Friday, July 29, 2011

Traveling for wine? Go to Vienna!

An interesting article about wineries in Vienna! I'm jotting this down as a major place to visit, even though they seem to specialize in white wines. That's okay!   :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lucero Syrah 2008

Wine Facts for Lucero Syrah
Grape Varietal: Syrah
Vintage: 2008
Country: Chile
Region: Casablanca Valley
Producer: Kingston Family Vineyards
Price: $24.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: Here's a quote from the maker as to how they make the syrah so smooth:
"One thing that I have learned about Syrah at Kingston Vineyard is that it does not like to be treated roughly. Although Syrah has the reputation as a sturdy grape that likes to be roughed up a bit, my experience suggests otherwise. My best results have been when I treat it gently—in fact, when I treat it like Pinot Noir. So each of the last two years we have been treating the Syrah more gently—fewer punch-downs and pump-overs, not quite so many stems in the fermentor, less new oak and a bit longer in barrel. We are trying to come up with a wine that is more about complexity and flavor than sheer power. I think we’ve made some strides in that direction with the 2008 Lucero, which although it likes some aeration upon first opening, is chock full of blackberry fruit and spice and is surprisingly fleshy and soft on the palate. It is still not for the timid, and it pairs well with hearty food and company."

Characteristics of Lucero Syrah
Appearance: deep maroon
Bouquet: rich, fruity, swift to the nose, plum and jammy notes

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
Incredibly smooth wine for one so rich and dark. It was perfect with a ribeye steak, as well as homemade pizza. The Syrah begins softly on the tongue, growing deeper and richer as it traverses towards the back of the throat. There's a fruit-forwardness to the wine, too. Sipping on it by itself is ok, but it works best paired with food.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
This wine impressed because of its smoothness. It is dark, rich, and heady and I certainly expect a big, dry red bite to ruin the overall impression. No bite! Yay! I do agree that it works bets with foods, but I found that deeper foods would be my preference. The pizza was slightly spicy and this wine didn't work as well with the spicy notes as it did the deeper heartiness of the ribeye. It's a fine wine and incredibly interesting for a syrah.
On my scale, it's a 8.89.

We paired with: steak, baked potatoes, and green beans//also with homemade pizza
We recommend this with: food (especially steak)


Friday, May 20, 2011

A Wine Contest!

Well, now, I saw this contest on the internet and thought I should share it. It's a Wine Spectator contest and anyone over 21 can enter a 3-minute educational and entertaining video about wine. Huzzah! I'm not sure what Adam and I can create together....but it's sure to be wacky. If we do end up submitting something, I'll also place it on here (as long as that doesn't disqualify us). But, I figure, it could be a fun project--involving two of my favorite things: wine and storytelling--so I hope my readers might consider (a) submitting something and telling me about what you submitted or (b) giving us some ideas so we can win this contest!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Petit Verdot 2009

Wine Facts for Petit Verdot
Grape Varietal: Petit Verdot
Vintage: 2009
Country: United States
Region: Virginia
Producer: CrossKeys Vineyards
Price: $24.00
Place of Purchase: CrossKeys Vineyards, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: The Petit Verdot grape varietal is one of the smallest and darkest grapes. Traditionally, it has been used with other grape varieties, as in Meritages. A Meritage is any wine that mixes several French grape varietals together, and Petit Verdot has been used as one of the mixers for several hundreds of years. Interestingly, most European vineyards and wineries actively avoid using Petit Verdot by itself and specify that they only use a small amount of it in mixed wines. They say that it is because the Petit Verdot grape has powerful tannins (some compare the taste to pencil shavings or molasses) that can make a full-bodied Petit Verdot overwhelming or unrefined. I disagree with this assessment, as you'll see below, but it could be because this Petit Verdot grape varietal was grown on a young, Virginia vine and may have smoother tannins to calm the palate rather than overwhelm it.

I know this location and vineyard quite well. I was married at CrossKeys Vineyard on March 20, 2010.  :) In addition, I've studied the wines, seen the vineyard fields, and talked to the winemakers and owners. This Petit Verdot is a vineyard favorite. If you are ever near Harrisonburg, Virginia, this vineyard is a must-visit! It's GORGEOUS (and makes great wine)!

