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jackiecanev2 wrote:

I ratted. Will write actual report tomorrow, but it won't be very exciting: 99% sure I got a turned/corked bottle. Bad smell, flat papery taste, unpleasant finish, bad color. Passed it around at dinner thinking maybe I'd gone mad, but it was unanimous. We went through a half-dozen bottles tonight with as many people, but the 'Twas is still sitting half full on the counter. Which is a shame; woot cellars is generally an auto buy for me, but now I don't know what to do!

EDIT: Ok, so heres my full labrat report:

Fedex bring the bottle early Wednesday morning; I crack open the package and...

Woot cellars!
Total score.

...Woot cellars made by.... Lucas and Lewellen?

Even better.

Needless to say, I was enthusiastic. Either my SO or I has purchased a case of almost every woot cellars wine in the past couple of years, and for the price we've yet to be disappointed. We settle for her picking up two of the Corison, and we'll be in for three 'Twas on Friday. We're running low on daily drinkers anyway. The bottle, now, seems like a formality: a fun, delicious treat of a formality.

Cut to: Thanksgiving. It was a long, tempting wait. We had the right mind to crack it open Wednesday with the homemade pesto-mushroom pizza we made, but figured we'd be responsible labrats and get tasting notes from our Thanksgiving guests as well.

This was the first bottle we opened, served with cheese appetizers before dinner. I popped the cork, and took a whiff from the bottle, anticipating sweet, sweet vict.... uhh, hmm. Maybe I should pour it.

Half the bottle goes to decanter #2, and a little gets soiree'd into a glass. Took a whiff and.. well, uh. Yeah. This is going nowhere. A peek at the color under the kitchen lights is a little dark, teetering on brown. Maybe it's just my eyes. And my nose. Maybe I'm getting that cold everyone in the lab is getting and this is the first sign...

First sip: it's not just my eyes and nose. The damn thing is flat, no fruit at all, mild tannins, overpowering funk. The finish tastes like my gym bag smells. What did I just eat? Had I munched on something without realizing it? I gobbled up some cheese, grabbed a new glass, and waited to pour from the decanter.

An hour later, the overwhelming funk is gone, and it has settled into a state of soggy, papery mess and everything that implies. The SO takes a sip and passes it on with a face that causes the gentleman she passed it to to immediately pass it again. Around the room it went, and the consensus is the same: we've been corked.

I get that it happens, and par for my course: get a free bottle of one of my auto-buy daily drinkers two days ahead of time, right before the holidays... of course its corked.

That said, I'm in for one. Not three, like I'd be had I never gotten this bottle... but we're still going to give it another go. Worst case scenario is that they're ok and we just don't like it, in which case...

...Christmas gifts!


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mjforres wrote:
This is my first time as a lab rat. And while I know what I like (that would be wine), I don't really have any experience writing about wine.

First Impressions: Yay, it's a Woot Cellars offering! I've never been disappointed in one yet. It came one GoVino glass which I thought meant that it was a single serving and I should drink the whole bottle myself. My wife disagreed.

It was chilled from being in my car for a few hours. I poured most of it into a decanter and splashed a little into the GoVino glass. It is definitely fruity.

Not much of a nose but after 40 minutes in the decanter it was still very fruity and with noticeable tannins. It seemed to have a touch of sweetness when paired with our roast beef salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.

The wine opened up nicely by the second glass so I'd say at this age to decant for an hour. It's a really good wine for a holiday party.

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yorkr wrote:
YAY, my first Lab Rat.
Participants: myself, my wife and my brother who has a start up winery which you can find here -

Served with cheese and crackers and some buffalo/goat meatballs.
While i have been fretting over what to write,it appears all I need do is to testify to the notes on the front page. Fruit, lots of fruit. Medium body with light aromas. The nose does carry over very nicely to the pallete however which is a good thing.
Well balanced and good mouth feel. At 14.5% the alcohol does cut through just a bit.My wife also detected some hints of cinnamon.
From pop and pour to several hours the wine does soften and open up a bit. We had about a half glass left after 24 hours and did not notice much difference after that.

At 10 bucks a bottle a great bargin and perfect for the obviously intended holiday parties.

A note on the woot label. I have only purcahsed it once (Toothstejnn)and pretty good as I remember. I took a bottle to a Christmas party where everyone brings a bottle. There were 30 or 40 bottle sitting on the bar. Throughout the night I noticed several times where people would pick up the woot bottle look at the label and set it back down without bothering to taste it. At the end of the evening it was still 3/4 full...I guess sometimes the goofy label doesn't help

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joycem wrote:I ratted for the first time this week. I received my bottle of 'Twas Wednesday afternoon, the Knot a Creature variety, and could hardly wait to try it out. My husband and I shared it over an intense game of Scrabble and a dinner of Cornish Hen and asparagus. I thought the wine quite drinkable, though a little thin and acidic for my taste. It did improve after being open for a while. I lost the Scrabble game.

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cjsiege wrote: We were fortunate enough to be ratted as our gift for the NoVA/DC get-together yesterday. Looks like I'm the first person from our group to chime in. (Well, it *was* a rather late night!)

As an opener, I am a huge fan of the L&L winemaking style. This wine is very much in that style. So if you are a L&L fan and have not already hit the big yellow button, you really should get to it.

We did the tasting in 2 stages. First was a pop & pour. Then we put the remaining 2/3 bottle into a decanter and let it sit for...oh...probably 45 minutes.

Pop & pour impressions: The nose took a little while to develop. Not surprising, given that this was bottled pretty recently. Interesting mix of fruity with a touch of leaves/earth. Color is deep ruby, more translucent at the edges. (Also not a huge surprise given the composition.) On the palate, the Barbera was the star. Great, dense, lush mouthfeel, across all parts of the palate. Lots of dried fruit notes (red currant, dried cherry, dried cranberry). Very interesting dark chocolate notes. I don't recall anything "out of the ordinary" about the finish - nothing out of sync with what you would expect of a cab or barbera. We were in the "appetizer" portion of our leftovers feast, and had a bowl of salted cashews and a platter of apricot-goat cheese-candied pecan thingies on hand. Both the sweet and the salt went very nicely with the wine.

