Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling; better with food

Don’t let the title fool you, this wine rocked on it’s own, but the Wiemer 2008 “Magdalena Vineyard” Riesling ($36) is definitely a food wine. I tasted the wine originally at TasteCamp, where I bought a couple of bottles to bring home with me. I’m glad I bought two, wish I had bought more, but I couldn’t resist popping one open the other night. I hope I can hold on to the other one for a few years because I would love to see how this ages. Megan had made a mushroom, broccolini, carmelized onion and Piave cheese Quiche, that I thought the Magdalena would sing with, so I popped it open. I was right, the richness of the quiche was a perfect pairing for the acidity and complexity of the Riesling.  The flavor profile matched my notes from TasteCamp, but I didn’t note the acidity to be quite as high. (for the reason in the previous sentence, plus it was compounded with the acidity of the previous 5 wines)

The specifications for the 08 Magdalena aren’t up on on the Wiemer website, as the wine wasn’t exactly released yet. I do know it’s 100% Riesling that is all estate grown.

The wine provides lots of tropical undertones, with the addition of kiwi notes and a splash of fresh squeezed limeade. Great acidity, perfect for rich dishes, great slate/stone minerality and a bit of a chalky note on the back of the palate with a touch of green banana at the finish.

If you are a Riesling fan, definitely seek this wine out.


Categories: $30-$40, riesling, wine review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Quick Sip – 2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

2008 K Syrah “Pheasant”—Wahluke Slope

Wine Facts –

Appellation: Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Washington

Vineyard: Pheasant; sandy, gravelly soil

Grapes: 100% Syrah

Fermentation: native yeasts

Ageing: 100% French oak, 30% new

Production: 193 cases

Price: $35

My Tasting Notes –

Interesting start on the nose with smoky bacon, blackberry and plum followed up on the palate by fig, date, more blackberry and olive notes. Layers of black pepper and an unidentified meatiness kept showing up on the palate which was quite nice.  Full bodied, rich and spicy and very well integrated for just being released in April.


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

Quick Sip on a Wednesday with the 2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Wine Information –

Appellation: Napa Valley

Sub-Appellations: St. Helena, Howell Mountain, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and Mt. Veeder

Grapes: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Cooperage: 20 months in 100% French Oak

Price: $32

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: boysenberry, black currant jam, roasted meat, brown sugar and suede

Taste: blackberry, sweet cedar, eucalyptus, mocha, black currant

Mouthfeel: full body, leathery to dusty tannins, just a bit spicy

Finish: long and tight – black currant flavors dominating the finish

The Cab was very good and I have enjoyed almost all of the Elizabeth Spencer wines I’ve tasted. The 2006 Napa Cab is still young though it is does taste good now. The structure just needs a little more time to balance out, as it is still a little rough around the edges.


Categories: $30-$40, cabernet, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

“Killing it” with 2004 MonteMaggiore Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah

2004 MonteMaggiore Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah

About this time last year I visited and wrote about MonteMaggiore Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. When I have wines from California (or elsewhere) that I know I can’t get easily, it makes it hard to drink it. Well, I had two wines left from MonteMaggiore, one being their 2004 Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah, which I opened last night.

After I pulled the cork I noticed a good 1/8th of an inch of sediment on the end of it, so I made sure to run it through the little mesh screen as it went into the decanter.

Check out the details:

Varietal Blend: 95% Syrah, 5% Cabernet

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley

Average Sugar at Harvest: 27.0° Brix

Alcohol: 4.7%

Cooperage: 70% French, 30% American

Percentage New Oak: 48%

Cases Produced: 400

This wine was just jumping out of the glass, I believe my tweet about it last night was precisely that “the ’04 MonteMaggiore Syrah is killing it!” Well it kept killing it with rich, layered, Syrah goodness leaving me both happy and sad, realizing with each sip I was closer to the end of my last bottle of this wine.

My Tasting Notes:

Nose: blackberry, bacon, black currant

Taste: cassis, black currant, cinnamon, cedar black pepper and “suede”

Mouthfeel: full body, rich, leathery tannins that are starting to settle down, but still going strong

Finish: long

If you have a bottle of this, or can find a bottle, it is drinking great right now and I highly recommend it!


