wine cellar

Big Red Tasting at The Wine Cellar

Sunday night (May 18th) we attended a tasting at the Wine Cellar that featured big red wines at not “everyday drinker” prices–and they were definitely big. The tasting featured 18 wines in the $30 – $40 range, mostly California Cabernet, with a few Zins and Shirazes as well. When we walked in, the WC crew greeted us and, after collecting our admission fee, handed us nice Riedel glasses to taste with, so I was pleased from the get go. In addition to the wines, WC had a nice spread of 6 different cheeses and hard meats with plenty of baguette and crackers to help keep the palate going between wines. If you are a New World wine fan you definitely missed out. This was a great opportunity to taste some higher end wines side by side and truly compare their quality/value.

So let’s dive into the tasting notes. (These are not in the order I tasted and sorry the notes are a little gibberish-like)

2006 D’arenberg “The Laughing Magpie” Shiraz/Viognier ($33) – Cedar chips, boysenberry, vanilla blackberry and allspice. Great body, aroma and mouthfeel. Hint of floral.

2006 Heartland Directors Cut Shiraz ($33) – Butter, peppermint on the nose, cedar, blackberry, cherry and cinnamon. Nice spicy finish, big without being too big. Full and round, nice dry finish

2004 Neyers Pato Vineyard Zinfandel ($34) – Chocolate bon bons on the nose, raisin and plum, nice and peppery

2005 L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon ($31) – eucalyptus, green pepper, plum with smooth tannins

2005 Stuhlmuller Cabernet Sauvignon ($38 ) – nice black fruit with earth and cinnamon top notes, great leathery tannins

2005 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon ($56) – leather, cocoa and pepperoni on the nose with intriguing coconut truffle flavors. Nice firm structure, smooth velvety tannins


2005 Duckhorn Decoy (blend of all the 5 Bordeaux varietals) ($32) – raspberry with subtle earth notes, hints of cola flavor and very soft on the mouthfeel

2004 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($29) – caramel top note with black raspberry and cedar, medium body, a bit too hot on the finish

2004 Tobin James James Gang Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)nice fresh blackberry, blueberry pie, nuttiness, huge leathery tannins; very nice

2005 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon ($38 ) – black currant, earth, raspberry, prune and leather, full bodied and smooth

2005 August Briggs Zin ($37) – Fig, date and coca with medium to full body with a spicy finish, good acid keep it feeling light with all those heavy “dark” flavors.

2006 Brown Estate Zin ($40) – meaty green beans, plum cherry and port flavors, full bodied and jammy

2004 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($42) – pepperoni and salami aromas, red currant and plum, very interesting dusty tannins and medium body

2005 Caravan Cabernet Sauvignon ($36) – strong basil and thyme on the nose, stewed tomatoes, this seriously smelled and tasted like wine flavored pasta sauce – not in a bad way dusty tannic finish

2004 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon (blend with Merlot, Cab Franc and Petite Verdot ($48 ) – cinnamon, blackberry, soy sauce, caramel and mint, huge tannins

2004 Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon ($47) – vanilla and barnyard notes, nice cherry and plum flavors, fairly smooth with good strong tannins and nice finish

2005 Elyse Korte Ranch Zin ($32) – smoked meat, roasted peanuts and an extremely pleasant black currant jam finish, full body, very nice mouthfeel

2004 Stonestreet Fifth Ridge ($37) – black cherry, green olive, black currant and vanilla, very velvety mouthfeel

These were all great wines and I couldn’t say that any one of them wouldn’t garner their individual price tags. The Cabs were what you would expect from California, big body, bold tannins and lots of good dark fruit flavors. When you taste these wines, which as I said were all quite good, it is hard to justify paying $70+ dollars for the high-end big names that garner more attention. Although being the Caymus lover that I am, I still think it would beat all the Cabs in this tasting, but blind I would probably be shocked more than once. Haha!

So after all of these notes, which wines were my favorites? The Elyse Korte Ranch Zin was very interesting with some aromas I don’t typically associate with Zinfandel wines, though it delivered typical mouthfeel characteristics. The Elyse tied with the August Briggs for my favorite Zin– The Briggs had more of the typical flavor and aroma profile associated with the varietal. Favorite Shiraz went to the Heartland, which again had an awesome peppermint aroma on the nose that you don’t find on too many wines. It was big and bold but not in your face or over the top by any stretch, with great integrated flavors and a beautiful mouthfeel. Top Cab went to what I deemed the sleeper of the group, the James Gang Reserve from Tobin James. I have tasted Tobin James in the past and have enjoyed their reds (especially since they are around $16) but hadn’t tasted any that I would tell somebody they must run out and buy. Clearly I hadn’t experienced their reserve line, because this Cab really shocked me- it was quite awesome and still reasonably priced for a Cali Cab at $28. It was really smooth across the mid palate with nice dark fruit and nut flavors, and it delivered strong leathery tannins which helped provide for the fairly long finish.

Of the wines tasted on Sunday, all but 3 were new to me, so it was a great palate-expanding experience. I am always a fan of Honig and if I had a bottomless wallet I would have picked up a bottle of it as well as the Ramey Cab, which was also impressive, especially as only their 2nd attempt at making the varietal.

We had a blast, as I am sure you can tell. Thanks to the WC crew for putting on a good show and to the distributors (Robin, Bryon and Suzanne) for getting a good forearm workout in while pouring their magic elixirs.

Cheers!

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Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Tons of Tastings Around Richmond

The next couple of weeks we have some big tastings going on around the Richmond area in addition to the regular Friday and Saturday tastings at the local wine shops.

Thursday May 15th at the Barrel Thief

Barrel Thief is proud to host Alberto Di Gresy, owner and winemaker of Tenute Cisa Asinari Dei Marchesi Di Gresy (www.marchesidigresy.com). From 5pm-7pm, try a broad selection of his wines for only $10. The wines available to taste and their retail prices are:
2006 Langhe Chardonnay $25
2001 Langhe Gresy Chardonnay $34
2007 Moscato dAsti La Serra $20
2006 Dolcetto dAlba Monte Aribaldo $25
2005 Barberra dAsti $24
2006 Langhe Nebbiolo $29
2004 Barbaresco Martinenga $65

I am really excited about this tasting as regular Anything Wine readers know I am HUGE fan of the Piemonte region of Northern Italy.

Sunday May 18th at the Wine Cellar

The Wine Cellar will hold a special big red wine tasting from 6:00 to 8:00 after the store closes. The is $30/person and includes cheese, salami, crackers and other apps. Up for tasting will be 18 big reds ranging in price from $25 to $50 from the West Coast. Some new wineries will be represented, as well as some the hottest big reds currently on the market.

Wine List

1. CARAVAN CABERNET NAPA VALLEY $36.45

2. SILVERADO CABERNET NAPA VALLEY $47.45

3. RODNEY STRONG RESERVE CABERNET $40.45

4. ROBERT MONDAVI OAKVILLE CABERNET $48.45

5. STONESTREET FIFTH RIDGE ALEXANDER VALLEY $36.95

6. ELYSE KORTE RANCH ZINFANDEL NAPA VALLEY $32.45

7. TOBIN JAMES JAMES GANG RESERVE CABERNET $29.95

8. HONIG CABERNET NAPA VALLEY $37.95

9. SEVEN HILLS CABERNET COLUMBIA VALLEY $28.95

10. DUCKHORN DECOY NAPA VALLEY $31.95

11. AUGUST BRIGGS ZINFANDEL NAPA VALLEY $36.95

12. BROWN ZINFANDEL NAPA VALLEY $40.45

13. RAYMEY CABERNET NAPA VALLEY $56.45

14. STUHLMULLER CABERNET ALEXANDER VALLEY $38.45

15. L’ECOLE CABERNET COLUMBIA VALLEY $30.95

16. NEYERS PATO VINEYARD ZINFANDEL CONTRA COSTA $33.95

17. d’ARENBERG LAUGHING MAGPIE SHIRAZ $33.45

18. HEARTLAND DIRECTOR’S CUT SHIRAZ $33.45

 

I love BIG reds so I can’t wait for this event!!

 

Thursday May 29th at Bella Vino (Stony Point Location)

From Bella Vino’s website:

Great Unknowns of California: May Elite Tasting

Forty years ago California had no reputation for producing world-class wines, but today it produces some of the greatest wines in the world. Unfortunately, many of these wines have prices that boggle the imagination and are only available to a select few. We believe that the best way to get wines from California that are phenomenal AND affordable is to seek out relatively unknown producers. Their wines are more a labor of love than of profit. We’ll offer some of these wines for tasting on May 29th so that you can buy superstar wines without paying superstar prices!Tickets: $15 for one; $25 for a pair($5 discount with Bella Vino Amanti tag)(Further $5 discount if you attended the previous tasting)PLEASE RSVPThere will be limited spaces available!Pre-payment will be requiredFor reservations, call:Bella Vino Stony Point Bella-(804) 272-3202

I hope to see you all at these events as they all sound fantastic.

 

Cheers!

Categories: Barrel Thief, piemonte, wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Colombo wasn’t just a detective on a TV show

… He is also a famous winemaker from Southern France.

Wine Review of the 2006 Jean Luc Colombo La Violette Viognier

Produced from 20 year old vines in the Languedoc-Roussillon, the La Violette underwent controlled fermentation and maceration at 59ºF, 80% in stainless steel tanks and 20% in barrels. The wine then spent 6 months on the lees, 70% in tanks, and 30% in one-, two- and three-year-old barrels.

 

My Tasting Notes –

 

Nose – Asian pear, apricot, mint

Taste – Honey, citrus, mineral/stone, tea

Mouthfeel – light to medium body

Finish – Medium in length, dry clean finish with flavors of honey and brewed tea

 

Decent Viognier from Languedoc Roussillon, a bit tight on the nose at first as it took about 45 minutes for it to open up.  Not as viscous as most Viognier, shedding its oily nature for a cleaner more crisp mouthfeel and strong mineral notes toward the finish. All in all not bad, we just picked this up at the Wine Cellar, wanting to branch out from our Viognier rut of sticking to California, Australia and of course Virginia.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Categories: $10-$20, Rhone Wines, wine cellar, wine review | 2 Comments

This Fridays wines at the Wine Cellar and Live Passionately

This Friday Jeff and the Wine Cellar gang are offering up a mixed bag of new wines for their weekly tasting.  Italy, California, Oregon, Portugal and Argentina will be represented in the mix of two white and three red wines.  It should be interesting, fun and FREE as usual. This Friday from 5:00 to 8:00

 

There is a cool and fun new application on the Virginia.org website aimed at identifying what your passions are.  Live Passionately lets you select 4 out of 12 icons (seen above) that represent everything from “natural beauty” (meaning you want to be outdoors) to “getting better with time” (meaning that you like to savor life) you will be told what your passion is and how Virginia can accommodate.  It is pretty neat, but it didn’t work out to well for me, I think because I have too many things I am passionate about.  Either way, it is a fun way to kill 5 minutes and find out more about what Virginia has to offer.

 

Cheers!

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Pinot Noir Tasting at The Wine Cellar

This Friday at the Wine Cellar Jeff will be focusing on Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir by many accounts is the most difficult grape to care for in the vineyard and to manage in the cellar. The grapes tender skin is highly sensitive to climate variations, and is best suited to cooler climates, where in hotter climates as Jancis Robinson puts it, Pinots sensual “essence can easily turn to jam.” Just as important as the weather, the soil adds another factor in the complexity of growing Pinot Noir, thriving best in soils that are composed primarily of limestone. Thus, Pinot Noir is a direct product of its environment and a great example of terroir expression.