Decanted impressions: *Now* the CS has shown up to the party. Where the pop & pour was all barbera, the decanted glass is all young cab. The nose got brighter and quite a bit hotter. Some more herbal notes started to come through. On the palate, the fruit of the barbera has muted quite a bit. Now there are quite a few herbal notes (thyme? marjoram?). There is a sour cherry/sour plum component that I normally think of with CS. The tannins are present on the center-line and edges of the tongue. There is a green pepper component on the finish. We were in the "dinner" portions of our leftovers feast. I had roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and chicken pie on my plate. The wine was a bit too tannic to map well to our feast.

I think the wine is a little disjointed right now. Sizeable difference between the pop & pour and the decanted versions. If I were to serve it right now, I would prefer the pop & pour version. Personally, I would not decant or vinturi this wine right now. For me, the young CS part is too immature to be a suitable dining companion.

Everyone in the room said they are looking forward to seeing how the wine integrates over time. We all think this one will just get better. We were sent 3 bottles (one of each label), but only consumed 1. The group is planning to lay the other 2 down and try them again at the 6 month and 1 year marks. Pretty much everyone in the room who has had Woot Cellars "holiday" offerings in the past has learned to settle their bottles down for a long winter's nap (bad pun intended) and wake them up in about a year.

I think one of the best indicators of the wine was the fact that everyone who had *not* yet gone in for the offering was whipping out their smart phones to place an order. I was quite happy sitting in the corner, proclaiming that I had a full case coming my way.

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Offer of 12/10 -- Red Zeppelin Winery Black Zeppelin - 2 Pack

This offer's pack:

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yxmarino wrote:

We started the evening drinking two bottles of Caymus Cab, which could be either a very good or a not-so-great start to the Black Zeppelin Petite Sirah. During dinner, while anxiously awaiting our opportunity to act as lab rats, we decided we would try to work the word fecund into the review. We weren’t able to work it in naturally, so we decided to force it instead. After a brief discussion of the benefits and detriments of Apple vs. PC, we tried the wine. The color was very deep. It had a tangy start and the end made one of us want to lick the top of his mouth like a cat. Seriously, we tasted the wine repeatedly to get a good sense of the components. We could discern hints of pepper, cherry, and blackberry, but we had a hard time overcoming the initial smell (somewhat like moldy bathwater). The longer this wine decanted, the better it tasted (and smelled). We would definitely recommend it, but not after Caymus. After seeing the price they are selling this for I would recommend not only buying 2 for you but also buy a few for friends as a holiday gift! GOOD BUY!

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vschweitzer wrote:

First time Lab Rat here and not a regular to the Wine Woot conversations, so have mercy...

Receiving the bottle yesterday was a total surprise (and delight), but unfortnately a long work day meant we didn't have time to prepare the appropriate meal to match the PS. No wonderful red fatty meat fresh and waiting to be prepared in our fridge ... with that caveat, I enjoyed it quite a bit with soup and salad.

Noticed the beautiful deep purple garnet color and strong fragrance right away - I found it a nice, fruity smell unlike previous LabRat that referred to bath water. I decanted because it seemed young for a PS. Great fruit smells and flavors - cherry, plum - and a nice spicy finish. Tannic but not overly so. I'm working my way back to heavier wines as the temperature drops and this got me as excited as anything could for winter. Overall, I found it delicious and put quite a dent in the bottle ... wish there was a second one to hold onto for awhile, guess I'll have to purchase a two-pack (or two) today.

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srpete wrote:

Lab Rat reporting - first time - go easy on me! I had to wait until Friday afternoon to open the bottle - waiting for some lab assistants to be available to taste with me. Initial pour found the wine to be intense and very dry. Beautiful deep dark purple color. Scent was nondescript. One lab assistant said it was middle of the road wine, very safe, what people expect to drink at a wedding for example. Full of oak and plum. Good for everyday or at least every other day. Other assistant just said this is really good wine that he would not get tired of drinking. Third assistant said it was peppery and noticed very dark cherry fruit flavor and he could drink the whole bottle (of course I did not let him).

After open for about 10 minutes the wine mellowed significantly. We found it greatly enhanced by the addition of food - bagel chips and olive cream cheese dip and serrano pepper cream cheese dip.

About three hours after opening I am home with the rest of my wine. And it has opened up to a very smooth, mellow, luscious wine. I had tenderloin of beef with stir fried vegetables and it was a perfect addition to my meal.

This is a well structured wine with a nice complexity. As a general rule, my favorite wines are big, hearty, dry reds and this did not disappoint in the least. My favorite varietals are cabs, PS, tempranillo, and malbec. Highly recommend. I had the three pack of Zeppelins in January and although I don't remember specifics about them I remember that I really enjoyed all of them. I am signing off now to go place my order for 4 bottles of this PS.

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Offer of 12/17 -- Iron Horse 2006 Sparkling 3 Pack

2006 Brut X
2006 Classic Vintage Brut
2006 Russian Cuvée

This offer's pack:
meshachw (Russian Cuvée)

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meshachw wrote:

Finally got to lab rat!

So, I was supposed to get it yesterday but did not receive till today, so I'm a little late to the game.

First and foremost, I have enjoyed Iron Horse sparkling in the past. Especially the "Wedding".

The setup:
My girlfriend, Emily, and I just finished a wonderful dinner at La Belle Vie, after watching the British Ad Awards at the Walker Art Center. Nice to finish the night with a wonderful bottle of bubbly. Thanks Woot!

If you are ever in Mpls, you must go to LBV. The Chef De Cuisine, Tim Mckee has been nominated a few times, and won in 2009, for the James Beard award. One of the best restaurants I have ever been too, and I've been to quite a few.

I received the Iron Horse Russian Cuvée 2006 (what exactly makes it Russian?)

Anyway, to the report:
The bubbles look good, and linger well. The nose is light, refreshing, crisp. Like a cold winter night. a slight hint of green apple.

