LAB RAT CHECKING IN!!!!
College Town, USA – A graduate student preparing for a research presentation is hard at work in her condo nicknamed “the study hole” when she is surprised by a bottle of FREE wine! Excited, graduate student calls home to her significant other and explains the golden ticket situation. Graduate student promises to save at least half of said bottle of wine to share with significant other the next evening when she returns home for the weekend. Graduate student then pulls out a piece of filet mignon from the freezer.
Below are graduate student’s notes from Day 1:
Pouring an ounce, undecanted, into a glass…
Appearance: Dark, thick burgundy in color.
Bouquet: I could have guessed cab based only on the smell. Lots of currant, prune, dark red fruit (in that order) hit me.
Sip: (remember undecanted) Hrm, this is going to need a little longer to get to know. First taste I’m not sure exactly what I taste, and it’s certainly not opened up yet. A bit hot on the pallet.
About twenty minutes to breath with lots of surface area (wide glass, small pour)...
Much better! Now I can start to taste some of the minor vanilla/caramel notes peaking through the dark berries.
Ok, I’m about to starve, but I want to do a little more tasting before I involve food. I poured a bit more into the original glass from the bottle and got a second glass and poured a bit through my vinturi. Now, I’m sure there are strong opinions about those, but I find it pretty useful for “tight” reds when I’m in a hurry or say…suddenly surprised by a woot package out of the blue with free wine. In my experience, running something like a pinot, many red blends, some zins through a vinturi (or leaving them to decant several hours) tends to deflate them but really interesting full bodied reds that are going to go toe-to-toe with some heavy food really benefit from it.
That said, this is where I get a little disappointed, because the “vinturied” wine isn't as good as the out of the bottle glass. The wine that passed through the vinturi tastes flat and uninteresting in comparison. I say disappointed because I like my cabs to have enough heft and structure in them that they really need to be decanted a bit or run through the vinturi. With this wine though, I feel like it peaked at about 30 minutes of being poured.
Still enjoying the berries and very subtle hints of vanilla of my original glass. Still a bit of a high/hot note that I’m not the hugest fan of, but I have a hard time describing – something I’ve experienced often at this price point. Tanin / mouth feel is turning out to be good. Time to light the grill.
Match-Up...Medium-rare grilled fillet mignon with a bit of blue cheese sprinkled on the top vs. Ramsay 2007 cab.
Not bad. When it buttafuocoed my vinturi test I was worried it wasn’t going to be a good match, but the wine is easy to reach for when enjoying the steak. I’d say the food and wine cohabitate well, but don’t really add a lot to each other. It doesn’t get run over, but the wine does kind of shrink in dimensions of flavor. I’m left with just the currant/dark berry flavor. The tannins and mouth feel are what’s really holding the wine up, imo, when going toe to toe with the steak.
Overall, I don’t think you can go wrong with this wine at this price. It’s very drinkable. Think - good house wine selection for a mid-level restaurant. To be frank, I think it’s a good $10 wine, but I didn’t taste it and exclaim “Oh my gosh – this IS ONLY $10?!” at any point.
Wanted to post this quickly – going to enjoy the second half of the bottle tomorrow night with lamb. I’ll post again if something really changes in my opinion or tasting notes. I really appreciate the opportunity to lab rat! THANKS!
Cyradia wrote:Okey dokey...
Yesterday was a long day, so I didn't get a chance to pour my pre-dinner glass until almost 9pm. I enjoyed it more this time around...again I'd say it needs only light decanting (ie, 20 minutes of sitting out and some swirls)...once it sits out for a few hours I think it turns much less interesting. However, it does need that 20 minutes, because the first sip out of the newly opened bottle is rough.
However, my SO had the exact same opinion I did the previous night that concluded with..."this is a very respectable $10 cab, but I don't see anything in it that's much different than many of our other choices in that price range."
Pairing with the lamb I had a similar experience as with the beef. It plays well with food, but it doesn't add anything to the food or the wine. I'm a sucker for times when your pairing suddenly really adds something greater than the sum of the parts...and I've yet to see that.
richs44 wrote:LAB RAT REPORT:
Mel Torme would have loved this wine. The late, great crooner/jazz singer of the mid to late 20th Century was nicknamed "The Velvet Fog," because of his smooth, mellow yet powerful voice. And that's an apt, short description of this wine.
The first thing you notice is its smoothness, almost velvety structure from the first sip. With a lush finish and mild tannins the 2007 Ramsay North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is a drinker - now!!! It will probably peak within a year and last no more than two or three with optimum cellar conditions. But saying this, it is a wine to be reckoned with at present.
The nose is full of black currants and bit of cedar. The fruit that dominates in the mouth is black cherry with a complex layering of tobacco, mineral and chocolate. The finish is moderately long and that's where it has a slight tannic bite. Chew this wine as you would a stick of gum and the tannic structure dissipates rapidly while the fruit remains.
So, I tried the bottle alone and then with dinner. The taste didn't change all that much, but the finish lingered much longer with food - a sign of expert wine making skills and quality fruit.
As an amateur cook, I decided to play with the matchings. First I prepared Bucatini with a fresh red clam sauce and then made Chicken Provencal - a boneless dish prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic.
With the clam sauce, the wine complimented the tomato base and held its own with the fresh Little Neck clams. It brought out the flavor of the clams in a forward manner. With the chicken, it assumed the role of its foil. The contrast with the garlic and rosemary brought out the finish of the wine and allowed the fruit flavors to layer in the back of the mouth.
I would recommend serving this wine with poultry (great with Thanksgiving Turkey), any red meat, red pasta sauce and fish or shellfish made in a hearty manner such as mari-chiari. The less acidic the fish the better. So trout, cod or blue would certainly match better than salmon or shrimp.
At less than $10 a bottle, it's a top-rated value - highly recommended.
sakana wrote:Rat checking in!
