Dakine Vineyard Merlot

  • Producer: Longboard Vineyard
  • Location: Sonoma, Ca (Russian River Valley)
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: cannot remember for the life of me
  • Tasting notes: Garant in color and opaque in the glass. nose of black fruits and baking spices, with nutmeg coming through. Flavors of blackberry, current, really ripe raspberry and a little licorice. Long finish – some tootsie roll, black forest cake and lots of cherry on the end.
  • Conclusions: This is not your typical Merlot. It has the typical Merlot flavors, but turned up and deep. Every sip was slightly different and I was so happy with this wine.
  • Notes: I bought two bottles of this somewhere around 2017. The first bottle we drank shortly after buying, but it wasn’t to my taste. There were a lot of tannins and it just seemed harsh, so I put the bottle away with a note to not open it until 2020. Well … it’s 2020 and we decided to give it a go. The day we opened it, I was sad. It was harsh, hard to drink and had a ton of tannin and vine taste. It was fine with food, but not something I could sit and sip. We put it away for the night and tried again the next day. Holy cow was I glad we did. The transformation in the wine was amazing. It became everything we love about Merlot and had none (and I mean none) of the harshness, tannins or bramble flavors it had the day before. It was amazing and one of the best wines I’ve had all year. Now I’m sad that I don’t have any more of it, but I do have a bottle of Malbec from Longboard that I’m going to open the day before I want to drink it. Fingers crossed it just needs to open for a day to be as amazing.

2018 California Pinot Grigio

  • Producer: D.H. Elliott
  • Location: California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $10-$13 (Naked Wines)
  • Tasting notes: Pale straw color. First impression was of chardonnay when tasting – smooth and creamy like a chardonnay, and the flavors of apple, pear, lemon curd and a touch of vanilla made this not your typical Pinot Grigio. A few herbal notes came mid-palate and there was some nice bramble and peach on the finish. Good flavor and interesting to drink.
  • Conclusions: When I opened this bottle I was not expecting this wine. I was thinking it would be either not much flavor at all (unfortunately like a lot of Pinot Grigio out there) or very citrus forward. It wasn’t. This was a really good, lots of good flavor Pinot Grigio. After being opened a day, more of the citrus came out, but the smooth texture was still there making this a wine I may very well pick up again.

Sonoma County Chardonnay

  • Producer:Franc Dusak
  • Location: Sonoma County, California
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $18 (not what we paid)
  • Tasting notes: Pale yellow in the glass with notes of apple, vanilla and white peach on the nose. Apple and quince with a little something I can’t identify. Lightly herbal with some stone fruit and mineral notes on the finish. Very smooth – creamy but not oily or buttery at all.
  • Conclusions: Very nice, easy to drink wine and much better than expected for a Chardonnay. This paired really well with our cheese plate, especially a double cream from Sweet Grass Dairy.
  • Notes: Since Val moved to California she has been drinking wine again and she introduced us to Naked Wines. While I’m usually skeptical of wine “clubs” where the wines are made for them only (can’t find them in stores) I decided to give them a try and used the coupon Val sent me to get a case of wine for about $60. I figured for about $5 a bottle, I can afford to try it. I’m actually glad I did. This is the first wine we had from them, but I was pretty impressed. I’m not a chardonnay gal most of the time, but this was good. I wanted something that would take me out of my comfort zone and make me try different wines again (I felt like I was getting into a wine rut – a very nice wine rut, but a rut all the same). So we will see how long I like these wines and what will happen when I run out of this case. But so far, really pretty good.

Rocky Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel

  • Producer: Bruliam Wines
  • Location: Windsor (Sonoma), California
  • Year: 2016
  • Price estimate: $50
  • Tasting notes: Dark red, bordering on blood ruby with a tint of pink at the edges. Lots of granite and wood on the nose with very little fruit. Very soft and round with lots of dark fruits, chocolate cake and black cherry tastes. Really long finish with a hint of pepper on the end.
  • Conclusions: There are some wine you hesitate to open because they are more expensive than you are totally comfortable spending on the bottle, but after the first sip, you remember why you occasionally indulge yourself. This was one of those bottles. Definitely more expensive than I usually spend on wine, but 100% worth every penny. Lots of flavor, lots of complexity and a super smooth, easy to drink wine. When you close your eyes and sigh on the first taste, you know it’s good.
  • Notes: We opened this bottle to celebrate the success of my first work-from-home week. I figured since neither Bob nor I wanted to kill the other after two weeks of only seeing each other and having no way to take a real break, we thought it appropriate. I also didn’t have nearly as bad a transition as I thought I would have – just had to remember to log off and stay logged off – so we celebrated. We also had our first virtual happy hour with Val and Bill, so that was really nice. Good wine for that too.

MBF Zinfandel

  • Producer: Mutt Lynch Winery
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2016
  • Price estimate: $32
  • Tasting notes: Dark ruby color in the glass and hints of cherry on the nose. Dark cherry, ripe raspberry, a little plum on the palate. A little dusky, but not unpleasant. Back end has notes of chocolate and black pepper with lots of spice on the finish. Good finish. Very smooth.
  • Conclusions: Mutt Lynch is one of my go-to wineries. The Man’s Best Friend Zinfandel is one of their more expensive wines, but at $32 a bottle, I’ll still drink it and not feel guilty because it is that good, but I won’t grab it every day like I might with some of their other wine. This was a particularly good bottle.

Evangelho Vineyard Red, 2018

  • Producer: Desire Line Wines
  • Location: Contra Costa County, CA
  • Year: 2018
  • Varietal: Carignan and Mourvedre
  • Price estimate: $35 (from winery)
  • Tasting notes: Dark purple in the glass, just a touch of pink at the edge; good legs and a nice weight to the wine. On the nose, cut wood and dark fruit. Tastes of plum, cherry, a little bramble, tootsie roll and tart black raspberry. Long finish ending with a touch of black pepper.
  • Conclusions: This was a wine that was well worth it’s price and more, Perfect tartness, lots of complexity and amazing flavor. This is a wine to sip and linger and to have with food. (Paired nicely with pasta.)
  • Notes: Normally I order the Riesling from Desire Line and call it good. Their Riesling is amazing, one of my favorite, so I try to get some every year. Last year I took a chance and picked up this bottle, and one other red just to see. I am so glad I did, and really wish I had gotten more than one. This was a really beautiful wine – fruit forward with lots of mineral notes and tons of character. Even at $35 a bottle, I would get more if I could.

Friend & Farmer Tempranillo

  • Producer: Friend & Farmer
  • Location: Castilla La Mancha, Spain
  • Year: 2019
  • Price estimate: unknown (from our cheese & wine box)
  • Tasting notes: A purple-ish ruby color in the glass and opaque even at the rims. Aromas of dark fruit, licorice and chicory. Alone, the taste is sour, tart and sour like an underripe plum. With the cheese, chocolate and sour cherry come out and only a hint of the sour remains. Short to medium finish.
  • Conclusions: By itself, I was not a fan of this wine. I wasn’t certain how I would drink it, but once paired with the cheese, it really came into it’s own. Good, strong flavors that compliment food. Not my favorite wine, but as long as I’m eating I wouldn’t turn it down.
  • Notes: My local cheese shop does a monthly cheese and wine club that we decided to try after years of just doing there regular monthly cheese. This was paired with Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar and it did go really well with it. I personally liked it with the gouda we picked up for our cheese plate even better – the chocolate notes in the wine complimented the caramel notes in the cheese really well, but not in a way that made either sweet. Just a nice wine with cheese.

Bedrock Wirz Riesling

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: Cienega Valley, CA (grapes from here, winery in Sonoma)
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $22 from winery
  • Tasting notes: Dark straw in the glass. Notes of apple cider and petrol on the nose with a little green grape. Tastes of melon, apple, and lime. Finish is long with a little vanilla and citrus.
  • Conclusions: Beautiful, easy drinking wine. This is one of those wines that reminds me why I have way to much Bedrock wine in my house. Every bottle is fantastic and both easy to drink and complex at the same time. I could have sat for hours sipping and parsing flavors, but it is just as easy to sit and enjoy good wine, food and conversation with friends with this wine. Not sweet at all, but just enough to balance the high acidity that riesling is known for.
  • Notes: Usually I get my Bedrock wine during their allocation period a few times a year. This is one of the wines I got sometime last year. It is also a wine we picked up when we were at the tasting room in July. I had forgotten what I ordered earlier in the summer, and just loved this so much while we were there, we got a few bottles. When all the shipments came in together in December, we had double the riesling, which made me very happy indeed.

2012 Five Vines

  • Producer: Viszlay Vineyards
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2012
  • Price estimate: $54 (we did not pay that much for the bottle)
  • Tasting notes: Ruby red in color with a touch of pink at the edges. Aromas of dark berry, raspberry, bramble and cut grass. (Yes, in a red.) Very smooth on the palate with notes of black cherry, chocolate, raspberry, tootsie roll and a little herb note with some forest floor (but not unpleasant). Very nice chocolate finish.
  • Conclusions: Excellent wine. This bottle was incredible – even better than the bottle we opened before and surprisingly better than the bottle we tasted at the vineyard last summer.
  • Notes: This was one of our pick ups from our trip to Sonoma last summer. We loved this wine and I almost pegged it as a Cab Franc, but it is a blend with varietals I don’t usually enjoy – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah etc. But this … oh this was just amazing. Super smooth and so much depth of flavor. This is why I drink wine.

2018 Sangiovese

  • Producer: Malpasso
  • Location: Umbria, Italy
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: Not sure (wine and cheese box)
  • Tasting notes: Garnet in appearance with aromas of spice, unripe cherry and bramble. Smooth on the palate with hints of nutmeg, dark cherry and a little oak. Tart. Medium long finish.
  • Conclusions: I’m a sucker for a good Sangiovese and this one fits the bill. It has a lot of the dark red fruit and tartness that a good Sangiovese has but isn’t as earthy as some can get. Bob is not generally a fan of this varietal, but even he liked this one. Paired with a pecorino (and other cheeses, of course) it shows why people tell you that what grows together goes together.
  • Notes: This was the second of our cheese and wine box wines and I have to say, I’m super impressed. Not only as the wines (and of course the cheeses) fantastic, there is something about the pairings that not only compliments, but changes the way both taste. It was more prominent with the white, but it existed here too. The cheese rounded out the wine and the wine brought out the nutty notes in cheese – it was kind of fantastic.