Archive for April, 2009

Spotlight on: Chile

April 30, 2009

With the economy in the state of panic that is is, and my wine budget being usurped by silly things like groceries, I have been spending a lot of  time recently seeing out budget friendly wines that are tasty alternatives to their North American counterparts.  Chile is one such place.  With a plethora of not so good wines on the market, you have to seek out the good stuff, but there is plenty of good stuff to be had!

Before I became a wine blogger, I used to by Chilean wine at Cost Plus or Costo when I was feeling the penny pinch.  One of my favorite brands was Montes, and in particular the Montes Alpha Cabernet.  At $15 for a very rich and smooth cab, I thought this was a steal.  Now that i am blogging, I am lucky enough to have made friends with Rob Bralow, who works for the Wines of Chile PR folks and has given me different samples to try as well as a ton of information.  Armed with this knowledge, I can now go forth and shop for Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Sauvignon blends and feel confident that I can find a tasty treat under budget!

First, a little geography lesson.

Chile is a long, narrow country that hugs the west coast of South America.  It is widely known for its stunning Andes mountains, but is increasingly known for it’s wines.  Wine grapes in Chile are primary grown between the latitudes of 32 and 38 degrees south, which is similar to southern Spain and parts of North Africa.  The differnece between these European regions and Chile is the climate.  Chile is a more temperate zone, with mild summers and winters.  It has a Meddi9terrain climate, and is similar to Calfornia in that way.

Chilean wine has a long winemaking history, which began in the 16th cnetury wwhen the conquistaor brought their European Vitis Vinifera grapes with them.  Later on, i nthe 1700s, the fighting varitals of Cabernet Sauvignona nd Merlot were planted. Carménère is relatively new to Chile, but was often mistaken for Merlot in the younger days of their wine industry.  In the 1990s it was finally recognized as it’s own varietal, which was broght over from Europe before it was wiped out there frm teh phylloxera epidemic. Carménère is hard to produce in cooler climates becuse it is a late ripening grape, but it was well suited to Chile’s temperate cilmate.

Chile has many different wine regions and they can produce vasty different wines.  This is mostly owing to the fact that Chiles geography is NOrth to South, so you have roughtly the distance of Seattle to Los Angeles to deal with.  As we all know, Los Angeles ain’t no Seattle!  Some regions that you may have heard of are:

  • Aconcagua, which includes two smaller regions.  This is one of the newest regions, and is one of the cooler micro climates in Chile.  It has had  success growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and has often been compared to the Carneros region of California, which is one of my personal favorites.
  • Valle Central, has four separate smaller regions.  Some of the most well known are the Maipo Valley and the Rapel Valley.  These smaller sub regions are Chile’s most prolific wine regions, and have a large export program, primarily becuase it is very close to the city of Santiago.  The Maipo Valley and Rapel regions are known for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Recently, several major wine houses in the US and Europe have planted roots in Chile to globalize their efforts.  Some of the efforts are more successful than others, but it’s a good indicator of an up and coming region!  I hope you have learned something and are going to go out and buy some Chilean wines.  With most price points being under $20, and may hovering around $10, you can afford to experiement!  If you’re interested in my Chilean reviews, you can find them here:

Secrets revealed! Lose weight with wine!

It’s a well kept secrret!

The North, vs. The South – a WBW Adventure

Red Hot Chilean Wine!

Is it Chile in here, or is it just me?

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Something to look forward to!

April 29, 2009

Friday is May Day!  How time has flown by.  Spring is in full swing, and it’s time to celebrate!  I have been so busy traveling here and there to taste wines recently, that I haven’t had time to sit back and smell the roses.  May 16th I can sit down, relax, and taste in my home town at the Ghiradelli Square Uncorked! Wine Festival!

Ghirardelli Square is one of San Francisco’s treasures, and while it is usually overrun by tourists, it is a gem.  Did you know that there are two places where you can enjoy wine on the square?  First, you can pop in to Cellar 360, a wine store and wine bar, where you can participate in one of their many free (yes, i said FREE!) wine tasting classes.  Or maybe you can wander next door to Wattle Creek, a boutique winery tasting groom, where Visa Signature cardholders can – again – taste for FREE!

