Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tasting in the shipyard – A visit to Rosenblum Cellars

Driving towards the ship yards on the island of Alameda across the bay from San Francisco isn’t a typical venue in which to find a winery. Our GPS assured us that we are in the right spot, as we round the corner and see our destination. Rosenblum Cellars originally started in a small building on the streets of San Fran and after moving to their current location in 1987, is now one of 6 wineries producing and bottling wine in Alameda.  Rosenblum built a name for themselves making single vineyard Zinfandels, sourced from all over California. Committed to quality, Kent Rosenblum keeps his eye on each of the vineyards they source from in order to produce a product that has garnered countless accolades.  

Farley and Megan

Farley and Megan

I was really excited to try the wines because we don’t get much of the single vineyard ones distributed here in Richmond, and I never see any of the white wines.  Lucky for me, the tasting room manager at the Alameda location is fellow blogger and friend Farley who offered to give the wife and I tasting and tour of the facility.  What a great way to start our California vacation, tasting and geeking out about wine an hour after our plane landed


The Whites


2006 Fess Parker Rousanne – rich in honey and pear juice, floral notes and fairly viscous – yum

2007 Kathy’s Cuvee Viognier – tons of apricot and peach on the nose, good combo of acidity and rich exotic mouthfeel, nice nectarine finish – double yum


The Reds


2005 Richard Sauret Zinfandel – raisin, fig, chocolate and black currant

2006 Kontrabecki Zinfandel – blueberry, blackberry with spicy black berry and dry finish, fairly big tannins – very nice structured Zin

2005 Harris Kratka  Zinfandel – more red fruit with red currant jam notes, touches of floral and a spicy leathery finish


rosenblum_barrelroom1At this point Farley thought it would be a good time to fill up our glass and explore the facility, and do some barrel sampling before we finished up on the tasting menu.  The barrel rooms were a flurry of activity, getting ready for their open house event that was coming up that weekend. Over here on your right are some barrels and over to your left are some more barrels.  After peaking in on the bottling line that was finishing up bottling of the new vintage of the chocolate dessert wine Desiree, we started our barrel sampling.


Barrel Samples


Richard Rhodes Carignane (sorry did jot down the vintage) – cherry, red currant tomato and all spice.

2007 Harris Kratka Zinfandel – lots of chocolate, raspberry and toasty oak at the finish

2007 Patio Vineyards Mourvedre – espresso, chocolate and black raspberry

2007 England Shaw Syrah – butter cream, smoke, black currant and spice, very nice


The Reds Continued


2005 England Shaw Syrah – cooked fruit, cooked veggies and a hint of funk, tasted a bit off

2006 Rominger Syrah – hint of banana, chocolate liquer, blackberry and green bean, slight leathery aromas

2006 Rockpile Syrah – coffee, chocolate, cranberry sauce, black currant jam, green pepper

Desiree – chocolate and vanilla extract goodness



rosenblum_meganjohnAlbeit an unusual location for a winery, the wines are extremely good and I wish we could get more of the small lot ones here in VA. For lovers of California Zin and new world style Rhone varietals this is a must stop for you, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  In addition to the Alameda tasting room, there is also a tasting room on the square in Healdsburg.


Thanks again to Farley for being a great host and giving us the VIP treatment, we had a great time, as I said what a perfect way to start a vacation.




Alameda Tasting Room

Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
2900 Main Street in Alameda
Minutes from San Francisco
Phone: 510-865-7007
Fax: 510-865-9225


Healdsburg Tasting Room

Open Daily 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Center Street
Healdsburg, CA  95448
Phone: 707-431-1169
Fax: 707-431-0508

Categories: wine tasting | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Wine Tasting at MonteMaggiore with Lise Ciolino

After leaving the directions back at the B&B and missing the turn-off twice, we made our way up the windy hillside road to MonteMaggiore. We parked at the winery, which is on a hilltop perched above the town of Healdsburg, and has a magnificent view of the Dry Creek Valley and surrounding mountains. 


We walked through the giant steel doors which were custom-made for the winery, and were greeted by winemaker and owner Lise Ciolini, who was gracious enough to give us a personal tasting and tour of the winery and vineyard.  Immediately our glasses were filled with the 2005 Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah and we made our way up to the top of the vineyard at an elevation of 750 feet.  Lise explained the history of the vineyard which she and her husband purchased in 2001 as a 55 acre estate with 10 acres of planted vines—5 of Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 of Syrah.  In 2002 they replanted about 2000 vines of Syrah, naming it Paolo’s Vineyard, the first vintage of which was bottled in 2004. Currently the vineyard is primarily Syrah, with a small amount (I think around 1 acre) of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is primarily used for blending. 

Lise atop Paolo's Vineyard

Lise atop Paolo

Standing in the unseasonably warm weather atop the vineyard was a beautiful experience. Drinking wine in the vineyard where it was born is something magical that even non wine geeks should experience sometime in their life. Paolo’s vineyard, named for Lise’s 6 year old son is managed by her husband Vincent. The vineyards at MonteMaggiore are completely organic, right down to their lawnmowers, which are 12 sheep that roam the property. MonteMaggiore (great mountain) a truly fitting name for this hilltop oasis is named for the small hilltop village in Italy where Vincent’s family farmed the land.



montemaggiore_tastingHeading back down into the winery, we gathered around the small tasting table which was back dropped by a Hercules basket press, the Roles Royce of basket presses.  Surrounded by barrels, we were poured glasses of the 2004 Superiore (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah). The glass was filled with aromas of chocolate, blackberry and green bean, and flavors of blueberry, eucalyptus and chalky spicy finish. 


As we imbibed the wonderfully dark elixir, Lise filled us in on her early experiences with wine and her initial romance with the wines of Hermitage after a family trip to France. This love of the Syrah-based wines from the Rhone valley led to the focus of MonteMaggiore on the varietal. Family, quality and a minimalist approach to winemaking are what lead to the great small lot bottlings of Lise and her husband Vincent at MonteMaggiore.


The 2004 Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah was even better than the 2005, which surprised me as it was from younger vines.  The 2004 had more dark fruit and meaty flavors on the nose versus the 2005, with red currant, black pepper and mentholyptus on the palate, followed by great spice, a good acidic grip and mellow tannins at the finish.


Before we left, we tasted the wine that brought me to MonteMaggiore in the first place. After having the 2005 Nobile (60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Syrah) at the Wine Bloggers Conference, I knew I had to visit the site where these grapes were grown.  The nose was filled with predominately bright raspberry and cinnamon, followed by rich mocha, blackberry, eucalyptus, and pine on the palate. The mouthfeel was smooth and round with well integrated tannins, and a long chocolaty finish. 

It is impressive what Lise and Vincent have done at their winery in such a short period of time. Their commitment to quality is evident, and Lise’s passion bleeds through the dark juice that fills the bottles bearing the winery’s label.

winery tank room

winery tank room




Thanks to Lise for taking the time to give us a tour and tasting of their wines—Megan  and I had a great time.




2355 West Dry Creek Road

Healdsburg, CA 95448

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Drink Charitably – Twitter Taste Live Tonight with Humanitas Wines

ttllogoAt 8pm on tonight the social online tasting phenomenon Twitter Taste Live will hit a new level as we Drink Charitably.  Hosted by Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS the joint event from Humanitis Wines, and will bring together wine bloggers from around the country for a good cause.


Humanitis wines led by owner/winemaker Judd Wallenbrock donates 100% of the profits from their small production wines to charity.


humanitascropFor this Twitter Taste Live we will be tasting 4 of Humantis’ wines

  • 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey)
  • 2007 Chardonnay “Oak Free” (Monterey)
  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)
  • 2006 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)

The first 3 of the wines can be bought as a 3 pack directly from the winery. Purchase now.


The Pinot can also be bought directly from the winery. Purchase now.

For the event you can follow me live tonight on Twitter as well as all the bloggers participating at Twitter Taste Live.


Also you can follow me here via live blogging and Cover It Live just click the link below.

Click Here

Categories: wine tasting | Tags: , | 1 Comment

What to pair with Tofurky?

tofurkyAround this time of year, wine bloggers, magazines and newspapers start printing their Thanksgiving wine pairing ideas. I usually don’t write about my wine pairing strategy, but rather post what I am going to drink or actually did drink on the festive occasion. This year, I feel it is my duty as a vegetarian to post my wine pairing ideas for Tofurky.

Ah Tofurky, that gloriously weird (even to a veggie) molded mock turkey that elicits giggles and ridicule from our non-vegetarian family members year after year.  As the name would imply, Tofurky is primarily made of tofu, with other protein-rich ingredients like soybeans, garbanzo beans and wheat gluten.  The “skin” is mysteriously textured and the inside is stuffed with a mixture of brown rice and whole wheat bread crumbs.  I think the key in pairing this wonderful “bird” with a wine is in the 3 basting options that are provided from the company.


Tofurky Baste – option 1:
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

Tofurky Baste – option 2:
1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sweetener of your choice.

Tofurky Baste – option 3:
1 tablespoon apricot jam or spread
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water

As you can see, the main ingredients in all of these are a type of oil and soy sauce. The Tofurky itself is like tofu in that it has a fairly neutral taste to it and typically takes on the flavor of the chosen baste. So barring a hugely tannic red wine, the pairing possibilities are quite extensive.

We primarily choose the first option above, because it is the more savory of the three, although we “freestyle” wih fresh sage and a bit of thyme.The wine I usually choose is a nice Cabernet Franc, preferably from Virginia or the Loire Valley. These wines are usually softer in nature and have great red fruit, earthy, herbal and vegetal notes that help to enhance the “herbiness” of the baste.

Since I usually don’t choose the sweeter basting options, I can’t speak from experience, though based on the ingredients I would probably choose a wine to enhance the tropical fruit notes of the basting concoction. Be careful though, the olive oil combined with the soy sauce does provide a distinct flavor and somewhat fatty texture. I would go with a fuller bodied Pinot Gris, a bone dry Riesling or even a Viognier.If all else fails, I love to fall back on a good ol’ dry Rose, which will go with almost everything on the table.

The other thing to consider is the fact that the vegetarians are typically the only ones bold enough to eat Tofurky.  If you choose to indulge, make sure that the wine you choose will go with the plethora of other foods that are being served.  More than likely you will be fine, because as my friend Lenn put it “there just isn’t a “perfect” pairing for anything”. With all of that said, drink what you like and it will almost definitely go with Tofurky, and green bean casserole etc…

If you are a Tofurky fan, please leave a comment letting me know what you pair with it.


Categories: wine pairing | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

A Picture Is Worth a 1000 Words – or 3 Cases of Wine!

Megan and I just got back from California so a plethora of posts for our trip are forthcoming. We had a great time (how could you not) and some great visits with some other bloggers (Patrick and Farley) and various winemakers. Not to mention a whole host of wonderful tasting room associates.  Below is a picture of our haul from the trip, three cases of wine and a bottle of olive oil.





Here is the list of wineries that we visited, from Santa Cruz to Sonoma and Napa Valley, and some in between.



Savannah Chanelle


V Sattui

Gloria Ferrer

Bonny Doon

Thomas Fogarty







Eric Ross

Ehlers Estate

Elizabeth Spencer






Papapietro Perry



Stay tuned…



Categories: wine tasting | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

2008 Vintage Update from Virginia Vintner – Jim Law

The following report on the 2008 growing season is from Jim Law at Linden Vineyards.


Vintage 2008 at Linden


The 2008 growing season at Linden Vineyards was one of great challenges and windows of opportunities. As winegrowers, we had to often reflect on past experiences to pull off what has turned out to be a good year in terms of overall quality.


Winter was extremely mild and uneventful. Bud break was at typical timing in April. May was a very difficult month with cool, wet weather that brought concerns of disease and poor flowering (there was talk about another 2003, which was our most difficult vintage). Early June turned our spirits and hopes as beautiful warm, sunny days resulted in a very successful flowering and fruit set. Summer was wetter than normal, but each month progressively became hotter and drier. Most of August was a drought, putting a much needed halt to vine vegetative growth. Very late August through most of September alternated between 2 or 3 days of rain and 4 or 5 days of sunny, warm conditions. October was gloriously dry, sunny and warm.


In the vineyard, because of the wetter than normal conditions, canopy and cover crop management required much precision and labor. Leaf pulling severity was much more extreme than 2007. Cover crops were allowed to grow in order to compete with the vines and slow vegetative growth.


While a dry August kept berry size relatively small, the rains of September caused some Botrytis rot in most of the white varieties and Merlot. Fortunately the rot was mostly of ‘good quality’ (very little sour rot), but sorting was a major task in 2008. Natural acidities were quite high. White wines from 2008 will be very mineral driven (similar to 2006) with bright acidity, low to moderate alcohols, and botrytis influenced exotic aromas.


Red wine style and quality was variety, vine age and vineyard site specific. Early ripening varieties (Merlot) and sites took the biggest brunt of the September rains. Unfortunately I can taste the rain in these wines. They lack concentration. Later ripening grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Carmenere) benefited from the dry October and have intense concentration and very high alcohols. Some of this was a result from berry desiccation, which raises concerns of more dried fruit characters in the wines. Blending decisions will be critical in producing a balanced wine. At the time of this writing it is too early to characterize the 2008 red wine characteristics and quality.

Categories: virginia wine | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Racy Wine and Spirit Ad Fridays!

The second installment of Racy Wine and Spirit Ad Fridays comes to us from Rich Prosecco and features Paris Hilton. Although there is no sign of the prosecco in the top ad, this was the cover shot for their campaign, Paris painted gold in the Mojave desert.



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Wine Blogging Wednesday #51 – Baked Goods


This months Wine Blogging Wednesday is hosted by our good friend Joe at 1winedude. He chose the sweet topic of “baked goods” or wines that have been Maderized. Wines of this nature are ones that have been purposefully oxidized and “cooked” in hot houses after fortification with the result being a dessert style wine filled with nutty, caramelized aromas and flavors.


For my “baked” wine I chose the Blandy’s 5 year Bual Madeira.  Bual is one of the 4 grapes typically used for Madeira wines, the other 3 being Sercial, Verdlho and Malmsey.  Blandy is the “only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade to still own and manage their own original wine company; nearly 2 centuries of fine wine production.”  The story of Madeira is similar to the story of Viagra, they started out with one thing and ended up with another.  Wines from Madeira are named for the Portuguese island they are made on, 400 miles from the African coast.  As the story goes, Madeira was an important stop for sailing vessels headed to the Far East and to the Americas. In order to insure that wine being transported from the islands was not spoiled and to prevent re-fermentation, it was fortified with Brandy or grape spirits. Over the long sea journey, the combined tropical heat of the Caribbean and the slow rocking motion of the boats transformed the wine into a whole new product when sailors reached their final port. 


Today, the process is done more scientifically either through heated water coils that are submerged in the wine, aging the casks in heated warehouses and the third and longest method being placing casks in non-temperature controlled facilities letting mother nature take her natural course. Madeira has 6 quality levels, Granel or bulk, Finest, Reserve, Special Reserve, Extra Reserve and Vintage, with the main distinction being years of cask aging.


Technical Specs on the Blandy 5 Year Bual Madeira ($23)






Various quality vineyards at Campanário and

Calheta at altitudes of between 100 and 300m.


Blandy’s 5 year old Bual underwent

fermentation off the skins with natural yeast at

temperatures between 18°C – 21°C in

temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.

After approximately 3 days, fortification with

grape brandy takes place, arresting

fermentation at the desired degree of




Blandy’s 5 year old Bual was aged in American

oak casks in the traditional ‘Canteiro’ system.

This comprises of the gentle heating of the

wine in the lofts of the lodges in Funchal. Over

the years the wine is transferred from the top

floors to the middle floors and eventually to the

ground floor where it is cooler. After this

gradual ‘estufagem’ the wine underwent racking

and fining before the blend was assembled and




Alcohol: 19% ABV pH: 3.4 Residual Sugar:

100 g/l Total Acidity: 6.3 g/l tartaric acid




blandy5yrMy Tasting Notes –

Nose – golden raisin, prune, caramel, almond

Taste – raisin, hazelnut, burnt toast (very recognizable)

Mouthfeel – fairly viscous but not syrupy

Finish – long, smooth not hot, lots of nutty flavors lingered


The wine was really nice but it is hard to be too critical of a deliciously sweet wine. As Gary Vaynerchuk always says, “Americans are suckers for sugar.” There is a fine balance though between being so sweet that and syrupy and having a rich and smooth mouthfeel. The 19% was barely noticeable surprisingly enough, although if I had more than one glass, I would physically start to notice it. Pairings for this would be similar to ones for a vintage port. Maybe a savory cheesecake, aged blue cheese or dried figs would go great with this Madeira.



Categories: wine tasting | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Twitter Taste Live For a Cause

ttllogoAt 8pm on November 21st the social online tasting phenomenon Twitter Taste Live will hit a new level as we Drink Charitably.  Hosted by Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS the joint event from Humanitis Wines, and will bring together wine bloggers from around the country for a good cause.


Humanitis wines led by owner/winemaker Judd Wallenbrock donates 100% of the profits from their small production wines to charity.


humanitascropFor this Twitter Taste Live we will be tasting 4 of Humantis’ wines

  • 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey)
  • 2007 Chardonnay “Oak Free” (Monterey)
  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)
  • 2006 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)

The first 3 of the wines can be bought as a 3 pack directly from the winery. Purchase now.


The Pinot can also be bought directly from the winery. Purchase now.

For the event you can follow me live on November 21st on Twitter as well as all the bloggers participating at Twitter Taste Live.

Categories: twitter taste live | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Visiting C. Donatiello in the Russian River Valley

The View

The View


After the Wine Bloggers Conference finished up on Sunday, Joel Quigley of Paige Poulos Communications invited us up to C. Donatiello winery in the Russian River Valley for a private tasting. On hand to taste were Joe from 1WineDude, Lenn from Lenndevours, Becky from Smells Like Grape, Nick from Wine Scholarship, Thea from Luscious Lushes, Megan from Wannabe Wino, and Patrick from Oenophilia. Upon arriving, the first thing we drank in was the beautiful gardens and views that surround the winery.  We were then greeted by Chris, the “C” in C. Donateillo, in their private tasting room. Laid out before us was a magnificent spread of 7 wines, a tasting pad, and a glass of water ready for us to taste.


Ready, Set, Taste

Ready, Set, Taste



The winery is located in the “cradle” of the Russian River Valley (RRV), and is highlighted by their certified organic Maddies Vineyard that is located in the Middle Reach of the RRV. Surrounding the winery are beautiful gardens and fountains that include a magnificent aroma garden. The organic aroma garden was created specifically with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in mind, and contains a plethora of flora reflective of the aromas found in these two wines. For a sensory geek like me, walking through this garden with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand was truly a magical experience. Check out the great video that Lenn shot of Chris explaining the details of the aroma garden.


The winery produces about 6,000 cases from their state-of-the-art gravity flow production facility. They produce primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also produce a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc and Rose that is only offered to wine club members.


Look at all those glasses

Look at all those glasses

My Tasting Notes –




Sauvignon Blanc (aged in neutral oak barrels) Nose: citrus, hay and grass. Taste: apricot, stony fruit, with green apple on the finish.

2007 Christie Vineyard Chardonnay (aged in neutral French Oak) Nose: oak, vanilla, apple. Taste: apple, spice, nutty almond, hint of butter on the finish.

2006 RRV Chardonnay (9 mos. In 50/50 New/Old French Oak) Nose: buttery, apple, lemon. Taste: fairly oaky, butter cream, and honey

2006 Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay (20 yr old vines, 60% aged in 50% New French Oak for 8 mos.) Nose: fairly tight with citrus, mineral, and granny smith apples. Taste: apple, nuttiness, light toast, fresh hay and lemon rind.

2006 Maddies Vineyard Pinot Noir (10 mos. in 50% new French Oak) Nose: very floral mostly of rose, raspberry, sage, and cranberry. Taste: undistinguishable bright red fruit, hint of chocolate and plum. Very nice mouthfeel and dry finish.

2006 RRV Pinot Noir (10 mos. 40% new French Oak) Nose: allspice, cherry. Taste: allspice, raspberry and wheat toast, bit of pepperiness at the finish.


2006 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir (10 mos. 50% new French oak) Nose: rose, leather, earth. Taste: cherry and red currant.


Of all the wines my favorites were the Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay and the Maddies Pinot Noir. I purchased the Pinot Noir to take home and cellar for another 2 years or so.  In addition, Chris gave us all a bottle of their Rose to take home and enjoy.


After our tasting, Chris took us around the property and showed us the rest of the facility as we sipped and enjoyed some more of their wines. Thanks to both Chris and Joel for a fabulous end to our weekend in Sonoma.


Categories: sonoma, wine tasting | Tags: , | 4 Comments

New Friday Series – Racy Wine and Spirits Ads

Today starts a new Friday post series that will feature various racy ads from the wine and spirits industries. Just wanted to have a little extra fun on Fridays!



Categories: racy ads | Tags: | 1 Comment

Nothing small about this Petit Verdot!

Petit Verdot, one of the five red Bordeaux varietals is rarely produced as a single varietal. It is most often used in blends, to add color, and structure as well as some of its natural dark fruity notes. Here in Virginia there is a producer that is making it as a single varietal and doing a damn good job of it. I wrote about Glen Manor vineyards a while back after I visited their brand new tasting room and met Jeff White, the winemaker and owner.  For those who didn’t know, Jeff’s grapes were behind the excellent vineyard designated wines (Glen Manor Red) that were produced by Jim Law at Linden Vineyards for several years. Jeff is on his own now, and of his first bottlings the 2005 Petit Verdot is stellar. Petit Verdot is generally a late ripening grape, which makes it even more amazing that a Virginia vineyard can produce it so well.


Megan and I sat down last night with some of our homemade veggie pizza and opened one of the bottles we picked up back in May.  The color is simply amazing, dark purple that fades to magenta at the edges, reminding you of a young Zinfandel. Jeff provides some great info on the vintage as well as the winemaking process for this wine, so rather than paraphrase, I just throw it all in.


Vineyard: Located on the west slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, around 1,100 feet above sea level.  This planting consists of .6 acre of 8 year old vines growing in deep and well drained soils, (Myersville/Catoctin).  The vines are cordon trained and spur pruned to the Geneva Double Curtain trellising system.

Vintage: This was a classic Virginia vintage with normal rainfall, sunshine and temperatures.  Spring began cool which delayed bud break and summer also started rather cool but gradually warmed to normal Virginia summertime temperatures.  Just in time for verasion and ripening, August was hot and dry, followed by a dry September and near dry October.  In early October the remnants of hurricane Tammy left 4.5 inches of rain. After about two weeks, the vineyard dried, the grapes were harvested on October 21, 2005. 

Winemaking: The grapes were hand picked and then double sorted, (pre-destemming and post-destemming), to remove unripe pink berries and stem fragments.  Fermentation began naturally in small one ton bins and punch downs occurred one to two times per day.  Pressing took place about 7 to 10 days later, before fermentation had finished.  This wine aged in new and old French, Hungarian and Virginia oak barrels for 28 months.   Unfined and unfiltered, it is 100% Petit Verdot.  73 cases produced.  Best, 2010 through 2015.

2005gmpetitverdotMy Tasting Notes –


Nose – Blackberry, pine, tar, blueberry pie, hint of prune

Taste – Sweet cedar, black currant, leather, smoke

Mouthfeel – Medium to fuller bodied, smooth in the middle but the tannins were nice and fuzzy and the acid levels were perfect with all the rich fruit flavors

Finish – dry and long, with the tannins leaving a nice peach fuzz feeling on the tounge and cheeks. Notes of pine and blackberry lingered on for a while.


My wife made the comment, “wow, I can’t believe this came from Virginia.”  Not that we both haven’t had wines we loved from Virginia, there are many, this was just truly great. Excellent rich and full mouthfeel, loads of dark fruit, and structure that shows the aging potential of the wine.  This was great with our pizza, but you meet lovers could put this with some nice lamb or roast beef and I think it would pair beautifully. 


Personally I can’t wait for Glen Manor to release their next wines, I believe a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are up for their next vintage.



Categories: $10-$20, virginia wine, wine review | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

4th Annual Richmond Wine Opener – Tomorrow Night

cf-image-for-blogThis post is a reminder that the 4th Annual Richmond Wine Opener is tomorrow night, Thursday November 6th in the Rotunda at the Science Museum of Virginia. 

Tomorrrow evening, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Richmond will host a wine event featuring 150 wines from around the world and 10+ local restaurants serving up some of their finest fare for you to sample.  In addition musicians Noah Paley and Coyote will be on hand providing some great music to sip and savor to.  Also make sure to bring your checkbook, there will be great items up for bids in both live and silent auctions.

The event is $65 in advance and $75 at the door and it benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. ($35 dollars of each ticket is tax deductible)

For tickets and a list of the wineries and restaurants participating you can go to this WEBSITE or call Amy McCraken at 804.527.1500



Categories: wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

It’s OK Mommies to be, drink up, well only a little!

With Megan and I being surrounded by friends that are having babies, we have been talking more and more about the subject. Along with the usual baby talk comes the talk around the fact that she would have to stop enjoying wine for the 9 months of pregnancy. Megan has insisted that it be only fair that I stop drinking wine as well for those 9 months!  Not being too keen on that idea because so much of my life revolves around the wonderful world of wine, I am somewhat excited I came across this new study, well sort of.


A study in the October issue of the Journal of Epidemiology published a study saying that it may be okay for pregnant women to drink one to two glasses of wine per week. The study showed that women who drank “not more than 1–2 drinks per week or per occasion during pregnancy were not at increased risk of clinically relevant behavioral problems or cognitive deficits compared with children whose mothers did not drink.”  In addition, the study showed that children, especially boys, born to women who were light drinkers performed better cognitively compared to children born to women who did not drink at all.




Although this study is fairly compelling due to the large sample size, I am still inclined to believe the years of research that condemn alcohol consumption during pregnancy. I am not sure Megan nor I would be comfortable with her drinking while pregnant regardless of the studies that are out there. With the risk of birth defects and fetal alcohol syndrome, it is a scary thing to mess around with.  Hopefully Megan will lighten up when the time comes and let me enjoy wine while she is pregnant, at least so she can live vicariously through me. J



Categories: wine industry issues | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Wine Bloggers Conference 2008 – 3 of my favorites!

This time last week I was on my way to San Francisco International airport en route back to Washington DC. Wow, I can’t believe the first North American Wine Bloggers Conference has already come and gone. Over 170 wine bloggers and industry professionals converging on Santa Rosa California for 3 days made me realize how big wine blogging has become. We are actually having an impact on the wine community at large, and that in itself is quite amazing.


I have recapped the 3 days in pictorial fashion and highlighted the breakout session on credibility, but I thought I would use this post to showcase a few of my favorite wines from the conference.  After tasting hundreds of wines, most of which would be a blur without my trusty notebook, it is hard to come up with favorites, but to write about all of them would take until the end of 2009. That being said, I probably had about 50 favorites from the weekend, from which I have selected three:


From the Kick Ranch Vineyard tasting and lunch –


Philip Staehle winemaker and owner of Enikdu was on hand to pour his 2006 Odyssey Russian River Syrah. It had a great nose of fresh peppercorn, blackberry and earth with flavors of black currant jam, black cherry and olive tapanade. Inky color, full body and leathery tannins helped this to make it my favorite Syrah of the weekend.


From the New Zealand Growers tasting –


During the self serve tasting this wine definitely rose to the top of 100 plus wines that were there and it was the 2007 Kemblefield The Distinction Gewürztraminer Hawkes Bay ($14.99). The wine was a classic example of the varietal with an abundance of rose aromas on the nose with accents of lychee and tangerine. On the palate I was greeted with apricot, undistinguishable floral notes and a hint of lime. Mouthfeel components were a great combination of medium acidity and viscosity that made for a pleasing multi-layered experience.


From the Luxe Sonoma Tasting –


Lisa Ciolino the winemaker was on hand to pour the 2005 MonteMaggiore Nobile ($45) a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah.  The aroma was full of concentrated raspberry, blackberry and sautéed veggies with hints of leather and grilled meat. The flavor profile was dominated by black currant and sweet cedar with just a touch of green olive.  The aroma and flavors were highlighted by the round full body and smooth lush tannins. I wish I couldn’t have gotten more of this wine.


I enjoyed many more than these 3 wines but they were definitely my favorite from these 3 tasting events.


Keep checking back for more wines reviewed from some of the non WBC events that I attended.



Categories: wine bloggers conference, wine tasting | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments