quality posts: 8 Private Messages tenuki
keplar wrote:

Congratulations, It's a Cab!

Labrat Report: Madison Cellars 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Courses:

1) Stand-alone (undecanted)
2) Cheeses
3) Red sauce over pasta
4) Stand-alone (decanted 30 minutes)
5) Steak
6) Chocolate

Course 1: Stand-alone (undecanted)

For this, I simply opened the bottle up, poured a small glass, and had a look. The wine is a very deep purple color, perhaps no longer even part of the "red" family of colors. The nose was distinctly earthy, with a background of fruits, and an easily identified grape aroma.

Upon sampling, I was suprised by the force of the attack, and the power of the grape and earth flavors. Earth in particular filled my mouth, and the finish left a tingle throughout. I felt a chalk-like texture, very dry, after swallowing, and the finish lasted quite some time.

Verdict: I am not a fan of large earthy flavors, so I was not a big fan of this first taste. Poeple who like earth flavors, however, will really like it straight from the bottle.

Course 2: Cheeses

I selected two cheeses I enjoy from the artisan brand Sartori Reserve, one creamy, and one a bit drier.

For the creamy cheese, I selected their Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago. This resulted in an immediate reduction in the earth and chalk sensations, as well as the tingle of the finish. The grape aroma bloomed in to a very clear taste, and the finish was smooth, going well with the smooth texture of the cheese.

For the drier cheese, I selected the Raspberry BellaVitano, a cheese soaked in Raspberry Ale to give it fruity notes. The flavors of the cheese and the wine complimented each other in remarkable fashion, giving a muted and overall fruity taste. There was no tingle on the finish, and not a hint of the earthiness and chalk that had struck me so clearly on the stand-alone (undecanted) sample. This pairing yielded an overall warm sensation in my mouth.

Verdict: This is an outstanding wine to accompany cheese! Both the cheeses I tried were improved by the wine, and the wine by the cheese. Absolutely a delight (I'm likely to find myself returning to this course for a more extensive meet-and-greet after this report is complete).

Course 3: Red sauce over pasta

I make my own red sauce, which is far less salty than any of the bottled stuff, and perhaps a bit sweeter. It is thin, and I chose to pour it over some angel hair pasta sprinkled with parmesean for this test.

The earthy flavor returned with the red sauce, but it was not offensive in this case. The wine tingled lightly under my tongue, and blended well with the acidic quality of the tomatoes. The flavors lingered together, and blended deliciously on the finish, lasting far longer together than either does by itself. There was the tiniest hint of floral aromas in my mouth when the wine was gone.

Verdict: I would definitely drink this with red sauce dishes. The acidic sauce compliments the wine, and vice versa.

Course 4: Stand-alone (decanted)

After the first three courses, I poured some wine in to a decanter, and allowed it to work it's magic for 30 minutes. This and the courses that follow are with this decanted wine.

The difference between the decanted and undecanted wine was striking. The nose had far more fruit, far less earth, and for the first time, I sensed a mild sweetness about it. The attack, shocking when undecanted, was decidedly muted, and the wine developed a full body that filled my mouth. The earthy flavor returned on the finish when drunk in this fashion, but the tingle/afterburn was gone.

Verdict: I far prefered this wine with a 30 minute decant to the original, straight-from-the-bottle configuration. The reduction in earth, and increase in body and fruit, are things I like very much.

Course 5: Steak

I grilled up an Omaha Steaks filet mignon (Medium-well) on my George Foreman, as it was a stellar steak + red combination that first brought me in to the wine-buying fold. The steak muted the earthy finish of the wine, and exchanged it for a sort-of "awareness" of my forward palette. Not a burning sensation, but rather just a sense of the wine's lingering effects in that area. The hint of floral sensed with the red sauce returned, stronger now, but still subtle.

Verdict: The wine and steak go together acceptably, but I don't think it's doing the wine any favors. The strength of the steak's flavor isn't idealy suited to this wine's subtlties. The primary flavors of the wine were fruity, but the steak, I think, overwhelmed some of them.

Course 6: Chocolate

I went to the store with the intention of a finding a nice, bitter, dark chocolate confection to sample with the wine, but I foolishly allowed myself to be seduced by a slice of iced fudge cake. Oh, regret! The sweetness of the sugar-filled icing blew away any chance of enjoying the wine, as the flavors clashed terribly, and the result was that both were cloying.

Verdict: An error in my own judgement. Do NOT combine this wine with anything sickly sweet, as the result will be the loss of enjoyment of both wine and sweet.


I highly recommend this wine for consumption with cheese! I can't say enough about how well it blended with both the Asiago and the BellaVitano selections. I would also have no hesitation consuming this wine with Italian dishes that have red sauce. Hearty meals like steak may overwhelm the wine, so use with caution. If drinking alone, I highly recommend allowing at least 30 minutes to decant, unless you are a fan of powerful earth flavors, in which case drink it as soon after opening as you can manage. Under no condition drink this wine with something that is powerfully sugary.

Alrighty all, this was my first Lab Rat report, and I hope it was useful! If you have any questions about my experiences, comments, or pairings, please don't hesitate to ask! I'll do my best to answer in a timely manner.



quality posts: 8 Private Messages tenuki
wootering wrote:

Lab-rat report - Serendipity (2004)

This is a tremendous wine, very elegant and refined. I would encourage any fence-sitters to whip out the plastic and jump on this before it's too late.

Opened the wine at around 6:30pm and had a sniff. Faint alcohol aroma with some earthiness. Returned from dinner at a local fish restaurant (with a quite reasonable NZ Sauvignon Blanc - Whitehaven 2007) at 9:00, got everyone settled down, and am now enjoying the first taste of the Serendipity, about 4 hours after popping the cork.

The aroma of this wine is intense. I detected lots of blackcurrant/cassis and some vanilla, as well as other elements I can't identify. On tasting, the fruit was more muted and integrated, with plum predominating. The finish was pleasantly dry, earthy, slightly tannic. Although I'm having trouble identifying the individual components, there was a beautiful spiciness/peppery element integrated with the fruit.

One of the best wines I have wooted, and certainly one of the most complex and refined. As others have pointed out, this is an unbelievable QPR. I think this would pair nicely with grilled lamb. Maybe I'll get some for the remaining 2/3 bottle tomorrow and report back. As someone pointed out, however, this might be sold out by then!

wootering wrote:

Rat report part 2 - Serendipity (2004)

I see that we have a sell-out. Congratulations to the winery and WineDavid39. For the sake of completeness, I thought I would post comments on the Serendipity I started yesterday.

The wine was recorked and stored in a cool location. Poured a glass this evening. Nose is similar to last night - blackcurrant and vanilla, with spiciness/pepper now slightly more noticeable. Taste is now exceedingly smooth, still featuring plum, with the finish less tannic. No less wonderful, just a little different. The wine has certainly stood up to sitting overnight.