Once you’ve investigated these two treats, you can wander in to Kara’s Cupcakes for some sugar overload on thier Meyer Lemon cupcake that is to die for.

But, on May 16th, from 1pm to 6pm, you simply must come to the Uncorked! Wine Festival!  Here, you can listen to the live music, learn something new at the wine seminars, and watch the magic of cooking demonstrations.  THIS is all free!  But there is also a rather expansive list of wines being poured, for which you will need to buy a ticket.  Wineuncorked3 Tasting tickets are $50, and proceeds benefit La Cocina.

La Cocina is San Francisco’s first incubator kitchen. La Cocina was founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching, formalizing or expanding their food businesses. La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space and industry-specific technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs in order to bring their businesses quickly to a point of self-sufficiency.  So really, you are drinking for charity!

Wineries that will be pouring include:

  • Alexander Valley Vineyard, Healdsburg
  • Arrowood Vineyards, Glen Ellen
  • Artisan Family of Wines, Napa
  • Barber Cellars, Pacifica
  • Barefoot Winery
  • Beringer Vineyards, St. Helena
  • Berryessa Gap Vineyards, Winters
  • Carica, San Leandro
  • Carrefour Vineyards, Napa
  • Cellar No. 8, Cloverdale
  • Chateau St Jean, Kenwood
  • Clos du Bois, Geyserville
  • D & L Carinalli Vineyard, Sebastopol
  • Dashe Cellars, Oakland
  • Deerfield Ranch Winery, Glen Ellen
  • Engelmann Cellars, Fresno
  • Esterlina Vineyards, Healdsburg
  • Etude Wines, Napa
  • Frey Vineyards, Redwood Valley
  • Hall Wines, St. Helena
  • Hanna Winery, Healdsburg
  • Harvest Moon Winery, Santa Rosa
  • Hook & Ladder Winery, Santa Rosa
  • Howell Mountain Vineyards, Rutherford
  • Ironstone, Lodi
  • Martin Ray, Santa Rosa
  • Meridian Vineyards, Paso Robles
  • O’Brien Estate, Napa
  • Peacock Family Vineyards, St. Helena
  • Pezzi King Vineyards, Healdsburg
  • PS I Love You-Petite Sirah advocacy group*
  • Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Kelseyville
  • Sarah’s Vineyard, Gilroy
  • Sbragia Family Vineyards, Geyserville
  • Sol Rouge, Kelseyville
  • Somerston/Priest Ranch, Napa
  • Souverain, Healdsburg
  • Starlite Vineyards, Geyserville
  • Stags Leap Winery, Napa
  • St. Clement, St. Helena
  • Sterling Albert Winery, Concord
  • Suacci Carciere, Sebastopol
  • Truchard Vineyards, Napa
  • Wattle Creek Winery, Cloverdale
  • White Cottage Ranch Winery, Angwin
  • Yorkville Cellars, Yorkville
  • Zina Hyde Cunningham, Boonville

Since I have been running around so much going to tastings here and tastings there, I am really looking forward to enjoying a weekend in my home town, where I can support a great cause, and drink some great wine.

I hope to see you there!  Happy drinking.

All in the family!

April 27, 2009

France!  Varietal labels!  Two levels!  Oh boy oh boy!  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the invitation to taste two labels, Robert Skalli and Fortant, in a wine bar that I have been dying to check out, CAV. Since I have not had a lot of exposure to old world wine, and Old World wine that I enjoy, I was excited to learn about these two labels with the winemaker, Laurent Sauvage.

