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Offering of 3/2 -- Mandolina Italian Varietal Case with Wooden Wine Rack

2005 Sangiovese
2004 Metodo Classico Sparkling-bianco de bianco
2005 Barbera
2007 Pinot Grigio
2004 Toccata
2004 Nebbiolo
2007 Rosato
2003 Toccata Reserve
2007 Moscato
2007 Dolcetto
2006 Freisa
2007 Malvasia Bianca
A Wine Rack

This offering's pack:
bhodilee (wine rack, volunteer on Sangiovese)
skizzy (Sangiovese and Metodo Classico)
smagee (Barbera and Pinot Grigio)
smartheart (Toccata Classico and Nebbiolo)
StarrsMom (Rosato and Toccata Reserve)
blusky558 (Moscato and Dolcetto)
zTimothyBz (Freisa and Malvaisa Bianca)

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bhodilee wrote:Labrat Report:

So bowtie, what'd ya get?

I got the wine rack!

Which in all honesty is better than the wine since I need storage WAY more than I need wine and I'll soon have another to join it.

Here's what you need to know:

Nose: Strong hints of Cedar. This is wonderful for those of you missing the Pacific Northwest or are deathly afraid of moths.

Color: Um, wood colored

Taste: Oh hell no, I'm not eating wood. I don't take my duties that seriously.

Ease of use: It was really easy to put together. No tools necassary, BOWTIES APPENDAGES LIVE TIL THE MORROW. Just kinda fits together really easy. I didn't measure it because I have 9 tapes and can't find a single one. But it's not huge, in fact it fits on top of Urbina wine fridge a bunch of us got from Overstock a while back. That's not where I'm putting mine though. It's going on the counter around the corner from it. Bottles seem to fit but I didn't try a Pinot or Syrah because I have no Pinot and didn't feel like digging out a Syrah.

In all, a quite nice rack, thanks WD!

bhodilee wrote:No hair, no worries

Okay, quick impression of the 2005 Sangio:

Nose: little hot right out of the bottle so hard to discern, little whiffs of cherry cordial, that's new from the last time.

Color: Not as deep as I'd have thought, but nice

Taste: Definite sour cherry, classic Sangio flavors if a little muted. Not hugely complex but nice. No real faults. Not tannic, but you wouldn't expect that. Nice lingering finish. Alcohol on the nose isn't translating to the mouth.

Verdict: I really like this wine. I don't always want to be "challenged" when I'm drinking wine. I also don't always have a lot of time to decant so having a simple (not in a bad way) pop and pour wine on hand is a wonderful thing. I'd happily pair this with a good pizza or sausage and peppers. Man I want sausage and peppers now. I also want Pad Thai cause they're making it on Food Network.

Heat went away on the nose, smoothed out on the tongue. Very easy drinking. Very Very nice for 10 bucks. Wish I could find it local

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skizzy wrote:Labrat report..

OK, I just drank 1/2 of 3 bottles, so gimme a break..

The Bianco de Bianco:
Nice fruity nose..
Had it with some good brie on baguette slices, was wonderful!
Had the second 1/2 with dessert, fruit tart, not as good..
I liked it with food, but it was kinda sweet alone..
I'm not a big sparkling wine person so..

Moving on to the Sangiovese..
Opened and breathing for 1.5 hours..
In a word, meh...
It was OK, but nothing special..
Had it with a porterhouse grilled with fluer de sel and fresh ground pepper, much better!The food really brought out the spices and the woody flavors..
For the price its OK, but nothing to write home about..
Sorry Megan..

skizzy wrote:Now for the taste test with the Noceto..
I had a bottle of the Noceto Reserve, opened it at the same time as the Mandolina..

First taste, about the same..
But, the Noceto opened up alot more than the Mandolina..

I forgot what I paid for the Noceto, but it was superior to the Mandolina..

Funny thing, when I had them with the chocolate tart for dessert, you couldn't tell a difference..

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StarrsMom wrote:Got home today from a "non-interview" on the other side of the area, an hour drive, to see that Fed-Ex had been there. Grabbed the dogs and drove the 30 minutes to the center to find that I was chosen as a labrat!

Tried the rose tonight after hubby came home, both room temp and chilled.

Room temp: bouquet smelled somewhat like strawberries, nicely acidic taste with, again, strawberry flavor (light).

Icy cold: not much smell, but tasted more like strawberry when drank it.

Will report on the Toccato Reserve tomorrow, will be sampling with friends.

StarrsMom wrote:Lab Rat Report: 2003 Toccata Riserva

really dark red color, pleasant aroma
had with hot wings and ceasar salad, tasted slightly sweet with full-bodied taste, slightly acidic finish (nice)

when sampled wine with dessert (NY style cheesecake from Publix), was not as sweet, tasted tannins more

really enjoyed the wine, especially after driving 4 hours to share the experience with our friends in S FL

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smagee wrote:Never mind, I guess I had some invalid text formatting in there. Onward!

Pinot Grigio
Tasted lightly chilled, of course.

Very pale yellow; virtually translucent when held up to the light. Even for grigio, this was light. Its legs were wide-spaced (~2cm on a rather large glass) and thin.

First scent I got was, oddly enough, oak. A lot of oak; if I didn't know better, I would've guessed this was a Chardonnay (a crisp one; this thing wasn't buttery). Subtle pear, apple, and a light floral scent at the end.
After 15 minutes, the pear emerged much stronger, and the oak quieted down to a slight hint.

Ah, the crux. Tart, for a grigio, with a mild alcohol burn on the tip of the tongue. The apple came out along with a hint of the pear, but overall it was rather dry. Not a fruity white at all; surprising (in my experience) for this varietal. Mild-heavy acid. Lingers well on the palate; the apple surges forward and recedes into citrus (mostly lemon, hint of orange perhaps). The acid really kicks in at the end, and almost transitions to buttery, but not unpleasantly so.
After 15 minutes, the lemon emerges much stronger, perhaps due as much to time as it is to warming up.

Suggested Pairing
Light fish (trout, bass, tilapia), maybe an herb-butter chicken breast. Definitely not built for high-acid foods.

It should be noted that at this point I had a glass and a half or so of the grigio in me, but I think my notes are still solid.

New/dark brick; translucent at the center, but nice gradient inwards. Reminiscent of light cherry; very pretty, but not like the deep ruby of a gorgeous petit. Medium-width closely-spaced legs (~.5-1cm).

Heavy on the jam! Strawberry comes to mind first, carrying with it mild-heavy currant and just a touch of tobacco (or perhaps leather).
15 minutes brought the currant out to "strong", along with mild plum and a light earthiness, for lack of a better description.

Immediate response: tobacco in the nose is definitely present, almost prominent. The raspberry also comes out, but not overwhelming; it brings a pleasant tartness. Very light alcohol burn to it; after the grigio, it's almost unnoticeable, but it becomes stronger when it hits the back of the throat. Low acid and tannin content--I would definitely say this wine is not built for long-term aging.
After 5 minutes, the plum emerges stronger than before; raspberry quiets down a bit, which is nice. The tartness was almost overwhelming at the start.
After 10, it's reminiscent of a pinot noir, actually: a light fruit splash with a lingering salty-ish finish. Mild strawberry (quieted down a bit too). The complexity doesn't really linger on the palate; probably about 5 seconds or so. As it lingers, it fades to a mild acidity with a light currant aftertaste.
Finally, after 15 minutes, the currant re-emerges as the dominant force. Raspberry also comes back with a punch, but much less tart than before. Almost like the berries ripened ;) The Pinot-like saltiness is almost completely gone again, and the tannins have emerged, transitioning from low to mild.

Suggested Pairing
Basically, things that you would pair with sangiovese: tomato pasta, pork chops; non-smoky foods would be my suggestions. Definitely not a big meal like barbecue or grilled foods.

Final Thoughts
Both wines were decent, and rather surprising. The grigio was much more chardonnay-like than I anticipated, with hints of butter and little of the strong fruit I usually associate with it. Still, it's a refreshing wine, and would do well as a summer glass.
The Barbera surprised me simply with its variety; it transformed so many times, I was hard-pressed to keep track. I'm continuing to taste, but I think my palate is becoming suspect. I'll post additional comments tomorrow after a good day of exposure to see how they hold up.

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smartheart wrote:Labratting Mandolina's 2004 Toccata (Classico) and 2004 Nebbiolo.

1. 2004 Toccatto (Classico)
Described by the WINERY thusly:

Toccata is our interpretation of the classic blends of Tuscany. This is an artful blend of California grown Italian (45% Sangiovese and 15% Freisa) and Bordeaux varieties (15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot), made in the Super-Tuscan style. Each component was carefully aged on its own in French oak barrels for 18 months prior to blending to best assure a classical harmony of these diverse varietals. The final blend is determined shortly prior to bottling. This Classico embodies notes of strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, black cherry, earth and spice. Enjoy with all Italian style cuisine.

Marvelous berry aromas escaped from the bottle as the cork was pulled free. Raspberry predominates on first taste though strawberry was prominent as well, and some elements of blackberry and cherry. No blueberry discernable to me. Holiday spice detectable as was a forest earthiness. Tasted just a bit of toffee as well. And a bit of tanginess, a pleasant tanginess. Flavor overall was most enjoyable. This wine was neither sweet nor too dry.

Complimented the melange of Italian food I had put together very well but the wine was almost but not quite equally as good on its own.

A winner.

I have gotten used to decanting wine (or recently fiddling with my new aerator) but this wine was best in the first pourings. Best out of the bottle.

2. 2004 Nebbiolo
Described by the WINERY thusly:
This wine, enhanced by 25 months of aging in French oak barrels, is ripe with dried cranberry and red raspberry character.

Predominant cranberrry aromas and taste. Some lesser cherry and raspberry flavors...cherryish, I'd say. I also tasted nuts and spice. Tart (not unpleasantly so.) Bit of leather. Slightly woody taste, again not unpleasant.

