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Hosting a Wine Tasting May. 22nd, 2017 @ 04:39 pm
I'm hosting a wine tasting this weekend.  Now, I have hosted wine tastings before, and they are usually a lot of fun. But was wondering if anyone here hosts wine tastings, of if not hosted, at least attended....

Do you have any recipes you like to serve?
Activities you enjoy? (for example - most of us make wine and/or mead, so we are going to bring some of our home made wines in addition to serving wines from other wineries -- I am going to have a blind tasting with each bottle in a cute little pouch so no one can tell whose is whose, then have scorecards and probably some silly doorprize for the favorite wine). Any other ideas?

1...2...3... GO!
Current Mood: excitedexcited

MODERATOR POST Apr. 24th, 2017 @ 09:40 am
If there's anyone out there still reading:

I am going to close this community as I inevitably drift to Dreamwidth.

However, if anyone would like to take over as moderator, send me a message and I will transfer the mod job to you.

The Judgement of Vegas: Blind Tasting & Bottleshock pt2 Apr. 14th, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
We all agreed that the wines were equally well made and that it was a case a of personal preference as to which one you liked more. Our verdicts (there were 6 of us, split down the middle.) Even the most experienced "wineaux" in the room didn't guess the regions correctly.

Pix below the cut:

GoodCollapse )

Lessons learned --

I served asparagus with dinner and had a bit of fun watching the less experienced among us learn not to wash it down with red wine. ;)

Also, I should've put out a bottle of Mouton Cadet and a 2 Buck Chuck Chard so that my guests would have a better idea of contrasts in quality -- they would've tasted a wine that is clearly not equal in quality.
Current Mood: amusedamused

Bottle Shock and a Blind Tasting Apr. 13th, 2013 @ 05:48 pm
My "Walking Dead Dinners" are turning my friends into wineauxs.

Tonight, we're watching Bottle Shock and having our own little Judgment of Paris.

I've wrapped the bottles already, so I can't give specifics until after the unveiling. All bottles in the $15-$20 range.

A Bordeaux Style Red ("left bank") vs. a Haut Medoc

A Napa Chardonnay vs. White Burgundy (from Mâcon, I think)

An Amador Zinfandel "Port" vs. Banyuls.

The Menu (because I don't want to fire up my oven for more than 10 minutes).

Pasta (gluten free) with mushroom red sauce, (vegan) alfredo sauce, and (gluten free) alfredo sauce.

Grilled asparagus with lemon butter.

Garlic toast.

(The other meat eater and I are having a teensy tiny piece of grilled steak. Rare, of course.)

Chocolate cake and cherry chocolate soy desert.

Pictures and verdicts to follow.
Current Mood: calmcalm

SLOE GIN Apr. 3rd, 2013 @ 11:08 pm
I spent a number of evenings in my misspent youth in a pleasant bar (attached to a steakhouse) drinking sloe gin fizzes. This was due partly largely (I'm blaming two parties)to my late mother, who said they were quite the thing in her younger days, and also due to Tim Curry singing "Sloe Gin." (Tender ears please turn the sound down.)

The other day my husband and I were perusing a cocktail book and I remarked that I used to drink sloe gin, and he said he'd heard of it but didn't know what it was. I said it was made from a sour relative of plums but that I didn't think it was easy to find a decent band any more (at least in the US) that wasn't all sweetened up for the younger crowd.

Anyone know about sloe gin? I know that Hiram Walker makes one, but I suspect it is all sugary with little plum character. Is there a decent authentic brand around?

"Supernatural Wine" The Devil May Care, California, 2010 Mar. 21st, 2013 @ 08:08 am
(No, I don't drink this early in the morning. I'm just typing up notes from before I caught my latest cold.)

According to the website this wine is a blend crafted for Fresh and Easy, which is where I picked it up for about $7

The label and the website say nothing about the grapes, but I'm thinking a mix of Cab, Merlot, Shiraz, and possibly some Zin.

Color: A very dark blood red

Sniff test: Very lush and jammy. Blackberry, cherry, and a hint of mocha

First Impression: Tart and tangy. A little hot and rough around the edges. Very spicy. Tart cherry and a little cola on the middle back.

Breathing Room: Becomes very nice and silky with some cherry-cola flavors on the back. Up front, it's fruity and jammy, cherry, blackberry, and even some plums. The middle is hollow. It's still a little hot and rough around the edges in the finish, but in a fun way.

Verdict: A fun, easy drinking table wine.

I paired it with Episode 7x17 "Born Again Identity"

(You gotta love a snarky devil!)

"Supernatural Wine" -- The Big Red Monster Feb. 3rd, 2013 @ 08:35 pm
The The Big Red Monster 2010, California, has a label that's a triumph of minimalist design. I picked up for about $12 at my local Fresh and Easy.

The label gives no indication, however, of the grapes in it.

Color: Very dark purple-red, almost Petit Sirah dark.
Nose: Closed. Fruit and dusty brick.
First Impression: Very closed. Cherry, black raspberry, some currant. Rough. Short, tart finish, very tannic. Gave me "cat tongue".
Breathing Room: A skoosh smoother, but not much. This wine still thinks it's Cabernet but it's not -- the flavor profile isn't quite right.

Verdict: To be honest, you're going to want to decant this wine for at least an hour before drinking. Only after day two in my fridge did it open up into a big, bombastic red that I think is Petit Sirah, Syrah, and some Zinfandel, on the basis of the black raspberry, huckleberry, black plum, and currant flavors with a nice bit of allspice on the finish. It went really nicely with the pot roast I made for dinner that night.

Episode pairing: 7.09 How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters, an episode that was a parody of American Consumer Culture. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself:

Given that this wine was, in its own way, quite sneaky, it's a good pairing.

Lost Angel 2009 Ruckus White Wine Jan. 9th, 2013 @ 08:33 pm
I was going to save the next bottle of "Supernatural" Wine for next week but (a) the remaining Pinot Evil is sitting in my freezer waiting for my next stew and (b) it's been a very long day, and, but for the fact I have no scotch, I'd be having a "scotch flavored drink".

That said, on to our wine.

Color: A nice medium gold
Sniff test: Apples, white flowers, and a little peach on the nose, as well as a hint of minerals.

First impression: Green apples, pineapple, a bit of grapefruit. A bit sweet and fruity up front, but a crisp clean finish. The wine was also a bit frizzy in the glass.

After a bit of breathing room: All of the above, only nicer and richer, with a bit of peaches in the middle and a bit of flint in the finish.

Verdict: A winner. This is a nicely balanced, easy to drink blend of several grapes. It's the wine that Apothic White wants to be. I paid $7 at my local Fresh and Easy. According to this site the primary grape is Viognier, followed by Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Viognier doesn't age well, so if you get a bottle of this, drink it quick; it's going to start declining soon. (I plan to snap up another bottle or two and serve them when "Walking Dead Dinner" returns.)

Episode: 6x20 The Man Who Would Be King. "And of course, I remember the most remarkable event. Remarkable because it never came to pass. It was averted by two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel. The grand story, and we ripped up the ending, and the rules, and destiny, leaving nothing but freedom and choice. Which is all well and good, except... but what if I've made the wrong choice?" If that's not the definition of causing a ruckus, I don't know what is.

And then there's this bit that recaps all the ruckus going on in the SPN 'verse.

Pinot Evil Pinot Noir, NV, France Jan. 6th, 2013 @ 04:49 pm
I'm going to do another round of "Supernatual Wine" tastings where I pair a wine with a supernatural name with an episode of the TV series Supernatural.

For the first wine I've got Pinot Evil Pinot Noir, a French Vin de Pays de L'Ile de Beaute wine. (A "country" wine from Corsica.)

Color: A light red. This wine is almost Lambrusco colored, and you can tell it's thin as it pours.

Nose: Initially kind of closed, cherries and earth, astringent. Once opened, tart cherries.

First Impression: It's got a very silky mouthfeel, but it's sour and astringent straight out of the bottle. The predominant flavor note is cherries. The finish is very short.

Breathing Room: Not much changes. It becomes even more silky and astringency is gone, but it's got one flavor note: sour cherry and the finish is still really short.

Verdict: I ate this with a garlicy steak, potatoes, tomatoes, and roasted asparagus (aka "Flatiron steak from Sammy's Woodfired") and it went pretty well. It's so cherry tasting, that it would go well with some kinds of game such as duck, or with things like lemon-rosemary chicken and roast pork.

But, I paid $6.50 for a bottle at my local Fresh and Easy, so don't expect anything from this wine. It doesn't get anything wrong but neither does it get anything especially right.

Episode: 6x15 "The French Mistake" -- okay I had to go with the title here. The French Mistake is one of the funniest hours of TV it's ever been my privilege to watch. (Clip is under 5 mins.) Sam and Dean stumble onto the set of a TV series called Supernatural and all hell breaks loose. It's fun like the wine is fun, but as a meta episode, it's got more layers.

NEW MOD ADDED Aug. 23rd, 2012 @ 11:15 am
Hi Wine Peeps,

I've been added as a mod/maintainer of wine.

I changed the settings so that only approved members can post. That ought to cut down on the spam.

Keep posting your wine-related observations, questions, reviews, etc!

community is now moderated-only Jul. 27th, 2012 @ 11:48 am
Due to the spate of spam recently and my (anyway) inactivity on LJ, new members to the wine community will be moderated and have to be approved.

I probably won't be doing this much, though - that'll be up to psycat90

Is it wine yet? Mar. 26th, 2012 @ 05:17 pm
(In an effort to wake this community from its slumbers ....)

I have to say that there is nothing like several hours worth of very fiddly editing work to make me say, "Is it wine yet?"

(And but for the fact that I am OMG! beyond deadline on a piece I need to finish writing, it would be.)

So, chime in with a few of your "Is it wine yet?" moments.

A decent full-bodied red for under $10: Sterling Meritage Feb. 26th, 2012 @ 09:27 am
Even though I live in Napa Valley and occasionally do the nice wines around here (just about all of them at the wineries are $30+), we've been on a kick lately of trying out $10-and-under wines from the local grocery store and Cost Plus.

Usually we decide these aren't even worth the $6-$8 we pay for them, but there have been a few exceptions.  I was pleasantly surprised by Sterling Vintner Collection Meritage (mostly cabernet sauvignon and merlot, with a little malbec and petit verdot)
Even though it's not perfectly balanced, it has some similarities to $30+ cabs I've tried around here. It's definitely for those of you who enjoy a somewhat hearty/rich wine... it has a balance of brambleberry and green vegetable flavors, with slightly chewy tannins (noticeable, enough to give it some heft -- better than most cheap cabs -- but not overbearing).  To me, I get flavors of blackberry and green pepper with subtle hints of coffee and tobacco (slightly smoky/toasty oak flavor).

It's not perfect, but it certainly seems good for a full-bodied sub-$10 bottle. Usually I find the cheaper reds to be either too "ripe" and fruity  tasting (like prunes or overripe something or another...), or too thin and alcohol-hot; at least this one avoids those fates.

Some other recent under $10 forays (red) we have enjoyed have been:

* Apothic Red (another blend, but no cab in this one so it's all fruit and a little oak, not so heavy on the tannins because it's mostly merlot and syrah)

* Fleur de Lyeth -- a blend of cabernet, merlot, and malbec. This one falls somewhere in between the Sterling Meritage and the Apothic Red. It's a little sturdier and not as fruity as the Apothic Red, but still has a weaker cab and stronger presence of merlot than Sterling does.

* Maggio Zinfandel (rich, quintessential Lodi/California zin flavors combining a nice balance of ripe, jammy fruit and a fair deal of spice. A mix of prune, raspberry jam, and hints of black pepper and clove)

* Greg Norman pinot (a rich red pinot with tart berry/cherry flavor)

* Concannon pinot (a lighter, ruddier pinot with strong oak presence)
Current Location: Napa
Current Mood: mellowmellow

A few gift wines : info and suggestions? Dec. 25th, 2011 @ 11:11 am
Salut tout le monde! So, I have a few bottles of French wine I'd like some info on in terms of taste and pairing with edible accompaniments, anyone care to help? I brought them over as gifts for my family and friends, but haven't had much time to look into them, and some were left for me as gifts by some of my students who I'm sure are more wine-savvy than I.

I'd like to have my whole family taste the champagnes and the 1998 Sauternes, and I'm giving the Monbazillac, Loupiac, and Caprice de Clémentine as gifts to individuals. Any suggestions about what I can tell them to expect as far as taste, and what one would eat with those in terms of a meal or snack? Without further ado, here are the concerned wines and a photo if that helps!

Sauternes, Chateau Romer du Hayot, 1998, 14%
Monbazillac, Chateau Hut Bernasse, 2005, 12.5%
Loupiac, Chateau de Montalier, 2009, 13.5%
Le Caprice de Clémentine, Côtes de Provence, 2010, 13%

Champange Brut, Ruinart, Maison de Ruinart, Reims 12%
Champagne Brut, Charles Bove, Méthode Traditionelle 12%


Thanks in advance/merci d'avance for any kind of info or help you can give me! I wish you all a very gleðileg jól (Icelandic :), joyeux noël, merry Christmas, and chanukkah sameach!

Favorite wine apps? Nov. 20th, 2011 @ 12:23 pm
I just got my first iPhone, and I'd love to download some wine apps, but I'm a little overwhelmed by the number available, even looking at online recommendations. Features I'm interested in:

food/wine pairing
tasting notes and prices
vintage charts
easy-to-use way to do my own tasting notes on the fly

They don't all have to be in the same app. And of course free is better, but I'm willing to pay a few bucks for one or more truly useful apps. Which apps do you like best, and why?

Best wine club for your money Oct. 28th, 2011 @ 06:07 pm
I've never joined a wine club before. I want wine sent to my home monthly. What are the best clubs, cost wise and wine quality?

:) Thanks in advance

More inexpensive pinots Oct. 16th, 2011 @ 09:44 am
A while back I made a post comparing two Trader Joe's "VINTJS" line of pinot noir -- one from Willamette (usually a source of great pinot, but I did not lot like the TJs offering, despite being made by a well-respected source) and one from Santa Lucia (which seems to be an "up and comer" in the pinot world, and so far I haven't met a Santa Lucia pinot I didn't like); both of these were about $8, and while neither was amazing, the Santa Lucia one was quite drinkable and I was pretty pleased for the pricetag.

Well, I decided to explore a few more low-end offerings I saw at my local grocery store: one is made by Concannon and the other by Gnarly Head.  The Gnarly Head was a buck more, but they were both under $10 where I live (though they may have been on sale, I don't remember.)

And they were both pretty good! Now, just to set the record straight, I'm not someone who likes "big" pinots -- I don't want my pinot to be dark and rich; if I were in the mood for that, I'd drink something other than pinot. So I much prefer it to be delicate, somewhat light-colored and transparent, and with a good balance of fruit and oak. I also love mineral, mushroomy earthiness when I can get that in a pinot, but these California pinots don't seem to do that as well as Oregon ones do. They do, however tend to have some level of toasted oak mixed with sour cherry and/or cranberry flavors, sometimes a little black tea or cola shows up in the profile as well (I find that's usually in the higher-end ones, though. There are some great -- but too expensive -- examples of these from Etude in Carneros)

Having said that, both the Concannon and Gnarly head were pretty well-balanced; the Concannon had a touch more alcohol heat and a little more of a sour profile to it (which my gf likes so we now have 4 of them sitting in the rack); the Gnarly Head is slightly more fruity/berry flavor, so I think I liked it just a little more, but at this point we just pick up whatever's a good deal.

These aren't going to hold par with many of the $40 Oregon, Carneros, Santa Lucia, and Sonoma Coast pinots (although I believe Gnarly Head actually is Sonoma Coast grapes), but for $10 or so (I believe I got them for $8 and $9) they do a respectable job of representing the varietal -- and I mention them here because they can probably be found all across America.
Current Location: Napa

Need help going Red Oct. 15th, 2011 @ 11:27 am
I have always been a white wine drinker.  I lean mostly to the Riesling side of life.  But, I really want to venture into Red territory.

My experiences with Red in the past haven't been great.  Too dry and the tannins leave me with a head ache.  I have been told that the RWH is all in my head (*sighs*) and that Red is no more likely to cause headaches than White.

So why do I want to go Red?  Blame it on peer pressure.  Or actually on wine tasting pressure.

I love wine tastings.  But every time, I ask for whites only - I get this "look" - yeah, you know the one - it says "grow up and get with the program".

Not exactly in those words, but you get my meaning.  Who says the world of wine is without snobbery? 

I have been told that Red is an acquired taste and one must grow into it.  Well, I am willing to give it a try.

Anyone have any suggestions on some Red to cut my baby teeth on?  Be gentle - nothing too dry and too hearty to start. 

Current Location: home
Current Mood: sicksick

Boxed Wine - A convert Jul. 18th, 2011 @ 08:18 pm
I have to admit that I have shied away from boxed wine in the past - to me it just said "cheap wine", but now I am a converted boxed wine drinker. 

Last weekend was a girl's weekend - and of course it goes without saying - much wine was going to be consumed.

I was browsing the local Liquor Barn looking for something different - as we like to try new things.  I am partial to Rieslings - for me a good Riesling is hard to beat if you are just sitting around drinking some wine and perhaps eating some salty dark chocolate (my secret vice).

Whoops, I digress - browsing the aisles of white wines and happen to strike up a conversation with a fellow Riesling lover and she recommended Bota Box 2008 California Riesling.

It comes in a 3L box (which equals FOUR 750 ml bottles) and priced at $18.99/box (which equals ~$4.75/bottle) the price is right.

But of course, the proof is in the pudding; and this Bota Box delivered!

The wine was slightly sweet, but not too much - it went well with that aforementioned salty dark chocolate and the salty grilled halloumi cheese we were snacking on. 

I brought home what we didn't drink (another plus on boxed wine - it stays fresh up to 6 weeks) and takes up very little space in your refrigerator.  As a matter of fact, I am having a glass as I write this.

Will I buy this again? You betcha.  I think I will keep a box handy for last minute get togethers - at this price - I can afford it.

Lesson learned - being a wine "snob" will cost you in more ways than one....

Current Location: home
Current Mood: complacentcomplacent

Little Tiny Wineries Jul. 17th, 2011 @ 07:54 pm
I love to shop at them.

When I was in Indiana back in May I did some Googling to see what I could find within reasonable driving distance of where my daughter lives, and came up with a list of three places that would fill an afternoon's driving.

One of them was Shady Creek, in Michigan City IN. Their sales building is obviously quite new, and the winery/vinyard are nowhere in sight. It could be anywhere along the Lake Michigan Shore wine district.

After tasting several, I wound up with a white, "Sandy Feet", and a red, "Rip Tide".

I gotta warn you here, I have a considerable sweet tooth, so I do NOT dig super-dry wines of any coloring, and fruitiness is not a sin in my mouth.

We haven't tried the white yet, but we had the Rip Tide with a roast for supper this evening.

Even on top of a plate full of roast beef and The Usual Veggies, I can still feel the slight buzz from this wine. I just checked the label; it doesn't specify the alcoholic content, though. This is definitely a Hearty Red, and on the dry side, but with just enough fruitiness to satisfy my sweet tooth.

It's been long enough ago that I don't recall the exact price, but it has to have been in the $15-$20 per bottle range, based on my general memory of how much in-total I spent that afternoon, across three wineries.
Other entries
» Cherry wine from juice
Looking for a recipie....anyone have a nice one?
» Spokane WA
We have a wedding to attend in Spokane WA this summer and will have some time to kill. We saw on a website that there are a bunch of wineries in the area. Have any of you visited any of them? If so please let me know of any ones you've enjoyed. We love going to wineries here, there and everywhere when the opportunity arises.
» Another TJ's pinot
Just wanted to share that I decided to try a 3rd VINTJS pinot on the recent trip to Trader Joe's -- I've been stocking up on 3-4 bottles of Santa Lucia each time, and on the recent visit I noticed Willamette was no longer stocked but a new one was: 2009 San Lusi Obispo County.

I decided to give it a try (1 bottle, vs. 3 bottles of Santa Lucia since I know I like that one and I had no expectations of San Luis Obispo), but I just had it (well, some of it) and it's even worse than I expected. One of the worst pinots I've had. Tastes alike it was made in a gym locker. Similar "old sock" flavor to Charles Shaw syrah.  Gross.  Avoid this one.  Definitely get the Santa Lucia, but any others I've tried are not even worth the $9 price tag.
» Fruity white wine recommendations for a spring evening?
Dear wine lovers, I have much enjoyed this comm's recommendation of Menage A Trois for an inexpensive, and yet really good, red with fun spice/fruit notes. This evening, I would love to have a glass of white wine, but I don't drink white wine often and do not know what to get.

I would love some recc's for an equally inexpensive (under $15) white wine with some body (I don't like the super crisp, watery whites) and yet that is light, fruity, and refreshing.
» Suggestions?
Thought I'd try to spark some conversation and activity......

If I've been enjoying Pinot Noirs, Pinotages, Tempranillos and some (not super aggressive) Zinfandels, where should I go from here?

Sort of feel like I've been in a wine rut. Under $15 suggestions especially appreciated.
» Send me your Vino Mojo!
My hubby and I are holding our "intro to wine" tasting tonight, and I have been on my feet all day prepping the house and food. (Hubby was his awesome self and cleaned the bathrooms. He'd do more but he has to work today.)

The whites:
Sauv Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling

The reds:
Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cab Sauv, Shiraz.

(I was going with port, but changed my mind.)

This got changed on the fly to Creme Sherry when my original dessert fell through and another guest showed up with dark chocolate covered bananas.

I will be providing some basic veggie, cheese, and fruit nibblies, but we told our guests that if they want to bring something, bring an appetizer or a main course to serve 6. It will be a true potluck and our guests will find out by themselves what does/doesn't work. ;)


I am collecting keys at the door, and anybody who does not have a designated driver must hang out for at least 2 hours after their last drink.
» Bicyclette 2009 Pinot Noir (also a question)
Bought this when I was out shopping with my mom (Target, about $8). Usually, I'm not a big red wine drinker, but I've always liked trying new things (and anyway, if I ended up not liking it, my mom would drink it). I don't know enough to tell you about the different flavors and notes, but I was surprised to find I really liked it and would definitely recommend it to others.

See, I have a problem with a majority of reds in that they make my jaw very sore. Does anyone else have this problem or know what causes it (or should I be talking to my dentist)? I'd like to try more red wines but it's very annoying to take one sip and not be able to finish the glass because oww. Any help here would be appreciated!
» Judged a bottle by its cover.grabbed it on a whim.

Anyone try this before?



» (No Subject)

My first experience with Wine was Loganberry at 85 Cents a Bottle. (Gosh, I'm getting old!) I enjoy the sweet flavor of a Tawny Port and when I was a kid, my best friend's dad made a Wine he called Dago Red. Highly bitter, so we cut it with 7-up.

Now, I'm looking for a Red that is slightly sweet. Under $20 per bottle and not to be mixed with anything. :o) Choices at the Markets such as Trader Joes and the big stores like Fred Meyer are soe large that I get frustrated at my lack of Wine Education.

Suggestions? Thanks all.

» The Gret taste of wine..
I have a great taste for wine. The smooth taste with a light feeling is perfect for a long day after work, or hanging with family & friends. Please take a look and see details on the inside.
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