In all, this was a great wine and I thoroughly enjoyed having the privilege of ratting it. I now look forward to getting my two sets so I can sample the other offerings (and put the Serendipity aside for a special occasion).

Thanks again.



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Syrah stub.



quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 7/13 -- Epiphany Cellars Purité White Three - Pack

2007 Purité Un-Oaked Chardonnay
2007 Purité Un-Oaked Dry Riesling
2007 Purité Un-Oaked Viogner

This offer's pack:
B3CC4 (Chardonnay)(in shards...broken bottle)
jmsynats (Riesling)
trystanu (Viognier)

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B3CC4 wrote:Broken bottle, dashed dreams of a LabRat-to-be

My very first time chosen to be a Lab Rat, and I hadn't checked my email since 10:00 this morning. I had no idea it was coming. The door bell rings, I see the FEDEX truck through the window as I go to the door. The downcast look of the FEDEX guy said it all, he offered the crushed package and said "I wouldn't accept it if I were you." I responded with stunned silence. "It was like that when I got it" he said.

He shook the sad package, taped around in both directions, completely sealed and it clinked and a soft sloshing sound emerged. I took a deep breath and told him "OK, take it away" and accepted the damaged package receipt. As I closed the door I realized he said Wine Country was the sender and what that meant, OOPs ! I want to see what is in that package! The FEDEX truck was nothing but tail lights going down the street... so sad.

Long story short: I have nothing to report as a Lab Rat, not even the varietal that was sent. I should have at least opened the package.

Please give me another chance

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jmsynats wrote:Well, here it is, 100* in the shade, and this may actually be a godsent wine. Full of flavor of all the right reisling icons, peach and pear and whatnot, this wine is also not cloying and sweet like alot of folks might expect. It is crisp, acidic, and hugely refreshing. I am a chef and sommelier, and have long pushed reisling as among the most food friendly of wines. This one fits the bill, would be great enjoyed in close proximity to a grill, a pool, and scantily clad women.

jmsynats wrote:Correction: car therm now reading 117* had to run out for ice. Wine really was very refreshing, I'd say picnic-y if it didn't also offer subtlety and complexity. I'm a Rat, btw.

jmsynats wrote:The Screw tops are the way of the future. 95 percent of the wine we buy these days is going to be consumed rather quickly, so why do we need the subtle air exchange of cork at the risk of contamination?

Long live the stelvin! (screwcap)

as for your earlier request, what "all technical up on you" do you want. first ratting experience. great wine though. received the dry Riesling at 10am and immediately chucked it in the fridge. enjoyed it very very much since it's so damned hot today.

I have bought quite a number of wines off woot, and sadly, many of the attempts at riesling quickly became white sangria(think sattui) but this one is quite amazing! just easy, crisp, and full of flavor. wouldnt dream of juicing peaches into it, it already has enough great fruit.

I ordered the batch at 12:05 the other night, so while maybe not the first sucker, the second I saw Fess Parker, i knew I was in.

let me know what else I can tell you.


jmsynats wrote:Well, here goes, thinking back.

Color first. Glass held over a white surface at an angle. Evaluate clarity: star bright. Rim variation: none. Color: very pale, light brass. Pale straw. Medium plus body.

Aroma: fruit, esp. Stone fruit. Not overpowering. Minerality and citrus, lime leaf.

Taste: crisp, refreshing. Less pronounced fruit than from aroma. Great acid. Full bodied, very long finish.

Really a great, very enjoyable glass of wine. The above is a little snippet of CMS tasting technique. For more info, try mastersommeliers.org. Maybe the most respected society of wine geeks out there. I recommend the first course to any wine lover with 500 bucks to spare, it's a great bootcamp style overview. Check the schedule.

Now, for a restaurant, while the above is important, unfortunately you have to play to your audience. You evaluate price per bottle and instead of blindly considering quality, you must consider quality divided by price which equals value...is it good for the price point. Also, for the large majority, you have to consider name recognition, both for brand and varietal. Does the semi-educated customer know enough about it to be comfortable ordering it. That's why Chardonnay sells so damn well. "Viognier sounds funny. All reislings are sweet, right?" a skilled sommelier can be your guide, but more often than not, you get a server whose main interests don't involve your palate.

I would certainly run this dry riesling as a top tier glass wine, because it's delicious, food friendly, great value/ price point, and, if I can get my servers to explain it using to words "fess" and "Parker" and "dry, not sweet" it will fly off the shelves. I am ordering a second three pack now.

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trystanu wrote:Was lucky enough to be a first time 'rat-er with the Epiphany Viognier (Yeehaar), so moving from long time lurker to first time poster. I don't know my Viognier's particularly well, and generally tend to avoid them because I find them a little sweet, but I enjoyed this bottle and here's the wrap:

Bottle was shared around the office and consumed slightly chilled with English Cotswold cheese and crackers. Wine was consumed in the late afternoon in 'summer' conditions (~90f).

I couldn't detect much on the nose when pouring, but found the initial palete gentle and quite refreshing (if a little lacking in distinct floral / fruit overtones). The wine seemed quite dry for a Viognier -- I liked this as I tend to avoid sweetness. I found the wine to be quite a surprisingly clean but full-bodied. I'm don't know enough about Viognier's to know whether the steel tanks contribute to the "gentle" nature of this wine, but it is extremely drinkable. We also found that the wine came to life further when paired with cheese and crackers, bringing with it some more prominent citrus / melon tones.

The Viognier's gentle nature made it very enjoyable and extremely drinkable, even though the wine was not particularly aromatic. I don't see how you could go wrong with this on a nice summer (preferably Californian) afternoon, paired with some mild-medium cheese and good company.

Others' unfettered uncomments:
- Very refreshing. Nice way to pass an afternoon (!)
- Tastes a little young [although my understanding is that Viognier's aren't wines that you tend to age, so perhaps this is
- Tones aren't particularly strong, but very drinkable.

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Offer of 7/20 -- Ortman Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Two - Pack

2006 Pinot Noir-Fiddlestix Vineyard
2006 Pinot Noir-Santa Rita Hills

This offer's pack:
Bodie (Fiddlestix)
ajw5254 (Santa Rita Hills)
Eastcoastmary (Santa Rita Hills)
nautical9 (Fiddlestix)

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Bodie wrote:I've been selected as a rat. I'm looking forward to posting the aforementioned labrattage soon. Fair warning, I'm a wine-loving bachelor that can't cook to save his life. I may very well be pairing with Hot Pockets, Doritos, and string cheese. I'll try to be as detailed as possible though so that it's meaningful to those with more refined tastes.