To showcase how different environments showcase the many faces of Pinot Noir Jeff will have us taste Pinots from New Zealand, Oregon, California and of course France.

FREE as always this Friday from 5:00 to 8:00.

Cheers!

Categories: Pinot Noir, wine cellar, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Review of Saturday Tasting at The Wine Cellar and WBC #2

Saturday’s tasting and food event featured some good wines and some fabulous foods. Unfortunately since all of the food was meat or seafood related I can’t comment on it, but it did smell quite good.

 We had 5 wines for tasting, 1 white and 4 reds. The white was a Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc that was very aromatic and crisp, great citrus notes and a mineral finish. The first red up for tasting was the Black and White 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from Topanga Vineyards. Sourced from Napa Valley this wine contains 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 2% Petite Verdot. It was very dark in color, lots of dark fruit flavors with a full and soft mouthfeel. Next up was 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from X Winery which I have had the 2003 vintage of.  This 2004 was full of cherry and plum, with a medium body and a dry finish.  Third on the red list was the 2003 Arbios Cabernet Sauvignon which I have also had before. Arbios did not disappoint and was quite good once again.  This bottle showed a lot of cassis, leather and toasted pine nuts with a very long fruit laden finish.  Last but not least was the Dry Creek Vineyard 2003 Meritage which was a mix of primarily Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot rounding out the blend. This was my favorite of the day and the one that I took home with me.  Great black cherry, chocolate powder and black currant lead to a great full bodied wine that finished long and smooth.

WBC #2 has been announced by Tim at Winecast and is the book Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution by William Echikson.  This is the second in the line of Wine Book Club meetings that is the brain child of Dr Debs at Good Wine Under 20 Dollars.  The meeting date for WBC #2 is April 29th.

Cheers!

Categories: Wine Book Club, wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Special Saturday Tasting at The Wine Cellar

Today at the Wine Cellar Jeff is having a special wine tasting and food show from 1:00 – 4:00.  He will sample some high end reds from California and one white.  In addition to the wine he will serving prime rib, duck breast, pork rib chops and lamb rack along with sushi tuna, scallops and swordfish.  And since I don’t eat any of the above, that means more for the rest of you.

I attend almost all of the tastings at the Wine Cellar and post about what they will have there, but very rarely do I post after the fact.  Taster B from the blog Smells Like Grape made me realize this the other day when she commented on the post I did announcing the Merlot tasting at the Wine Cellar. She said she looked forward to hearing about the tasting, but unfortunately I didn’t have any plans to write about my experience while I was there.  So I thought from now on I will try to write about the wines that I sample at the usual Friday night tastings as well as special ones like the one today.

Cheers!

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | 2 Comments

All About Merlot

This Friday at the Wine Cellar Jeff is serving up Merlot in his series of educational wine tasting. So, on that note I thought I would write a few wine facts about Merlot.  Merlot sadly got a bad wrap a few years ago with the movie Sideways, as a result sales dipped slightly (and Pinot Noir sales and planting went through the roof) but it is back on top as far as red wine volume sales in the United States. 

Merlot, aka the little blackbird is one of the 5 grapes allowed in Bordeaux and was originally famous for its plantings and wines that it is the primary component of in the regions of St. Emillion and Pomerol.  Today Merlot is planted all over the world with fabulous, fruity, textured,  examples coming from California, Washington, Chile, and Virginia just to name a few.  For many years Merlot was used as a blending grape, being paired with it’s big brother Cabernet Sauvignon. The addition of Merlot to Cabernet adds subtle body and softens the sometimes harsh (edges) tannins of the wine providing a great balance and when done right a great wine.  Today, as mentioned above Merlot is planted everyone and stands alone on many tasting counters and wine shop shelves.  Some knockout examples I have had recently in the 100% Merlot category are the Northstar Columbia Valley, Grgich Hills and Imagery Estates Sunny Slope, all of which show that the grape has 2 very strong legs to stand on. (picture from wiki)

Tomorrow Jeff says he will be serving full bodied Merlots from around the world with examples from Argentina, Australia, Washington and California.  Those sound great but I would have liked to seen an example from St. Emillion or Pomerol, but maybe he will surprise us.