Man, do I wish I'd stayed up last night and posted right away -- as it is, Cyradia's eloquently, detailed review will reveal me to be a right clod, particularly since my feelings are, essentially, "ditto."
As a caveat, my skill with wine words is pitiful at best, and I'm lately more of a white drinker than a drinker of red. That said, I liked it. Like Cyradia, though, my affection was more in a "that's a very tasty house wine" mold than anything else -- I don’t feel compelled to buy another bottle instantly, or anything.
Based on the deep color and the strong aroma, I expected the wine to taste and feel much heavier than it did; I was surprise by what I believe you people who know these things call the mouth feel. (The weight of the reds I keep picking is, I think, one of things that's recently driven me into the arms of whites, so this was a good thing.)
In terms of flavor, there was a whole lot of red currant in there -- particularly right after opening the bottle, it's hard to taste much else, at least with my fairly unsophisticated palate. After the wine rests a bit, it gets better but, sadly, my wine knowledge does not. In layman's terms, the flavor broadens out a bit, and the red currant, while still present, is less aggressive and just one of many notes, rather than a single, blaring tone.
I'm actually drinking another glass now, at 930am -- the things I will do for Woot Wine -- and I like it more than I did last night. Perhaps I'm just tired, but the flavor seem more forgiving now, and the wine feels lighter as a whole.
Thank you, Powers that Be, for letting me Rat -- I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to unleashing my profoundly limited wine knowledge on another bottle some day in the future.
I was selected as a lab rat for this offering and while the price point is extremely attractive, I will pass on buying it. Like a previous rat, I tasted twice, pre and post Venturi. Pre Venturi both my girlfriend and I thought it was very earthy, kind of like licking a piece of chalk and a really bad piece of chocolate(not something we were fond of). Once poured through the Venturi we both found it more pleasant and less dry on the palete.
As the normal price point for this wine is 18, I would rather pay the extra $4 for my every day wine(Buehler Estate Cab 22.74 at Costco Houston TX). At 10 a bottle with shipping,this it would make for a good after dinner bottle after polishing off 2-3 quality bottles of wine. While that might sound snobbish, I would not turn down a pour of this wine in my house or any one who served it.
Hope that helps
Yet another lab rat checking in!
Sorry for the delay, it's budget season at my work and staying late has become the norm. Time is of the essence, and I would have started drinking the bottle on my 1 1/2 hour commute back home, but I left it at the house.
Seeing that almost everything has already been revealed about this wine, I'm going to keep it simple and just post the raw tasting notes my wife and I jotted down.
6:45pm PST - It all started with a phone call home, inquiring what the dinner plan might be. Upon realizing there was none, my wife suggested grilling the beautiful, locally grown sirloin we had sitting in the fridge. Good idea.
7:15pm - I arrive at the homestead and she has already uncorked the bottle, sipping on a raw pour out of a large globed, red wine glass. Sitting in front of a few scribbly sticky notes and the computer, she reveals that she is writing down all the stuff that pops in her head about what she is smelling and tasting.
"Dough", she exclaims, "it smelled like dough when I opened it. Is that a good thing?"
"Depends", I answer back, "Does it taste like dough?"
"Nope", she answers, "but it coated my tongue and it's sharp. The first sip was medicinal, like cherry cough syrup and sweet."
She hates cherry cough syrup.
"So you don't like it?" I ask.
"It's okay so far. It wraps around my tongue and is very smooth at first, then tangs in every taste bud. It smells like it tastes." she adds.
"Uh...dough? Or...er?" I ask.
"Nope", she replies. "Like sharp berries, and a very strong nose."
7:30pm - Hmmm...I pour myself a half glass. The meat is already dry rubbed with Penzy's Chicago Steak Seasoning and a touch of olive oil. I look around the kitchen and wonder what else will be accompanying this wine and steak.
"Whatcha want with the steak?" I ask.
"Do we really have to have anything else? Can't we just have steak?" she asks.
Hmmm...I suppose so. "That's cool with me." I yell through the house over the ambient house music. With that, I take my first sip.
Long story short...
Pungent, dried fruit
Smells like it tastes, indeed
Coats mouth and lingers, syrupy
I pour the rest of the wine in a large based decanter and give it a swirl.
Taking my time, I grill the steaks medium rare and just for the fun of it, turn the searing grill on high and finish them off, charring some of the outside fat. It smells like meat heaven.
8:30pm - Wine with sirloin, after decanting...
Soft and mouth filling at first, but resorts back to acidic tannins on the tongue
Heavier on the tongue
Tones of vanilla
Not so powerful anymore
10:15pm - All in all, the vote in our household was 50/50. I just polished off the last of the bottle and I think it settles nicely...still stuck on my tongue, and that's a good thing. We both definitely enjoyed it much more after decanting.
My wife however encouraged me not to order this time around as it's not anything she would drink as everyday wine. (We're in Washington State so we have access to super $10 bottles of red all the time.)
I, personally, agree with the last lab rat in that it's a great wine to pull out after bottles two and three are gone...and that's why I'm going to go ahead and click the stupidly large button!
Hope this helped!
edit: wrong place...
Offer of 10/8 -- Woot Cellars D’ONTSPILLE LE BLACK 2009 Pinot Noir - 5 Pack
This offer's pack:
I got the email this AM about being a Labrat and immediately had that feeling of excitement, followed by that “oh crap” feeling - my wife was going to be gone all day so no one was going to be home to receive the Fed Ex package. A quick hit to the Fed Ex website and a re-route to the local Fed Ex / Kinko’s store for later pickup fixed that issue.
Before I go any further - a quick note about my wine reviewing resume. I enjoy wine, and have for years. We are pretty heavy consumers of wine, with a modest collection of wines in the 130+ bottle range at this time. We drink what we like and buy what we drink based on the advice of good friends and a lot of trial. I’m no expert. I don’t know much about pH levels and the chemistry behind the making of a good wine. I’ve always been more of the “bull in the china shop” type of wine consumer. I buy 2 bottles of something interesting or recommended or unique, try one, and if it’s good, I have a backup for the next time. If it sucks, I have a 2nd bottle for the next dinner party at the nosy neighbor’s house…if you are looking for the Saveur style of wine reviews from this Labrat, you may want to skip down to the next posting. If you’re looking for the everyday vino swiller’s review, I hope I’m up to the task.
So I got home and immediately opened the box and saw what I was getting into. D’ontspille Le Black 2009 Pinot Noir from Woot Cellars. Cool front label image, funny writeup on back. I’ve purchased a few wines from the Woot Cellars Label and have yet to be disappointed (Toothstejnn the Red Sangiovese remains a fond memory), but to be honest with you, my heart sank a bit when I saw that this was a Noir. I drink reds in pretty much all forms and fashions, but not so much of Pinot Noirs. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the Noirs, so much as they fall down the list as I make my shopping purchases at my local wine stores. Maybe I’ve not had the right ones. Maybe I have a mental block against them from family battles at the Thanksgiving table, I don’t know. But I don’t have a large sample size in my arsenal from which to draw comparisons from, so reader be warned.
I opened the bottle and poured a tasting pour into a nice thin-walled stem. I have to admit, I was pretty stoked to try the wine. My wife had some baked herbed chicken in the oven with some biscuits and baked new Yukon potatoes and broccoli, so a reasonable match for Le Black to contend with. My first taste was very pleasant, if a bit hot. I’m not going to try and pretend to be a professional taster, but what I immediately noticed was an Old-world earthiness that I enjoyed. But it needed a little chillin’. Don’t hate me for putting it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, folks. Additional sips exposed a muted but noticeable amount of fruit, without the typical abundance of that thin, grape-skinny feel that I always associate Pinot Noirs with. An enjoyable sipper by itself. I poured a taste for my wife, but only after telling her the harsh responsibility that I’d inherited, this Labrat pressure, and therefore that she wasn’t going to be allowed to have much of this bottle. She rolled her eyes in perfect “whatever…” fashion and took her first taste. She set her glass down, and as she was taking the chicken out of the oven, commented in similar fashion about the wine’s immediate sense of quaffability. And then insisted I pour her a real glass instead of the puny sample I had originally granted. Women…
The wine didn’t wither away when matched up with the dinner table. The herbs of the chicken seemed to pull a more mineral-ish nature from the wine. It found a way to work with the food on the table, as good Pinot Noirs are supposed to do, I guess. My wife and I both commented on its drinkable nature. I noticed a lingering licorice finish as I finished my second glass, long after the dinner table was cleared and I started to gather my thoughts on what I would put in this post. My wife tossed out the “silky” adjective, but that may be a bit overzealous in my mind. But we both voted with our empty glasses. 2 votes for “wish it were a magnum” here…I could enjoy another glass.
So, the summary from this novice wine reviewer:
What I taste - Minerals, Earth, Muted fruit - perhaps cherry? Warm, smooth finish; Moderate grape skin, licorice and faint herbal lingering well after.
The final result: Are we Converts to Pinot Noirs? Probably not completely yet. But this is a very decent, very enjoyable wine, and perhaps was a good refresher to me to have a more open mind on the Pinot Noirs in general. I will be curious to see the configuration and price that the Woot gods put on this wine. By the time you read this, that will already be known. If it is at a compelling price and not too many bottles in the configuration, it would be a reasonable assumption that we’d be back for more.
Thanks, and enjoy.
jculkin83 wrote:Lab Rat Report:
Hey all, newbie here with my first Lab Rat report and first post to the comment section in general for that matter.
I will preface this report by saying that I am a big Pinot fan, but also that this one in particular played to my personal preference.
I will also warn all of you that although I may consume copious amounts of vino on a regular basis I am in no way, shape, or form an expert.
Nose: earthy qualities with some berry undertones.
First Sip: Although 2009 is printed right on the label, if you didn't read it before you dove in you would definitely be able to tell. There is an abundance of young fruit packed into this Pinot, but I can definitely still taste the "forest floor" tones that I have come to love so much. I will be really interested in how this opens up with a couple years.
5 bottles for ~$60 after shipping, great deal!
Afterthought, it reminds me a lot of an Oregondian style PN.
Lab Rat checking in!
This is my first time ratting, so bear with me. I love wine, and try to educate myself as much as I can, but I am by no means an expert. /disclaimer
I got an email telling me that I had been selected for Rat Duty on Thursday AM. Very exciting! Fortunately was planning on being home anyway due to school holiday for eldest child, and was thus able to meet the FedEx guy. Opened the box right away and was both elated at receiving a Woot wine, and apprehensive about it being a pinot noir. My guess was that it was going to be offered at <$15, and I have not had great experiences with PN at that price point. I had a bottle of the 2008 KR 1001 left downstairs, and thought that it might be nice to do a horizontal to another somewhat similar pinot noir that other Wooters would be familiar with, so I planned on opening both wines. This Rat Report is for the 2009 D'Ontspille le Black, though, so other than a photo of the two beside each other for color comparison, I am not really delving into the 1001. I did like the 2007 1001, especially at the price, though.
Planned dinner around the wine--we had cedar plank grilled salmon seasoned with turbinado sugar and thyme, plus fresh roasted red bell peppers and some brown rice. The food pairing was quite successful.
Since I am an actual chemistry lab rat IRL, I decided to bust out the erlenmeyer flask and really get my nerd on. This allows the color of the wine to show through nicely on the white background:
As you can see, it is on the pale side of red, as one would expect from this varietal. It really tends toward purple, which is not surprising with a wine this young (2009).
In keeping with the Lab Rat spirit, not to mention Woot! suckerdom, I also got out my Okra, er, Orka wine thermocouple to ensure that I was tasting the wine at the recommended temperature:
Poured a taste to get started, swirled, and sniffed. Initial aromas of strawberry, but that faded rapidly and the nose became fairly mute for a while. Reemerged after some time, now with mild vanilla and berry notes. Here is a photo of the initial tasting sample, complete with Woot! wine glass charm:
This wine seemed pretty intense for a pinot. It has more body and tannin than one might expect for this varietal. I wonder what it is blended with. The finish is slightly peppery, which makes me think perhaps syrah (??). As the initial strawberry aromas faded, some vanilla and oak came forward, with sour cherry flavors dominating (husband said it made him think of hard candies). The finish is fairly short. Tannins are dry but unobtrusive.
Here is a photo of it next to the 2008 1001, for comparison (D'Ontspille is on the right):
It is pretty clear from the photo, but this pinot noir is on the darker side. If you are familiar with the KR 1001 pinot--it is more of what I think of as "classic" pinot than the D'Ontspille, both in terms of flavor and appearance.
In summary, I would say that the 2009 D'Ontspille was overall balanced and competent, but on the "big" side. Pinot Noir does not generally offer a very high QPR, and this is no exception. That said, it is drinkable and enjoyable, and would be a nice Pinot Noir to give as a gift to someone whom you know is fond of bigger reds. The label is classic Woot!, complete with entertaining copy and cool artwork, which adds to the fun gift potential.
Thanks to TPTB there at Wine.Woot for giving me the chance to Rat!
csg523 wrote:This is our First Golden Ticket! Nothing like free wine! Thanks Woot!
Very drinkable right out of the bottle,
Low tannins, very mellow. Virtually no “bite”
Good sipping wine for an evening on the patio or in front of the TV
After letting it breath for an hour it mellowed out a bit more.
Like most Pinot Noirs, it would be easily overpowered by a strong food. Tonight was pizza night and the wine did well with a basic pepperoni, but a spicy sausage and banana pepper topping tended to overwhelm the wine.
After dinner, like good little lab rats, we went looking for some cheese to have with our wine. We paired the wine with a Manchego cheese. The Manchego brought out additional flavors in the wine and the wine brought out additional flavors in the cheese. That really worked!
We buy a lot of wines in the ten to fifteen dollar range and have bought many of the Woot wines, so are quite familiar with typical qualities that you get in this range. This wine is a buy.
A fellow Wine Wooter stopped by and sampled. She will also be buying.
renae78 wrote:Lab Rat Report
Ok, this is my first lab rat report, so be kind.
A few days of anxious excitement after being notified that I had been selected as a lab rat, the FedEx guy walks in and says 'long day at work?' So glad I opted to have my Woot wines delivered to where I work, so I don't have to chase them down later in the day Of course, I had to open it right away to see what goodness awaited me inside. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Pinot Noir, and even better, a Woot cellars offer.
So work is finally done and I'm ready to crack this bottle open. Speaking of the bottle, let me just say that this is a classic Woot wine bottle; great picture on the front, clever name, and funny anecdote on the back. I don't buy wines because of the bottle, but I will admit that I like a good bottle design. This one will be added to my collection of 'keepers'.
Ok, ok...on to the wine. This wine has a very subtle bouquet upon opening. Fruit and spices came through immediately. I poured a small glass right away and noted cherry, currant, and a little pepper in the flavor. Little to no tanins and a very nice finish.
In an effort to give a thorough report, I patiently waited for an hour to let the rest of the bottle decant. It was quite a bit smoother after decanting, still with the cherry and currant flavors, but the spice came out a bit more, complimented by a slight tobacco flavor.
All in all, I really liked this Pinot Noir. Although there are prominent fruit flavors, it's not too fruity as it's nicely balanced with the spice and tobacco. It paired nicely with pasta, and imagine it would also pair nicely with steak. At $13/bottle shipped, a good deal for a very good Pinot Noir.
kernelf00 wrote:This is my first labrat report. Girl opened the bottle about an hour before dinner. We both thought the wine was very drinkable - especially considering its age. The alcohol seemed a bit pronounced at first, but that went away by the second glass. Girl tasted strawberries. I think is an otterific QPR - especially if you drink lots of pinot noir. Two thumbs up.
bblewitt wrote:Raticus Goldenus Ticketus checking in…
My day started like this:
Q: Is blah blah blah completed yet?
A: Working on it as we speak…
Q: Did you know that needs to be out the door in an hour or so?
A: Hmm, no I didn’t…
So when the bottle arrived I was pleasantly surprised!
I love the label – the character sort of looks like Spock’s first incarnation – the single raised eyebrow is a dead giveaway.
I chilled the bottle for about 10-15 minutes in the refridge.
On first open the color of this wine is amazing – I’d say candy apple purple. It has a deep deep vibrant and full color – very pleasing to the eye. I caught myself looking at the wine through the glass the whole evening.
I didn’t pick up much on the nose – a touch of alcohol perhaps. Honeybunch noticed the cherry in it right way.
On first taste (after about 10 minutes in glass) the cherry taste is very pleasant – dare I say subtle, with nice warm throat feel after cherry. The cherry taste seems to start near the front of the mouth and then slowly moves toward the throat. Wine seems possibly a touch green to me. Honeybunch says she likes it.
We initially had this wine with Tilamook Cheddar and Triscuits while cooking dinner. The cheddar is a tad strong for this wine in my opinion.
The cherry starts to get a tad stronger as we get ready to eat. I grilled some wild caught Alaskan Sockeye (with dry spice rub) and roasted some red potatoes with garlic, olive oil, pepper and salt. To say the least this wine was a wonderful paring with the fish. It has nice legs with food and complimented the flavor of the salmon very nicely. Not over powering, just right. It’s fairly light, but has good mid range flavor of cherry and maybe a touch of graham cracker. The Cherry starts opening up after 20-30 minutes. We did not decant.