Bodie wrote:Labrat Report

A quick background on my experience: I work for a company that does e-commerce for around 300 wineries now, many of whom often sell wine here and you guys make a little spike in our web server traffic. We have a happy hour in the office every friday where we drink all kinds of different wines from different wineries. So I have tasted a lot of wines, but I'm not a wine geek. I pay no attention to things like alcohol level, pH, etc. I just drink and I know what I like and don't like.

At the risk of having my man card revoked, I have to say that I prefer sweet and fruity wines. Dessert wines, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, etc. When I drink red, I prefer a fruity merlot or cab and have never been a big fan of pinot. "Earthy" is not a flavor I enjoy. So this wine is kind of starting off with an uphill battle to impress me. I only bought it because I have a new wine refrigerator with empty slots and it was bugging me that it wasn't full, plus a lot of my friends love pinot.

I popped the cork and took a quick sniff. I liked what I smelled. Not overpowering. A crisp cherry smell. I didn't get the "dirt" smell I was expecting.

Poured a little swig just so that I could monitor the change as I let it breathe more. The first swig was very crisp and acidic. I've seen "cherry soda" used a lot to describe this wine, and that's exactly what I got, big time.

I poured a bit more and let it sit while I made my PB&J. Fun fact: I live next door to my office and the wireless headset at my desk reaches to my kitchen, so I did all of this while on a conference call with a client.

The PB&J was pretty standard. Smuckers blackberry jelly with smooth peanut butter on white bread. I was kind of curious how the blackberry jelly would do with the cherry soda flavor, and had no idea what to expect from the peanut butter.

It only got about 15 minutes to sit before I took another sip. It settled down a bit. Cherry still there, but less soda. There was a hint of earthiness, but it wasn't overpowering. That's good. I like the smell of fresh soil, but wouldn't want to eat the stuff. That's what I got was the sensation of inhaling soil, not eating it.

After some bites of PB&J, I took another sip. It seemed to bring the blackberry taste that was fading back to life. Gave it one last kick before it disappeared off my palette. The peanut butter didn't seem to either compliment nor conflict with it. It just kind of did it's own thing and didn't interfere.

Finished the sandwich, drank some water, then went back to the wine one more time to let it stand on its own again. I got mostly the same as when I took the second sip. Cherry soda, a tiny bit of not-quite-ripe raspberry, and a little bit of earth.

I feel like I was a little harsh on this wine, but coming from a guy that doesn't normally like pinot noir, this one was pretty good. Put a couple teaspoons of dirt in a cherry soda, garnish it with some fresh raspberries, stick a straw in it, and you have Fiddlestix.

I suspect that when people say it needs to age more, or breathe more, it's because those flavors I was tasting were mild and that was ALL I tasted. Normally I get 5-6 different flavors at each stage of drinking. The nose, tip of the tongue, swishing around, and aftertaste can all be a little different. I got the same small set of flavors through and through. Hopefully when it ages a bit, those flavors will enhance and new complimentary ones will emerge.

I hope this helps somebody. I feel like it didn't really get a fair shake since I'm not a huge Pino fan, but I tried to be as objective as possible. I went in for two and I don't regret it.


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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
ajw5254 wrote:I stopped in to the office and much to my surprise I had a box with a golden ticket in it. This is my first chance to be a rat and I won't let the group down. I have called a fellow wine woot pal to help sample since the wife is working late. Be back with my thoughts in a couple hours!!

ajw5254 wrote:Let me start my first lab rat review with this: my wine woot friends had a sick kid and couldn't show up to sample this bottle and my wife is working late so I will have to take one for the group and sample this bottle by myself. I will say this, due to my lack of company I am pairing this wine with the finest pilsbury chocolate chip cookies around instead of the grilled salmon I had on the menu tonight.

Now for my thoughts:

This was medium ruby color with a bit of a stronger smell. I would call this a medium to slightly fuller bodied Pinot Noir. I loved the soft tannins but it had a bit longer finish than I expected.

So the short answer is that I liked it a lot. It was a bit bolder than most pinots that I like. I think it could be better with age and I think I will try to store one of my order for a while.

I love most Pinot Noirs so I tried to be as objective as possible but without a doubt I would drink this again.

ajw5254 wrote:I guess I forgot to mention that I was tasting the Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Thanks Eastcoastmary for reminding me to let people know that. I also forgot to mention in my post was I had it in a decantor for about 30-40 minutes before drinking it. Don't be fooled though I tried a little sample before it went into the decantor and the decanting helped open this wine up!

Thanks WW and Ortman Family for offering up this smoking deal and especially for allowing me to taste this bottle.

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Eastcoastmary wrote:I got the golden ticket! Thanks WW.
I have mushroom sausage defrosting for dinner. I'll get back to you soon.

Eastcoastmary wrote:I got the golden ticket! Thanks WW.
I have mushroom sausage defrosting for dinner. I'll get back to you soon

Ok, I received the 2006 Sta. Rita Hills and it's a few hours later.
I opened, had a glass while cooking dinner, not bad, medium ruby color, smells and taste a bit smoky. Also slight chemical taste.
Then on to dinner,
the wine really opened up and tasted great with the dinner, the chemical taste diminished.
Portobella mushroom sausage (made with chicken and turkey with hunks of mushrooms)peppers and onion was a great combination and perfect with the wine. I suspect this wine goes with just about anything. I'm a fan.
I’m excited to try the Fiddlestik and wondering if there is any big difference between the two.
For my fellow labratters, please indicate which wine you received.
thanks again WW for the opportunity, hope my box shows up soon.

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nautical9 wrote:-- Labrat Review --

(Yay, my first labrat duty - and my first wine review, period!)

I just finished two glasses of the 2006 Ortman Fiddlestix (Santa Rita Hills) Pinor Noir.

The Disclaimer: I'm no wine connoisseur - I order (and drink) a lot of it, but I definitely still consider myself a noob, eager to learn. What I can say is I love pinot's, and order pretty much any that show up here.

The Setup: sadly, I got home too late to pair this with a nice meal, so instead I enjoyed it with a vanilla pipe tobacco blend, after a very long day at the office. In hindsight, it wasn't the wisest pairing - the two tend to compete against rather than compliment each other.

The First Glass: I'd have to agree with slowinemaker, ajw5254, and others - this wine could use some aging, or at least a good decanting. I found it got better even as I got to the bottom of the glass. The start was very mellow, and left me desiring more, but it turned into a borderline complex, if not quite familiar, pinot noir by the end. Not spicy, though still hints of bite and complexity that I'm too inexperienced to identify with an actual flavor. ;)

As for the presentation, the color is very light - not nearly as violet as many PN's I've tried. The nose was very distinct and mellow, and actually concerned me a little initially as it didn't smell like any I've had before (could very well be because of the pipe smoke). But the texture was very velvety and pleasurable, with very soft tannins, as expected with a PN. There is a long finish, but I tend to prefer that.

The Second Glass: having finished my smoke, and having had the wine decant in a large glass for about half an hour, this one was indeed better. Still a distinct, light aroma. But the taste now had a full body of fresh fruit. Hard for me to articulate, but certainly enjoyable.

I would definitely buy this again, though I'm guessing a year or two in the cellar would help it out - which is precisely what I intend to do with the two I ordered.

Thanks for the labrat opportunity, Woot! I hope this helped and hope I can be of service again in the future.

Edit: The Third Glass:... which wasn't planned, of course, since it's a work night and I need sleep.

Thoroughly, if unsurprisingly, enjoying it now.

Hmm... my only rumination - why is it that expensive wine tends to taste good, cheap wine tends to taste bad, but the cheapest wine (free) tastes great! I shall have to further explore this phenomenon...

Edit 2: The Fourth (and Final) Glass:
a love letter...

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Offer of 7/27 -- Scott Harvey InZINerator Three - Pack

2006 California Zinfandel

This offer's pack - Like anyone is NOT going to buy this:


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dodongo wrote:Good grief, it's a small world. Great to know, and good to see classy moves like that

So the 'rat box has arrived but as I'm on the west coast, we're some time away from being able to pop the cork.

To give you an idea of my biases before even opening the wine -- I love Syrah in general, and have tasted, enjoyed, and been amazed at the variety of Zins, especially from northern California. They both strike me as incredibly adaptable grapes, willing to change quite drastically depending on how and where they're grown and vinified.

Now, as to the 2% RS... I'm unsure of this. I've had Zins with a healthy shot of residual sugar and have mixed feelings. But OTOH, if the RS is coming from port grapes... Well, I like port, and it's far from dry. I can see that juice bringing in some interesting character that ought to do quite well with the Syrah, perhaps playing up some spicier notes?

And since we're talking biases here, it's a Scott Harvey wine, so I'm thoroughly prepped to enjoy it.

Hope to be back with a pop-n-pour first report in 6-7 hours. Folks coming over for dinner tonight so I'll try to gather a sampling of thoughts as well, once the bottle's been open for a while!

dodongo wrote:I'll post (at least) one more update later this evening as the wine opens up and company comes over for dinner and provides additional feedback on the wine. For now, just me...

Rattage, round 1:

Serving temp probably 65ish F. Tasting in Riedel Overture Magnum, one of my favorite middle-of-the-road tasting glasses. Just an ol' pop-n-pour to start.

My bottle has two capsules on it. For wahtever that's worth

I don't use the word "ruby" to describe the color of many wines, but to my eyes, that's what this is. Very pretty and seemingly on the higher-viscocity end of things, for whatever that's worth!

This wine smells a little boozy and a little sweet to me. Maybe that's set by expectations, knowing some of the stats of the wine? I'm disappointed a bit that there's not much else going on, but don't doubt that will change with some time.

On the palate, *absolutely* not dry (expected) and really rather portlike, albeit without the brandy. There's a nice acidity on the way back which prevents the wine from coming across as necessarily desert-like; it cuts through the RS and stops dead any chance of cloying. The finish smacks of dark chocolate; perhaps a bit of mocha? Most interestingly of all, to me, I taste concentrated sweetness like dried fruits, rather than straight-up berries at all at the moment. I'd expected the latter based on the zin-syrah combo but there's definitely a different aspect of the fruit here.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes. I'm going to leave this open for ~ 1 hour and toss it in the fridge for a bit to see if the cooled-down serving suggestion is a winner....

dodongo wrote:After a second round of tasting with dinner, a general set of feedback on the InZinerator.

Overall, a crowd pleaser! Noticeably sweet, as you might expect. We actually tried InZinerator amongst a couple Zins priced near what you'll get this for on Woot! plus a port which is substantially more expensive.

This was a great way to approach the wine, as it is clearly *not* a port, but clearly informed by the style. The port grapes, we decided, were clearly a role-player in the wine, shifting what might otherwise be a fairly commonplace Zin-driven blend into some unusual territory.

All tasters enjoyed the wine. Tasters 1 and 4 were hard to extract feedback from; taster 2 loved the wine and felt that the extra sweetness might appeal to non-wine-drinkers who liked sweeter beverages. Taster 3 appreciated the combination of the tartness of the wine with the sweetness, and felt like that moved it from the "this is clearly a dessert wine" to "this is a wine that has some creative and enjoyable applications." All parties felt this would work with dark chocolate as a dessert treat, and several thought a cigar would not be out of place. I felt that the port was clearly the choice for a cigar, but agree wholeheartedly with the chocolate suggestion. Also, a fruit / charcuterie / fromage assortment would rock with this wine.

Taster 5 just passed the level 1 sommelier exam today. His thoughts: "Like the candy cherry-eucalyptus things; Halls cough drops. Ripe black plums. Other dried green herbs. Milk chocolate. Ripe strawberry. Medium-bodied. Low-moderate tannin. The port varieties really dominate the palate. Definitely off-dry, even out of balance as compared to the acidity, but with the right food, in the right context, it works."

Derisively, I'll note taster 5 finds eucalyptus whenever possible, so your mileage may vary.

In sum, I have to say this wine was a crowd pleaser. Nobody disliked the wine, though some were put off a bit by the sweetness. I would say this is absolutely not a canonical example of a Zinfandel wine, so if that's what you're expecting... it's not. But! This wine has excellent applications and is a great resource to keep in the cellar for those times when a bone-dry red is not what the doctor ordered. It would be fantastic for many cookouts; would be equally well-served to have with some chocolate in front of the fire snuggled under a blanket with your SO.

Definitely not an off-the-shelf, run-of-the-mill Zin, but a well-crafted off-dry red wine that holds up well on the long run after opening. An excellent value at the Woot! prices and I'm excited as this is a great complement to my collection!

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jackal4eva wrote:Happy to be a Wine Wooter here in Nashville, TN... And lucky enough to be a rat! My first one, so patience please (suggestions welcome).

Served 60 degrees

1st glass, 0 minutes after opening:
Strong and bold fruit forward. Decent nose on the wine for a zin.

2nd tasting with food: Much more opened up, it was about 15 minutes later. Ate with a salad with feta and a pasta with garden vegetables and chicken (red sauce). Sauce was mild and non-acidic, it paired surprisingly well.

2nd glass
Velvety - definitely not a dry wine.
Drinks almost like a Port / late harvest on the back of your tongue, but there's enough of an acidity to balance it out.
Fruit moved to a bit later in the tasting as compared to initial tastes.
Definitely a sweeter wine than most.
Highly recommend for desserts, sweeter entrees, or alternatively to balance ethnic foods (Indian, Chinese, etc). Would be a great wine to accompany a fine cigar.

There's a taste of dark chocolate cherries, ripe bananas (seriously), and definitely a very light port / late harvest red.

3rd glass
Getting even better - smoothed out quiet a bit, 1 hour post opening. I rec letting it get to that point.

Compares nicely to the Buehler Zinfandel - a bit bigger, fruitier, not as smooth on the initial open but comparable later on.
Definitely grander than the staple 7 deadly zins as far as flavors and boldness goes.

Probably not a good match for big Cab or Pinot drinkers - its definitely a Zin... Fans of dessert wines will love this, so will Zin drinkers.

Looking forward to my 3 bottles enroute for some great fall sipping on the patio as the weather starts to chill.

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tiger7610 wrote:We opened a bottle of today's offering at a Shakespeare production in Buffalo today. My mind was mostly on the play and wondering if one of the actors was going to have a stroke, since he was getting very red in the face, but I paid a little bit attention to the wine. It was that good!

It tasted a lot more like a port wine, since I like port and that was my first impression. Not much on the initial nose. The Madison Serendipity that I had yesterday was a lot more of a fruit bomb on the initial nose. Aside from the port full body sweetness, there was also the peppery of the zin. I think I picked out some cherries in the end, but they were not that noticeable.

The zin peppery blended well with the sweetness of the port producing a really nicely balanced wine. I'm really glad to be receiving 3 bottles of it soon (aka 3 weeks from now).

Anyone still on the fence, go buy it! In my mind even in this economy its a good wine that you will enjoy.

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ddeuddeg wrote:OK, here's a brief informal report: 3 wine.wooters gathered at a historical Olmsted park to enjoy a production of Julius Caesar at the 2nd largest free outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country. Before the show, a really nice Zahtila Chardonnay accompanied the chilled poached salmon with dill crème fraîche, taboulleh, and grilled summer veggies. During the first act, some cheddar and crackers enhanced by a wonderful '04 Scott Harvey InZINerator. A terrific combination. But the star of the evening was the '06 InZINerator, opened right after intermission, and poured immediately. It may well have been the glassware, but I didn't get a lot of nose, however that was more than made up for with the first sip. Lots of luscious fruit, dark plums and blackberries, and not a bit of heat, despite the 14.5% alcohol. The 3% of Port varietals certainly made its presence felt, with a delicious but not cloying sweetness. Not enough to make it seem like a dessert wine, but the perfect wine to top off the evening, big and full and rich. Mind you, this is not necessarily going to be the favorite of the traditional zin lover, lacking the complexity of, for example the Scott Harvey 1869 Zin, but was a delightful companion to some mild Manchego and french bread, or simply on its own, on a warm summer evening in the park. Three wine.wooters, 3 wine.woot wines, it just doesn't get any better. Tiger 7610, bahwm, and I thank Scott Harvey and wine.woot (and the Bard, of course) for a terrific evening.

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harleyfontaine wrote:Greetings from Tennessee fellow wooters!

The legislature here came to its senses recently to finally allow wine shipments into the state. This week's wine.woot is the first to take advantage of that law.

To celebrate, I was ordered 3 and thought that was that.

Well, I must be living right. Not only am I FINALLY able to get wine.woot in Tennessee, I got the Lab Rat shipment. I'm not terribly sophisticated with the wine (it is Tennessee, after all), but here's my take after drinking some last night.

Being a Zinfandel, I expected it to be a little spicier and a little less sweet. That aside, it's pretty darn good. The wife, being a fan of sweet wine, loved it. So if nothing else I scored some points with her.

Recommendation: buy it.

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Offer of 8/3 -- Clayhouse Three - Pack

2006 Clayhouse Estate Petite Sirah
2006 Clayhouse Vineyard Adobe Red
2005 Clayhouse Estate Cuvée

This offer's pack:
burrnini (Estate Cuvée)
Farmdog (Adobe Red)

littlekatiebird (Adobe Red)
PetiteSirah (Petite Sirah)

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littlekatiebird wrote:I am really excited to see this on wine.woot! I just tried the Adobe Red a few weeks ago. I was quite intrigued by the blend - Zin, Syrah, Malbec and PS. Then at the price $15 I was even more intrigued! I had never stopped in this wine shop before and the owner had nothing but wonderful things to say about Clayhouse. So I was sold, I bought a bottle of the Adobe Red and the award winning PS.

I liked the Adobe Red, you definitely get the zin right away, but I found the blend a bit more subtle than then a bold zin, which I enjoyed. I thought the wine opened up nicely after about an hour. I would definitely recommend it, it's a great "table wine"!

I still have the PS sitting in my wine fridge, I will be looking forward to trying it soon!

I am very tempted to by this...unfortunately funds are a bit tight, but I will probably end up caving, which just means more good wine and how can that be a bad thing?

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burrnini wrote:I've been ratted! Just received a bottle of the 2005 Estate Cuvee!

I'll be cooking dinner tonight for my wife and a few friends (one of whom is a fellow wine.wooter). Any suggestions on a good pairing?

burrnini wrote:Labrat report:

I received the 2005 Estate Cuvee. I had a few friends come over (VitaminSteve and skippingstones) and the 4 of us tasted it. I served it with french onion soup, grilled squash and eggplant, wild mushroom risotto, grilled chicken in a citrus marinade and grilled rack of lamb covered in mustard and herbs.

I opened up the bottle to breath about an hour before serving the soup. I did however give it a taste right after uncorking the wine. My wife and I both agreed on this part. It had a nice dark red color. I was able to smell a hint of dark fruit and/or berries, some oak and no alcohol. At first taste, there was definitely some dark fruit but it wasn't very strong...almost like they were hiding. It ended with some nice lingering tannins. Definitely not smack you in the face tannins, but rather a softer tannin that stayed on the tongue. I found it pleasant but my wife likes the stronger tannin that you taste in the back of your throat.

The wine definitely improved with food. I don't know if it was the breathing or the soup, but the wine had bit more spice to it with the soup and smoothed out even more. The fruit seemed to further recede however. The two went well together.

The wine also paired well with most of the main course and seemed to have gained some additional depth that I can't characterize. It went very well with the lamb and it seems like this wine is made to pair with red meat. The chicken, however, didn't match all that well.

I drank what was left of the wine after the meal. The fruit still seemed a bit hidden but the spiciness, increased depth and tannins remained. I think it improved once it opened. It'll probably match well with a nice cigar.

All and all there were mixed reviews on the wine. I liked it and i'm glad I bought it, although i probably wouldn't buy it again. My wife said she kept wanting to like it but couldn't...no surprise given that she tends to like a much different style of wine. The two other guests have posted separately.

This wine would probably benefit from a few years in the cellar. I've never been able to age wine myself nor have I had many opportunities to try it but it matches the descriptions of wine that ages well that have been given previously in wine.woot comments.

Thank you for letting me labrat...we all really enjoyed the experience. I'll be happy to answer any questions my post may have left you with.

skippingstones wrote:I tried the Cuvee earlier tonight, courtesy of a dinner hosted by a lucky labrat. On it's own I found it a little brash on the finish, with alcohol and spice tickling the back of my palate. On the positive side, the wine had good dark fruit and depth. And I thought it presented a nice chewiness, although I'm not sure if that's a good description. The cuvee did pair nicely with a savory french onion soup, as well as alongside a rack of lamb.

Would I purchase this to drink on it's own? Not likely. But I enjoyed it with the meal.

VitaminSteve wrote:I tried the 2005 Estate Cuvee:

My thoughts-
Tasted grapey....

Bold flavors which went well with french onion soup and grilled lamb.

Rich in tannins, and deep rich flavors. Best served with food. Not a good wine by itself or with dessert.

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PetiteSirah wrote:We Kan Haz Volrat?


Yes folks, I'm back from the PSymPoSium, all tannined up and even more intense. I tried many fantastic wines today (and WD, wow do I have some leads for you... think "two products from mulberry trees"), one of which was the Clayhouse 2006 PS.

I tried this in between many other wines, so my notes are not as extensive as I'd like.

nose: Black raspberry, bits of vanilla, hints of bing cherry -- good extraction all around, a little bit herbal, faint suggestions of brett, like somebody's making a nice bretty PS in the next winery over.

palate: not too tannic on the finish -- I'd say this is medium tannins for a PS, certainly not rip-your-face-off -- a burst of red fruit on the transition to the finish, good extraction, pretty good acidity (better than average for PaSo, IME). There's a bit of a hole, fruit-wise, on the transition from the attack to the midpalate; it's not bad -- there's oak there so it's not naked, just not fleshed out with fruit at that one spot. It's a very well-made wine (as the presence of the oak at that point indicates).

I think with some age that will integrate better, become a little less noticeable and flesh out somewhat, but it will always be somewhat austere at that point in the flavor profile. This one will definitely improve for at least 2-3 years in the cellar and is a DEFINITE buy at this price point.

This was definitely better when I returned to it later on at the media tasting, as opposed to the ParticipantS' tasting.

PairingS: This doesn't need the biggest, gamiest, meat you can find. This would also pair with duck with red wine reduction, or BBQ dark meat chicken with the skin on, though I wouldn't go lighter than that. (Yellow curry or grilled eggplant with black bean paste for the non-meatitarians).

BTW -- Rusty Eddy was awesome, and an incredibly friendly. Looking forward to seeing him on here tomorrow!

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Farmdog wrote:********* LABRAT REPORT *********

2006 Clayhouse Vineyard Adobe Red

After receiving the email that I was "The chosen one" for labrating this week's wine.woot offering, I waited in anticipation for the bottle to arrive.

I chilled it to about 56 degrees prior to drinking.

First impressions:
Color - Deep Red
Bouquet - Fruit, fruit and a little fruit

On the palate it is VERY fruity. Lots of cherry, blackberry, and plum. I didn't get much vanilla as some others mentioned, but maybe I swallowed too quickly

Finish - a little spice with some oak and tannin overtones.

It was initially more fruity than expected and finished a little more "edgy" than expected.

Pairing - I wouldn't hesitate to pair this wine with anything off the grill, but I think burgers and chicken pork would match the best.
We enjoyed it with some grilled chicken marinated in an Asian sun dried tomato marinade.

I think for a $15 dollar wine, this is very good and it had a high WAF (Wife acceptance factor). She found it easy drink as someone who tends to favor whites, Pinot, and red blends. I tend to be more of a Cab/Merlot/Pinot fan, but also found it a nice blend of fruit with a hint of oak and tannin to keep it from being too "juicy".

This wine is a definite "drink now" and a great buy.

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Bonny Doon Vineyards Sangiovese Four - Pack

Bonny Doon Ca Del Solo 2006 Sangiovese
San Benito County

This offer's pack:


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thanirz wrote:

rat reporting in.

I don't have much to add on the whole 'organic' discussion that has been going on for the last few pages. I like screw tops; lets me get the wine quicker Popped and poured. Don't have time tonight to let the wine breathe unfortunately. Some minerality on the nose, the alcohol was coming through more than I would like. Cherries on the palate, with a slight vegetal component. Not a long finish, with bigger tannins than I had expected. The alcohol comes through a bit, hope it subsides with some cellaring. Overall, not bad. Wish I had some food to pair with it.


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B3CC4 wrote:

We are first time rats for the Bonny Doon Sangiovese, but are fans of several other Bonny Doon wines. My husband is a longtime wine wooter and helped with the tasting. The label has a beautiful graphic image of a balloon depicting the wine’s crystalline structure No time to decant. Poured directly to glasses, the color is crystal clear medium garnet Immediately after opening:We detect very little alcohol, surprising for a wine with 14%,. The initial aromas are was very complex with unusual notes of Mercurochrome, petroleum, cow flop and cranberry. The initial taste revealed nice structure, surprisingly tartness, given the listed pH. Lots of cranberry, black cherry, earth and mineral in great balance. After 45 minutes it had opened up a lot. We could now detect a bit of gunpowder, licorice and black pepper aromas and taste more fruit,. It is smoother and less funky, but still complex. We enjoyed the wine with a dinner of marinated flank steak, smashed new potatoes and buttered carrots. with it's tart fruit it holds up nicely to a spicy maranade and could be great with Cajun or BBQ, maybe even Thai. As to value;~ This is about $1 less per bottle than from the store, but this wine is exceptional QPR--stick a cork in it and it's a $20 bottle at least. I don't remember having a better wine in this price range. It's drinking perfectly now. We rarely finish a bottle during the week and I really like a quality screwcap in wines I won't be cellaring. This is not at all like the Pedroncelli or Noceto California Sangioveses. Definitely unlike a Chianti, except in funkiness. If anything it has more in common with the Toothy as a Sangio blend. This is a completely new wine--I am not sure what is due to the grapes, especially the Freisia and what is due to the magic of Randall Grahm. This is an immediate favorite for us and if you are on the fence I recommend it highly. Thanks so much for the chance to be a labrat.


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dmartin888 wrote:

Wow, what a surprise to get the email this morning about being a rat. To be honest, my two favorite reds are PN and Sangio. How cool is this... Came home to find a note from Fedex that they came and no one was home...sped off to the warehouse to pick up the Bonny Doon Sangiovese. My wife and I shared a quick glass before heading off to a Yo-Yo Ma concert. A nice aroma of cherries and minerality, as well as some alcohol. The palate had an intense cherry-fruit taste and I think some nice oak. REALLY NICE...

After leaving the bottle open for three hours, we came back and had some more. Even better now. I really like this wine. One of the better Sangio's I've had recently. I'm going in for more. I think this is a steal at this price. About as good as the Ortman PN as a value play-I can't believe I only went in for one. I don't want to make that mistake again.


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megsailor wrote:

lab rat here:

Sorry for the delay! I meant to get this up here yesterday...

We tried this wine 2 ways-stand alone, and then with sliced apples and pear.

By itself:
This wine has a golden honey color-beautiful to look at. The first taste for me was a touch of honey with an awesome smooth finish. It is delicous, but definitely a small dose wine, because it is sweet.

When paired with the apple and pear this wine had a completely different expereince. the front end has a light, sweet fruit effect with a mellow honey finish. It just got better and better!

Needless to say we throughly enjoyed this wine and I am so glad we have more coming!

Thanks for the rat opportunity!


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iampock wrote:So, here is my lab rat report. But first, a disclaimer: I am suffering from a sizable head cold and am really not able to smell anything; not the ideal situation for tasting a new wine. In addition, I’m not too familiar with dessert wines (or any white wines for that matter). Therefore, my analysis of the wine may be unduly influenced by either DayQuil or ignorance. Consider yourself warned.

Alright, dinner is over and I’ve opened up my lab rat bottle of the Angel Paille. I’m starting out with just the wine by itself. The color is a nice rich honey. Due to my cold, I’m having trouble picking up any aroma from the wine. Upon first taste, the wine is sweet, but not overtly sweet. As it progresses, I can begin to taste the pineapple clearly and, more subtlety, what I think may be the coconut. The finish is delicious; as the sweetness of the wine dissipates, a nice acidity emerges, highlighting the fruit flavors and leaving a pleasant mouth feel. All and all, a very nice first glass of wine to finish out a meal.

Onto the second glass.

Based on the recommendation of the winemaker (and the fact that it is all I have in my refrigerator), I’m pairing this glass with some apples and a nice brie cheese. The wine pairs well with the food. The tartness of the apple helps cut through the initial sweetness of the wine. I’m particular fond of the cheese and wine together. The creaminess of the cheese brings out crème brulee notes in the wine.

Overall, I really enjoyed this wine. It worked quite well by itself and paired nicely with the cheese and fruit. I’m certainly excited to try it again, hopefully while being able to breathe through my nose. Luckily, I have half a bottle left for tomorrow. Is wine appropriate for breakfast? I wonder how it pairs with Fruit Loops.


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Offer of 8/17 -- Clif Family Winery The Climber Four - Pack

This offer's pack:

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size16shoe wrote:

Hi, The Wine god, WineDavid made me a Labrat for for Clif Winerys, The Climber White.
When I found out, I thought COOL-COOL-COOL. I had been wanting to be a LabRat. Can you believe they shipped it to Kuna,Idaho overnight Fed-X?
I find the wine to be florally and citrusy. At first taste I thought OH,GOOD. It's not oaky or buttery, it has some body but crisp as well. It was good for drinking by itself or with spicy Thai food. This wine would be good for backyard BBQ or a picnic. It's a feel good wine, good for summer drinking.
Thanks for sending me the Rat Hooch, Karen
P.S. I don't realy have size 16 feet it's my two size 8's added together.

size16shoe wrote:I found the wine to have just a touch of sweetness. Just enough sweetness to balance the citrus flavors and acidity. The finish? It was lingering, citrusy. I think it tastes like a good Sauvignon Blanc. I'm noticing the Muscat, Pinot blanc and Chenin Blanc mostly in the aroma. This is a great smelling wine!

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jmsnell wrote:

Yay! I get to be a labrat! How exciting.

Well, I have to say I really like this...it's such a perfect summer wine. I was hoping it would not be too sweet and it definitely is not. Just refreshing and fruity...it's not a wimpy white wine, there's a lot to it. LOTS of citrus/grapefruit. I can see why this goes with just about everything: spicy, BBQ, and I can tell you from personal experience, even gingersnap cookies.

Now I wish I bought more than one! Enjoy!

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sosptuba wrote:

Time for the third and final labrat report. Coming to you from Madison Wisconsin. I'm a night shifter at the ER/Trauma Center and it really wouldn't look good if I came to work with alcohol on board. So here is my night (your morning report). I had two co-workers also come over for some taste testing.

We'll be using the 'ER pain scale' of 1 being the worst tasting wine and 10 being the best tasting wine.

After reading the first few comments I arranged for some habanero dip and pretzels.

Some of the first comments were it was a fruity and good smelling wine. Something that you would enjoy drinking.

Drinking it was nice and smooth and it did not burn going down. Also it was noted that it doesn't taste like it has 13.5% alcohol on board. That's a good thing compared to other wines we've tasted that the alcohol taste overpowers everything else.

We also liked the label/layout of the bottle and how the percentages were listed on the back.

So out of the three of us two gave it a '8.7' out of 10 and one gave it a '9' out of 10 on the ER Pain (wine) scale.

After eating the spicy pretzel dip this was really nice in 'cooling' things down. I can see why so many comment that this is a great hot weather wine. I also think this would be great for a warm summer evening after supper on the deck for some relaxation. In the future I would/will buy more of this wine and I look forward to my first shipment to come.

Thanks for the opportunity it provide comments. Happy Wooting!

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Offer of 8/24 -- Haywood Estate Winery Zinfandel Three - Pack

This offer's pack:
metroshot (2006)
brybry (2005)
specvic (2006)

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metroshot wrote:

LabRat #2 reporting in.

Just picked up mine in Southern California in good shape! Nice touch receiving their "golden ticket" as their Wine.Woot Charlie Bucket labrat.

Currently: Decanting and preparing dinner: Chipotle dry herb and pepper seasoned roasted chicken with olive oil & garlic roasted asparagus, Vidalia onions, baby potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and Eryngii king trumpet mushrooms.

So far the color, aroma and cork are true Zin.

For those that love Zin - this will be the test - with food !

Next review will be the final assay....

metroshot wrote:Labrat #2 final report:

A Zinfandel time machine report to ensue:

What a great wine from mere grapes that I forgot how good a traditional Zinfandel could be crafted.

I was raised on a Central California fruit farm including grapes for wine, raisins, and table so I know my grapes. My father would press and vint 100 gallons each year of Zinfandel for personal use so I remember what old fashioned, traditional Zin tasted.

Then my tastebuds were asleep for many years looking for that perfect Zin - until Peter Haywood came along!

This 2006 Estate Peter Haywood Los Chamizal Zinfandel hits all the proper Zinfandel notes.
The nose was perfect, I could tell when I uncorked the bottle to decant. A fruity, plum jam like, raisin like aroma was evident.

The color was medium and for a moment it appeared to be a Merlot or light red but the taste was what matters as you will see!

