PFAFFL – Gruner Veltliner, 2016

  • Basic info: PFAFFL, Gruner Veltliner “Vom Haus”, Niederösterreich, Austria – 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $18 (? Weekly Tasting pack, so I’m not certain)
  • Look: Pale straw in color with minimal legs, even when warm.
  • Smell: Apple and vanilla. Not much smell to this one and I *think*  I got those two smells, but in retrospect I might have wanted to smell those.
  • Taste: Under ripe peach, salt, lime and white grape. (Yes, seriously, white grape)
  • Conclusions: This was a pretty amazing wine. It was light and clean tasting, but there was a lot going on in it. This was a wine you could drink and ignore as you sat and chatted (which is what we did the first night we opened it with a friend) or ponder as you sip it as I did the next time we had it.
  • Other notes: I think this wine goes on the list of favorites – right there with the Soter Pino Noir and Decoy or Haywood Zinfandels. It is that good.
  • From the bottle: “This classic, crisp and fine fruity Gruner Veltliner has a good pinch of black pepper. A great house wine that is incredibly versatile.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Chateau Saint Martin De La Garrigue – Rose, 2016

  • Basic info: Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue, Bronzinelle Languedoc Rose, Provence, France, 2016
  • Type: Rose
  • Price estimate: $18 (? – from Weekly Tasting pack, so I’m not certain)
  • Look: Salmon pink in color with descent legs
  • Smell: strawberry, cherry and some mineral
  • Taste: light berry, hint of mineral and salt, very light. Weird taste in the middle and back of this wine and very alcoholic tasting.
  • Conclusions: I love rose so I wanted to love this wine. It started out really great, but that weird taste kept intruding on my enjoyment of the wine. I ended up not finishing my glass and am not sure we will have any more from the bottle. I don’t think it was a bad bottle, just not one that we liked.
  • Other notes: The smell and first sip of this wine was really lovely, but I just could not drink it. There is an odd taste in the wine, and I think it may be gooseberry (based on the descriptor of the wine) that I just didn’t like. The grapes in this wine are Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah.
  • From the bottle: From the Weekly Tasting notes, “Strawberry, red cherries, red currants and orange zest with a marked flintiness on the nose. The wine is rich in body for a rose and has an incredible silky texture. ” 14% alcohol by volume.

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Laurent Barth – Gewurtztraminer, 2012

  • Basic info: Laurent Barth, “Le Clos des Trios Chemins”, Gewurtztraminer, Alsace France, 2012.
  • Type: white
  • Price estimate: $17 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Deep yellow color. Lots of legs, even when cold.
  • Smell: lemon flower, honey, and orange blossom. Bob got peach and some fruit he could not identify.
  • Taste: Sweet. Round and full bodied with a crisp end when cold. Orange blossom, Chartreuse and vanilla flavors. Bob swore there was another flavor he could not identify and later said lychee. Nice finish – longer than expected.
  • Conclusions: Very cold, this wine is fantastic. It is sweet – no mistaking it for a dry, off-dry or semi sweet wine. It is complex and interesting and reminds me a bit of an oaked chardonnay in the texture of the wine. As the wine warms, the sweetness intensifies and it was a little hard for me to finish a glass.
  • Other notes: I am not a fan of rich, buttery wines or of sweet wines, so I was surprised that I liked this one so much. It had a lot going on in the glass and ice box cold, I really liked it. As the wine warmed (we were eating dinner) I found it harder to drink and the sweetness really started to coat my mouth. I’m not sure if this is a typical example of the varietal, but it is definitely interesting and I really want to try a dry version, and maybe one with just a little less richness in texture.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, “This one has the perfect level of sweetness. It’s not cloying or sticky, but is instead balanced and fresh with white flowers and other classic Gewurz aromatics, a rich and textured apart, and great underlying acidity which lends well to the dreamy and majestic finish.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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Jonc Blanc – White Blend, 2014

  • Basic info:Jonc Blanc, “Les sens du fruit” white blend, France, 2014 (sauvignon, semillon and sauvignon gris)
  • Type: white
  • Price estimate: $11 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Pale yellow in color with no noticeable legs when cold. Few legs noticeable as the wine warmed up.
  • Smell: wine, maybe a little citrus. very little aroma.
  • Taste: Apple, lime, pear and a slight mineral taste part way through. Good acid, but not overpowering. Medium finish with a touch of lemon on the end.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine a lot and found it surprisingly easy to drink. I had to be careful with this one as it didn’t taste like it had a lot of alcohol and was very smooth. I liked the citrus taste in this one – lemon and lime that were just sweet enough.
  • Other notes: We had a merlot by this same producer that was great the first day we opened it, but a few days later, I could not drink the wine as it had turned. The white lasted much longer and I’m not sure if it was the specific bottle or if whites just last a few days longer after opening. I was hoping for more stone fruit in this white, but I still loved the wine. It had character and that is hard to find at this price point.
  • From the bottle: The bottle was in French, so I have no idea what it actually said, but the description from the store, “fabulous aromas of lime-flower, orange peel, ripe pear, melon and since – really unique and lovely. Very complex fruit on the palate – pear and apple with citrus and mineral flavors backed by firm acidity.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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Bombina – Red Blend, NV

  • Basic info: Bombina, Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon & Sangiovese), Puglia Italy, No vintage
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $15 (local wine store)
  • Look: deep red with no noticeable legs
  • Smell: dark fruit, cherry
  • Taste: fruit. very smooth. nice acidity, but not too much.
  • Conclusions: This is a good drinking wine, but it isn’t memorable. I could not discern too many specific tastes or smells in this wine, but it was a nice wine.
  • Other notes: I almost didn’t post this wine, since I didn’t have much to say about it, but I decided this is part of the experience. I need to remember the only ok wines, and the wines I really don’t like, as well as the good ones. I also think I have a good baseline now and it may be time to start playing with smells and tastes, and take a look at what I’ve learned so far.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 12.5% alcohol by volume.

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Domaine de la Roche Bleue – Chenin Blanc, 2015

  • Basic info: Domaine de la Roche Bleue “Jasnieres” Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley, France, 2015
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $19
  • Look: light straw color, some legs, but not many when chilled.
  • Smell: honeysuckle, lemon and melon
  • Taste: Lemon, salty. Crisp and clean, but with a little brine. Medium finish.
  • Conclusions: Good wine. Easy to drink and great on a hot day. Not something I will seek out again, but it was definitely a good wine.
  • Other notes:
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street, ” The Roche Bleue 2015 Jasnieres shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower and peach with hints of stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate reveals almond, pear, stone and chalky minerals that continue in the ver long, tart, very mineral finish.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Shebang Wines – Red Blend, No Vintage

  • Basic info: Shebang Wines, “The Whole Shebang” red wine blend from Sonoma, California
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $15 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Dark plum, opaque with good legs
  • Smell: plum, cherry, deep dark fruit.
  • Taste: Cherry, blackberry, ripe plum, dark fruit and chocolate on the back end. Long finish.
  • Conclusions: Fantastic wine and one that tics all the boxes for both Bob and I. It is rare that we both find a wine we really love, but this zinfandel blend is doing the trick. It is higher alcohol content than either of us guessed because we didn’t taste any alcohol and we didn’t feel anything in the back of our throats (sure sign of high alcohol). We had this with our cheese box last month and we were both super happy with the wine.
  • Other notes: I love zinfandels and I love the dark fruit taste of them and this wine is 55% zinfandel, so I was pretty sure I would like it. I wasn’t prepared to love it, especially not at $15 a bottle. We liked this wine so much we ordered more of it the next day. I don’t usually do that, and we have only ever decided a wine was that good that we needed to make sure we stocked away a few bottles twice. Because the wine is high alcohol, I can only do a glass of it, but I savored my glass and drank slowly because I wanted it to last. This is really an incredible wine.
  • From the bottle: No tasting notes from the bottle, but from Chamber Street, “55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.” 14.2% alcohol by volume.

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