Arbanta Rioja 2010, around $11.99
I usually drink white wine in the summer, but the other day the weather reminded me so much of Fall. I was eyeing the red Rioja that has been in my wine rack for a couple of months now. So I decided to give it a try. I was really tempted to start a fire in my fireplace, but that would’ve been pushing it.
Rioja is named after La Rioja in Spain. This wine is made from the Tempranillo grape – a variety of black grape – often referred to as Spain’s noble grape. Wines from Rioja are known to be aged in a barrel.
Spanish wines are about the place they’re from, and Rioja offers silky wines. Silky is a great description because this is a smooth wine. I was surprised how much I liked it. It has spicy floral aromas with a full-bodied yet bright flavor. It’s somewhat sweet on the tongue at first but then it’s a bit spicy. The solid fruit flavors of this wine remind me of cherries and plums. Delicioso!
I drank a glass…OK, two…solo, but the Rioja pairs nicely with roasted chicken and pasta. Yum.
I know it’s been slow around the blog. There’s definitely been a lot more action over on the Facebook page. But that’s all going to change soon.
First, I just took, and passed, the Introductory Level Sommelier course. I’m convinced they do their best to scare you to death as part of the training. I need to write up the experience but I’m still sort of processing it.
Next, I’ve got the opportunity to spend more time on the West Coast over the next few months. That means I’m taking more of a backseat role here at the blog, and functioning more as a Managing Editor.
Of course, I need something to edit, right? I’m bringing on two lovely new writers, both with fresh perspectives and who are perfect for Wine-Girl.net. Like me, they’re not wine experts, but consumers, just like you. I’m excited about them both. I’ll let them introduce themselves to you over the next few days.
I will be chiming in periodically with things I simply must share, wines that simply must be reviewed, and interesting observations of a Cincinnati wine girl in California wine country.
I’m excited about the changes ahead!
Swirl, Smell, Slurp is a blog based out of Los Angeles that is trying to taste wines from all 50 states. Their original goal was to do it in 50 weeks, but the sample process does not work quite that quickly.
Thanks to Dep’s Fine Wines’s Kevin Keith, I was recommended to be the Ohio wine blogger with whom the Swirl, Smell, Slurp bloggers virtually tasted. I immediately recommended several Ohio wineries, including Firelands, Kinkead Ridge, Harmony Hill, and St Joseph’s. Kinkead Ridge got back to my new bloggy friends, but unfortunately, Nancy is seriously low on wine. Heck, I picked up one case of their second-label white and they’d only made 42 cases! Friends, the Ohio valley can be brutal on grapes some years.
However, my friends at Harmony Hill got back to the fine folks at Swirl, Smell, Slurp and I picked up my samples on Memorial Day Weekend. Bill provided us with four vastly different wines and you can read all about it – from She, He, and Me – over at the United Slurps of America: Ohio edition.
Oh, and my advice to He and She of Swirl, Smell, Slurp? Go sign up for the Wine Century Club. You’ll be getting all sorts of French-American hybrids at your doorstep if you’re trying all 50 states. Everything from the more common southern grapes of Chambourcin, Muscadine, and Traminette to crazy things like Teraldego. You’ll be in the Century Club in no time!
We’re moving from Typepad to WordPress on Thanksgiving. That means the blog might be unavailable on Thanksgiving, and if things go poorly, on Black Friday as well. I will do my best but tech issues are tech issues and well … It may also disrupt your RSS feed.
There is a backup plan: you’ll still be able to access the site at http://writegirl.typepad.com/wine. Ideally, you won’t have to do that, and ideally, you’ll be able to always use Wine-Girl.net.
When we launch the new blog, you’ll notice the design is more complete than it is currently, more vines and clouds and butterflies and such … for this you can thank the wonderful amazing design skills of John @ 520Red. Hire him. He designed “cartoon me” and all of her derivatives …
So, deep breath … and wish me luck!
While Michelle is in Chicago at BlogHer, I'm (Kevin) representing our blog at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma.
We're about to do a live "speed tasting." 6 Minutes per wine maker to explain a bottle of their wine. Then switch to the next group of 10 attentive tasters. Post will be updated with pics when I get a chance. 18 tables, 3 winemakers are stuck in traffic from San Francisco. We are delayed as IT is called to fix the wifi.
Round 1: Schramsburg 2006 Blanc de Blancs
Winery started in 1965. 4 areas are used for grapes to create the bubbly. Sweet fruity flavor upfront with a little apple. Small amount of yeastines and not trying to be French style. On lees for 2 years and I think our table lucked out with the best way to start a tasting. Retail $36.
Round 2: 07 Lilly Hills Zin from Bella Vineyards. Syrah and Petite Syrah in the blend as well. 15% Abv. Earthy and leathery on the palate and about the opposite of the last thing we tried. Overall it needs alittle more time in bottle to relax. Retail at $38
Round 3: 2007 River of Skulls from Twisted Oak. Smoother than last year, higher Syrah percentage. Mourvedre. $35 at retail.
Round 4: 07 Barbarra from Northwest Wine Academy. Sweet flavor and little depth. Would work better with food.
Round 5: 08 Fish Eye Pinot Gris. Central Valley grapes. Going for year after year consistency. I am still not a huge Pinot Gris fan, but this has a open and acceptable flavor profile. $6.99 retail for 750. $14.99 for the 3L. I'd bring this to a party without heavy wine drinkers and I think there would be no problem.
Round 6: Pinot Evil. $20 for a 3L box. Nice basic Pinot. Would recommend for when hosting a party or to have an everyday red available for drinking.
Round 7: 07 Cab Sauv from Cupcake. 2 different vineyards combining for 85 CS, 12 Syrah, Petit Sytah for the rest. Going for an adult treat. Good again this year a little warm on the finish, but plenty of fruit to balance. Used Cab Sauv to make cupcake frosting on the paired cupcakes for after the tasting.
Round 8: 05 Snows Lake 2 Blend. Nice tannic, CS shows through, needs time to open up a little. Very deep wine with great food potential. $45 retail and worth it. 14.2% AbV doesn't overwhelm and is very nice.
Round 9: 07 Petite Syrah from Line 39. Very light with alot of tannins. At $10 this would be a great introduction to the varietal to anyone who is starting on red wines.
Round 10: 07 Ancient Vine Mouv from Cline Cellars. Nice spicy and earthy. Cline has nice sandy soil that lends to growing this varietal. 25% new American oak keeps the flavor pure. 15% AbV does not overwhealm the rest of it. 10,000 cases made yearly. $16
Round 11 (two left): 07 Chard from Tandem. Very buttery and subdued oak. Chewy flavor and a nice example of Cali Chard. 2000 ft elevation Dijon 809 clone used in making the wine. Balanced, but not my style of chard. $54 retail.
Round 12: 07 Estate Chard from Foggy Bridge. Winery to open in San Fran next year. Balanced and 1/2 malo and 1/2 stainless. Crisp finish and good acid. 190 cases and $18 a bottle. Malo balances the wine and makes this a nice value Chard.
This will be prettied up later, but another great tasting at the WBC!
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