cheron98


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McMalbec wrote:

RAT REPORT.
The golden ticket arrived at my office late yesterday afternoon with the 2007 River Bench. Even though it came overnight with FedEx, the bottle was ice cold due to our frigid Iowa weather and I let it sit at room temperature for an hour.
Unbeknownst to me at work, my wife had prepared a tasty chicken fajitas dinner in time for the opening kick off of the Orange Bowl.
Once the bottle had warmed, we opened it and poured several ounces into each of two Reidel Vinum XL glasses to evaluate color, smell and taste.
Color was excellent, a dark ruby without debris. The wine had a strong, fruity but not unpleasant smell. My wife described it as having a smoky bouquet. We had different reactions to the taste. I would describe this wine as young and brash, in need of decanting, if not further aging. My wife’s reaction was that it tasted like a burgundy blend. We agreed that right out of the bottle, the 07 is not a stand-alone, sipping wine at this point.
We poured half of the wine remaining in the bottle into a decanter and let it breathe while we ate our salads. Ready to bite into the fajitas, we poured a full glass. The 15 minute interval aided our enjoyment of this wine. It was a good pairing with the spicy fajitas on a sub-zero mid-winter night. I think aging the 07 will help its balance. I had another half glass an hour later with a few almonds to further evaluate the wine and its finish. The additional “open” time helped. In my opinion, this is not a complex wine.
We plan to cellar the 07 and open the 06 as soon as they arrive.Thank you for the opportunity to evaluate this wine.



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Offer of 1/11 -- Red Zeppelin Winery - Three Pack



2005 Black Zeppelin
2005 Red Zeppelin Syrah
NV (05/06) Red Zeppelin Vinidiction

This offer's pack:
glindagw (Vindication)
Hiker_jay (Black Zeppelin)
alexa84 (Red Zeppelin)

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glindagw wrote:It's here, it's here! Red Zeppelin Vinidiction (along with a couple of packages of Krave Jerky). Great label, the back label could have been produced by a woot writer. 6:30 is a long way away!



glindagw wrote:

Lab Rat Report on the Red Zeppelin Vinidiction - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Syrah; 50% Monterey County, 50% San Luis Obispo County; Alcohol 14.2%:

This is my first opportunity to be a Lab Rat. Thanks to my father I have had the opportunity to taste some amazing wine throughout my life. I could not resist offering him the chance to assist me in evaluating this wine. I did question that choice by about 4pm when I was dying to open the bottle but we had fun.

We gave this wine an 87 to 89 on the Parker scale. I used a cheat sheet from delongwine.com to ensure that I didn't forget anything in this.

We initially poured the wine and it sat just long enough for us to evaluate the color & clarity. We first tasted it without food. At the same time we decanted some of it and waited a bit.

Initial Response: I enjoy a nice bouquet, so I was disappointed to find very little aroma in this wine upon our initial tasting.

Color: Hue - Garnet with a bit of brick; Depth - Medium; Clarity - Slight Haze.

This was a dry wine with medium-full body. It was crisp with medium tannins. Round and flavourful. It had a medium finish. We tasted berries (mostly boysenberry) and cherry. It was very fruit forward.

2nd Tasting (about 45 min. later): It's opened up and there is a bit more of a bouquet now. The slightest hints of toasted nuts & milk chocolate. I should note that it still doesn't have much of a bouquet (my father still couldn't really pick anything up). As expected it's a bit more robust and flavorful on the tongue. The finish lengthened a bit. Not surprisingly I enjoyed it more once it had a bit of time to breathe.

It paired nicely with Dad's homemade tomato sauce with sausage & mushrooms over spaghetti (free wine & free supper...always a good thing).

I would put this down in the cellar for about a year to allow it to age just a bit. It's not full-bodied enough to do too much with, but I think that it will excite me more next year (I'm in for 2).

Did this wine blow my mind & will I order a case of it? No. Perhaps I should add that my favorites are usually a bit more full-bodied. Would I buy it if I was looking for a bottle of wine in the store? Yes. After this am I dying to try the Black Zeppelin? Definitely!

Thank you for your patience with my first attempt at ratting. I must confess that my father laughed at me both for how excited I was to be a lab rat and for how seriously I took it. He almost fell out of his chair when I pulled out the cheat sheet. There is a definite possibility that I have forgotten something so don't hesitate to harass me.

p.s. I almost forgot that we laughed out loud while reading the back of the bottle before opening the wine "Dusk crept over the winery like Syrah spilled onto a tablecloth. The new cellar rat came to an astringent stop next to me, his skateboard smacking into the tank"...even a tribute to the King.



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Hiker_jay wrote:

Happy Labrat checking in.

2005 Black Zeppelin

Ok, let me first say that this is my first Labrat report and I will endeavor to share my opinion and honest observations.

My wife did miss the ceremony of pulling the cork. She is not a wine drinker, however she loves pulling corks from bottles. This wine if proof that thou shall not judge a wine based upon it’s screw off cap. I understand why the screwcaps can be better than cork and now I believe I may have over come my prejudice.

6:15 We opened the bottle at dinner. Nothing too fancy, just a nice cut of steak, red potatoes, and green beans.

Not that it has anything to do with the quality of the wine, but I must say that this wine has nice thick legs. I would describe the color as a deep thick purple. It is not a super clear wine and I think that is due to the fact that it is unfiltered. It is a very nice color though, and I would not describe it as cloudy.

The nose: picked up notes of berry, vanilla, and tobacco.

First taste - strait pour: This is a big red wine. Lots of body and very well controlled fine tannins. Very nice even without much breathing time. Definitely dark fruits, oak at first, then a pleasantly spicy note, followed by a long mellow finish. Maybe even a hint of a floral note in the finish. Very long and nice finish. The alcohol is kept well in balance.

