2009 Sol de Chile Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah

From the bottle:

Cabernet Sauvignon – 65%     Syrah – 35%

Our flagship Winemaker’s Selection wine is made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  All the fruit comes from our Villa Alegre estate in the heart of the Maule Valley, where soils are poor and shallow and yield eight tonnes per hectare and fourteen months in french barrels.  This is an intense, complex wine with aromas of roses, cherries, berries and fig.  In the mouth it has a very good structure, with firm tannins, fresh black fruit, and a smokey, spicy character.

My thoughts:

Ok I was being lazy and went all Solo cup on this.  There happened to be a stack of blue Solo cups on top of the wine cabinet.  Stop judging me.  Anyway…this wine has heavy bouquet of berries and wood.  It actually reminds me of the smell of wood smoke from a fireplace in the late fall.  Upon the first sip I wasn’t quite so sure about this one.  After giving it a few moments and a second sip I started picking up on the specifics of this incredibly complex tasting wine.  It starts out with a slight hint of dark berries, then goes into a mellow flavor of figs with a floral hint and then ends with a smokey, peppery finish.  It’s dry.  I like that.  It’s that perfect amount of dry that entices you to take just one more sip…and then maybe one more…and then, oh hell I may as well pour another glass.  It is a very pretty super deep purple color and it hangs well on the sides of a plastic cup.  I’d imagine it leaving a much prettier set of legs in a proper glass.  But we’re not always all about proper in this house.

Food pairings?  It’s going pretty well with some garden Triscuits and Law and Order: SVU re-runs.  I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head that this would pair well with.  Maybe some of the harder cheeses.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Tastes like mid-December curled up on my mom’s couch in front of the fire with a good book.” Would I buy it again?  I wouldn’t be opposed to adding this in to a semi-regular rotation.

Final Grade: B+ It wasn’t holy shit I drank the whole bottle by accident (accidentally on purpose?) good, but it was half the bottle disappeared in a solid Sunday night unwind good.


2011 Rheinhessen Riesling Qualitätswein



This is from Rheinhessen Lighthouse Series.



Note – I love lighthouses.  I mean LOVE lighthouses.  I have Long Beach Island, New Jersey’s Barnegat Light tattooed to the inside of my left arm.

This comes in a beautiful bottle with a lighthouse scene that can be viewed through the bottle.  The wine itself pours as a nice light golden color.  I found it strange that there was absolutely no bouquet to this wine.  Not a single noticeable aroma.  I was a little worried that this was going to just taste like sugar water.  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by a pretty solid medium bodied wine.  The mouth feel was a little heavier than other Rieslings I’ve had.  Light, crisp, smooth and nothing overpowering taste wise making this a very easy to drink wine.  I noticed a bit of a honey aftertaste.  Nice and crisp, this should be served well chilled.

This would go well with charcuterie, salads, lighter seafood (especially scallops), and a nice warm spring Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Subtle, smooth, easy to drink and tastes like Spring.  And with this ridiculous never ending Winter I was delighted by a taste of Spring.” Would I buy it again? I received this bottle as a gift, but if I track it down again I would absolutely pick up a bottle or six.

Final Grade: A- (The kickass bottle brought it up from a B+)


*I’d love to find the rest of the series.  If anyone knows where to find them let me know!


2011 Bodega Elena de Mendoza Malbec


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From the bottle:

Bodega Elena de Mendoza is named after our family matriarch, Elena Napoli, whose parents emigrated from Italy to the heart of Argentina’s wine country in the nineteenth century.  Our bold, beautiful wines take full advantage of the altitude, eternally sunny skies, and mountain water unique to our home at the foot of the Andes.  This Malbec is full of the dark, intense, flavors and pairs perfectly with grilled steak.

My thoughts:

This poured heavily into the glass in a deep, dark red color and immediately greeted me with full fruity scents with an aroma that often accompanies wines with a high alcohol content.  This one is average at 13.5%.  I was expecting a very heavy tasting wine, but was pleasantly surprised by the relatively light, smooth drinkability that I love about a good Malbec.  This might not make sense but it was sweet at first and finished a bit dryer.

Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the exceptional company, but this particular Malbec is like a hug from the inside.  Smooth, subtle and gently warming.  A dear friend of mine and I gather most Wednesday evenings lately and crack open a bottle of wine and talk about life.  It doesn’t hurt that she also enjoys good wine and knows her stuff.  She described it as sweet, drinkable and only slightly dry.  I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description.

