Monthly Archives: March 2009

Is Dom Perignon Rose the next Cristal?


What started this thought of Dom P Rose taking over for Cristal in the rap world was when a gentlemen came in the shop the other day to ask for a bottle of ’96 Dom Rose. He was actually quite young so if we had it I would have had to card him, but at the time I thought it was strange request. After a little discussion with one of my wine friends and some lyric Googling on the internet, it turns out the bubbly has been mentioned for quite some time, but not yet to the level of the infamous Cristal. As far back as 2006 when Jay-Z declared that he will no longer be drinking Cristal, in which the same press statement said he will now be filling his flute with Dom P Rose it has been mentioned here and there. In the past few years a splattering of rap/hip-hop songs have donned Dom P Rose in their lyrics.

Notorious BIG Would you die for me – “Splurging, Dom P Rose much foreplay that’s my forte”

K’MaroParoles Take You Away – “what if I take you to Paris au champs elysees maybach hit the city by night, with a dom rose
down in st. tropez “

Jermaine Dupri – “She in the corner sippin’ Dom P Rose

Not the usual topic I write about, but thought it would be an interesting idea to float and see if Dom P Rose will explode in the main stream like Cristal did.


Categories: wine industry issues | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Monday Quick Sip – 2007 Anne Amis Pinot Gris

Wine Facts –

Vineyards: (Estate) Marilyn (39.3%), Louise (25.5%), Boisseau (7.7%); (Non-Estate) Hawks View (27.5%)

Appellation: Chehalem Mountains, Oregon

Soil: Laurelwood

Price: $19

anneamisMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: apple, pear, white pepper, peach, lychee, lemon rind

Taste: mineral, guava, Asian pear, lychee, honey

Mouthfeel: full bodied, hint of spice, crisp acidity

Finish: long, clean, mineral driven with tree fruit notes lingering on for a while

This Anne Amis Pinot Gris has been one of my favorites after tasting it at the Washington DC Wine Expo last year. This time I enjoyed it with warm avocado halves stuffed with sautéed endive and parsley, garnished with pink grapefruit. An excellent pairing that highlighted the flavor profile of the wine while the acidity matched the richness of the whole avocado.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Rkatsi-what?? 2006 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli

Originally from the Caucaus Mountains in Georgia (the country not the state) on the border of Armenia and Turkey, Rkatsiteli has found a home in the Finger Lakes of New York. Rkatsiteli has an ability to reach good sugar levels in cooler climates and has a natural high acidity making it perfect for the growing conditions in the Finger Lakes. I received the 2006 Dr. Franks Rkatsiteli from fellow blogger and friend Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma last year.

Fun “Varietal Character” poem from Ken Kulp at Appellation America

rkat-grape-characterSince you haven’t made the scene in Western Europe, some people think you’re just a babushka from the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. Others suspect you’re the old tart who seduced Noah when he came down from Ararat. The way you spread your spice from Eastern Europe all the way to China shows that despite your age, you’ve still got it. While you’re relatively unknown in the Americas your stellar tongue dance performance with Dr. Frank’s Traveling Vinifera Show in New York’s Finger Lakes has earned you some gigs in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. And is that brandy I tasted on those Armenian lips?

Winemaking information from Dr Franks

Harvest: Mid October

Fermentation: Stainless Steel, stopped after 4 weeks leaving a small amount of residual sugar (1.5%)

Filtration: racking, filtering and cold stabilization were done prior to bottling

drfranks_rkatsMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: floral, lychee nut, honey, apple skins, cooked corn

Taste: slate, honeydew, apricot, lychee nut, pear

Mouthfeel: medium body, very crisp

Finish: medium length with a clean refreshing taste

Although the wine was fermented slightly off dry at 1.5% residual sugar, the high acidity made the sweetness barely detectable. Resembling an aroma and flavor profile that is a mix of Gewurztraminer and Riesling, the natural acidity is excitingly crisp and wonderfully refreshing. Dr Franks is famous for his Rkatsiteli and the 2006 shows me why and how great the varietal can be. I have had only one other Rkatsiteli produced here in Virgina and I thought it was quaff able but it was done in an overly sweet style. (IMHO) At $17.99 it isn’t cheap but is in the same price range as quality Rieslings and offers the same depth and layers of flavors. If you are looking for a new food worthy wine to try and one with an unusually funny name, give the Rkatsiteli a try.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