Robert Skalli began his career in southern France in the 1970s, where he earned his stripes before setting the French wine world on it’s ear in the 80s by throwing the establishment to the wind by producing France’s first single varietal wines.  Until he came along, France was dominated by centuries of classic blending techniques.  The upstart Skalli wanted to showcase the quality of the fruit while simplifying the wines for the new wine drinker.  The second label, Fortant, was created to showcase premier wines at a price that anybody could afford.  This was a foreign concept in the mid 1980s.  The introduction of varital specific wines to the South of France was an interesting prospect, since there was a lot of unexplored territory in wine growing regions.  This was a revolutionary idea that was quickly adopted by many wine growers.  It’s interesting to note that the Skalli family also owns St. Supery, located in the Napa Valley – which I recently wrote about HERE. I have a greater appreciation for producers that have multiple houses, because I think it gives them a full understanding of the different styles of wine that are produced in the wide variety of physical locations.

Here in the States, we are used to having varitally specific wines.  I think this is one of the reasons why old world wine can be intimidating to the average American consumer, because we don’t’ know what goes in to the detailed AOC labeling process.  Producing single varietal wines makes it easy to showcase the stars of a region, while simplifying the buying process for the consumer.

Skalli and Fortant wines are creations of the Languedoc.  This is the largest of the growing regions in the south of France, which is rich in micro climates and terroir.

The Languedoc wine region is included in the much larger Vin de Pays d’Oc.  This region overs the southeastern coastal Gulf of Lion, from the border of Spain to the famous South of France region of Provence.  The total production is approximately 700,000 hectares (1 729 737 acres).  It is the largest wine producing region in the world, and produces more than a third of France’s total wine production.

While historically, the Languedoc has been known for producing many of France’s bulk wines or Vins Ordinaries” there are increasingly, new stars being discovered in this region.

All of the wines we tasted were value priced, ranging in price from the steal of $6.99 to the moderate $18.99.  While I enjoyed all of the tastes, I particularly recommend the Fortant Merlot and the Robert Skalli Côteaux du Languedoc for their outstanding flavors and value.

2006 Fortant Chardonnay – $6.99

Pineapple, stone fruit, guava.  Creamy spice.  No oak is used in the Fortant wines, which strive to focus on the fruit.  The true expression of the grapes is the ultimate goal.  Honey & Tangerine, with a nutty finish.

2006 Robert Skalli Chardonnay- $15.99

This wine sees 6-8 months in oak, and smells like creamy sandlewood.  There is a lot of oak spice from the 1/3 new oak, 1/3 1 year old oak and 1/3 2 year old oak barrel aging.  I found this very spicy and yet a light chardonnay.  Grapefruit and lemon citrus, with crisp fruit.  Slight fig undertones.  IT was almost Sav Blanc like to me.

2007 Fortant Merlot Rose – $6.99

Strawberry lemonade, hibiscus flowers.  Cranberry juice cocktail with rose petals and lavender.

2006 Robert Skalli Piot NOir – $15.99

Earthly wet leaves & mushrooms.  It is unusual to have Pinot Noir crowing in Corsica, an island off the west coast of France, where this wine is from, but this particular parcel has very cool influences that allow for this wine to blossom.  I tasted tobacco and earth, with prunes and smoked meats.  Slight gamey aftertaste with plums and dried cherries.

2006 Fortant Merlot – $6.99

This was the first stand out wine for me at this tasting.  I tasted plums & cocoa, with blackberry juice flavors.  With no oak aging, the beauty oft he fruit really came through.  At this price point, this really is a winner for an everyday but extraordinary wine.

2006 Fortant Cabernet Sauvignoin – $6.99

Vanilla, currents, blackberries.  A lot of black pepper on the tongue, but smooth & rich without being overdone.  Fresh blue and black fruits that did not have oak aging made this a delicious fruit froward cab.

2006 Robert Skalli Cabernet Sauvignon – $15.99

This cab had 30% of the finished wine aged in oak for 6-9 months, which was then blended with the rest of the wine.  I tasted cassis, beef jerky and hickory smoke a well as plums.

2007 Robert Skalli Côteaux du Languedoc – $18.99

This was my other standout winner of the evening.  Even at almost $20, this Grenache – Syrah blend really knocked my socks off.  I tasted Coffee, chocolate, espresso, pepper, deep blue fruit and plums with allspice and anise.  I would drink this wine all the time if i could!

IN closing, it pays to do your research about French wine.  I have long held a bias that I don’t like Old World wine because they aren’t made int he style that I prefer.  That said, I now know that I can seek out wines from the Languedoc and get great QPR as well as great wine!

Special thanks to Benson Marketing Group (especially Tia Butts) for the blogger tasting, and to Laurent for taking the time out of his schedule to hang out with us!

Bring on the BACON! Yes I said bacon.

April 24, 2009

When the box first arrived in my mail room at the office, I was slightly scared that someone was playing a bad joke on me.  Or just didn’t like me very much.  Or I had really made it big in the wine blogging world.

Why you ask?  Well, the box that I received was stamped, in large size letters, “Trinchero Family Estates”.  Now, for me, when I hear Trinchero, I either think of my friends parents and their dinner parties with Vera, or I think with shock and horror of the Sutter Home domination of the white zinfandel market.  To say I’m not a fan of the pink stuff is being too kind.  I hate it!  I abhor it!  It’s worse than Sunny Delight, a product that though is made of juice, tastes nothing like it.  So goes my thoughts of the wines of the Home.

That said, the history of Sutter Home and therefore White Zinfandel, is a good one.  At a time when most vineyards were ripping out Zinfandel, which has now become American’s Hertiage Grape, Sutter Home and a handful of other wineries, kept hte vineyards by making sweet pink wine for the masses.  For that I give them kudos, as I really like a good RED (yes there really is only one) Zinfandel.

Now, back to the story.  When I got the dreaded box back to my desk, I knew I couldn’t wait until I got home, and ripped it open right away.  WOW!  Was I happily surprised!  Inside, came a 4-pack of samples from the new Napa Valley winery, Napa Cellars.  Now, when I was asked if I wanted to try these wines, having never heard of them, I said of course.  I’d love to try a new winery.  This goes to show you, even this jaded fool can be swayed by good marketing efforts.

So the first wine I opened from this lot was the 2006 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Syrah.  This is a winery exclusive, but you can find the tasting room int he same building as Foie a Deux, in Oakville.  The fruit was sourced from Carneros, which is a cooler climate for syrah and the first thing I noticed when I sipped the dark deep brooding wine was that it was classically cool climate.  This was not a hot Dry Creek fruit forward syrah.  A cool climate syrah takes longer to ripe, which gives it a longer hangtime, which producers a more intense wine.

I found this a very rich and dark syrah, and was a bit difficult to drink at first.  I definitely suggest decanting this beast.  At first it h

ad bittersweet chocolate notes, with currents and dried plums.  I also tasted smoked meats, which is why this is being posted on my Bacon Friday post!  There was a tasty bit of anise, and soy sauce – which normally your wouldn’t like in a wine, but here it fit in well.  There was a nice finish of black pepper and blackberries.

After enjoying a glass on the first night, I decided that I would let it air out over night.  Normally, i would decant such a wine, but sometimes being a single girl has it’s downfalls.  It’s easier for me to leave a bottle open sans VacUVin than it is to decant, since I can store it more readily for further consumption.  On night 2, even having enjoyed the meaty wine on night 1, I enjoyed it more.  I tasted more espresso and molasses, along with minerally black pepper and cedar.  I also tasted a lovely black cheery note, with hints of leather and campfire smoke.

I really enjoyed this wine, and it’s a great big giant meaty syrah.  I would pair this with steak if I ate steak, but I enjoyed it with a BAPT (Bacon Alv

acado Provolone Turkey) sandwich.  This wine retails for $34, and is available at the winery.  Why not go by and check it out?

Just say no to OAK!

April 21, 2009

WOW!  What a day.  The mercury has reached 90 degrees, in SAN FRANCISCO.  IN APRIL!  Mother Nature is sure ticked off.  The saving grace to this terrible heat wave is that I have been enjoying some very nice white wines of late.  Now, you probably know that I am a red girl through and through, and have been known to drink Pinot with my fish, but there is something so relaxing about a cold white on a red hot day.

When I got home from work, my house was an oven, and the last thing I could think of doing was opening a red.  So I made myself some cold chicken salad, and cracked open a bottle of Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay that I have had stashed in my fridge for a while.  The unoaked version of the classic white is my cup of tea.  I have long held the belief that we have destroyed a perfectly lovely white wine varietal by turning it the color of pee and adding oak essence to it.  I personally prefer the minerally citrus inspired dry and crisp light whites from France.  While this was by no means a light white, it was a refreshing change of pace.

While it goes through 100% malolactic fermentation, which gives it a rich and creamy mouthfeel.  Then, this wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and never sees oak barrels, hence the unoaked label.   I tasted butterscotch, vanilla pudding, and tropical fruits as well as crisper citrus notes.  This was like eating a juicy green apple, and it was very refreshing on a hot hot day.

I know i’ll be buying it again if i can find it!  The Kim Cracford Unoaked Chardonnay retails for around $15-18, and can be found at BevMo and Wine.com among other places.  Examples of Chardonnay of this quality and style are why i have permanently cancelled my membership int eh ABC Club (Anything But Chardonnay).  I hope too will give some of these a try!

A Folio of wines!

April 15, 2009

There is something so alluring about a tasting room that offers several different wineries tasting in one convenient location.  Folio Winemakers Studio is one such place, and I popped int here one afternoon to do some tasting, since I happened to be stopping by.

First, a little history on Folio.  Folio Winemakers Studio pours many brands, and is home to I’M (Isabel Mondavi), Oberon, Hangtime, Medusa, Spellbound and Mayro-Murdick wines.  It was founded by the Michael Mondavi family in 2004.  If you’re not sure which branch of the family tree Michael is on, it is the Robert Mondavi tree that sprouts these roots.  Michael is Robert’s oldest son, and it was together that they founded the Napa Valley dynasty known as Robert Mondavi Winery.  Now, five years after the sale of that winery, Michael has this new venture.  Folio houses the Michael Mondavi home brands, but they are

I have been to Folio on a couple of occasions, but none of them compare to this trip.  My Twitter friend, Lessley VanHoutan (@foliowinemakers) kept asking me when I would get up there to visit, so I finally took advantage of her offer and was treated like royalty!  I arrived with Russ the Winehiker and The Brix Chicks in tow, and proceed to spend the better part of an afternoon relaxing and chatting away as we tasting through most of the reds.

I started with a flight of pinots, being my passion, but then couldn’t stop and kept moving down the list.  It just got better and better, so without further ado, here are my highlights:

2005 Mayro Murdick Santa Lucia Highlands – Rich, cloves & spice.  Bright cherries and cola.

2004 Trinitas Mataro – blending with Petite Sirah, and a touch of Black Malbesie (I’m sure I spelled that wrong since I can’t find it on Able Grape!)  This was one of my faves.  Blueberries, blackberries, dark bark.  Dark chocolate.  I had to take one home.

2005 Hangtime Mounts Vineyard Syrah – Because it came from one of my favorite small vineyards in Sonoma, I just HAD to try this syrah.  Of course, I was not disappointed.  Inky rich, cocoa deliciousness.  Also came home with me.

2005 Oberon Oso Vineyard Pope Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – aged in 100% new French Oak, this was not my favorite cab, but it was a good value and tasty.

2006 Embelem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon – Rutherford cabs are my weakness!  This is a new label, and was generously poured pre-release.  WOW!  Chocolate, deep rich sipping wine.  Classic Napa Cab but not overpowering.  Very appellation specific and clearly showed the Rutherford dust.  I will be back to buy this baby.

2005 Medusa Old Vine Zinfandel – easy drinking, smokey, food friendly zin.  This was not a fruit bomb but was simply lovely.

With over 30 wines to pour, I highly recommend you stop by and try a few for yourself!  I am headed back up there this weekend, and plan to try some of the whites, which I just skipped over since I couldn’t taste them all.

Thanks again to Lessley for a great time and see you soon!

Folio Winemakers Studio is located in Carneros, at 1285 Dealy Lane.  This is just past Domaine Carneros, and a short drive from both Sonoma Valley and Napa.

This is so taxing!

April 14, 2009

So, tomorrow is tax day.  If you haven’t already filed your return, you’re probably tearing you hair out by now.  For me, I got mine out of the way early this year, and was happy to sit back and relax while everyone else around me scrambled for receipts.

As you struggle to find a few pennies to pay Uncle Sam, the good PR folks from ICON Estates sent me some Steal vs. Splurge wines for my drinking and your reading pleasure.  Since I have been on a value kick recently, it was great to see that even the Splurge wines were well with in a comfortable budget, and were not something out of reach for the average consumer.

First up, Cabernet to Cabernet!

The 2006 Paso Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is an interesting beat.  I don’t normally think of Paso as an area for Cabernet, but this Cabernet showed chewy cherries, leather, casiss, cocoa and dark berries.  It was a bit rough, but was a nice full bodied cab with a bit of smoke on the finish.

At $15 it’s a good value but I’m not sure I’d buy this one on my own.

The 2nd Cab was a Napa Valley classic, the 2006 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  I haven’t had a Mondavi wine in ages, and I wasn’t sure to expect when I opened up this wine.  Boy was I surprised!  This $20 Cab showed the characteristics of a much more expensive Cabernet.  It is a classic Bordeaux style blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, 1% Petite Verdot and 1% Syrah.  Wow what a mish mash!  Each component adds a little something extra to this wine.

There was tons of big dark fruit, chocolate, and an herbaceous quality.  It was an elegant wine, and to me, showed a lot of characteristics of much more expensive Cab from Napa. I’m not one to hold my wines very long, but I can see this develop in to a mature old man with some time.  That said, it is a terriffic sipping wine and could do well with a strong food pairing, particularly the pungent blue cheeses.

If you get some money back, look for this on sale at Safeway or BevMo because it realy is a great wine at a good price.  After your taxes are in, celebrate with some dessert wine (coming up in the further adventures of Tax Day wines)!

It's the PINOT stupid!

April 13, 2009

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Passion for Pinot Summit.  This was an opportunity for the Pinot Noir lover, Press & Trade to get together and have a Pinot Noir Taste-Off.

This is a unique event that really pulls the lid off of wine judging, and allows the average Josephine to become a wine judge for a day.  While the officially judges taste 32 wines each day for an eternity until the contenders were whittled down, the attendees at the Summit were given the top 44 wines to taste blind in The Final Showdown.  Additionally, the attendees at the Pinot Summit got to vote on our top 3 wines, in a Girls vs. Boys challenge, that shows us that there really is a difference in biological palates.

Below are my tasting notes from my favorites, plus the group winners by gender, and the over all judges winners for kicks.  I’ve also included some tasting notes, just cuz, well, they help! Here are my 90+ pointers.

Color

Points

Tasting Notes

Wine Name

Lilac 92 Rich spices, black raspberry. Dr Pepper, lavender. Herbs Fort Ross 2005 Estate Reserve
Black 92 Brick color. Cherry, chocolate, black cherry Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills
Red 92 Deep dark rich red. Bright red fruit, cherry cola. Brown sugar, raspberry jam. Black cherry. Baking spices. Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Rdige Vyd
Chartreuse 92 Pale, light, cola. Very light, dried oranges. Bargetto 2006
Dark Red 91 Pomegranate, red zinger tea, strawberry jam RN Estate 2007 Fiddlestix Vyd
Khaki 91 Cherry cola, slight barnyard that blew off. Pomegranate, bright cherries, bark, mushrooms Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vyd
Coral 90 Back cherry, dark earth. Roses & lavender. Herbaceous. Zesty. Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate
Blue/Green 90 Light juicy, cloves & spice, mince meat Adobe Road Winery 2006
Blue 90 Big spicy fruit. Dr Pepper. Vision Cellars 2007 Coster Vyds
Deep Purpple 90 Bronze red. Rhubarb pie, spicy smoke Londer Vyds 2006 Paraboll
Periwinkle 90 Very light. Nice balance, light spice. Cherry. Claiborne & Churchhill 2006 Twin Creeks
Pumpkin 90 Raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, great with food. Brutocao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled
Purple 90 Big rich syrah like. Blackberry Jam. David Brucie Winery 2005 Reserve

Once the business was out of the way, the wines were unveiled, and we were invited to the Grand Tasting reception.  This was when we matched our favorite wines, previously only identified as colors, to their names.  This was also when we could see the medal winners from the official competition, as well as try some other offerings from the participating wineries.