Remember the tasting is FREE from 5:00 – 8:00 tomorrow night.

Cheers!

Categories: merlot, wine cellar | 2 Comments

From 30,000 Feet

Today I left for Keystone Colorado to indulge in one of my other passions, skiing.  In search of big mountains and deep powder, I am missing the Richmond Wine Expo happening this weekend at the Convention Center here in town.  Don’t worry though, in my true, anal, pre-vacation planning fury I have scouted out the restaurants in Keystone with the best wine lists and even a wine bar just a few minutes from the slopes.

The Virginia Wine Expo that I am missing looks to be quite nice, showcasing only Virginia wines (I think 42 wineries are in attendance) with lots of meet and greets and special education seminars.  The one thing that I really wish I could have seen at the expo would have been the session with Jannequin Bennett, of Ellwood Thompson’s and former TJ’s fame, where she is giving tips on pairing big red wines with vegetarian dishes.  From perusing the program of the 2 day event, other highlights (of course these are highlights to me, maybe not you) include keynote address from Bruce Schoenfeld and Andy Reagan from Jefferson Vineyards will be there as well.

Also I will be missing the Friday night wine tasting at The Wine Cellar this week.  In the second installment of Jeff’s education series, tomorrow night he will be showing you the many faces of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Make sure to stop by and have a glass or two for me, from 5:00 to 8:00 and FREE as always.

This post will be the first that I have written in flight, how exciting.  I was going to get one of the mini bottles of Sutter Home and do a funny post about it, but I couldn’t force myself to pay the crazy $5 for it.

More to come from the Rockies!

Cheers!

Categories: virginia wine expo, wine cellar | Leave a comment

Chardonnay Tasting at The Wine Cellar

Friday night at the Wine Cellar Jeff will be continuing his education series by sharing the many styles of Chardonnay with us.  He will have five up for tasting that will run the Chardonnay gamut from buttery and oaky from California to French Burgundy.

FREE as always from 5:00 to 8:00

Cheers

Categories: chardonnay, wine cellar, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Zinfandel Tasting and A Little History

Tonight at the Wine Cellar, Jeff will be starting his education series as he himself is doing the pouring. He will be showcasing red Zinfandel with 3 in a range from light to full bodied and 2 old vine Zins from 68-100 year old wines.

Hailing from Croatia, Zinfandel originally made its way into the United States in 1829 via Long Island New York before it was first planted in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in 1859.  The style of Zinfandel can be quite varied, from over the top fruit bombs, to soft and subtle gems, to jammy exotic Ports and any combination of those three.  In California, Zinfandel is the only grape that comes close to Cabernet Sauvignon with respect to acreage and crushed juice volume and has recently taken some of the spotlight off of the King of California, Mr. Cabernet.  As mentioned above, Jeff is going to show us 2 good example of Old Vine Zins, but what exactly is the definition of “Old Vine”.  Well in fact nothing defines the “Old Vine” labeling of Zinfandels and that subject has been talked about greatly, and this year was a huge topic across the blogosphere.  Certain winemakers such as Joel Peterson from Ravenswood winery define Old Vines as those between 50 and 80 years old and anything over 80 years of age as Ancient vines.  David Gates of Ridge Winery bases his definition of Old Vine on any vines that are 50 years of age and older.  And the list goes on and on of famous Zinfandel producers most of whom give, what I feel, good definitions of what they consider to be old, but in fact if they wanted to name 10 year old vines as “Old”, they could. Not that there is anything wrong with that. (Seinfeld reference)

So come check out what Jeff has to offer tonight and see if Old Vine does make a difference, and get your palette trained on Red Zinfandel.

