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Today’s Wine Review

Spring is in full swing in the Northwest. I can’t believe all of the beautiful blooming bushes and plants here. There are so many new and different plants here that I’ve never seen before. There’s one that has white blooms that are multiple tiny flowers growing in the shape of spikes and smell like cotton candy. And lucky me, I live behind a Master Gardener so I can sit on my deck and soak up all of her beautiful garden. Of course I’m sitting there with a glass of wine in my hand too.

My latest wine I’ve tried is a Rosé from Oregon. Acrobat Winery is an Oregon winery in Eugene, which is south of Portland on 5 Highway, just down the road a ways from us. Acrobat Rosé is made from Pinot Noir grapes. It was a light pink almost peach hue in the glass. The wine had light floral notes in the glass and a hint of citrus. The wine tasted light and clean with a dry finish. The wine, vintage 2014 had an alcohol content of 13.5% and is very affordable. I paid under $15 a bottle. You can find Acrobat on the internet at http://www.acrobatwinery.com.

This is another one of the types of wine I drink when I’m home alone. When I am home all by myself I tend to drink lighter wines, Moscato, Riesling or Rosé. For some dumb reason I feel like I’m cheating on Mitch if I drink a big red wine without him. Dumb huh? I need to work on my guilt feelings. Maybe I should buy 2 bottles of the same wine, then he’ll never know.

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Today’s Wine Review

Last week I was gently reminded that I now live in Washington, the second largest wine producer in the United States, so why am I still writing about California wines. I had to agree I had fallen into a habit of buying and tasting wines from regions I was familiar with. I needed to shake things up and go shopping, wine shopping, not that shoe shopping isn’t also just as important, but for now I’m doing okay on shoes. It is wine, Washington wine I need, and that’s what I did, went wine shopping. Mitch stood there and watched as I filled my cart with bottle after bottle.

He said, “I didn’t think we were out of wine.”

I said, “We’re not, but it won’t go bad, right? It never hurts to have a bottle or two around.” A case later he just shook his head and carried the box to the car.

Tonight I fixed pork chops for dinner and to go with them I opened a red blend from Columbia Valley, Washington. See, a Washington wine. The wine, Wild Haven, Blazing Red vintage 2013 had an alcohol content of 12.8% and very fruit forward. The wine was a very dark red color in the glass and smelled a bit of smoke, maybe a little like pipe tobacco. It was dry but not super dry, fruit forward almost jammie and had a nice finish that tasted like plums and currants.

This was definitely a wine I will buy again, super tasty.

I am working harder at trying more blends. Blends have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Single variety wines are easier, because you have a preconceived idea of what it should taste like, but with a blend, all bets are off. I never know what I’m going to taste when I open a bottle.

One thing I’ve found when I search online for Washington wineries or vineyards is that they are hard to find, not like California wineries. California vineyards and wineries have websites everywhere and are super easy to locate, but not Washington wineries. It’s like they are hiding and I have to go on a scavenger hunt to search the wineries out. Oh well if Washington wants to make it a bit of a quest for me find their wines, I will just have to work a bit harder. I do love a challenge.

Today’s Wine Review

It’s Christmas Eve, the holiday rush and panic is upon us. For those who are done shopping and relaxing with a glass of wine in your hand, I applaud you, I’m jealous but I applaud you. Maybe one day I will be just like you, sitting back savoring that wonderful glass and appreciating it for the work of art that it is, not swilling it down to numb the abject terror that I’ve forgotten someone.

For our Christmas dinner with our friends, I had planned on making veal parmesan, but I ended up with an abundance of avocados from work and changed the menu to steak and chicken fajitas with guacamole. For the wine G and S brought us a couple of bottles of wine that we’ve never had before. Since we are always up to try just about anything the wines they bring can be very interesting. This time was no different.

The first bottle we opened and drank was called. Cheeseburger Red, a California red wine from Santa Barbara County. It is cellared and bottled by Rootstock Cellars in Orcutt, California. We had a really good laugh about the label, mainly because a couple of years ago I bought a bottle of wine called Pizza Red that was absolutely horrible, only mixing it with fruit juice made it palatable. Needless to say, we were not holding out much hope for the Cheeseburger Red. Surprisingly it wasn’t that bad. It was drinkable, with 13.2% alcohol, only a bit harsh and it was fairly smooth with a medium finish. Overall it was very tasty compared to my marketing ploy purchase.

In keeping with the quirky wine theme, the second bottle was called, Chateau Mylord Cuvee Milady, a French Bordeaux. It had 14% alcohol and had a smoky shiraz earthy taste. It was drinkable also, dry with a full finish.

Overall both wines were really fun to drink and we had a good laugh over the fact that we all fall for the marketing side of wine. Sometimes we find a few treasures among the masses.

Today’s Wine Review

My favorite wine is a big jammy Zinfandel. One that is dark purple and full of blackberry and cherry flavors, not too dry and not sweet. I had the perfect bottle once, a Rosenblum, Planchon Vineyard, 2006. It was everything I wanted in a glass of Zinfandel. I went back to the store where I bought the bottle, I know, I made the mistake of only buying one bottle but I planned on rectifying that by buying many bottles. Alas, there were no more bottles to be had. In fact I couldn’t find another bottle at any store I went to. Later I found out that Rosenblum Cellars had sold their holdings to another company and was told not to expect the same quality ever again. Needless to say, I keep searching for that perfect big jammy Zinfandel.

I’ve been told by some in the wine business that for great Zinfandel there were the three R’s, Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. Both Ravenswood and Rosenblum have been sold and the quality is not the same as before. I’ve been intrigued about Ridge Wines, seeing the clean simple labels and the price tag, a bit pricier than I normally pay when stocking up on wines but hadn’t tried any yet. So when I received an email about a Ridge wine tasting at a local liquor store, I jumped at the chance to taste some of the fare.

The lineup included a Chardonnay, Merlot, two blends and three Zinfandels. The Chardonnay wasn’t as bad as some I’ve tasted, but I don’t like oaked Chardonnay, un-oaked Chards taste really clean and fresh, oaked just tastes like flat beer to me. The Merlot was very dry and thin tasting, not too bad but not what I was looking for and at $49.99 a bottle, very pricy. The blends were good, all dry with a medium finish that was quite drinkable; one was priced at $27.29 and the other at $39.49. The three Zinfandels were also drinkable, drier than I prefer but they were still very tasty. The first one, Ridge Paso Robles, 2012, was dry and tart with a medium finish and priced at $31.29. The second one, Ridge East Bench, 2011, was a lot thinner and a little smoky, priced at $31.99. The third one, Ridge Geyserville, 2012, was much better than the other two, smoother softer, but still dry, not the big jammy Zin I’m looking for. The third one was priced at $38.99. This is how the Ridge style of Zinfandel is made, drier and higher alcohol content, most around 14.4% to 14.8%. The Ridge wines were nice and drinkable just not the style that I am searching for.

Because the room was almost full, the owner of the liquor store sat at our table and I mentioned that while these were nice, they weren’t the same as the Rosenblum I was trying to replicate. He told me to see him after the tasting and that he had something for me. After the tasting I picked up a couple bottles of what we tasted, Ridge Paso Robles and Ridge Geyserville and went to pay when the owner handed me a Rosenblum 2006, Monte Rosso Vineyard Reserve Zinfandel. He said he had bought all the Rosenblum Zinfandels he could get his hands on when the vineyard sold. I figured that this bottle was going to be very expensive, but he said that he wanted me to have it and gave it to me. I couldn’t believe it; he just gave me the bottle of wine. It’s not from the Planchon Vineyard, but I can’t wait to try it.

Now I just have to come up with a perfect menu to go with the wine.

Today’s Wine Review

Summer is in full swing and here in the Midwest, Summer means heat and humidity. And what makes heat and humidity more palatable? Something cold to drink. It’s a perfect time to drink the lighter wines out there. On my last wine stock up run, I bought eight bottles of white wine, three red and one rosé. I wanted more rosé but I had a difficult time finding any that sounded appealing.

I have to admit that the one I did buy, I bought because of the label. Once again I got sucked in by those marketing wizards. It was a French rosé called AIX Vin De Provence vintage 2013 and was a very pale blush color, not as pink as some I’ve tasted. It was reasonably priced at <$15 so I thought I would give it a try.

It didn’t taste at all as it was described on the label. The label described “bright fruit flavors” and “delicate floral notes”. Well to my uneducated nose, the first thing I smelled was alcohol and at 13% there was plenty to go around. I was expecting pears or strawberries, but what I tasted was more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc with a drop of red food coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the wine, but it was as though someone had switched labels on the bottles. This wine had all the mineral notes of a Sauvignon Blanc and was almost paper dry.

Another rosé I tasted was from our trip to Texas in May I bought a very nice rosé from Pedernales Cellars, from the Texas Hill Country. It was a dry rosé vintage 2013 and was a bright pink color. The first thing I smelled was strawberries and the alcohol second. It is a very refreshing wine that is so drinkable. I found myself refilling my glass more than normal.

I’m on the hunt for more rosé wines. I’ve had a few that are very tasty and some that I wish I’d never opened the bottle. I know it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it and it might as well be me.

Today’s Wine Review

Even though there are technically twenty-one days until the first day of summer, it feels like spring has abandoned us for the muggy days of summer. I just got back from walking the dogs and am soaked through. So I thought today would be a perfect day to drink some chilled soft white wine and chill out.

We had a very nice French White Bordeaux 2012 from Chateau La Castillonne. It was a Sauvignon Blanc, very light and dry but soft and tasted like pears. It was a wine that we had tasted at a French wine tasting a couple of months ago and bought a few bottles. It was very affordable at <$13 a bottle. It went very well with the grilled pork chops and salad.

Another nice white wine that we like to keep on hand is a California wine from Joel Gott. We have tasted quite a few different Joel Gott wines, red and white and so far we have not been disappointed in any of the bottles we’ve had. Their Sauvignon Blanc is almost clear in the glass. The wine is everything a Sauvignon Blanc is supposed to be; dry with a mineral taste, clean and crisp with a tart finish. I usually don’t pay more than $13 a bottle for it and sometimes catch it on sale for $11. It goes very well with grilled chicken or grilled pork.

So if you’re looking for something light and clean you can’t go wrong with either one of these wines.

Today’s Wine Review

When is it ever going to stop snowing? Here it is March and we’re getting 3 inches plus more snow. Yesterday we had a play date with our friend’s dogs and our dogs, for a game of tag team wrestling all in an effort to exhaust their sixteen month old Belgian Malinois. We did all this in seventeen degree weather with a stiff wind out of the north. We aren’t the brightest sometimes. Anyway at least I had a pot roast waiting for us when we got back. I made a loaf of Italian beer bread and for dessert apple pie tortillas. Something of a diverse menu, wouldn’t you say?

Our friends brought the wine, two bottles, both French and both very different in taste. The first was Chateau Grand Bert, a 2006 Saint Emilion Grand Cru, a Bordeaux, 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. It was dry, a bit harsh and had a minerally taste. It had cherry notes with a medium to full finish. Not bad, a wine I would drink again, but probably not buy myself.

The second bottle was also French, Reserve de la Saurine, a red blend from 2011. It was fruitier in aroma and taste, definite cherry flavor somewhat tart but not as dry as the first bottle. I liked it better than the first bottle, but would definitely drink either one again.

To go along with the apple pie tortillas and because we are always up for a bit of adventure, we tasted a bottle of Sake that a friend had given me on a trip to Japan. I bet you thought I was going say we had a rum chata, or Kahlua, but no we had American fare for dinner, Italian bread, French wine and Mexican-American dessert so what could possibly be more adventuresome than Japanese Sake? I had never tasted Sake so I had no idea what to expect. It smelled like straight out of the bottle, grain alcohol, and was clear as water, but what really surprised us was that it had a very light taste. There was no burn at all, very smooth. I tried to look it up on the internet but it blew up my computer and kept opening a gazillion pages that took forever for me to get all of them closed out, so I have no better information for you, except that it was a pleasant surprise.

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