Like the Toccato Classico, the Nebbiolo was best prior to decanting so pop and pour and partake without procrastination. Overall, of the two, I found the Toccato to be more inspiring and the better candidate for stocking up in the future if Wine.Woot offers it again at a good price. Meanwhile there'll be the mixed case currently being offered to enjoy when I need a fix of Italian-inspired wine!

EDIT: will try to revisit the remaining half bottle of each tomorrow to note any changes

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blusky558 wrote:My deepest apologies for not getting this in quicker. I didn't get my box until yesterday, and trying to keep up with a 4 year old GS all evening.

2007 Muscato: one word YUM!
Slightly sweet to start, but after the 1st several sips, smoothed out to a creamy mouthfeel, and a slight bite to the back of the mouth. The color was a very light gold, and when seen thru the glass of the bottle, almost looked the same green yellow of the lable colors. Very pretty! Scents were not too heavy on floral, but more like apricot, pear and some citrus. Very easy drinker.

2007 Dolcetto: not my favorite, but still tasty. Strong, dry mouthfeel at first taste, probably should have let it breath a bit first. Got a good whiff of strong chocolate and something else earthy, color was rich purple. I had wanted to try this with some italian for dinner, but that didn't pan out (I think the 4YO was asking for hot dogs) so I did try it with a bite of dark chocolate, and that was very nice. I plan to try more tonight with some actual food to see what has changed.

Thanks WD for this rattery!

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Offering of 3/5 -- Lupine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon - Four Pack

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

This offering's pack (four rats expected):
rooboy (2005)
amilham (2005)
nbj86 (2004)

CT | | | | | |


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rooboy wrote:LABRAT REPORT 2005

As a reminder I had the previous offering. Thus, I can compare to the 2003.

Had reservations at a local establishment, thus happily paid the corking fee.

Immediately after uncorking, nice general fruit smell, excellent deep red color. Initial taste was a bit lacking. Similar to my notes for the 2003. However, the 2005 was a bit better - a stronger fruit/pepper entry. This wine is not a fruit bomb! The mid and finish are definitely on the pepper side. Mild tannins.

Wine paired well with the stuff mushroom appetizer.

Wife had walleye and I had lamb. Yes, not the best pairing for a cabernet, but this wine worked well for both. Over time the wine opened up. The entry increased in flavor, the tannins mellowed (in a good way), and the pepper taste became consistent throughout.

As with the 2003, this wine pairs extremely well with chocolate - I mean really well! They really compliment each other.

This wine compares well with Louis Martini - NAPA, Block 13 (best QPR!), and Franciscan Cabernet. It is closer in taste (pepper) to the Franciscan, but a bit milder pepper taste.

I still wouldn't pay $30-$35/bottle. However, at $15/bottle this is a very good value. I am glad I purchased.

If you drink this wine in the near future - decant for 60-90 minutes. This wine should age well for the next 1-2 years. The pepper taste will certainly pair well with red meat.

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MoveoverCinderella wrote:Rat Report "Part 1": 2004 Lupine Hill Cab! Uncorked 5:30 CST. First pour: Very dark ruby/claret in color. Alot of crystals on cork that look like a druzy quartz after about 15 minutes. Nose is very much alcohol and cherry. Legs are 7mm between and stay that way through out the next 2 hours. The alc is very powerful and behind it is great cherry and very slight oak. Tannins are low. (At this time I have to admit I love high alc wines as I have some really pretty lamp shades I look great in). Pour into decanter at 6:00 pm and it looks like welch's dark grape juice...really! It is some of the darkest I have ever seen in my 50++ years. She is a beauty!! Second tasting at 6:30: alcohol is still very forward and cherry is some what more subtle turning to raspberry and the oak is still slight. A bit of pepper showing.

MoveoverCinderella wrote:Rat report "Part 2" 2004 Lupine Hill Cab! 7:00 PM: Much deeper complex flavors. Alcohol is not shouting anymore and has taken on some soft blueberry and raspberry...a bit dusty and still very slight oak. Oregano just showed up. This is a dry wine, but not "click your tongue" crazy dry. 8:00 PM: we just finished dinner that was laden with garlic and here she comes again with something new...chocolate!!! Showing up at the end. I would highly suggest decanting this at least an hour or two before consuming. It has now settled down and the wine is smoother and pleasant...Glad I was in for it and thanks for the rattage! We had more notes, but will stop at 2 pages.

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amilham wrote:Labrat Report

Today I received the 2005 Lupine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here are my notes, apologies as I'm very new at describing wines:

Color was a very deep to ruby red. Legs were approximately 10mm apart. As MoveoverCinderella reported, the nose is alcohol and cherry. Taste is mildly tart with a hint of pepper. The finish is smooth and dry.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. I think $15 per bottle is a great deal and I'm glad I made the purchase.

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nbj86 wrote:LABRAT REPORT: 2004 Lupine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Sup ya'll! No one was home to sign for the package yesterday (long week), but I went and drove to the FedEx location this morning and picked up the bottle. Opened up the box and I received the 2004 bottle. Got home promptly and cracked it open. Nothing like a little 10am wine tasting session. ;) Poured a few glasses (for the roomies) and let it breathe for about 20min.

I'm a little new to the wine tasting biz so bear with me.

Legs were about 1cm apart on average, color was more towards a darker burgundy, with an emphasis on the dark. A little sediment can be seen if you hold it up to light. Smells of dark cherry and the alcohol noticeably, other smells I can't quite discern.

Overall the taste of the wine is great (I'm a big fan of cabs); the entry, tannin levels are good, not too dry or acidic. While the alcohol content is a little high on this it certainly doesn't overwhelm (take a quick sip and you'll get a little tingle). Tastes a little peppery (like ground pepper), and tad of oak. Finish is nice, will leave a nice warm feeling in the chest, and is most certainly full-bodied. Last about 10 seconds along with the peppery taste.

On the whole, I dig this wine. =) For sure this would be bomb as hell with a fat piece of red meat. I'm considering firing up the BBQ and putting some burgers on (the roomies are out on a catering gig =( ), it is almost lunch time after all!

Kudos to Frazier Winery on a fine bottle and grazie to Woot for shooting me a bottle!
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Offering of 3/9 -- SakéOne Six-Pack

2 750ml Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass
2 375ml Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo
2 375ml Momokawa Organic Nigori

This offering's pack:
sakeknome (Coconut Lemongrass)
jennykao76 (Organic Junmai Ginjo)
malveaux (Organic Nigori)

thrawn1020 (Organic Nigori)

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jennykao76 wrote:I got my golden ticket today! Will taste the Organic Ginjo Junmai when I get home from work and post my comments tonight. I am very excited about this offering - I am a huge fan of SakeOne. I usually drink their asian pear flavored sake - it does not give me a headache like some wines do ;-)
I have not tried the Organic Ginjo yet but I can't wait! Only 6 hours to go!

jennykao76 wrote:And finally my notes... computer got a bug so sneaking a few comments in from work today. Tried the Organic Ginjo Junmai last night - i was very pleased with it and am definitely looking forward to my order arriving. It comes across to my relatively inexperienced palate as: crisp, clean - there is a spicy kick but still rather smooth. It didn't taste sweet or have any kind of floral aroma to me - clean is still the best i can come up with to describe it. You can usually find me with a bottle of the asian pear flavor in the fridge and if you expect the slightly sweet flavor of that or the coconut lemongrass you will be caught off-guard. My husband travels to Japan several times a year and always brings back a nice $30-$40 bottle of sake for me and I can say with confidence that the Junmai does rival those bottles. Like someone was saying earlier sake is a 3-sip taste - never judge on the first taste - it becomes much smoother with the second and third tastes. I felt it left very little after-taste and would pair well with almost anything. I had it last night with a cajun sausage and rice dish. Hope this helps some. I have to say for the ones not sure about sake - it is worth a try - i kicked myself for missing the last offering!

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thrawn1020 wrote:Hmm. The Organic Nigori is definitely heavy on the palate, heavier than the G. Pretty creamy, with some sweetness beyond the initial creaminess. After that, the flavors yield to a little acidity and spice on the finish. I taste the roundness that the rice imparts. Something about rice and sake, they always seem to finish well. If you haven't had any premium sake, I would say you should give this a shot. SakeOne offerings really have defined what premium sake, heck, what sake is period for me. With that said, there is some spiciness on the nose, and when the sake is real cold, e.g. just out of the fridge, I can smell the alcohol. There is almost a peated barley component for me, it is reminding me a little bit of when I drink scotch. That is on the nose, not the palate. It is certainly not overbearing, but then again, I like the peat, so your mileage may vary. Even so, I remember it being rather similar to the Organic Junmai Ginjo that is the other part of the offering. Being fair, I had not had any sake at that point.

All I can say about the cocktail is that the balance is off. It ended up being about 5 ounces of liquid at the end, but I couldn't taste the sake in there at all. If this is one of those things where you need a real subtle vanilla flavor from the rum, then I think I can safely say it isn't going to be worth the time. I am pretty sure I could replicate the flavor in the cocktail without the sake, unfortunately. I need to try something different than that recipe, for sure. I am going to try to make a collins-style drink with the same ingredients, less the rum, later, and see how that goes. Sorry to be such a downer, but I had higher hopes for this.

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sakeknome wrote:Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass:

Poured (chilled and well shaken) into both wine glasses and saké "shot" glasses. Dunno why but maybe some folks prefer one to the other.

Appearance was light chalky/cloudy with some residue upon swirling. Nose was full of creamy coconut, hint of vanilla and juicy fruit gum (this coming from the owner/chef of the Thai restaurant we're at)

Did the shots first (isn't that always the case!) Alcohol noticeable but not burning 18%. Good finish...tasting more like the fruit popsicles I had back in the days..

Moved on to the wine glass tasting, this with our appetizer of spicy thai fried tofu with peanut dipping sauce...must say all of us at the table (3 + owner) agreed that this saké definitely drinks better from a wine glass. The coconut was more gentle and subdued and you could also make out the hint of lemon on the finish. We skipped the soup to avoid burning my tounge again! In it's place, we refilled our glasses.

