Hauts de Meynac, Bordeaux Blend – 2015

  • Basic info: Hauts de Maynac, Bordeaux Blend, Bordeaux, France – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: unknown (this was a gift)
  • Look: Dark. Opaque red with a touch of dark purple
  • Smell: Wine (seriously) with a tiny bit of cherry
  • Taste: Earth, oak, sour cherry. More acid than I thought it would have given the color. Medium finish with a lot of oak.
  • Conclusions: With food, this was fine. Without food, Bob had to finish my glass. It was ok and I can tell my tastes are changing because two years ago I would not have been able to get past the first sip. This is what I *think* Bordeaux is supposed to taste like, but it isn’t my preferred style.
  • Other notes: I know Bordeaux wines are some of the best wines in the world, but I just can’t get past the earth and tree bark taste that so many of them have. I started drinking red wine years ago, but stopped because almost everything I found was huge, earthy, oaky wines. To me, dirt and tree bark are not flavors I want in my wine. A touch of them, sure, a lot – not so much. This probably makes me unsophisticated in the world of wine, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Give me a good Pinot Noir or Zinfandel any day.
  • From the bottle: “The vintage has a garnet, clear and brilliant robe, with a fresh fruit nose accompanied by black fruit aromas and a subtle round mouth.” 13% alcohol by volume.


Bedrock Wine Company – Zinfandel, 2016

  • Basic info: Bedrock Wine Company, Esola Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador County, CA – 2016.
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35 (from winery)
  • Look: Ruby red wine that is opaque in most lights, but has some translucency in the sun. Slight plum tint at the rim.
  • Smell: Raspberry (ripe, ready to eat raspberry still on the vine) with a little cherry.
  • Taste: Mild spice, red fruit, anise/ licorice. Super smooth with a nice acidity and mineralogy. Wine changes from fruity to a deeper flavor and it has a chocolate note on the long finish.
  • Conclusions: Amazing wine. Bob and I savored each sip of this wine, and I think we sat on the back porch for over an hour savoring a single glass each. This is everything I love about zinfandels in a light style, although the alcohol content is still up there.
  • Other notes: After the first sip Bob and I just looked at each other. If I blind tasted this I would have called it a pinot noir right out of the bottle. A half hour later, as the wine sat and opened a little, it was pure zinfandel. I didn’t think I could like a zinfandel more than I liked the Old Vine Zinfandel from Bedrock, but this is just as good if not better. I’m kind of sad that we only have one bottle of this wine. It is a little more than we usually spend for a “just to open” bottle but since I found out I passed my Admin Certification test for NJ and a bunch of other states (same test, but each state has a different required score – I managed to score high enough that my score will count for any state that accepts the exam) we decided a little celebration was in order.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes. 14.4% alcohol by volume.


La Crema – Pinot Noir, 2015

  • Basic info: La Crema Pinot Noir, Monterey, CA – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate:$19 (local wine store)
  • Look: Garnet colored with minimal translucency. Good legs.
  • Smell: Fruit, berries, specifically raspberry and strawberry
  • Taste: Ripe strawberry and cherry with some mineral notes. Almost no tannin. Smooth wine with good, but not overpowering acid. Nice long finish with notes of blackberry and darker fruit.
  • Conclusions: Really nice drinking wine. Smooth and enjoyable.
  • Other notes: The weather finally turned nice here and one afternoon after work I decided to have a glass of wine before making dinner because I just wanted to. It was a long day a work and I wanted to enjoy the sun and warm temperatures, especially after being so cold all of January and at work every day. We picked this up on a whim at our local wine store. I thought I recognized the winery, but wasn’t 100% certain. I’m still not certain if it is the same winery that I think it is, but it was a lovely wine – so much so that we picked up another bottle of it the next time we were at the wine store.
  • From the bottle: “Aromas of black plum, cherry, rhubarb and hints of earth and loam. Flavors of red plum, raspberry and blood orange are underpinned by distinctive river stone minerality and savory umami character. Plush and richly textured with juicy, yet balanced acidity and integrated toasty barrel spice.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


Cantina Di Sorbara – Lambrusco, NV

Initially I planned to do this as a regular wine post, but after acquiring this bottle I decided it needed something special.

Back when I started this wine adventure, I listed out the major varietals and styles of wine that I wanted to try to “complete” my education. I based my list on the varietals listed in the Wine Folly book and decided that I needed to acquire a bottle and drink a glass of the varietal in order to check off the varietal in my list. (Yes, there is a spreadsheet with notes for each varietal also but that is a different story.) I’ve made a good dent in this list as many of the varietals, even some odd ones, proved not that difficult to acquire thanks to the internet and inter-state shipping. One wine that eluded me, however, was Lambrusco.

Over the last year I’ve checked my usual suppliers – Total Wine, the local wine shop, my internet sources – multiple times, but Lambrusco proved difficult to find. I was cautious abut the type of Lambrusco to pick up after listening to a podcast (Wine for Normal People if anyone wants an easy to listen to wine podcast) and hearing the stories of the horrible, sickeningly sweet wine that is generally Lambrusco in the U.S.; I really wanted to try a good, dry version of the wine.

When Bob and I were at our local wine shop around the holidays I saw a bottle of Lambrusco on the shelf. This was new and it was pretty inexpensive so I decided to try it. As I picked up the bottle one of the staff commented that he didn’t realize I liked sweet red wine. I told him I didn’t and he said, “don’t buy that.” I told him about my quest to try the major varietals and styles and this one was proving difficult so I thought I would take a chance. He just kept asking if I liked sweet red wine and when I would say no he repeated, “don’t buy that, you won’t like it.” After a few rounds of this conversation, the owner of the shop came over and said, “you like sweet red wine?” I told him the story of my quest and the difficulty I had finding Lambrusco so I decided to give it a go, knowing that I probably would not like it. Carmen, the owner, told me not to buy the bottle in my hand and said he would bring me a bottle of a good, dry Lambrusco from his cellar. I told him I just wanted to try the varietal and was ok with not liking it. He insisted and so I gave up. I kind of figured that if two people in the business of selling wine are telling me to not buy something, and one of them is offering to give me a bottle of the thing I am trying to buy, I had to just give in. Part of me thought that this offer was something that would be forgotten in the light of day and I didn’t think much about it after that.

Fast forward to February. Since most of January I spent getting sick or getting over being sick, we didn’t attend the Friday wine tastings at the local shop for most of the month. When we did arrive in the beginning of February the first thing Carmen said to me was that he had a bottle of dry Lambrusco in the back for me. I was pretty surprised. I was really touched too. How often does someone do something nice for someone they only tangentially know? It was a really nice feeling. So two bottles (yes, two not one) of Lambrusco came home with us earlier this month and we opened one because I just had to.

The results – it was one of the most interesting wines I’ve tasted.

Look: Slightly translucent raison colored wine. No noticeable fizz in the glass.

Smell: Prune, strawberry, some sugar and overripe fruit.

Taste: Light, not very bubbly but definitely fizzy. Little prune flavor and a lot like port. raison, red fruits – kind of juicy.

Conclusions: I loved this bottle not because I was ga-ga over the wine, but because of how I acquired it. I did drink a few glasses of this over a couple of days and while I can’t say it is my favorite, I did enjoy it. I’m not a port fan, finding it too heavy, so this was a nice alternative. I loved the texture of the wine in my mouth and how interesting it was. I do think this was a fantastic wine when it was younger (both Carmen and Robin told me it was an older bottle) and it might be a bit past its peak. I have every intention of opening the other bottle in the near future and enjoying it fully – probably after I get over this round of being sick – on the back patio on a beautiful day to remind me how lucky I am. Sometimes wine is wine and sometimes it is much more than that.


LEvangelho Vineyard Heritage – Red Blend, 2016

  • Basic info: Bedrock Wine Company Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red Blend, Contra Costa County, CA – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $30 (from winery)
  • Look: dark purple, almost opaque in the glass. Inky color on glass when swirled. Good legs – easily seen.
  • Smell: black cherry & raspberry
  • Taste: dark fruit, hint of strawberry, little earth and mineral. Smooth, with a little cherry pie taste, but not sweet. No noticeable tannin. Grape flavor on the long finish.
  • Conclusions: Really good wine. Bob liked this one slightly more than I did (I thought the old vine zin was just a touch better) but we both loved it. Easy to drink, lots of complexity but a wine that you don’t need to think about if you don’t want to.
  • Other notes: I didn’t drink much in January, in large part because I was either sick, getting sick or getting over being sick for most of the month. I’m pretty sure this bottle was better than I think it was simply because my taste buds are off – and that is saying something because I thought it was fantastic. This is noe the third wine from Bedrock that we’ve had and we have not been even remotely disappointed by any of them.
  • From the bottle: I forgot to take a picture of the back of the bottle, and we drank this a few weeks ago so I don’t still have the bottle to refer to, so from Bedrock’s site, “this wine is about 60% Zinfandel and 35% Mataro, with the remainder being Carignane, Palomino and a few other odds and ends.  This features racy and vibrant fruit that is pleasantly funkified but the presence of the savory Mataro.  Raised predominately in large foudre, this wine probably resembles a wine from the Southern Rhone as much as a “Zinfandel” from California.  As always, the incredibly suave tannins from the sandy soils at the ranch make for a high-tone and elegant red wine.” 14.1% alcohol by volume.


Brigadoon, Pinot Noir – 2015

  • Basic info:  Brigadoon “La Choquette Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $30 (from Backcountry Wines)
  • Look: Dark red with a slight brown/orange tint. Mostly opaque, but a little translucent at the edges
  • Smell: Stone, flint, cherry pit
  • Taste: Sour cherry, grape, a little apple. Bob got apple and mineral. Not a long finish and not a wine that changes much over the course of the glass.
  • Conclusions: We liked this wine, but after reading the description, it didn’t live up to expectations.
  • Other notes: I almost didn’t post this one because I was recovering from one cold and acquiring another cold when I drank it, so I’m pretty sure my ability to smell and taste were off. (Hence the lack of posts this month – I’ve spent as many days in January not drinking as I have drinking which I realize makes me sound like a lush, but I do like a glass of wine with dinner.) I loved the look of the wine – the slight brown and orange at the edges of the glass made it more interesting, although that might be a result of some oxidation.
  • From the bottle: The tasting notes: “Very fresh, complex fruit on the nose. Fresh picked strawberries in particular. The structure is striking – very round and all its components well-integrated, especially the skill tannins.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


Vieilles Vignes – Chinon, 2014

  • Basic info: Vieilles Vignes Chinon, Cabernet Franc, Chinon, France, 2014
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $15 (from Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: dark red, almost blackberry in color and opaque. Legs not noticeable early, but becomes more prominent as the wine warms and opens.
  • Smell: Cherry and red candy
  • Taste: Not much of a specific taste up front, but tart with a little black cherry, spice and mineral notes after a few seconds. Medium finish, but not many layers.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine. It was a good, drinking wine. It was easy to sip and didn’t require a lot of thinking to enjoy. It isn’t very memorable, but still a lovely wine.
  • Other notes: My first experiences with Cab Franc were not good – tree bark and dirt were the descriptions that come to mind, but a few of the recent Cab Francs have changed my mind. they can be more fruit forward (not sweet) than earthy and it is definitely worth seeking them out.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber Street Wines, “The delicious Chinon Vielles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 year old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and fermented with wild yeasts, the wine gets 12 months of aging in oak barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate shows earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate with firm citrus acids.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.