Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Have A Hypothetical Child

Hello followers, friends and family members I've bribed to read my blog:

This is the dawning of the age of Aqurius.

I mean, this is the dawning of a new age. I have officially moved blog sites. If you are reading this message, it is because I posted it a week and a half late and my editor/publisher power team is yet to figure out how to route the old blog to the new. Like I could do it. Pff. Technology, uuuhhh!!!

Yes, I am blogging my same ol' ish on I tossed and turned over what to do with this possible big move for me, which seems silly for some but was damn near life altering for me. abottle/aweek is my baby, as I explained to my editor, and I don't want anyone to call my baby by a different name, raise her differently or give her a wardrobe change/haircut/ear piercing without my 100% approval. You know how mothers can be a little overprotective.

Anywhosers, check my hypothetical baby and I out at our new address at WINO Mag's Web site here.

And go with wine, my children.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cote Bonneville 2005 Carriage House Red Wine

*Bottle #60: Cote Bonneville 2005 Carriage House DuBrul Vineyard Red Wine
*Price Tag: $54
*Running Tab: $772 (The boy bought...)

Considering Cote Bonneville is one of the highest-rated (94 points from Wine Spectator), estate-grown (DuBrul Vineyard is one of the most prestigious and older vineyards in the state) and premium Merlot producers around, one would think they'd have a better/functioning Web site.

Side note - I seem to really like using parentheses in this blog (obviously).

To compensate for the bad Web-marketing, this is what I picture happening... Cote Bonneville decided: "Hey! We don't make enough money from our $120 critically acclaimed and more often than not sold out Cab/Merlot, let's make a second label!"

Basically, give or take a few words.

After much annoying Googling, I couldn't find squat on these guys. Thank goodness Seattle Magazine just did a blurb on them - yes, they received "Most Outstanding Wine of the Year" for the previously mentioned blend. That and the previously mentioned crazy good estate vineyard of theirs in Yakima Valley, resting right above the Yakima River, just received "Vineyard of the Year" as well.

Woodward Canyon and Own Roe are a few to name that battle it out for the right to purchase fruit from this vineyard. They probably produce pretty good grapes there, even for the likes of this $54 second label "table wine." Yowza.

73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc for good measure, the Carriage House Red Wine produces a nose full of dark, lush fruit, rich with plum and dark raspberry protruding after some time with cloves and pepper sticking out all the way through.

Thick and juicy on the palate, with that chewy dark raspberry and almost a leathery, complex touch on the tongue. Beautifully structured, with multi-faceted levels and details that open up over time, this will be an amazing bottle of wine with another two years or so in the bottle. Rounded yet assertive tannins allow for a lengthy finish.

Those tannins are the kind that I love. The kind that you first think are wussy and then after you've taken a couple sips, they come back and kick you in the back of the head. It's like I'm the fourth grade bully and the tannins are some skinny kid I've been picking on who, low and behold, is stealthily aggressive and kicks my ass when my back is turned.

That never happened to me. But this wine did. And I liked it. All $56 worth of it.

Score: 9.

Friday, April 24, 2009

3 thoughts in my head. That's it.

Slackity slack slack.

No review this week, however, I have drank a substantial amount of wine. Like that's new...

Have been SLAMMED this week with work (boo) but got some news to share with you all.

1) I was approached by a remotely scary flaming-redhaired "French" woman (quotes because she had no accent, very disappointing) to join the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine. Yup. It's an ancient brotherhood dating back to the Round Table - like King Arthur, not the nasty pizza joint. She said she could "knight" me and I would be a "gentlelady." Made me giggle.

2) My women's wine group that was supposed to have its 4th event last night at a South Seattle winery has somewhat flopped. For some reason, people don't like to get together and drink on weeknights, it seems. I'm going to give it one more shot and then give up. Hah.

3) A Seattle publication, who will go nameless for the sake of discussion, has asked to pick up my blog for their Web site (Hi, Doug). I believe I will be the lone blogger featured (other than their own), I'm the only one writing for me (like I'd allow anything other), all the content is mine (dur) and I will eventually get paid for (who knows how long that is). This is one of my goals with abottle/aweek, along with becoming rich and famous and winning lots of awards (obviously).

However... This is somewhat a loss of individuality for me. Serious identity crisis because it's a big move, something that I've wanted, but now I'll be associated with something, representing something other than myself (which I usually screw up anyway). I have the success of something other than myself in my hands! Kind of... It's scary!

Big steps, for abottle/aweek. Leaps and bounds, even. I still haven't decided yet. Thoughts, concerns, questions, heartbreak, single tear?

Will I be selling out or will I be achieving one of my goals?

To be continued...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spindrift Pinot Gris

*Bottle #59: Spindrift Cellars 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
*Price Tag: $15

*Running Tab: $772

My girlfriends are my rock. True and true, through thick and thin, always down for a good laugh and a cheap drink(s). More often than not, unless one of us is on some bizarre diet (sorry, Katie), we will get plentiful amounts of cheap drinks, usually enough to quench the thirst of many deprived small children in a starving third world country.

My girlfriends are rocks with bad wine taste. I take that bad, not bad, they just don't know, therefore they don't care. And I was the same way, two years ago. Now that I am the (obviously) more evolved wine drinker (and person, essentially), I try to press wines that might be $15 a bottle instead of $9 1.5L bottles aka magnums. Beringer, Gallo and Yellowtail, oh my!

My girlfriends LOVE the Pinot Gris and Grigio. Often times, I get phone calls from QFC or Safeway, from my perplexed friends asking the difference between the two.

Difference, I say? Nay. Example given to friends: They're like hot twin guys that were separated at birth, one just grew up in France and the other is from Italy.

"OOoooohh! I love hot twins!"

This week, I chose to put the hot French guy in my mouth. Heh heh heh.

For American Pinot Gris, the best way to go is Willamette Valley fruit. Oregon Pinot Gris' are typically light but not thin, full of good acid but not overwhelming loads and bursting with citrusy and summery fruit.

With the promise of that description plus some minerality and "unique notes," I went with the 2007 Spindrift Cellars Pinot Gris.

The nose was fabulous. The unmistakable lychee fruit on the nose gives off a lush and lavish fruit tone with something nutty lying in the background. Definite minerality seeping through and a caramel scent comes out after the wine warms up a little bit.

The palate was a little lackluster after such explosive aromatics but not disappointing. Lots of citrus and tart astringency up front forming a very well structured and far from thin midpalate. Grapefruit comes out in the finish and ends up tart and acidic just like the actual fruit does.

This is a French guy that when I usually drink it, he's cheap and skinny. This French guy was what I've come to expect from Euro descendants in Northwest soils: Distinct, beautiful and not as expensive as its origins.

I would take this Oregon-reinvents-Eurotrash any day. And my girlfriends will drink anything.

Score: 7.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where to be on Friday, April 17th in Seattle...


Yeah, you.

This is what you want to be doing, Friday, April 17th (as in 3 days from now):

A Preview to Passport to Woodinville Production
April 17th - 4 - 8:00pm

Welcome to HOLLYWOOD! Starring... Adams Bench Winery, Brian Carter Cellars, Chandler Reach Winery, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, J. Bookwalter Winery, Matthews Estate, Northwest Totem Cellars, Woodhouse Family Cellars.

No tasting fees for ONE NIGHT ONLY! No passport? No Problem. Or use your Passport early!

Come enjoy special wines not offered on other days of PASSPORT. All participating wineries are open Friday, April 17 from 4 to 8 pm. Tasting fees will are being waived for these hours and this evening only. Wineries are open to Passport holders only on Sat/Sun April 18-19

More information on Passport to Woodinville Weekend, click here.

See you then...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tune in this week...

I've decided that I'm going to pitch a show to the Travel Channel.

I'm sure no one else has had this idea, other than my counterpart who plans on co-hosting our brilliant concept. Actually, in all honesty, it probably was his plan. I just have a crappy enough memory to give him the credit... Dang it.

WHO: Myself and ol' what's his name.
WHAT/WHERE: Traveling the globe, embarking on each national and cultural beverage and food tradition and any associated beliefs, folklore and history.
HOW: Travel checks, obviously.
WHY: To emphasis the importance of food and drink, how they are connected and how they help each other, help me, help you.

Title ideas? I'm not that creative.

The bond between booze and grub is relevant to all!

Note to my nonalcohol consuming friends: Remember that cream sauce you loved or what you're dipping your uncooked foods into at the Melting Pot? There's alcohol in that. There's booze in food and food in booze. It's the circle of life. It's what makes the world go 'round.

Booze n'grub make the world go 'round. Think about it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mark Ryan Winery 2006 Water Witch

*Bottle #57: Mark Ryan Winery 2006 Klipsun Vineyard Water Witch
*Price Tag: $32 (discounted), normally $45

*Running Tab: $742

From the viewpoint of an employee for a competing winery in the Woodinville area, you can't help but be a little jealous of Mark McNeilly, owner/winemaker of Mark Ryan Winery. In the Puget Sound region, no one has a bigger cult following than this guy. Wine enthusiasts, critics and fans alike flock to his releases and random weekend appearances in the booming Woodinville warehouse wine district, named "Hoodinville" for its no-frills atmosphere.

Mark, the man, is a huge, cuddly teddy bear, standing high in stature and wide in a huggable, less scary bear sort of way. A newly wed to an about-to-pop bride and seemingly best friends with everyone in the industry and the area, Mark Ryan McNeilly's popularity is equivalent to the local high school's homecoming queen's status. "Rock star," "wine celebrity" and "urban chic" are all descriptors used in his resume. There are "I (Heart) Mark Ryan" t-shirts, for God's sake.

Probably one of the worst Web sites I've seen for some of the best wines I've had. But I'm nitpicky.

Mark Ryan, the wines, are mouthwatering and robust moneymakers; notoriously consumed for their rock-em, sock-em Red Mountain fruit profile. People line up outside his door, just waiting to taste and purchase as much as they can for his limited releases.

Stylisitcally and with his background, it makes sense that I would like a Mark Ryan wine. He trained and got experience at Matthews Cellars, another Woodinville winery whose red wines fit my big wine criteria.

As frequent of a visitor to the Woodinville Wine Country that I am (okay, daily) and as much as his red wines are everything that I have been looking for in these recent reviews, Water Witch was my first Mark Ryan red wine.

Wine pop culture shame!

At 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and all from the beautiful Klipsun Vineyard in Red Mountain, the 2006 Water Witch was dark, rich cherry backed with subtle spice instantly dumped out of the nose of this wine, a little tarry and more fig and boysenberry over time for aromas. Serious oak comes out with vanilla and toastiness.

This monster mouthful of "rotten grape juice" (as McNeilly once called it) has official soothed my big needs. I'm a woman.

Smooth but with tannins that scrape the roof of your mouth, this full-bodied red showed detailed plum and leathery dark fruit aided by well-blended acidity. The wine enters almost bittersweet and finishes similar.

This is a nasty witch though, she comes back to get you once you think it's over with young and barbaric tannins in the lingering finish. I think they'll most certainly be there with age, maybe more refined and elegant but just as core-shaking as now.

I appreciate the recommendations for big wines for my lovely readers (YOU DO EXIST!), but I can finally rest. I will probably see Mark, the man, sometime this week and shake his hand. This homecoming queen has my vote.

I (heart) Mark Ryan.

Score: 9.