quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
knotworking wrote:oK, popped the '05 Merlot I've been sitting on (cluck) and had it with roasted chicken and spinach salad. Decanted for 45 minutes. It has been a wonderful wine: mild (but assertive) tannins, well-rounded body, and some tasty berry/cherry complimenting the usual Merlot flavors.

Wish I would have brought a few more of these back with me from the trip; I'm really interested to see what the '07 has to offer. In for 2.

In all my $$$'s of wine.woots, I've never asked for the rat, but I'd be up for it if it's still available on this one!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
emmy83 wrote:
Lab Rat Report!

Hook & Ladder 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Orsi Vineyards

Emmy83 got the rat and is sharing with gabbins, isoftdata, and afancyman. Here are our first impressions:

E: Smells like it needs to go through this (pointing at the Vinturi)
G: I agree. Smells like a good cab - woody.
A: My nose gets lemon juice in the eye too much to know what this smells like.
I: Rich, velvety, smells like it's going to taste velvety.

Pre-vinturi taste:
E: I need wine charms. Didn't have as much of a bite as I thought it was going to have, but it was definitely very bold.
G: Yes, kinda big. I tasted it on my whole tongue. It had a little alcohol-y after whif.

Post-vinturi taste:
E: It has a weird something I can't diagnose.
G: Still kind of alcohol-y. Mild-ly spicy.
E: Maybe black pepper?
G: A little bitter at the end but not in a bad way. Overall, I'm pleased. Should be tasty with dinner. Not super complicated, but good.
I: Soft. Velvety. I was right. I'm gonna go with a little bit of earthiness and oak. Asparagus and green olive (just kidding). I would call it slightly floral.
F: Smelled spicier before the vinturi.
G: Yes, I can detect a floral note.
I: It really feels like rose petals on my tongue. I wouldn't call it fruity.
E: I wouldn't call it fruity either. Maybe floral is what I was thinking of.

More to come....

emmy83 wrote:

Final thoughts:

E: Went well with our buffalo. I decided it was quite peppery, so the food we had with pepper really brought that out. I thought it paired best with the fried goat cheese balls. I could for sure feel that it was 14.5% alcohol.

F: I liked it best with the chocolate we had after dinner.

gabbins wrote:Final thoughts - Emmy83's shared labrat:
It did go really well with the food. I could have had a lot more, but alas we had to share one bottle. I think the floral notes came out more as we ate but certainly didn't overwhelm as the pepper and earthy notes blended with the food. It contrasted nicely with the chocolate too - it got a little more bitter even though the chocolate was bitter too. Easy to drink.

isoftdata wrote:Final thoughts emmy83's shared LabRat:

At first I thought this wine would pair nicely with the ground buffalo and boiled millet bed I was preparing but then I thought to my self, "Self, this wine would be good mulled." So as I hung my nose over a vat of bubbling Cab. I detected much of the orange peal, cinnamon, nutmeg, and smokey bacon that I had plopped into the slow-cooker.

At this point Gabbins re-adjusted my cranium with a frying pan, handed me a glass and asked me what I thought. I immediately recognized the color as a reddish red. I briefly swirled the velvety liquid around in my glass and was pleased to note that none came out. Inhaling deeply, I could smell the deep perfume of old grapes that had valiantly given their lives to a greater calling, and I was taken away to a far off land where the Hobbits ran free.

Taking my first sip, I noticed how nicely the soft, clean slurry spidered neatly down the side of my glass and I could sense that it would wash pleasingly over my tongue like a swatch of soft washed silk. I was not disappointed. The aroma and taste of currant and pepper is very evident and there is the feeling and floral hint of a single petal of the darkest red rose lingering in my mouth. At this point I became acutely aware that smokey bacon, cinnamon and nutmeg might not go with this wine nearly as well as a nice 70% cocoa chocolate. I reached for a piece of the bar that was so graciously provided and the two flavors intertwined in my mouth like destiny had deigned.

Survey says: A very nice and deep Cab. Easily worth the price and should store well but really only needed to breath for 15 to 30 min. Using the Vinturi really softened the fresh bottle brightness and made for a fantastic meal and evening with friends.

Woot on, friends. Woot on.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
oldgoat99 wrote:


FedEx came through, and I was home to sign for the bottle of Hook & Ladder 2007 Russian River merlot.

Bottom line: It's a very, very good wine, probably best with steak or lamb. Well worth the money, based on sharing the bottle with 3 other people.
It compared favorably to the DeLoach owners' bottlings under their their previous name, including the O.F.S. specials. I first purchased DeLoach's zinfandels on a trip to Sonoma County in 1980, and can't wait to taste the zins in this offer.

The merlot, first opened, has a deep cherry-red color, a slight astringency to the nose, and closed, balanced flavors. The first impression is that this is a young wine that would benefit from a year or two of cellar time.

However, even when first opened it went well with Jarlsberg (Norwegian) cheese; the Swiss-cheese-like flavors meshed with the wine, smoothing out the tannic, alcoholy elements. (Those might have been magnified by bottle shock, having been flown 2,000 miles east and bounced around in a truck.)

After having been opened for 2 1/2 hours, the wine had relaxed and opened up, offering subdued fruity, berry flavors and a less-intense but very pleasant nose. It went well with marinated pork loin cooked over charcoal, but I continue to lean toward it as a steak/lamb wine.

After being opened for 4 hours, the wine still was in great shape, showing no sign of oxidation/aging.

This is not a trample-your-palate wine, it's a lovely example of merlot that would be great now with food, and that (given a bit of patience) should mellow into a fine bottle to be sipped by itself, if that's how you drink your reds.

I'd buy more, but I jumped in for 3 an hour after the offer was posted!

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quality posts: 1 Private Messages clarefree

ClareFree Labrat here reporting on the Hook and Ladder 2006 Third Alarm Zinfandel.

You can just taste the truly old vine zin grapes in this delicious wine. Some wineries name a zin "old vine" when the vines aren't really old at all. But the DeLoach's zin vines really are old, they date to 1895. And they've been making delicious zins for a very long time and they definitely know what they're doing.

I was thrilled to receive this package yesterday containing one bottle of the 2006 Third Alarm Zin and a bar of seriously dark slightly sweet Guatamalan chocolate.

Thank you Wine.Woot Gods for selecting the lowly ClareFree to rat this nectar. I consider myself a good judge of Zinfandels and this one is excellent and did not dissapoint. It was especially good paired with a spicy Thai basil main course last night finished with the deep dark chocolate and the last of the Hook & Ladder Zin.

It has a mellow, earthy and fruity nose, hinting of chocolate. One sip and you know this is a very unusual Zinfandel. It is balanced, not too strong as many zins are. The delicious fruit is present in the wine but not overpowering. It has a chocolatey finish that begs for a bite of the really dark chocolate the wine woot gods graciously included with the nectar.

Looking forward to tasting the Hook & Ladder Cab and Merlot that are hopefully on their way!

Enjoy this Zinfandel, it's delicious and it's special.

101 woots since 9/07. Woooooot!


quality posts: 261 Private Messages richardhod
cheron98 wrote:

oops, I'll go and post a reply in tor original forum.

<-- dumb as a sack of hammers


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 3/29 -- Snows Lake One and Two - Two Pack

2005 Snows Lake ONE
2005 Snows Lake TWO

This offer's pack:
MIA - unknown if rats went out.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 4/5 -- One Thousand One Pinot Noir Four - Pack by Kent Rasmussen

One Thousand One 2007 North Coast Pinot Noir
One Thousand One 2008 North Coast Pinot Noir

This offer's pack:
scross8305 (2008)
lbaro (2007)
klezman (2008)
SunnyLea0 (2007)

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
scross8305 wrote:

You Local Lab Rat here for 1001 Kent 2008.

I let it decant for about an hour and I feel like it was worth it. It pours as nice cherry red and has some very nice cherry flavors with not much acidity. There was little tannings and overall very mellow. It would go wonderfully with any red meat. Too bad we cooked fish.

I would say bottom line of this wine in that I am really having a problem not going back and ordering another, sure, I would lose the 5 shipping, but this is one of the better Pinots I have ordered off woot.

I am going to drink the rest of my glass now, if you are on the edge still, go ahead and jump, you wont be disappointed.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
lbaro wrote:
Rat Report-

I was tempted to open the bottle all day. The labeling is very enticing. The twist of the screw cap was far too easy, but I did not miss the pop.
OK, pour was a beautiful Red, not too purple. I'm not to good on describing nose, but had a mellow bouquet. First taste was lovely, not a fruit bomb and not too LIGHT. Actually, it was just right! I feel like Goldilocks, its was not too big and not too small, but it was just right. I wish I could speak about food pairings, but I had a bag of soy crisps for dinner tonight, but seems like almost anything could go. I taste little tannins and low acidity. Just how I like it. If DH gets home, he'll have a glass and I'll write back later.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
klezman wrote:

I was fated to receive the golden ticket along with a bottle of the 2008 North Coast Pinot. Even looking through the light green bottle it looks like a light wine.

I had hoped to pair this with a brilliantly cooked piece of meat or something fancy, but the powers that be conspired to move a meeting from yesterday to tonight, so I just got home.

On unscrewing and pouring, it is indeed a nice light ruby red, but with a much more powerful nose than I would have expected. A bit of heat initially, but after a few minutes and a good swirl it's gone. I think I'm smelling some light red fruit (maybe cherries?) and a bit of spice. The initial overpowering whiff I got isn't as big now.

First couple tastes are nice and smooth light/medium body. This is not a fruit bomb, but the fruit is there somewhere, just peeking out from the curtains. I'm thinking there's a bit of smoky woody something going on here too. Something herbaceous, too?

In the interest of getting something up quickly, this is the first installment. More to come...

Update #1:
Even 10 minutes later the nose is opening up to my way of thinking. Now I'm getting more plum or darker red something.

T came over to taste since we have labrat pact...even though work conspired against her. Her first impressions are that it's smooth. Flavour hasn't really opened up yet.

Update #2:
Glass #2! Now I'm smelling earthiness. So is T. This is getting better and better

After 15 minutes, quoth T: "Oh wow, now it has flavour!" Since she's not Canadian, though, she might have said "flavor". Meh.

Update #3:
We've agreed there's something smoky/woodsy on the finish.

T says it's got a kick in the finish that she can't quite place, but likes. She also says it's not a fruit bomb, but it's complex and subtle. She likes the wine and on the way out the door to get back to being a first year associate, she recommends buying it. Especially at this price. That goes double for me. I might even double my order.

Final Update:
Almost 2 hours now since original opening. I like. It keeps developing in the bottle/glass and I can't wait to see what this tastes like tomorrow.

Thanks for the birthday present, WD & woot!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
SunnyLea0 wrote:

First time rat from TN, so go easy one me!

Went to a nice Italian place late last night (late night at work) who allows BYOB with 2 friends.

Obviously, I didn't really have decanting time, but I also forgot my Vinturi.

Didn't need it.

The smell was surprisingly sweet, maybe even a little vanilla-y, but the wine itself wasn't.

The flavor was sharp but not bitter. Well-balanced. There were small woody notes with a hit of sweetness that almost made me think of caramel, except that caramel implies something I'm not trying to imply!

The mouth feel was nice and full-bodied. (I hate a watery-feeling wine.)

My other companions, who said they can't come up with flavors to compare a wine to (and I sympathize. I try! I try!) both declared it, "Really, really good."

And ultimately, I'd have to concur. Yum.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 4/12 -- Roadhouse Winery – Three Pack

2008 Dry Creek Valley Grenache
2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
2008 Russian River Valley Zinfandel

This offer's pack:
choey2k5 (RRV Zinfandel)
jswartwout (DCV Zinfandel)
rcomar (Grenache)

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choey2k5 wrote:

My first rat ever! I'm not sure whether I should say "thank you" for giving me this opportunity or "screw you" for making my wallet suffer, as I am definitely in for more!

So, here goes my first labrat report:

In-line update: I got the Russian River Valley Zin.

Today is a good day, because I got ratted, and both my wine toolkit and Guatemalan chocolate arrived!

Popped and poured: there's this smell that I can't quite describe, and it was driving me crazy, since I don't know the word for it! The best I could come up with was warm mint and a hint of chocolate, perhaps. It also smelled acidic, if that makes any sense. The first and immediate taste was fruit, but it's definitely not a fruit bomb. It was mellow, sweet, and fruity--but really, it's something greater than a fruit bomb. I let my dad taste this, and his immediate reaction was that it's one of the best wines he's tasted from wine.woot. He described the tannin as rich but very soft and well-integrated. He also had a difficult time discerning the smell, but his best guess was "rich rose".

Next, I vinturi'd: the fragrance was a tad richer, but I didn't notice a difference in taste.

I will give updates later, after dinner and perhaps some chocolate. I have a feeling this bottle will be depleted while the night is still young.

Update: Forgot to mention the physical attributes. It's light in viscosity. It's ruby-colored and translucent even in the center when tipped.

Update: This is after dinner. Dad kept saying that this has got to be one of the best he's tasted from wine.woot offerings. I kept nodding and drinking. We had Asian food--spicy pork ribs and soy bean paste soup (a richer and thicker version of miso soup). This wine goes with everything! I was very surprised that it went well with the soup, since nothing I had tasted before did. Also, the fragrance that I couldn't describe was killing me! Someone, please, let me know what it is that I am smelling. It's the first time I've drank a non-spoiled Zin, and it's the first time I smelled such a thing. It's very pleasant, but it's just driving me mad. Maybe it's the alcohol.

I'm also having some 70% Guatemalan chocolate, crackers, and rice cake filled with adzuki beans, and this wine goes well with all of them. With the chocolate, the wine isn't very harmonious at first, but you feel happy on the finish. I'm not sure whether I'm making any sense, because most of the bottle is now gone.

I told my dad today that better wine must give you better buzz, and he, being an avid drinker, nodded in pride and agreement.

Seriously, where's that email I need to up my order? And someone who's got the same wine as I did--please tell me what you're getting on the nose! This is killing me!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
jswartwout wrote:

**************Rat report*****************

I start the report with that quote becasue that is spot on.

Disclaimer: I am a dry creek Zin whore and they sent me the Dry Creek Zin to rat (fate?). :->

Okay so I got my package today and sat around twiddling my thumbs from 10:28am until 7 pm tonight. I was tempted to just open it and drink and not give a "rat's ass" (pun intended) about anyone else but then I thought of you - the people of wine woot and my responsibility to give fair and balanced wine notes... (the spin stops here...?)

So I invited two people that like wine as much as I do and they joined me and my wife for dinner. We ordered Olive Garden to go so that we were not stuck with one dish to compare the wine too and headed off from there. I will describe my feelings since I can't vouch for them and their sincerity. i can say without hesitation - no one was disappointed.

I had Pork Milanese with stuffed cheese raviolis for dinner and an appetizer of home made Endive and goat's cheese with bacon and green onions. The wine did not offend any of my food. It definitely packs a good alcohol punch at opening but not right at the lips - it waits until it is almost down and gives you a little burn to let you know the alcohol content isn't novice. The flavor is there right away. They aren't joking when they say this drinks good now - if I had another bottle it would drink good later too :-). It improves with a little sitting but pull the cork and pour the glass, this stuff is ready to go. I am sure decanting wouldn't hurt at all but for those that love a good kick in the tongue just leave it alone and let it do its thing.

It drank okay on its own but I would say this is a food wine. One bite of the Pork Milanese, a following drink and hello dolly - it was game on like Donkey Kong! The spices were doing a jig on my tongue and the Zin was rocking the buds. This would not be called a peppery zin but definitely a spicy zin - would not call it a fruit bomb in any way shape or form. Not offensive and not "harsh" but not subtle for you merlot weenies so stay away if you like holding grandma's hand at church. You want to drink a wine that says "Bam" to your food? Well here you go. Emeril would happily trade over the copyright for the drink.

Here is a recap of what was eaten:
Chicken and broccoli
Pork Milanese

It went well with all - probably least with the chicken and broccoli. A subtle dish with a "smack yo' mouth" wine will probably leave you wanting to drink more and forget eating. I definitely say this Zin is ready to drink now and will be good with anything from red meat, pork, pizza or anything with red sauce. The spices just keep on giving but they need to be with something that (and someone that) wants them. And for the record it went great with an order of Zeppoli and chocolate sauce for dessert.... ;-)

My hats off to Roadhouse on a great bottle of wine (especially for the price) and I will be sending my friends that are vising Napa in two weeks over to pick up some bottles. If you're on the fence becasue of the Dry Creek Zin - fall over to the buy side. No worries on quality, here.


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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
rcomar wrote:i am the last rat. rat for the Grenache. I've never tried "Roadhouse" let alone been a big fan of Grenache. Sorry about the delay, Time Warner and construction equals no internet.

I went over to a friends and prepared eye of round steak, with green beans, and a baked potatoe. Thought that that was a half decent pairing. However good it was, i was really not prepared for the quality of the grenache after letting it air. When we first opened the bottle, it seemed like a cheap pink zin. However, it really changed for the better after letting it air for an hour. The nose was all flowers and fruit. Clarity was clear and thin compared to the cavernets' that i'm used to, but solid. Very little heat from the alcohol, and not tannic either. Not a full bodied wine and makes a great red for people that like white wine typically. The palate was ok, with notes of strawberrys and some minerals. After letting it air though, the palate became much more complex. Its all about a great texture of lots of red fruit, possibly orange peel and a very subtle overtones of mineral , pepper maybe, but very subtle. and the aroma of floral notes put me over the top. the steak was great with this, but a heavy zin would have paired better. But we found ourselves thoughly enjoying this wine. I would buy this again. Thanks to Wine David again

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 4/19 -- Judd’s Hill Red Three - Pack

2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Napa Valley Merlot
2007 Central Coast Pinot Noir

This offer's pack:
vonawesome (Merlot)
luckyinla (Cabernet Sauvignon)
junk1965 (Pinot Noir)

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
vonawesome wrote:

Labrat reporting in.

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to rat the latest offering. Thanks to the Woot staff for the opportunity.

My assignment: Judd's Hill 2006 Napa Valley Merlot

So as it is my first rat assignment, I immediately reached out for assistance to a buddy that had been blessed with the oppportunity before, Woot member Caufield has ratted the Tinitas Old Vine Zins last year, to help me sample the wine and give his opinions.

Now a couple of caveats before I jump into the review. Firstly, Merlot is not my wine of choice. On this offering, I viewed the other 2 wines as what I was buying this offer for and the merlot was more of an added "bonus" if you will. Secondly, I do not believe that Caufield and I were able to do total justice to this tasting. Ideally, we would have made a food pairing to eat while we sampled but due to time constraints (and young children) this just was not possible.

On to the tasting.

We decided that since we were on a limited time frame and were not able to pair the offering with food, we were going to approach the wine with a two scale attack. First, we were going to open the bottle and taste the wine straight away. Secondly, we would run the wine through a vinerator.

After opening the bottle, we each immediately poured a small amount for ourselves. First observations were an attractive brick color. Long legs present. Initial nose had a brief flirtation with some kind of fruit but it was immediately wiped out by heat. Stong alcohol.

The taste was similar to the nose. Glimpse of fruit that was routed by heat and tannins. The tannis were definately not punch you in the mouth kind of tannins, but paired with heat, made the wine kind of one note. Just did not feel very complex.

For round two, we ran the wine through the vinerator. The nose did not change much. Again, fleeting fruit overpowered by heat. Taste did change somewhat however. There was more time to savor the fruit. Hints of plum and cherry were present. Some tea, maybe tobacco, and a nice black pepper finish. That said, our friends tannins and heat still had a heavy presence and may have masked other flavors.

Typically, I tend to favor wines that I can open and just causally drink over a couple of hours without food. While I could definately do that with this wine, that is probably not the best way to coax the most flavor out of this wine. I am guessing that you could put this in the decator for a couple of hours and draw some more flavors out of the wine (a rep from the winery had a nice rundown of flavors that this wine can exhibit. While I can say that I did not experience many of the flavors he says are present, the decantor might bring these flavors to you). I also feel that a nice meat dish (red meat, lamb) would go be a nice way to get some more out of this wine.

My thanks again to woot for the opportunity to review the wine. I would thank Caufield too, but hell, I brought the wine, he should thank me.

I look forward to getting my shipment and seeing what the Cabernet and Pinot taste like.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Gatzby wrote:Whoops, I did a dumb and deleted a post by accident. Here's another labrat report from luckyinla:

I am the lab rat for the 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. l am thrilled to be given this honor once again, so a quick thanks to Wine David & the Folks at Judd's Hill!

After a very long day, we popped & poured a small taste into our glasses while making dinner. Initially, the nose of the cab was of cherries & cassis. The flavors we could detect were cherries with a subtle touch of blueberry. Unfortunately, this wine seemed very hot with a great deal of alcohol and pronounced tannins.

We decanted the bottle while we finished cooking. After about 15 minutes in the glass, we revisited the cabernet for another taste. The fruit was slightly stronger on the nose. The flavors were a bit more smooth & balanced but we still detected strong alcohol.

(Side note: I have always shown strong preferences for old school Bordeaux style cabernets, and not new world "Parkerized" cabs.)

Dinner consisted of dijon mustard chicken breasts, caesar salad, butternut squash with agave syrup, cinnamon & ginger and a loaf of whole grain bread. (Yes, we are trying to adopt a gourmet but healthier diet.) The wine became an entirely different animal with food! I had been wanting to like it, but it wasn't smooth and even enough. The moment we paired it with food the flavor profile changed. The mustard and tang of the chicken immediately soothed the "uneven" beast of the wine. The caesar salad also had a huge impact on the wine. These flavors helped cut some of the heat and tannins which had seemed so pronounced before we introduced food.

After about an hour in the decanter, we began to detect much more fruit. There were now clear notes of strawberry, & tart cherry. We corked the bottle for the night...

At this point, this wine is definitely a food wine and should be paired if consumed in the near future. Decanting clearly is a plus and I believe that the strong tannins will allow this wine to age and improve for a few years. This is not as much in the "old school" vein as say Corison, but certainly the value is there. I am hoping the merlot and pinot noir wines are of equal value. If so, I will have purchased another bargain from wine.woot.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
junk1965 wrote:Charlie Bucket!

I received a bottle of Judd's Hill Central Coast 2007 Pinot. When I first opened the bottle, I didn't really care for it. However, after letting it breathe for a few minutes, it was much better. I'm not much of a wine "expert," but it is very drinkable. We enjoyed the bottle with a Mahi Mahi filet, served with a peach and mango salsa.

All in all, I'm glad that I purchased a few three of the three packs.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 4/26 -- Roessler 2008 Bluejay Pinot Noir Two - Pack

This offer's pack:

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
jhudelson wrote:

The package has arrived in good order.

Being that this is now the finest bottle of wine in my collection I think that I will 'lay it down' for, oh, 3 hours or so. Once aged properly we will be reporting back to the crowd.

[Mod: Resized photos]

jhudelson wrote:

Lab Rat reporting for duty.

Backgound. I LOVE Pinot. There's just not a darned thing that I dislike about Pinot. Therefore, this report is completely biased.

I opened up the bottle and gave it a 1/2 hour head start on us. Gave it a chance to stretch a bit before being called into action.

No food. Just going for the flavor from the get go.

General impression:
There is no part of the palate that isn't comforted like a mother's love as this wine works it's way to the gullet.

Just sayin'.

On the nose I get cherries and berries. My SO gets Plum. I get that after she does (power of sugestion?). Fruity and nice, a very slight alchohol burn.

The front end has a bit of smoke. About 6.57 percent more than what you'd expect from a good Pinot. (There will be no more mention of smoke - it's a non factor going forward).

This gives way to Berries. Blueberries, blackberries - like you just stuffed your mouth with ripe, delicious berries and the juice is running down your chin. You just need some ice cream to top this joy off!

The finish is lush, soft, berries. Did I mention berries already? It sticks to your throat in a sumptuous way. At this point your just glad to be alive.

Buy this wine. If you are sitting the fence- STOP IT!

If you are too broke to buy this wine, take out a loan. If you can't get a loan, call your parents and tell em' you'll go to jail if you can't raise $55 dollars tonight.

Really - buy it.!

Full disclosure - neither I, anybody in my family, or any friends that I know of work for or otherwise (insert big belch) benefit from the sale of this wine. It's just plain good juice. Buy it.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 5/3 -- JC Cellars 2005 Caldwell Vineyard Syrah Two - Pack

This offer's pack:


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pengu1n wrote:Yea! Thank you WD for LabRatting me. My last time was for the Wine Woot Humbug.

No report today as I missed the Fed Ex guy while visiting Mom and Anna. We (big sister and I) went to the Fed Ex pick up at the airport tonight after our dinner visit. Tomorrow is our table linen, real dishes "couple" dinner at the hospital that they do for your last meal before going home. We will have the bottle then and take pictures.
We will pop it and try it at different intervals to see how it evolves.

Thanks Again

pengu1n wrote:Will add pictures once I get home as there is no card reader on this laptop.

Thank you first of all to WD and JC for the celebration LabRat bottle.

Poured a deep brick red/purple color. Can tell that this is a food wine right away by the color and initial whiff. Has an earthy nose to it with some oak also. Reminded me of black dirt. Everyone always says "it is like cherries" but this one does have a black cherryness to it, not red cherries by any means. I pick up grass? Almost like when I mow over a patch of weeds in the summer. It's not a bad thing, but hard to describe otherwise.

The mouthfeel is silky, but has a little alcohol burn. Im assuming this will go away with time in the glass. I really like it as it is full body without the mouth drying tannins.

This has legs like a Hollywood hooker. Long as the the Blvd they stand on. It coats the inside of teh glass as high up as you swirl it and then it takes 5 - 10 seconds for the legs to show up.

I find this a very good representation of a what I would expect in a Syrah.

This is a good food wine. Would go great with a red sauce pasta dish with a little spice. Don't ask me much more since I am rusty.

1 hour later, that alcohol burn is going away nicely. The wine is smoothing out nicely. I bet in another 30 - 60 minutes this will really shine.

I am glad we got a pair to save for special occasions (and a steak), like May 3rd in 2011 and 2012 since this will probably age for at least those 2 years.

So again, I thank you, my wife thanks you, and Anna will thank you if this helps Mom's milk come in like having a drink is supposed to.

Pictures tonight.....


pengu1n wrote:Promised pictures.


Wife (who wanted to be hidden)


Other pictures can be found at
Wine Dinner

Again, thanks.....

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albrigsr wrote:

Lab Rat Report #1:

First, congratulations to Pengu1n on the birth of his child! Second, don't hold it against me that I was picked to rat instead of him (although he may be a lucky one as well!).

Comments for the Wooter with ADHD: Just Buy It!

Comments for the remaining Wooters:
I received the wine mid-day at work and was looking forward to getting home to open it. I first headed to my 8 year old son's baseball game (They won 10-8 in a hard fought victory in the last inning!) and got home around 8pm at which time I removed 4 glasses from the cabinet for both my wife and me. I popped and poured the wine in two of the glasses (after first taking a picture of me with the wine in my newly built wine cellar) and then poured the remaining two glasses through the Vinturi. We immediately noticed the very dark purple color of the wine. Even against a white background with light it was difficult to see anything even when tipped on its side. We both noticed the beautiful aromas that filled the air from pouring the four glasses from 3-4 feet away. The bouquet was certainly inviting. We both swirled our glasses (Non-Vinturi) and immediately picked up a tobacco smell. I also noticed a slight hint of warmth from the alcohol as it measures in at 15%. This was very slight and certainly not a nose burner so no worries about that. Next, we tasted. Again, a nice rich tobacco with leather and slight smoke. Not much fruit at this point. Any tannins were incredibly integrated and the wine had a silky, sexiness in the mouth. Again, I would never guess this wine was 15% alcohol as it was blended so well with all the flavors and is very well made.

Next, we swirled and smelled the Vinturi glasses. This time we picked up dark fruit on the nose but it was not prounounced. I picked up a bit of sweetness(?) as well. I hesitate to give the wrong impression with that last statement as the wine isn't at all sweet so perhaps its the fruit but I just picked up on it a bit (like maybe a hint of chocolate).

Anyway, I have refilled both our glasses and we're on to more tasting. I will check back in to see if anyone has any questions or comments.

Net Net: I am glad that I was in for 2 of these (four bottles) but am now contemplating having a friend order another one or two for me (I do have a new cellar to fill! Certainly wine.woot has already been a big contributor to that in the past!)

Scott Albright

P.S. I would post the aforementioned picture but need some instructions.

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passthewine wrote:I couldn't stand the suspense any longer, so, since we were having leg of lamb tonight, I popped a bottle (note: I'm not a Lab Rat; I just have a few of these in the cellar). Last I tasted this one was on release, ~ 2 years ago.

The roasted herbs and tobacco notes were still present, but, after a little time in the bottle, the cafe mocha characteristic of other Caldwells had surfaced. Definitely more fruit in the nose as well, ripe cherries.

This had evolved into a fruit-forward wine, blueberry and cherry mixing with maybe a hint of menthol. Even so, the wine went very well with the food. My only real complaint was that the finish was a bit short.

Bottom line - in for 2.

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Offer of 5/10 -- Ortman Family Vineyards 2007 Cuvée Eddy Three - Pack

This offer's pack:

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srharper wrote:

Hi there. First of my ratting here. In the process of making dinner. Grilled NY Strips with onions and mushrooms, and a side of steamed broccoli, to keep it healthy. Marinated the strips with Extravagonzo chili infused oil (I'm plugging woot all over the place!) and spices. Sauteing the shrooms and onions with Extravagonzo garlic oil and other stuff...should be delicious.

I'll briefly tell you about the tasters. I love wine, but by no means consider myself experienced. I typically like all wine, but certainly prefer reds. I have been through a merlot, cab, and am now on to a petite sirah kick. However, I do think I can tell the difference between crappy wine/mediocre wine/good wine/excellent wine.

My girlfriend only drank riesling until recently. She typically only like reds if it is expensive (funny how that works). Her favorite that she has tasted is the Wellington Estate Syrah, just to give you a point of reference.

So while my girlfriend is covering the cooking for a few minutes, I'll get to my first impressions of the Ortman.

First of all, tartrates not too much of a hassle. Got rid of the ones on the cork, popped it back in, inverted, and no crystals in my first glass. I poured one without any aerating or decanting. Really nice deep red color, not as inky as a PS, but you can tell there is a little in there.

The first whiff was better than I expected. Not much alcohol present. I want to say a hint of cherry, but given my inexperience, it could have been any red fruit, or I could just be imagining things, who knows.

The first taste was also quite nice. Also not a lot of alcohol present on the tongue. This is what I would describe as a very mellow, drinkable wine.

Diana says "now you made me think it tastes like cherries", but the fact that she like it means this is a drinkable, mellow wine, and I mean that in a good way.

I poured another glass through my Vinituri, and very little difference. I am under the impression this wine does not need to be aerated or decanted. So far impressions are good. I'm gonna go have some with dinner and check back in later.

Thanks for the opportunity woot!

srharper wrote:
Back for a little more.

The wine went well with the dinner, although I will say I prefer a stronger wine with food this flavorful. I think the flavors of the food overpowered the wine a bit. But with the knowledge that I am into petite sirahs right now, that would maybe be expected.

So, near the end of dinner, I decided to open a new bottle. I have one more glass of the Ortman waiting for later, and opened a bottle of Ursa Vineyard Blend PS. The PS is darker, as expected, and really a lot more fuerte. Diana strongly prefers the Ortman. I think they are both delicious.

Diana really enjoyed the wine with dinner, and is singing it's praises. This is further proof that this wine is very approachable. This may not be my favorite ever, but I will say I am glad that I have three more bottles on the way. This is a wine that I would prefer to drink by itself, while watching re-runs of Two and a Half Men.

So on my scale of crappy/mediocre/good/excellent, I would say this is a good wine. For the price point of $15 a bottle, I think it is well worth it. It is certainly as good as most of the bottles that I buy at the Harris Teeter (are those all over the country?).

If I can remember, I'll check in before bed and tell you about the last glass, see if it has "sweet baking spices" like they say. Being that I am the ripe old age of 25, I am usually in bed by about 10, so we'll see if I make it...

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NedDawg wrote:

Note: I wrote my comments up in Notepad, and then pasted them here. So, I did not read the other "rat's" review until just before I copied my comments over. Sorry for the tardiness.

Putting the screw to it, the cork came out without a fight; there were no signs of tartrates on the cork itself. But when I shined a flashlight down the neck, I could see the crystalline layer -- I took a picture if anyone wants to see it. I grabbed a heavy straw and gave the crystal disk a light tap -- it did not budge. I gave it a heavier tap, and it broke free and disappeared into the abyss. The bottle was filled to just above the bottom of the neck label. I took a deep breath right out of the bottle, and it was nice -- I got some red fruit and perhaps a hint of caramelized sugar. I considered running it through a sediment filter into a decanter, but decided to go straight into the awaiting glass -- damn the torpedoes.

As I was swirling it around a bit, my wife returned from Trader Joe's with two cheeses, eggplant hummus, and chicken sausage. In the glass, the smell of red fruit was stronger, as expected, and I detected plum. My wife said she got a hint of licorice. (Identifying what we smell and taste is not a strong point.) The color was not dark by any means, just about what you'd expect for a GSM-ish wine.

I poured a glass for my wife, and we gave it a taste. She called it "lots of deliciousness" and fruity but not jammy. The plum/red fruit were there for me, and there was a bit of bite at the back of my tongue. Tannins were not a major factor, however; this is made to drink now. We then moved on to the cheese. It was very good with gouda (as advertised) and thin slices of whole grain artisan bread. We also had it with an English cheddar with caramelized onions, and that was good too. Ditto for the eggplant hummus and whole grain pita chips. For the main course, there was TJ's garlic herb chicken sausage (lighter than I would have preferred), lentils with leeks and red bell pepper, and grilled zucchini. The cuvee took it all in stride.

I do wonder if this wine will hold up to bigger fare, like lamb -- which we don't eat -- but I look forward to having it with seared ahi (the other red meat). For my final sips, I washed down a piece of dark chocolate, and, again, was not disappointed. In summary, we enjoyed this wine a lot, and I am looking forward to the other 3 bottles -- though I have no idea where I'll put them. Thanks woot and Ortman for the opportunity.

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stepht63 wrote:

My first go as a lab rat, and I give it two thumbs up.

First a little background—I was a fairly avid wine drinker, but have spent much of the past three years pregnant or breastfeeding, which has limited my drinking capacity. (I just say that because I feel like my wine palate is nowhere near where it used to be.) Generally, red blends are my favorite wines.

Upon opening the bottle, I did notice the tartrates stuck to the cork. To me the bottle smelled fruity, a rich deep fruity, not a sweet fruity. I did not decant it—I poured a glass for myself and my husband. The flavors I tasted in my first sip were plum and cherry. My husband said, “that’s good.”

We had planned an Indian dinner, and decided to stick with our dinner plans after finding out we were rats. We made Aloo Gobi, a potato and cauliflower curry flavored with garlic, ginger, turmeric and garam masala. I think the wine was a little heavy for the meal, but I think it would be great with beef or lamb.

After putting the 2-year-old to bed, I had another glass on its own. I think it’s a great drinking wine and would also probably go quite well with chocolate desserts (didn’t have any on hand to try it out).

Overall, I think it's a very drinkable red wine. I’m glad I’ll be getting more—it will be a good addition to our wine cellar. Thanks for the chance to be a lab rat!

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Offer of 5/17 -- Keating Wines Three - Pack

2006 Keating Rockpile Malbec
2007 Keating Rockpile Petite Sirah
2008 Keating Sonoma Valley Merlot

This offer's pack:
peterabbits (Merlot)
k1avg (Malbec)
Mrpopcorn (Petite Sirah)

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peterabbits wrote:


i'll follow this up later after the wine has had a little time to breathe, but couldn't wait to open the bottle as soon as i got home - first time being a labrat after all.... please go easy on me as i'm still relatively new to wine and am really trying to get into actually tasting and taking notes, etc...

i got the Merlot. i haven't had many merlot's lately so i don't have much to compare it to. right out of the bottle, this wine has a wonderful aroma, deep and rich, almost a little chocolate smelling, and i'm now getting a bit of tobacco smell. the color is a very nice deep purple. on tasting, i get red berries right away, and some tobacco later. this has a very smooth, long finish and is quite enjoyable. after i get back from my son's swim practice after this has had some time to breathe (couple hours) - i'll try it again to see how it differs.

thank you woot, and thank you Keating wines (and Eric)!

**UPDATE** - wine has smoothed out quite a bit, but i would not say is has mellowed any. the sense of tobacco has dropped in intensity somewhat, the fruit has opened up some. glad i went in for 2 on this package.

thanks again!

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k1avg wrote:

SCENE. Four unsuspecting souls, gathered in a small but surprisingly spacious Capitol Hill apartment. Little do they know - tonight, the MALBEC rides.

7:00pm. Heavy. This bottle is so heavy. What, did they carve it straight from the mountainside? I wonder how the grapes feel about that. Into the fridge for a bit, Mr. Keating.

7:15pm. Apple is to orange as Malbec is to ___? How am I to judge this sweet, sweet (free) nectar? Against a dark, young Syrah? A hefty Cab? A (gasp!) Rioja? Nay - only a brother Malbec will do. To the bodega!

7:30pm. Upon my return, with two embarrassingly inexpensive Argentinean Malbecs, it's time to begin. *pop* Ah, a solid beginning. Stop! Decanter time! The Malbec pours a deep, deep burgundy, a very...cultured...color. The sort of color you might buy a Buick in sixty years from now. Even the little bubbles have a dark reddish tint. Yeah, this would stain the heck out of my carpet. Must be careful.

The first word I have written down for the nose is "heavenly," and for some reason I underlined it twice. Right after opening, no less - a powerful scent of dusty earth (the mountains of Rockpile, perhaps?), dark fruits (dark arts?) of cherry and ripe plums, a light herbal component - almost menthol (sort of "Old World" like a Rioja), but not quite - and something else I can't put my finger on, a faint spiciness (perhaps what some snobbily call "cigar box"). Out of the bottle, this wine smells much older than it really is - on scent alone, it could almost pass as a decade-old Bordeaux (but yeah, probably not).

Oh, wait. Wine is for drinking! At this point, it was very astringent and closed, a bit plummy and earthy, but really needs a good one or two hours in the decanter. So...we wait.

8:30pm. From my notes, verbatim: "so much different!" With just one painful hour of waiting, the fruitiness in the nose came to the forefront, and on the palate the wine grew incredibly expansive, presenting a whole array of acidic fruits - plums, pomegranate, a hint of strawberry, maybe a little tart blackberry - and an interesting bit of minerality. The minerals are not so gritty (like the TLC Cab/Shiraz, which I love), but just...solid - like the difference between crumbly limestone and a clean-cut quartz crystal. There's something just very solid about this wine - perhaps it's the unshakable balance, though even after an hour it was still "rippling with tannins." (Who writes like that? And in longhand, no less?)

The finish, as advertised, is very long and very crisp - the flavor stays on your tongue for ages, but doesn't coat your mouth like many "big" wines, and there's no lingering jamminess or syrupiness at all. This, if my newfound wine snobbery does not fail me, signifies a very well-made wine (along with the "legs for days," as they say).

9:10pm. Time for a taste test! Opening the competitor wines, one immediately drops out of the running (the Aguaribay, with an odd rotten banana flavor that might be a fault - or may just be the fault of cheapness), but the Trapiche actually held its own, a little fuller on the palate than our hero Keating, but a bit jammier in the finish and not nearly as complex.

9:30pm. Anyone who tries to argue that evolution is just a theory has clearly never had this wine. Another hour of breathing under its belt, and it has changed its composure all over again - perfectly balancing fruit and acidity, and adding notes of tobacco, oak, and just a slight hint of pepperiness to the party. (Upon further reflection, I would later decide that it was this point at which the wine had "peaked," surely a useful bit of information for future consumers.)

9:35pm. Another sip, another flavor. This time it's something just ever so suggestively green - like a patch of good fairway, but maybe a little weedier, like crabgrass. But in a good way. It's the best crabgrass experience I've ever had.

9:45pm. My girlfriend arrives home and is quickly fed a half-glass of the good Keating juice. She cites plums and a licorice scent, and notes that the tannins (which, proudly, I taught her about) are noticeable but not overbearing. She is learning indeed.

10:10pm. The food is prepared and the guests arrive. The Keating stands guard in its decanter, prepared to do battle with the balsamic-marinated strip steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, and crispy green beans I deemed logical to neatly arrange on a plate. Glasses of Keating and Trapiche are dished out accordingly. Guest J claims he senses some "peppery notes" in the Keating while Guest K, though overall preferring the fuller body of the Trapiche (as is her personal preference), describes the Keating as more accessible and straightforward - the flavors of the Keating are all much clearer and the overall profile is more complex. (Interestingly, I note snidely to myself, this seems a bit backward from the good Mr. Keating's statements earlier, but I can't say I disagree - perhaps the Trapiche is simply unusually full-bodied for an Argentine).

Next to the acidity of the steaks, the creaminess of the potatoes, and the crunchiness of the green beans, though, the Keating is, bar none, the better food wine - its flavors are present but not overpowering, and the long, crisp finish is simply sublime with food involved, handling every aspect of the meal with aplomb and quickly clearing the palate for the next bite.

11:00pm. Dinner complete, we tear into a chocolate cake - the wine is just a bit too acidic and light to go well here; this is where you'd want a little jamminess, I think - and decide, whimsically, to light up a hookah, something I haven't done in ages. The Malbec provides a perfect companion to our jasmine-flavored hookah, again showing stupendous balance between fruit, acidity, and body.

1:30am. As we clean up the simply awful mess this wine inspired and I sit to jot my thoughts away in Notepad with reckless abandon, there is barely one glass left, and it seems to be almost fading away a bit. The fruit has mostly taken over, and the spiciness, pepper, and other odd complex nuggets have mostly disappeared.

Conclusions? Why, yes, I've some. The Malbec - it is good, bordering on great. My sincerest applause to the talented and daring Mr. Keating, and most gracious thanks to WineDavid and the whole Wine.Woot motley crew. Asked to play Robert Parker for a night, I would probably give it a 91 or 92 (and will do so on CT). The balance is simply incredible - the fruit, spice notes, acidity, and body combine to make this wine taste incredibly composed throughout the night. The tannins were a little rough, but then, we're still a year away from the beginning of Mr. Keating's stated window. Right now, though, you're going to get the best of wine with 1-4 hours of decanting, and accompanying a substantial meal. It's pretty good on its own, too, but I suspect one would grow weary of the tannins after a full glass or so by itself.

This the first American Malbec I've had (and frankly I had no idea anyone even grew Malbec in America before yesterday), but it almost certainly sets an impossible bar for any others, and gives even the most expensive South American versions a run for their money. Against the...ahem, inexpensive...comparison wines I provided - there was simply no contest against the Aguaribay (but that's saying little - most of that will probably go down the drain) and, in my opinion, the Keating easily bested the Trapiche through its balance and complexity (demonstrating, I think, the greater amount of attention readily paid to its production). Price-wise, the Trapiche cost me $14, while the Keating here is $17-18 (depending on your level of commitment), and the difference is easily worth the extra cash. However, I wouldn't really see myself buying the Keating off the shelf at $42 - but if I would, I wouldn't really need Wine.Woot, now would I?

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Mrpopcorn wrote:

Labrat Report:

Sorry upforont that I do not know how to access the Lab Report format.

I was excited to receive the Keating Petite Sirah. I was a little intimidated as I have little experience with this varietal - this was intensified knowing that Woot's own Petite Sirah was hoping to rat and would have been iminently more qualified.

First, this is a beautiful wine - both in the color and as it opens up it drinks nicely.

I first opened the bottle around 7:30pm last night; I poured small amounts into two glasses for me and my dinner companion. Immediately out of the bottle, I would say the flavor and the aroma are a little stiff. It is dry to the taste immediately and I could smell plum and blackberry as well as black pepper.

I ran back to my car to retrieve my venturi and returned to pour the majority of the bottle through the venturi into a decanter.

Immediately, the aromas were more intense - throuout the evening the plum and dark berries were always present and never overpowering. As the bottle opened up there was a deeper smell of the black pepper - very nice!

With only about 30 -40 minutes, the original pour had evolved significantly and the complexity of the wine came out and the fruit flavors emerged - never is the fruit overpowering at all - in fact the wine remained dry to the last drop with very nice balance.

After, about 45 minutes we poured the decanted wine and it was sublime. My dinner companion did not really enjoy this style on the first pour; by the time we were drinking the decanted wine she was raving about how nice the wine was - great texture, deep colors, and nice mouthfeel.

We then consumed the wine with marinated filets (grilled, seasoned, and cracked black pepper) accompanied by mushrooms and some goat cheese. The wine drank beautifully with the filet and the flavors together improved both the wine and the filets.

My only regret is that I didn't decant the wine long enough. I am anxious to receive my original order and I will decant and leave the wine for a couple of hours. This wine just kept improving throughout the night and it really is a wonderful bottle. I is a very rich, well balanced, dark, slightly dry even to the end. Very enjoyable!

I hope I have been helpful - In the future,I will probably leave the ratting to those of you who have a more sophisticated palate. I will tell you though, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this offer, and I am quite pleased that I am in for three.


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Offer of 5/24 -- Roessler 2008 La Brisa Pinot Noir - Two Pack

This offer's pack:

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DinkumThinkum wrote:

Rat reporting in!

First, thanks to WD and Roessler for the opportunity to taste and share my thoughts on this offering! This gets rather long winded, so I offer you this short summary: The 2008 Roessler La Brisa is a very good wine that I enjoyed quite a bit. If you were to buy it, which I don't think you would regret, I might suggest that it could distinctly improve with a little bit more time in the bottle.

Now that you're in for the long haul, I think that it's important at this point to mention that I'm a member of Roessler's wine club. The appellation trio that was offered early last year was my first experience with this winery, and I also purchased the offering of the 2007 Bluejay. These wines, along with the active and informative forum participation, inspired me to join my first, and so far only, wine club. Like Kylemittskus, I haven't partaken of any of my single vineyard designates though I have very much enjoyed all of the 2006 and 2007 appellation wines and I'm excited for the chance to try out the 2008s.

Usually when ordering from woot, I am ineligible for labrat duties because of waiting for interesting comments and labrat reports. However, Roessler has become, along with Scott Harvey and Wellington, a must buy for me so I got my name in the hat before the deadline. The email indicating that I had a special delivery pending was certainly welcome after a long Monday, and today after work I picked up my golden ticket from the UPS store. The bottle was a little warm upon arrival, so I stashed it into the fridge to take the edge off and grabbed a bottle of the 2008 Bluejay (recently purchased from Woot, naturally) for comparison. My girlfriend joined me for tasting both wines. We opened them at the same time and sampled each several times over the course of the evening. Here are our thoughts:

2008 Roessler La Brisa:
Upon opening, the nose of the wine carries aromas of dark fruit (berries?), grilled or smoked meats and a distinct earthiness. However, a sip yields a wine with flavors that are sort of disjoint, and a long but slightly rough finish. After 45 minutes of decanting, the nose has opened up with the berry and meaty aromas becoming more distinct. The time has yielded a much smoother, mellower wine with the roughness nearly gone and a firm hint of tannins. After about two hours of decanting, the wine has become very well balanced and shows a very nice finish. To me, the nose has picked up a nice herbaceousness and the girlfriend mentions spices, mint and still a solid smokiness. All roughness has disappeared and the La Brisa has become a thoroughly delicious wine.

2008 Roessler Bluejay:
This wine is much very closed upon opening, with the girlfriend picking up some black pepper on the nose but not much coming through for me. A sip quickly indicates that this wine is much smoother than the La Brisa, with a clear fruitiness and nice tannins at the end. 45 minutes of decanting opens up the nose quite a bit. There is a clear, bright, fruitiness and the girlfriend describes a forest floor aroma while I'm struck with what smells exactly to me like sauteed crimini mushrooms. At this point, the Bluejay really fills the mouth with an opulent fruitiness and the tannins have mellowed slightly. 2 hours after opening, we're getting aromas that we would describe as deeply fruity, almost raisiny or syrupy with matching flavors.

This is the only time I've done such a focused comparison between two wines. If I were to taste them on separate days I would have a hard time articulating the differences, but side by side they are both very good, distinct wines. I would describe the Bluejay as the more approachable, brighter and more obviously fruity wine. To me, it is more ready than the La Brisa, which was generally darker and more subtle. With dinner (tomato and radish frittata, arugula salad, soft polenta) the La Brisa was the clear winner, certainly seeming to be a little more acidic. I would happily drink both wines either with or without food, though I think that the Bluejay would be slightly better on its own for now.

Overall, I recommend both of these wines very highly. I don't have all that much experience with Pinot, but I view the La Brisa as a very good wine (though it probably could stand some more time in the bottle) that should improve with time.

Again, thank you for this opportunity. I'd be happy to answer any questions, though I will be heading out of town Wednesday afternoon and will have only spotty internet access after that.

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huktunfonikz wrote:

Hi Everyone, I'm here to fulfill my duties as a Woot Lab Rat! I do apologize for the delay...I was out of town on business (just got back tonight!).

Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at reviewing and describing a wine, so I apologize if the terminology is incorrect, or if my description is not entirely clear.

Anyway, I uncorked the La Brisa 2008 Pinot Noir tonight, and am drinking it as I type this.

For my first taste, I poured a small amount into a wine glass, and tasted it immediately (no aeration). Here are my first impressions:

The wine was a bit heavy on the alcohol, the initial taste was very "tangy" and I felt that the wine was very acidic. The combination of this acidity and the bold tannins easily overpowered the fruit flavors. At the finish, the wine left quite a "salty" taste in my mouth with a hint of spiciness.

After this initial taste, I cleared my palate with some water and then poured some more. This time I swirled it around the glass several times, and let it stand for a short while. Here are my second impressions:

The wine was much more mellow on the second tasting with a much greater level of complexity. The alcohol eased significantly, and the fruit started to show through; but overall, it was still quite "tangy". The fruit tasted a bit like a combination of raspberry, strawberry, and maybe even a hint of lime. Despite the acidity, the mouthfeel was much warmer when I swirled it in my mouth. The finish was still a bit "salty" and short (fruit dissipates quickly) with only the tannins and a hint of woodiness lingering. You might call me crazy, but I think the finish is similar to eating some salsa fresca chased by some chipotle salsa smokiness. I think the wine could be similar to a blend of Cab Sav + Merlot.

For my third tasting, I decided to drink it with dinner (sushi). I poured some more and ate and drank. I think this was generally a bad idea as the wine and food did not pair well at all. This wine would have been much better paired with lamb or very "gamey" fowl.

Overall I thought the wine was OK. It is complex, and I probably would not recommend to drink this by itself...especially without letting it air out a bit.

I hope this helps and feel free to shoot me any questions, I will try my best to respond if I can!

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Offer of 5/31 -- Calcareous 2006 Red - Three Pack

2006 Calcareous Zinfandel
2006 Calcareous Syrah
2006 Calcareous Cabernet Sauvignon

This offer's pack:
factotum (Cabernet Sauvignon)
novembercamel (Syrah)
ssounit (Zinfandel)

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factotum wrote:

Labrat Report Part One

Hello, all. I received a bottle of 2006 Calcareous Cabernet Sauvignon (York Mountain Appellation) today.

It was delivered by Fedex around 1 PM Pacific time and the weather was overcast and about 80 degrees. The box felt slightly warm so I popped the bottle in the fridge for about 45 minutes and then let it come to room temperature before opening.

Color: I used the bottom of the cork as a stamp on white paper. It left a dark purple, nearly black mark. The wine is a dark red plum.

In the glass: A not unpleasant heat rises from the glass. After swirling, it's evident this wine has big legs.

First taste reveals a lot of juicy, dark fruit; cassis (blackcurrant); and cranberry in the back of the mouth. The latter evidences a tannic astringency that may do well with a few years of cellaring. Remember, this wine has TA: 6.7g/L.

Still slightly hot in the mouth. After half a glass I'm starting to sweat. I'm not picking up much vanilla, either.

Going to decant this and let it breathe. See you in Part Two.

factotum wrote:

Labrat Report Part Two

After decanting, I let the 2006 Calcareous Cab. breathe for an hour, BBQ'd a steak and rewarmed some baby back pork ribs from the weekend.

The heat in the glass is gone and I'm smelling chocolate. My first thought on taste was: Wow, what a difference. Picking up cherry, vanilla and oak. Cranberry is gone but there is a lingering tartness. It's layered now with less brightness and more depth of flavor (warm blackberry cobbler).

My teeth are now at least three shades darker, so it's a good thing I'm having them cleaned tomorrow!

In summary, if you don't mind the lingering palate-cleansing cranberry tartness, this is a fine wine to drink from the bottle. Let it breathe for an hour to pull the darker, deeper flavors out. My preferred wine is a Paso Zin, but if I saw this on a restaurant wine list in 2013 or beyond I wouldn't hesitate to order it.

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novembercamel wrote:We just got back from LAX and found the box. We opened it up and felt horrible that we were a lab rat and couldn't participate early enough. We opened the bottle immediately - we haven't even unpacked yet - and let it decant for 30 minutes for diving in. Here are our notes, probably too little too late. I fear I don't deserve to ever be ratted again

2006 Syrah

* Not distinctly black cherry on the nose and with the sweetness I'm used to accompanying it. There was almost a light hint of embers of a bbq that used wood chips in the grill

* Thick and silky absolutely describes how it looks in the glass. The color was super deep with a dark red/burgandy hue to it.

* I had a lot of trouble placing the palate, as I usually do, but with help from my partner we placed it to a tart, almost unripened fruit. It reminded me of what a strawberry rhubarb pie might taste like if it were to use tart strawberries. She said it reminded her of unripe or sour cherries, but just a hint, not full on.

* The finish absolutely had the vanilla traces and left me tasting bbq smoke again. It reminded me of that crunchy burnt piece of chicken (not in a derogatory way at all). The finish is super quick and very unobtrusive. The spiceniess of it hangs in the back of your throat for a moment, absolutely a very peppery spice.

We loved the wine and it was a nice bottle to come home to. We owe Calcareous vineyards all the apologies in the world though for being late on this one. We would've had someone else test it had we known what was in the box and report back.

ssounit wrote:So very sorry for the late rat report. We weren't home when FedEx delivered the bottle so they left a door hanger that some how got blown away into the front bushes, for me to find during my usual Monday morning dog walk.

Anyway... I hope this helps. I'm not very good at descriptive words so I will tell you what my wife and I expressed to each other as we enjoyed the wine. When first opened we smelled distinct "sour" cherry and oakness. Poured it immediately, it had a deep, deep, red color and seemed kinda "thick". First taste made our mouths pucker as it seemed rather tart, but smooth. We let it breath for a bout 30 minutes and boy what a difference that made. Much smoother on the palette and a tad bit sweeter. The color mellowed out and the sweet aroma of ripe cherries greeted our noses.

We really enjoyed this wine and I wished we would have ordered 3 of the Three Pack. Again sorry for the late labrat report, but for all who placed an order for this terrific wine... you will not be disappointed!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offer of 6/7 -- Woot Cellars Albino Rhino - 6 Pack

This offer's pack:
DTW 5/29 Gathering Attendees


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