Here’s how my top three compared to the rest of the attendees:

Summit Men

Panel Men

Summit Women

Panel Women

Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Red – Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Turquoise – Bohemian Vineyard 2007 Freestone Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River
Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley (Periwinkle) Coral– Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains TIED FOR SECOND: Orchid – Lucienne 2006 Lone Oak Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
AND
Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
TIED FOR SECOND:
Khaki – Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AND
Black – Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pumpkin– Brutacao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

I love how I get to compare my pallate to the “official judges” pallates, and see the results. Looks like

Purple, Red, Coral, Khaki, Black & Periwinkle all ended up on both winners plates!

Thanks much to Affairs of the Vine for the invitation and the fun day!  I hope everyone goes out and buys Pinot.  There are great finds at every price point, and it’s a very versatile beast.

Happy Drinking!

(more…)

It's the PINOT stupid!

April 13, 2009

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Passion for Pinot Summit.  This was an opportunity for the Pinot Noir lover, Press & Trade to get together and have a Pinot Noir Taste-Off.

This is a unique event that really pulls the lid off of wine judging, and allows the average Josephine to become a wine judge for a day.  While the officially judges taste 32 wines each day for an eternity until the contenders were whittled down, the attendees at the Summit were given the top 44 wines to taste blind in The Final Showdown.  Additionally, the attendees at the Pinot Summit got to vote on our top 3 wines, in a Girls vs. Boys challenge, that shows us that there really is a difference in biological palates.

Below are my tasting notes from my favorites, plus the group winners by gender, and the over all judges winners for kicks.  I’ve also included some tasting notes, just cuz, well, they help! Here are my 90+ pointers.

Color

Points

Tasting Notes

Wine Name

Lilac 92 Rich spices, black raspberry. Dr Pepper, lavender. Herbs Fort Ross 2005 Estate Reserve
Black 92 Brick color. Cherry, chocolate, black cherry Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills
Red 92 Deep dark rich red. Bright red fruit, cherry cola. Brown sugar, raspberry jam. Black cherry. Baking spices. Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Rdige Vyd
Chartreuse 92 Pale, light, cola. Very light, dried oranges. Bargetto 2006
Dark Red 91 Pomegranate, red zinger tea, strawberry jam RN Estate 2007 Fiddlestix Vyd
Khaki 91 Cherry cola, slight barnyard that blew off. Pomegranate, bright cherries, bark, mushrooms Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vyd
Coral 90 Back cherry, dark earth. Roses & lavender. Herbaceous. Zesty. Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate
Blue/Green 90 Light juicy, cloves & spice, mince meat Adobe Road Winery 2006
Blue 90 Big spicy fruit. Dr Pepper. Vision Cellars 2007 Coster Vyds
Deep Purpple 90 Bronze red. Rhubarb pie, spicy smoke Londer Vyds 2006 Paraboll
Periwinkle 90 Very light. Nice balance, light spice. Cherry. Claiborne & Churchhill 2006 Twin Creeks
Pumpkin 90 Raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, great with food. Brutocao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled
Purple 90 Big rich syrah like. Blackberry Jam. David Brucie Winery 2005 Reserve

Once the business was out of the way, the wines were unveiled, and we were invited to the Grand Tasting reception.  This was when we matched our favorite wines, previously only identified as colors, to their names.  This was also when we could see the medal winners from the official competition, as well as try some other offerings from the participating wineries.

Here’s how my top three compared to the rest of the attendees:

Summit Men

Panel Men

Summit Women

Panel Women

Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Red – Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Turquoise – Bohemian Vineyard 2007 Freestone Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River
Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley (Periwinkle) Coral– Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains TIED FOR SECOND: Orchid – Lucienne 2006 Lone Oak Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
AND
Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
TIED FOR SECOND:
Khaki – Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AND
Black – Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pumpkin– Brutacao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

I love how I get to compare my pallate to the “official judges” pallates, and see the results. Looks like

Purple, Red, Coral, Khaki, Black & Periwinkle all ended up on both winners plates!

Thanks much to Affairs of the Vine for the invitation and the fun day!  I hope everyone goes out and buys Pinot.  There are great finds at every price point, and it’s a very versatile beast.

Happy Drinking!

(more…)

It’s the PINOT stupid!

April 13, 2009

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Passion for Pinot Summit.  This was an opportunity for the Pinot Noir lover, Press & Trade to get together and have a Pinot Noir Taste-Off.

This is a unique event that really pulls the lid off of wine judging, and allows the average Josephine to become a wine judge for a day.  While the officially judges taste 32 wines each day for an eternity until the contenders were whittled down, the attendees at the Summit were given the top 44 wines to taste blind in The Final Showdown.  Additionally, the attendees at the Pinot Summit got to vote on our top 3 wines, in a Girls vs. Boys challenge, that shows us that there really is a difference in biological palates.

Below are my tasting notes from my favorites, plus the group winners by gender, and the over all judges winners for kicks.  I’ve also included some tasting notes, just cuz, well, they help! Here are my 90+ pointers.

Color

Points

Tasting Notes

Wine Name

Lilac 92 Rich spices, black raspberry. Dr Pepper, lavender. Herbs Fort Ross 2005 Estate Reserve
Black 92 Brick color. Cherry, chocolate, black cherry Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills
Red 92 Deep dark rich red. Bright red fruit, cherry cola. Brown sugar, raspberry jam. Black cherry. Baking spices. Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Rdige Vyd
Chartreuse 92 Pale, light, cola. Very light, dried oranges. Bargetto 2006
Dark Red 91 Pomegranate, red zinger tea, strawberry jam RN Estate 2007 Fiddlestix Vyd
Khaki 91 Cherry cola, slight barnyard that blew off. Pomegranate, bright cherries, bark, mushrooms Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vyd
Coral 90 Back cherry, dark earth. Roses & lavender. Herbaceous. Zesty. Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate
Blue/Green 90 Light juicy, cloves & spice, mince meat Adobe Road Winery 2006
Blue 90 Big spicy fruit. Dr Pepper. Vision Cellars 2007 Coster Vyds
Deep Purpple 90 Bronze red. Rhubarb pie, spicy smoke Londer Vyds 2006 Paraboll
Periwinkle 90 Very light. Nice balance, light spice. Cherry. Claiborne & Churchhill 2006 Twin Creeks
Pumpkin 90 Raspberry, cranberry, hibiscus, great with food. Brutocao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled
Purple 90 Big rich syrah like. Blackberry Jam. David Brucie Winery 2005 Reserve

Once the business was out of the way, the wines were unveiled, and we were invited to the Grand Tasting reception.  This was when we matched our favorite wines, previously only identified as colors, to their names.  This was also when we could see the medal winners from the official competition, as well as try some other offerings from the participating wineries.

Here’s how my top three compared to the rest of the attendees:

Summit Men

Panel Men

Summit Women

Panel Women

Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Red – Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Turquoise – Bohemian Vineyard 2007 Freestone Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River
Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley (Periwinkle) Coral– Heart O’ The Mountain 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains TIED FOR SECOND: Orchid – Lucienne 2006 Lone Oak Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
AND
Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
TIED FOR SECOND:
Khaki – Segue Cellars 2007 Filligreen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AND
Black – Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2005 Freestone Hills Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Red– Left Edge Winery 2007 Bodega Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noit, Sonoma Coast Purple– David Bruce 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Pumpkin– Brutacao Cellars 2006 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley Periwinkle– Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

I love how I get to compare my pallate to the “official judges” pallates, and see the results. Looks like

Purple, Red, Coral, Khaki, Black & Periwinkle all ended up on both winners plates!

Thanks much to Affairs of the Vine for the invitation and the fun day!  I hope everyone goes out and buys Pinot.  There are great finds at every price point, and it’s a very versatile beast.

Happy Drinking!

(more…)