We had panang beef (a rich red creamy curry) and fried catfish filet with black peppercorns as our pairing with the saké. I was hesitant about the overly richness of the curry on the saké but no worries, it (saké) held its own for sure. The flavors felt fuller and finish was definitely longer, maybe due to the curry(?) [Did not have the same finish with the catfish.]

After draini...er, tasting the second glass, the overall consensus was that this saké would pair better with spicier foods and may even work with a jalapeño beef burger!

Apologies for this late post for you east coast wooters....work got in the way.

Footnote : All through dinner, we had the bottle chilling in an ice bucket and found it worked best shaken prior to filling each glass as the contents settle pretty fast.

Thank you WD for the awesome opportunity!

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malveaux wrote:Labrat report for Organic Nigori - Junmai Ginjo

Okay, I warn everyone upfront that I am not a wine connoisseur. I'm primarily a beer drink but have had the good fortune to taste the cheap sake in hotel minibars and convenience stores in Tokyo, decent stuff at various Japanese restaurants, and the truly amazing stuff from jumping on every one of the previous woot sake offerings.

Okay, I saw in an earlier forum that it is best to let the sake settle for a while and then let it sit once removing it from the refrigerator to bring the temperature up to slightly chilled. Since I wanted to create the recommended conditions, I waited a day before trying to let it settle. Of course, I felt ridiculous when I saw that the bottle said 'Shake Well' making the settling issue kind of mute. In 24 hours, there was a inch of clear sake at the top of the bottle so it did settle somewhat, just in case anyone happens to be curious.

The color is quite milky. The first whiff is a very pleasant fruity rice smell. Specifically, it is a orange scent that seems a bit out of place given the white color of the sake. Mmmm! the first sip is striking in how silky smooth it is. Goes around and down without a fight. Only the slight taste of alcohol at all while going down with a stronger alcohol feel in the aftertaste. The texture of the sake is so nice that the flavor is nearly an afterthought. So what is the flavor? It's a tad complex and tough to quantify. You can identify the rice base, there is kind of a coconut taste but you wonder if it is a trick of your brain based on the color, and I guess alcohol is in the mix but it doesn't immediately stand out as it is woven into the other flavors. The sake leaves behind a thin coating on both the glass and the tongue. Definitely, tasty in a subtle, even sneaky way.

I am a simple person and know what I like. I definitely like this sake. It comes across as a complex drink that is a pleasant change from the normal rotation of beer, red wine and whiskey (based on the hazards of the particular day). As far as pairing goes, I recommend it with a home viewing of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In place of, instead of with, popcorn.

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Offering of 3/12 -- Vino Noceto - Three Pack

2005 Reserva
2006 Sangiovese

This offering's pack:
kyle83uw (2005, w/2004)
JanaDahlen (2006, but preggers)
animallover (2006, w/2005 Normale and 2004 Riserva)

hardground (2006)
subinsignia (Vino Noceto - The Complete Experience)

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hardground wrote:I'm ghetto labratting the Sanjo (the normale, not the two riservas); I have a case of 2006 Sangiovese as a member of Noceto's Nut club and decided to pop a bottle tonight.

Lots of black cherry and strawberry up front. Follows up with earth tones. Finish is good. The 2006 is not quite as rich as the 2003, but the flavor profile is the same. If you have had any of the previous vintages, you'll find this very similar. The acidity in this wine is right on the money, so it has been my go-to guy for dinner (especially weeknights). I haven't tasted any Noceto wines more than 4 years old, but I wouldn't hold this wine more than 3-4 years.

Noceto's sangiovese are very much in the traditional Tuscan style, and I love it. If you like charming, Italian wine, this is a no-brainer.

hardground wrote:Faux-rat follow-up:
Drank the rest of the bottle tonight. That's 24 hours later (in the fridge, brought to room temp for an hour). This wine is now singing. Excellent balance. A little fruity, earthy, spicy, with very smooth tannins. I'm looking forward to adding 3 more bottles of the normale to my collection and trying the riservas.

Thanks to Jim and Suzy.

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subinsignia wrote:I just got back. I was at the winemakers dinner at Taste last night and was at the winery for over 3 hours with Kevin and Rusty and the Noceto gang. Some random tidbits- I'm tired and will write more tomorrow.

2005 was a bumper crop around the Sierra Foothills. The wines from 05 are softer and I think more readily drinkable. The 2006 Riservas and other higher end wines were just released, so I am sure Noceto is letting some of the cats and dogs so to speak of 2005 stuff out to make room for the upcoming bottlings of 2007 that will start for the Normale to ship this fall. The Riserva is just an elegant wine from year to year. I guess super Tuscan is the right comparison. When you get over to Dos Oakies, Marmellata and even the Hillside blocks of Sangios that they make they then become more brunello-like because they are the clones of sangio used for the nobile brunello di montalcinos and such. Brunellos in Italy undergo about 2-3 years aging while Noceto is probably closer to 18 months on oak, but as Rusty noted not over oaked- they want the wine to speak for itself so there is very little new oak and they watch closely for signs of oakiness and prevent their offerings from tasting like matchsticks. So you will find the riservas to be softer and more elegant.

On to Normale 2006. Bottleshock is real. I don't know how but it us. The sangios are a softer wine like pinot and for some reason they are better about 2 weeks after I get them from UPS. I have no idea how many Nocetos I've been through in the years before cellar tracker, but suffice it to say it has been a lot. I used to crack one the day they got there and they are very scared young little puppies when you open them. After about 2 weeks they settle down but even then they are not really ready to drink in my estimation. The 2005 nomale was just a hint softer and it maybe did mature a little faster but the 2006 is really only hitting stride now. I had some at the winery and at dinner last night and it was great. 2006 is a year where the wines are spicy and have a lot of nice flavors that will probably make them better than the 04's. I loved the 03's, the 04's were better, the 05's were softer and now the 06's are showing signs to be better than the other years' I have amassed. I really like the 06 Normale a lot.

I tried the rest of the line of 06's yesterday for the first time (I got my Big Nut and Jumbo pack last Friday, so I have not opened any. I was very impressed. The 05's are very very good and the 06's are even better! As I said we travelled home ot Illinois to day so I am burned out and need some rest. I will report more on the dinner and winery visits but suffice it to say the offering of 2 of the 05 Riserva and 1 Normale from 06 for the Woot price is a great buy. These are serious wines. They will last for at least 5 years, maybe longer bceasue we had the 1995 Normale last night and iwas all over that wine! What a beauty! It was mostly from the Dos Oakies block back then. I had an 03' Normale a while back and many 04's from my cellar and they are still drinking quite well. I am keeping a set of 4 normales from each year for posterity. I got some 1995 Normale at the dinner last night and am looking forward to seeing how long they will last.

To be really proper, in Italian it is No-Che-Toe. Che as in Che Guevarra ("chay", I guess) but as Americanized English speakers it is ok to say No-Chet-o, which mean walnut grove. That is what Jim and Suzy Gullett had ripped out to plant they vineyards around 1985 and beyond.

I had a glorious time at both Taste and at the winery yesterday. The folks at the restaurant did an outstanding job, as did the winery owners, family and staff. Kevin, who I guess is appropraitely called the Cellar Master, spent a lot of time with us exploring the blocks of grapevines and tasting the barrels to see what was happened in the 07 and 08 upcoming offering years. One of our party of 8 fell ill and did not come to Amador with us, so Kevin joined us at our table for the dinner last night and when he was not mixing it up with the crowd (75 people attended- a sellout with a huge waiting list) he was educating us and yucking it up with my wife, her brother and sister and their spouses and my best friend Mark and I.

I don't get a dime from this endorsement. This is truly my favorite winery and others should enjoy this great wine, too. They are the best sangio makers in the US. If pinot noir is too expensive for your wallet, sangiovese can be a great replacement for it. And even if you can afford pinot, this is another great noble grape that should grace your tables and cellars. Bright cherries and ripe earth are the main flavor and nose components. There are many nuances and I will elaborate but I am off to bed now! Drink 'em young, drink 'em old, but drink 'em! Noceto is a great winery.

subinsignia wrote:Here are my winery notes. Pardon the typos.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Well, Sonoma to Plymouth is two hours of driving but it was worth it as the first ever Noceto Winemaker’s dinner was that night at Taste. I went back to the bakery from Tuesday and picked up two fantastic boxes of baked goods and awaited the arrivial of the relatives and friends. We had coffee and baked goods as a tailgate and on the trip to Amador. I took Hwy 50 from Sac and then got off at the exit for Latrobe Road. We were taking that through the rolling hills to Old Sacramento Road, but the sign was down and we went to Hwy 16 then 49 into Plymouth. No bother at all. I recommend Latrobe to Old Sac Road to go into Plymouth. It’s better and more scenic than Hwys 16 and 49.

We drove out immediately to Noceto. I had hoped for an early start and sneaking into Dobra Zemlja’s quickly first, but it was too much to ask for. We got to Noceto at 11 as planned and went into the Tasting room. Bobby, the middle child of Jim and Suzy Gullett, was waiting and asked as I walked in, “Are you the Steve Jones from Cellar Tracker and the subinsignia guy from Woot?” I answered warily, “Well, it depends what I wrote.” We all got a chuckle and Bobby poured us a Pinot Grigio as he called Kevin O’Neil who was to be our guide. We got to talking about the new PG and also sampled the Rosato as Kevin made his way to the Tasting Room. We took our glasses as he arrived and made our way out into the vineyard. Kevin gave us a tour of these classic grape vines as we marched our way up to the winery. What an education in grapes! We talked bout the vines, water retention, the phyloxeria in the neighbors’ grapes that caused replanting, harvesting, crush, pruning, etc, etc. It was really fun to listen and ask questions. As we got to the winery, Kevin described the crush and fermentation processes in detail. My family and friends we enthralled. And then we got into the barrel room.