Characteristics of Petit Verdot
Appearance: very deep purple with only the slightest hint of red
Bouquet: simple yet fragrant; the slight spiciness livens up a deep berry aroma; the French and American oak barrels that stored this vintage for 10 months definitely bring a deep, strong woody structure to the bouquet

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
This wine quickly became one of our favorites. I enjoyed it with all the pairings mentioned below. In contrast to the 2008 vintage, this one did not have carry any trace of bitterness, which was a pleasant surprise. I expected hints of bitterness in the finish, like the '08, but instead, the spice of the wine hit the top of my palate and sweetened quietly in the end. I found the bouquet to be misleading; there was much more to this wine than its scent implied. That slight misdirection accounts for some of the surprise, but the diversity, fullness, and sheer tastiness of this petit verdot is the real story.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
You know the song "Smooth Operator" by Sade? For some reason, I always connect that song to Paula Abdul. My oddness in music aside, this wine is one smooth operator.  The bouquet teases with a delicacy that it doesn't have. And that's a good thing. Once in the mouth, it delivers a smooth deep berry fruit. I know that the petit verdot  grapes are super small, and you can feel the grapes just bursting with flavor inside your moth. It's not just a sweetness, for there is a hint of spicy earthiness that toughens this wine. This wine lingers and entices the tongue, infatuating with boldness while soothing with an intoxicating finish. Try it. This smooth operator wil leave you more than satisfied.  :)
On my scale, it's a 10.

We paired with: spaghetti, thai food, chocolate, and just sipping
We recommend this with: just about anything!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trapiche (Oak Cask) Malbec 2009

Wine Facts for Trapiche Malbec
Grape Varietal: Malbec
Vintage: 2009
Country: Argentina
Region: Mendoza
Producer: Bodegas Trapiche
Price: $11.99
Place of Purchase: Martin's Food Store, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: Malbecs are one of our favorite varietals, so I was happy when Adam picked this wine up as a surprise. The grape varietal was originally known as one of the six grapes used to blend French Bordeaux wines (the others are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Carménère), but it has recently become heavily (and well!) produced in Argentina. As a result, Malbec wines are becoming valued for their grape varietal rather than just for their ability to mix and blend well. Malbecs can also be fairly cost efficient, so pick one up!

Characteristics of
Trapiche Malbec
Appearance: deep plum with a reddish rim when the glass becomes more shallow
Bouquet: outstanding; blackberry/plum-type of deep ripeness with a hint of darker, more deliciously hidden intrigue

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
A very, very smooth offering from Argentina. We had this with pizza, but I think any tomato-based meal would pair excellently with it. Beyond that, it's an incredibly great wine to sip on. There's a touch of sweetness in the tannins of the wine, but they're not overpowering. The bouquet is a perfect introduction to the wine and the taste is even better. This makes me want to book a trip to Mendoza as soon as possible.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
I loved the bouquet of this wine. Although I couldn't describe it exactly (see above), it does draw the sniffer in with a dark, exotic mystery. You can smell the fruit but you want the wine. Does that make sense? As for the taste, some dark reds (and even Malbecs), can have a slight bitterness to it. I'm not sure that it was the oak cask, but this Malbec didn't have any bitter flavor, even at the end.  :)  Instead, I tasted sharp fruits (cherry) and deep fruits (plum, blackberry) immediately; the wine then melded into a softer version of these fruits before leaving a very slight dryness in the mouth. So, fruity loveliness evolving into a ravishing desire for more even wine. Sounds hard to beat, right? Enjoy!
On my scale, it's a 9.89.

We paired with: pizza, wings, and just sipping
We recommend this with: just about anything; sipping during a rainstorm while watching tv/reading would be pretty grand!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dolcetto d'Alba 2007

Wine Facts for Dolcetto d'Alba
Grape Varietal: Dolcetto
Vintage: 2007
Country: Italy
Region: Piedmonte
Producer: Bricco Dei Tati
Price: $12.99 (reduced from $17.99)
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: This wine is made from 80-year-old vines and only 3400 bottles made. It was bottled unfiltered and unrefined, so sediment was to be expected, but we actually didn't see much sediment at all. For most European wine-producing countries, sediment is a prized quality. In America, wine-producers stay away from sediment and actively avoid it.