If you’re into the red meat thing, I’m sure this would pair well with a good steak.  I thought it worked out well with the asian sesame chicken and roasted asparagus that I made.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “I’m glad I held onto this bottle and shared it with someone that would appreciate it.  It holds up well with solid conversation.” Would I buy it again?  I actually received this bottle as a gift, but plan on adding it to my would pick up again list.

Final Grade: A-  But with the right company, I’d give this a solid A.

Wine Dictionary #1.6 Grip and Silky


I came across these two words today and decided to share them. Yes, I know, I have veered from my alphabetical wine dictionary theme. Too bad!  Both of these terms have to do with the texture of a wine.

Grip – This alludes to a wine having a grip on the palate – a traction, a bold statement.  This usually relates to a wine’s acid or tannin.  Wine without grip feels wimpy or too light.

Makes sense to me.  It’s something like meeting someone and judging them by their handshake.  A limp, clammy handshake is never something pleasant.  However, a good firm handshake is typically more memorable.

Silky – Describe a wine as silky if it tastes fine and smooth – like silk.

Again, this is pretty straightforward.  Although I can’t think of any wines off the top of my head that I’d necessarily describe as silky.  Unless you count this odd chocolate wine I had at a bonfire once.  It was more like chocolate milk with a hint of red wine taste to it.  I believe I have found a challenge!  Time to find a silky wine.

2011 Mosel Riesling Qualitatswein


Now in my previous experiences, buying a wine based solely on its fun label, packaging, or unique bottle rarely yields good results for a good tasting wine.  There was a time when I found that the more creative the label/bottle, the worse the wine tasted.  So based on that alone, this Riesling, which comes in the cutest cat shaped bottle, should be downright undrinkable.  Thankfully, in this case, that is totally wrong!

I wanted to break out something fun for National Wine Drinking day today.  With a very light straw color, this wine has very fresh mineral, citrus and a hint of peach aroma to it.  Surprisingly, this has a very full, well-rounded flavor to it.  The fresh aromas follow through the taste bringing a crisp mineral taste along with undertones of citrus, and possibly an aftertaste of orange sherbet.  It has a little bit of spritz to the mouth feel.  Not bubbly, but just little bit of zip on the tip of your tongue.  It’s sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

This would go well with lighter tasting seafood like scallops, shrimp, tilapia, crab, etc.  This would also pair amazingly well with some spicy Thai food.  I’m thinking some extra spicy basil rice would be fantastic right now.  It went quite well with my fresh mozzarella and vine ripened tomato on sourdough grilled cheese.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “After a solid hot yoga class and a pretty intense day at work, this is working out just perfectly right now.” Would I buy it again?  This isn’t the first bottle of this I have purchased and it isn’t the last!  I have also received this as a gift from numerous people that know that I love a solid Riesling as much as I love my cats.

Final Grade: A-

Wine, Work and Creativity



I stumbled across this article today while at work and tending to my LinkedIn invites and messages.  It was way too good not to share with you all.  It talks about how drinking vastly improves the creative process.

Here is the link to the original article I found: Wine, Work and Creativity – http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140128171329-15893932-wine-work-and-creativity?trk=tod-home-art-list-small_1

And here is a supporting article that was equally as fascinating:  Mild Intoxication Aids Creative Problem Solving – http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2012/03/mild-intoxication-aids-creative-problem.html

Enjoy those articles!  Now pardon me while I pour myself another glass of Sin Fronteras Dos Mujeres California 2012 and get back to reading for class!

2011 Bortolomiol Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore ‘lus Naturae’


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I drank this one on Sunday while watching football.  I’m just getting to post about it now.

Wine Club Notes:

Got Google Maps?  Start with a wide view of Italy’s Veneto region.  Then zoom in on the province of Treviso.  Zoom a little more, and you’ll locate the town of Valdobbiadene, just below the Veneto’s alpine areas.  It’s a cool-climate zone that’s ideal for growing grapes earmarked for sparkling wines.

You have found the home of Bortolomiol, an estate that traces its lineage all the way back to 1760.  Its modern history began much more recently, in the 20th century, when Giuliano Bortolomiol planted grapes with Prosecco (Italy’s name for sparkling wine) in mind.  Today, his four daughters, Maria Elena, Elvira, Luisa and Giuliana, carry on the family’s winemaking heritage.

The 2011 “lus Naturae” is an exceptional sparkling wine made from estate-grown Glera grapes, farmed organically.  “We firmly believe in the principles of sustainability and total respect for the environment,” Maria Elena tells us, and it shows in the clean, crisp style of “lus Naturae.”

Grape Composition: 100% Glera

Grape Source: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG of Italy

Aromas and Flavors: Acacia, Minerals, Honey and a Hint of Almond

Food Pairing Suggestions: Snails cooked with garlic and wild herbs.


My Thoughts:

I’d like to start off by saying I have received so much grief from people for “drinking champagne by myself for no particular occasion.”  Well, for one thing, it’s sparkling wine bitches, and it was a Sunday and I put on pants.  I’m pretty sure that counts as a special occasion.

Anyway…After scaring the crap out of my cats by popping open the bottle I poured a delightfully fizzy glass of pale straw colored goodness.  Definitely a fresh minerally aroma.  I have no idea what an Acacia smells like, so I’m going with that’s in there too.  I love the crisp, clean, refreshing taste paired with the extra tiny bubbles that rolled across my tongue.

I’m really liking this one despite the fact that I can’t pronounce a singled damned word off of the bottle.  Bonus points for using organic grapes.  However, I wouldn’t pair it with snails.  I wouldn’t pair anything with snails.  Some fresh sea scallops seared with garlic and wild herbs would totally work for me though.

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Opening a bottle of this is celebration enough!  And yes, yes I did finish this by halftime of the NFC championship game.” Would I buy it again?  Absolutely!  That is…if I could figure out how to pronounce it.  Thank goodness for online ordering and cell phone cameras.  All I have to do is take a picture of the bottle, walk into local wine shop, and do the ever classy whip out cell phone, pull up picture and say, “Yo, Do you carry this?”

Final Grade: A

2011 Meadow Breeze – Detour Winery


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This was one of my many finds at the 2013 Maryland Wine Festival in Westminster, MD.  (2014’s will be September 20th & 21st and I’ll more than likely be volunteering again.)

Notes from the bottle:

Light.  Breezy.  This outstanding blush is blended with American red and white grapes for a fresh, aromatic finish.  A perfect companion for picnics, family gatherings, or romantic get-a-ways!  A truly unique blush that will compliment any appetizer, entree or dessert.  Catch the breeze!  12.6& ABV

Produced and Bottled by Detour Vineyard and Winery.  www.detourwinery.com

My thoughts:

I wasn’t particularly in a rose kind of mood when I reached into the fridge, but the image of a girl walking through a field of wildflowers with a rolling river and mountains in the background made me long for a nice warm spring day.  I hate the darkness of winter.  Winter and I are not friends at all.  So I decided to crack open this bottle of sunshine.

I poured the first glass and lingered over the scents of crisp fresh grapes and undertones of honeysuckle and other floral undertones.  That first sip tasted like everything you could ever imagine in a warm spring or summer morning right after sunrise.  Bright, smooth tones of freshly picked grapes with, to quote the bottle, a light, breezy finish.  This is dangerous.  I’ve already drank half the bottle without realizing it.

I’d have to say that Meadow Breeze is the perfect name for this wine.  If I ever had to describe what a meadow breeze would taste like this wine has nailed it.  I feel a field trip to Detour Winery is in order in the near future.  It’s only just over an hour from my house.  I have no excuse not to visit!

On a scale of “this tastes like piss” to “oops, I just drank the whole bottle” I would give this a “Well shit…I killed that one quickly.  Wish I had another bottle!” Would I buy it again?  Hell yes!  And by the case!  I’m thinking I need to break out a bottle of this on a date.  I’ll either impress my date, or if my date sucks I’ll at least enjoy the wine!  Not a first date though.  I wouldn’t waste perfectly good wine on someone I don’t know well enough to know if they would appreciate a decent bottle of wine.  (Translation – you better be worth it for me to share this with!)

Final Grade: A+

World’s Most Popular Wine Grape



I stumbled across this article on CNN this morning and had to share it. I found it quite interesting and was slightly surprised, but after reading through the article it really does make sense on why this particular grape is the most planted grape in the world.

“Thank you, University of Adelaide. It turns out that a researcher there, Professor Kym Anderson, has been engaged in a lengthy project analyzing the world’s grape-growing regions and has determined – among many, many other things – that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted wine grape in the world.”

Here is the link to the full article: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2014/01/13/most-popular-wine-grape/?hpt=hp_bn11