2007 Onix Priorat Classic

priorat_slopesFrom the steep slopes of the Priorat region of Spain comes the 2007 Onix Priorat Classic ($17). The primary grapes of Garnacha (Grenahce) and Carinena (Carignan) are grown on steep rocky terrraced slopes that make for very difficult hand harvesting. Next to the slope of the vineyards in Priorat, the soil is what really makes the wines of this region shine. The rich granite soils known locally as the licorella is comprised of slate and shale with thin bands of red clay, and provide for rich and mineral driven red wines. With the distinct terroir of the region, crop yields on the head pruned vines are naturally kept low helping to achieve the quality that the Priorat wines garner. One of the two regions in Spain to have DOC or DOCa status, the other being Rioja, Priorat has great opportunites for value and quality.

Unfortunately Onix doesn’t have a website that I could find so my info on the wine is limited, except for the fact that it is 50% Garnacha and 50% Carinena and was aged entirely in stainless steel.

onixprioratMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: boysenberry, leather, black tea, pomegranate, rosemary

Taste: blackberry, tea, black cherry, cinnamon

Mouthfeel: full bodied, smooth and round with intense leather tannins that creep up at the finish

Finish: Long and fruity

At under $20 this is a screaming value, with rich full bodied mouthfeel and intense back ended tannic structure. Definitely, more new world style with it’s intense dark fruit flavors but the notes of tea and dried herbs reflect the terroir of the Priorat region.


Categories: $10-$20, Spain, wine review | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Monday Quick Sip – 2006 d’ Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz


Wine Info –

Grape: 100% Shiraz

Appellation: McLaren Vale

Harvest Date: February 28th to April 16th

Oak Aging: 21 months in new & aged French and American oak barriques

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: Raspberry, blackberry, vanilla, oak, green olive

Taste: Bacon, black currant, touch of cranberry and leather, shitake mushroom

Mouthfeel: big full body, huge leathery tannins

Finish: Long with dark fruit and black pepper

The 2006 d’ Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz  ($60)is still a baby, another 2-3 years and this guy will really open up and smooth out. That being said, it is still drinking well now, just be ready for some mouth grabbing tannins.

Categories: $40+, shiraz, wine review | Leave a comment

Friday Value Wine with the Ten Mile – Broken Road Red

If you looking for a good red blend under $15 that delivers, look no further than the 2006 Ten Mile – “The Broken Road” ($12.50). My go to wine in this category used to be the Hey Mambo Red, but after tasting the Ten Mile, I think the title has switched hands. Honestly a fun wine with lots of dark brambly fruit and cocoa notes but displays a serious side with flavors of black tea and hints of suede.

Wine Info –

Harvest Dates: October 4th – 22nd, 2006

Blend: 46% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 7% Barbera, 3% Carignane

Grapes: Average Brix: 27.1

Fermentation: Stainless Steel Tanks

Aging: 20% new & 80% older French & American Oak

Time in Barrel: 14 months

Alcohol%: 14.1%

rightside_tenmileMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: black currant, blackberry, coffee, suede

Taste: black tea, black currant, cassis, cocoa powder

Mouthfeel: full body with dusty tannins

Finish: medium body with good fleshy fruit flavors and the tannins smooth out nicely to a velvety texture

Fun enough to drink on its own, but definitely a great pizza or barbecue wine. Check it out, its a great value red that packs a punch.


Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Special Saturday Tasting at The Wine Cellar with Spencer Graham


Since I now work at the Wine Cellar I am in the process of developing a blog for the shop in the interest of keep my current blog a seperate entity. But since that blog isn’t up yet, I still wanted to get the word out about a great tasting at the shop this Saturday, March 21st. Spencer Graham of Elizabeth Spencer Winery will be in the shop pouring 6 of his wines. In addition we will be having a small food show, showcasing some of our new sauces that we have gotten in lately. The tasting is FREE as always!

The wines Spencer will be pouring –

  • 2007 Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2007 Chenin Blanc

  • 2006 Chardonnay

  • 2007 Pinot Noir

  • 2007 Grenahce

  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

Spencer was in the shop yesterday and I got a chance to meet him and taste the wines you will be pouring and they are all fabulous. If you are in the area from 1:00 to 4:00, stop by, grab a glass and pick Spencer’s brain about his wines.