The first flavor is of gooseberries and some grapefruit peel (A bit bitter in the aftertaste, but that only shows up in the first sip or two). Perhaps a bit of apple and rhubarb pie. Some toasty yeastiness (nice, not bad). More tangy then I am used too. Some tropical notes in there too, like young pineapple and a note of Guava. There is something earthy, almost woooly, like the smell of a tweed jacket, just in from a cold day. It's really hard to put my finger on it, but it is interesting.

Emily found it nice and liked the flavor, upon further prodding she said she said it tasted of pears right away. "Very drinkable" she says.

All in all, a nice bottle of bubbles. It took a while for me to really enjoy it (which may be because I am trying to dissect it for my fellow Wooters) but now I find it complex, light and very drinkable. It is unique, likable and would be a good gift.

Enjoy and happy ChrstmahanaAshuraKwanzaa!

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Offer of 12/31 -- Fess Parker Traditions Port 375 mL – 3 Pack

This offer's pack:
Phil Alexander

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beachbabe wrote:

Lab rat reporting in! What an honor to be selected...truly...and an extra added bonus - we love Port. This Fess Parker selection is yummy. You can read the description from the bottle and it's true - "well-balanced, sweet, soft and rich."

My husband and I love port and belong to a port wine club in California. This port is as good as any we've tried from the club. I especially like the way the sweetness lingers on the tongue. Don't worry though, it's not a "sweet" wine, just rich and luscious. Try this port and you won't be disappointed.

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Phil Alexander wrote:

Oma (Visiting grandmother who should not have participated in this test due to dental surgery):
Tastes like Portuguese port but not as creamy. It is wine. Tastes expensive.

Akina (Japanese Woman who likes and buys ONLY cheap wine):
Pretty sweet. Would pay $8 for it. Tastes expensive.

Stacie (American bougie who likes to drink Woot Wines but never orders anything herself):
looks to thick and murky, like trublood. Pleasantly surprised by taste. Not too sweet. Creamy and smooth. Would pay $30 but no more.

Marc (German intellectual snob who loves a good wine but has no idea how to identify one):
Yummy in tummy. Fruity, thick, sweet but not sugary. You can taste the higher alcohol content but it worked well for me with Guatemalan Chocolate and home made pear-cranberry cake. Would spend $20 on it but doesn't have to since we were selected as lab rats.
I am not a desert wine person but would not snub my nose at this one.

The 375 ml did not survive the night as the four of us had to retest immediately.

Thank you kindly Woot for selecting us as lab rats.

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Offer of 1/7/2011 -- White Oak Winery Sauvignon Blanc - 6 Pack

This offer's pack:

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kali2 wrote:

This was my first labrat and I came home from work early to see what was delivered. After first having some smoked salmon, this was perfect. A mild fruity aroma. A little spicy. Dry. The spicy garlic spinach was finished and soon the bottle was empty and we were wishing we had another one.

Definitely am in for one!

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haileykuhn09 wrote:Fellow W00ters,

Just got off a plane and thankfully someone was at home yesterday while I was out of town. We're breaking into the spoils right now. The color is a light straw (as expected)and a fruity nose - melon, passion fruit. We're surprised how much fruit there seems to be upfront in contrast to our recent Chilean Sauv Blanc experience. The first hit is mild fruit followed by more of the herbaceous flavors, but these are subtle. There is a hint of minerality but and we would not call this a crisp wine. Due to the late hour and empty fridge, we're tasting it with some cheeses and crackers and it's enjoyable but not challenging or highly interesting on the palette. It's incredibly drinkable - but perhaps a little thin to the CT reviewer's comment. We'll gas it and post back tomorrow after some food if interest seems to be there.

haileykuhn09 wrote:
Labrat chiming in again - day 2 after gassing it last night. The temperature is a bit colder than when we had it at 3 AM and the fruit seems to be tamed a bit more and more minerality comes through. It was a great complement to a pasta with roasted chicken. There is a nice elegance to it with food. We're liking it more tonight.

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scotteik wrote:My first time as a Labrat, and thankfully I had already planned the perfect dinner with this one. Me and my wife are not avid white wine drinkers, we definetly prefer reds, even if it doesn't pare well with what we are eating. This was a wonderful surprise, it wasn't too fruity and was rather dry for what we expect from a white. We both enjoyed this wine pared with the dill encrusted salmon I prepared. And the price is great, I think I may be in for 6 more bottles, but I would want to be sure to finish them off in the year (no letting a couple age in the cellar for 5 years)

A definite price performer for a white.

How do I get the LabRat picture in my post?

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joshsting wrote:

Lab Rat Reporting in!

Could you imagine my disappointment yesterday when I went online to enter my tasting notes and be in for one, and all I saw was that it was sold out? Well, here's my notes anyway, and I guess I should just be happy that I got one bottle to enjoy...

Refrigerated before opening. Popped and poured, very light straw color. Aromas of fruit: pear/melon/green apple. First taste fruit mouthwatering acidity. Much less acidic than the Twenty Rows that was wooted a few months ago. Swirled and tasted again. Still very fruity with a very light green grass and mineral background almost covered by fruit. Finish is long lasting with very balanced acidity. Let the glass sit for 20 minutes to warm up. The fruit bled off and the minerality was much more noticeable but the normal green flavors of SB were not really there. This wine was a stark contrast to the Twenty Rows that we had previously. Much lest crisp with less green and less acidity. The wine went well with fish for lunch and then we stoppered and refrigerated until dinner. At dinner the wine had a bit less fruit so I doubt that it would stand up for more than an afternoon or so after being opened.

Some might say that this is too fruit forward of a SB but I like my whites fruity. I would always drink this wine very cold. Once again I wish this hadn't sold out as this wine had a great QPR.

Thanks for the opportunity to rat, and I hope I get another chance soon!

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Offer of 1/14/2011 -- Copa Del Rey Chilean 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - 6 Pack

This offer's pack:

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liska wrote:
Good morning, fellow Wine.Wooters!

I'm going to preface this report with two caveats - one for the wine, and the other for myself. This wine arrived on a 15 degree (and I don't mean Celsius) morning. It did get nine hours inside to settle down before opening, but it probably had a rough night on that FedEx truck. As for myself, I like what I like, but I'm not particularly fit to give an educated review (I’m learning from you all though, so someday….). That said, I’ll walk you through the evening this bottle and I shared with my beer-snob SO, and hopefully give you enough to decide if you want to give the Copa a go.

