Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2008 Dutcher Crossing Saralee Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Deb Mathy owner of Dutcher Crossing Winery is an absolute hoot. Having the opportunity to meet her and winemaker Mr Kerry Damskey on their visit to First Avenue Wine House Cedar Rapids Iowa was a real treat. One of my purchases for the evening happens to be my next review the 08 Saralee Vineyard Chardonnay. While this wine is only available to wine club members (website shows wine club exclusive) I knew that having the opportunity to purchase this outstanding wine was a must. Heaven in a bottle is how I describe this wine.

Classic chardonnay aroma of juicy pear to begin your sniffing pleasure. Next baked apple followed closely by a crisp fresh citrus aroma.

Awesome smooth wine, elegant and rich. The flavor of creamy baked apple combined with the pear is perfect. Rounding out the wine is a finish of lemon zest so juicy and lingers long. I felt completely spoiled drinking this fine wine.

Kerry, you and Deb have created an absolute jewel in this chardonnay. I encourage you to read more about Dutcher Crossing Winery by visiting the link to their website and don't forget to order yourself a couple bottles of wine. I am anxious to hear how you enjoyed them.


Monday, August 23, 2010

2008 Eric Ross Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Noir

When my wife and I headed West to Napa/Sonoma for our June vacation, a must stop was to Eric Ross Winery in Glen Ellen to visit a native Iowan Eric Luse (owner, winemaker, photographer and head BS'er). My friend in DesMoines who had the pleasure of visiting Eric at one of the blogger conferences, said I would love his Pinot and all his other wines. Magic word wine and I am all ears.

The wine I chose tonight was one I purchased after a taste at the winery. The 2008 Pinot Noir Saralee's Vineyard exhibits the characteristics of a great wine produced from the russian river valley in california. First aroma once in the glass was that of spicy cola. I would have bet anything before I swirled we were going to get cherry but noooo it was the cola first then the wine opened up to reveal the dark cherry. Finally a hint of cranberry at the end and a slight hint of vanilla.

Could I hug the vines that produced this fruit please? Your first taste is the juicy dark cherry followed quickly by the slight cranberry. Impressed how the fruit stays juicy all through the finish and lingers long. Towards the middle to end the plum flavor appears and finally a slight hint of vanilla. The flavors compliment each other very well and really showcase the fruit used in creating this masterpiece. I would give this wine 5 thumbs up but I only have 2 :)

Visit Eric's website Eric Ross Winery to purchase some of his award winning wines for yourself. Would love to hear if you enjoy them as much as I do. Eric I will be placing my order shortly!


Monday, August 16, 2010

2005 Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Cathy Corison

This was the second wine we opened on Wine Wednesday courtesy of Wine Maker Cathy Corison and my last sample of her award winning to die for cabernet. My wine buddy Brett had the opportunity to taste the 02 and 06 cabernets and was equally impressed with this wine. Brooke who tasted Corison for the first time was very impressed. Myself..... I was sad when the bottle was dry :)

Right away we each commented on the aroma of the fruit. The dark fruit of blackberry, blueberry and dark cherry combined with the spice really set you up for what was to come when tasting the wine. I was amazed how both my wine buddies were swirling and smelling vs tasting. A compliment to the wine!

Just as impressive as the first 2 cabernets, the wonderful flavor of blackberry treats your palate first. Second I really like the dark juicy cherry flavor and how it complimented the blackberry. Brett and Brooke could taste the blueberry and Brett picked up the licorice and spice at the end. I picked up the warm spice at the end and loved how the flavors flowed together perfectly.

Cathy another amazing cabernet and I (we) could drink your wines all day! I can't thank you enough for the opportunity to taste and blog your wines.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

South Florida Food and Wine Interviews The Iowa Wino

I had an absolute blast answering these questions for Christine at South Florida Food And Wine. For those who may miss it have fun reading! Hey does this make me famous?
Sunday, August 15, 2010 The Iowa Wino, a Great Wine Blogger in the Spotlight

This week’s blogger in the spotlight, The Iowa Wino is endearing, amusing and very entertaining. I found the Iowa Wino on another blogger’s blogroll; I was completely intrigued by the name “The Iowa Wino “ and had to find out more about the wine writings behind this rather comical name. True to form as one would expect from America’s Heartland The Iowa Wino is real and true giving his readers wine information in a story format, (only in the way a Midwesterner can) that always seems to be shared with friends making you absolutely “feel the love” for his experience as if you are right there with him. With all the exotic wine dinners and fancy food pairings I go to the unfussiness of The Iowa Wino’s experiences puts the true definition of enjoying food and wine into perspective; a good bottle of wine + a good meal with good friends = a great evening. Blogger in the Spotlight readers, I present to you The Iowa Wino

South Florida Food and Wine: How did you start wine writing?

The Iowa Wino: The company I work for at all our functions would offer wine. Course I thought wine was for snobs but I really enjoyed the taste. Well a wine club started at work at 5pm on Fridays and each week you were required to bring 2 bottles to share. One day one in the group said "Who the heck is keeping track of the wines we tasted so we don't repeat" And so the blog was born, some of my own tastings and some of the groups. With the help of my new wine friends on Twitter and Facebook, they helped me create The Iowa Wino and have guided me along the way, good and bad. Some harassment too.
South Florida Food and Wine: Do you do anything else other than write about wine?

The Iowa Wino: I work in Finance for one of the largest independent office equipment leasing companies in the country. Wine relaxes me at night and cooking is relaxer. Golf a few times but I used to be an avid 5 times per week player. Once married with kids more like once a week 4 hours of silence.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about writing?

The Iowa Wino: Keeping it interesting. I try to crack a few jokes, hope to god I don't bore readers where they stop reading and think "This bum is about as interesting as watching a walnut rot".

South Florida Food and Wine: What is the greatest opportunity that has come from writing for you?

The Iowa Wino: Having the opportunity to sample some pretty awesome wine and getting this nice interview! Brownie points! Seriously, having a chance to taste Ceja Vineyards, St Supery, Cleavage Creek, Dolan Wine, Three Sticks, Selene, Lynfred Winery, Cathy Corison, Owen Roe, Passaggio and many more. These owners and winemakers believed in the blog, loved the audience following me and I am forever grateful to them.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your most memorable writing moment?

The Iowa Wino: There are so many it’s hard to pick one. Having your blog entry reposted by the winery on twitter, facebook and their own site is the best reward. Also when someone actually buys a wine you reviewed, sends me the email "hey it tasted just like you said." No kidding you think I would lie?
South Florida Food and Wine: It's your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?

The Iowa Wino: A Russian River Valley Pinot Noir would start the evening off. A nice bacon wrapped beef filet, baked tater with butter and chives, green beans with bacon and olive oil. With the meal a Napa Valley Cabernet.
South Florida Food and Wine: What super-action-hero would you like to be and why?

The Iowa Wino: As I have gotten older I more resemble a Teletubbie or the double for Tim Allen in Santa Claus. I'd love to be Santa and bring a smile to the kids face. As you can tell I'm not super hero material.
South Florida Food and Wine: Do you have any wacky cooking habits?

The Iowa Wino: Yes stay the hell out of my kitchen. I'm cooking. I don't need your help. I once had an apron which someone has hidden from me which said "Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted". My family refers to me as Chef Loui cause I'm always creating something.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best wine advice you have to share?

The Iowa Wino: Drink lots of wine and experiment. I've learned so much about flavor and quality by tasting/gulping all varietals and regions. Don't be scared wine is fun. Attend tastings at your local wine shops, travel to the wine country and have a blast.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one obsessive wine habit?

The Iowa Wino: My wine must always be at the correct temp. I'm on my second thermoelectric silent cellar which by the way is on the fritz. The last one got chucked into the yard and his brother is right behind.
South Florida Food and Wine: If you could choose to be any wine, what would it be?