Categories: wine tasting | 1 Comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #55 – North vs South

For wine blogging Wednesday this month our host is Remy Charest of the blog Wine Case. Remy asks us to pit North against South in a battle of terroir and and to see, if any differences lattitude plays on varietal expression. I chose the fickle, thin skinned Pinot Noir grape for this experiment, and needless to say Mr. PN was nervous. Although this may be a predictable battle royal, I chose a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and one from the island of Tasmania. The reason I say that this may be a predictable battle is that not only is the Pinot Noir fickle, with an estimated 1000 clones and a tendency to suck up the terrior with a slurpee size straw, you would probably see differences if I planted PN on either side of my back yard. All that aside, let the battle begin.

<In my boxing announcer voice> In this corner, all the way from Tasmania, coming in at 13.1% ABV comprised of 100% Pinot Noir is the 2007 42 Degrees South Pinot Noir. ($20)

42degrees_south_pinot_42 Degrees “training” regimen 48-hour pre-ferment soak. Inoculated ferment in 1/2 and 1 tonne open fermenters, hand plunged 3-times daily. Pressed off skins into stainless steel tanks at 2-3 °Bé for completion of primary fermentation. Transfer into oak for inoculated MLF before racking off lees and further barrel maturation.
10 months in 20% new and 80% seasoned French oak barriques.

My Tasting Notes –

Nose – black currant, plum, black cherry, clove

Taste – black cherry, Smuckers rapsberry jam, cooked green bean

Mouthfeel – medium to full body, velvety full tannins and moderate acidity

Finish – decent length, fruity and lean

<In my boxing announcer voice> …and in this corner all the way from the Willamette Valley (Yamhill-Carlton AVA) in Oregon, coming in at 14.1% ABV comprised of 100% Pinot Noir is the 2006 Et Fille “Kalita” Pinot Noir. ($43)

et-fille-logoEt Fille “training” program – the vineyard is situated on Willakenzie soil at an altitude that varies between 400 and 800. Half of our blocks run to the top of the vineyard. The clones of the grapes harvested for us are exclusively pommard and a small amount of wadensvil.

Oak: 10 months, 50% new

My Tasting Notes

Nose – earth, cedar and smoke and boysenberry

Taste – spicy vanilla, leather and cherry

Mouthfeel – elegant and soft, supple tannins and nice acidity

Finish – long and clean with light red fruit flavors lingering with a tinge of earthiness

I think these two were great contenders and both are great in their own respect. Besides the fact that they come in at different price points, they offer the dramatic differences that the Pinot Noir grape has to offer. While the 42 Degrees was more dark fruit and full bodied, the Et Fille was lean and elegant with more red fruit and earth driven components.

Thanks to Remy for this interesting idea for Wine Blogging Wednesday, it was a blast.


Categories: $10-$20, $40+, Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine review | Tags: , | 4 Comments

A good wine, but a bit of a let down.

The 2004 Longview Block 11 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the high end wines from Longview winery. For the most part, Longview wines stay under the $20 mark and offer some good value from Australia. The Block 11 Cabernet from 2004 however was $45 and when I tasted it a year and half ago, was happy to buy 2 bottles from the tiny allocation that came to the local wine shop. After drinking one of the two bottles the other night, I was rethinking spending that much money on the aforementioned wine. Now don’t get me wrong this was still a kicking Cab, but I am sorry to say it may be on the back side of it’s peak. Or I could be totally wrong, or it could be in a slightly “dumb” stage as “they” say, but it definitely wasn’t the power house it was almost 2 years ago. Now what it was was a super polished, elegant Cab with upfront rich fruit flavors layered with leather and brown spice but the tannins just sort of gave up in the end. I would hate to think that this bottle was past it’s prime being that it was only bottled in 2006 and for the fact that I have another bottle that I wanted to see develop for another 2 years’ish.

About the wine (from the winemaker)

Each year before vintage we carefully assess the vineyard with Christian Canute and select the best fruit and in 2004 this was the BLOCK 11 Cabernet Sauvignon. When these grapes have achieved optimum physical ripeness, they are hand picked and bunch selected before traditional vinification. Bunches are gently de-stemmed into small open vats allowing fermentation of whole berries, thus avoiding overextraction of the fruit. The wine spends a week on skins before gently basket pressing to complete fermentation in wood. This wine has been matured for 24 months. The pressings in puncheons and the free run in one large French oak vat – the revisiting of a great Australian tradition. The wine is unfined and unfiltered to ensure that all the flavours we have gone out of our way to preserve are there in each precious bottle.”

longviewblock11My Tasting Notes –

Nose – raisin, plum, brambly blackberry and leather

Taste – brown spice, boysenberry and raspberry

Mouthfeel – full bodied with polished velvety tannins

Finish – smooth with a hint of spiciness and flavors of cherry and tomato

I guess part of my disappointment with the wine is that I had had such high hopes after tasting it and laying down 2 bottles, but as I said and as you can see from notes, this was still a good Cabernet. Not that you could find a bottle on shelves anywhere but I am curious if any of you in the wine blogosphere have had a bottle of this recently and have tasted it in the past. If so, shoot me your thoughts, I would love to hear them. Additionally, do you think I should open the other bottle soon, or hang on and hope it continues to improve? I am leaning towards the open it soon, only for the fact that if the tannins are already fading away, they aren’t going to regenerate in the bottle.


Categories: $40+, cabernet, wine review | Leave a comment

Monday Quick Sip – 2007 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett

Wine Info

Region – Mosel, Germany

Vineyards – Urziger Wurzgarten, 70 degree slope

Price – $19

karl-earbesMy Tasting Notes

Nose – Ripe fuji apple, pear, cantaloupe and slate

Taste – Honey, mineral, touch of petrol, decent amount of balanced sweetness

Mouthfeel – round and full bodied, nice acidity creeping up toward the finish that balanced the level of residual sugar nicely

Finish – Long with sweet minerality

This was a very well put together Riesling but on it’s own it might have been a bit to sweet for me, but paired with spicy Pad Thai that we made it was excellent. The heat helped the sweetness fade and showcased the rest of the flavor profile that the wine had to offer.


Categories: $10-$20, riesling, wine review | 2 Comments

It’s Rosé season…Almost!

domain-sorin-logoWith spring just around the corner, it is almost Rosé season, although really any season is Rosé season. But spring and summer are a particularly good time to enjoy these nice clean and fruity wines. At work the other day I got the chance to taste the 2008 Domaine Sorin Cotes de Provence Rosé, perfect for the summer time temps of 80 degrees we were having here in Richmond. The winery which is technically in the Bandol AOC produces this less expensive version of their other Rosé that is every bit as good, but half the price. ($15) Comprised of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah the Domaine Sorin Cotes de Provence Rosé expresses beautiful strawberry, raspberry and floral notes on the nose with similar flavors on the palate with a clean mineral driven finish. With a medium bodied roundness in the middle of the sip you are pleasantly surprised that the finish yields a refreshing crispness, readying your mouth for the next sip. At this price this would be a great sipper for warm evenings on the deck or a great wine for grilling out if you are a in a bind for what to pair with the variety of foods that show up at a cookout.

I am sure as summer approaches I will have more great Rosé reviews for you, but if you see this on store shelves definitely pick up a bottle.


Categories: $10-$20, Rosé, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2006 Chester Gap Sauvignon Blanc

With this unseasonably warm weather hitting the Richmond area, it was time to break out a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, from Virginia. We broke out the 2006 Chester Gap Cellars Sauvignon Blanc to compliment our Indian food as well as the warm weather. Sauvignon Blanc would not be considered one of Virginia’s best known grapes but certain wineries including Chester Gap have the proper growing conditions to do well with the varietal. Chester Gap’s combination of high elevation, eastern exposure and rocky soil structure lay the foundation for a crisp mineral driven Sauvignon Blanc.

chestergapsauvblancMy Tasting Notes

Nose – citrus, wet stone, grass and fresh cut hay

Taste – melon, citrus, mineral

Mouthfeel – medium body, slightly tart and crisp

Finish – medium length, clean and “stony”

Although I had tasted this wine at the winery last summer, it still surprises me that a Loire style Sauvignon blanc can be produced here in Virginia. At $15 it isn’t a bad price either, especially for the quality it delivers. It was great with the Indian food, but would go great with shell fish dishes as well. Head up to Chester Gap and visit Bernd, and pick up a bottle.


Categories: $10-$20, sauvignon blanc, virginia wine, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Virginia Wine Legislative Update

From Matt Conrad of Virginia Wine Council –

Now that the General Assembly has adjourned sine die (without a fixed date to return), the Virginia Wine Council is grateful for an extremely successful legislative year. HB2071 (Scott) and SB1033 (Hanger), our bills that address the agricultural nature of farm wineries’ activities, have each passed the House and Senate, unanimously. They will now be sent to the Governor for his review.

SB1445 (Deeds), relating to wine-of-the-month clubs, passed the House on a vote of 93 to 4 and will also be sent to the Governor.

HB2523 (Wright), the legislation relating to ABC licenses that was successfully amended at the VWC’s request, has been approved by both the House and the Senate. Because the Senate had further amended the bill, the amendments had to be voted on by the House a second time. HB2523 now enumerates certain crimes that a licensee must make a reasonable effort to prevent on the premises, including manslaughter, terrorism, abduction, driving under the influence, and disorderly conduct. The amendments to HB2523 were unanimously approved by the House and the bill will also be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

Our success during this legislative Session is directly attributable to the good will the industry has built up over many years with the legislature, the Governor, and his administration.  We also benefited from strong relationships with the Virginia Agribusiness Council and Virginia Farm Bureau, who share our enthusiasm for a strong and growing wine industry in the Commonwealth. I strongly encourage you to become involved with both organizations over the next year.

During the coming months, I hope to visit as many farm wineries and vineyards as possible to better understand the needs of the industry and to gather ideas for next year. In the interim, I hope that you will reach out to your local senator and delegate to better inform them, as well. If you are uncertain who your legislators are, please use this website to find out.

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

Tuesday Quick Sip: 2007 Martin Codax Albarino

martincodaxalbarinoWine Info

Grape: 100% Albarino

Region: Rias Baixas, Spain

Price: $17

My Tasting Notes

Nose: apricot, apple, pear and almond

Taste: peach, mineral, pear and citrus

Mouthfeel: nice tart acidity, yet round and full bodied

Finish: long and clean, with some good minerality

We had this the other night with veggie tacos and it paired beautifully. In addition to this, Albarino goes really well with seafood, and poultry dishes such as lemon chicken.


Categories: $10-$20, Albarino, wine review | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Tasting with Sam Guibert of Daumas Gassac

At work the other day I had the pleasure of tasting with Sam Guibert from Daumas Gassac. If you have seen the movie Mondovino, you may remember Gassac and the Guibert family. He brought with him five wines, 2 great values from their Moulin de Gassac Guilhem line and three more pricey wines from the Mas de Daumas Gassac line. Daumas Gassac is located in the town of Aniane in the Languedoc AOC of Southern France.


#1 –2006 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc ( 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Grenahce Blanc, 20% Clairette)

Nose – pear, stone, lime, slightly grassy

Taste – spice, pear, apple and mineral

Mouthfeel – light to medium body and crisp

Finish – decent, good and clean

#2 – 2007 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc (20% Viognier, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Petit Manseng, 20% Chenin Blanc, 20% other grape varities)

Nose – Sweet pear, peach, stone fruit

Taste – peach, apple, apricot, mineral

Mouthfeel – nice acidity, fairly full body, good viscosity from the Viognier

Finish – good and long, lots of fruit

#3 – 2006 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rouge (30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 25% Cargnan, 15% Cinsault)

Nose – raspberry, strawberry, red currant

Taste – meaty, raspberry, leather and cherry

Mouthfeel – smooth with good acidity

Finish – fairly long with light velvety tannins

#4 – 2006 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge (80% Cabernet, 20% rare grape varieties)

Nose – concentrated red fruit, green pepper

Taste – roast beef, raspberry reduction and leather

Mouthfeel – big tannins, full body

Finish – long, with a hint of spice and cinnamon

#5 – 2004 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge

Nose – bell pepper, earthy, tea, cherry and rhubarb

Taste – raspberry, pencil lead, red clay, and “rustic”

Mouthfeel – full and round, big dusty tannins

Finish – long with concentrated red fruit flavors

It was a treat to taste with Sam, 5th generation wine maker for Gassac. His passion for his families wine was fully evident as he explained in great detail each of his wines. I highly recommend the wines, if you see them in your local shop, give them a try, especially the Moulin de Gassac wine, a super value at $10 – $12.


Categories: $10-$20, $30-$40, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment