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JoyceMassalone wrote:

This is a Lab rat report

Thanks you for selecting me to rat this one

I have to say I am very glad I went all in on this one - actually thinking of getting my sister to order another case for me for my annual holiday party -its a great wine for a great price

It was a little warm when it arrived so I put it in the cellar and went to the gym

When I returned home I uncorked and let it breath for a while while showerig

Great pairing with some fresh tomatoes

The color is a very dark ruby and the aroma is pleasing dry enough but not overly dry

I very much enjoyed this and would highly recommmend

This was my 1st rat report so I hope I did OK

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mclonghorn wrote:

Scott Harvey 2007 InZINerator - 4 Pack
Lab Rat Report From McLonghorn

Bottle arrived in Texas around 1 pm. Cool to the touch upon opening the fed ex package. You actually do get a golden ticket – pretty cool!!! Put the bottle in the wine fridge for a couple of hours then couldn’t wait any longer. I tasted the wine three ways – first I popped and poured (no swirl) then poured through a rabbit, and finally poured through a rabbit into a crystal decanter.

Upon opening I immediately smelled dark fruits & jam – it made my mouth water. Let me preface my report by saying I am no RPM, Wine David, Richardhod, etc. Heck I even like some FRUIT BOMBS AND BUTTERY CHARDS!!! (Gasp!) - But I am learning and upon the suggestion of RPM I will be using the UC Davis Scoring. This could get pretty funny as again – I am still learning. This could possibly be the first perfect 20 $15 bottle of wine. If I was more computer savvy it would be at this point to post a link to the scoring system but I grew up prior this nutty computer craze so use Google - if you want to follow along – it’s pretty easy as I have mastered it!!

So without any further adieu – my review is respectfully submitted as follows:
Appearance (2 points possible) - I found the wine to be clear and the light did flash with light reflections.
MY SCORE – 2 points
Color (2 points possible) – Found the color to be a medium deep purple - it seemed to be more of a Pinot Noir tilt (slight transparency) than a Zin so I docked a point (Sorry Scott!!)
MY SCORE – 1 Point
Aroma & Bouquet (4 points possible) – Upon 1st pour (pop & pour no swirl) found the wine to be a bit tightly wound but after a few swirls the Bouquet began to open nicely. Detected a bit of spice and possibly a little heat at first taste but that went away especially after a pour through the rabbit. I wouldn’t call this a fruit bomb (at least by my terms but I did detect what I would call grape jelly from both the Aroma & Bouquet). I would rate the intensity as medium and I must say that as the wine was poured from the decanter it really spread its wings. Remember here that I am not an expert but also got rich chocolate on the nose & the jammyness has really mellowed, A little syrah spice comes through as well. I still get a little heat in the background but it is way in the back. I wish my nose was more educated so I could describe this properly but there is something in the nose I LOVE – a full rich smell that hits my nasal cavities and just screams dark fruits – it is a relaxing fulfilling smell!
MY SCORE 3 Points
Volatile Acidity (2 points possible) – No vinegar smell whatsoever
MY SCORE – 2 Points
Total Acidity (2 points possible) – Felt the acidity around the edges of my tounge – it was sharp maybe just a bit of bitterness but really nice
MY SCORE – 1 Point
Sweetness/Sugar (1 point possible) – Not overly dry or sweet – If I had to make a call here I would say a 6.5 to 7 on a 10 point scale of 1 being really sweet and 10 being really dry. At first I believe I detected a slight Port sweetness at the back of the tongue before swallowing but that too over the last couple of hours mellowed and blended nicely. This is my first time trying the InZin but I did read comments that the 2006 was too sweet – I didn’t find that to be the case here - possibly a little sweeter than some zins I have had but hey- this isn't a true Zin right??
MY SCORE – 1 Point
Body (1 point possible) – The mouth feel of this wine is what I would call full and velvety – The acidity of the wine does show through on the tounge. I get a little alcohol but the heat is not nearly as present as some of the blends I have tried. Because the wine has evolved so much in just the last couple of hours I have to believe that this will become more subtle over time – I am getting a little alcohol on the roof of my mouth (I think that’s alcohol – remember not an expert here) but it isn’t offensive – just there in a way that can be slightly detected.
MY SCORE – 1 Point
Flavor (1 point possible) – The flavor corresponds almost perfectly with the bouquet and aroma – it is very well balanced and I found no offensive characters
MY SCORE – 1 Point
Astringency (2points possible) – Tannins were definitely detected but something seemed to mellow out the bitterness – I can guess (a not very well educated guess mind you) this will only make the wine better with a year or 2 in the bottle. Don’t get me wrong – it is ready to drink now but my comment here is that I believe it can even get better as the tannins are predominate on the finish (or was that alcohol heat??? Wish I knew for sure!!
General Quality (2 points possible) – I have to tell you that I now know what all the buzz has been about regarding Scott Harvey wines – I loved this juice. It is relaxing, mellowing, sexy and just plain fun to drink. I believe it would pair great with any pizza or pasta dish (begs for Marinara Sauce) – I drank it by itself and really liked it a lot. Is it as complex as a 95 point Zin – no – is it now one of my favorite under $20’s – HELL YES! You are making a big mistake if you don’t order three – I am formally requesting that Woot increase my order to three instead of the one I purchased on Monday. Hope I haven’t looked too much like a neophyte with my review but hey …I gave it the old Longhorn Effort!! Oh yea – MY Score for General Qualities – 1Point

DRUM ROLL PLEASE ………………………………………………… TOTAL SCORE – 15 Points

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joshaw wrote:

Labrat Part Eins:

Fffft-pop. - I like the bottle, it seems like a slimmed down version of the '06. Maybe the extra sugar was causing the '06 to climb a little on the heavy side.

Glug, glug. - Looks good in the glass. Not the prettiest color I've seen, but still appetizing.

Sniff. - The initial nose on this wine was the melding of the sweet smell of a dense forest and the smell of picking weeds after a rainstorm. It is very pleasant, one of the better noses on a zin. It took me a long time to figure out how to describe this but it's the best I can do.

Sip. - Nice entry. Dark cherry but not a fruit bomb. Almost like a Luden's cough drop without the sugar. There is some sweet there but nothing like the '06. There is a subtle hint of oak and decent acid.

Swish. - Some chocolate now. Decent tannins but not enough for my palate. A little more oak.

Gulp. - Pretty smooth going down.

Mmmmm. - Pleasant medium finish.

First impression: a good-natured zin.

Part Zwei:

Sniff. - After decanting for an hour or two, there is now a little more alcohol on the nose. The initial aroma is nearly gone but there is now a little more fruit there. Pleasant but not as nice as initially.

Sip. - Still some dark cherry, a little chocolate, and some lighter fruits. The wine seems a little jammier now.

Swish. - The alcohol is showing up a bit more now. The chocolate is amplified on the back of the tongue.

Gulp. - Still pretty smooth going down.

Mmmmm. - Still a pleasant medium finish.

Second impression: I like the wine. I don't have an '04 to compare to but I seem to remember it being a little more complex (maybe this '07 could use a few more months in the bottle?).

Tomorrow: Part Drei - OxyContZIN!!!

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orthancstone wrote:

Y.A.R.R. (Yet Another Rat Report)

First timer here, so I'm going over this as carefully as I can (thanks WD/selection committee!).

As I start, I include a quick hat tip to my wife for providing what commentary she could. Seeing as she's pregnant, smell was the extent of her contribution (a loss given that she's got a better palette than myself).

My wife's nose detected fruit and vanilla on opening, pinpointing on plum or cherry. I poured a glass and then dumped more in a decanter to rest for the following couple of hours (finishing my last glass now, about 2.5 hours later). Oak came through over time, becoming the strongest point by the end.

There was a very strong alcohol smell from the wine poured directly into the glass. This tapered off fairly reasonably (was acceptable 10-15 minutes later) but means you definitely want to aerate it some straight out of the bottle. The RS content was noticeable on the glass after a swirl.

The first few tastes had a nice fruit flavor, but without the sweet bomb from the previous year. After the previously mentioned 10-15 minute period, the heat kicked up. This hot/spicy bite is what really attracts me to Zins; early on it really stuck to my palate, lasting for a good few deep breaths after a sip. This seemed to mellow out in the later glasses though; I won't say that's disappointing per se, but it left the wine a little fruity without an equally appealing counter to finish. My hope is that time will help.

I feel that the wine does need more time to age. It can be an enjoyable wine now, but it will likely require a suitable food pairing to complement it this early. (I'm not going to advise there due to being fairly n00bish in pairings. I had a steak dinner beforehand, but I'm Texan and like steak regardless of wine inclusion.) I'm not certain this wine stands on its own just yet. I've got my fingers crossed for the future though; it shows promise with beautiful color and (when it showed its best stuff) a nice finish.

PS - The bottle I received had the "Z" design. I like it a lot. The emblem does feel a little small on the bottle, but then again it just looks damn good in its simplicity.

PPS - In relation to the downside of not having my wife's contribution, the upside is that I've got some leftover for tomorrow. I'll be interested to see if a day in the wine fridge has any major influence.

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Sirwootsalot wrote:Lab Rat report...

First off, THANK YOU WOOT for selecting me to Rat. First time Rat, so I hope I do ok...

OK, so the wine arrived around 11:00am - which is good because I was a bit worried about it sitting on the truck all day here in South Florida... Luckily for me, my neighbor owns a business and gets LOTS of stuff delivered daily, so Fedex always comes here pretty early in the day.

First impression? I really liked the bottle. Not that a bottle makes a wine, but an attractive bottle can't hurt. So after checking out the bottle, I placed it in my wine fridge to cool off for a few hours.

Time to start dinner, so I opened the wine and put it in the oh-so-cool looking decanter I bought from Woot a few months back - you know the one, the funky shaped decanter that looks kinda like an esophagus and a stomach. Lol, ok, so it doesn't really look like an esophagus / stomach, but that's what it reminds me of... Anyway, I let the wine decant for about an hour, and it was served slightly cool.

My parents happen to be in town this week, and they helped me Rat, so you'll get three Rats for the price of one in this report! Oh, and I probably should mention that my parents don't drink at all anymore, although they did drink a little when they were younger. Just something to keep in mind... Also, we all tasted the wine first with no food, then with sharp cheddar cheese, and I also ate steak cooked on a cedar plank (woot!) and chicken, also cooked on a cedar plank.

First up, my mom's review:

Smell: Robust, rich, pleasant, inviting. It smells sweeter than it tastes.

Taste: Strong with pleasant aftertaste, slightly bitter.

Taste after eating sharp cheddar cheese: Mellows taste and brings out flavor. She tastes what she thought was cherry and blue grapes.

Like wine?: Yes, and mom doesn't like red wine, but she said it was actually good and much better than she expected.

Next up dad:

Smell: Dry, fruity.

Taste: Dad thought it had a bitter aftertaste.

Taste after eating sharp cheddar cheese: Mellows the taste. Dad liked it much better with the cheese.

Like wine?: Yeah, from a 1 to 10, he'd give it a 7.

OK, now for me:

Smell: Fruity, with a mild alcohol smell.

Taste: I though it tasted somewhat strong at first, but had a good flavor, with a nice aftertaste.

Taste after eating sharp cheddar cheese: I thought it really brought out the fruity flavor, mellowed the alcohol taste, and it had a very pleasant aftertaste. To me, a pepper flavor comes out after eating the cheddar cheese which I didn't really notice before I ate some cheese.

Taste after eating steak cooked on cedar plank: Brings out the pepper and fruit flavor, tastes slightly more alcoholic than after cheddar cheese. Really brings out the contrasting flavors between each bite of steak and sip of wine. Very good!

Taste after eating chicken cooked on cedar plank: Wine tastes less fruity and more peppery with chicken than with the steak, also more alcoholic taste than with cheddar cheese. Flavor also contrasts well, but not as well as with the steak.

Like?: Yes, very good wine. I like both reds and whites, and I think this is one of the better reds I have tasted. I have to say that to me it tasted best with the cheese and the steak. It was good with the chicken too, but my favorite would be the wine with the steak!

Oh, one last thing... My 5 year old daughter also wanted to be a Rat, so I let her smell the wine. She said it smelled like grapity grape juice - which to her is good - so there you go, it must be good wine!

Once again, thanks woot for letting me Rat, and I hope this report was helpful.

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robiereader wrote:
If you're reading this last Lab Rat Report you've surely bought this Scott Harvey InZINerator by now. If you haven't pushed the I WANT ONE button, do it now.

I purchased (and drank single-handedly) the last Woot InZINerator offer. I knew that I needed to share the fun (and find some objectivity) this time around and invited 2 colleagues over to share tasting notes. Let it be said right now that a 750 ml bottle of this delightful wine was, quite simply, not enough. The Superhero can take credit for a spirited evening and a number of empties rolling around in the trash bin, none of which were enjoyed nearly so much as the InZINerator.

Nibbles to help enjoy the wine tonight: ciabatta to dip in olive oil & herbs, dry Jack cheese & Triscuits, mini blue cheese burgers. I kept wishing I'd had time for barbeque or a good marinara, because this wine would have been so happy to be served alongside something like that.

Tasting notes, verbatim, from 3 testers ranging from wine-snobbish to hell-yeah I'll drink it if you've got blue cheese burgers on the grill:

  • Wow. This is a wine even common people would enjoy

  • Opens with rich cherry, switches gear to a little smoke, moves on to sweet, almost chocolatey finish and keeps me waiting on another sip to see what's next. What fun!

  • Dark red, ruby in the light

  • Hey, I taste cherry, but there's some raspberry about halfway back on my tongue. Cool.

  • Not at all overpowering and it opened up in the glass. Fragrant.

  • Slight tannin there, but not at all unpleasant. Kind of important, really, to the overall sip

  • Full-bodied. I really like the way the tannins move in briefly, then make way for a nice, lingering finish.

  • This wine has longevity; I liked my first taste, really enjoyed a second pour and could I please have a third?

  • I've been reading about a good wine's legs. This one has some shapely ones.

    A great value and a bottle opened and shared is a guaranteed good time. Enjoy, please!

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    coursair wrote:Well, I might be the last rat to post. Sorry it took so long, but my wife wanted to participate in the lab-rattery.

    If you like your reports like I like my martini's, quick and dirty, then...if you haven't clicked the "I Want One" button really should. This package is worth every penny. Go, do it now!

    Otherwise, on to the long report. Here was my setup for the evening...

    We opened it up for an initial taste and whiff before running it through the Vinturi. The wine wasted no time as popping the cork released all sorts of wondrous aromas into the air. Most notably cherry and blackberry for me. Once poured, the color looked a bit light for a Zinfandel but was still a beautiful deep garnet.

    From the first sip I could tell that this was a great wine. Smooth as velvet throughout with a slight bit of tannins for traction to keep the wine from slipping off your tongue. I could tell it was holding back initially like any well-mannered wine should. My wife noticed a bit of peppery spice in her first sip and I would agree.

    With a run through the Vinturi the InZINerator shed some of it's inhibitions and started to open up nicely. I picked up a sweet almost maple syrup smell, good stuff!

    We grilled up some ribeye steak for dinner and the InZINerator complemented our meal nicely. It held it's own against the meat and really amplified the meal. This wine should be enjoyed with food, it really starts to shine then. My wife felt the InZINerator got smoother and much easier to drink with our dinner. I think this is a good sign...

    The great thing about the InZINerator I noticed as we finished our meal and began to nurse the bottle is that this is a wine for a great evening, start to finish. The sweetness of the port/forte starts to shine through as the wine loosens up. If you treat her nice, this bottle can take you from the first course through dessert and on to a very pleasant evening. And legs...boy does she have some legs...

    I think the InZINerator could benefit from a little more time in the bottle before it truly starts to shine. But, it is still a great wine to drink now and will only get better with age.

    Thanks for the opportunity to report on this wine. Thanks also to Scott for making a great bottle of wine. It was a pleasure and I look forward to the four more bottles I have coming!

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    Offer of 8/16 -- Bartholomew Park - 3 Pack

    2006 Bart Park Merlot
    2006 Bart Park Zinfandel
    2006 Bart Park Syrah

    This offer's pack:
    cscally (Merlot)
    jtan99 (Syrah)
    harleyfontaine (Zinfandel)

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    cscally wrote:

    Lab rat report:

    Hey all - first time lab rat reporting in here.

    A bit of backstory: I am a surgery intern, so realistically the only days when I can conceivably rat are days when I am home after a night on call. I left a note for fedex begging them to knock loudly so that I would wake up from my post-call stupor. I will give this my best shot but keep in mind that I am still rather sleep deprived...

    The bottle I received was the 2006 Merlot. On pouring into the glass it has a dark, appealing color.

    Somewhat muted on the first sniff...I didn't decant so I'm going to let this glass open up for a bit before proceeding with the review. On revisiting, it has a bit more of a bouquet. Nice fruit aromas, with a little spice.

    First taste is fairly soft, a good amount of fruit, finishes with a trace of something maybe...hard to place exactly, but appealing. Long finish.

    Overall - a very appealing merlot. Stays well away from the "vegetabley" flavor that I've disliked in some merlots. Good, smooth feel. I'm making Italian for dinner and I think it will go well. Excited to try the rest of the 3 pack now.

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    jtan99 wrote:

    Labrat Report: 2006 Syrah

    Nose: light floral, almost slight rose aroma.

    Color: Deep red.

    Taste: Black fruit. Goes down really smooth. Slight hint of acidity at the finish, but barely. Could not tell the alcohol level was 14.6, seems lower. Very easy to drink wine.

    Dinner pairing: Some plain pork chops with salt/pepper and spicy asian styled food. The wine is able to stand up the the latter, this is one of those wines you can pair with anything and it'll taste good, because the wine is so enjoyable on it's own.

    After opening 1.5 hour, there's a slight hint of Oak that I couldn't detect initially.

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    harleyfontaine wrote:

    Lab Rat Report

    I got the Zinfandel yesterday. This is my 2nd time to rat. The first time was for the Scott Harvey Inzinerator. Lesson: buy more Zin from Woot. Anyway...

    The first glass, right of the bottle without any time to air out, was a bit strong and sharp. Not that it was so bad that I didn't finish it, but still a little more harsh that I would have liked.

    For the second glass, I poured through one of those Rabbit in-bottle aerators. This made an enormous difference. All the edges were gone and it was terrific.

    My palette isn't refined enough for me to offer specific flavors that came through. All I can say is it tasted like a Zin should, and I can't wait for the rest of my order to arrive.

    My advice: buy it, open it, air it out, drink it.

    Happy wooting!

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    Offer of 8/23 -- Weinstock Cellars Wines by W Mix - 6 Pack

    2009 White by W, California
    2009 Pink by W, California
    2009 Red by W, California

    This offer's pack:
    darnit (Red)
    worldofjohnboy (White)

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    darnit wrote:

    Got my first labrat on this one, although didn't arrive until today for some reason. The bad news is I am not a connoisseur of wine, I just know the basics of what I like. Therefore, I will be sharing my wife's much more lucid review. This is for the California Red Wine (she ordered more for the rose, but...):

    Before breathing, the color was lighter than expected, almost diluted, but cheerful. Initial tasting was quite acidic, with a strong blackberry flavor and semi-sweet palate. Aftertaste was significantly sweeter.

    After letting breathe for about an hour, tried a glass with dinner. The acidity had dropped substantially and it was much sweeter than expected. Still a strong initial blackberry smell and taste, but quickly (within about a second), the blackberry would disappear from your palate and you're left with a faint, sweet aftertaste.

    All-in-all, a decent table wine, but nothing to write home (or to WD) about.

    Hope this helps some of you.

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    worldofjohnboy wrote:

    OK, FedEx just handed me my Rat-Package, and I got a bottle of the white.

    I will update this post throughout the night as I taste the wine at various points with my dinner as well as just "sipping" and enjoying.

    Update 2:04pm EST:
    For those wondering the types of grapes, here's a full quote from the label on my bottle of white:

    "White is a proprietary blend created by Weinstock cellars especially to parallel todays’ casual lifestyle. A creative blend of various grapes give this wine its bright personality. The Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay bring with them lots of fresh grapefruit and tropical fruit, and the Sauvignon Blanc shows off flavors of crisp green apples. Welcome Muscat Canelli into the group, it will show up with a touch of its honey sweet personality. So now you know what it took to make WHITE, a wine that is both refreshing and fun. Since WHITE is a wine without rules, we simply recommend that you share it with the food and the people you love the most. Cheers!"

    Update 6:00pm EST:

    Chilled the bottle in my fridge when I got home at about 4:45pm. Opened the bottle and poured both my wife and I a glass and started sniffing & sipping. The results:

    Me - Smells very grapey. I don't notice any oak, etc. (not that I expected to). Small taste and swig in my mouth, this wine starts out a bit sharp and acidic on the tip of my tounge. As it moved towards the back of my mouth, the grape taste really displayed itself. The finish at the back of my mouth and in my throat finishes with a bit of a bite, much like a citrus/acidic taste that lingers just enough. Going by the grapes listed on the label, I would say its taste goes from Chenin/Chard (un-oaked), to Muscat, and finishes with the Sauv Blanc.

    My Wife - "Starts out pear-like and finishes with a citrus kick. Fruit in the middle as well. No oak taste to it."

    I'm going to let my glass sit for a while and see if it opens up and/or changes at all.

    Update 7:15pm EST:

    My wife already finished hers, so her part of the tasting is complete! ;-)

    As for my tasting, the acid and bite to the wines seemed to have subsided a bit and this opened up a little more. It's more fruity now, however, that is not to say that it's any sweeter... it just means that the fruit portion of the taste (up to now, was the middle portion) is a bit longer. There is still a sharp beginning and acidic/citrus after taste.

    Next (and last) update will be paired with chicken, broccoli and home-fried potatoes.

    Update 8:30pm EST:

    Finished my dinner, which was Lemon-Pepper Grilled chicken breast, pan seared broccoli, and home-fried white potatoes. (I put some of the wine in with the broccoli to give it some flavor.)

    The wine paired very well with the chicken. The slight "tang" of the wine matched the lemon from the seasoning. Also, the wine I put in with the broccoli made it so darn good, I ate all my broccoli before eating anything else!

    All in all, this wine is versitile and tasty. Sip away while relaxing, or serve/cook with your favorite meal and you won't be upset. For the price point, I'm not at all upset that I will be getting two more bottles of it.


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    Offer of 9/3 -- Shadow Canyon 2005 Syrah - 3 Pack

    This offer's pack:

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    noslensj wrote:

    Reporting for duty and ratty to go to work ....

    I'll add to this post later this evening.

    This is my first time ratting, and the first time, frankly, that I've given this much effort to assessing a wine. I hope my comments and impressions come through ok.

    The bottle arrived just before noon today in the Seattle area. I let it sit until a bit before 5 pm. As I'm expecting the wine to need a bit of time to breathe, I've decided to open the bottle about an hour or two before dinner. I'll pour two small glasses for myself right away, one to taste immediately and the other to return to after an hour or so. I'll be grilling some steak, with a southwestern style, paprika based dry rub.

    I don't have a decanter or vinturi available, so any breathing will have to be done in the bottle and the glass.

    Initial opening and tasting

    Despite scoring the wax seal around the top of the bottle, the top of the seal didn't come of cleanly with the cork. Had to remove some loose edges sticking up above the neck of the bottle.

    On to the business at hand with the first glass. The wine has a deep rich bouquet. The strongest note I detect in the bouquet is cherry, along with some dark plum and dark berries. I also pick up some floral notes that I can't identify, along with some leather. As noted, the aroma is rich, deep and pleasantly intoxicating (sensorally intoxicating, not alcoholic).

    In the glass the wine is brilliant and clear. The color is deep garnet or ruby - my color acuity isn't great, but I didn't detect any violet notes.

    On the initial sip there was an immediate bright fruity sensation, followed almost immediately by a strong mixed fruit and black pepper attack in mid-palate. A very bold and strong statement. The peppery taste dissipates, the fruit flavors start to slowly fade and tannins start to emerge, faintly at first and then building. But the fruitiness continues for a long time, still fading gently. In fact as I type this about 20 minutes later, there is still some lingering taste of the fruit.

    There's some acidic sharpness in the mouth, and the alcohol is quite evident, but it doesn't seem out of balance to me at all, as those sensations are balanced by the fruit, the peppery charge, and the tannins. This is certainly bold, but everything seems to me to fit and work; it's not disjointed.

    The body of the wine also seems to hang together in the mouth; it doesn't just seem to run all over, but flows and coats. And it's not a fruit bomb.

    On subsequent sips the tannins persist and build. Although quite drinkable out of the bottle, I think I'm correct in my expectation that the wine will benefit from some time to open up.

    Will be back to add more later.

    Quick note 90 minutes after opening

    Sitting in a glass for 90 minutes.

    The sharp peppery attack I noted at first is has scaled back quite a bit. Simultaneously the flavor profile is starting to extend a bit further.

    Still a strong presence of tannin. Shortly after taking a sip the tannins still lingering after the initial tasting reactivated almost immediately, and are remaining pretty dominant

    Post-dinner wrap-up

    DW and I finished much of the bottle over our steaks, leaving about a half glass each to sip afterward. As noted above we grilled steak, with a southwestern dry rub. The basic recipe is Weber's Southwestern Dry Rub, which is strong on paprika, chili powder, and black pepper. I prepared the rub using more paprika and cumin and less pepper and chili powder, so it's a bit less peppery. I also work the rub into the meat liberally before and during cooking, and when the steaks come off of the grill the sugar in the rub is caramelized and creates a blackened crust on the steaks.

    With added breathing time during cooking, that peppery component I noted on opening is now totally muted. During dinner the wine presented a sustained and pleasant moderate fruity presence. I use the word moderate deliberately. The wine doesn't fruit bomb; rather it blends in, asserting itself but not dominating. It didn't back down at all from the crusted steak; the two actually seemed to balance each other quite well.

    I didn't detect any significant tannin during the meal, but finishing the glass now I can tell they are still present, so I think the steak muted the tannins.

    As I was reflecting on the wine during dinner the adjective that came to my mind was intensity. This wine was simply more intense in all areas - no one aspect more than others. It was uniformly more intense in all respects. Bouquet, aroma, mouthfeel ... everything was just ratcheted up from what I have noted in the $8 to $10 bottles of syrah that I thought were the best in that range (which is generally my price point).

    I also noted that during dinner there were times when I reached for my glass simply because that was what I wanted; at that moment it seemed to "strike the note" that my palate wanted to hear. It just seemed to fit.

    DW - who is not nearly as analytical about these types of things as I am - said the wine was very enjoyable. Nothing seemed out of balance, and she thought it worked well with the steaks. She detected the same flavor elements as me, sans the peppery taste that I noted at first.


    A very enjoyable bottle of wine. At my budget level, if I were looking for bottle of syrah at this price point, I take this without hesitation.

    I don't have enough familiarity with syrah at this level to offer any commentary as to how it compares with other wines in its class. But I'm confident that at the least it represents that class well.

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    CigarDan wrote:

    Lab Rat Report

    This my first lab rat report (so be gentle). I was excited to receive my package today at my office. When I arrived home, I put the bottle in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool it down to 55-60 degrees.

    Despite the perplexing wax seal, I managed to open the bottle without injury or incident.

    The Shadow Canyon Syrah is deep purple in color, and is rather opaque in appearance. This is a moderately fruit forward wine--predominately of plum, with hints of dark chocolate and pepper in there as well. The wine has a nice mouth feel, and the tannins are well balanced.

    After my initial take, I poured a glass through my Vinturi. Surprisingly, I did not detect a lot of change in the wine after doing so.

    My wife did not feel a lot of love for the wine. However, I should add that she is not a huge fan of Syrahs in general—they are more full bodied than what she prefers to drink.

    For my part, I enjoyed this wine tremendously, and would have certainly ordered more if it had not already sold out.

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    Corrado wrote:

    Neither. I hosted a wine party last night and slipped the bottle in with the blind tasting. Participation turned out to be about half what was expected, so I didn't get the amount of feedback I'd hoped for (and most of the ones who did score didn't take usable tasting notes; the picture of the flower that occupied the notes section on one of the cards was very pretty though).

    The theme of the party was, "Bring The Best Wine." The goal was to bring not necessarily the wine that was the most EXPENSIVE or the highest RATED by pros, it was bring a wine that will get the highest scores in a blind tasting.

    I'll spoil the results by giving away that a $20 Pinot Noir (MacMurray Ranch) won the night in a room of tasters who said they don't really like Pinot Noir. The other oddity was that there were three Syrah wines in the mix of 6 wines (mine, a Spanish Shiraz, and the tried & true Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier).

    As the emcee, I had the inside track on the Shadow Canyon (the wax top is pretty distinctive) and couldn't help but rate it "winner" of the flight. I did half-blindly pick the Little Vineyards Zin I brought as a very close #2.

    Overall, the labrat bottle finished a disappointing mid-pack. I think it was compromised somewhat by a tasting group that trended more toward lighter, 'friendly' wines and being sandwiched by two bottles of, url=]"Glogg,"[/url] a local winery's sweetened, mulled wine.

    It's been quite a while since I did any legitimate scoring of a wine, so pardon the palate-rust. My notes gave it high marks for great, dark plummy color and a highly aromatic nose of dark cherry and funk. Mouthfeel was very full and the wine delivered great balance, carrying its acidity, alcohol, and tannins very well, though I suspect that addition bottle time will mellow this further and the tannic punch on the midpalate will fade. High points were also awarded for a sustained finish of cherry and blackberry.

    If it were still up, I'd certainly bite for half a case and hide the shipment in the cellar for a few years. (I'd have to hide it anyway since the TIWBM is still running at about +90%).

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    k1avg wrote:So, woefully tardy, but here are my thoughts (luckily, though, I get to Rat again this weekend and redeem myself).

    I say "thoughts," as I'd prefer not to adorn this with the Lab Rat moniker (hence I didn't include the banner above), or even really to call it a "report." For every bit as otterific as my first Lab Rat experience was, this was as much of a farce, for a number of reasons, both intrinsic (my fault) and extrinsic (it wasn't me!).

    The Shipping Debacle: (Friday-Monday.) As noted above, the delivery driver refused my release note on Friday, contrary to practically every experience I've ever had with FedEx (in fact, I had six bottles - two Corison, four Expression 44 - dropped off today while I was at work thanks to a hand-scrawled and signed release note), and did not leave the bottle. I thought about sucking it up and traipsing up to the distribution center to pick up the package (and in hindsight, should have), but after the offer sold out, I decided it wouldn't make a difference if I posted on Saturday instead, and proceeded to go home and take a nap.

    Lo - apparently FedEx doesn't deliver standard overnight shipments on Saturday, despite the fact that they do deliver regular ground shipments, which cost roughly one-fifth to one-tenth what overnight shipments do and presumably are significantly less important to the shipper. But then, I won't go down the rabbit hole of all the illogical things FedEx does.

    In any event, due to the long weekend, I didn't end up getting my hands on the Shadow Canyon until Tuesday evening. The weather was incredibly nice here - in the 80s and low humidity - all weekend, so I figured there wasn't much chance of something going wrong (that's foreshadowing, children, a basic literary technique always used in TV investigation shows by presenting a seemingly innocuous character early who eventually turns out to be the culprit).

    First Impressions: (Tuesday.) After finally getting my grubby paws on the goods, I was excited to try them out, especially since I knew this would likely be the only bottle of this I'll ever have. First, though, to get through that wax. Actually, it was quite simple, and taking the winery's suggestion - simply running the corkscrew right through the wax - worked like a charm. (I rather unwisely, I should think, used my Rabbit-esque opener, though - I suspect that wasn't great for the coating on the corkscrew part. No matter.) There was a bit of wax hanging over the lip of the bottle, but it popped off easily enough.

    The wine itself poured a nice, foreboding purple, and certainly looked like a delectable, meaty Syrah. My first attempt at tasting, though, shortly after the pour, was highly disappointing. Almost nothing on the nose and nothing on the palate. A little sour in the middle, and a little tannins on the back, but not nearly what I would expect from a young Syrah right out of the bottle and not consistent with the notes of the other Rats.

    Perhaps it just needed to open up for a while, I reasoned. So I waited. And waited. And fetched dinner. And waited a bit more. An hour and a half later, I tried it again. It did open up a bit, I suppose - there was a little bit of earthiness on the nose, but not much fruit. The palate was still very weird, though - thin, sour, a little blackberry or blueberry forward, maybe, but more of a reduced blackberry sauce sort of sensation. The midpalate was still very sour, with only a hint of the peppery spiciness another Rat noted, and the finish just sort of...died, with hardly any tannins to speak of.

    Perhaps that's being a little ungenerous - it wasn't poorly composed in any sense and was certainly drinkable. In fact, it rather tasted like a decent Rioja, with the conjunction of earthiness, sour acidity, and subdued fruit giving the wine an Old World milieu I hadn't encountered since the last Rioja I tasted. I submit, however, that it was certainly not the sort of Old World profile one would expect from a Rhone-style Syrah, as this purportedly is.

    Something was amiss. The last piece of the puzzle fell into place when I finished my second glass. Sediment. Tons of it - way too much for a wine this young. Instead of jumping to conclusions, though, I decided to leave the rest in the decanter and revisit it the following night (since, after all, time now was no real object).

    Crestfallen Conclusions: (Wednesday.) Sadly, the wine changed little, if at all, overnight. I eventually consumed three more glasses, though, belying the continued drinkability of the stuff, and really could have sworn it hailed from Basque country.

    Given the differences between my experience and those of the other Rats, I'm convinced something was wrong with my bottle, and fairly certain (after reading the description in this article particularly) it got a bit cooked in transit (and if you're still reading, HAHA I got you to read this whole thing just to tell you I got a bum bottle!). The evidence, however, is highly contradictory. Consider:

    Guilty: massive sediment, muted fruit, collapsed tannin structure, overboard acidity.
    Not Guilty: great weekend weather, cork in perfect condition, no seepage, no signs of oxidation in color or meniscus.

    I have some theories, though. Although the basic air temperature was splendid this past weekend (I mean, it really was fantastic), there also wasn't a cloud in the sky, so the sun, still on a broiler setting, made open air a little uncomfortable whenever the breeze slowed down. I suspect three days of that sun beating down on the roof of whatever warehouse FedEx kept my ill-fated bottle in, as well as two days of riding around town in a big aluminum toaster oven, did it in. Also, I suspect that it being a single bottle in a single bottle box, instead of the three- or four-packs we're used to, might have made it a little easier to cook as well.

    I also wonder if the wax capsule manages to slightly increase the pressure inside the bottle so that it's harder for the wine to force its way out through the cork. Or potentially that the cooking process was so subtle the pressure didn't increase enough to force wine up through the cork. Or perhaps the box was kept upright. Anything is possible.

    In any case, my Rat experience with this wine...kinda sucked. I can't recommend/not recommend it (which wouldn't matter anyway), since I didn't actually taste the same wine everyone bought. Luckily, our Woot Overlords smile down upon us, and I get to try again tomorrow! Ha!

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

    Offer of 9/10 -- Morgan Winery White - 4 Pack

    2009 Metallico Un-oaked Chardonnay, Monterey
    2008 Highland Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands
    2009 R&D Franscioni Pinot Gris, Santa Lucia Highlands
    2009 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc

    This offer's pack:
    k1avg (Sauvignon Blanc)
    noslensj (Pinot Gris)
    CigarDan (Metallico Chardonnay)
    sukeiasa (Metallico Chardonnay)
    khenrie (Highland Chardonnay)
    spikezgirl (Highland Chardonnay)

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


    quality posts: 1 Private Messages khenrie

    Okay - this is my first rat, so I am unsure where to post... I posted in the community first, but now I think I'm suppose to post here. Oh, well - over posting is better than new posting.
    They sent me the Morgan 2008 Chardonnay to sample. I am mostly a red drinker, but hey - I like to try everything - what if I like it & I would have missed out.

    I found the 2008 pretty thin & t had not legs. I like them a bit thicker. The first taste was pleasently bitter at the back of my toungue & had a fruity after taste everywhere else - self, I said - not bad. Took a few more sniffs & then tated again hoping to get a more familiar with it. Then I walked away decided to let it open. 20 minutes later I found myself not liking it at all. The bitter was the strongest part 7 blocked out all the other flavors - however - there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 40 minutes later I find this bottle has completely opened & although I would recommend a little more age time I found the flavors are quickly liking my wounds of the end of a hot steamy shower.

    If whites are for you - then order up my friends - If not, you still might enjoy this one. - not bad I say, not bad.


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    spikezgirl wrote:Long time wooter, first time ratter here.

    Just got the 2008 Highland Chardonnay out of the chiller. Felt particularly lucky to get this bottle as I'm a huge fan (read:lush) of Wagner's Mer Soleil Chardonnay from the same region.

    First blush thoughts upon tasting: Yum. I like this wine. There is a good blend of fruit, butterscotch and sparkly acidity gives it a full-bodied taste and pleasant mouthfeel. The acid lingers slightly, but mostly a full tropical burst --- but with a little bit of bright citrus dominates.

    Tucking in with a second glass, I was concentrating on the oak --- I'm not getting an overt oakiness from this wine. It's fruit-forward but balanced with a pleasing buttery finish. I'd serve this to company without thinking twice.

    Since its dinner hour, I was poking around Morgan's website looking for pairings. I raised an eyebrow at "cream-based pastas" -- but I gotta tell ya --- the 2008 Highland will definitely hold up to a more substantial meal. I have no doubt the chicken/fish/seafood staples would pair nicely with this wine, but it can definitely handle a more adventurous meal. My husband suggested Asian-fusion or a milder Thai. (Yeah --- as an aside, I snorted at the thought of a "mild" Thai.)

    We'll see how it pairs with turkey burgers and arugula and hearts of palm salad...(dinner was planned before the glorious Rat e-mail was opened.)

    Final word from the novice rat: this is a smart wine that gives good balance. The winemaker's use of new oak barrels provides a nice oak-y backbone to the whole she-bang and the presence of fruit, butter and acid cues in the forefront make this kid a real contender in the world of $20+ Chards.

    I'm in for one before the deal sells out.

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    CigarDan wrote:

    I am reporting on the Morgan 2009 Metallico Un-oaked Chardonnay.

    Let me start by saying that I am a fan of dry red wines. I don't dislike white wines, by any stretch, but when I drink wine (pretty much daily), it is unusual for that wine to be something other than a red.

    This Chard is a very crisp, clean, white wine that has a light mouth feel. The citrus and green apple flavors are immediately noticeable. As it passes over the tongue, the acidity and tannins are present, but balanced. I do detect a bit of an astringent quality as well.

    It is a very well balanced, and somewhat delicate wine that would go well with light fare, or simply sipping during a long, hot summer.

    In short, this wine is quite good, and I would say that it is a good value for the price.

    I was apprehensive about reviewing this wine, but I am glad that I had the opportunity. I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated.

    Thanks Woot!

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    noslensj wrote:

    Labrat reporting in. As I noted last week, we’re still largely newbies in this world of better wines, and the ratting thing is forcing me to think more and be more precise about the experience. Also since I don’t have depth of experience I can’t provide a lot of comparative information. So I’ll report what we noted, with the hope that you can fill in the blanks yourselves.

    We received the 2009 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Gris. After receipt and inspection, I put the bottle in the refrigerator to begin chilling for dinner tonight. For dinner I prepared a shrimp Pad Thai, with added garlic, mushrooms, and onion, and about one tsp. of chili oil added at the end of the stir fry.

    We opened the bottle just before dinner. In the glass the wine was a very pale straw color, with no hint of any pink, orange, or reddish tones. Both DW and I thought it had a pleasant grassy aroma. DW immediately said “New Zealand”. To my nose it also had some citrus components; DW didn’t have the same sense.

    In my mouth it was crisp; there was the proper amount of sharpness on the edge of the tongue, which carried through on the palette. The wine was definitely dry, with no residual sweetness that we were able to detect. The flavor profile was present but not powerful upon sipping, but developed nicely and carried through sturdily to the end.

    As I was trying to think of how to describe it, I told DW that the word that came to mind was “balanced, but I don’t know what I mean by that.” Now, about one hour later, I can see that what I mean is that it was harmonious; it didn’t hit hard up front then fade quickly, nor was it harsh. It was just balanced in how the flavors and the crispness spread and developed in the mouth and palette. I suppose that “restrained” might also work as a descriptor. That doesn’t mean wimpy or subdued; it just means that it didn’t blast, but also had a lot of subtler strength and sturdiness.

    With the dryness and acidity, I can see where someone who enjoys sweet quaffable white wines might find this wine bitter or astringent because of the acidity and dry character. With white wines I generally prefer crisp and dry, so to me this was exactly what I look for in a white wine.


    I had my Pad Thai in two servings. The first serving was pretty much as prepared, which was not at all spicy. (DW does not care for spicy foods at all, so I try to keep that in mind as I cook.) But towards the end of the first portion I could pick up the chili oil at the back of my palette. A sip of the gris at that point trimmed the residual zing of the Pad Thai nicely and left me wanting “more”. Also, a couple of times I thought I picked up some faint echoes of cilantro in the grassiness of the gris, but it’s hard to be sure because that could have been residual from the Pad Thai.

    For my second serving I added a significant amount of Sriracha sauce to boost the intensity closer to levels I enjoy and to see how the gris would hold up under a more significant challenge. (I typically take my Thai food at the 4* to 5* level; with the added Sriracha this would have been about a 2.5*-3* in most Thai restaurants of my acquaintance.) I’m pleased to say that the wine not only held up to the increased punch of the Sriracha, but it showed even more character and depth. There was a nice interplay between the spicy stir fry and the crisp dryness of the wine.

    I’m very sure that this gris could have still held up to something with a lot more punch, be that heat or other sharp flavors. If I were to rat this again, I think I might try it with a garlic-ginger root stir fry I occasionally prepare.


    A final note. To this point I have not been much of a fan of grigios. Two things have given me pause on that this week. First, earlier this week (before I knew I would be ratting) DW picked a bottle of Facelli Winery grigio that she had picked up several months ago to have with a shrimp alfredo. To my surprise I really enjoyed it, which started my thinking that perhaps I simply had not been sufficiently exposed to good grigios. (Probably the result of drinking too many cheap grigios served at potlucks and other informal dinner parties.)

    Then we ratted this Morgan gris, which reinforced the notion planted by Mr. Facelli. The difference, to me, comes back to those notions of balance and finish that I mentioned earlier.

    So I hope this helps. Based on our ratting, and the descriptions and reports of the other bottles in the offering, DW and I are in on this woot.

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    k1avg wrote:

    "Sauvignon Blanc." Scholars maintain that the translation was lost long ago, but in common parlance it's roughly French for "white crap." In modern times, Sauvignon Blancs are second only to Pinot Grigios in the amount of common disdain heaped upon them.

    Thus it was with some trepidation that I received the 2009 Morgan Sauvignon Blanc for Ratting (at first, as related to InShadows, I suspected this might be some sort of punishment for allowing last week's Rat bottle to spoil in the evil FedEx warehouses). However, I nonetheless resolved to undertake the task with great determination and resolve, and ensure that no Sauvignon Blanc in history would ever be as thoroughly considered, assessed, and rated. And so:

    Color: Er, Sauvignon Blanc. There's little that can be said about the color of a typical Sauvignon Blanc, and this is no exception. It's pale, watery, and about as viscous as water. Frankly, it's sort of a "Mexican tap water" color, just like every other Sauvignon Blanc on the market. It kind of seems like the water Jesus practiced on before getting the whole water-to-wine thing down, and only made it halfway. In short, not impressive, although it is very clear, pale straw or whatever, and belies no particular faults.

    Nose: Sniffed at room temperature, there is an immediate incredibly obvious acidity (whereas many whites bely a lot of alcohol at room temperature). There's loads of grapefruit, hence my earlier Viognier comparison, and SWMBO caught a major whiff of pineapple. There's also a tinge of grassiness and a little hint of sweetness - perhaps it's candied pineapple, or almost more of a honey-like floral component. Surprisingly robust where most Sauvignon Blancs fall woefully short - a great start.

    Palate: Forward. Still at room temperature, surprisingly thick and a little sweet. No, seriously, is this Sauv Blanc or Viognier? Admittedly, my experience is somewhat limited, but this is far beyond any Sauv Blanc I've ever had the displeasure of trying. The opening attack, behind that hint of sweetness, is somewhere between fruity and floral, but not quite fully either. The grapefruit definitely comes through again, and there might be some Asian pear (confirmed in short order by actually eating some Asian pear).

    I can't really resolve the floral aspect, though, but I suspect that's just the immaturity of my palate - trust me, it's there. /sip/ It's bordering on vegetal, almost, and the best description is probably that the grass from the nose is coming through, but it's a bit sweeter than that. (Clover, maybe? I've never eaten clover.)

    Midpalate/Finish. Not much initially, but it builds into a powerful acidity that simply explodes on the finish. No, rather, it EXPLODES on the finish, cutting through whatever you're eating at the time and probably several layers of soft tissue as well, a feeling which sticks around for quite a while. It really does just knock you down - but then, I'm into that sort of thing, so I love it. I suspect the acidity will be less overpowering when chilled - the way such wines were meant to be drank.

    Overall. By itself, this wine has great body and character forward, which resolves into the crisp, clean, palate-cleansing finish most come to expect from Sauvignon Blancs. Against an oaky Viognier I tried to compare it to, it was simply no contest. To my acidity-hogging palate, this is mother's milk. Honestly, the combination of body, acidity, and mouthfeel here is well beyond your garden-variety Viogniers and pushes the standard of many well-made Chardonnays - it's certainly heavier in the mouth than the TLC Chardonnay, with comparable acidity. Really - are we sure this is a Sauvignon Blanc?

    Pairings: Having a dinner engagement later in the night (after which I am typing up this report), I couldn't really produce a substantial dish with which to pair this wine, so instead gathered together a variety of snack foods to try (including a few Woot favorites you may recognize). Here's how the Morgan fared:

    White Peach. The peach is fresh, sweet, juicy, perfectly ripe...and completely overpowered by the Morgan's acidity. Such a shame.

    Asian pear. Now, this is simply stupendous. I didn't really like the first one of these pears I had - too cloyingly sweet - but the Morgan balances the sweetness incredibly well, cutting through the grippingly sweet aftertaste with aplomb. Even beyond the matching flavor components, I reallylike this combo.

    Nuts (or rather cashews, since I always just pick those out). The acidity of the Morgan is a bit much, but cuts through the oiliness of the nuts and clears the saltiness of the palate. Nice.

    Cheese. Mmmmm, cheese (a slice of Manchego that might have been sitting in the fridge a bit too long - sorry, Peter, no Chevre here). Again, too much acidity to go well, but the cheese is delicious...

    Hummus. Another winner - the acidity cuts perfectly through the oil.

    Olives. Mmmmm, olives. Surprisingly, here's something the Morgan can't cut through - the brininess of the olives is just a bit too much for the Morgan to clear in a single sip.

    Caramels. Again, too overpowering.

    Chilled: Actually, the Morgan doesn't lose a whole lot of character when chilled. There's still tons of acidity (obviously), but also a good nose and plenty of flavor on the palate. Otherwise, it's basically the same wine. No additional notes here.

    Conclusions: Wow, well, I don't really know what to say. [Ed. note - this is potentially the first time in k1avg's life that he's been lost for words.] This is really good stuff. We'll see if I'm just being a homer tomorrow when the NoVA gathering gives their thoughts, but this is well beyond anything I would ever expect from a Sauvignon Blanc, and is, quite simply, an incredibly well-made wine. Everything is here - fruit, acidity, mouthfeel, finish. The acidity is almost over the top, and I wouldn't try just sipping this for no reason in the middle of the day, without anything accompanying it, but with a good oily meal - maybe some seafood - this is top-class stuff. Well done, Morgan, and you've changed my perspective on Sauvignon Blanc. Ninety points.

    A brief disclaimer, though: I like my wines really acidic, whether white or red - even to the point of being slightly painful. Many of you who aren't big fans of "citrus bombs" probably won't appreciate this as much as I did. It's simply my personal preference - but this wine definitely meets it.

    The last thing I need is more white wine, but I am highly, highly tempted to go in on this woot on the strength of this bottle alone. [Ed. note - after reading noslensj's Rat report, filed at press time, k1avg went in for one].

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    sukeiasa wrote:

    this is a rat report...

    well... after more than 24 hours of battling with fed ex, (they 'attempted deliver'... and when i figured out that they didn't deliver anything, called to have the bottle left at the station to pick up, by the time i got there at 750pm last night, the security guard wouldn't let me in, saying that even though they open till 8, i had to be there by 745 to get assistance... so when i went back to the station this morning, they told me that the package went back to the hub, so after complaining to 4 CSRs, they drove the bottle back from the hub to the station and i just got home)

    ok, but anyways... just got the bottle of unoaked chardonnay.... according to my trusted wine temp reader, it's still a bit warm to drink so i'm going to put it in the fridge for about an hour, go work out, and then come back to complete the report....

    apologize for how late this is, but it will come together, i promise...

    now to the tasting...
    after chilling the wine to what my wine temp read to be good for chards, i opened the twist top and made two pours... one directly into the glass and another through the white vinturi(!) and here's my reaction:

    direct pour:

    smell is not oakey (duh)... i would describe it as more fruity than floral... maybe its because of the serving temperature, but the scent seems crisp but direct

    i find this chard to be very easy to drink... again, i think fruitiness comes to mind when i drink it... not like the fruit bomb reds, but a fruity white type of feel... very crisp... almost felt like there are bubbles as i drink it... i wouldn't call it sweet but i would also not put it close to the dry side...

    this is going to be a newbie comment but... i find this chard to have some characteristics of some of the drier rieslings/gewürztraminer that i've had...

    color is light and glowing in my dim living room...

    i would think this would go very well with grilled veggies...

    now on to the vinturi-ed glass...

    interestingly... my take is that this wine should be drank right from the bottle, quickly... vinturi takes the aroma away from the wine... the taste also seems more watered down when aerated...

    i think this would make a very nice wine for an intimate late summer bbq, where the food is grilled outdoors but eaten inside on a dining table... because i think a busy bbq might take away the focus needed to enjoy the flavors of this chard, pairing with food... also probably would not make my choice for sangria makers... i like my sangria wines to have stronger characteristics, so even after adding all the other ingredients, you can still tell the basis of the mix... i think this in a sangria mix will get lost in the shuffle...

    caveat... i'm a newbie, so while i tried to describe my thoughts on this item... it will be a huge YMMV

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

    Offer of 9/17 -- Ty Caton 2008 Racchus Reserve Red - 4 Pack

    This offer's pack:

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


    quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
    laineyhigg wrote:

    When I received the email from wine.woot last night at 6:45pm that I was selected to be a Lab Rat, I was the happiest girl in town. I was going to receive my wine a day before the offer even goes up!

    Today came around and I anxiously waited for Richard, our Fed Ex guy at work. Sitting at lunch, eating my sushi, a coworker stuck their head in and told me that I had a package. It was here!! Now just to make it through the rest of the afternoon to get home and crack it open…

    Of course I immediately opened the box to see what I got. It was like Christmas. Racchus. I had never heard of it. Then I read the back. Ty Caton. I had read so many comments about Ty Caton. I’m fairly new to the wine.woot community, so I wasn’t around for that offering. But I do know how much people rave about Ty. I also have a coworker who’s been waiting for a Ty Caton wine on woot for months. I was very excited.

    So yes, I’m a wine.woot newbie. It’s only been very recently that I’ve started to pay attention to wines. I’ve always known what I like and don’t like, but haven’t really paid attention to the flavors. I still don’t think I’m very good at it, but here it goes. Please don’t judge.

    I did some research of what I should eat. The interwebs said to eat anything grilled. I have two kids and my husband and I both work full time jobs, so grilling was pretty much out of the question for a weekday. So being from Texas, I decided that some good Texan barbecue take out might fit the bill.

    I rushed home, opened the bottle, and poured a small glass to try immediately. The wine had a lovely dark, plum color. I smelled it like I see them do in movies. It smelled like berries. Then I drank it up. I tasted the plum, but also some raspberries. It had a somewhat smooth finish, and I definitely tasted the chocolate at the end.

    I know that some wines need to breathe, so I poured a glass and let it sit out for an hour. I have yet to invest in a decanter, so this was my best option. When I drank it, the oakiness had really come out at the beginning, with the berries coming out a little after. Then super hubby came home with the brisket. I ate some. The Racchus took on a completely different character. It paired perfectly with the brisket. It took on a kind of sweetness. It did not, however, pair very well with the barbecue sauce. Then I ate some chocolate (dark with almonds, if you’re curious). It paired amazingly with the chocolate too, becoming velvety.

    Then I had to take a break and put the kids to bed. It’s been about another hour and I’m sitting with my last glass now probably writing too much. It’s holding up well drinking it on its own. It seems to be getting smoother the longer it has to breathe.

    Now for the summary. I’ve had a great night with this Racchus, and I’m definitely gonna buy some when it’s posted tomorrow. I see they have a Racchus White too; maybe it will be a combo offering?? Regardless, I’m in for one.

    So there it is. My first ever lab rat report. Hope you enjoyed it.

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


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    yankeekiwi wrote:Lab Rat Report

    On opening the first thing that struck me was the aroma. It has a very BIG and full scent that leaps out of the bottle when uncorked and pretty much smacks you in the nose. I am not an expert at wine terminology but to me the smell was warm, rich and earthy. I refrained from knocking back a glass right away as is my usual habit and pulled everything out of the cupboards until I found the decanter which I knew I had somewhere! I poured a little into the glass and decanted the rest. Color is a deep ruby red, sloshing it around in the glass didn’t show much ‘leg’ but truthfully I have no idea what this means to the taste of the stuff!

    First impression was very good. I admit I am a fan of full wines, and the first sip filled my mouth, like having a mouthful of warm soup on a winters evening… every part of the mouth was involved. After swallowing it leaves a little tingle on the tip of the tongue and an open feeling around the soft palate but I would have to describe the overall impression as warm and soft. You can certainly taste the Syrah. I topped up from the decanter… no difference that I could taste, but hey, it had only been 5 minutes. As I am typing this I am enjoying it with a chunk of Oscar’s Smokehouse smoked cheese from the Adirondacks. The strong flavors of both balance nicely. I would imagine that this wine would match up with a good steak, a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings, or an evening in front of a roaring fire, rain on the roof, a selection of cheeses and dishonorable intentions towards your significant other with whom you are sharing. I will append to this after dinner after I have tried it with food… not the ideal match I fear, but I am bound by the creed of the lab rat to venture where no man has dared to go….

    After dinner I can add the following notes. The wine opened up after sitting in the decanter for a while and the tingling feeling at the front of the tongue was replaced by what I can only describe as ‘salivation’ but in a positive way. It wasn’t a perfect partner for fried chicken, but don’t blame the wine for that, rather an inflexibility in the culinary department of the house.

    To sum up, I will be buying some.. great for the long winter nights coming up. It is a full well rounded drink which I totally recommend for fans of a big wine.

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    smogqueen wrote:LAB RAT REPORT

    This was my first Lab Rat experience and it was very exciting! I knew the bottle was coming and couldn't wait to see what it was. Hadn't heard of Racchus, but I like the Ty wines and similar blends, so was optimistic.

    We grilled some turkey burgers and drank the bottle. It's not as complex as one would expect from Ty and from that panoply of different grapes, but it's an enjoyable, pretty big wine and plenty sophisticated for the money.

    I'm in for 4 more.

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    jdoerflein wrote:

    LabRat Report:

    Wine Woot - apparently you have super powerful servers determining the optimal way to bend wooters to your will. As a fairly long term wine.woot buyer but Ty Caton hold out and forum lurker as opposed to poster - you have killed the proverbial two birds with one stone here.

    Onto the report:
    Wednesday evening - check e-mail to discover that an unexpected bottle will be showing up on Thursday. Very excited.
    Thursday late afternoon - a single bottle box shows up at my desk, even more excited.

    Thursday Evening - back at home open the package to find a bottle of Racchus. Wonder to myself what this is and upon reading the label see it is Ty Caton and a blend. I am positively disposed already.

    I suppressed my desire to look up the bottle and see what the blend is and instead open the bottle and pour a glass for my wife and myself. Initial impression is that this is a big wine in the California style. Strong tannins, dark berries, perhaps some smokiness on the finish. I can imagine this could survive a few more years in the bottle.

    We finish a glass while prepping dinner and then pour an additional glass. After about an hour the wine is noticeably smoother and the tannins are much less dominating. Dark berries are much stronger, a bit of earthiness, and continued presence of a little smoke on the finish. Check the web to learn about the blend and am not surprised to discover that Petite Sirah and Syrah are the major players. This will definitely stand up to red meats and other game but played fairly nicely with the chicken I had smoked a couple of days before.

    We were not able to finish the bottle as we had to work Friday so will finish the bottle and report back on the impression on day two.

    Overall: big nicely balanced red that needed a little time to open up (perhaps decanting is called for). We tasted dark berries, earth, smoke, and perhaps a bit of fig. Fairly rich and full bodied. We are likely to order a few bottles at what seems like more than a fair price on wine.woot.

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


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    JC7727 wrote:


    This is my first lab rat reported so take everything with a grain of salt, lol. I received the wine last night but due to the tornados in NYC, my report was…delayed. On to the wine, first impression is a very deep red color and dark fruit on the nose. Not in a fruit forward kind of way but still noticeable. After passing the wine once with the decantus, the fruit really starts to make a presence. More smells of dark fruit, black currant or even cassis. Moving on to the actual taste…I encountered well balanced tannins. I tasted the wine with some friends and we all agreed that the tannins were present but not overpowering. The wine really coats your whole mouth and leaves good legs on the glass. It has the feeling of a full body wine. The fruit comes in at first taste but doesn’t linger. It’s not very complex, despite the many different varietals of grapes but in the end they produce a good drinking wine. The wine has a very smooth and pleasant finish. The syrah and cabernet really come out more than the other grapes. It’s an easy drinking wine and a good value for the money.

    Now back to drinking this delicious wine!

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    lisad24 wrote:

    Late Lab Rat Report

    I apologize for the late posting for my first ratting. The husband was not available to take the package yesterday (note to self: work address from now on)... so suffice it to say that I am really happy to be able to post my findings and that more importantly, it is still possible to purchase more of this wine.

    To be brief:
    At initial opening, nose: berries, with a hint of pepper. Deep rich ruby color.

    Initial taste: just enough tannin to provide a little kick without being too heavy or overpowering. A touch of zesty, almost acidity, but not in a negative way. Very full bodied wine, definitely not an oak-monster.

    I poured an initial glass and then decanted the rest, after decanting about 20 minutes, the wine remains full-bodied but not heavy, and the tannins have diminished quite a bit, leaving a very smooth, very drinkable wine.

    This appears to be a wine that is drinkable now and suspect will cellar well for a few years.

    Needless to say, I'm in for 2.

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    lionel47 wrote:

    Lab Rat Report

    Well, we were on a trip so we didn't get back to sample the Lab Rat wine till Friday night. However, it was worth the wait.

    I was a little skeptical about opening a 2008 blend in 2010. My skepticism was put aside on that first sip.

    A very nice nose gave us the impression of blueberry and fig. It promised to be a nice wine. While my wife moved on to tasting, I was happy to linger over the nose.

    The initial sip coated my tongue in that lovely way that only good wines can, especially reds. It was smooth but a little rambunctious, not really a surprise considering its youth.

    We both agreed on raspberry notes with more blueberry. There was something dense I could not identify. My wife thought it was plum.

    We decided to decant the rest while I grilled a steak.

    About 45 minutes later, over steak, grilled romaine and some very crusty peasant bread, we sampled the rest of the bottle.

    It was very nice. The spunky quality had somewhat subsided but the amazing thing was that the fruit we could not identify before had come through. Quince. It was lovely and dense. It provided a great contrast to the pepper crusted steak we were having.

    We lingered and drank slowly, finishing the bottle in just over 2 hours. By the last glass, all the kicking the wine had displayed earlier was gone and it had mellowed into what it will probably be upon first opening in a couple of years.

    We went in for two.

    Oh, and how do you get the Lab Rat graphic on your post?

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


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    Offer of 9/24 -- Fleming Jenkins Vineyards & Winery - 2 Pack

    Fleming Jenkins 2006 Choreography, Napa Valley Cabernet Blend
    Fleming Jenkins 2007 Madden Ranch Syrah, Livermore Valley

    This offer's pack:
    djasper99 (Choreography)
    kealmaoureux (Syrah)
    Veela (Choreography)
    hockeybbot (Syrah)

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


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    djasper99 wrote:Woo hoo! I got an email from wine.woot informing me that I am one of the chosen ones, so I waited with bated breath (possibly due to halitosis) for the FedEx truck to arrive.

    Enter one prim and formal looking bottle of Fleming Jenkins “Choreography” 2006 Napa Valley Red Wine (alc. 14.4% by vol). Having gleaned as much data as I could from the front label, I proceeded to scan the posterior, which informed me in a nasal tone that “Our goal is to produce memorable wine through our strengths – the artistry and creativity that symbolize Olympic skater Peggy Fleming Jenkins and the vision and high standards that represent physician and winemaker Greg Jenkins.”

    Okay. Hitherto, I had not heard of this Jenkins family. Now that I have been duly informed of their greatness, I wonder what the actual wine is all about? I read on: “…Choreography is a blend of four classic Bordeaux varietals – 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.” Now that sounds promising. My conjecture is that this is going to be a hearty, “food wine” and I’d better go shopping for suitable accompaniments.

    For the greater benefit of mankind, I decide I am going to actually pay attention and take notes, while tasting this wine not once, but twice. I pop the cork and pour a glass straight up, while the remainder of the bottle goes into a decanter.

    First tasting, before decanting: The wine shows a very dark, inky color, making me think it might be very concentrated, probably suitable for aging and likely to benefit from some time in the decanter. At first, there is a prominent and lingering aroma of blackcurrant, with a touch of anise that opens up and suggests a subtle and exotic nuance of spice, possibly cloves. I swirl and sip, and I am surprised by the soft and gentle mouth feel, not tight or closed up as I had been expecting from a youngish, concentrated, Bordeaux style wine before decanting. It exhibits a pleasing roundness, immediately drinkable, with a nicely balanced acidity and medium to full body. Toward the finish, I can discern some light tannins, followed by an impression of heat and tingling on the roof of my mouth. I attribute the latter to the relatively high alcohol content. Once the heat subsides, the lingering finish expands into some layers of licorice, white pepper and an interesting herbal note, like sage or maybe even mint! Oh yeah! I think this is going to be great with dinner!

    I spend the next couple of hours cooking, hoping to pay a respectful homage to this wine with a thick, grilled, top sirloin steak; fingering potatoes roasted with fresh rosemary, sage, oregano and garlic; grilled Italian sweet peppers and wilted beet greens sautéed with shallots and finished with Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar (available at a Trader Joe’s near you).

    Second tasting, after about two hours decanted: Now there is more prominent vanilla on the nose, and the initial spiciness has softened. A preliminary sip reveals notable red fruits, such as cherries and plums. There is less heat and pepper now in the early finish, with a smother transition to the notes of herb and now even a touch of earth!

    I am a value conscious wine consumer, and I am always seeking bottles that offer complexity and nuance, either with or without a pedigree, at a moderate price point. This wine definitely fits the bill. It would seem to me to be a solid choice for pairing with hearty food, such as steaks and chops, smoked fowl or duck, or meaty pasta sauces such as Bolognese. It even stands up to garlic! My wife and I are in agreement, if we may borrow for a moment from the film critics without having to pay a royalty, that Fleming Jenkins “Choreography” 2006 is a solid “two thumbs up.” Thanks Wine.Woot!

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    kealmaoureux wrote:LAB RAT REPORT

    1 Fleming Jenkins 2007 Madden Ranch Syrah, Livermore Valley

    Opening revealed aromas of over-ripe black "berry" fruits with a hint of earth.

    Small initial taste was smooth syrup-like with mild tannins, very deep purple colour.

    After 3 hour decant paired with Tuscan lamb with barbecued sweet potatoes and asparagus wine had developed into a more noticeably fruit-forward full-bodied syrah with additional hints of dark chocolate, smokey oak and black pepper.


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    Veela wrote:

    Package arrived in the afternoon and I'm surprised the fedex lady handed it over. I didn't exactly follow her directions right the first time (signed name, she wanted it written), or the second time (I scribbled something that barely came out looking like my name). But she gave me the bottle anyways, yeah!!!

    What did I get? 1 Fleming Jenkins 2006 Choreography, Napa Valley Cabernet Blend.

    Now, I would have opened the bottle right away, but I had an evening of art mingling ahead of me and wasn't ready to start the evening with red stained teeth.

    Where did I go? First to the Corcoran Gallery of Art to visit the Chuck Close exhibit before it closes. Then ventured up the street to a preview reception at a Smithsonian Museum, where I resisted a whole array of cocktails and wines, and settled on some lemon San Pellegrino instead.

    I would have taken the bottle museuming with me, to really get to share it, but didn't think the security guards would appreciate that.

    On my way home, the light at the top of the Capitol building was on, meaning congress was still in session. Happy I don't work those hours! To celebrate, figured it was a good time as any to pop the bottle open and give it a taste. After all, I saved myself for this moment: My first lab rat honor ever!

    So, open went the bottle.

    I'm pretty sure I annoyed my guy by asking every two seconds, whaddya think, whaddya think? But here it is:

    Pours dark garnet color.

    First taste is sharp, tannic, scent is in the blackberry/currant world. Hints of licorice at first.

    After some time, 30 minutes to an hour, vanilla starts to come through, taste is in the berry world. Leans towards blackcurrant. And then some cherry.

    The flavors aren't overpowering. Seems like a balanced wine.

    Left the bottle in the fridge overnight. Second day is smoother, taste is still a tad sharp, with some pepper coming through. I can see how decanting might have helped it open up some.

    And yes, this Choreography wine tastes fabulous when paired with Jazz Hands.

    To give you an idea of what I tend to buy (and love!) on here: Kent Rasmussen offerings, Ty Caton, Wellington, Noceto, Red Zeppelin, to name a few. My favorite purchases have been Ty Caton Cabernet 2003, Kent Rasmussen 2006 Pinot, Black Zeppelin, and Block 13, while that lasted.

    Thanks wine.woot for the bottle. I am a fan of buying your wine, playing tetris with the bottles on my wine racks, and occasionally consuming some too.

    Oh, and now that I see DC isn't on the delivery list, might have been more helpful for me to walk down to the Capitol building and ask for that to change. Ah well, maybe on my next wine woot labrat adventure.

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


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    hockeybbot wrote:

    First time to Lab Rat.We received the wine yesterday and were surprised to find it on woot tonight. We had intended to try the wine with some friends to get more input to share. I will post again when the wine has been allowed to properly breath.We received the Syrah tried the wine without a decant and found a slight bite, this cleared with a quick pass through the wine aerator rendering a rather smooth draw. Wine that was allowed to sit 30 minutes already began to open up.
    Paired well with a tomato based Italian pasta, would probably do well with a pork loin.

    Bottle sells for $40 on makers website and has received excellent reviews, and though a good wine would expect it to be more in the upper $20 range. Would I buy wine again, yes, particularly when you get a bottle of Cab for essentially free. I prefer white wines and felt the wine was ok. My husband drinks a variety of reds and liked the wine.

    hockeybbot wrote:Day two: After allowing the wine to breath for one hour we drank the Syrah with a rib eye steak that was marinaded with garlic and Barolo wine.The Syrah was much fuller and smoother after decanting. It held up well with the steak. I am not experienced in describing wines. A good red to me which is also usually a more expensive red is full without an alcohol bite. This wine was very enjoyable and I feel a good value at the woot asking price. Thanks for letting us in on the lab rat experience!

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    Offer of 10/1 -- Ramsay by Kent Rasmussen 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast - 6 Pack

    This offer's pack:

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