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Categories: $30-$40, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Wednesday Quick Sip – 2005 L’ Ecole No 41 Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard

So this week my quick sip is on Wednesday, yesterday my wordpress.com dashboard was on the fritz so I couldn’t upload a post. Oh well, the wine for this quick sip is the 2005 L’ Ecole No 41 Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard

2005PerigeeWine Information –

Appellation: Walla Walla Valley, Washington

Vineyard: Seven Hills

Grapes: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc

Aging: 22 months in 50% new oak

Price: $40

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: blackberry, fig, black cherry, pencil shavings

Taste: blackberry, eucalyptus, mint, thyme, blueberry

Mouthfeel: big and full bodied, elegant with rich full tannins

Finish: long with flavors of black currant

Big and elegant all at the same time, this wine provides rich fruit flavors with hints of herbs that round out the palate quite nicely. Even with 22 months in oak it doesn’t come across oaky at all, very balanced with nice hints of pencil shavings that I don’t usually find on a Cab based blend from the US.


Categories: $30-$40, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #60 – “I have Zinned”

This month, Wine Blogging Wednesday created by Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS, is in it’s 60th edition and hosted by Megan at Wannabe Wino. Her theme this month is anything Zin, and pairing it with BBQ and or grilled meat. Well since I’m a vegetarian I couldn’t comply with the second part but I did the first and served it with a great pizza from my favorite local pizzeria Angelos. I thought it would be funny to choose a “white zin” but I didn’t and chose the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel. I got this as one of my wine club shipments from Segehesio about a year ago.

From Seghesio on the history of the San Lorenzo Vineyard:

Rachel Ann Passalacqua met Eugene “Pete” Seghesio when purchased her father’s Zinfandel grapes from the San Lorenzo vineyard in southernmost Alexander Valley. In 1956 the couple was married. Seghesio Farms now manages that same vineyard, purchased in 1896 by Rachel Ann’s grandfather for the sum of ten gold coins. At that time, the vineyard was already planted to and producing Zinfandel. Today, it represents our oldest plantings of Zinfandel.”

The information on the wine –

Appellation: Alexander Valley, Sonoma

Grapes: 100% Zinfandel

Fermentation: 11 day punchdown in 6 Ton open top fermenters

Oak program: 12 months in French oak, 25% was new

Alcohol: 15.4%

Price: $35

2006seghesiosanlorenzoMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: brown sugar, coffee grounds, fig, raisin and molasses

Taste: plum, fig, blackberry, baking spices, thyme

Mouthfeel: full body, round, dry and spicy

Finish: long and fruity with hints of cocoa

Two words to describe this would be BIG and RICH, not to be confused with the country music band of the same name. Although as big as it was and with the 15.4% ABV it was not out of balance in any way and wasn’t over the top but brimming at the edges. The nose was as if I had walked into a coffee shop that was baking coffee cake while eating some dried figs. Amazing! Each sip, completely wrapped my tongue in layers of dark fruit, and hints of thyme. And I know there aren’t any taste receptors on the bottom of my tongue but it seemed as though I could really taste it from the bottom up. Maybe it was dripping all the way through my tongue. Gross thought, but this was killer! Definitely could have gone with some smoked baby back ribs, but it rode nicely with my pizza!!

Cheers to another WBW!

Categories: $30-$40, seghesio, Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine review, Zinfandel | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Tuesday Quick Sip – 1998 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

1998 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Information:

Appellation: Napa Valley, California (Calistoga)

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Oak program: 18 – 20 months

Price: $30/ 375ml bottle

1998MontelenaMy Tasting Notes:

Color: dark brick red, slightly brown at the edges

Nose: slightly oxidized and “portish”, fresh corn tamale, tobacco

Taste: raisin, blackberry, suede, red clay, and tart cranberry at the back of the palate

Mouthfeel: full body but on the lighter side, still velvety rich tannins and “spicy” acidity

Finish: long with dark fruit and leathery notes

This is my first time tasting a Chateau Montelena wine as well as my first time tasting a ’98 Napa wine. Although slightly oxidized on the nose, it blew off after while and gave way to interesting corn tamale and tobacco notes. I was impressed with the structure, still alive and well but on the down side for sure. I have another bottle of this that I’ll probably drink very shortly, and will be excited to see if it will show as well.


Categories: $30-$40, napa, wine review | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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

Kickin’ It Italian Style

Back in May I attended the Marchesi Di Gresy wine tasting at the Barrel Thief and got to meet the winemaker, Alberto di Gresy himself.  A couple of nights ago we had one of the wines that we purchased there for dinner to accompany our Tofu Parmesan. The wine was the 2006 Marchesi di Gresy Nebbiolo Martinenga priced at $30.



 The 2006 Nebbiolo Martinenga comes from the same single vineyard that Alberto’s famous Barberesco Martinenga comes from and is some of the same grapes, but does not go through the obvious DOCG requirement for Barberesco labeling.  Martinenga’s 29 acre vineyard combines ideal Southern exposure with blue marl soil to provide excellent growing conditions, evening in difficult vintages, for the Nebbiolo grape.