See you tonight from 5:00 to 8:00 and FREE as always.


Cheers!




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Categories: old vine, ridge, wine cellar, wine industry issues, wine tasting, Zinfandel | Leave a comment

Friday Night Tasting at The Wine Cellar – 1.25.08

 

Tomorrow nights wines at The Wine Cellar are all from Spain. It looks like Jeff and crew will have some good values and a good mix of some different wines that Spain has offer.

Here is the list:

1. CAN FEIXES BLANC SELECCIO PENEDES $15.75

2. BURGANS ALBARINO RIAS BAIXAS $14.95

3. GARNACHA DE FUEGO OLD VINE CALATAYUD $9.95

4. HECULA MONASTRELL CASTANO $13.25

5. ATTECA OLD VINES GRANACHA CALATAYUD $17.95

Hope to see you all there, 5:00 – 8:00 and FREE as always.

CHEERS!

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | 4 Comments

Tonights Tasting at The Wine Cellar

Tonight’s tasting at the Wine Cellar features a good mix of value driven California reds. I am excited about all the wines, as it is always nice to find some good red values for everyday drinking, but I got a chance to check out the Hayman and Hill website so I am extra excited about their wines. 

Hayman and Hill is owned by Cellar Door a wine conglomerate that owns several wineries throughout the world such as Red Guitar and Diseno. Hayman and Hill is the creation of two passionate winemakers, working to create value driven single varietal, specific appellation wines from California.  Hayman, who has worked in Australia most recently for the wineries of Hardys but has a total of 17 years of winemaking experience. Hill who has been and is still currently the winemaker for Blackstone Winery brings a background of consumer driven wines, which would lead to the value driven piece of the Hayman and Hill portfolio. 

Hope to see you all out tonight at the wine cellar FREE as usual from 5:00 – 8:00 

1. HAYMAN & HILL RESERVE MERLOT $14.95

2. SCREW KAPPA NAPA CABERNET $12.85

3. CAB-U-LOUS CABERNET $9.95

4. HAYMAN & HILL RESERVE MERITAGE $14.95

5. PASO CREEK CABERNET $18.95

 Cheers!!

Categories: california, hayman and hill, wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Friday and Saturday Night Tastings at The Wine Cellar

This week the Wine Cellar is having two tastings, both with some pretty rocking wines.

The first list is the normal Friday 5:00 – 8:00pm tasting.

1. REGIS MINET POUILLY FUME OLD VINES $22.45

2. BERT SIMON RIESLING KABINETT $18.95

3. GROCHAU CELLARS PINOT NOIR WILLAMETTE $30.45

4. HEDGES FAMILY ESTATE RED MOUNTAIN 3 VINEYARDS $25.45

5. STUHLMULLER VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON (ALEXANDER VALLEY) $38.45

This second list is a special tasting that Jeff will be doing on Saturday from 1:00 – 4:00pm.

1. SONOMA-CUTRER SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY $28.45

2. ICI/LA-BAS ELKE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 27.95

3. RIDGE INDEPENDENCE SCHOOL ZINFANDEL $33.45

4. UVADA OAKVILLE MERLOT $29.95

5. ELIZABETH SPENCER CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA $33.95

Both tastings are FREE as usual!! 

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Friday Night Wine Tastings Around Town

The Wine Cellar didn’t send out their weekly list of what will be tasted tonight, so I am just posting to remind everyone of their’s and other tastings around the Richmond area.

The Wine Cellar – Friday 5:00 – 8:00

River City Cellars – Friday – 5:00-7:00

Corks and Kegs – Friday – 5:30 – 7:30

Private Stock Cigar and Wine – Every Friday and Saturday

Bella Vino (Midlothian) – Friday – 6:00-8:00

And also make sure to check out Can Can Mondays from 6-7

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment