking it was as much fun as reading the label!! Seriously, check it out sometime, unless you live in Ohio, where, apparently, it's banned. And, naturally, that just makes me want to drink it more!! The artist is quite a riot, too. I'm thinking of ordering some of his prints.

It was a clear, deep ruby, with a light intensity.
I got aromas of red and black fruit, dried fruit, plum,cherry, raisin, vanilla, black currant, blackberry, raspberry, smoke, black pepper, herbaceous, and some black currant leaf.
Dry, low-medium acidity, medium tannins, pronounced flavors! Definitely jammy!!
Flavors were red and black fruits, plum, raisin, black pepper, cherry, blackberry, touch of smoke.

Definitely unique, and fun! I can't wait to get some more, this definitely has a place at my table!

2006 Caymus Conundrum, California Table Wine

I must admit, I'm quite partial to Conundrum. I really like the game of figuring out the blend. I'm using figuring out quite loosely, as normally I just end up giggly with an exasperated boyfriend who rolls his eyes at all my attempts to involve him in something he clearly just wants to drink and NOT discuss! Hooray internet! ;)

Clear, pale lemon color, nose was pronounced and youthful, very fun.
Nose was full of citrus, grapefruit, peach, apricot, banana, lemon, lime, pear, honeysuckle, and melon.
It was off-dry, with a nice medium acidity, obviously low tannin, light body and a wonderfully pronounced intensity that just dances right through the palate!
Again, the flavors were citrus, lime, grapefruit, tropical fruits,peach, butter, banana, melon, vanilla, honey, and honeysuckle.
The alcohol was low, (13.5), and definitely was ready to drink!

It was interesting to witness the in-glass transformations, starting out as fresh and fruity and flirty fun, then turning into something sexy, refined, with more herbaceous characteristics showing through.
Kind of like watching Tigger turn into Shere Khan!!
Day 2 was even better!! (Yes, I'm impressed I rationed myself as well!)

2006 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir, Central Coast

I'm a big fan of the Cycles Cab, but I wanted to try their other wines to see if they deserved those two gold medals. At $15 it's a bust, though in a side by side comparison, my "lab rat" and I enjoyed the Cab much more!!

Somewhere between ruby and garnet, with a nose of black pepper, black fruits, definitely black currant, some strawberry, sweet spice, leather, cinnamon, and clove.
It's a dry, low acid, medium tannin, medium body, pronounced intensity.
The flavors were spicy, with black pepper, clove, black fruit, black currant, and smoke being the most noticeable ones.
The alcohol was medium (13.9) with a pretty decent medium to long finish. It's an okay quality, definitely could use some age.

I wasn't blown away, and I can think of better $15 Pinots.

Cheesetique White Wine Flight Tasting Notes

Cheesetique is this awesome little place in Del Ray. We went there for dinner this past Tuesday. It's a cool little place, the hours are weird, (closed on Mondays is kind of de rigeur around here I'm learning) the people were nice, and we walked out of there with some awesome new cheese, quince paste, and some clotted cream for a friend's birthday.

Unfortunately I wasn't as impressed with the wines. Most were served way too cold, a pet peeve of mine!
So first up is the 2006 Gavala from Santorini, Greece. I'm having a hell of a time finding information on this wine, but I *think* it's made of Assyrtico and Aidani grapes. Don't quote me on that though.

It was pale lemon, with the nose being of a very light intensity. Again, I'm stressing this was dumb, so maybe that's why I didn't get much from it.
I got a lot of grass on the nose, with some lemon and lime thrown in as well.
The flavors follow along the same vein, herbaceous, lemon, lime, and something bitter I couldn't pin down.
Personally, I didn't think the wine was worth the $9 price tag.

Next on the list was a 2007 Le Paradou Blanc Provence, France (Viognier)
I was rather excited about this one, I always get excited when I see organic wines being featured, if a bit wary. I happen to be a large fan of sulfites.
Pretty pale lemon, medium intensity, aromas of pear, apple, blossoms, and bananas.
It was off dry, light intensity, flavors of green apples, white pepper, green fruits, and a touch herbaceous.
All in all, it was good, fruity, and fun! In a kind of skip and go naked kind of way. Bet it'd be great on picnics! Definitely worth eight bucks!

The last on the tasting lineup was a 2006 Albarino do ferreiro from Rias Baixas. I was super excited, since the Rias Baixas is one of those trendy little areas that (hopefully) will be getting more attention now that we're all getting more global!!
Unfortunately, this was a total letdown, it was meaty and gross. Lots of wheat, some grass, no balance no love, just ick. Seriously not worth the $14.

Quince paste is awesome stuff, a little weird (it doesn't melt!!) but awesome!

Gettin' Screwed

So I was reading this article on the fact that Stelvins are coming to pricey wines. And I'm thrilled, because this means people are finally waking up and smelling the rosé !
I'm still kind of incredulous because people are wary of this shiny new cylindrical wonder. Consumers are still holding onto their outdated hunks of bark. Is it the tradition? The romance? The noise? I got nothing....

I'm done whining now, at least for the moment.
Wait, I lied, I'm going insane over here, waiting for FedEx to deliver my wine!!
Seriously! This is important! It's hot outside!! According to the website, it's been on the delivery truck since 8:04 this morning! Vibrations are bad!!Rub some now on it already!!!!

Okay, now I'm done.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Que Syrah,(petit) Sirah, Shiraz

I'm currently flipping through Jancis Robinson's *other* obscenely cumbrous book, "The World Atlas Of Wine" because I'm beginning to think I'm a glutton for punishment. Aside from that, it's dead useful, if a bit *ahem* sleep inducing? less than inspiring? stuffy? Whatever... And it just hit me, she never differentiates between Syrah and Shiraz, and skips over the Petit Sirah, aside from a few notes about Greece and California, where it does well. It's not a huge point, I know, but it's a handy one, none the less... A wine's name can *sometimes* give you a good clue as to where it came from, other times it just serves to confuse the crap out of you! Like, seriously, what's up with the weird name-swapping thing? Like Morio-Muskat, which is a Sylvaner & Pinot Blanc crossing. No Morio, Muscat, Muscadelle, Moscato, Moscatel, yada yada, we get the point...

Personally, I think we should start forcing a rename, and not in the oddball- marketing -Robert- Mondavi-Sauvignon-Blanc-as-Fume-Blanc (because we're afraid to screw up the pronunciation) kind of way, but in a more fun way... Sorry, I'm not creative enough to come up with a new name that doesn't involve a curse word... I'm open to suggestion though!

Incidentally, an easy way to remember is Syrah is "Old World" (basically France) and Shiraz is "New World" (or everwhere else that isn't France). has a very interesting article of Petit Sirah, in case you're interested....

And now I'm done whining for the day...