Overall I’d say this is a nice wine and would compare to a $15-$20 bottle of pinot. I think this wine is a good value. I do think it could stand time in the cellar. I like this wine – honeybunch loves it.
SPECIAL LABRAT REPORT-BOTTLE SHOCK FREE
This is special because WD gave it to me.Thanks,WD!
This bottle of wine spent a night in St Helena,three days up and down mountains in Yosemite(in a sweet rented Cadillac),a night at the beach in Santa Cruz and a ride in my suitcase from SFO to DTW.Since Sept. 21 it has been sideways in my cave at a temp of 59-60 degrees.I gently turned it upright,carefully removed the cork,slowly poured some in a glass that someone told me was a Pinot glass and violently swirled it around.WAKE UP!
On the nose-my bad sense of smell is further eroded by the tenth day of the worst cold I've had in years,but I get a little of forest floor-wet leaves kind of funk.
Color-beautiful dark ruby.
Taste-Great!Tart cherry,nice light tannins,a little funk in the background.I haven't been buying much Pinot lately,but I really like this.
I got a couple of women to try this as they were packing to head north for the weekend(one just brought me 14 bottles of Racchus.YAY.the other my wife).They both liked it.Lots of help. I wanted to hire a pro to help me with this, but my new job from hell and this cold has taken up all of my time lately.I would have reported earlier but I didn't have the advance notice that the real rats had.
(Final?) Rat reporting.....
Our pinot-loving friends joined us for dinner. We started with a small taste of the wine out of the bottle. These are the combined comments from the group.
Aroma: earthy, woodsy, smells like a pinot, mushroomy in a good way, chocolately, some oak, some cherry. I loved the earthy aroma, and kept sniffing in my glass to enjoy it.
Taste: Fruit forward, strong cherry, some vanilla. Licorice? earthy-dirt taste (again, in a good way), some oak.
Mouth-feel: Very smooth, I felt a little kick at the end.
Finish: one-note - flavor does not change from start to finish, is consistent.
Next small pour, this time through the venturi, changed the profile significantly. Half the group said better, half said different, not better. The descriptors were very similar to the first round, except the fruit was much more pronounced, the dirt taste much less noticeable.
This wine was so easy to sip and drink, the wine didn't make it to dinner. We tasted it with several cheeses and crackers. One of the better cheese wines I've had in a while. It paired well with pepper jack, manchego and gruyere, and did not pair well with the aged white cheddar. We all made a face with that one. It also paired well with the roasted pepper hummus and the wafer sliced black forest ham. A few sips remained that we shared with the steaks. It was OK, but this is not a steak wine, and I didn't expect it to be.
I was pleased with the wine for the price. It's a very pleasant red sipper which doesn't have to be paired with food but does so very nicely. I think this would pair well with some Asian cuisines. This might be a nice Thanksgiving dinner wine. It will also pair well with a pork loin.
Thanks for the rattage!
Offer of 10/15 -- Armida Winery POIZIN - 3 Pack
This offer's pack:
I'm a Labrat for this one and I finally had a chance to sample this a little earlier today. I first went ahead and had it straight out of the bottle with pretty much no time to breathe. It's a nice dark red in color, and on the nose you get some cherry but also a bit of alcohol. The wine is very fruity up front with tastes of cherry and plum, then some oakiness comes in. It finishes dry and somewhat abruptly. The mouth-feel is nice and smooth.
After letting it open up a bit in the glass the nose lost most of the alcohol smell and I was able to detect some plum also. It's still fruity up front, but then I am also getting some chocolate flavor along with the oak. It still has a dry finish but its a much smoother finish and more balanced.
This wine definitely benefits from decanting and would probably also get better with some age.
I would say the quality to price is pretty good. I would be ordering some if I had not just placed a lot of other orders.
Lab Rat Here,
Before decanting this wine it smelled very fruit forward. First taste seemed a bit light for a zin. Then lots of spice up front with not much of a long aftertaste. Other tasters seemed to think it was more of toffee flavor than your typical tobacco zin.
Smells like cherries. It went fairly well with the zinfandel braised brisket we had for dinner. The bigger spice/tobacco flavor came out more as it decanted, as well as a cranberrry taste up front.
Would we buy this wine? Maybe. For the price its a decent wine. It would definitely be helped by laying down for a year or two.
Lab Rat Report:
Finally able to drink this tonight with friends. It's been a LONG week!
The group consisted of one regular drinking red wine buddy, one friend who rarely drinks wine and one who mostly drinks white. I took notes on what they said and on my personal impression.
Just opened and poured for non drinker and myself:
My impression: HOT HOT HOT HOT! Oh my GOODNESS! SO hot!
Non Drinking Friend: This is the worst wine I have ever tasted! AWFUL!
I told her to let it sit for an hour and try it again and she would be shocked at how different it tasted after that.
ONE HOUR LATER:
Now we are four:
Me: Heat is gone. Still very bold. I smell chocolate, cherry and coffee. (It's late now and we are pairing with dark chocolate covered pomegranates and some seed crackers. Taste SUPER bold. I can see how a couple of years will really burn off the rest of the heat and mellow this out nicely.
Non Drinking Friend: Still doesn't like.
Friend who prefers whites: Smooth, mellow, warm burn.
Drinking Buddy who loves reds with me: Earthy minerals/ chocolate/fruity/silky/likes!
As football moms we all stab the screw top! (It's such a pain to haul the corkscrew to practice! Easy pour from the LL Bean canvas bag to the plastic cup!)
Overall, I liked it. I have a Halloween party every year and I always buy the woot wine to serve. I have gotten the PoiZin in the past and loved it. I do stab the PS component too!
Thanks for the opportunity! I'm not super schooled, but I know what I like, and I mostly liked this. It's a powerful wine and not exactly what I would have expected from a Zin, but because I'm a PS lover (whore) it fit my profile perfectly!
Offer of 10/22 -- Twenty Rows Sauvignon Blanc - 4 Pack
This offer's pack:
Lab Rat Report
First off, while I enjoy wine very much, I'm not particularly good at picking out the flavor notes. But I do know what I like and typically I gravitate toward Zins and Sangiovese. Having said that, I live in the desert and appreciate a good white in the oppressive summer heat.
Wine is chilled. Pale yellow in the glass. Pleasant on the nose. On the palate it is very crisp and tart. Flavor lingers on the edges and tip of tongue.
For food comps, I have prepared a lemon/thyme/rosemary marinated pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, i.e. my 10 year-old daughter's favorite meal. The wine holds up well to the pork, with both hitting the same areas of the palate (i.e. edges and tips of the tongue).
Upon sitting and warming slightly, the sweeter, creamier notes begin to come through. I imagine these are the pear and honeysuckle notes.
After I made the dinner selection earlier today, I reviewed other food pairings, which included Thai. Typically, I drink a crisp beer with Thai food, but I can see how this wine would compliment my favorite Thai beef salad or spicy basil eggplant extremely well.
This is a good white wine. As far as the 500 cases being sold out within the first week goes, you should consider yourselves lucky to be among the few who get to savor this first vintage, and stop imagining that this is bunk. If you like white wine, you will like this wine. If you are not a fan of white wine, this will probably not change your mind.
Thanks to WD and wine.woot for choosing me to be a wine.woot Charlie Bucket this week.
First taste - hmmmm, think about it. Second taste, yea, I like it, but it isn't as sweet as I thought it would be. Crisp, almost crispy. I taste lemon. It feels good in my mouth. Glug glug, I do like it. It goes good with pork. I think this is a wine to definitely enjoy. I am happy to have had an opportunity to share my opinion.
My cousin, gf and me had this bottle with some sushi. I have only tried a limited amount of white wines (only one other sauv blanc) and seem to like sweeter ones like all of Scott & Jana's Rieslings. I took some pictures to show color, legs, the Riedel wine glass I broke, and some of the sushi we ate but have no idea how to post them so sorry about that.
My opinion: I found the same characteristics in what I smelled and tasted. Citrus, green grapes, balanced, crisp, clean, no off flavors. I liked the fact that there was no smell or taste of alcohol. With the sushi it did well but not with the ones that were spicy. The spice would take away the different fruit layers.
Cousin's opinion: A bit acidic with a hint of citrus. A sour taste that got sweeter as it opened up.
Gf's opinion: First impression, bitter. Very acidic, tastes like green grapes that get sweeter as the wine opens up.
FInal thought: It's great qpr. I don't think any white wine drinker will be disappointed with this offering.
Offer of 10/29 -- Bell Wine Cellars - 3 Pack
This offer's pack:
LAB RAT REPORT
I was shocked and stunned to find out on Wednesday that I would be ratting for Friday's wine. When I arrived I torn into the box to find the petit verdot. One Word Awesome!! As soon as you pour it you get this intense purple color it has an earthy smell and a nice smoky finish with a jammy flavor. I really enjoyed the petit verdot so i'm in for one woot. Hope my review helps
49pymouth wrote:Sorry I'm not a professional wine taster. But I like bordeaux, Cabernet, malbec and some merlot. If you like any of these then the petit verdot is right up your alley.
You don't taste any alcohol, its very similiar to a petit syrah, its not sweet at all, the finish is smooth with a smoky jammy taste. I would spend $18-22 on it in the store. No I didn't try with food but the label says it pairs with beef and cheeses well. yes I tried before and after decanting and its better decanted.
49pymouth wrote:The Word jammy ?I'm referring to is after the dust settles so to speak there is this strawberry like jam after taste. There are tannis but there not beastly. Its a nice wine I've never tried before and probably would never of tried. But i'm glad I was given the opportunity.
Offer of 11/05 -- Costa Del Sol - 5 Pack
This offer's pack:
I have been drinking wine for less than a year and don't know much yet about how to describe what I taste (oak, fruit, chocolate, etc.) ... but somehow I was chosen as a labrat.
I received the wine yesterday & opened it when I got home with my Taco Bell bag. My grandmother and I both agreed that this was a very good wine. It's a little lighter in flavor than I usually drink, but still very nice. I had two glasses and enjoyed the second one well after dinner was over, so it does go very well on its own as well as with Taco Bell. And cookies. Had cookies for dessert and it went well with those too.
I'm sorry I can't give a great description of what I'm tasting, but I can tell you this. We have a built-in wine cabinet that holds about 30 bottles. I've just bought a free standing cabinet that holds 88 more and am hoping it's large enough for all the wine we've bought recently that's starting to pile up. And yet even with all that, I'm debating whether to buy 1 or 2 of today's deal.
Summary: this is a very good wine at a very reasonable price. Buy some.
First Time LabRat
(hoping to be worthy of being chosen again)
Lab Rat Alert!
I was oh so excited to get the e-mail letting me know that I was selected to be a labrat and made a special trip to ensure that I could taste it right away.
When I opened the package, I only knew that it was a 2005 Napa Valley Red Wine blend. What pressure! Was it a cheap low end selection or a Meritage/Super-Tuscan masterpiece? I immediately thought of Italy when I saw the label and name.