7:30 Okay, second pour. All I can say is wow. The wine has opened up and mellowed nicely. I am tasting more of dark fruit’s sweetness. The wine has such a enjoyable soft smooth feel. I am getting hints of cocoa and some more complex spice. Lots of layers to enjoy in this wine.

Bottom line: If I could afford it I would order this stuff by the case. I am very glad I went in on this offer. Now I just need to e-mail support to up my order.


On a side note: the wine came with a package of Chili Lime beef jerky. I have not tried it yet, but it looks like quality stuff.



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alexa84 wrote:I am *extremely* honored to have been chosen. [thanks WineDavid!!] so much so that I drove to FedEx after work/on my way to a prior engagement/just in time to pick up my package. I PROMISE to give better notes tomorrow/later today, but I think the Red Zeppelin Syrah is phenomenal. The jerky's not half bad either ;) I really wish I'd gone in for more than one, but I collected a bunch over the holidays & couldn't make myself do it... my loss is hopefully someone else's gain!



alexa84 wrote:

first off, how do I get that fancy Lab Rat picture to go at the top of my post? (Mod: Fancy picture-ified!)

Anyway, as I said I would be early this morning, I'm back to offer my bit about the 2005 Red Zeppelin Syrah. I feel like kind of a jerk now, since it's all sold out, but I hope that won't take me out of the running to 'rat again. And please take all that I say with a grain of salt from here on out as I am quite the wine novice.

I very much enjoyed this wine straight out of the bottle. I'm not entirely sure I've ever had a wine that was this drinkable. I shared it with a couple of friends just to help me fill out the feedback a bit better, and what we all agreed on is that the flavors are subtle - we had a very hard time pinning them down. It is definitely smooth, with a strong but certainly not offensive nose. The bit of woodiness we detected (didn't seem oaky - does cedar make more sense?) may or may not have detracted from the initial flavor in one person's opinion, but we did agree that it is very clean and opens up much more in the aftertaste. Additionally, we thought we might detect hints of pomegranate, cranberry, nutmeg and leather? There is a distinct fruit flavor, but again, we couldn't pin it down. As much as I condemn my inability to offer a full-fledged and useful description of this wine, I commend the winemaker (an additional kudo to you, StillmanB, for spending so much time here answering questions - so refreshing!) on making a beautifully drinkable wine. As previously mentioned, I'm now kicking myself for not going in for more than one this time around! Especially since I now know that I can't email customer service to up my order! Congrats on a sellout and a great pick wine.woot



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Offer of 1/18 -- Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards Estate Grown - Three Pack



2006 Lucas & Lewellen Cabernet Franc
2006 Lucas & Lewellen Petite Sirah
2007 Lucas & Lewellen Malbec

This offer's pack:
dro3432 (Petite Sirah)
brooks (Malbec)
squirtbc (Cabernet Franc)

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dro3432 wrote:

I got labratted! I am going to assume thats how to spell that. This is my first Monday wine and obviously my first labrat experience.
Saw the bottle waiting for me at work and couldn't wait for my day to be over so i could get home and pop the cork.

Initial feeling right off the bat was very fruit smelling. Along the lines of strawberries and blueberries. But enough smelling and i got right into pouring myself a glass. I thought it was very well balance and had just enough acidity in it. I prefer wines that have a little bit of a bite to them and i thought this had a slight peppery flavor which I love. Overall I would say I am very pleased with it. Seem to be a little lighter and fruiter than most of the petite sirah that I've had, but that being said i am looking forward to the 3 pack coming in.



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brooks wrote:

How exciting to be selected as a labrat and find that my first wine to review is the Lucas & Lewellen Malbec! I have traveled to Argentina many times to dance tango and am
quite familiar with Malbec. I was curious as to how a California Malbec might taste and if it could transport me back to Buenos Aires.
I liked it!! I first noticed the color - it is a gorgeous cherry red. the taste was clean, well balanced and milder than some other Malbecs. You can taste berry jam yet it is dry. It also has a light pleasant finish as compared to the long sandalwood finish of some Malbecs.
I am glad that I purchased this wine and am considering ordering more. In the meantime, I shall have another glass and play some tango music.



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squirtbc wrote:labrat report-sorry it is so late. i did not get it until today when i went in to work. then the computer messed up so here it is. it is still chilly so it is changing as we go along. we recieved the cab franc-one of our favs! the color is very dark and rich. it has a good brightness to it. right now the smell is old worldly with a fruity thing goin on. the initial taste-after being pored thru an aerator-is a little woody with a cherryish finish. very tasty. i am sure it will change as it warms up. hubby says very good but it is changing. not tannic too much which is surprising. for now pretty darn good and i am glad we bought it.



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Offer of 1/25 -- Stolpman Vineyards Estate Grown Sangiovese - Two Pack



This offer's pack:
richc7
trwagner

Volunteers:
uhoerhold
valorandvellum

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uhoerhold wrote:2006 Stolpman Vineyards Sangiovese Estate Grown - Pseudo-Rat report - Part 1

This bottle is from my cellar. I have a total of 3 bottles, 1 from the Stolpman club, 2 from a special offer they had in the fall.

I just opened the bottle and poured a glass. I'm going to let it sit for a while till dinner, but I took a sip to sample. The nose has lots of red fruit, cherry and strawberry, with some toast and a slight asphalt note. This is very different than the 2005, which had a darker profile. The palate is bright, with good acidity and moderate tannins.

Maybe the Stolpman guys can comment if there was a stylistic change between 2005 and 2006, or if it's just the difference in the vintages. I'll post again after this has sat in the glass for a while.



uhoerhold wrote:2006 Stolpman Vineyards Sangiovese Estate Grown - Pseudo-Rat report - Part 2

Had the rest of the glass with dinner after letting it sit for about an hour. It hasn't changed too much since my initial taste. The color is a medium ruby red. The nose has bright, red fruits, strawberry, red cherry. There's also some toast and a bit of asphalt. The palate is has a nice brightness to it, with plenty of acidity, moderate tannins. The fruit is still prominent, but it's not at all heavy. Nice, long finish.

Given my experience with the '05 Sangio, I'm pretty surprised. This has a brighter profile, and I would be more likely to identify this as Sangiovese than the '05. Still very tasty, the fruit is very fresh, not as ripe. Overall, a very nice wine. If the price is not a sticking point for you, I would recommend this, as it's a nicely made wine.



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cheron98


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valorandvellum wrote:I happened to have a bottle of this vintage on hand so I decided to open it up tonight. I'll try my best to describe it for those of you on the fence, but to be fair I'm certainly no master of wine!

Immediately upon opening, I took a small sip and decided it would benefit from decanting. I'm impatient so I gave it one run through the Vinturi. The first thing I noticed was the unusual texture... it had a pleasant, chalky feel to it. The wine seemed a little bit on the dryer side (which I like) – I picked out some dark fruit flavors... blackberries with the slight bitterness of their seeds. The finish is really wonderful. The only way I can describe it is that it seems to melt over the back of your tongue in the same manner that dark chocolate would. There are slight hints of sweetness, but it's not overly saccharin.

Bottom line, I would say this wine is absolutely worth this woot offering price. I really enjoyed it and imagine most of you would too.



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cheron98


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richc7 wrote:Since WD decided to give in to my shameless plea to be a labrat on my 27th birthday, I had a chance to sample this tonight and decided to bring along the 2005 Vino Noceto Sangiovese Riserva since I know it's popular among many of the wooters here.

So when I first received the wine today it was rather chilly and just let it passively warm up to room temperature before taking it to dinner. Once we got there, I decided to go ahead and pop and pour and sample this one first and was pleased by some dark fruit notes with just a hint of alcohol (for reference, if you thought something like the poizin had no/minimal alcohol even after decanting, I would say you're nuts). Tasting it revealed some dark cherries, perhaps a hint of strawberry and was surprised by how substantive the wine was which I will also attribute to the hint of oak that also nicely complemented to the body of the wine. Mild/moderate tannins with a nice clean, lasting finish that I thought was appropriate. Again, just a hint of alcohol after popping and pouring.

I then went to the Vino Noceto and as uhoerhold said, these really are two different wines. To put it plainly, this was much brighter and more acidic, but also worked well. I went back to the Stolpman later that night and did not notice any drastic changes.

If I had to pick between the two, I would choose the Stolpman. When I asked my friends at dinner, it was more of an even split between the two. I really enjoyed the subtleties of this wine which I found to be nicely balanced while I thought the Vino Noceto was a bit more straightforward, but also good. I have no idea which wine is more 'true' to the varietal, but I think uhoerhold again mentioned that the Vino Noceto is such. While I can't say if this wine will be worth $25+ to you, I'm not regretting this purchase.

On a side note, also brought along the H by Havens Velvet for my friends who really aren't too picky with their wines. Tried a glass towards the end of the night and did not particular enjoy it. I thought it was over oaked, too acidic, flat and rather one dimensional. While I wouldn't call it terrible, I also wouldn't consider this to be one of the better woot purchases even at $11. I'm just glad some of my friends enjoyed this so that I have something to serve them.



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trwagner wrote:A rat reporting in here...

Sorry for not reporting in sooner, but we wanted a chance to really enjoy the wine after the kids were in bed.

Full disclosure here, we have been to the Stolpman Vineyards before and have always enjoyed their wines. We are big fans of the 2000 Limestone Hill Cuvee and still have one bottle of our stash left in our wine fridge. That being said we approached this wine with an open mind and tried to keep our past experience out of the review.

Upon first pour, we noticed the nice ruby red color. It was very similar in color to other Sangioveses we have tried, perhaps a bit lighter. The first taste was very pleasant with a rich fruit flavor. Our first thought was that it didn't taste like a Sangiovese. It tasted more like an Amarone, because it had such a rich flavor, but without the hint of the sweetness we would expect with an Amarone. We also both appreciated the fact that the alcohol wasn't overpowering and guessed it had a very reasonable alcohol level. Our suspicions were confirmed when looking back at the description and seeing the 13.9% alcohol level. There were some tannins, but they were not heavy at all. I would describe the scent as caramel, while my wife described it more as pipe tobacco, but either way it was very pleasant and rich. There were certainly strong fruit flavors, with raspberries being the most prominent.

We waited for a bit and then ran this through our Vinturi (which we of course purchased from Wine.Woot). The second glass didn't seem to have changed much from the first. We did get a hint more strawberry, but overall it was consistent with the first glass. Our sense was that this is very drinkable now and would probably cellar well, but personally we wouldn't cellar it for too long.

Would we recommend this wine? YES, we would recommend this wine to anyone who enjoys a rich, full-fruit red wine. Is it worth the price? To us, it's absolutely worth the price for a high quality wine like this - and if you think about it, it's cheaper than going to a movie and imho more fun.

I hope this helps some of you who are on the fence right now. Thoughts/questions welcome.

P.S. For those who compared this to the Toothstejnn, it's really not a fair comparison. This wine is much richer and more complex than the Toothstejnn - although we did like that too!



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Offer of 2/1 -- Mumm Napa Sparkling Trio - Three Pack



Mumm Napa Brut Rose’
Mumm Napa Cuve’e M Red
Mumm Napa Sparkling Pinot Noir

This offer's pack:
justinrsanderson (Brut Rose)
rdand (Cuvee M Red)

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justinrsanderson wrote:Rat Report:

Just popped and poured the sparkling Pinot Noir bottle.

One word: WOW!

Disclaimer: I have never had a sparkling red wine, of any type.

The mouth feel is similar to other dry sparkling wines. The nose seems a bit closed (I am slightly congested), but there are notes of toast, generic red fruit (thinking a "red" juice drink), and some herbs.

The taste: unbelievable. Raspberries, cherry candy, cotton candy. Getting some grape skin, this may be the plum that others (including Mumm) speak of.

The finish is long....and very pleasant. My palate is alive! Can't wait to have some with the braised brisket that is finishing off in the slow cooker.

The color is a deep dark ruby. Much darker than I had anticipated. Almost inky (can't see the light of the screen through a half full glass).

Overall, this was incredible. A very enjoyable first time experience with a sparkling red. I think I will be upping my order to the maximum : )

Pics to follow after dinner.



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rdand wrote:Rat report:

Cuvee M Red

I also never had a sparkling red wine previously. I was wondering whether it would fizz in the same way. I was expecting the two-pour rise and fall to fill the glass, but that didn’t happen. Nice red, purple. You can’t really see the bubbles, but you can feel them nucleating on your taste buds. Grapey, cherry-y, pomegranatey. Some astringency. Sweeter than expected. More cherry- black cherry. I wouldn’t serve this with food. Not sweet enough for dessert on its own but would be good as an aperitif, a surprising and festive start to a meal. Every mouthful stays with you for a good while. How’d they do that?

I’m a wine-curious beer geek learning from youse guys and serial woots. I want to compare it to a kriek, a Belgian cherry beer. It’s not as sweet as a Lindeman’s, not as funky/sour as Cantillon, definitely richer texture. Absolutely produces a better burp.

I’m glad I have another one coming. It’s a special thing; I’d serve it before a light dinner, but for my own consumption there are other fizzy things I’d crave more frequently.



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Offer of 2/8 -- Lost Canyon Stage Gulch Syrah Three - Pack



This offer's pack:
veniceonthebayou

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veniceonthebayou wrote:

2007 Lost Canyon Stage Gulch Syrah Rat Report:

The wine has a very dark and inky color and seemed to have a somewhat peppery nose with fruit notes behind the spice. At first opening... don't if you value your taste buds.

After 20 min., the fruit came forward, but the acidity takes hold fairly quickly... this was the only drawback I found to the wine... almost too much acidity... maybe aging will help mellow this trait a bit...

The finish is very firm but clean, with a lingering of the fruit you initially encounter. The fruit has a definite blackberry taste, and something else... maybe the red currant I keep hearing about?

It had a nice mouth feel - not velvety, but there. Also, it was not a tannin bomb... not chalky, just enough to give the wine structure.

I did try it with a few different cheeses, and found I really liked it with an aged VT cheddar I had in the fridge. It really allowed the fruit to shine, and tempered the acid nicely.

For frame of reference, I generally tend to like pinot noir just a bit better; however, after decanting for half an hour plus, I found I enjoyed the syrah a lot. I would buy it again because it seemed to be a good balance, and I think that it would be a great compromise for the syrah lovers, and the pinot folks.

Sorry for the lateness of the report; however, I didn't get my delivery until today. The office shut down for the parade for the Saints yesterday afternoon.
-Who Dat?



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Offer of 2/15 -- Adobe Road Cabernet Sauvignon Two - Pack



2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

This offer's pack:
adunknight (2004)
aprhansen (2003)

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adunknight wrote:

Lab rat report.
I wrote all the notes yesterday, clicked preview and forgot to press post...

mine was 2004 vintage.

first pour was berries, pepper, cedar on the nose. taste acidic cherry, berries, hint of oak, not too complex and short finish.

after 30 minutes, it started to opened up. It could be much better after 1 hour.

I'll say 2004 vintage was not fantastic experience but really good wine at the price range. hoping to hear more from other rats with 2003 vintage.

Thank you for great opportunity winedavid.
I'll live happily ever after.



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aprhansen wrote:LABRAT REPORT

I shared this bottle with my parents and this comment was made:

(me) "This wine is a bit abrasive in the beginning but likeable by the end..."

(dad) "Just like my daughter."

I can't say I appreciated his humor but I did appreciate the wine by the end. It tasted a bit young, had a huge bite in the beginning and mellowed towards the end of the bottle. This of course may have been due to it's need to breathe or it may have singed and numbed all of my tastebuds. I think I would have enjoyed it more with a steak or grilled dish but it was pleasant (post decanting) with my cranberry stuffed chicken.

Overall, it's a pleasant wine. I look foward to enjoying the rest of the shipment, without my parents.

- Be sure to use a decanter
- Will pair nicely with steaks
- Choose company wisely



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Offer of 2/22 -- Scott Harvey 3 Region Riesling - Three Pack



2007 Scott Harvey Riesling Mendocino County
2008 Jana Napa Valley Riesling Old Vine
2007 Jana Leelanau Peninsula Riesling Michigan

This offer's pack:
rmm989 (Scott Harvey Mendocino)
InFrom (Jana Leelanau)
terrenceistheman (Jana Napa Valley)
Volunteers:
Cesare (Jana Napa Valley)

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Cesare wrote:Faux-labrat report:
Had the 2008 Jana Napa Valley Riesling Old Vine tonight with stir-fry. Very little color on this. Pale straw and really clear. The nose is pretty subdued but you can "smell" the acidity. Some fruit there, maybe a white flower.. and then something else on the back end. Almost a plastic smell, maybe more like rubber. Like the inside of a rubber glove. Not petrol or black rubber and very faint. On the palate this is light bodied, crisp and clean, and an acid freak's dream. Some green fruit- apples and pears, some citrus, but pretty dry and a nice long finish. I'm actually surprised at the finish after the color and nose. But the acid on this, oh the acid. It almost makes it spicy. Very tart. I think this could still use some time. I've not had many 2008s yet, I think just the Triacipedis.
Overall this is not even like Riesling. If this was in a blind tasting nobody would guess Riesling and if they did they would never think CA. What a beauty though. Great crisp low-alcohol food wine. Made in a warm climate. Unbelievable. Do Not drink this by itself or you will be upset! That's what dessert wine is for :}



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InFrom wrote:8:25 p.m.: the wine has been chilling in the Nissan cooler, aka the trunk of my car, for the past few hours. The ambient temp in NYC right now is 39° F, and there’s a nasty rain. In Lake Leelanau, the birthplace of this wine, it’s ten degrees colder, with a light snow falling. Thank you, Woot, for sending a little bit of Michigan to me, and for giving me an excuse to drink on a Tuesday. It’s been a long week already, and it’s only 2 days old. This is a treat.

I do love the Rieslings, and last summer we spent a week in and around Seneca Lake, tasting many wines, but especially Rieslings. A few years before that, we took our first Finger Lakes vacation, that time focusing mainly on Keuka wineries. We developed a major enthusiasm for Rieslings, and have tried a couple from Germany and Alsace (not fancy ones). I would have to say that my skill at describing what I am smelling and tasting in a wine is not that well developed. But I’ll do my best. I’ll see if I can manage a picture or two as well.

I poured a bit when I got home. The wine looked like it was full of little bubbles, as if it had been shaken, which makes sense, considering that it had been from the Bronx to Manhattan to Queens in the space of a few hours. Kind of like a glass of water looks after it's sat overnight. However, having enjoyed the slightest of fizz in some Rieslings (Chateau Lafayette Reneau’s Dry Riesling comes to mind), I was hoping that this wasn’t just an artifact of the trip home.



The color is a pale straw. The nose – it smells like a Riesling. (What can I say? My descriptive powers are limited.) I think to me that means a slightly floral smell, and a definite grape-y smell. In this case, not overpowering – light. None of that grapefruit that some Rieslings have (which wouldn’t be a demerit for me, I love that acidy zing.)

First taste – it’s too dang warm! How can that be? Bottle into the fridge, I push on in the name of science. Bubbles – I think so. Not sure. Maybe just the acidity playing tricks with the tip of my tongue? Sweetness – I think off-dry is the perfect descriptor. Can’t say it’s sweet, but it’s not bone-dry, either. I accompany it with the house wine-drinking snacks, red-pepper hummus and a mix of Spanish olives. Man, that Riesling goes down easy.

Second pour – it’s cooler now, and pretty sure there’s the mildest of fizz. Very nice. I detect a touch of something akin to grapefruit, not overwhelmingly so – I guess that means there’s appropriate acid to balance out the sweetness? (Is that what it means?) I am not sure about what flavors there are – my mouth feels like it’s encountered some green apple, I’d say. The tartness hits early on, but there’s no harshness in the finish.

The snacks go great with the wine, as expected, but it’s about time to move on to the next course, which will bring the heat. Dinner is leftovers from our favorite Chinese-Indian restaurant – shrimp pakora, chili chicken, and gobi Manchurian. Plenty of little chili peppers to wake up the palate. Some Hakka chow mein to give a bit of relief from the heat.



Ah well, can’t find the pakoras, probably just as well. This is quite a meal. The heat from either the chili chicken or the gobi (cauliflower) gave me a brief bout of hiccups, and is burning my tongue like h-e-double l. OK, some white rice, cold water and a sip of the wine, which is holding up well to this competition. It's in no way overpowered by the food.

A couple more sips after dinner. It’s so cool how certain wines can be perceived as both sweet and dry, depending on – what? What part of your tongue is noticing it? The brain is an amazing thing.

Thank you Woot, and Jana, and Scott, oh yeah and that guy in Michigan, for providing me with such an enjoyable and stimulating project at dinner time! A lovely wine. Can’t wait to drink some more of it tomorrow! (And very glad I have more of it on order – we just ran out of Riesling last weekend!)

edited because I finally figured out how to post the photos. Hoping for another chapter tonight, against a different menu.



InFrom wrote:Tonight I have a tasting companion (but no pictures of dinner, everything looked kind of pale on the plate). Her impression was that it's sweet, but I couldn't disagree more. I'm tasting the tartness, more so than last night. The fizz is still discernible, and I'm glad to know I wasn't just dreaming it. The wine is a nice, bright contrast to our meal tonight, some TJ's chicken sausage ravioli, tossed with sauteed portobellos finished w/ a splash of the Riesling. It went well with the food, and was good on its own when the food was gone. (OTOH, my gf never warmed up to it. Hopefully that will change with the next bottle. Or the one after that.)

Thanks Scott, et al. -- I enjoyed the fruits of your labor!



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cheron98


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rmm989 wrote:Thanks to WD for letting me labrat the Medocino County bottle in the offering.

I'm one of those people that doesn't care for a lot of whites - we don't drink much of it because I really don't like flabby chards, and I don't know enough good whites to just buy them online. I've only had a couple of dry/off dry Rieslings that came off tasting menus, so I was very excited for this one.

The Scott Harvey definitely delivers on what he's talking about in the forums - it has great fruit, and a strong enough acidity to cut things very well.

Color is almost clear, with a light gold hue.

I got it in the afternoon and stuck it in the fridge, but took it out and let it sit for a little bit. The first pour came out at 57 degrees according to my handy dandy UV gun. I wasn't allowed to keep it all to myself so my fiancee and I each had a pour.

I get melon and a bit of apple on the nose with a very faint back of honey, and frankly my first thought was that it might be sweeter than I thought. It definitely smells like most Rieslings I've had, which are too sweet for my taste. It doesn't taste like that however, with a great balance of fruit and acidity. The citrus/lemon comes through, and I felt like it had a very faint minerality on the finish, even though it was very faint - not like some sauv blancs that I've had.We had the first glass by itself while we were waiting on food, and I really enjoyed it.

The second pour came later when our Thai food came, and it stood up better to the curry than the duck pad thai that I had. At this point the wine had warmed up a bit as well. With the curry, the tree fruit is still there, and it paired very well. The acidity in the wine worked well with what I had, but only the citrus stood up.

In the last (very small pour) the wine had come up to 65ish or so, and the floral elements were there more than the earlier ones.

All in all I liked it quite a bit, and I'm glad we have as much coming as we do because this will definitely become our go-to white for a while, and it was great to get an idea of what a good dry/off-dry Riesling should be like. I'd say if you like sauv blanc you should definitely get it and I'd suggest more than 1, and if your problem with white is that you don't like flabby chard it's definitely worth going in for 1.



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cheron98


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terrenceistheman wrote:ok so here goes my first labrat-a-tat-tat. be nice






I received the 2008 Napa Valley Riesling Old Vine Riesling

If its relevant, the first night I had w/ some pork chops, the second night w/ some sauce-less cheese ravioli.


After popping open the cork and pouring a glass I immediately noticed color. Very clear and light. Almost as clear and translucent as a glass of water with a very light yellow-ish hue to it.

After pouring a glass I took a big whiff and couldn't really detect anything. Giving the glass a really good swirl (and probably just letting it breath in general) released a really nice aroma. A pleasant, fruity smell hits. I'm not so good at deciphering what fruits I was getting, but apples or apricots came to mind when gettin' my sniff on.

After my first glass I felt a little lackluster. Nothing really struck me as standing out. I could tell that it was light and not too sweet, but not a whole lot of flavor and almost too light for my liking.


I poured another glass and let it sit for a little but. Just like the smell, letting the wine air out a tad made a really big difference.

This time all of those fresh smells I got from sniffin were present in a liquidy goodness all up in my mouth.

[obligatory and eye catching photo of wine]




It's a sweet wine which is to be expected, but not too sweet. In fact my mom's contribution to the review was "its good. not too sweet." She was brief, but correct. It was not sweet enough to distract from the flavor.

So the flavor, yeah.. hard part for me here.
Lets see.. very floral, light and crispy. A clean and refreshing wine. Very fruity tone. More of the lighter / sweeter fruits. Maybe I'm tasting green grapes and apples again? But definitely very light and clean. Extremely smooth and super easy to go down. When I swallowed it I didn't get that nasty bitter punch that (from my experience) some wines hold.

My favorite part of any portion that I drank was the little second kick I got after my swallow. It seemed like after I was done drinking it, the very next swallow I would do (without any wine in my mouth) was very rich and full of even more flavor. Almost like a glass of hot cocoa, where the glass is empty and you just hold the cup up to your face and get all that concentrated stuff at the bottom.. anyone know what I'm talking about?
Anyways it was like that. It lingered and I enjoyed that part. It almost lent towards bringing out the flavor in the next sip that I took.

Rieslings were wines that I first started trying wine. I found they were easy to transition into given their flavor and sweetness. This bottle was a very good reminder of that without being too sweet to turn me away.

A lot of people think it's weird when I tell them there are some good 'breakfast' wines. I think this would make a great one. A perfectly refreshing, fruity, but not too filling or heavy wine to wake up and have on a lazy weekend.

If you like Rieslings, i see no reason why you wouldn't like this one.


Two big things I'd suggest

First is getting it cold before serving; my first glass was poured right outta the box and wasn't as cool as I thought. Even after cooling down and leaving the bottle out I could notice a difference towards the end.

The other is giving the wine a chance to air out or breath a bit. I found that it made a HUUUUUUUGE difference in taste and smell.

Hope that helps someone.

This was fun



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cheron98


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Offer of 3/1 -- B Cellars Blend Two - Pack



2005 B Cellars Blend 24
2005 B Cellars Blend 25

This offer's pack:
jaykid007 (Blend 25)
Jish80 (Blend 25)
alexa84 (Blend 24)

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cheron98


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jaykid007 wrote:

Checking in with a lab rattage report..

Got the bottle about 9 this morning and had to wait all day before I could try it. I received the golden ticket along with a fine bottle of Blend 25 which is the 61% cab and 39% Syrah.

Upon opening, saw some sediment on the top which verifies that this is an unfiltered and unfined wine. I really enjoy these type of wines. The color of the wine was dark ruby red and could not see through it. This gave me the idea that this was going to be a thick and bold wine which indeed it was.

The nose of the wine, right after corking it, smelled of alcohol as this puppy is 14.9%. I also got hints of spiciness, faint blackberries, and a touch black licorice.

The first taste was an interesting one, complex...first, my thought was it was a Syrah that was smooth with nice finish. But with the cab, it gave it a more settle taste on the finish. The tannis were soft and smooth. This is a bold, "in your face" kind of wine and has a lingering finish of berries, plum, and pepper. I'm not a big fan of Syrah, but I enjoyed it mixed with Cab. In fact, I kept going for more and more as I kept trying it, and really started liking it. I let the wine sit for another two hours in the decanter and the wine has mellowed out some and even easier to drink. I think its great right out the bottle stand alone or with a meal.

My wife and I think this will go well with food and planning on making some steak tonight and give it a try. I think it will compliment meats very well. I will report back some more after dinner. Thanks for the opportunity to rat! Can't wait to hear on the other wine!

p.s. Had the wine with steak and potatoes last night and the wine was really enjoyable with food and showed its colors. The syrah brought out the flavors of the steak.



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cheron98


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Jish80 wrote:

I just received my Labrat sample of Blend 25 today. I must say, this is a great bottle--and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Labrat!

This blend is very well balanced with big flavors but very little acid and tame tannins. Flavors on the nose are black cherries, plums, and figs. There is also a slightly Old World taste to this New World blend. There seems to be a fair amount of sugar in this blend that goes wonderfully with the fruit-forward flavors. The effect is bold, not cloying or sweet.

I really enjoyed this bottle.



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cheron98


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alexa84 wrote:

LabRat checking in!

(my not terribly good cell phone photo)



Around 2:00p I received my bottle of Blend 24 (!) which was a good thing, since I’d been waiting to take a shower before work so I wouldn’t miss it. Could have been a smelly shift. Anyway, I took it in to work (I work at a restaurant and was the closing manager on duty) to share and get some additional opinions from my wine guru General Manager and one of the Bartenders who happens to be a good friend and who also partook of the last bottle I ‘ratted.

After opening the bottle and pouring a few glasses, the wine sat for about five to ten minutes while I tried to gather my tasting paraphernalia (I desperately wanted to use the Wine Aroma Wheel I’d read about in another thread so as to be more up to the discerning standards of the forum folk). Following is our combined experience:

It was a beautiful dark inky burgundy or purplish hue, held up to the light you could see more red, but definitely not clear. The nose was very subtle but you could definitely sense the alcohol and the dark fruits. The initial taste brought out soft tannins (not too much or too little, we agreed, but that’s personal preference), and again those dark fruits, most notably blackberry, currant and blueberry. The taste was very juicy and quite enjoyable. The influence of the small percentage of Petit Sirah was definitely noticed and the Sangiovese gave it a little kick.

I laughed and shared when I realized I recognized a little bit of the “band-aid” flavor that Gianna had mentioned – more interesting than anything, and not a detriment to the wine at all. We also noted a sort of sawdust or dusty/soil or red clay taste, and one person (really only one) got some black pepper right off the bat.

Oddly, at least to me, the alcohol and tannins began to show more in the flavor as we let it sit and open up. I’m definitely more used to wines softening as they sit out, but it didn’t seem to do any disservice to the wine and the flavor was still very enjoyable. A person who came late to the sampling noted that he found some cedar/wood, roasted smokiness and earthiness to the flavor.

Overall, we felt this was a very straightforward Bordeaux style blend. We found it very juicy and pleasant, not overly tannic, and not too complex. We all agreed it was very good and one taster inquired as to how he might get his hands on more (not mine!).

Thanks again wine.woot for an enjoyable and educational tasting experience!



alexa84 wrote:the Blend 24, in my opinion, wasn't even remotely in your face. It got more tannic as it sat out (opened up?), but it never took away from the juiciness of the wine. I don't recall getting plum, acidity or 'hotness' - I mean, you know, aside from the company I was keeping at the time ;)



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cheron98


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Offer of 3/8 -- Verge Dry Creek Valley Syrah - Two Pack



This offer's pack:
ricrawling
nnnwarner
screwjack

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cheron98


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ricrawling wrote:Lab Rat Report

As the previous "ratter" stated, we had planned meal for Tuesday to taste the wine with, only to have the wine not arrive until Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, Fedex tried to deliver the wine to another house in my neighborhood. So when I checked on the shipment, it said there was a delivery failure, no one home. I called around and determined what had happened, and luckily they "redelivered" at about 5:00.

I didn't get to drink this wine with a meal, as Wednesday night I have a class at 6:00, but I opened it up around 8:30pm after arriving home. My initial impression wasn't unpleasant, but it was definitely sharp and fairly tannic. I then tried a small glass using the wine venturi that I purchased on woot a while back. I really didn't care for the way the wine tasted after the venturi. It was a bit too muted for a Syrah. So, I poured a glass and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. This definitely was the trick. The wine really opened up. If you have a decanter, I would say this would definitely be the way to go. My wife and I really enjoyed the wine at this point.

The wine's taste and aroma is definitely fruity, with some vanilla and other spices coming out. It had a very nice finish as well with some oak coming thru towards the end.

I too can't wait to put one in the wine fridge and taste again in a year or two.

Thank you woot for the oppurtunity to "rat". This was my first attempt at "ratting, so hopefully this was helpful.


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cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
nnnwarner wrote:-Lab Rat Report-

My wife planned a dinner around this Syrah. She cooked a splendid course of braised shortribs with a mushroom and garlic sauce. Unfortunately there was a glitch in the shipping and we did not receive the WW to enjoy with the meal. We received our bottle the following evening.

We uncorked our bottle and I poured two glasses immediately. We felt that it was rather sharp with tannic acid for our first impression. Not exactly what I had hoped for. So, we let it sit for about an hour. This syrah really opened up.
I find aromas of berries, mostly blackberries. There is also a subtle aroma of vanilla present.
Upon tasting I notice a strong spice component. Oak and the tannins make themselves known.
This is a medium bodied wine with a short finish. It seems that most of the flavors assert themselves up front.
We were intrigued by this wine due to their use of wild yeasts, bio-dynamic farming and minimal filtering of the wine. I hope that more wineries will experiment with these ideas in the future. I think this wine has good potential and would like to place it in my basement for a few years to mellow and mature.



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cheron98


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screwjack wrote:

LAB RAT REPORT

I was thrilled to be chosen as a Labrat!

I was also surprised, since I had purchased the wine by accident. Rather, my cat had purchased it by accident while traversing my keyboard to finish the milk in my Count Chocula. It could have been worse, I could have been the proud new owner of the complete Miami Vice box set. That would have been bad, as I already own two sets - one to watch, and one to sell at a rummage sale in 10 years.

I was pleased, however, that it was a Syrah, since I use Syrah to make my favorite mexican-themed cocktail, the Syra-"P" (Jigger of Mezcal, 3oz Syrah, 1oz Vernor's ginger ale, 1oz Maple Syrup (Grade A Amber only!!). I like that almost as much as my Caber-Nehi, the recipe for which is a closely-held family secret.

I decided not to adulterate the Labrat wine, however, since, as I understand the Labrat role, I am meant to provide tasting notes; and I have no idea whether prospective buyers have access to Vernor's. So I opted to have the wine with my normal Thursday dinner, a nice ruby red grapefruit and cottage cheese.

As luck would have it, I was out of both cottage cheese and grapefruit! So I poked around the freezer looking for Elk or something my Grandmother made for me. Sadly, I don't hunt (I should have remembered that before I went digging….), and while I did find a tray of my Grandmother's Lasagne, she has been dead for several years - decades actually - and the freezer burn had fused the noodles to the aluminum pan (at least I think they were noodles).

I ended up having to settle for some black pepper lamb. I know, I know, it's a distant fourth choice for Syrah pairing, but I was starving and the stores were closed. At least my stereo was still working, so I dropped my favorite dinner music on the turntable - Kiss Destroyer - and dug in.

First Glass:

"GET UP...Everybody's gonna move their feet!"

First taste - straight from the bottle, cellar temp, was flat, grassy, heavy tannins, but a huge, deep purple color promised that this was no indication of things to come. Who, for example, could predict that "King of the Nightime World" would eventual lead to "Shout it out Loud"?

Second Glass - One pass thru the Vinturi

"God of Thunder and Rock and Roll, the Spell you're under, will rob you of your virgin soul!"

Ahhhh, that's better. Some spice on the nose, a little astringency. Full bodied, tannins very strong. Oh no, lamb is getting overdone!!

Third Glass - Decanted for about one hour

"Flaming Youth will set the World on Fire"

Now things are getting interesting. Tannins immediately mellow on the lamb tips. Not bad with the Brussels sprouts either. Wonderful combination. Strawberry notes come out, and some cinnamon coming through as well.

Fourth Glass - decanted for about two hours

"Beth I hear you calling....but I can't come home right now"

Post meal, the wine has really opened up. Leather and currants on the nose, big purple color, astringency is gone. Strawberries, spice, currants on the finish. Tannins still very pronounced, but in a year, who knows? I can't wait to try....

Also - the cheese crackers (which are 100% cheese) - from Kitchen Table Bakers - are AWESOME.



Pics below

http://s864.photobucket.com/albums/ab202/Labrat_photos/



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clarefree


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ClareFree Labrat here with a report on the 2005 La Famiglia Barbera.

Thanks Wine.Woot Gods for picking me to sample this delicious nectar! I stand ready to review any wine woot for which you deem me worthy.

It arrived day before yesterday in an unassuming brown box, but little did I know that inside was a rich, deep purple, big bad Barbera.

I served it with a plate of Irish Cheddar and sliced crisp Opal Gold apple and the big Barbera stood up admirably to the strong bite of the cheddar.

The earthy mineral nose of the wine betrays it's chocolatey finish. It tastes of rich, ripe berries, black currants, and would be excellent paired with a spicy Spanish Arroz con Pollo or your favorite Italian dish.

This 2005 La Famiglia Barbera from the Red Hills vineyard in Lake County is a wonderful example of the excellent wines being produced there. Enjoy, Wine Wooters!

101 woots since 9/07. Woooooot!

cheron98


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Offer of 3/15 -- La Famiglia Snows Lake Vineyard Barbera - Three Pack



This offer's pack:
clarefree
eastcoastmary
tytiger58

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cheron98


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Eastcoastmary wrote:

My Labrat report:


Upon opening, very strong earthy,fruity smells. Nice deep color.
Initial taste out of the bottle gave me pause, heavy on the alcohol
It didn’t take long to open up and was very drinkable pre-food (while cooking dinner).
After much internal debate decided to use up the leftover lamb and made a barbecue sauce to go with it (a tomato based tangy sauce)
Wine complimented the food nicely, enhanced the fruitiness and spiciness of the wine. Very cherry favors, I would classify this in the mid weight range, very drinkable.
I really enjoyed this wine; glad I bought 2 but should have bought 3.
For the price you can’t go wrong.
I would be interested in hearing from those of you who have more experience than I with Italian wines; how does this compare to a Barbera grown in Italy?

I also took Tytiger 58 advice and made brownies with the caramel syrup. They are still warm but I am eager to eat.
thanks for the opportunity to test.



Eastcoastmary wrote:the hotness diminished pretty quickly. It was apparent in the first sip but by the 3rd taste of the first glass it was gone and very enjoyable.




Eastcoastmary wrote:I'm not sure you need an hour to decant but it wouldn't hurt.
The brownies are delicious, 1/2 gone, must stop eating...
thanks all



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cheron98


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tytiger58 wrote:

Labrat Report

Was going to wait to get home but I found a Venturi here at work so let's not hold any of you up any longer!

Upon opening I smell a hint of Leather and bright red fruit dark garnet in color.

Poured through a Venturi and rest for another fifteen minutes.

First taste.. Wow cherry with hints of dark chocolate very smooth and coats the mouth nice 15+ second finish, also a nice light smokey breath to it...I like. Light tannins and I did not get hit with the smell or taste of alcohol like the previous rat. I will say that it would hold up nicely with a steak or burgers. It is very open now and ready to drink, or keep it in the celler another year or two.

co-worker tastes and says bright red berry flavors with nice smooth finish. We are having fun at work now! Shhhh


I must say I am very pleased and am kicking myself for not buying 3 sets!

Also thanks for the nice Caramel will be making brownies tonight.

Thank You WD

Thank You Woot Gods for smiling on me!



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cheron98


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Offer of 3/22 -- Hook & Ladder - Three Pack



2006 "Third Alarm" Zinfandel
2007 Merlot Russian River Valley
2006 Orsi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley

This offer's pack:
emmy83 & crew (2006 Orsi Vineyard)
oldgoat99 (2007 Merlot)
clarefree (2006 Zinfandel)

Volunteers:
knotworking ('05 Merlot)

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