Kevin got out the wine thief and looked for wine for us to sample.
 2008 Rick Johnson northern block. It was rosey and fruity while the second sample was dark and closed; the second was from the South vineyard, right next door. There was a very striking contrast. This is the sangio that goes into the Reward Ranch bottling.
 2008 Noce Knoll was next. Dark and supple, this huge wine is a great one made in the tradition of its’ Brunello cousins. It is going to be a great one!
 2007 Rick Johnson blended wine was sampled next, with a nice nutty aroma and beautiful flavors.
 2007 Dos Oakies barrel was next, another intense, beautiful great big wine.
 2007 Hillside was elegant in its’ youth. Kevin commented he felt this Hillside block made wines that would age like fine Pinot Noirs.
 2007 OGP Zin was the next barrel, actually three barrels. Here he wanted to demonstrate variation between barrels. The first was deep and complex. The second was all fruit while the third was in between. He put the first in with the third remaining in our glasses and the wine transformed into something even better. Then the second went in with the other two and all 8 of us said, “Wow!” Surely no scientific but certainly close to that and fun.
 2008 sangio from Hollister, CA, a new component to the Normale. It is very close in fruitiness but lacked the spice that comes from some Noceto blocks. That will be factored in when bottled in a just over a year or so.

So we made our way after this back to the tasting room. We were a little in awe at this point but we were treated very well due to the Gullett’s generosity. So here are my tasting room notes:
 2008 Pinot Grigio. Intense, fruity, rich. A spectacular addition to the line. 88+ points.
 2007 Rosato di Sangiovese. Bright and rosey colored, the sangio flavor comes through a perfect summer quencher. 87 points.
 NY Nutz! Red Wine. Barbera and sangiovese blended into an Itlainesque style of every day wine. Perfect for quaffing. $99 a case for Big Nut members- what a deal. 87 points.
 2006 Noceto Regular “Normale” Sangiovese. Bright ripe cherries and musky earth with good hints of spice make the 2006 a winner and perhaps the best regular bottling I’ve had. This is a winner. 89-90 points.
 2006 Misto Sangiovese. The chianti field blend, with malvasia and trebbiano white grapes mixed in. What a great little wine with complexity. Lots of the Hillside block in this one. Beautiful and truly in a chianti style! 90 points.
 2006 Hillside Sangiovese. Soft, spicy and elegant. A beautiful rosiness along with their trademark sangio flavors. 91+ points.
 2006 Reward Ranch Sangiovese. Rich, dark, fruity. Exceptional wine. 91 points.
 2006 Riserva Sangiovese. Beuatiful juice. A wine that is musical in it’s rich yet subtle flavors. 91+ points.
 2006 Dos Oakies Sangiovese. Soft but intense. A super and ig sangio that was truly amazing. 92+ points.
 2006 Marmellata Sangiovese. Named for marmalade in Italian. This is hugely fruit forward and flavorful. I always love this and the Dos Oakies. 92 points.
 2005 Linsteadt Barbera. A nice barb that is drinking well and flavorful. 89 points.
 2006 Lindsteadt Barbera. Another wow wine. Darker, richer, more intense. A really nice barb! 92 points.
 2006 OGP Zinfandel. Better than the 2004, too. Big, luscious, wonderful wine. 93+ points.
 2006 Mistura 180 Degrees Selection. Now Petite Siurah and Alicante BOuschet make up 55% of this wine to make the flavors more recognizable, but the 45% Portuguese varietals are always fun and interesting. Dark, brooding, interesting. Great fruitiness and flavors. 91 points.
 Almirante Port. Named by a fellow Big Nut, this “Admiral” of ports is truly great. 92 points. A tanwy is being aged up the barrel, too. Woowee!
 2006 Noce Knoll. We missed this somehow and went back. It is not released and not ready yet. Dark and brooding, the flavors are not settled. No score yet.
 2008 Frivolo. If you don’t like this moscato then you would have to be dead. Flavorful light and just fantastic. We drank the 2007 for our toast at our wedding last year. 89+ points.

I wanted to go back and retaste but we were starved as it was after 2 PM by now! What great hospitality. We were really humbled by the Noceto folks. They spent over 3 hours educating us and allowing use to get a truly inside view of the winery. Many thanks to them!

subinsignia wrote:For those interested in Noceto-Taste dinner...

At 6 pm we made our way to Taste for the Library and New Release Dinner. We were greeted at the door by Jum Gullett and were handed the 2008 Frivolo to sip as we mingled. Suzy, Rusty, Bobby, Kevin and Tracy were there and maybe more of the Noceto crowd that I may have missed. We made out way to our table and Kevin joined us as Pam was ill and could not make the day trip with us.
 2008 Frivolo. Just a great quaffer. 89+ points.
 2008 Pinot Grigio with Grilled Prawns with Shaved Fennel, Carrot and Cumin. Spectacular dish and the wine was a great match. The sublte seasoning with a hint of spice and the PG coupled for well. 88+ points.
 1995 & 2006 Sangiovese Normale with Pork Tenderloin, Red Wine Braised Le Puy Lentils, Sweet Onion Puree. Wow. What a dish and what wines. I preferred the 1995, very Dos Oakies in its stature. Still deeply red, full flavored and perhaps the best normale I’ve ever had. The youthful 2006 also coupled well with this, the spicy component adding something to the flavorful dish. 91+ for the 1995, 89-90 for the 2006.
 2004 Noce Knoll and 2003 Marmellata with Roasted Game Hen, Black and White Truffle Gnocchi. I liked the Noce Knoll with the hen and the Marmellata with the gnocchi. What beautiful flavors on the hen the hint of fattiness in the meat and the fullness of the Noce Knoll were spectacular together. The jammy and fruity Marmellata was a better counterpoint to the intense and beautiful truffle flavors on the gnocchi. Mmm, good! 91 on both wines.
 2002 & 2006 OGP Zinfandel and Braised Hoisen Lamb, Maitake Mushrooms, Asian Noodle and Scallion. Mixed together or with just the meat, I preferred the older zin. Quite noble and intense. Huge flavors, very complex, the age is doing it well. The noodles alone were better with the 2006 zin, the youth and fruit pairing with the seared and almost sweet hoisen sauce on the noodes. What a dish. Great lamb, micely prepared. 94-95 points on the 2002, 93 points on the 2006.
 NV Almirante Dessert Wine (Port) with Bellweather Farms Pepato Cheese, Candied and Cured Walnuts. Another great dish. The hard cheese and candied walnuts were great but the cured walnut was from Armenia and looked like a date or fig. Very interesting and port accompanied all with great aplomb. 92 points.
What a great dinner amd what great wines. We had a blast talking and kidding with Kevin and meeting Jim and Suzy for the first time. All these visits and I never met them before! We were in awe and full. It was shortly after 10 as we left and the two hour ride was filled with great memories and conversation before the riders all went to sleep! We got back in exactly two hours. Tired but happy, sleep came quickly.

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kyle83uw wrote:Well, I didn't get a labrat email, so I assume I'm not one of the lucky few- oh well, guess I'll have to crack my 04 Riserva =)

I should let you know this is really my first attempt at explicitly describing the nose/taste- I've been drinking wine for 6+ years, but am admittedly terrible at picking out individual characteristics…so take this all w/ a huge grain of salt.

Waited about 15 mins after opening- here are my original thoughts-
Nose: darker fruit on the nose compared to regular sang, some "funk"/spice, fair amount of heat, maybe a bit of chocolate? (The funk I referred to was a certain smell that, for the life of me, I could not identify. Not the type of funk I’ve smelled in, for instance, a Wellington syrah, which I identify more as a barnyard type funk.)
Taste: much fuller mouth feel, dark cherries, great acidity. No noticeable heat- some tannins

This was w/out any food- the tannins and darker fruit compelled me to pair it with *something*. Considering it’s past midnight here on the west coast, I wasn’t up to preparing a full pasta dish, but I did have some smoked salmon…[side note here- anyone in the Seattle area owes it to themselves to stop by B&E meats in Burien/Des Moines…amazing steaks, and some of the best smoked salmon I’ve had]

With the salmon, the tannins disappeared, and the fruit really came forward- very pleasant.

I should also mention, now that the wine has been opened for 45 mins or so, the original bitterness from the tannins seem to have faded already, and the dark fruit is coming through more. Also, the heat from the nose is gone.

Overall impressions- *very* delicious, and very different than the regular sangiovese that they offered w/ it in the previous offering. It’s been a while since I’ve had their regular sang (which I loved, btw), but from what I remember, the regular was a much lighter, crisper wine- sour cherries coming thorugh- For what it’s worth, I’d consider the regular sangiovese to be much more similar to toothy than the riserva. This riserva is much more complex, darker fruit, fuller wine. Honestly, if I tasted it blind, I may not ID it as a sang. I think the riserva would pair better with food. I know w/ the regular sang, I drank it alone, so I did not give it a chance to be paired, so I could be wrong.

Again, this is the 04 version, which, according to cellartracker is 91% Sangiovese (Sangiovese Grosso & Sangiovese Piccolo), 6% Syrah, 3% Barbera, so it’s different than what’s in this offering. However, if they are at all similar, I’m sure the 05 will be just as amazing. Glad I went in for 3.

Wow, just during the time it took to write this up, the wine has continued to improve- at least to my pallet- incredibly smooth, delicious fruit…mmmm

kyle83uw wrote:

Seems I pulled the cork too early- Fedex just stopped by w/ a bottle of the 2005 Riserva! Just in case this did happen, I saved half of the 2004 that I opened last night, so I should be able to do a side by side (however, the 2004 will have been open 24 hours).
Huge thank you to WD- couldn't be happier to have the vino noceto be my first "official" labratting.
Unfortunitly, I do work odd hours (330-midnight), so the report will be a bit late- I should have it up around 1am pst or so.

kyle83uw wrote:Ok, here’s the promised labrat report. The 05 Riserva had been opened for about 1.5 hours prior to tasting.

My first impressions w/ the 2005 Riserva, and some comparisons to the 04-
The 05 is noticeably lighter than the 2004- possibly due to the lack of the syrah that the 04 has? Beautiful light red color
Nose- first thought = cherries + earth- seemed very similar on the nose to what I remembered for the regular sang. Some heat on the nose, but not as much as I remembered last night for the 04 when I was just opened. As I let it breathe for a bit in the glass, I started to pick up another red fruit- hard to pinpoint what it is- first thought was strawberry, possibly raspberry. My initial impression was that the nose reminded me a bit of an Oregon pinot noir w/ the earthy notes.

Taste- sour cherries, possibly cranberry? Definitely lighter fruits than the 04- not picking up any of the dark cherries/dark fruit that I notice in the 04. Not picking up much of the earthiness that I noticed on the nose. There are tannins present, but they are smooth, and in no way overpowering- more tannins than what I remember in the regular sang. I went and peeked at pengu1n’s notes @ this point to compare- I actually picked up more chocolate w/ the 04 than w/ the 05, but I agree that this is a light wine, much more so than the 04- which is not a bad thing, but there are noticeable differences.

*edit* - I take that back- I am getting a bit of an earthy taste in the 05
2nd edit- now 3hrs open- just picked up some charcoal on the nose- any heat that was present is gone.

I’d consider the 04 a bit more complex, could hold up to heavier foods, but in terms of deliciousness w/in an hour or two of being opened, I’d give the 05 the upper hand- the 04 needed a bit more time to open up. That being said, the 04 has now been open for 24hrs and really has become wonderful- very full mouth feel, and much more subdued tannins, no heat at all.

Those are my first thoughts- I’ll post an update if it opens up or changes significantly- might also pair it w/ some sharp cheddar later.

Very happy I went in for 3

Again- a huge *thank you* to WD- now it's back to the wine- I'm sitting here w/ 1/4 bottle 04 and 3/4 bottle 05 Vino Noceto sang's....*droool* =)

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JanaDahlen wrote:I feel so special...I was chosen to labrat the 2006 Sangiovese. I would love to open the bottle, and provide my thoughts, but I'm expecting a little one so that probably wouldn't be the best idea. I'm going to reach out to my sister and see if she can do a tasting on it tonight and have her post up what she thinks.

I must say, I do love the Sangiovese from Noceto. I ordered last time it was offered, and was disappointed I didn't get more. This time I went in for 3, so I'm stocked up. I highly recommend Noceto.

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animallover wrote:I was so surprised and ELATED when there was a knock on the door yesterday afternoon and the labrat golden ticket & 2006 Vino Noceto Sangiovese arrived! What a way to end a week...and on Friday the 13th!

The neighbors could not make it, so my husband and I set about our first comparison tasting. Like kyle83uw, we are also also new to describing tastings.

We had the 2006 Sangiovese (Thank you WineDavid!), the 2005 Sangiovese and the 2004 Riserva Sangiovese from previous wine woot offerings.

We opened all three at the same time and tried each straight after opening, cleansing our palates in between tastings. We worked on a project between subsequent tastings to keep us busy (and keep our minds off of the wine) until the next tasting! Here are our notes:

2006 Sangiovese
Me: Tiny bit of sharpness/heat, very fruity (fruit forward?), touch of oak. Warm, not hot - could feel it warming my mouth and throat as it went down.

Hubby: Smooth, good bouquet/nose, strong and lasting finish, felt it needed to breathe

2005 Sangiovese
Me: Beautiful color, no sharpness, slightly heavier and very fruity nose. Good finish.

Hubby: Very smooth for right out of the bottle, less bouquet and mild finish.

2004 Riserva Sangiovese
Me: Very light, no sharpness, smoky and nice finish.

Hubby: Stronger, slightly edgy, less bouquet, mild finish.

2006 Sangiovese
Me: Little bit smoother, nice bouquet, still warm.

Hubby: Smoother after breathing, other qualities same as first tasting.

2005 Sangiovese
Me: Slighly smoother, not as much fruit, great finish.

Hubby: Very smooth, nice finish. A great time for this vintage (year and time to breathe)

2004 Riserva Sangiovese
Me: Light sharpness, more fruity. Still a nice finish.

Hubby: Same as first tasting, no changes after breathing for 1 hour.

2006 Sangiovese
Me: Much softer, low warmth/spicy. Still warming my mouth and throat on the way down.

Hubby: Smoother than the second tasting, good bouquet/nose and still a strong finish.

2005 Sangiovese
Me: Short burst of fruit in my nose, still very smooth, great finish.

Hubby: Lost some fruitiness.

2004 Riserva Sangiovese
Me: Seems stronger and sharper - good finish.

Hubby: Same as second tasting still strong and edgy.

We then each choose a wine to have with our dinners (chicken & pasta with red sauce and garlic bread). We used the Vinturi wine aerator while pouring to see if it made any noticeable differences from the last tasting. It did not appear to, perhaps because the wine had a few hours to breathe on it's own.

Me: Chose the 2006 Sangiovese. It matched well with dinner and seemed even smoother. The warmth stayed with it and I've taken a liking to it!

Hubby: Chose the 2004 Riserva Sangiovese. Felt it would hold up well against the sauce and spices and that the others would do well for enjoying tomorrow with some cheese (and he can't wait). Very pleased with results with dinner.

We then ranked the wines and came up with the same list:
#1 2005 Sangiovese - this wine has aged well and is great to drink with or without food.

#2 2004 Riserva - this wine is great with food.

#3 2006 Sangiovese - we both feel that this wine is good now, but will improve with some aging to become as great as the 2005 Sangiovese.

We're both looking forward to trying the second 1/2 bottle of each tonight. And I think we're going to become Big Nuts. We each were in for 3 when this came up for sale, but you can never have enough!

This was a fun experience and we're now interested in getting one of those kits that help you separate the flavors of wines. Perhaps there might be one in the next wootoff?

Big Thanks and hope our experience entices others to give this wine a try. If you don't...you're going to regret it!

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Offering of 3/17 -- K Vintners Syrah - Three Pack

2006 Mildebrandt Syrah

This offering's pack:

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dmunsil wrote:I'm a rat! The box came today!

I'm stoked. Charles Smith makes great wine and is a local hero (I'm in Kirkland, WA). I love everything I've drunk from his wideranging wine offerings, like the Holy Cow Riesling, the Steak House Red, etc. but have never experienced the Genuine Article: K Syrah. This Woot seemed like the perfect time to go for it. Being a labrat is a fantastic bonus!

The Mrs. is making a lamb stew tonight that should go well with a big Syrah. I'll post more once I get myself around a glass or two.


dmunsil wrote:Labrat report:

There's a lot going on with this wine, but it's quite accessible. It seems like a lot of modern Syrahs are either Australian-style fruit bombs or have the oak cranked up to 11. Not this one. The first sip had plenty of fruit, but not jammy. There's minerality, there's oak, there are traces and hints of a bunch of other flavors. Nothing is overpowering.

I can say for sure that it goes well with a hearty potato and lamb stew. It's not a conventional "big wine" but there's a lot of flavor in there. Restrained tannins. As I finished the glass, the minerals seemed quite prominent, but still well balanced. "Balanced" is probably my one-word review.

Overall I couldn't be more pleased. It's not like every other Syrah on the block and it doesn't intend to be. What it is, is darned good.


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AstonM wrote:Labrat! lucky me!!!

Been awhile since I wine wooted, guess I picked a good week.

first impressions on the nose are sweet red fruit, candied even, then onto peppery blueberry jam.

the nose tries to trick the palate, this is not a sweet wine, what you have is a mixed bag of red and dark fruit (currents, cherry, blackberry ect.) in a medium weight ending with a touch of vanilla and oak, silky smooth tannins!

very enjoyable and not over the top Shirazzz style.

It's a drink now or hold for a couple years kinda wine.

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ETrain1158 wrote:My St. Paddy's Day gift was an e-mail telling me to be on the lookout for an early bottle of K-Syrah. Lab Rat...Woo Hoo!! I actually had a bottle of the 2004 vintage of this wine last year and loved it, so when I saw this pop up Sunday night, I was all over it.

I took the bottle over to a friend's house, who prepared a nice corned beef and cabbage. I'm not sure if it was the best meal to pair with the wine, but what else are you gonna have on March 17th???

At first, the nose wasn't giving up much of anything, so we poured it in a decanter for a while. After an hour, there was quite a bit more going on. Lots of smoke and red fruits.

The wine tasted fantastic! Again with red fruits and smoke, maybe a little blueberry, and some earthy characteristics as well. It had a nice, full flavor that you would almost expect to be over the top, but it wasn't. Very nice balance, and long soft finish. Enough tannins to reveal its youth, but very drinkable right now.

I noticed a couple of posts saying they didn't want a "three of a kind". Lemme tell ya...if you like Syrah, you'll be glad to have three bottles of this.

Thanks for the rattage,
Over and out!

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Offering of 3/19 -- Beehive Cheese Duo

1 lb. Seahive
1 lb. Barely Buzzed

This offering's pack:
dmunsil (both)
ETrain1158 (both)

fairnymph (Seahive)

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dmunsil wrote:I'm a labrat this week, and they shipped a wedge of both of these cheeses with the wine. I thought it was a bonus (as indeed it was), I didn't realize I was experiencing double-labrat action!

Luckily we tried the Seahive cheese last night. It's quite good. It's a medium-dry cheese with great creamy dairy flavors. It's not a super-sharp cheese, but definitely you taste something like a cross between a farmhouse cheddar and maybe an aged Jarlsberg. There's a decent hit of salt right off the bat which fades quickly. The honey flavor is there, but not overpowering or cloying. It's not a "sweet" cheese. I'd pair it with a Pinot, or perhaps a dry Riesling.

Bottom line: well worth it if you like cheese.

We'll try the other cheese tonight.


dmunsil wrote:Labrat report part 2:

Tasting the Barely Buzzed now. The coffee and lavender are subtle. I personally like it a lot because I like cheese to taste primarily of cheese. If there are non-cheese flavors I want them to be enhancements rather than the primary taste.

To put it in perspective, there is less coffee and lavender flavor in this cheese than there is dill flavor in conventional dill havarti or pepper flavor in pepper jack.

Nevertheless the flavors are there; it's not some sort of gimmick. And the cheese itself is quite similar to the Seahive; it's very creamy, medium-dry, and like a farmhouse cheddar blended with something else, something a little nutty. Emmenthaler? Edam?

All in all I like this one even more than the Seahive, and I liked the Seahive.

A worthy woot.


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fairnymph wrote:Southern Season does indeed carry the Seahive cheese as well, so I picked some up ($19.99/lb, there).

And it's really, really tasty. I'm not sure that it's $20/lb tasty...but it's high quality, unique cheese. This is like a sharp cheddar in both flavour and texture (if you blind-tested me, I'd be convinced it were one), but it has this mild hint of sweetness. If I didn't know, I'm not sure that I would guess honey. It's not a STRONG honey flavour, but I can pick it out knowing it's there easily enough. Wildflower honey for sure, with those light floral nuances. And the sweetness just adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that I really enjoy.

This also noticeably creamier than cheddar despite the firm texture. I don't find the BB particularly creamy, but the Seahive is. It's very more-ish on the whole, and goes nicely with rye crisps.

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ETrain1158 wrote:We tried the Beehive cheese that was sent along with the K Vintners Syrah, and like them both quite a bit. My Wife ad I particularly liked the Seahive. Very creamy and flavorful, excellent quality.

The Barely Buzzed was similar to Seahive except for the espresso/lavender on the edge. The flavor of the espresso/lavender is subtle and does not overpower. Very cool, nice flavor, but for me more of a "that's interesting" type of cheese as opposed to a "Oh man, you ate the last of it?" type of cheese.

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 3/23 -- Kent Rasmussen Carneros Estate Pinot Noir -Three Pack

This offering's pack:

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
andyduncan wrote:One contender in transit. The other is in our office warming up and talking Gigli (2003).

It's going to be a battle Royale.

andyduncan wrote:

RC: So what can you tell us about today's fight Joe Rogan?


RC: Why are you yelling at me?


RC: Um. Ok. So, who is this mystery contender for today's fight?


RC: Well, technically he didn't agree to it. This was a surprise for everyone, Pinot was just supposed to be down here for a media op, a little "meet and greet".


andyduncan wrote:


RC: So the mystery contender is from Carneros as well eh?


RC: So where is Rassmussen?


RC: I'm not quite sure what to say Joe, you seem to know a little more about that than I'm comfortable with.


andyduncan wrote:


RC: I'm going to ignore the first part of that, let's just move on to the stats... So it looks like we've got a 100% Pinot Noir from Carneros, weighing in at just under the welterweight limit of 14.5% alcohol.


RC: He's a 2005, so a year older than our Rasmussen, but he is carrying a reach advantage at just under 2400 cases produced, versus a little over 1500 cases for the Rasmussen.


RC: I could crush you.


RC: Well, we still don't know which school he's coming out of but we know he spent about 8 months in 50% new, all French oak from a variety of coopers, and he's tested at around 0.54TA and 3.59pH, versus 40% new of mostly French with a bit of Hungarian and 0.52TA and 3.71pH for the KR Pinot.


RC: Yeah that's probably enough about that...

andyduncan wrote:

RC: So, Joe, we're getting word that the KR Pinot's driver was arrested for incompetence, methamphetamine possession, and soliciting an undercover officer. We're going to have to send someone to pick up KR Pinot down at the station. What do you think this means for our fight?


RC: When do you think we'll be ready to get this fight started?


RC: All right, well we'll keep you posted, in the meantime lets get to the undercard, who do we have fighting here tonight?


andyduncan wrote:


RC: That's right Joe, we're finally able to announce that our mysterious contender is fighting out of the Ramal Vineyard and has been training under Jeff Stewart at Buena Vista winery.


RC: I agree Joe, but I think what we have here is a case of the promoter having this bottle handy. And, since they both retail for exactly the same price, come from vineyards only a few miles from each other, and the two-dozen wooters from the RPM tour got to taste the ramal over the summer, it's probably not that bad of a comparison.


RC: All right Bruce Buffer, give us your best impersonation of your father!


andyduncan wrote:The contenders:

The judges are tasting these blind, which should make them about as accurate as the judges at a normal UFC fight.

(the Dr. Pepper is the current favorite, ask SB about the Pepsi culture and how it has ruined our palates)

apw2123 wrote:I am so lucky to be one of the judges in this epic battle. Half way through this fight there appears to be a distinct victor. As we get into the final round bottle 2 needs to come up big and force bottle one into submission. A leg bar, a choke out something to get this fight stopped.

andyduncan wrote:So, it did end up going to a decision, and we'll have to tally up the results afterwords.

Wine 2: Fruity, lots of strawberries and classic pinot wet hay. A little bit of barnyard. Generally a very easy drinking, bright pinot. Good concentration but still elegant. My memory says this is the BVista (but then again, I can't tell cab from merlot)

Wine 1: Earthy, cedar/pencil shavings, is taking a while to open up, this is probably the KR. Hints of strawberry poking through. Spicy finish, lots of complexity.

Both are very nice, I think #1 needs time in the bottle, and right now it needs time to open up. We'll post updates.

If you've been reading between the lines on our saga, the fedex truck failed to deliver our wine, so I had to go pick it up from the fedex location. Unfortunately that meant we can't taste it at the office with Pencilthief and the rest of the crew. So I apologize for the delay. I'm tasting with apw2123 and his wife (my birthday buddy! same day, same year!). ap's going to post his own review.

more to follow.

andyduncan wrote:We formed our opinions and revealed the bottles to the judges. First, a note.

When I labratted the Zahtilla cab, a lot of people ended up not liking that wine, which was at odds with my recommendation.

When I tasted my actual bottles from that offering, I still liked them, but I can understand why some people wouldn't. They were very funky, maybe a little unbalanced (clay would say "HOLY CRAPSTICKS THE ALCOHOL"), but I enjoyed the pencil-shavings and funkiness that I think other people objected to, and I thought the QPR for a non-fruit-bomb napa cab was worthwhile.

So along those lines I think the most useful thing would be to categorize this as best I can rather than just say "get it". (but get it).

This isn't a big, syrah-pinot, but neither is it a light ultra-sultry cali pinot. I don't have enough experience with burgundies to say whether it's truly burgundian, but it's certainly more "old-world-y" than most cali pinot I've had.

To be completely subjective, I really like it, it's complex and interesting and it has evolved in the glass, but if you're looking for either a big, knock-you-out syrah pinot (saxon brown), or a super fruity pinot (willammette and roesller), this isn't going to be your style, it's an interesting, complex wine that was good with dinner (chicken and potatoes) and kept getting more interesting as it spent time in the glass.

It's a little hard for me to classify, honestly, I haven't had pinots exactly like this. It's concentrated without being over extracted, and it's definitely pinot without being a caricature of a pinot. There's a lot to talk about in the wine.

I think what clay was saying about the 2006s being quite closed would seem to hold true with this one, it's opening up, but I think it still needs time in the bottle. There's even enough tannin to make me think this could be one for the cellar.

I really like the Buena Vista, I think it's a really nice pinot and I especially love the nose of it. But it just doesn't have the midpalate complexity that the KR does.

Given that pinot is absurdly overpriced these days (but getting better) it's difficult to talk about QPR, but for $25/bottle shipped I think the QPR is through the roof. This is a complex, age-worthy wine that is good with food and appears like something that is only going to get more interesting.

apw2123 wrote:Well that is it, what a great fight between to worthy contenders. The winner is wine 1 which happens to be the Ken Rasmussen. In the end KR with his old world taste and great finish were able to carry him to victory. Thanks AD for the opportunity to labrat this with you (I am the legs in the pic)

In all seriousness this is a great wine. Very old world, Burgundy and very Beaune. There is a metallic smell with hints of pencil shavings. The KR was very complex with a little spice on the finish, not expected. The fruit on the pallet was subtle yet distinguishable, berries. The Buena Vista had a little more Poo on the front. The KR is not a super fruity Syrah type pinot. It could use 3+ years to really become a great wine.

I have been to Beaune and tasted 10-15 wines, i thinks, and this is the closest to what I enjoyed there. I am in for 1 but only because my wife said that was all I was allowed to order. If you have the means I suggest 3. Thanks to Dunk and the wife for a great night of wine and food. I love spring break.

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
diannap wrote:This rat is at a loss...

I'm deeply divided on what to have for dinner tonight with the Pinot Noir. Thought I'd do some tasting notes both with and without food. Someone want to decide my food fate for me?

MOROCCAN LAMB CHOPS with mushroom risotto and curried apple-mint sauce

ROSEMARY CHICKEN pan-fried with linguini, sauteed vegetables and fresh herb sauce

NEW YORK STRIP herb rubbed - parmesan whipped potatoes and marsala sauce

WOOD ROASTED SALMON set on roasted potatoes and vegetables with pesto aioli

diannap wrote:Oh, the pressure!!! I bow to the humor and creativity of my counterparts. I disclaim by saying I’m just happy the 3 year old and baby are sound asleep…I’m hoping for a “wakefree” evening of wine tasting. If I get that, I’m going to be REALLY happy. So with laptop in hand I’ll tackle the Kent Rasmussen Pinot Noir.

The Fedex man dropped my box and golden ticket off in the afternoon, too early to open, so I brought it to the cellar and let it maintain its temp – it was perfect cool weather for wine delivery today. In the evening, I brought it back out, and opened it to find very little color on the cork and an initial aroma of light berry, perhaps cherry and strawberry.

Since I’m not the patient type, I poured a small taste right away. The color is beautiful – a perfect light, ruby red with exceptional clarity that sparkled in the light. I’m now getting a little floral perhaps, but definitely still the light berry. Initial taste is high alcohol, moderate tannins and cherry/strawberry. It definitely needs time to breathe. Its very hard to discern flavor over the acidity/alcohol at this point.

(Really wanting to start drinking this wine now. I have an open bottle of Pinotage from last night – vacuum sealed. Tempted to try some, but will resist to maintain fairness for the PN. Sigh.)

30 minutes after opening – Its easing up a bit, but needs more time.

1 hour after opening – Still no real lasting strong flavors. Tried it with both Salmon and Chicken, and we both agreed that food did not improve the wine and vice versa. Food made it have even more bite on immediate taste. Maybe if it had more time to breathe it would be a different story. If I had to pick, I much preferred the Rosemary chicken with it versus the Salmon. Perhaps the earthiness of the Rosemary plays off the wine a bit. Perhaps we should have eaten a little later, but I was hungry, so I digress…

2 hours after opening – More flavors are starting to come through. It does not leave the palette immediately anymore. It continues to have too much bite for my taste, so I must conserve the remainder and stay up later to see how this changes.

Time to start considering chocolate. I have a great triple layer chocolate mousse cake in the fridge. I think its going to have to be eaten. Soon.

3 hours after opening – Ok, here we go. Now I’m really starting to see a change. The flavors now sit on the palette, rather than disappearing quickly. I’m getting a bright, sharp, berry explosion upon tasting which drifts off into a fresh tartness. Now getting more dark cherry and raspberry. The acidity is no longer overpowering the flavors. I’m getting excited to see what its like at 4 hours!

4 hours after opening – Really enjoying this now. The cherry, raspberry are still prevalent and rich. Flavor fills the mouth and has a hint of light earthiness. Such a dramatic change from when it was first opened. I still wouldn’t put it with the Salmon, but it probably would have gone nicely with the chicken at this point. Going to get that chocolate cake…now.

The bottom line: It’s a gorgeous looking wine – the color and clarity are remarkable. After sufficient time, the flavors were bright, fresh and enjoyable. The change from initial opening to several hours later was absolutely remarkable. Ultimately, I think it will be a really good wine after a few more years. I’m glad I bought it, but plan to keep my 3 bottles for awhile before opening. Should you woot? Yes, go click that button if you’ve got patience to let it sit a bit. I think it will be a really nice wine, given some time.

Full circle - Children are still sleeping, and mommy had a nice night wine tasting. Thanks for sending the golden ticket Wine.woot! I'd love to do it again sometime!

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
dayoff53 wrote:Well, I couldn’t wait to get to FedEx to pick up the swill. They said after 6:00 – I was there at 5:10. The wine was there at 5:45. On the way to FedEx, I stopped off at a local wine pusher named, I carp you negative, “Bueno Cheapo Vino”. There, I picked up a bottle of Stephen Vincent 2006 Sonoma County Pinot Noir (hereinafter sometimes referred to as “the cheap s**t”) for $13.99, which is one of two wines I wanted to taste along side the Kent Rasmussen Carneros 2006 Pinot Noir (hereinafter sometimes referred to as “the Rasmussen”). When I got home, I went into my cellar (okay, I went upstairs and opened the door on my Vinotemp 500EC, purchased 18 months ago from Costco) and pulled a bottle of the 2006 British Columbia Pinot Noir I made from an RJ Spagnols kit last fall (for lack of a better term, hereinafter referred to as my Days Delight – my fantasy winery label). While Kay, the love of my life, my wife of 29 years, and SWMBO, started making home-made pizza, I sat down with the three bottles, three identical and scrupulously clean glasses, and my cobbled-together home-built computer to write the undying prose that you are now reading.

Before opening the bottles, I let them all come to approximately the same temperature, which I think is around 68 degrees F. While I was waiting, I studied the bottles. The Rasmussen and the cheap s**t where both in classic Burgundy bottles as befits the wine, though the Rasmussen bottle was heavier and much darker. The Days Delight was in an inappropriate slate Bordeaux bottle, but had a much more attractive label (NOT SAFE FOR WORK). The Days Delight had a stated alcohol content of 12.9%, but I calculated that myself from hydrometer readings I made, and I only guarantee accuracy to about + or – 1%. The cheap s**t claimed 13.6% alchol and the Rasmussen weighed in at 13%. After admiring the labels for a while, I began to open the bottles. Here again, I noticed a distinct difference among the wines. All had foil toppers on the bottles, but the Days Delight had a cheap heat-shrink plastic “foil”, the cheap s**t had real foil, and the Rasmussen had a heavier gauge real foil. The Days Delight was stopped with an agglomerated cork; the cheap s**t also had an agglomerated cork, but with real cork slices on the ends to make it look more “real”; the Rasmussen had a natural cork imprinted with the winery name but – quality control issue here! – punched into the neck of the bottle a good 1/8th of an inch too far. That last almost spoiled the whole experience for me, but I soldiered on.

My initial tasting was only moments after drawing the corks. I poured a little of each into the identical glasses, letting it splash to aerate a little. When comparing color, all three had the distinctive light red Pinot Noir color and all were sparkling clear. The cheap s**t was slightly lighter in color than either of the others, which both appeared identical. Then, I swirled each glass and stuck my beak into each to sample the gaseous emissions. Here, my Days Delight really let me down. It had a pleasant enough smell, but was pretty non-descript and “weak” on the nose compared to the other two. The cheap s**t was distinctly red fruit to me – strawberries and raspberries come to mind – while the Rasmussen seemed a little darker – cherries and currants, perhaps. I got a little floral smell from the Rasmussen and the cheap s**t and mostly floral from the Days Delight.

In tasting, I decided to go with the Rasmussen first and last to see how it changed after trying the others. When it first went in my mouth, I had a distinct impression of sour red berries – not fully ripe red raspberries and pie cherries. It had distinctive and pleasant tannins and a moderately long finish, going toward vegetal and herbal as it faded. My over-all impression at this point was that it was a VERY good pinot – perhaps the best I’ve had, though I am pretty new to pinots and generally buy only inexpensive wines. It certainly held up to the best I tried in the Willamette Valley recently. The cheap s**t was also surprisingly good. It was perhaps a little harsher on the tongue and had more bitter herbiness to me, but was still a very good pinot. The Days Delight also ran. It was a bit flabby in comparison to the others and had little discernable distinctively pinot qualities, though it was thoroughly inoffensive and went down smoothly.

Okay, pizza’s done, so it’s off to the kitchen for further tasting…

Right! Well, I’m trying to give a fair taste test and comparison of three different wines. That requires frequent slurping, swishing and swallowing. Well, I suppose I could spit, but my momma taught me that spitting is really impolite and my daddy taught me to be way too cheap to throw away even bad … well, anything – certainly not wine; he was a tea-totaller. Okay, I was tempted to spit the Days Delight after awhile, but I cowboyed up and did my duty. Trouble is, I’m well in to three bottles of wine now and trying to write coherently. I take no responsibility for my typos and errors in etiquette or judgment from this point forward.

The pizza was a mild-flavored Canadian bacon, mushrooms, black olives and fresh onions. I spiced it up with a liberal sprinkling of red pepper flakes. This is the point where I was ready to spit the Days Delight. What was an inoffensive, easy drinking, non-descript wine had become really flabby and damned near tasteless. It’s only redeeming virtue was that it was alcoholic and thus could be expected to contribute to a convivial dinner, right up to the point when you’ve gone from happy to stupid. The cheap s**t, on the other hand, was a real treat. Whether from opening up as it aerated further or from the match with the food or both, the flavors became more distinctive. The acidity really worked well with the slight sweetness of the pizza sauce and the fruitiness was a nice counterpoint to the capsaicin in the pepper flakes. Definitely a wine for food! The Rasmussen was even better than the cheap s**t – though only by a hair. It had a similar flavor and mouth feel, but with a longer and slightly fruitier finish. Again, this is a wine that wants to hang out with a nice meal, and it would go with a wide variety of dishes. I am imagining it with chicken and dumplings and with barbecued salmon, both of which combinations are making my mouth water.

And here, I must digress. The lovely Kay is not a red wine drinker. She likes wine. Any kind of wine, so long as it is a special harvest Riesling or anything else that I might use in place of pancake syrup. I prevailed on her to sample the three wines just as she was finishing her pizza. She tried the Rasmussen first. Her assessment: “I don’t know what you want me to tell you. It’s awful!” After trying the cheap s**t, her opinion of the Rasmussen changed slightly – she noted that it had a longer, fruitier finish. When she tried the Days Delight, her glowing praise was that it is “the least offensive” of the three. Different strokes for different folks…

As a final challenge, I tasted all three wines with chocolate. At Christmas time, I bought a set of wine-pairing chocolates from Cost Plus. One of the chocolates, a 61% cocoa solids semisweet chocolate, was suggested for pairing with Pinot Noir or Merlot. Here is where I found the most difference between the cheap s**t and the Rasmussen. Both actually went with this chocolate very nicely – the sweetness was a nice counterpoint to the acidity of the wine and the bitterness of the chocolate really complemented the astringency of the wine. The Rasmussen outshone the cheap s**t, though, in that it had a much fuller, rounder, more robust overall taste. The Days Delight, on the other hand, had diminished beyond non-descript to the point of approaching gustatory non-existence.

Well, so much for the sensory qualities. Now, on to the scoring. My mind is well-enough lubricated at this point that I feel I can really express myself. It’s just a matter of choosing the most appropriate rating scale to appropriately convey my experience to the rest of you. Rather than choosing just one scale, I have decided to rate these wines on several different scales. Please choose the one that speaks to you.

On the two-point “Y” scale, my first impression was that all three wines scored identically as “yum” (as opposed to “yuck”). In the end, though, after the pizza and chocolate tests, I find this scale inadequate to the situation. The cheap s**t and the Rasmussen clearly are entitled to identical “yum” scores. The Days Delight, while not a “yuck”, does not deserve a yum, so I’d have to break the rules and modify the scoring to give it a “yum minus”.

On the Internet 5 Star rating scale, the Days Delight scores a clear three stars – “It’s Ok.” The cheap s**t and the Rasmussen again earn identical scores of 5 stars – “I Love It.”

On the 20-point Real World Model (French Higher Education), the Days Delight scores an 11 – “passable,” while the cheap s**t and the Rasmussen again earn identical scores of 17 – “tres bien.”

On the 20-point UC Davis scale, the Days Delight scores a 9 – the lowest score that meets commercial acceptability. The cheap s**t is a 17 – the lowest score for wines of outstanding characteristics with no defects. The Rasmussen edges it out by scoring an 18.

On the 100-point Robert Parker scale, the Days Delight scores a 63 – a below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies. (And I was so hoping to give myself a better score. Sigh.) The cheap s**t scores 89 points – a very good wine, just missing true distinction. The Rasmussen scores 91 points – a truly outstanding wine.

Finally, if not most importantly the open-ended f***ing scale. This is a sliding scale with a potentially infinite number of gradations, as each score is unique but must include the adjective, “f***ing”. The Days Delight scores, “f***ing nondescript, with no particular f***ing character, but f***ing easy to chug down and get s**t-faced on.” The cheap s**t scores “a real f***ing surprise – extremely high QPR; I’m going to f***ing buy a f***ing case of this s**t while they still have it.” The Rasmussen scores, “this is the best f***ing Pinot Noir I have had – even a cheap bast**d like me would be willing to shell out to put a few bottles of this in the cellar. Of course, I’m not going to f***ing serve it to my clueless friends who don’t know Chardonnay from f***ing Cabernet!”

There it is, my friends, and ahead of schedule! Buy and enjoy!

edit: added content warning to link

dayoff53 wrote:Nice job, diannap! You clearly have a more experienced palate and better wine vocabulary than I. I agree with you that it opens up considerably after a few hours and, while I don't really have the experience to justify my expectations, I think it is going to improve over the next few years. To me, it has the acidity and tannins to bear a little aging. Now that I've had a free bottle, my three on the way are going to go in the cellar for at least a couple years.


For those of you still on the cusp about buying this lovely offering, and in the interest of a more complete report, I offer one last tasting note. While I don't usually drink before work, I decided to have a last (small) glass with my morning toast (whole wheat, dry) to see how the Rasmussen held up after 12 hours. Since I have to be able to at least act sober at work, though, I'm just tasting the Rasmussen this morning.

First, I am sorry to say that Colgate Sensitive Whitening is not the best background against which to taste this wine. It took a couple of mouthfuls swished around over the pearly whites before I thought I was getting a good taste of the wine. I had stuffed the cork back in the bottle after about 3 1/2 hours last night and it was now about 12 hours since I first opened the bottle. There is a distinct mellowing of some of the sharpness and I detect more earthy, vegetal tones. Still a very good wine, but not quite to my taste now. I wish I had put it in my vacuum flask. I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed to serve this wine today - but probably not with the breakfast cereal.

My final assessment: the Kent Rasmussen 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir is a very good Pinot. At $35 per bottle, it is beyond my normal price comfort zone, but based on my limited experience with good Pinots, that price is fair. At $25 per bottle it's really good QPR. I think this will be even better in a couple years, but it's darned good now. Buy with confidence.

Thanks again, Wine.Woot! It's been a trip.

dayoff53 wrote:So, I'm home from work; just spent a half-hour on the eliptical and I've worked up a thirst. I haven't consumed anything minty in hours and I rinsed out my piehole with some fresh, cool, bottled water. Since you skinflints haven't yet bought up all this wonderful juice, I figure I have time for one more comment.

The bottle of Rasmussen was opened 22 hours ago now, but it has had a cork in it for 18 of those hours. When I pour a slug, the fruit immediately wafts out of the glass - redolent of cherries, currents and dark berries. There's also turned earth in the background - kind of a clay-like thing, but not in a bad way. My nose doesn't usually pick up on the herbal kinds of things, nor so much on the floral. Anyway, unlike this morning (when it was clearly me that was off), this really smells good.

The color is still crystal-sharp ruby red, with a light ring around the glass. In my mouth, I don't get near as much sour as I did last night. The first impression is definitely fruit, echoing what went up the snoot. Then, it hits pretty hard with the tannins on the back sides of the tongue. It slowly fades over more than 20 seconds, with the last bit reminding me of ... the skin of a red delicious apple? Make of it what you will, that's what I got.

Better now than ever. The moral of this story is, don't drink good wine in the morning and, whatever you do, don't brush with mint toothpaste first.

Wow! Just took a big gulp to empty the glass. It seemed wasteful, but it was really good, covering all the surfaces of the palate and tongue at the same time. Very complex - lots of stuff going on all at once. I still don't get funky, mushroomy stuff, though. (And don't want to, I might add.)

Now, just to finish what I started, I'm going to try a little of the cheap s**t, too. You'll forgive me, I'm sure, if I admire my Days Delight label (NSFW!) while I drink, and don't actually bother tasting it again...

This Stephen Vincent 2006 Sonoma County Pinot Noir also still looks very nice. Still lighter than the Rasmussen, and with a broader light edge. I still get strawberries in the smell, with almost a musty hay/straw smell in the background. Definitely something going on here besides fruit. The flavor of this one also held up very well - it, too is less sharp and acidic on the tongue. It fills the mouth with interesting and complex flavor sensations as well, but definitely not as "ripe" as the Rasmussen. Like fruit picked a day too early. Pie cherries... The finish is a little shorter, but still lingers for quite a while.

Okay, my impressions haven't really changed. Both of these wines are excellent. The Rasmussen is 2 or 3 points better on my version of a 100-point scale. This is in the quality range where 2 or 3 points can translate into a bunch of bucks. I'm glad I got the Rasmussen - I wish I had gone in for 2 instead of 1. After all, I didn't ask permission and the lovely Kay would have likely forgiven me the $145 almost as easily as the $75. I'm still going to go back to Bueno Cheapo Vino and get some more of that cheap s**t!

Oh! Cheron, I apologize. They let me labrat. They aren't likely to make that mistake again. I had to make the experience last. You're great!

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

zTimothyBz found a labrat bottle of Mandolina Freisa when he went down to his wine locker on Saturday. We had it that night at SoCal #8.

I asked everyone to post on it in the #8 thread and then I can cross-post them all in here for you.

Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 3/30 -- Kunde - Three Pack

2006 Valee de la Lune
2005 Estate Syrah
2005 Estate Merlot

This offering's pack:
LoonBoarder (Merlot)
vinokeeno (Valee de la Lune)
redvu9395 (Syrah)

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
vinokeeno wrote:Lab Rat Report

I had the Kunde Estate 2006 Vallée de la Lune. I paired this with a Pork Piccata with Asparagus and Capers.

Color: Remarkable, deep Blood/Ruby very nice color and clarity, but still light.

Cedar, cigar box aroma with spice and I noticed a hint of vanilla.

The flavor was all jam on the front end and definitely cranberries mid palate through the finish. Nice acidity and tannins with a lingering finish, not long.

I kept searching for the floral notes mentioned throughout the forum today from those fabled Voignier/Syrah nuptials, but they never materialized. Overall a very enjoyable wine that went perfectly with the pork. I found it to be a bit young, could use another year or two to fully develop. I am pleased to have three more bottles on the way.

Edit: I want to emphasize how nice the color is on this offering. My bartender even mentioned as much as he was doing his little bottle opening/pouring ritual. This may well be my new favorite shade of candy-apple, deep-red-something, yet still crystal-clear like a nice Pinot.

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
redvu9395 wrote:Raises Hand at the LabRat roll coll

I am drinking the 2005 Syrah. I got the notice that it arrived at the office after I got home, given that I am 15 minutes away when back ... yes i am that dedicated in the roll of labrat didn't want to disappoint during my first appointment.

Love it. Afraid I am not going to have the words. I should have stopped by the grocery to get a steak to go with this wine - will have to do that tomorrow - that would be divine!

The description given is very accurate.
'For sheer strength, nothing beats the Kunde Estate 2005 Syrah. Rich blackberry and mint aromas are followed by muscular berry and chocolate flavors – this wine is ripped. But don’t let its power fool you. It also offers a subtle hints of cedar and a velvety, plush mouthfeel. You’ll want to pair it with a meal that’s capable of heavy lifting, like steak with peppercorns or a hearty vegetable stew.'

I am not disappointed ... yes, I realize I am. I only got one woot (there is only so much wine* that can fit in the apartment ... got to have room for the husband) wish I had gone in for three and then figured it out afterwards where I would store it.

*Currently have 100 bottles in a one bedroom apartment. Will be very dangerous when we move into the house.

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
LoonBoarder wrote:Kunde Estate Merlot 2005

It all started when a strange man offered me some Kunde. Mom always said that you can't trust strangers, but he seemed nice...

The Fedex truck came by the house to deliver the promised treat, but my wife and I were both at work - a logistical miscalculation on my part, since she is having shoulder surgery next week and I'll be working from home for some time to come. I didn't take into account the possibility that for this, my 50th wine.woot purchase, I'd have the duty -- nay, the honor -- of being a labrat.

The FedEx center is a middling ride from the house, so we drove up and fetched our package. Other errands while we were out delayed the opening until just before 9PM EDT.

Initial impressions - dark cherries, maybe some mocha on the nose. Even a little leather? The first taste - smooth entry, seemed a little lacking in the mid-palate, then a bit of a hot finish. The second taste showed some more balance, the mid-palate filled out and the heat dropped off. This would go well with some cheese.

[rifles through fridge]

Here we go. A little manchego cheese, sliced up.. a bite of the cheese and a sip of the wine -- there's the balance I was looking for. Someone just the other day mentioned the acid from the wine balancing the fattiness from the accompanying food. This is a prime example of that concept.

One glass down.

I poured another glass, and let it sit for a bit; the dog's looking to do his night-time walkies.

Aaaand, we're back. Nice night out. No signs of the skunks that were out the other night, thank FSM!

Back to the Merlot. Now that it's sat in the glass for a bit, the heat on the back end has dissipated a bit. Still goes better with the cheese than all by its lonesome, though. I'm really awful at picking out the various flavor components, but this seems to be a well-integrated, balanced wine that fits my expectations for the varietal.

DW breaks down and asks for a pour -- she's denying herself weeknight wine in anticipation of not being able to do her workouts. After one sip, the Merlot gets Mrs. LoonBoarder's nod of approval. "Nice and smooth, good flavors."

Thanks, WineDavid, for the chance to sample and report on this offering.

Feel free to ask any questions if I've left any unanswered!
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I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"