I opened and poured. Nice dark red color and great legs. I detected no noticeable nose at first. I was surprised and confused so I asked the SO to sniff - still no noticeable nose. Swirled and sipped. Surprised by a burst of flavor that I had not expected! Blackberry, dark cherry, charcoal, dirt, tannic with a bite at the end. It tasted a bit hot right out of the bottle. It very much reminded me of the wines I tasted in Tuscany this past summer. The Italians suggest that wine must always be paired with food, so I tasted it with cheese and crackers. This big full bodied blend overpowered the swiss but went very nice with the gruyere. After 20 minutes, the wine started to open up. For the next glass, I poured through the vinturi and that made a big difference. I could smell the fruit and spice. The wine mellowed and no more hotness. Nice balance of fruit and acidity. I poured the rest of the bottle in to the decanter knowing that we would finish it off with dinner.
The wine went very nicely with the roast chicken. The wine out of the decanter tasted very similar to the wine passed through the vinturi. Still earthy, nice and smooth, good balance. As I drained the last of this delicious wine in to our wine glasses, I paired it with some dark chocolate. Delightful!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a first time lab rat! I really enjoyed this wine and I look forward to receiving my order!
I'm a first-time lab rat as well. And like some others here, I don't really know how to "properly" describe or rate wine but I do know it when I like one. This one was very, very good. Full bodied with a very smooth finish. We enjoyed it last night with spaghetti and meatballs. I've already spent too much on wine over the past month but I'm in again on this deal.
First time lab rat-
Made the girlfriend stay home from work to make sure we didn't miss the delivery truck. Got the text saying it was "Costa Del Sol Napa Valley Red 2005". Looked online and found a bottle for 13.99. So starting of I was a little disappointed it was an inexpensive wine.
Poured a nice bubble bath along with 2 small glasses. Color was nice and dark. Smell was hard to distinguish, but did manage to get a berry smell. First taste was a bold rich but not elegant or sweet taste.
My girlfriend is 13 years older with more experience in fine wines, and her response was "Its not great, but its not the bad". So there you have it Wooters. It's a good deal if you want to get an average wine at a good price.
I prefer Pinot Noirs but this seems to fall between a Cab/Merlot.
Lab Rat Reporting in.
I received the bottle on Thursday morning, but thanks to scheduling conflicts I was unable to get to it until Friday prevening. Like some of my fellow rats for this wine this is my first time being a rat. I have been using this site to sample many wines recommended by our host Wine David, but I lack the experience to describe the wine in terms like the professionals. I did stay at the Holiday Inn at least once in my life so here goes.
My personal preferences tend toward the sweeter whites with my favorite varietal being a Riesling. Therefore, I enlisted the help of a lovely coworker whose preferences are of the Pinot Noir variety. Our first glasses of the wine were a little colder than they should have been and they were poured straight out of the bottle. Her initial reaction of the first glass was "Ooh peppery" and I was pleasantly surprised for a red wine that its flavors were not too strong and there was only a very mild tartness to the tail of the sip.
We each consumed almost 2 glasses leaving about 1 glass at the bottom of the bottle. The only food pairing we had was some chocolate covered caramel brittle which seemed to go well. At the end her overall comment was "It was whole bottle drinkable" and I would say that it was good and the only thing keeping me from purchasing this is I already have too much red.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a rat and I enjoy Wine.Woot's community especially the lab reports.
Offer of 11/12 -- Truchard Vineyards Tempranillo - 4 Pack
This offer's pack:
Good morning everyone! I had the pleasure of getting to be a labrat for this Friday's deal which was very exciting! A fair warning that I have drank a fair amount of wine but am by no means even close to an expert. Also this was my first time trying a Tempranillo style.
I thought the wine was very good. The first thing I noticed was that it is very light for a red. It is easy to drink and my girlfriend and I found that our initial impression of "hmm this is good" grew to "I really like this" pretty quickly.
As for specifics regarding the taste of the wine, all I can say is that it was light and went really well with pasta and vodka sauce. Given its lightness I imagine it could go well with most foods. It is great by itself too as our first glass was pre-dinner. The wine has a very pleasant spice to it that is nice and subtle. The taste lingers a bit and is very nice on the finish. Overall not a very complex wine, but definitely enjoyable!
Hope I could be of some help!
(And I would buy this woot myself if I had not bought the last 2 Friday deals plus the Zins they offered earlier in the week... I am way over my budget!)
edit: I just noticed that the offer is 2 2004 and 2 2005, thought I'd mention that the one I tried was 2004.
Lab Rat Review- 2004
This was my first lab rat assignment- and I really enjoyed this wine (and not just because it was free!).
Now I have to put in the caveat that I'm no wine expert. I've done a few tastings, but that's it. This wine is very fruity, and not too robust and smooth. The reviews, winemaker notes, and woot description say it has a mineral finish, but my palate may not be refined enough to notice that part.
I found it an easy to drink red- my three glasses paired well with pasta, halloween candy, and nothing, respectively. I've never had a Tempranillo before, and although out of the reds usually prefer Syrahs and Zins, much more than Cabernets and Merlots but I really liked this one. I'm actually considering buying it myself, especially at this price.
Wow, first of all, based on previous rat reports I see I am going to be different. While I enjoyed the final glass of wine more than the first, I did not find this variety to be my cup of tea. I like Syrahs, Pinot Niors and Cabs. I also do not tend to buy budget wines any more thanks to Woot my tastes have moved upwards. So, I did find myself a little intimidated on the tasting note side, I've not EVER done this before.
2005 Truchard Tempranillo
A complex nose of ripe plum, cassis, and black cherry; accented with notes of tea, tobacco, and cedar. The mouth is smooth and rich, layered with flavors of red currants, rhubarb, and sweet vanilla. Chalky tannins focus the palate and provide a delicate finish of red fruit, mineral and spice
After 10 minutes in glass (Riedel Vinum Bourdeaux):
Appearance: Very brilliant black cherry color, not very thick, with LOTS of legs. No bubbles or sediment.
Nose: Pomegranate and vanilla. Found this very hard to pull individual scents due to the high alcohol content, had a very astringent nose. Did not find it very pleasant.
