Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gary Farrell 2003 Chardonnay- Star Ridge Vineyards

Origin: Russian River Valley

Nose: Granny Smith Apple, pear and Oak

Taste: Apple, Toast, Oak, Nuttyness

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied

Finish: Medium in length and buttery

Megan and I picked this up last year in Sonoma in the Russian River Valley. Gary Farrell winery sits up on a hill and offers great view of the valley if it isn't foggy like it was the day we were there. Stil, it isl a very nice winery and if I recall the winery staff were very pleasant. This wine itself was very one dimensional, apple, apple, apple! I probably wouldn't have been disappointed if wasn't a $40.00 wine, but the flavors weren't layered very well and the nose was pure Granny Smith. I didn't remember much about the wine prior to opening it last night, but I am sure our tasting was better since we chalked up the $40.00. I have heard great things about Gary Farrell so I won't not try his other wines, but I probably won't drink this one again. (Which I probably couldn't anyway because I think they are sold out, haha)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

McManis 2005 Viognier

Origin: River Junction Appellation, South of Lodi California

Nose: Apricot, Peach, Floral Notes

Taste: Honeysuckle, Apricot, Mineral

Mouthfeel: Rich, Smooth, Slightly Effervescent

Finish: Medium

Another great Viognier recommended by Jeff at the Wine Cellar showing excellent layering of fruit, floral and mineral notes. A great Viognier that had a little bit of efferevesence on the tounge at the finish which was a nice surprise. I highly recommend this for all of you Viognier fans and at $11.00 it is a great value.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Old House Vineyards Merlot - 2002

Origin: Central Virginia, Culpeper

Nose: Black Cherry, Licorice, Cinnamon, Chocolate

Taste: Cherry, Earth, Clove

Mouthfeel: Medium body with nice silky smooth tannin structure

Finish: medium to long, very nice with slight pepperyness

We picked this up at Old House a few months ago, stopping by the winery on a whim. The merlot was the favorite of the day so we picked up a bottle. Honestly this bottle we opened was better than I remembered, not saying that what we tasted was bad, just that is was a decent merlot. This bottle was definitely better than average, yielding excellent fruit up front and a great mouthfeel with an excellent peppery finish. We enjoyed this with our friends Craig and Carrie who were up from Raleigh for the weekend. $20.00

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Elyse Zinfandel -2003 (15.2% alcohol)

Origin: Napa -Rutherford

Nose: cinnamon, dark fruit, amaretto

Taste: Black rapsberry, dark chocolate, earthiness

Mouthfeel: slightly "hot", smooth texture with peppery finish

Finish: medium to long in length

This was a really good Zin recommended to us by our friend Hunter at the Wine Cellar. Although it was slightly "hot" due to the 15.2% alcohol it was quite good but did need a little food to tone it down. We ate it with homemade veggie pizza and it was a great pairing. Although the pricepoint is slightly high @ $30.00 I would probably go with a Ridge Zin (my favorite) but would definitely recommend this as one to try.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Domaine La Bastide 2004 Syrah

Origin: Corbieres in southwest France

Nose: Blackberry, plum, leather

Taste: Raspberry, Dark Chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly tannic

Finish: medium in length

This wine was another wine we picked up a few months ago at a Friday night tasting at the Wine Cellar here in Midlothian. Not being Syrah fans usually, we really enjoyed this one so we brought it home. In drinking it again, it was very fruity and rich and what I would consider an easy drinker, which is not what I would characterize most Syrahs. (maybe I am wrong and I am probably merging the typical Shiraz vs. the typical Syrah). Great wine at a great price, $11.25.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Wines & Times

All you winery visitors out there need to check out this great site that helps keep you informed on wineries in almost all 50 states. Just click on the state and it will show you how many wineries there are in that state, then click on a winery, and depending on what information the winery has provided it will show you hours of operation, upcoming events and more. It is a great site, and it's free.

Check it out - Wines & Times

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alderbrook Chardonnay - 2003

Origin: Russian River Valley

Color: hay yellow

Nose: lightly toasted bread with apple butter spread (seriously)

Taste: Apple, melon, slight butter and nuttyness

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium body with nice acidic structure, "rich"

Finish: Good, I wouldn't say long but medium to long

We picked this up last December while we were in Napa/Sonoma and it was actually the first winery we visited. We have enjoyed several of their other wines and have not been dissappointed yet. This Chardonnay was excellent, displayed everything with balance and precision, definitely the best Chardonnay I have had in a while. (A+) $18.00

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cardinal Point Cabernet Franc - 2004

Origin: Afton Virginia

Nose: blackberry, blueberry, and pine

Taste: licorice, cherry, tobacco, green pepper

Mouthfeel: light-medium bodied

Finish: short to medium

We love Cardinal Point wines, and their Cabernet Franc is another fine example. As one of the top Cab Francs in the state (as rated by me), it is always a winner. (A-) can't remember the price...I think $17.95

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wineries of Louisa County
Saturday Megan and I decided to take a quick trip to Louisa county for some wine tasting. We packed up some cheese and fresh baguette and headed off. First stop of the day was Cooper Vineyards. We have been to Cooper before, back in March we went and were able to witness their mobile bottling truck in action.

Tasting is done in the Barrel Room at Cooper

John Tasting at Cooper

While at Cooper we tasted 8 wines, 2005 100% Estate Grown Chardonnay, Coopertage Blanc (20% Viognier and 80% Chardonnay), 2005 Viognier, 2003 Cabernet Franc, 2004 Merlot, 2004 Norton and then 2 sweet wines - Rhapsody (Chardonel and Viognier blend; 3% residual sugar and Sweet Louisa (Munsen, Norton, Concord and Roussane; 6% residual sugar). Of the whites our favorite was the 100% Viognier showing beautiful peach, apricot and honeysuckle; interestingly it was aged in French Oak for 8 months which gave the wine a little more roundness on the tounge, simply delightful. On the red side, our favorite was the 2004 Merlot, a new release at Cooper. We were lucky enough to do a small vertical with the 2003 Merlot which was only available for tasting. The 2004 had excellent fruit character of cherry with a smooth medium bodied texture.

Bird Netting on the vines at Cooper Vineyards

Next we headed a few miles up the road to Green Spring Winery. This was our first trip to Green Spring, and they are relatively new to the VA Wine Trail, opening their winery doors last October although the vineyard has been operating for 8 years. Green Springs winemaker is Gabriele Rausse who has a great following here in virginia, and the owner is Lewis Gioiosa who has run Gioiosa Vineyards for about 8 years. The winery is beautifully constructed with a great wide open tasting room, and a beautiful wrap around deck.

Megan at tasting bar with Lewis Gioiosa (owner)
We tasted 4 wines while at Green Spring, a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Cabernet Franc and a Rose with 6% residual sugar. All the wines were very good, even the Rose as we are not sweet fans. Our favorites were definitely the reds. The Cab Franc is from grapes grown at Redlands Vineyards in Albermarle county and provides excellent fruit character of raspberry and cherry with a smooth medium bodied finish, very good cabernet franc. The Cab. Sauv. was another good wine and is made from grapes grown in Lynchburg. The wines shows off Black Raspberry and chocolate flavors with a smooth spicy finish, again very good. We got a glass of the Cab Franc and a glass of the Cab Sauv to enjoy with our cheese and bread and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the awesome weather. We took home a bottle of the Cab Franc, to enjoy later, and would've have taken home the Cab Sauv as well, but couldn't justify the $28 price tag, although it was a very good wine.
Megan enjoying some wine with the beautiful Green Spring property as her backdrop.

Shot of the winery and part of the vineyard

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wine Stemware

What type of stemware do you use, and does it matter?

We here at the Witherspoon house have a mixture of Spiegelau and Riedel glasses for red and Spiegelau only for the whites. The red are the Bordeaux model and except for the actual stem of the glass you couldn’t tell the difference between the two visually. (Except for the etched logo on the bottom) I know internally, the companies use different crystal weights and mixture percentages that they both define as being the best.

Recently we have become more and more amazed with nice restaurants that use small goblet shaped wine glasses, especially for red wines. A friend asked me the other day if I would consider myself a wine snob and I said no just an enthusiast, but when it comes to stemware I would say yes. The stemware can really change the wine experience for me both at a restaurant and at a tasting room. I don’t care about brand names, but when a tasting room/restaurant has nice, “properly sized” stemware I think it makes a difference in my overall experience not to say necessarily on the taste of the wine.

Scientific studies have been done examining this very concept and found that when you take away the visual and tactile stimuli, negligible difference is found between the typical goblet style and the “proper” Bordeaux style Riedel glass. When you leave in the aforementioned stimuli there are significant differences between the glass types.

Okay, Wine Bloggers, let me know what YOU think!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Last Nights Wine

2005 Yalumba "Y" Series Viognier

Origin: South Austrailia, Barossa Valley

Nose: Anise (licorice), peach, apricot

Taste: Apricot, slight citrus, mineral/earth

Mouthfeel: Rich, oily but not in a bad way--slick feeling on the tounge

Finish: Medium-Long

This is an excellent Viognier, and the second time we have tried it. Not too over the top on any of the flavors, but as you can see, displays the typical Viognier characteristics. It delivers these in a beautiful layered fashion that is exciting and delightful on each and every sip. (A) $11.95

Monday, August 07, 2006

Oberon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (100%)

Origin: Napa Valley

Color: Deep Red

Nose: Very Fruity empasized by Raspberry and Blackberry; There was also a richness to the aroma that I couldn't quite identify(maybe coffee) but it smelled awesome.

Taste: Wonderfully rich raspberry with cinnamon and earthiness rounding out the finish

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth with just enough structure to hold it together at the end

Finish: Medium in length

Megan and I picked this up about a month ago at a Friday night tasting at the Wine Cellar. It is a great Cab, not too tannic(could use a bit more), not too earthy, just right. A little fruitier than most cabs but a very good wine. We just tried their 2003 Merlot at last Friday's tasting and it was quite good as well.
(A) $21.95
Gadgets that speed up the aging process

There are a few products on the market that claim they can smooth out tannins, evoke fruit character and generally “open up” a young wine in a matter of minutes. There are a lot of skeptics out there that say the gizmos don’t do what they claim to. But aren’t these devices just high tech decanters.

From Wikipedia:
“A good decanting process involves the wine trickling down the walls of the decanter, imparting fuller flavor while taking the unwelcome edge off the wine.”

I guess where a decanter and one of these gizmos differ it that the gizmo works in a matter of minutes, a decanter may take several hours or even a day to open up a bottle of wine. And I definitely don’t think you can age a bottle 5-10 years by putting it in a decanter which some of the gizmos claim they can do.

I love technical gadgets so don’t get me wrong, I think these “wine agers” are really cool, but I definitely find something more enjoyable about watching the wine gently flow down the inside of a decanter vs. slapping a magnet on the neck of the bottle.

This post was “sparked” by an article about one of the gizmos on Check it out HERE.

If any of you out there that read this blog have one of these gadgets let me know how well and if it works.

Last nights wine coming later today with Oberon 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Nights Wine

2003 Flying Fish Merlot (100%)

Region: Washington State

Color: Ruby Red

Aroma: Cherry, Jammy fruit, cocoa

Taste: Cherry, Chocolate, and Vanilla

Mouthfeel: very smooth, medium bodied

We enjoyed this bottle of wine with our friends Jeff and Elizabeth (my sister) at a great little bistro here in town called Cafe Catura. Although storms loomed on the horizon we were able to enjoy our bottle outside on their nice patio. Great wine for the value. (A-) $11.95(retail)
Thursday Nights Wine

2005 Ferrari Carano Fumé Blanc

Color: Light straw

Aroma: Citrus, Grapefruit, green grass

Flavor: Grapefruit, slight lemon, with a nice balance of minerality

Mouthfeel: Nice and crisp without being overly acidic

Ferrari Carano Fume is one of our favorites every year. Always a winner, displaying the typical Sauv/Fume Blanc characteristics. (A) $15.95

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last Nights Wine
2004 Blenheim Meritage

Nose: Berry, Earthiness

Taste: Initially Black Raspberry and Cassis were faint with flavors of chocolate, leather and bell pepper being predominant but after about 30 minutes the fruit flavors came to life and really made for a great wine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, Medium Bodied

Finish: Medium Length

We have found Blenheim Wines to very good. Visiting Blenheim is always fun as it is by appointment only and both times we have been it was conducted by the winemaker Brad. His pours are generous and the so is the conversation. Thier winery is beautifully constructed out of almost 100% "found" wood, and is a gravity flow design creating as little impact as possible on the grapes/must during initial processing. This wine was again excellent and I can't wait to enjoy the other bottle that we have.
(A) $25.00

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Last Nights Wine

2003 King Family Meritage

70% Merlot 27% Cab Franc 3% Petit Verdot

Nose: Cinnamon, chocloate, dark fruit

Taste: Black Raspberry, Cherry, Tobacco

Mouthfeel: Silky Smooth and Medium bodied

Finish: Not Much, shorter than expected

Another fine Michael Shaps creation from King Family Vineyards (A-) $24.95