My Tasting Notes –


Color – Ruby red

Nose – Fresh raspberry, tea leaves, leather, sweet basil, clove

Taste – black currant, green pepper, walnut, dry soil

Mouthfeel – medium body bordering on light weight in the mouth, with very firm tannins and bright acidity

Finish – long, fresh blueberry flavors linger on the palate


It went nicely with the tofu parmesan, although not a meat dish, the slight crisp mozzarella cheese and fresh shaved parmigiano reggiano faired nicely with gripping tannins of the wine. Very nice balance of fruit and earth, none of which were overpowering, just present enough to notice. I should have decanted this for a couple of hours, which would have hopefully smoothed out those tannins a bit, or should’ve held on to it for another year but I just couldn’t wait.  Great chance to save a few bucks off the Barberesco price and get a really awesome quality Nebbiolo, I highly recommend it.



Categories: $30-$40, marchesi di gresy, Nebbiolo | 1 Comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #47: Today’s Wine Brought To You By The Letter “S”

Wine Blogging Wednesday #47 is hosted by Erin and Michelle from Grape Juice and is the loosest of restrictions I have seen since I have been participating in the WBW phenomenon.  WBW #47 – Today’s Wine Brought to you by the Letter S gives us the only stipulation that some part of the wine must revolve around the letter S.  Lucky for me, since I completely forgot about this WBW, I am in the wine club for Seghesio which of course starts with the letter S.


I made my way down to the “cellar” and picked out the 2006 Home Ranch Zin to go with our homemade veggie pizza and provide me a topic for the letter S.  The 2006 H.R.Z. comes from vineyards originally planted in 1895 that surround the site of the first home of Edoardo and Angela Seghesio.  Harvested at a 26.2 brix, the wines are aged for 11 mos. In 50% French and 50% American Oak, 33% of which is new after going through a 10 day maceration.


Here is what I thought of it:


Color – purple to light magenta

Nose – Fig, leather, black berry, sweet cedar, spiced meat

Tasting – Black cherry, raspberry, mint, basil, chocolate

Mouthfeel – medium body, very dry with leathery tannins and vibrant juicy acidity, smooth and round across the mid palate

Finish – long and leathery with raspberry topped pound cake flavors


I am always a huge fan of Seghesio Zin and the ’06 Home Ranch didn’t disappoint. The 15.7% alcohol wasn’t evident as it was well integrated with the fruit, acidity and firm tannins that were present in each sip. The luscious ripe fruit was not super jammy and over the top and that combined with the woody, meaty flavors really compounded for a complex layered Zin.  At $36 (before club discount) it is in the range of the other Dry Creek heavy hitters and definitely brings the thunder for the price, with lots of layers, delicious fruit and herby goodness.


Check it out, and give your salute to the letter S.

Categories: $30-$40, wine tasting | 3 Comments

Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 French Cabernet Franc

Yes I know it is Tuesday, almost a week after WBW #44, but better late than never right. The reason for my tardiness on this post is due to my procrastination in ordering the WBW Three Pack from Domaine547.  It arrived Saturday afternoon (yay for Fedex shipping on Sat.) and we had it for dinner on Sunday night.



This months WBW was sponsored by Gary Vaynerchuk of WLTV fame who provided us with the theme of French Cabernet Franc.  The Cabernet Franc Jill at Domaine547 chose for us hails from the Saumur-Champigny appellation of the Loire Valley and was made by the winery, Chateau du Hureau.  Coming from vineyards comprised mostly of clay and limestone the 2005 Chateau du Hureau is comprised of 100% Cabernet Franc from vines ranging in age from 7 to 60 years.  The 2005 was fermented for 30 days and aged only in stainless steel tanks, where the wine underwent Malolactic Fermentation (MLF). This was my first wine from Saumur-Champigny and I think only the 3rd French Cabernet Franc (100%) that I have had, both the others being from Chinon, so I was very excited to try this one.


My Tasting Notes –

Nose – Red currant, barney/earthiness, smoke

Taste – Cranapple, raspberry, sweet basil, hazelnut, mushrooms

Mouthfeel – Medium body, leathery tannins – very dry

Finish – long and dry with the basil and raspberry flavors hanging on ‘til the end


Megan and I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, as it was a fabulous example of what Cab Franc can do. Very rich in flavor, but not overly extracted like some Cali versions (trying to be Cab Sauv), with a fuller body and not as many vegetal components (some are good) as some of the versions from here in Virginia.  Dominated by bright red fruit and nice fresh herbal notes with significant a tannin structure this wine may show best in another year or 2 or 3.  Two thumbs up to Jill and the D547 crew on this selection, I can’t wait to try the other 2 in the WBW blogger pack.



Categories: $30-$40, wine tasting | 3 Comments