Characteristics of
Dolcetto d'Alba
Appearance: deep purple
Bouquet: pleasant fruitiness, but a slight yeastyness, slightly sharp

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
The pleasant bouquet proved a truthful indication of its loveliness. The wine had a fruit-forward taste and the type of dryness on the finish that I really like: leaving you wanting more because of its delightfulness, not because you're trying to mask an alcohol-fume residue that's lingering. In my book, it's good for pairing with food or being sipped on its own.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
It has a hint of sourness toward the middle of the taste; rather than off-putting, though, it provided a nice depth of flavor, saving it from just being a juicy wine. It nicely melded sweet and sharp flavors, but it didn't have as thick or dark of a flavor as I would have liked. After I swallowed the wine, the flavor disappears quickly rather than thickly settling on the senses/tongue. Overall, though, quite tasty!
On my scale, it's a 9.54.

We paired with: homemade pizza and tomato soup
We recommend this with: Italian foods


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hercules (ΗΡΑΚΛΗΣ) 2008

Wine Facts for Hercules (ΗΡΑΚΛΗΣ)
Grape Varietal:  Agiorgitiko (ΑΓΙΩΡΓΗΤΙΚΟ)
Vintage: 2008
Country: Greece
Region: Peloponnese
Producer: Cooperative Winery of Nemea
Price: $8.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts:
Yep, I'm using Greek letters! Fancy, fancy! :)  In case something became distorted on the techno side of things, this is called an Anglicized version of the original Greek (letter eta-rho-alpha-kappa-lambda-eta-sigma).
The grape is also known as Mavro Nemeas or St. George. The grape is native to Greece (so I'm not sure why it's called St. George, the patron saint of England and Edmund Spenser, but oh well!), and the wines can range from rose to oak aged red; it's commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine, though, is not a blend--and we have had it a couple of times. Adam and I wanted to bring a few bottles of wine to Nashville for Thanksgiving. My aunt Carol, my parents, my three cousins (Kevin, Martin, and Matt), and Adam and I celebrated Thanksgiving together at my aunt's house,  and we had a wonderful time. However, before we left Harrisonburg, Adam and I went to Vintage Wines to get some bottles of wine. The owner was incredibly helpful, and suggested some delicious whites--but we also wanted to throw in a red (our favorite type of wine), and the owner suggested this bottle. It was juicy, delicious, paired nicely with turkey/stuffing/potatoes/typical Thanksgiving fare, and was a surprising hit. Plus my cousin Matt, who studies Greek, tried his hand at translating the Greek label.  :)
We got another bottle a few months later because we wanted to include it in our wine blog. The things we do for wine.... 

Characteristics of
Hercules (ΗΡΑΚΛΗΣ)
Appearance:very thin, very red...almost a watered down look to it
Bouquet: very sharp sweetness, almost ethanol-like; sort of seemed like a sweet, wild cherry scent to it

Adam's Overall Thoughts: Definitely has a better taste than aroma. There's a surprising smoothness to the wine, with a touch of spice (coffee-like maybe?) left at the top of my mouth on the finish. It's not a very full taste, though it doesn't quickly exit.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts: This is a case of it tastes better than it looks and smells for me. When it enters the mouth, there's a tangy richness. The wine almost seems to jump to the roof of the mouth (are there tastebuds up there?) and it draws attention to itself. This isn't a delicate flower of a wine, but I think I loved how it surprised and shocked me with its boldness despite it's watery, rather basic appearance. It was seductively sassy.
On my scale, it's a 9.19.