The Iowa Wino: Pinot Noir without a doubt. I'm high maintenance just ask my wife.

South Florida Food and Wine: If looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?

The Iowa Wino: 4 kinds of juice and so many leftovers from the weeks dinners we could invite the neighbors over for a feast. They get water to drink not my good wine. My really good friends drink the good stuff.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one "staple" food you always have in your cupboard?

The Iowa Wino: Pasta. You can create any meal with pasta.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your beverage of choice?

The Iowa Wino: Duh Wine. No actually I do love my Caribou Breakfast Blend coffee each morning, freshly ground. You don't want to see me without coffee.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite comfort food?

The Iowa Wino: I love roast, taters (notice second time I used this and family hates it) carrots, celery and lots of gravy. In the winter its cold and nothing better than a great meal. Port afterwards too.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your wine claim to fame?

The Iowa Wino: I'm one of a handful of folks here in Iowa who blog and is absolutely nuts about wine. Here you think of corn, cattle and hogs. About all you get here too if you have ever driven through for a visit. We have casino's too. I never win but that's another story. We also have a growing wine industry.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is in your kitchen junk drawer?

The Iowa Wino: Coupons which I cut out and forget to take to the store. God knows how many cell phone chargers for phones we haven't used in years. Some of my tools which I need when I'm in the garage and can't find. My cork screw is in the silverware drawer because it's considered essential. A phone book we never use and pens that won't write.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the best wine gift you ever received?

The Iowa Wino: I will never top this one in a million years. My wife behind my back and with the help of our oldest and most devious child booked a getaway for the 2 of us in Napa the first week of June. I knew something was up cause the paycheck deposits in the joint account were smaller yet she was working longer. Well on Valentine’s day she hands me an envelope and said here is some money I have been saving to invest. Still didn't add up but I'm playing along. Next she wheels out our suitcase and inside is a map of Napa and Sonoma, 2 of my empty wine bottles and a sign that said "We are going to Napa." All prepaid and I had to plan the stops. Mouth dropped couldn't believe it. Well the visit was more than I could ever dream of. Cuvaison, Amelia Ceja, Rick Bakas & St Supery who by the way put our name on the marquee as we walked in, Titus, Passaggio, Hook & Ladder and Eric Ross Winery were the stops I had the chance to thank folks for samples and chat about wine. Scenery, food, climate is so spectacular. I wish I was there right now!
South Florida Food and Wine: What kitchen chore do you dislike the most?
The Iowa Wino: Cleaning all the pans I make dirty when I cook. Food is worth it though.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten and where?

The Iowa Wino: If pig cheeks are considered exotic then that would be it. In Virginia on a business trip. Mouth watering
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most extravagant food or beverage item or culinary tool you spent money on?
The Iowa Wino: My silent cellar but the next one will be bigger.

South Florida Food and Wine: Where was the best wine you ever had? And why?

The Iowa Wino: Tough to pick one here. Many great Pinot’s, Chardonnay's, Cabs etc. I did have a 1983 Bordeaux a good friend brought over which he picked up on a business trip to France. Sadly I forgot the name.
South Florida Food and Wine: If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone who would it be and why?

The Iowa Wino: I would love to share it with you (more brownie points) for hopefully enjoying this interview. Really I think sharing a bottle of wine with all my winery owner/ wine maker friends would be the best. Without them we would never have great juice to enjoy. Salud!
Follow the The Iowa Wino on his blog and on Twitter @Dangod1or on facebook networked blogs facebook/dangoderis

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2008 Owen Roe Chapel Block Syrah

How many times does one receive a 97 point sample from a very fine winery? Considering this is my first I would have to state rare! Well count my lucky stars Happy Wine Wednesday,  I was able to share this great wine with Brett and Brooke a couple of wine buddies from work. Both by the way are big Syrah fans and loved this beauty.
You have read in a few prior posts how much I enjoy the wines of Owen Roe and their winemaker David O'Reilly, even having the opportunity to chat with him about his wine philosophy. For the record this wine is worth every penny!

The grapes for this wine were harvested from one of the premier sites for Syrah in the Pacific NW the Red Willow Vineyard. Based on the aroma and flavor I would agree. I know...... time for the review.

The aroma of the ripe blueberry hits the nose first which we all 3 agreed and enjoyed. Next the smokey cedar was evident followed by the lavender. Nice combination and can't wait to taste.

After the first taste you can quickly determine why this wine scored so well. Juicy blueberry carries from start to finish. Vanilla and smoke round out the flavors with a touch of spice at the end. Definately full bodied and a big hit with all of us. One comment from the group "This is one of the very best Syrah's I have tasted". Served with the wine this evening was smokey cheddar and swiss cheese which complimented the wine perfectly.

Zoe a big thank you for the opportunity to taste an amazing Syrah. David you have outdone yourself once again. Readers and Syrah fans your mission is to track down a bottle of this fine wine and taste for yourselves. When you find one let me know. I need another bottle.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

2002 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

I had big plans for Wine Wednesday having a couple of the "work wine club" members stop by on their way home to enjoy a couple samples. Unfortunately a last minute family dinner was scheduled and one had to reschedule. Fortunately Brett was able to stop by and I thought what better to share than the 02 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon which I received as a sample from wine maker Cathy Corison.

I served the wine with some smoked gouda and a nice fontina cheese. Both went very well with the wine. In the glass you could really identify the blackberry right from the start. I got a slight hint of plum and the end was a wonderful spice aroma. Brett even commented on the color of the wine for an 02 looking as if it were a recent vintage.

Really nice dark berry flavor on this wine. Blackberry and spice are very dominant but flow nicely together. Slight plum towards the end of the taste and the finish lingers long. We were both very impressed with the wine. I even had a tad bit left of the 06 from my earlier post so I could allow Brett to compare vintages. He was amazed how both wines showed the same characteristics and were 4 years apart. Great fruit combined with a great winemaker produces great wine. I'm glad I had the opportunity to share.


Friday, August 6, 2010

1st Avenue Wine House Welcomes Dutcher Crossing Winery Dry Creek Ca

 Had this date penciled in the calendar for awhile because I love the events my good friends Traci & Ron Weber owners of 1st Avenue Wine House host. Another benefit was owner Debra Mathy and wine maker Kerry Damskey made the trip from CA to Iowa to pour some of their award winning wines. While I was in Napa/Sonoma for a visit in June, Deb and I could not get our schedules to coordinate but she made me promise I would come out again and we would barrel taste. If you have never barrel tasted I highly recommend! So cool!

Interesting how Traci and Ron were introduced to Dutcher Crossing wine 3 years ago over a bottle of their Zinfandel at a dinner party. After a visit to the winery and no doubt a few bottles later over great conversation, 1st Avenue Wine House is the only retail shop outside the winery to sell Dutcher Crossing Wines.

So you wonder how the tasting went? 8 very exceptional great wines this evening. I loved them all and actually because of the hot weather chose a couple outstanding whites for purchase the Sauvignon Blanc and the Saralee Chardonnay. The prices tonight ranged from $22.99 to $43.99 and all definately worth the price.

On the deck we started with 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek. Nice crisp refreshing wine which is a blend of Semillon, Viognier & Roussanne. Nice citrus but not overpowering. Off to a great start.

Courtyard station 1 was next and this is where owner Debra Matheny was pouring. Wine 1 was the Costello Chardonnay from Alexander Valley. Very nice pear on the nose with a slight hint of vanilla. Loved the taste with the pear, vanilla combination and nicely not over oaked. I would drink this baby every day. Wine 2 was their Saralee Vineyard Chardonnay. Really nice and as stated before a purchase and signed by Deb. Wonderful pear and baked apple aroma so creamy and rich. The taste to die for. Pear, apple, a hint of butterscotch (only after the description did I figure the butterscotch) and the finish a touch citris. Wine 3 was the Proprietor's Zinfandel. The juicy cherry, spice and plum really blend well together. Nice full flavor. So far 4/4.

Courtyard station 2 where wine maker Kerry Damskey was pouring,  I started with the Proprietor's Syrah. My pick for the silky wine of the evening. Black cherry, blueberry, vanilla and a nice spice finish. Loved this wine with a finger food of bbq meat topped with what I think was cole slaw. Next up the Maple Vineyards Zinfandel. Big wine here and for good reason. Flavors of blackberry, juicy cherry, vanilla and nice spice finish. I'll have this one on hand come fall. Finally the Proprietor's Cabernet which Kerry stated has a blend of 25% Syrah. Nice dark berry, cherry and a hint of oak. Really smooth cabernet. Another wine I will need to keep on hand. Last wine was let's call the grandaddy of the evening the The Taylor's Reserve Cabernet. Great dark fruit, dark cherry, I also picked up some red raspberry. Again not a lot of oak and another of my favorites this evening.

What a wonderful tasting event. Great flavors and aromas on each wine and I absolutley love the fact each was not overly oaky. Debra really worked the crowd and made sure folks were educated on the wines. I think I even got a couple "extra pours". Kerry also was educating many of us the complexity of his wines. I would have loved to chat with him more about his philosphy on wine making from fruit to oak.

Traci and Ron thanks for another great evening. I almost forgot congrats on being named #1 wine shop on KCRG's A-List. Well deserved!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2006 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Imagine yourself having an opportunity to indulge in a bottle of cabernet from one of Napa Valleys top wine producers. I had just the pleasure, courtesy of the winemaker herself Cathy Corison.

In 1987, after many years of producing wine for others the first vintage of Corison Cabernet was born. I love her quote on the website Corison Winery Story "There was a wine inside me that needed to be made". The winery located on St Helena Highway with tasting by appointment, is open 7 days per week 10-5. The wines are produced from vineyards located between Rutherford and St Helena where Cathy feels "the vines produce some of the most concentrated and superbly ripened fruit anywhere". I couldn't agree more because these wines are special.

I chose to serve this wine with my grilled bacon wrapped beef filet. Nothing better than amana beef and cabernet. In the glass the aroma of boysenberry comes right to the front. Next I get a slight chocolate/plum combination and finish with wonderful spice.

One of the finest cabernets I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. The berry jam at the beginning of the taste absolutely makes the wine. Juicy from start to finish. The back of the wine has just the right amount of spice to compliment the dark berry flavors. Silky and rich you feel like royalty enjoying this cabernet.

When in Napa spoil yourself and set an appointment to visit and find out for yourself how good Corison Cabernet tastes. I hope you enjoy the wine as much as I do. Cathy thank you for allowing me to taste your awesome wine.


Monday, August 2, 2010

2008 St Supery Oak Free Chardonnay

Tonights selection was a very nice chardonnay which I tasted and purchased on my trip to Napa in June. Amazing visit to the winery which included a tasting and tour courtesy of social media guru Rick Bakas. I paired the wine with a skillet chicken dish consisting of fresh roasted veggies, fresh thyme, chicken stock and last but not least chicken well seasoned. Perfect!

In the glass the aroma of green apple is very evident. Next fresh cantaloupe and pear round out this wine. Ripe fruit sensation is outstanding.

Beautiful pear/melon combination on this wine. Crisp, clean and the fruit flavor so balanced from start to finish. I would say more but the wine speaks for itself.... so darn good. Nicely done St Supery! I'll take a refill :)

Folks make sure to include St Supery as a must visit on your next trip to Napa. Right off beautiful highway 29, the winery is very picturesque, the tasting room staff so courteous and knowledgeable plus you may even see Rick educating visitors.