I don’t have an aerator, so I poured myself a glass, took a sip, then very resolutely set it down to breathe. Upon opening, the nose was something I could only describe as “old book.” The mouth-feel was heavier and more puckery than I typically would like (would that be tannins?), and while the taste was not offensive, there was no particular standout flavor. Half an hour later, the both the nose and the flavor had softened quite a bit, and “old book” settled into something distinctly leathery. It had quickly upgraded itself from Tolerable to Passable.

At the one hour mark, the SO arrived home with our dinner of choice on nights when we both work late: crusty bread and stinky cheese, specifically Cambozola and a brie. I also got out some rich Spanish olive oil and a bit of the Aux Delices white truffle butter from its last wine.woot offering. The SO’s pre-food assessment was: “Old leather bench. And wood. But not pine. Hardwood. American oak, maybe? No, black walnut.” He’s not an oenophile, but he is a carpenter, so I trust his palate for wood shavings. The verdict was in: this wine is leathery and woody and a bit musty, but not unpleasantly so. There was also a slight hint of vegetable, but neither of us could quite place our finger on which one - maybe carrot or tomato? - it was just a hint.

Enter the food.

This wine loves robust fatty food. A sip between bites brought out the signature note of each of the aforementioned toppings we so lovingly applied to our bread. The foods became softer and richer with the wine, while the wine itself didn’t beg for attention. We were so enthralled with this transformation that we decided to split the last glass over a dessert of caramelly gjetost cheese and chilli-infused chocolate. Again, the wine loved the cheese, although something terrible happened when it hit the chocolate - we assume the chillies are to blame, so I don’t know that I’d serve this with a spicy meal.

Had this been $49.99 for three bottles, I’d be on the fence, but at under $10 a bottle delivered, this will be a worthy companion to my next cheese board. In for one!

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spuds89 wrote:With many apologies……

(singing) I never thought my life could be
Anything but wine-tastrophe
But suddenly I begin to see
A bit of free woot wine for me

'Cause I've got a golden wine woot ticket
I've got a golden twinkle in my eye….. (singing ends)

I cannot begin to describe the awesomeness of the moment I checked my e-mail and saw that I had been selected to be a Labrat! Oh my. The giddy heights. The dizzying euphoria. Could it be real? Could it be true? I had to sit down.

Oh. Wait. I was already sitting down. Hmmm….perhaps that acute vertigo isn’t completely gone ….

Bliss. Pure bliss. The frenzied e-mails to my husband, Mr. Spuds. The immediate checking and re-checking of the Fed Ex website. Will the wine be delivered before I leave for the day? What will it be? Red? It has to be a red, right? Oh…the anticipation.

Slowly the full impact begins to dawn on me. Uh oh. I’m actually going to have to drink a bottle of wine I’ve never tried before, take notes, and somehow come up with a Rat report that’s worthy of winewoot. Oh no. I don’t think I can do this. I’m still a young wine drinker. I’m still learning to make friends with red wines without getting migraines. Much biting of the nails ensues. What am I going to do? Why did they pick me? What does “fruit forward” mean? What does “new wolrd” vs “old world” styles mean? How do I learn to taste that in 15 minutes?

Then the full horror sets in. (Gulp) Thursday is sushi night in the Spuds household.

Oh no!!! Maybe it will be a white wine. Maybe it will be something that works with sushi. Maybe. Maybe.

Nervous pacing until the box arrives.

(Melodramatic crescendo music) It’s a 2008 Copa del Rey Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s NOT gonna work with sushi! Much weeping ensues.

When I get home and finally manage to explain to Mr. Spuds that we MUST drink the wine tonight (He was hoping we could enjoy it over the weekend. He had not yet been trained in the ways of the Rat.), my nervousness is at a fever pitch. Will I even be able to open the bottle?

Phew. The bottle opens easily. We immediately poured a little bit into a glass and started the whole gaze, swirl, sniff, sip, rinse, repeat process.

Hmmm….visually it looks like Welch’s grape juice. That’s typically not my first thought about wine. Okay. Moving on. Maybe there’s just too little in the glass to give a sense of the full color.

Sniffing ensues. (My palate doesn’t have a large vocabulary so Mr. Spuds had to help. And the words we use may be the same words that “wine people” use but may mean something different. So I’ll try to offer extended explanations when possible.) Fruity. That’s what I got. I smelled fruit. Mr. Spuds took a try. Cherry jello. Evidently I’m easily suggestible because with that thought in my head I picked up notes of cherry as well.

After the first sip we had two words to describe the wine. Dry and smooth. Now our use of “dry” and “smooth” are probably NOTHING like how any knowledgeable person on winewoot would use them. So here’s what we think when we use those words.

Dry- It left my mouth completely dry. Seriously. As I sipped with wine all moisture left my tongue, the roof of my mouth, everywhere. My mouth was left totally dry. So I’m not sure what real wine-terms should be used to describe that, but we used the word “dry.”

Smooth- It didn’t seem to have the warm-you-all-the-way-down-to-you-toes feel that reds sometimes have for us. It went down smooth. And since I like the warming sensation, that was a little disappointing.

Our first impression was that it was an okay wine. And we were curious to know how it would taste after decanting.

We decanted it and let it breathe for 2 hours.

When we came back it didn’t seem as “dry.” There was still some moisture left on my tongue. And it didn’t seem to hang around very long. It didn’t linger on the palate for any real length of time. (Does that mean it had a short finish?)

Overall we thought it was drinkable. Nothing really exciting, but it was drinkable. (But please, for the love of everything good and holy, don’t drink it WITH sushi!)

In keeping with the Willy Wonka theme, Mr. Spuds said if it had to relate it to a Willy Wonka character he would call this wine Mike TeeVee. It wasn’t very complex like Willy Wonka. It wasn’t full bodied like Gustav. It wasn’t self-centered like Veruka. (Okay….that’s a stretch!) It was just a basic, simple wine. A Mike TeeVee if you will.

So there it is. My first Rat report. Was it okay? Could somebody pass me a glass of that Shnozberry Vino now?

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xetnec wrote:

Hello Everyone - another LabRat here.

Let me start by saying that I'm fairly new to the game, I've only been interested in the "vintage" wine categories for about the past two years. I've grown my personal cellar to about 3 dozen bottles of mostly cabs, syrahs and pinot noirs and have tried probaly 40 or 50 different wines in total. So with my limited experience, here I go.....

Upon opening I noticed a very earthy, almost "wet garden soil" aroma. My first sip brought the dryness mentioned in the earlier posts by liska and spuds89. Flavors that I could identify were hints of fruit (not sure what best describes it - maybe red grepeskins?? or maybe that's just the astringency - definately a dark fruit tone but just a hint of it), dominated by leathery, woodsy overall flavor. I also would comment on the smoothness - very nice, no "bite" like some Cabs I've tried.

I "vintolated" a glass and also poured a second glass to let it breathe for an hour or so. The vinturi definately opened up the nose of the wine but didn't do much for the tannic dryness in my opinion. The wine retained the "smoothness". The finish tended to be a bit peppery with a residual astringency that carried a overtones of alum? - not sure how to describe it but it was almost metallic but not sharp like you would expect metallic to be.

After an hour I tried the second glass. It definately was the best of the three samples, with the dryness muted to a more enjoyable level. Otherwise the same basic properties.

For me personnally I'm not a big fan of the leathery, musty cabs so I wouldn't go for this, but for those of you who are I would think this is a decent value.

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Offer of 1/21/2011 -- Pellegrini Family Vineyards Mixed Case

2 2009 Pellegrini Family Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2 2009 Pellegrini Family Russian River Valley Chardonnay
2 Pellegrini Family Blend NV (Non Vintage)
2 2008 Pellegrini Russian River Valley Zinfandel
2 2007 Cloverdale Ranch Merlot, Alexander Valley
2 2007 Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet, Alexander Valley

This offer's pack:
GBrunner321 (Family Blend)
mrkevinkiley (Zinfandel)
michaepf (Cabernet Sauvignon)
paulbf1 (Merlot)
kjpolvado (Chardonnay)
mmonson (Pinot Noir)

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GBrunner321 wrote:

I was a lab rat on the blend. I had my father taste it as well since he has a more sophisticated wine palate than me. He felt it was very light bodied, not hearty and a bit tangy. I liked that it was light bodied and felt it was pretty smooth (he disagreed on the smooth part). I am not a big red wine drinker (I definitely prefer the whites) but I liked the lightness of this one and the fact that the taste wasn’t over-powering.

[Staff mod: report is on Pellegrini Family Blend NV (Non Vintage)]

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mrkevinkiley wrote:

There are two wine consumers in this house; he who buys and she who imbibes. This review of PELLEGRINI 2008 Russian River Valley Zinfandel will have both our opinions, but will be written from my (the imbiber) point of view. I clarify because I can only be considered an oenophile in that I love wine but am, by no means, a wine aficionado or connoisseur. That being said, I love a good zin, usually much more than by better half. I was super excited to see that we were tasting the Pellegrini and couldn't wait for the fun to start.

As I put the bottle in the wine fridge to hang for the afternoon, I gave myself a little high five for changing my menu plans for the evening. I had planned on curried lentils, but after finding out we would be doing our tasting, I banked on red and went for spaghetti. This is not your throw some sauce together and open up a bottle of 2 dolla holla, but an all day affair of flavor building - beginning with San Marzano tomatoes, copious amounts of garlic, grass fed beef, fresh herbs... you get the picture. I bet well, as I don't think anything matches a good tomato sauce like a spicy zin.

We opened the bottle at 7pm and let it "breathe" for about 30 minutes before our initial pour. Husband put 2 glasses in front of me for a taste, one straight from the bottle and one using the Vinturi aerator. I was not overwhelmed by the nose. It wasn't unpleasant at all; on the contrary, it was lovely, just very subtle. There was the obvious berry, with a hint of floral and cinnamon, and as time passed through the night, some amaretto. My palate was happy from the get go with both, but could definitely taste a positive difference in the aerated glass. Both had nice body and flavor, but the aerated glass was more like a nice body that had just taken a yoga class. It was looser, more smooth, and the flavors met you with a confident calm. Don't take this for a soft wine, though. The flavors have some boldness and to my palate, a bit of tartness as well. Husband said, "It's not your straight forward, jammy, hit your tongue with a shovel California Zinfandel." Like a good wife, I concur.

At the open 1 hour point, we sat down with our spaghetti, alongside simple greens dressed in a lemon vinaigrette, and some crusty olive bread. The Pellegrini paired beautifully with our food. I thought the salad brought out a hint of citrus in the wine (although that could just be lingering lemon on my tongue!), but my overall impression was a very tasty wine that had richness to balance the acidity, big fruit, and a nice peppery finish. Husband was very content, although I don't think he liked it quite as much as me. He thought the Pellegrini showed complexity, and detected notes of blueberry, amaretto, and said something about 'a little butter cream with spice'. Pellegrini did a lovely job in crafting a very approachable zin at a great price point, especially with the Woot offer. It definitely piqued our interest in their other varietals. The sampler they are offering here seems to be a great way to, well, sample! We can always use the white for cooking! ;)

[STAFF MOD: I gather this is an official labrat? Correct me if I'm wrong.]

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michaepf wrote:

We received the 2007 Pellegrini Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

I'll preface this rat report by saying that, while I feel like I've learned a tremendous amount from the WW forums, I only started really drinking wine less than a year ago, and my palate is relatively unsophisticated. I do actually enjoy both fruit bombs and more restrained bottles (e.g. Caton and Corison, ha), but I don't have a great vocabulary for describing what I smell or taste.

OK, enough preface.

The fridge is set to 58 degrees, and I opened the bottle immediately after pulling it out. At this point I had also prepared NY Strip steaks for the SO and I with garlic smashed potatoes. So.

How is the wine?

Lighter in color than I expected. Red-purple under good light, with reddish edges. The wine is not opaque. The nose is restrained. Honestly, neither of us could identify anything except alcohol, and even that was muted.

A swirl in the glass, and the wine has some legs, but they're nothing to write home about... In the mouth, I thought the wine was light- to medium-bodied. There's some red fruit there, but it's quite restrained. Minimal acidity, definitely no RS. After some preliminary reading, I was looking for chocolate but couldn't find any. Tannins are there but also restrained, and there's some heat on the finish albeit nothing unpleasant. I wish I could add more, but we sort of struck dry...

Bottom-line? The SO, less polite than I, says, "It tastes like water. Alcoholic water with tannins." For me? It was a great treat to be a labrat, and the wine made for a nice excuse to have steaks for dinner. But with Caton, Corison, and Wellington in my cellar, I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it, and I won't be jumping in on this Woot. Sorry, WD.

P.S. We do have a decanter and have used it for wines that were obviously too young - big, boisterous bottles, excessive in their heat or fruit - but I didn't really feel that decanting would help the Pellegrini. So we didn't bother. YMMV.

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paulbf1 wrote:

First time Labrat for the Pellegrini 2007 Alexander Valley Merlot. First, a little about my background. I live relatively close to Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez and have been a "wino" for about 30 years. My wife and I even spent part of our honeymoon in Napa/Sonoma, where we still take occasional trips. That said, I'm definitely not a wine snob and avoid getting caught up in the tasting lexicon.

Now, on to the wine. I opened it at room temp (~70 deg) and first impressions were the aroma was a bit medicinal which I find common in young reds. The taste was also a bit harsh. I poured a glass and let it sit for about 2 hours (I hate the term "breathe") and that made a world of difference. The bouquet was now close to fresh cut rosewood and the color was a deep ruby. This is not the typical merlot I'm used to as it was much more intense than soft. More toward a light cab. It's fairly even, tart and the taste lingers for quite a long time. This is a big merlot that could use a few more years of aging. Drinkable now if you can wait the 2 hours to aerate. Highly recommended if you like a big, sophisticated Bordeaux style wine. Would make a great woot on it's own (hint, hint).

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kjpolvado wrote:Just tried the Chardonnay. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not a big white wine drinker, but I found this Chard to be very soothing to the palate. It was crisp with a hint of tart apple.

kjpolvado wrote:

Okay my wine consuming is my second glass report on the Chardonnay! The Chardonnay is direct - no surprises on the second glass. It is crisp with a soft finish. Again, I'm not a big white wine connoisseur, but found the Pellegrini Chardonnay to be quite refreshing. Oh, did I mention that I ran 18 miles today?!?

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mmonson wrote:2009 Pellegrini Pinot Noir....

Opened the bottle @ 11 PM Friday 21st.
Color: Purple/ruby with a brown tint ( very small amount of sediment )
Initial taste: Very young!!! A little funk after 5 minutes. Sulfur w/a bitter taste (green veggies like broccoli) not the slightest hint of Russian River hugo. Very thin.
(Un-scientific approach: dog sniffs glass. Sneezed.)

Let it sit over night with a Plunger Head stopper ( BTW: Woot should seriously look into Plunger Head wine ) & gave it a sniff @ 9 AM Saturday. THAT SUCKER OPENED UP!

Saturday 22nd, 5:30 PM:
Taste 2.0: Red berries, licorice & cedar (my observation) very clean w/moderate tanis ( and maybe rose hips )
Pairing: Black pepper crackers. Now the initial green veggies come out in a positive way. Very clean finish with a warm taste.

Bottom line: This is not the typical Russian River pinot that I grew up on. This is a wine that needs a MAJOR decant.
Would I buy a bottle ? Perhaps, but after letting it open up for about 12-15 hours.
Using the non-Agrajag's life Parker scoring system (that I developed & you can feel free to use) I would give it 2.5 drunken tourist on bikes lost on Old River Road out of 5.

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Offer of 1/28/2011 -- Gilbert Cellars - 3 Pack

1 2007 Allobroges, Columbia Valley
1 2007 Estate Syrah, Wahluke Slope
1 2008 Left Bank, Wahluke Slope

This offer's pack:
lassow (Syrah)
knotheadusc (Allobroges)

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lassow wrote:

Lassow, reporting for rookie lab rat duty!

Skip ahead to 10:26PM for the more objective section.

Boulder, Colorado, 1:16PM
Took delivery of surprise package at the office, resembling single bottle wine shipping box, and promptly open to make sure contents are intact. Cork is in the correct position in the neck of the bottle, doesn’t look like this froze or boiled anywhere from its FedEx Standard Overnight origination point. The wine is a Gilbert Cellars 2007 Estate Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Doc Stewart Vineyard. I have never had a single vineyard Washington Syrah, and from the region and looks of the bottle alone, I am thrilled to be lab-ratting this for the w.w community.

Arrived home and set bottle upright so sediment has a chance to settle to the bottom of bottle. I really do not like to open wine within 30 days after shipping, but in the name of rat duty, I will gladly oblige.
[edit] Oblige is not the correct word. I meant the opposite of oblige.

Remove USDA Prime Sirloin from fridge, season with a (not so healthy) dose of sea salt and finely ground pepper. Just like we always do it.

With a Cepage Laguiole wine key (the only single-hinged wine keys that actually work, and very well at that! Laguiole is a region in France that, I believe, has a patent on this particular hinge design), I peel the foil just below the lip of the bottle. The neck of the bottle is notably thick, almost as thick as a bottle of La Patriota. The top of the cork is signed with a ‘G.’ Remove cork from bottle with said wine key. The underside of the cork has a light stain from the wine. The slight smell fruit is emanating from the bottle at a distance of about 18.”

Pour ¼ glass into a Cabernet Sauvignon vessel, the remainder into decanter. The wine is free of sediment, and the color is almost exactly like the blend of purple and red on our current dish clothe. Quite lovely. I can just make out the pattern on the white paper towel under the glass while on it’s side. This is not opaque, over extracted juice. So far everything about this wine seems delicate. Maybe restrained is the right word... Swirl. Fine skinny legs, spaced between ½ inch to 1 inch apart. Fun to watch.

Please note I am not nearly as good as picking out smells and flavors as my lady, who will be joining us shortly. It is very difficult for me to put a noun on a smell or flavor in wine.

The aromas I pick up are initially fruit, but quickly divert to pepper and maybe, leather, and a bit of an earthy funk. Just compared it to the coriander in the cupboard, and the resemblance is there.

The taste review is going to have to wait until after more aromas stop showing through. Cocoa powder. I am pleasantly surprised at the depth of the nose coming from this wine. Sans the peppermint, this is reminding me of peppermint bark from the office earlier today, though not in a sweet way. Maybe it’s the lower dark chocolate layer, but different than that last scent of cocoa powder. This is continuously changing. I could be happy just burying my nose in the glass for the next 15 minutes, or at least until the steak comes to temp before grilling. Hopefully the steak will not overpower the wine, but the Gilbert Cellars website lists grilled meat as a good pairing.

The taste is like light raspberries, and somewhat tannic in the mouth. The dry mouth-feel is there, but I am hoping the steak does not overpower the flavor. The nose is becoming less multidimensional now and my glass needs a filling.

More to come.

Steak served, but not consumed.
Allison: Fruit leather. Well balanced, tannins not overwhelming, but provide structure. Leans to the fruity side of syrah more than the peppery side, but this is not a fruit bomb. Again, really well balanced and structured. Slight aromas of rose.

We are trying it with steak now. In her words, "Delicious with steak!"

This does indeed stand up to some fatty red meat.

More from Allison: Nothing really POPS. This is a good thing because not one flavor is overwhelming. The flavors are not quite elusive so much as harmonious. It is fun to drink a wine that keeps me guessing! The fat on the steak is like salty candy.

lassow wrote:
Thanks for all the kind comments!

Just another something to add...

Based on the tannin factor and how well integrated this Syrah drinks, we think this could be a drink sooner rather than later bottle. Curious to see how this drinks when it gets the chance to settle down a few weeks/months after shipping.

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knotheadusc wrote:I was a Lab Rat for this particular offering as well! This is my first Lab Rat assignment, so I hope I get it right.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a bottle of the 2007 Allobroges from Gilbert Cellars yesterday. It so happens this particular winery is based in Yakima, Washington, where my husband once lived, courtesy of the Army. I've heard him talk about the area a lot, so it was pretty cool to get wine from there. Anyway, I waited for him to get home and help me taste this wine because he's much more into tasting the flavors than I am.

Unfortunately, instead of duck or steak, we had flounder for dinner, which I don't think really goes with this particular wine. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it. My husband opened the bottle and let it breathe for about an hour. I found it very smooth and drinkable from the very first pour, with a nice medium bodied weight.

To be honest, the very first thought I had when I breathed in the bouquet was that it reminded me a little of Hawaiian Punch. Once I'd had a taste or two, the aroma was more like cranberries or raspberries. The label says I should detect red and black fruit, cassis, and licorice. My palate did pick up the fruits, but the licorice flavor was very faint to me. My husband claims he tasted it right off the bat. He also said that he could really taste the Grenache.

Once we got the mismatched dinner out of the way, we were able to enjoy this wine by itself and were both very pleased with it. I have a feeling we'll be taking advantage of today's Wine.Woot!, which may be bad news, since we have two mixed cases on the way!

Thanks again for giving us the chance to try something new and very different! By the way... can someone tell me how to get the fancy Lab Rat picture on my post?

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Offer of 2/4/2011 -- Copa Del Rey 2008 Chilean Chardonnay - Six Pack

This offer's pack:

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ptconroy wrote:

So imagine my surprise when I got the call from FedEx that I had to sign for a package arriving this morning, yet, my orders weren't scheduled for delivery until later in the week. It wasn't until I opened the box that I realized that I had been promoted to rat.

Besides being a little slow on the uptake, I (and Mrs. Rat) are not big chardonnay fans. So, pair my tasting notes with a large fresh plate of perspective.

The wine is very juicy with lots of fruit. I get some pineapple and some apricot. What sugars are present are nicely balanced with acid. It is also buttery without being too buttery (the thing that turns me off of most chards). This would be good wine for parties/picnics/outdoor BYOB events once the weather changes.

Mrs. Rat found the wine "inoffensive," high praise indeed coming from her, a dedicated red wine drinker. Having confirmed that the price was less than $10/bottle, she declared herself pleased. Later, she added "refreshing."

Verdict: Me likey. Wife happy. In for a case.

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earuesch wrote:

Rather remiss (and averagely alliterative) rat report:

So I was about to leave the house when the FedEx man rang my doorbell. He had a box that was roughly single-wine-bottle size. Christmas in February! Woot went all out on this one--springing for Saturday delivery and all!

The wife, I, and the wee ones had a three-year-old's birthday party to go to, so we weren't able to open the wine immediately. My feedback comes as soon as possible (9:15pm--about halfway through the bottle).

The verdict:

The nose is of wet hay or a fall rain with a lot of grapefruity citrus peel (if you were to go by more traditional descriptors, I would go with a butter-jasmine-grapefruit-melon with the butter dominating...but I like my description better).

On the palate, the wine is very clean, slightly mineral (in a good way), buttery (though not nearly as buttery as I was expecting from the nose), and very pleasant. There is no astringency; the wine is quite well-balanced overall.

This is solid juice. I would easily pay $15-20 for a bottle of this, and I don't generally drink whites. It reminds me a lot of a $28-ish bottle that I got several years ago from a very small Napa winery that was the first Chardonnay I truly enjoyed (though I would certainly stop short of saying that this could be a $30 bottle). I think this would go fabulously with something along the lines of a crab, beet, and radicchio salad in the summer (sounds weird? try it.) or a hearty seafood and potato creamy chowder/stew in the winter.

We had some friends over last night who commented on the dearth of whites in our collection (3 of ~98 bottles). This one's a great opportunity (in my amateur opinion). We're in for a case.

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babnak wrote:

My opportunity to rat for the first time is very exciting! Please note that I am generally not a Chardonnay person. I opened the bottle as soon as I walked through the door and attempted to drink it at room temp, bad idea. It was not bad but not as drinkable as it was chilled. After allowing it to chill the nose was buttery which surprised me because the room temp taste was not that buttery at all. After taking a sip or two it still wasn't as buttery as it smells. It is very crisp and refreshing to drink. The flavor of the pineapple is what stands out the most to me. The hubby tried it and was not impressed but he isn't a wine drinker at all, I tried to have another opinion but you don't want to know his. This isn't my thing but for someone that usually drinks Cabs this is something I wouldn't mind having this summer when it gets really warm, I can imagine this being wonderful in a Sangria. Thank you for the opportunity to Rat, I am ever so greatful to be able to try something new!

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Offer of 2/11/2011 -- Pear Valley Vineyards Syrah Vertical - 3 Pack

1 2005 Paso Robles Syrah
1 2006 Paso Robles Syrah
1 2007 Paso Robles Syrah

This offer's pack:
Kao1138 (2006)
ecue (2005)
elmoreal (2005)
crabbyman22 (2007)

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Kao1138 wrote:

Key Details
Rat Date: 02/11/2011
Wine: 2006 Syrah
Winery: Pear Valley Vineyard
Location: Paso Robles, California, USA

This is my first time labratting. Got the bottle roughly midday Thursday via overnight. Checked the label and then the winery site to see if I hit the jackpot and was ratting a black tie bottle.... no luck, bottle price from winery $25 ($17 from wine club) per bottle but still was excited to try a Syrah that was new to me.

I'd like to note this point that although I enjoy savoring a fine wine am not trained or practiced in picking out specific flavor notes and am inexperienced to say the least at putting my experiences with wine onto paper or a digital form thereof.

(all times are EST)

6:30pm – Opened bottle

6:30pm – begin 10 minute in bottle breathe

6:40pm – Begin 5 minute in-glass aeration
- Foregoing full decanting for now
- Wine color is an opaque dark burgundy to maroon, no visible sediment
- Smell is fruity and rich, smell is slightly reminiscent of spring flowers

6:42pm – Lost patience, took first sip
- Very balanced to start fading to quite a dry aftertaste (finish)

6:50pm – Allowed further breathing, about 3 fingers (to use an archaic measurement) left in glass
- More gradual transition from start to finish with the finish much more mellow than during first taste

7:03pm – Last smell and taste
- Smell is much more subtle, has almost a smoky element that seemed undetectable before
- the tail end has lost most of it's edge although there is still a slight bite

After notes:
- I waited after finishing my tasting notes to pour myself a second glass, this is a wine that definitely seems to benefit from a long time aerating. I did not use a decanter but that may speed up the process of aerating the wine versus allowing to breathe in the bottle followed by the wine glass.

- I did not pair with any food for my notes however I will note that this pairs very well with the Dark and Milk Fleur de Sel Chocolate Covered Caramels, admittedly so do most other things

Kao1138 wrote:I can only speak for the 2006 since that's all I received. The fruit is very upfront in the beginning however the taste stays until the end while changing into what I can only classify as a dry oaky flavor on the finish but with still a hint of the fruit. The finish teases into the next sip wherein the bold fruity beginning is replenished.

Edit: I am not fully versed in the etiquette of these things so unless someone advises me to do otherwise I won't add the rat header to any followups on this.

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ecue wrote:

Key Details
Rat Date: 02/11/2011-02/12/11
Wine: 2005 Syrah
Winery: Pear Valley Vineyard
Location: Paso Robles, California, USA

After Fedex showed up at my complex just as I was taking my trash out (shakes fist at sky), I had to call them to see if I could retrieve the bottle later that day. They said they could send the truck driver back. Yippie! A driver comes back, I buzz him in, only to find that he's delivering a case from the last wootoff, but no rattage warez. Blast it. About an hour later, another Fedex guy shows up with the singular bottle. "Bïtchin' Camero", as the Dead Milkmen once said.

About my tastes for reference; I like Cab Franc. When done right, all by itself, not blended. I'm deep like that. My standard is Cabernet Sauvignon, then Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, and then down the line. It's not that I dislike any wines, and on the right summer day, a white wine is just perfect, I just thought I'd mention it so you know my personal bias's. I also place the toilet paper on the roll with paper hanging out so it presents itself and is easier to tear off.

(all times are Pacific)

11:00pm • Put bottle in fridge

11:45pm • Took bottle out of fridge

12:00ish • Opened bottle. Alert the media.

12:15am • Finally got 3 stars on that friggin' level of angry birds. Fist arm pump like a hockey player.

12:30am • Pour into decanter and poured a glass straight, both with a soiree device...

Wine color is a rich ruby burgundy and velvet violet on the sides.
Aromas get complex if you start sniffing through your nose and open your mouth halfway through. Enriched with plum, raspberry, a slight wiff of walking by starbucks. The alcohol does tip it's hat.

1/8th of a pepper flake of sediment in my 1st glass- perhaps from the cork. I couldn't get it to show up with my iPhone cam.

The glass swirling begins.

12:45am • 3 sips.
- The tannins seem to give it structure but not in a chalky way (more like cedar). The alcohol sits in the back of your throat for a while. I wish I had my bigger wine glass. I suspect the decanting will do it's job. I know this is the 05, but still a bit young?

12:50am • Glass 1 finished. I take back the young statement. Maybe, a teenager. I'm getting more of the jam flavor you'd expect from a Syrah. It has texture, but not like a fruit bowl.

Glass 2 poured from decanter.

1:00am • Predictable. The alcohol has taken a backseat. I'm getting a bit more cherry flavor this time around. More spicy, currant and maybe sandalwood. Finishes with a blueberry hint with air. Still easy to drink, but smoother.

Zero sediment.

1:15am • Glass 3. More of the same. Either it's settled in, or my taste buds have. I like my red's coolish (not cold) like they were taken out of the cellar at night. Based on what I'm tasting, decant this for an hour. I know everyone says that about every wine ever made but really, do yourself the favor and wait (or at least pour into a decanter when you pour your 1st glass).

Epilogue :
• Decent value, even if the winewoot discount isn't huge, this should be a good one for people that don't have any Syrah's in stock. Bonus points to woot for vertical. If you moan about the black tie days, consider this one.

• This should pear well (see what I did there?) with practically any stinky cheese you can pick up at trader joe's, whole food's, or even costco.

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