The flavors were complex and multi layered. At first when it hit the tongue, it was of dried fruits, white pepper and pH acidic to get your attention.
Then as it warmed to the body temperature, the fruits came out - raspberries, black plums, raisins, dark cherries, and dried prunes.
Afterwards, the tannins, lingering sun flavor, and dryness came out.
No harsh alcohol hit - very smooth and very complex from start to finish.

This wine is meant to be savored and complements many dishes I had with this wine last night. The wine brought out more flavors both for the wine and the foods it complemented. I had this Zin with the heavily herbed chipotle roasted chicken, garlic vegetables including heavy epicurian mushrooms, and even wonderful with a seasonal fruit salad ! (Yes, I love to cook even in 100 degree summer days - in A/C of course)

What a wonderful wine to have - the 2006 Zin can be had now or stored for a few more years to truly mellow out.

PROBLEM FOR WOOT: I went back to Wine.Woot to order 3 more boxes and couldn't - it said I had already ordered 1 box from Monday. Can someone fix that for me ???

At this great price which for this Zinfandel is, I gotta have more. Love to try the 2005 and store a few of the 2006 for a couple of years!

I NEED MORE !!!!!!
End of Labrat report from Southern California.....

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brybry wrote:





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specvic wrote:Okay... here it goes. My first Lab Rat report.

I took the 2006 Haywood Estate Los Chamizal Zinfandel to a BYOB restaurant in town. I had the pork belly with candied mushrooms (Took Mr. Haywood's advice on the mushrooms) and then Australian lamb shank.

Let me preface by saying...I love zins. That being said, let me also add that I was NOT a fan of the InZINerator with its 5% port. My family, however, demolished the bottles like it was kool-aid on a hot summer day here in Phoenix. It was way too sweet for my taste buds. Enough of the intro...

The color was scary. I could see my wrist through the wine and it looked like a pinot at first. I was afraid that it was going to be mediocre at best.
The nose is pretty straight forward. Light fruit a dash of spice.
My first taste was Raspberry Jam thrown in my face. Beautiful fruit but not sweet. Fresh plum (not sour) and a little bit of strawberries came through for me. It had a mild pepper finish that became more pronounced as the bottle warmed I think.

I was most impressed by its ability to hide the 14.6% alcohol content. It was really, really smooth. Very little heat on the back end, if any.

Would I pay $30? Yes, but not any more.

I am already in for 1. I'm going in for another one.

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Offer of 8/27 -- Roessler Cellars Three - Pack

2006 Brosseau Vineyard Chalone Chardonnay
2006 Alder Springs Mendocino Chardonnay
2007 Laurelwood Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

This offer's pack:
zmanonice (Pinot Noir)
sciara (Brosseau Chardonnay)
trowbrds (Alder Springs)

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zmanonice wrote:Lab Rat reporting for duty. The wine accompanying the golden certificate was the 2007 Laurelwood Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

In the interest of full disclosure I must inform the community that I joined the wine club this past summer after the last Woot offering but have not received any shipments yet. I did order from their summer sale but asked them to hold it since it hasn’t been below 90 degrees here in DFW since sometime in June. My previous experience on Woot includes the Roessler Single Vineyard Duo (1/22/09), Roessler Pinot – two pack (3/27/09), and the Blue Jay 3-pack (5/4/09). I am also a red wine drinker, but do appreciate a nice chard or a dry Riesling for a change.

After receiving the email notification this morning, I formed a welcoming committee to meet the FedEx guy to make sure we received the promised gift. Upon his arrival he immediately carded my oldest daughter (my youngest who is 19 never gets carded but you didn’t hear that from me). At 23, she still looks 18. I keep telling her that later in life she will appreciate it but that is not much consolation right now.

The dinner was not the most compatible for this wine based on typical pairings but it didn’t hurt or detract from the wine. The meal was already planned for tonight before we found out whether we got the pinot or the chard. Dinner consisted of chicken with tomato sauce and melted cheddar cheese, steamed asparagus with Cavedoni dripped on for additional flavor, and a house salad. I have paired pinots with salmon in the past, but did not notice any problems with this pairing.

I opened the bottle at 6:15. Let it breathe a little bit, but supper was early tonight because of services so we started at 6:30. Initial impression was “earthy” on the nose, and a little bit hot, but no plum or berries as one might expect from a pinot. It was the typical lighter shade of purple; some would probably call it ruby. You can just see the bottom of the glass, so it wasn’t opaque like a cab. Color was consistent to the edge. Took a sappy-sip and got a full mouth taste. Medium tannins with a nice, medium length finish. Most of it was in the mid-palate area.

Came back at 9:30 for a second round. Some of the earthiness had subdued, but still no berries to speak of. Less hot than before and the tannins had mellowed as well. It was still smooth, but no discernible flavors. Nice finish.

In deference to RPM, I have used the UC Davis scoring system for this report:
• Appearance – 2 out of 2 pts., nearly clear, no dullness or murkiness, typical for a pinot
• Color – 2 out of 2 pts., typical coloring for this varietal
• Aroma and Bouquet – 3 out of 4 pts., other than the earthiness, could not pick out any other discernible characteristics, but no negative factors either
• Volatile acidity – 2 out of 2 pts., no vinegar essence
• Total acidity – 1 out of 2 pts., gave it a medium finish, but think it could improve with age
• Sweetness/sugar – 1 out of 1 pts., more of a refrained pinot, but like this approach as opposed to the fruit forward offerings from other vintners
• Body – 1 out of 1 pts., hits the mid-palate nicely, with a decent length finish
• Flavor – 1 out of 1 pts., more of a crisp, balanced pinot. No metallic or fruity characteristics
• Astringency – 1 out of 2 pts., this wine has a fair amount of tannins, not overbearing, but aging would probably improve this wine
• General Quality – 2 out of 2 pts., thought this was a nice interpretation of a pinot, not very fruity and definitely drinkable now. SWMBO and her mother also tasted the wine and both gave it a thumbs up and would buy again.

So if you are counting, I give it a 16 out of 20, and it is close enough it could be a 17.

Not having the other offerings side by side, I can only provide a comparison based upon my tasting notes. I found the Blue Jay to be comparable in color and opacity, but it had more berries on the nose. It had fewer tannins. I found it to be fairly young, and noted that I would like to see how it ages over time.

I found the Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot to be approximately the same color and opacity. It was a little hot with some berry notes and earthy as well. It was smoother with less tannins.

I would like to see how this wine ages over time. I suspect it will do nicely.

The bottle is now gone, but I’m glad that I have two more orders coming. If my credit card could afford it I would up my purchase. Thanks WD for the opportunity to rat and hope you fellow wooters find these notes helpful in your decision process.


PS Winery - Would love to have you stop by in Dallas. Everybody here would like to meet you and taste your offerings.

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