Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've Moved!!!

From now on, I'll be posting all wine related anecdotes, tall tales, opinions, tasting notes, etc. to my new blog:



Friday, October 24, 2008

Final Round of Competition

They started a wine tasting competition about 30 minutes ago. Guess who was out in the first round? Yep, that would be me. You'd think that I'd be able to tell my white wines apart...as in a Gewurz from a Pinot Gris...oh but no. 

They're on the final round now, the essay competition. There are seven people left...take a look.

Who will win.....? We'll find out momentarily.....

Ok how about now...

Not quite yet...the folks from CIA are grading papers...

Ok, she's talking...
Bob Ascher - Finalist 1
Michael Wangbickler - Finalist 2
Doug Cook - Finalist 3

All men...interesting.

The final 3 are now tasting one more wine for the grande finale! Now they're each picking one wine, then they will taste, and describe them to us, the audience. Well, they will when they return from the bathroom.

Ok - they're back. 
Michael is up first - he's tasted his white and is telling us about the wine now. He's saying it's a Chard from Russian River, 2006, pair with roasted chicken. Not heavily oaked and finishes dry. 
He was officially tasting.....drum roll please.....Sonoma Cutrer Chard, Sonoma Coast, 2006. Amazing! I need to work on my palate.

Doug Cook is up now. Swig, swirl, think. He's telling us about it now: Medium-deep ruby color, red currant and cherries, toasty oak, bit of acidity, alcohol sticks out. Not too complex, simple, pleasing. Zin, 2006, from Dry Creek
Officially he was tasting...2006 Rosenblum, Rockpile Zin
Ok, I'm fully impressed.

Bob Ascher is up next. Same deal - sip, swirl, taste, ponder. He says: Extremely tannic, finish is long and puckery, acidic, young, steak with it to cut through the pucker. 2005, Sonoma County (is that cheating?), didn't mention the varietal.
Officially he was tasting: 2004 Huntington Merlot

The results are in.....who's the winner??


Congrats to you and your CIA course prize!

Wine Blogger Conference 2008 - Day 1

Here I am at the Wine Blogger Conference in Santa Rosa and we have JUST started the mad dash of tasting with wine makers!

Wine 1
We are talking with David Cole from James David Cellars about his new wines, and we're talking about his 2007 Muscat. You think Muscat, you think sweet. Not with this one. This is as dry as it comes - RS is only .17. Smells sweet, like dripping honey, tastes nice and dry - just my style. Why does he use Minnesota over Missouri oak? It's better. Christina from my table agrees, but for other reasons she's from there.

Wine 2
BOHO Vineyards - eco-friendly, beautiful packaging (think Cost Plus World Market meets California Winery). Their goal is to keep their footprint small, but their wine impact big. We're tasting their Central Coast Chardonnay - light on oak, crisp on the palate, pale yellow in color. I've been surprised by some 3L wines, but this one didn't knock my socks off. Could be because I'm not a white-wine-lover but I'm trying to be unbiased!

Wine 3
Jeff from Twisted Oak Winery has just joined us to share The Spaniard, a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Granacha. Just took my first sip - it has a twang to it - my wine knowledge doesn't cover which varietal that could be.  The bottle is beautiful - and I mean the glass itself. Strong, tall, heavy - hmmm sounds like me. Just kidding. 

Wine 4
Dark Horse Dry Creek Zin is up next. The winemaker is exactly what a winemaker should be - proud of his wine, rough around the edges, plaid shirt, pushing the envelope. His wine matches his style - bold, forward, and spicy. Now that's what he is - and his wine - spicy.

Wine 5
Paul and Katherine from Small Vines Winery is here to pour us their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. They are all about the terroir - they want us to taste every inch of those vineyards and someday I hope to be able to sniff and sip that out. This wine is what I believe Pinots should be - bolder in color and in fruit, small production (525 cases), passion, tour-friendly, willing to share all of their knowledge. Will definitely be looking them up to get one of those tours - I love that stuff.

Wine 6
Cupcake Chard is next, and oddly enough, it smells like cupcakes. Power of suggestion? Who knows. I've seen this wine in Cost Plus and was attracted by the label. Knowing how Cost Plus works, it had to be from one of the big suppliers - and it is. This doesn't deter me, hey I work for one of those big guys. Guess what - they're giving us REAL cupcakes. Yep, real cupcakes. Ok anyway, about the wine. It's sweeter than I'd normally like, but I guess for the right wine lover, this would be a great summer wine.

Wine 7
Kanzler Pinot Noir - no label yet it's so new. We're getting straight-from-the-barrel wine here, and this is awesome. Three people, 420 cases of their Pinot, again one of my favorite Pinots. Round, supple (and I use that word only scarcely because it's a sort of icky word), delicious. I guess the alcohol will be steep on this guy - is that why it's so hot in here? -  but I'm not judging. When this wine is released, I'll definitely have to hunt it down.  

Wine 8
Alright - I'd buy it because the name is great - bink. Syrah is her flagship wine, which in France is called "black ink" hence "bink." You gotta love a good story. It's a virtual winery, so no visiting, but I will be emailing her to chat more and taste her Syrah. Her Pinot Noir is what she offered, and it was delicious. I must love Sonoma Pinots...the good ones anyway.

Wine 9
Lionheart Wines - what do we have here? A Roussane. I've never had a Roussane. It's light and airy, not a wine that I would necessarily choose off a list of shelf. Think a hot day on the deck - nice and refreshing. It's an old world grape - made in somewhat the old world style.- old world, not what you'd expect here in California. trpoical fruit, smooth without being flat, and has enough acidity to pair with foods - this would be great with 

Wine 10
Sean Minor Four Bears Winery (their four kids - nice). They're shooting for wines under $20 - always a good thing. It's an easy Cab, has some kick on the nose, but mellows about halfway on through, and it now has hints of marshmallows (maybe it's just me?). This would be great with a juicy hamburger - it's heavy without being overly tannic, and has enough complexity to drink and to pair with food. By now, the winemakers are getting their shpeals down, we're movin fast. 

Wine 11
Yellow + Blue - this is one of the ones that I wanted to see. It's a 1L Tetra like the Bandits, easy to pour and a small footprint. We're tasting a Malbec - I love Malbecs...let's see what it tastes like...Not quite what I expected - a little soft. It's easy though which makes it perfect for a Tetra pack. This is a great step into the wine world - eco-friendly packaging, great price point, and I just got the 1L - it's organic! I'm cutting it a little more slack because of all of its pros, but it either needs a little bit to breathe or it's not quite my style.

Wine 12
Next up is Bonterra. I probably shouldn't blog about this one since the company I work for makes a direct competitor. Ok, I will anyway. We just had our first corked bottle, but they grabbed another and now we're back on. This is a single vineyard wine, and tastes dusty but smooth. I try not to overuse too many descriptors but there's only so many ways to say "smooth" right? I'm blogging about a different wine every 5 minutes, so I'm a little stressed. I'll try harder to use the thesaurus part of my brain. With this wine as a single vineyard, it's better than I expected, as is the fact that it's a blend as well. Merlot, Cab and something else...I'm moving fast here. Sorry.

Wine 13
Clos La Chance - a Cab from the coast directly west of San Jose. The wine name comes from her mom's maiden name, and the hummingbird on the label started as her mom's thought that they're cute to her dad's resignation that it was ok because they're actually aggressive birds. I guess that makes everything ok - an aggressive bird. Smells fab - let's taste. This is one the best wines I've had today - it's juicy, it's robust, it's from a family. It's only about $30 retail - makes it that much better.

Wine 14
I guess there  isn't a wine 14. That's good. My hands hurt and as much as I tried to spit, I think I may have swallowed a little more than planned. Good thing we'll have dinner soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Saturday's Imbibing

Saturday night I met with my poker crew actually not to play poker, but to enjoy dinner, wine and conversation. We had some Belvedere Chardonnay, which was pretty good for a chard. Not too oaky or buttery (which I used to love, by the way) but not too acidic (which I'm starting to like more but not quite there yet).

Overall, this was pleasureable to drink, a little bit of refreshment after a long week.

2.9 corks for overall ok-ness, but in general it was a little too boring.

Celebrity Wines - Chapter 1

Lil John has decided to take his private label-only wine and go mainstream. Awesome. Here is his official statement:

"I'm not no 'drink wine every day' kind of dude. I'm not like an expert, so don't ask me no questions ... I just like the taste. The wine is more nature: I wanted to not just have a direct connection, but make it just alittle bit more upscale than regular Lil Jon. This is not no ghetto Boone's Farm; this is some real wine."


If I had cash like that, and the means to create random wine labels, Iwould too. At least it's not "no ghetto Boone's Farm." Hey wait, what's wrong with a little Boone's?

4.7 corks just because this is so random.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My New Rating System

I'm going to add in a rating system here...I'm thinking that since I love corks, and tend to keep them when I can, I'll just use those!

1 cork = No thanks, can I have a beer?
2 corks = Just ok, probably will not drink again.
3 corks = Good, will order/buy again, has enough going on to keep me interested.
4 corks = Yummy, will definitely order/buy again, fun things happening to explore.
5 corks = Divine. Will tell you everything you need to know about this wine.


...I got to visit the very elusive-to-me Pizza Azzuro. I have to say, it was well worth the wait! Having moved to Main Street recently, Pizza Azzuro stepped it up in decor and location. With its blue & white striped outdoor curtains and long frabric shades, to the black woodwork and large mirrors, everything about this place says "stay here and enjoy." And that I did.

I met a friend there this evening to catch up, have a glass, and share some stories. We both ordered the Siduri 2005 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon. It started out rather astringent, but opened up beautifully and was a pleasure to imbibe. Soft tannins and smooth mouthfeel welcomed a teeeeeny bit of spice and a lot of killer fruit flavors with open arms. (I know no one actually says "mouthfeel" in real life, but it's such a perfect description! I'm all about texture, and mouthfeel is the perfect term for my version of wine texture.)

A swing dance partner to my sweet onion and goat cheese pizza, this wine held its own, even with the powerful flavors of my delicious, patiently-awaited Pizza Azzuro dinner.

Rating: 3.5 corks