We paired with: pasta dishes and just sipping wine
We recommend this: with Thanksgiving dinners,with pasta dishes, and just to enjoy sipping after a long day of work


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tasting Corner for Bluestone Vineyard

Here's a new feature for our blog. We like to visit vineyards, wineries, and wine stores for tastings because (i) it's cheap (or even free!), (ii) you can try a variety of wines, and (iii) it's a fun experience to share! Therefore, hopefully we'll be having even more of these tasting corners on the blog.  :)

Bluestone Vineyard is located Bridgewater, Virginia. It's a new vineyard...just opened up in January of 2011. We enjoyed our visit there and wish them lots of luck; the tasting was FREE and was provided by the son of the owner, who was super-enthusiastic and sweet. I'd suggest stopping by in you're in the Bridgewater area.

Through the link posted above, you can access the Vineyard's descriptions of their wine. For the tasting corner, we'll post the name and basics of the wine, followed by our own, unique descriptors. Remember that our descriptors are based on a small sample...and we liked the reds much more than the whites. Prepare for fun!

2009 Vidal Blanc: light, dry Virginia white wine ($13.50)
Adam's Thoughts: awful bouquet--probably good with something very sweet to counter the wine
Cathy's Thoughts: it tastes like Kathie Lee Gifford would like it--and that's all I can say with a straight face. Rating 2.10

2009 Traminette: spicy white wine ($16.50)
Adam's Thoughts: forward, fruity; might be great with curry dishes
Cathy's Thoughts: bouquet is like a sharp cheddar, but taste is much more muted, even semi-watery. Rating: 4.30

2009 Chardonnay: Virginia chardonnay, white wine ($18.50)--disclaimer: we dislike chards.
Adam's Thoughts: need to drink a few glasses (maybe a few bottles) until I feel like I could say anything positive
Cathy's Thoughts: sharp chardonnay; if you like chards, you may like this, but I'm not a fan (of any chard or this chard). Rating: 3.40 (that's me trying to actually convince myself that chards can have a scale)

Beau: golden wine, house speciality, named after their dog! ($14.50)
Adam's Thoughts: very diverse; could be paired with an entree or a dessert; might be nice to try with fish
Cathy's Thoughts: the bouquet is big, bold, busty, and wild but the taste is much calmer. It's pleasant and sweet, though it lacks the sweetness of a dessert wine and the bite of a white wine; I love that it's named after a dog! Rating: 6.62

2009 Cabernet Franc: light, dry red wine ($17.50)
 Adam's Thoughts: rosy appearance which wasn't expected; i wonder if any of this wine actually makes it down the throat because it just seems to evaporate within the mouth quickly
Cathy's Thoughts: shocking difference from the Cab Franc 08 from CrossKeys Vineyard (our wedding venue); bouquet was pleasant; taste was dry, minerally and yum but not yummy; lacked some juicy, fresh notes. Rating: 7.68

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon: traditional, dry red wine ($21.50)
Adam's Thoughts: hangs around more than the cab franc; needs some cow's blood to mix with it (read: would go well with a juicy steak)
Cathy's Thoughts: bouquet was kind of sharp and moody; taste was fruit-forward, pleasant, and bit heavier than I would have expected. Rating: 7.74

Southern Nights: deep, red wine ($23.50)--we bought a bottle!
Adam's Thoughts: tip-toes from front of tongue all the way down the throat; has an almost JMU-intense purple
Cathy's Thoughts: deep, pungent bouquet balances well with a smooth taste; it almost has a silky syrah-like taste. Rating: 9.72

Fireside: deep, red wine ($25.50)--we bought a bottle!
Adam's Thoughts: not as sweet as a port, but still a great sipper
Cathy's Thoughts: deep, intense bouquet; the taste had a deep jammyness that was rich, deep, and flavorful; I also found myself comparing it to port and finding it a bit lacking--I think with a bit of sweetness this wine would have knocked my socks off. Rating: 9.85


Thursday, February 17, 2011

La Aldea Monastrell 2007

Wine Facts for La Aldea
Grape Varietal: Monastrell (known as Mourvèdre outside Spain)
Vintage: 2007
Country: Spain
Producer: Casa don Ventura, through Casaventura Imports
Price: $8.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: Mourvèdre grapes are usually blended with other grapes, especially to make grenache. The grape itself ripens very late, but ripening is helped by proximity to a large body of water or by heavy months of rainfall.
Oh, we found a grape and maybe a bit of a stem inside the bottle....kinda weird!!

Characteristics of
La Aldea
Appearance:very dark purple-burgandy
Bouquet: pungent and somewhat alcoholy(?) but oddly flat; really no fruit to brighten the smell

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
I first had this with pork fried rice topped with hot mustard. That pairing made the wine enjoyable; it worked with the spiciness of the meal. Tasting it by itself was a different matter. I wouldn't consider this a stand-alone wine; it wasn't that great to sip minus the food. With food, though, it stood up well; it soothed some of the heat and didn't overpower any of the flavor, probably because it doesn't have much of its own.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts: This scored high on wine charts, but I guess that just proves that I will never be a wine master!  :) I didn't have the hot mustard part of Adam's meal, so I really didn't get any spice to see if it held up well. For me, it was fairly flat and unobtrusive. When I swallow it, it doesn't jazz any additional taste buds. Although it has a deep rich color (and I love deep, dark reds), it made me wish there was more of a punch and more pizzazz to its flavor. Pretty basic; not much backbone.
On my scale, it's a 6.74.

We paired with: sushi, fried rice, and chicken satay
We recommend this: with Asian dishes....or not at all!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Fetzer Gewürztraminer 2009

Wine Facts for Fetzer Gewürztraminer
Grape Varietal:  Gewürztraminer
Vintage: 2009
Country: USA
Region: California, specifically Hopland in Mendocino County
Producer: Fetzer, The Earth Friendly Winery
Price: $7.99
Place of Purchase: Martin's Food Market, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts:
I first encountered Gewürztraminers when I was living in Columbia, MD. My wonderful friends Dave & Denise Harris took me to a fabulous Chinese restaurant and Denise ordered Gewürz (as it's affectionately known). It's a great pairing for spicy foods, Asian foods, and fish because it calms the palate and brings out the more subtle flavors within those rich foods. Although I'm not a huge fan of whites, this is one of my favorite white varietals!
Gewürztraminer literally means "Spice Traminer" or "Perfumed Traminer." Although Traminer varietal grapes (an ancient varietal) were similar to Sauvignon Blanc grapes, they were actually cross-bred with Muscat grapes, which is why Gewürztraminers have a floral, fruity muscat with the clean dry crispness of Sauv Blanc. Don't you love genetics? Although Gewürztraminers are originally German wines, they are now produced world-wide. This Fetzer is one of the least expensive, but really has a great taste.

Characteristics of
Fetzer Gewürztraminer
Appearance: light goldenrod; some small bubbles
Bouquet: slight sweet and floral with crisp overtones

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
The wine coats the tongue with a hint of honey as a bit of spice hits the back of the throat. The fish we had with it was a tad lemony, which wasn't the best pairing for the wine. Overall, though, it worked well with the flounder, with the wine's crispness adding a nice addition to the palate.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
When this wine enters the mouth, I feel a sense of lightness and freshness. It doesn't overwhelm the palate, but it does have twinges of both sweet and savory that I find pleasing. Now, some wine memories do stick with me and may make me overhype the wine, but I really do enjoy Gewürzs. They dance on the tongue without the sappy sweetness and the dry harshness of their grape varietal ancestors. This Fetzer has been a favorite because it's cheap, it gets the true taste of the Gewürz out there, and it just brings a smile to my face. Try it with some Asian food and do a happy dance!  :)
On my scale, it's a 8.94 (pretty high for a white!).

We paired with: baked flounder and vegetables (mushrooms, red peppers, and squash)
We recommend this with: fish or asian food


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Adam and I went to an all-Moscato tasting on Saturday. It was wonderful (as we knew it would be, since we love Moscatos), and we tried some old favorites and some new types too. We ended up buying a few bottles--one Moscato of the same brand that we had at our wedding, another Moscato that we had before in Frederick (MD) and loved, and a red varietal. But here's where the FAIL begins...