Taste: Earth forward, very dry, crisp acidity, tannic, and HOT. Medium body and average complexity. Found the taste harsh, believe this due to alcohol content and need for air. Didn’t find it very balanced.
Overall: Only drank about 2 ounces which took me 20 minutes as I considered my notes. Was not digging this wine. Needs air or decant time.
Bottle now open for 45 minutes. Considered again, and found no real change from above notes. So, I took the remaining 2 ounces of my glass and ran it through my Vinturi and added another 2 ounces from open bottle through Vinturi.
This really did change things for the better.
Nose: No changes to above.
Taste: Only changes from above relate to acidity. Understand that I love acid, so those sensitive to acid keep that in mind as I might rate acidity lower than you. The acidity taste was mellowed by the vinturi, found it vibrant. Found it not a hot this time. I never really know if a wine I find hot on the first glass and less so on the second to be if the wine has changed with decant time or if my state of mind has changed. Either way that always happens for me, so I lean towards it being me not the wine. Balance has improved. Find it average.
Overall: Find it much better than the first glass.
Went and made dinner and finished second half of the above glass. When I had read the yesterday morning email indicating I was selected for a Lab Rat, I pulled a copy of beef tenderloin fillets. So I pan seared the fillets, and sautéed The Touch of Satan (1971)ke (s-h-i-t-a-k-e) mushrooms with some green peas.
Bottle now open for 1 hours and 45 minutes. So, technically this is really only the second glass, as I’ve only drank about 6 oz. of the wine prior to this. It still needed the vinturi. This I found interesting. After almost two hours the wine was still too hot and astringent. The taste notes did not change from the second glass. It was only okay. Was better than average, budget wines.
Would I buy this wine? No Would it make a good Thanksgiving wine? Probably so for folks I know are not wine savy. Wish I could have made a better report.
I will try to respond. I honestly felt intimidated by the rat task. I honestly feel I need to be more involved with tastings with other folks, listening to them describe while I am tasting to help me understand the break down.
Now that said, the nose on this wine was very off putting to me. More alcohol smell than anything else. You asked about my sensitivity to alcohol, interestly my favorite wine right now is the Verge Syrah offering we had a few months back, in fact purchased a case from that winery yesterday. It's alcohol content is 14.8 which is higher than this, yet I don't feel the same about that wine as this one. Is this the spice I am suppose to be picking up? I really do not know. You mentioned tannin versus dryness... I wonder if it was a combo of dryness, tannin and alcohol. Since I obviously do not have an adversion to alcohol content based on my other likes, it must be some combination of these three things. My taste preferences at the moment are not very wide due more to exposure, as in I like what I like and haven't ventured out. So I've never had this varietal before, so could only compare it to what I do like. I honestly do not know if this was a good representation of this veriety or not.
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my review. This helps me as well as the community decide on if my taste can relate to their's. I have found though that there are folks whose tastes I relate to, and others I do not. Which reminds me, I am also a big PS fan.... LOVE PS. Surprized I left that out of my tasting notes.
Offer of 11/19 -- Ty Caton Racchus Reserve White Wine - 4 Pack
This offer's pack:
Lab rat reporting.
Color/Clarity: nothing really notable.
Nose: very aromatic. Candied papaya. A little cloying. The non-chardonnay varietals dominate.
Body: fairly rich and medium finish which if you prefer strongly acidic or crisp whites can be like an annoying houseguest.
Taste: mixed tropical fruit, but with a recognizable chardonnay structure and mid-finish that betrays the nose.
Analysis: for an inexpensive table wine, you could do worse. This is a product with more complexity than you might expect in $5-$15 blend. For sure it is schizophrenic but some varietal character shines through, which is much more than you can say for a lot of popular brands in this price range. If that Yellowtail 1.5L in the grocery aisle tempts you, absolutely do yourself a favor and splurge on this bottle. For everyone else, this mash-up tastes about how you might guess based on the composition and reasonable pedigree. A pass for the strict chardonnay drinker, a possibility for the adventurous pinot grigio enthusiast. I’m guessing I don’t need to give advice to those who know what a Rhone style white is.
For a point of reference, the other bottles available for drinking last night in our house included: 05' Peju cab, '07 Lewis Cellars cab, '06 Sanguis Novillero, '04 Frazier cab, '05 Shafer relentless Syrah/PS blend, and '06 Mecury Head cab. (we had a bottle of Peju after the lab rat bottle). While we mostly consume more serious Reds occasionally in the summer months we open some whites. When asked for her opinion/tasting notes my wife provided: "Non-objectionable nose presents hints of grapefruit. Acidic taste with disappointing finish." She obviously didn't take her task as seriously, I think she just wanted to get on to the Peju. Hope this helps!
LAB RAT checking in!
Received the golden ticket along with the bottle yesterday. Decided to throw a big chunk of skin on salmon under the broiler for dinner. Thought about it a while, and opted to gently place the fish in the broiler.
The wine had a tropical nose, kiwi, pear, maybe a peach or two.
I thought it had a good weight, I think do to the all the not chardonnay stuff. I also liked the acid...enough to wake you up, but it didn't dissolve my tongue. On the taste to me and ladyParyb, it was a big mouthful of dried apricots. I was suprised at the amount of flavor, reminded me of one of those big balled Italian whites. All in all it is a straight forward tasty white, not the most complex thing in the world, but really not supposed to be. I actually think this would be great wine for grilling. Luckily in southern New Mexico it's always grilling season. Going to grab some of this up, for a hot January afternoon in the back yard!
Thanks WD and Crew, Cheers Ty!
Behold my world of woot!
EDIT: Woot! Woot! bonus points on the shirt there is a woot monkey on the bottle, but he got cropped, also see the poster behind my head? We be wine geeks.
Offer of 11/26 -- Woot Cellars ‘TWAS, A Right Jolly Old Red Wine - 6 Pack
This offer's pack: