Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cedar Ridge Vineyards Grand Opening of the New Tasting Room

It was my civic duty (roll eyes at this point) to attend the grand opening of Cedar Ridge Vineyards new Tasting room now located at the vineyard. Here Jeff and the staff also make spirits which includes a new still just installed from Germany (for pictures check out their website

A nice crowd and appears they were steady at least when I was there which included a free tasting of all Cedar Ridge wines (see why it was my civic duty) and a nice tour of the wine and spirits operation. I can't wait till the spring when music and events are now held there. A great accomplishment considering the former location downtown Cedar Rapids was caught up in the great flood and several thousand bottles were ruined.

Yes I tasted every wine available from Brianna to the Port. My favorites of the day were the Port and the 5 Seasons Red which I purchased (must support your local winery). Please check out their website for more info on all their products.
Congratulations Jeff.

2008 Cavit Pinot Noir

Once again an old favorite from Cavit this time the 2008 Pinot Noir. I tasted the Cavit Collection as its called at Olive Garden when dining with friends and I have been a fan ever since. Its a very good Pinot in my opinion that ranges on sale at $8.99 to reg price of $12.99.
In the glass the aroma of red raspberry, cherry and spice all in harmony. Wouldn't it be great to visit Italy?
The wine in the mouth is silky smooth with a juicy cherry/raspberry start followed by a cola/oak/spice combination finish. This wine never dissapoints and I always have one on hand and ususally enjoy a bottle weekly.

2006 Cupcake Merlot

Finally some time to update. I actually tasted one of the 2006 Cupcake Merlot's myself the re-tasted with a friend who by the way only drinks merlot. Nice wine for the 8.99 price (normally $13.99).
In the glass I could smell red berry, plum, coffee and spicy oak.
Once in the mouth this was a smooth wine which gave me a cherry/plum flavor at the start and right before the finish a quick hint of chocolate followed by oak and an earthly ending. Decent wine offering from Cupcake.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1st Avenue Wine Tasting Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Traci always does a great job with her tastings (love the snacks) and the new releases this evening were from MJ Distributing and poured by Josh O'Donnell. We started the evening with an unoaked chardonnay courtesy of TLC Argentina. Very nice chardonnay, huge fruit flavor of tangerine, apple, cantaloupe. Very crisp my favorite this evening. I could tell it's going to be a good night.
Wine 2 was the Frias Rose'from California. Little dryer but nice strawberry/watermelon flavor. Time to head to the second floor.
Floor 2 started with a Sua' White from Argentina. A blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin and 20% Torrentes. This to me had a citris flavor and bubbly along with sweet. The second wine was an Ass Kisser Red Blend from Australia consisting of 59% Shiraz, 41% Grenache. Spicy bite to this wine at the start but smoothed out the longer it was in the glass. Finished with a soft vanilla berry flavor. Like it better the second time I tasted. On to the 3rd floor.
Floor 3 started with Ass Kisser Shiraz Australia. Very nice smooth wine with an excellent berry spice flavor. I'm a fan. Wine 2 was a Chocolate Box GSM Australia. Little more full flavor with spice and cinnamon the dominant flavors. Surprised how smooth the finish was. Back to floor 1 for the finale.
Chocolate Box Shiraz Australia was an excellent wine. Black fruit, vanilla (love vanilla), oak and spice. Impressed and only $15.99 but seems more expensive. Finally a wine my daughter would love Sua' Red Argentina. 60% Sangiovese, 30% Bonarda and 10% Moscatel. Sweet red served chilled. Wine with bubbles.

Wow a wine packed evening right before thanksgiving (yes Traci it was a 4 bottle purchase). I love little events like this because it will showcase some very nice value wines with the more expensive (tried to drink water to stay hydrated but the wine was better). I recommend every chance you get to taste different wines, take full advantage.

Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2005 John Tyler Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

I waited too long to try this excellent Pinot Noir from the folks at John Tyler (the flu/crud bug even got the best of me and for a few days no wine). Talking with Katie & Nicole Bacigalupi about their wine I decided to purchase the 2005 because as you all know I love Pinot.

From the minute the real cork was pulled from the bottle the scent of cherry was present (I do not recommend trying to sniff wine while pouring into the glass). Outstanding color and aroma on this wine. Beautiful cherry and leather notes and then pomegranate with a touch of spice at the end. The excitement builds now time to taste.

Wow what an elegant smooth wine. Excellent cherry/leather spice beginning and as the wine warmed, just a touch of vanilla/oak at the end. The harmony of the flavors in this wine are perfect (the bottle did not last the entire night). Complimented my pork medallions with a cherry/pomegranate sauce like no other wine. If you are a fan of wine and Pinot I highly recommend you purchase and share with your friends wines from John Tyler Winery.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

2008 Seyval Blanc Lynfred Winery

From my last post you all know where Lynfred Winery is located and a litte backround about them. The second sample Lynfred sent me was a white wine made with the seyval blanc grape. The seyval blanc grape as you can imagine is a hybrid grape suited for cool climates (Illinois being in the Midwest)and is primarily grown in England and the Finger Lakes region of New York (I had to research this folks). The grapes harvested for Lynfred's 2008 game from Correll Vineyards in Newton Illinois. Ok enough on the backround you say what did I like about the wine.

Once in the glass the first thing hitting the nose is the smell of fresh peaches followed by citris. You also get the sense prior to taste this is a crisp wine. Can't wait time to drink and taste.

First taste didn't take long to identify that peach flavor. Light not overpowering and followed by a citris fruit flavor. The finish brought out the mineral characteristic of the wine (and the grape). Minerality is so hard to describe but think of it as getting a soda from a fountain at your favorite restaurant minus the syrup (haven't we all had that). Now add the flavors of the wine to it and you get my description. There were some summer days when I really would have loved a glass of this award winning Seyval Blanc from Lynfred Winery. Stop out and say hello to the gang for me and make sure you take a bottle home. I'm sure you will like their wines as much as I do.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lynfred Cuvee Premium White Table Wine

My latest taste comes from the fine people of Lynfred Winery in Roselle Illinois (my home state). What I didn't know was that Lynfred Winery is the oldest and largest in the state and produces 50 varietals and 25,000 cases per year. They asked if I would blog about their wine and could they send me samples. As you can tell my response was YES!

So my first sample was the Lynfred Cuvee Premium White Table Wine. I liked how they included a tasting sheet telling me this is a 100% Chardonnay blend. My first sniff screams pineapple but also it gave me the sensation of a crisp cool chilled bowl of fruit. Spicy, oak and as the wine warmed a touch, here came my favorite vanilla. Nice aroma on this one.

Excellent white wine and 13.5% alcohol. The taste was a perfect combination of creamy pineapple followed by buttery vanilla and you can sure tell the finish because Mr. Oak is definately present along with a touch of spice. Very impressed. I see why Lynfred Winery has such a large following. Stop out today, say hi to Christina and the gang while you sample Lynfred's award winning wines. Take a few bottles home too for your friends.