On Sunday, Adam and I were running around--cooking, cleaning, baking, etc to get ready for the small Superbowl party we threw.  We had some beer and smirnoff, but I thought people might want wine as well, so Adam put the Frederick Moscato (it's lemony and gorgeously fruity) in the freezer. We have put wine in the freezer before, when we're trying to quickly lower the temperature. (Gift idea for us: a temperature-controlled wine fridge!!)

Well, we forgot about it. Just plain forgot all about it. The beer, smirnoff, and other drinks that our guests brought proved to be more than enough. So, on Monday, I open the freezer to take something out for dinner. The bottle was on its side, just as Adam placed it, but the cork had exploded out and there was mushy, slushy-like Moscato all over the place. It took awhile to clean up. And, even though there was still something frozen in the bottle, when it melted it just tasted like water. Total bummer.

Lessons learned:
1. Don't leave wine in the freezer (I think I'll just be doing quick freezes or keeping it safe in the fridge from now on). We don't know exactly when it the slushiness, I would think sometime on Monday morning. Only our darling dog Oliver knows for sure, I guess.
2. Always think about wine; don't take it for granted. I fear that I took this Moscato for granted and was punished accordingly.
3. Don't feel like you have to appropriately chill wines all the time. If it's a Superbowl party, you may not have to drink it at the perfect temperature. It is just a game after all!

I know it could have been worse. The cork could have exploded when we were taking it out. Or the bottle could have shattered, which would have been a hot mess.  But, still, we lost a perfectly good bottle of Moscato. What a major fail. I was so upset that I couldn't even take a picture of the slushy Moscato mess.  :(

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Torrontes from Argentina

We're both huge fans of Malbecs, a distinctly Argentinian wine. The New York Times highlighted today what might be the big thing to come out of the country: Torrontes. It's a grape that's almost only grown in Argentina and may be the white counterpart to malbec as far as popularity. Part of the excitement I have is that it's got muscat in its genes. (We had Moscato d'Asti at our wedding, which is from the muscat grape.) Here's the link to the article. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Villa d'Rosso Toscano 2008

Wine Facts for Villa d' Rosso Toscano
Grape Varietal:  Sangiovese
Vintage: 2008
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany, near the town of Montepulciano
Producer: Villa d'
Price: $8.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts:
This wine is further classified as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT), which means that the wine has been sorted into the second of four classifications of wine designated by the Italian government. Created to recognize the unusually high quality of the class of wines known as Super Tuscans, IGT wines are labeled with the locality of their creation, but do not meet the requirements of the stricter DOC or DOCG designations, which are generally intended to protect traditional wine formulations such as Chianti or Barolo. As a side note, I've always loved classifications since I read Huxley's Brave New World, so go classifications!!  :)

Characteristics of Villa d' Rosso Toscano
Appearance: fading purplish-reddish color; very thin, low viscosity
Bouquet: a tingling sweetness hits the nose, but there's flowery overtones as well

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
This wine goes done very smoothly, but leaves a touch of bitterness behind, as if it's asking you to try once more with a wink-wink promise that it won't finish bitterly again. It paired beautifully with the sausage and is best enjoyed with something hearty. 

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
Full of spice, especially after it sits on the tongue for awhile. It's very robust, sometimes overwhelming the food, but it's a fine, deep red wine for an evening drink. A slight hint of bitters near the end of a sip but a deep current jam-like overall taste. It's a pretty sassy wine.
On my scale, it's a 8.28.

We paired with: pasta with sausage and veggies
We recommend this: hearty meals


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Family Tree of Wine Grapes

I came across this article and picture last night before bed while browsing through on the iPad and found it quite interesting. Here's a link to the write-up and here's a link to the article in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science. Enjoy!

Note: The above picture is a lot more detailed in the pdf of the article at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Christobal 1492 (2008)

Wine Facts for Christobal 1492
Grape Varietal: Malbec
Vintage: 2008
Country: Argentina
Region: Mendoza
Producer: La Santa Maria
Price: $11.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts: I quite liked how detailed this wine label was! I'm not a winemaker or producer or bottler (or have any actual job connected to wine), but I love studying about it. Yes, I can make wine dorky.  :)  Anyway, this label shared the following information: Within the La Santa Maria vineyard in Argentina, this wine came from Lot 1A-2A and was handmade in cases of 15 kg during the 4th week of March. Pretty awesome! If I ever visit this winery, I'll know exactly where to go, and (dorky) me thinks it's kind of cool to know that info!

The label also described that the wine undergoes cold pre-maceration for one week (different from just placing the grapes straight into maceration barrels and starting the juicing process immediately) and then is fermented between 72-degrees and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. Hey, if the fermentation temperature of Malbecs is ever asked on Jeopardy, you'll be glad I'm a dork!

Characteristics of Cristobal 1492
Appearance:very deep plum
Bouquet: not overly spicy, but it has hints of strawberry and deeper red fruits; very intoxicating

Adam's Overall Thoughts:
This would be a very nice sipping red. The slight spiciness lightly jumps on and off the tongue, quite carefree. It was a good dinner wine; the fish we had had a very clean taste, allowing the wine to be a bit bolder than it would have been had we paired it with a red meat, though I think it would be better paired with such. A great, full wine.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
I enjoyed this wine immensely; it had a rich jammyness to it that made me want to keep savoring it; there was a deep, succulent spice (almost straight down the center of my throat) as I swallowed, but it dissolved into pleasurable fruityness rather quickly. Quite lovely!
On my scale, it's a 9.39.

We paired with: ocean perch and veggies
We recommend this: with red meat and maybe a crackling fireplace


Monday, January 17, 2011

Wine in the News

I used to work for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences so this is a doubly exciting article for me:
New grapes needed...BBC News!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Les Rials 2009

Wine Facts for Les Rials
Grape Varietal: Loin de l'OEil--Sur Lie
Vintage: 2009
Country: France
Region: South-West, Gaillac
Producer: Domaine de la Chanade
Price: $11.99
Place of Purchase: Vintage Wines, Harrisonburg, VA

Additional facts:
Loin de l'OEil is an interesting and rather rare grape varietal. Although it is grown in France, it isn't that popular of a grape varietal. Whereas other grapes have been appropriated world-wide (champagne, etc), this varietal is only grown in France and there are a limited amount of vines. (The proprieter of where we bought the wine estimated about 2,000 vines in total.) Loin de l'OEil translates to "far from the eye" because this varietal is known for extremely long stems, making the grapes "far from" the eye of the plant.  Sur lie means "on the leaves" and refers to how the wine is produced; after the first fermention, Sur lie wine is left in contact with the yeast deposits left from the brewing and bottled immediately thereafter. Basically, Sur lie wines may have a more yeasty aroma and taste thanks to this unique process and the fact that they are not further filtered.

Characteristics of Les Rials
Appearance: pale golden yellow
Bouquet: very pleasant; citrus, fruity, and flowery notes combine for a delightful aroma; peach is prevalent; a light, playful freshness tickles the nose

Adam's Overall Thoughts: 
The Les Rials was an excellent compliment to a light dinner. It was advertized as an ideal summer wine and its refreshing notes were quite welcome on this January night. Not usually a big fan of white wines, its light dance across my taste buds make me want to get another bottle to save for summer.

Cathy's Overall Thoughts:
I loved the bouquet of this wine, but the taste was quite crisp and inviting as well. Initially, a slight sourness interested the tastebuds and delivered some juiciness to what could be labeled a slightly dry wine. As the wine lingered in the mouth, the pert citrus really came to the forefront. I enjoyed this wine but I wasn't bowled over by it. It has a bubbly, unique charm but don't underestimate how much of a punch citrus can pack.
On my scale, it's a 7.87--high for a white and I think a lot of people would also enjoy this wine.  :)

We paired with: Sauteed ocean perch and roasted vegetables
We recommend this: as a summertime selection; with fish, chicken, and light meals


It's Wine O'Clock Somewhere!

Adam and Cathy, newlyweds in Virginia, have decided to start a wine blog! We enjoy wine and, though we aren't wealthy wine snobs, we love to try different wines and discuss our thoughts about wine. We hope that our blog will spur some great comments from readers and, hopefully, introduce us even more wines to try!