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Offering of 9/29 -- Woot Cellars Tøøthstejnn - 6 Pack

This offering's pack:

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edthebedhead wrote:Lab Rat Report.

I haven't had the privilege and honor of lab ratting before... pardon the amateur report.

FedEx arrived 11:04am.

Much excitement felt throughout the apartment.

12pm. Lunch time. Pizza and The Red? Certainly most tempting. I'll wait.

After placing the bottle in the fridge, I head out towards Papa johns. I go past that terrible place, and end up at the hole in the wall pizza place which says it serves gourmet pizza. It has been delicious from past experiences. I pick up a few slices, and head back home.

T - 0.
Splendid pop! of the cork. no leaks. Looks good. I don't smell the cork. Perhaps I'll get some of these someday after graduation.

Using a plain ole wine glass for now, and standard decanter.

The temp seems right. Let is chill for a few, but just a few. It felt high 60's. Check with my hand. Accuracy counts you know.

1st glass right out of the bottle: Lighter color than I'd expected. Almost cranberry juice colored. Smell is a bit earthy and fruity.
1st sip. very smooth, crisp, light flavor as it hits my tongue. low/no alcohol. a touch a chocolate, smoke, and plum. Maybe a hit of blueberries. Leaving mouth a bit warm with mellow tannins and some noted acidity.

5 minutes in:
Still smooth but a spicy bite comes stronger and sooner. leaves mouth happy. Tannins and acidity certainly more noticeable. finish is a bit dry.

T + 50 minutes.
Excellent taste. Still smooth. Smell is more fragrant and enjoyable. A brief taste of standard red wine soon gives way to tastes of spice, a bit of plum. and another berry (black berry?), ending is a bit dry, and with some lovely tannins and acidity.

Extremely smooth and blends in with the excellent pizza. Very drinkable, and the wine and pizza both complement each other flavors nicely - leaving my mouth with a bit of zing and smiling for minutes. The flavor strengthens throughout the taste, from lips to swallow. Maybe a touch of cherry now. This is like an excellent table wine which has body, taste, flavor, and life to it.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of the evening... I'll be interested to read the other rat reports, and the other comments later this week.
I'm a fan. Thanks again WD. Cheers!
See you all soon.

edit. I have red teeth.

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artulo wrote:Gift of Tøøthstejnn the Red, initial report.

Box received at around 11AM by the ultra-friendly FedEx man who was surprised I was signing for my own package. Nonetheless the box arrived in good condition and the wine was already chilled to perfection, if not a bit on the cool side because the outdoor temp here in Madison was a comfortable 50 degrees.

Opened at around 8pm today. Color is a wonderful ruby-orange-pink. I did not decant the bottle and poured a glass for myself and my wife. Initial nose is earthy with ripened fruits. First taste is very cranberry with light sweetness and great acidity. Not hot at all (low alcohol), with a smooth mouth feel and light finish on the back end. So far the bottle has been open about 25 minutes and my initial reaction is very good! This is a definite food wine, and I'm envious that I don't have a gourmet pizza to go with this.

More to come as it opens up! Thanks WD and please forgive the first time labratter here.

artulo wrote:Lab rat report continued.

Just about an hour in now, and halfway through the bottle between two people. The wine has really opened up with a bit of floral on the nose taking the place of some of the earthiness. Still lots of cranberry on the palate, but much less acidity now. It's mellowed quite a bit but the flavors themselves seem to have moved so that it's not so forward and has a longer finish that is definitely bringing out some chocolate.

artulo wrote:I definitely think this is a food wine. It does stand well on its own (and is much better after having been open now for 1.5 hours) but pairing it with some pizza or italian sausages/cured meats would be perfect. Also it was mentioned about thanksgiving dinner - yes absolutely!

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Lighter wrote:It's harvest time in Western New York. The new vintage of Wild Irish Rose will be on the shelves soon. But in Sweden Township there are more interesting crops. Cabbage! Yes, huge stainless steel dump trucks are making their way to the produce markets of America.

The Irish and Swedes have always had a "special" relationship. Where do you think the Vikings went to snuffleupagus and pillage? The same place as the English and the defeated Spanish Armada went for their raping and pillaging. No, not Western New York. That was the Dutch.

And so I'm sitting calmly at my computer contemplating Leprechauns and Dullahans* when "[DING] you've got mail" announces that my internet connection has been raped by AOL. Typical, thinks I. Gosh darn - an email from winedavid39. Whoa! It's not the sweepstakes, but darned close. And, a knock at the door - did I mention that it is a dark and stormy day? The wee lass with the Volvo truck - again the Swedes and Irish - was knocking, talking on the cell, waving her official FedEx hand computer and laughing at my "Angry Day" Shirt. Whoa! (again) That's multitasking.

Yes, the Leprechauns left gold. Well, gold colored ink on cardstock. I'll take it before the Nac Mac Feegle wake up. And the Swedes delivered a shiny . . . (hummm, "shiny" - what was I doing - darned internet mimes) Oh yes. A shiny bottle of Tøøthstejnn The Red.

OK, is this enough labored creative writing? After all, the wine is the thing. snuffleupagus and pillage is always amusing - sure; but this isn't the time and place. Is it?

Bottle temp is 55° at opening. "Swedish" steel "cork" screw. (I'm sorry about that one - I'll stop soon . . .) On the side a plate of olive corn chips and a plate of Fontana, Gorgonzola, Parmesan and Gouda cheese along with some kalamata and green olives. Well, look for your selves;

Your tasters; Lighter, Ms. Dancer, and our Irish guest; O'Einstein. (GBS was busy tonight.)

Swirling in the glass.
Wine is a brownish red much like Tøøthstejnn's beard. Translucent with delicate legs. Rather pretty change from the darker reds that we commonly drink. Not too sure about staining teeth, but the name alone required Ms Dancer to use a straw beyond the first drink. Pricy, white dental work.

We used the big honker glasses so that we could work the aromatics. Mild without much alcohol on the nose. Woody and corn chippy. Looks and smells smooth. We couldn't figure on a fruit beyond a ripe red currant whiff. I thought a bit dry cherry; Ms Dancer told me I was wrong. I put forth cranberry, but was met with currant. I like currants so be it. Not a fruit bomb by any means.

Little gulp.
Ms Dancer: "Ghastly!"
Lighter: "[silently] I'm going to have to do a Clayfu and all my future lab rat duties will go to Loweeel."
O'Einstein: "Wowser!"

The taste was not what the smells seemed to promise. Tannic and not ready for prime time as a solo drink. Moderate heat that quickly goes away.

BUT, food was to come and everything turned around, big time.

Ms Dancer: "Lightly assertive like a ladies pearl handle chromed purse revolver."
Lighter: "Not much back pallet and it doesn't linger in a cloying manner."
O'Einstein: "Crivens!"

As we continued nibbling it was obvious to us that this is a wine for food. Not a surprise with the blend. Despite the cuteness of the label I don't think this is a smörgåsbord wine. The salt from the cheese and the oily brine from the olives really mellowed out the surprise notes. Pizza would be great - but it better be a good pizza with some subtlety.

Each sip got easier. A lot easier.

After an hour I gave another taste from the early pour. But it had gone alcohol and tannic bite.

Like the Humbug this needs some time in the cellar but is worth a pop and pour with some Mediterranean chow. But not to drink thorough your evenings snuffleupagus and pillage.

*Very seasonal in New York

Ms Dancer
Shamus O'Einstein

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j-o-h-n wrote:
Such self-control to have one of each of these (left).

Impression #1 : please be using artificial corks in the future, I had a most difficult time getting the cork out w/o pieces of it falling in!

Color is a beautiful deep ruby.

My first impression of the nose was peachy.

Taste was very muted. No heat. no tannin. Crisp, with subdued fruit. Small finish.
You could drink a lot of this.

...a few minutes pass...

I got out some cheddar, seems like a pretty nice pairing.
Wine has a little more snappy finish now.

...imagine the final jeopardy theme...

Now tried it with some chocolate. Didn't like that so much, back to the cheese.

A likable wine, but in my mind, close, not quite up there with Monkey Prize or Humbug.
I am imagining this with a nice baked marinara pasta dish. Waiting eagerly for my real order.

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MaskedMarvel wrote:Viking Invasion Thwarted (TMM News Wire)

Department of Homeland Security officials are tight lipped about an unusual attack on American soil today, but anonymous sources confirm a sizeable attempt against US economic interests. Known only as Tøøthstejnn, the attack follows the legendary Saga Of Tøøthstejnn The Red - a Viking warrior dreaded for his southpaw pillaging of pails of Sangiovese from the Bartender to the Gods.

"I was petrified," witness The Masked Marvel almost cried out in the dark. "Thankfully, I noticed his equipment failure, and brought along a few friends for backup."

The Masked Marvel's companions were in complete agreement - the light cherry red colour, light red cherry nose, firm acidity with cherry and cranberry notes hinting at a buttery, mildly spicy finish - this invader was living up to the legend in full.

"I was quite shocked at how easily he went down," TMM added. "All it took was a few grilled kielbasas, some roasted tomato and mozzarella crostinis, and a greek rice recipe. Perhaps it was the acid in the tomatoes, but there were almost no tannins to come to his defense... Quite shocking, indeed."

Forensics experts have the plain cork, devoid of all markings indicating origin, and are running the usual tests.

Sources speculate Tøøthstejnn arrived today to take over the red fruit market in order to beef up his somewhat light body at pennies on the Hack-Silver. Thankfully he lacked the fruit bomb needed to survive, as he was he was easily defeated in under an hour.

Marvel continued, "The Saga was spot on - exactly as we saw him. Now we can put a face with the name. I'd like to take on six or twelve of him at a time. In fact, I'd consider it a gift to have 24 invade at once..."

While quiet on the identity of his friends, TMM News has acquired this photograph of the invader, moments before the fight broke out...

...keep tuned to this station for updates on events as they unfold.

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rabbitjr wrote:Labrat checking in here...
First let me start off by saying that it's an honor to be chosen and thank you WD.
Second, While I have bought many a wine here at wine.woot I still consider myself a novice when it comes to drinking wine. So don't expect a whole lot and some of you more experienced oenophiles are more than welcome to disagree and offer your own opinions. Now, down to the business at hand....

After getting home from work yesterday I let the bottle rest on the counter for about an hour. The bouquet was, well, red fruity I guess. Sorry I can't be more specific on that one. I poured a glass for me and my companion and we each tasted it. The wine had a pleasant fruit taste which my companion described as cherry, (for a few moments it tasted like green apple to me) and a mild heat. Oak barrel was also a prominent flavor.

My plan was to serve the wine with some leftover red beans and rice. But we had to run an errand and came back with chicken fingers instead. The wine does NOT pair well with Raising Cane's chicken fingers and sauce. Ugh...the combination was like pine tar in the mouth.

After the wine breathed for an hour after initial opening, we had our final taste. There was less oak flavoring. I tasted more of the cherry and vanilla. And the wine left a taste of smooth chocolate as it went down.

Overall, it's not swill. On the contrary, I really enjoyed this wine and am glad I have more bottles coming!

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Offering of 10/02 -- Brandini Artisan Toffee

This offering's pack:

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j-o-h-n wrote:RAT TIME FINALLY!

This is a very dangerous substance.
Only trained professionals should purchase this item.
Otherwise you and your significant other will scarf down the whole tin in an evening.

Very rich. Very Buttery. Very good. Very going, going, gone.

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edthebedhead wrote:Mine (labrat) came shipped w/ and ice cool pack. I now have many fewer separate pieces than I did Monday morning ( I did try this around 10am, the wine... I wait till after lunch to break out). Thanks again WD!

Enjoy this wonderful mix of goodness!

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MaskedMarvel wrote:Toffee Market Has Gone To The Dogs (TMM News Feed)

TMM Photo of candidate and Supporters

On the lighter side tonight, celebrities mingled this evening with locals at a modest residence to support "Roxy For President," sponsored by Brandini Artisan Toffee. Roxy, an 11 year old "part-paycheck part-paper towel," made face time with international super models and high powered studio executives in a fund raiser to support her campaign for what will certainly be the most interesting race come this November.

"I was invited. IN. VI. TED. How often can I say that?" commented Emmanuel Lewis as he munched on the Brandini Toffee Toppers . "Where's the vanilla bean ice cream? This would be perfect sprinkled on that!" Unavailable for comment, Gary Coleman was seen nodding in agreement.

TMM News Man on the Town, The Masked Marvel, caught up with Lindsey Lohan at the gala. After waiting a half hour for her to emerge from the washroom, he asked her position on the issues.

TMM: Lindz - what's the scoop on this party? How're you feeling?
LL: These are my bits! MY BITS! You wanna see my bits? See? Take a picture...

Ms. Lohan then returned to the washroom to adjust a chocolate smear from her upper lip.

The lady of the night, however, was the candidate herself, Roxy. Dressed in a casual Duke Blue Devil collar with bling reported to cost her owner untold sums over the years, Roxy was more than happy to set herself apart from the other candidates.

Rox: It's about size, MM. i don't have to tell you - those Toppers and Bits are fine; delicious in their own right. Buttery and crunchy at the same time - much like my campaign. But the real story can be found in the largest pieces. They're freakin' HUGE. And talk about a multi-layered situation. Crunchy toffee slathered in the darkest richest chocolate is enough for my competitors. But the roasted almonds sprinkled evenly across each piece is what this campaign is really all about. The ROXY FOR PRESIDENT Monkeys, as they're affectionately known, are all over it.

TMM: Did you chew up the carpet over there?

Rox-a-ringa-ding-dong: Well - I'm just going to have to get back to ya on THAT one!

That's it from THIS campaign stop. Be it large appetites for change, snacking for a better tomorrow, or simply dusting over the issues, Roxy's campaign and this Brandini Toffee batch may not be around past November, but they're BOTH sure to give you those warm fuzzy feelings we crave again and again.

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rabbitjr wrote:WD informed me I would be receiving 2 packages with my labrattage.
When the FedEx guy came to our office yesterday I get a call from our receptionist: "You have a package and can I have it?"
I said "I don't even know what it is!"

After running downstairs to rescue my package, I opened it up and shared it with the girls downstairs. There was an ice pack in the box, but it was hotter than the coffee in the coffee pot!

the box contained one tin of the toffee bites. And oooooohhhhh they were good!
Upon first opening the tin the bites were soft and chewy like caramel with chocolate and toffee on top. but not quite as stick-to your teeth like caramel can be.
Today, after the bites have been able to cool down in the house the bites are more crunchy, but not break your teeth crunchy like toffee can be.
So I would say it should be safe for those with braces or false teeth.

They are rich and chocolatey. Someone mentioned they didn't care for almonds.
On the bites I had there are nut pieces, but I didn't taste an almond flavoring, just a mild nut flavor. Each bite is about 1/2 inch square.
They are also addictive. VERY hard to stop at just one.

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artulo wrote:I also received these yesterday afternoon, and can definitely attest to their deliciousness. The toffee flavor is fantastic. Dark chocolate on the top stuck pretty well to the toffee, although some did come off and had melted to some of the other pieces. This did not affect the quality of the product in any negative way. For me, though, the best part about this particular toffee is the texture. It's crisp and light, not too hard or stick-to-your-teeth chewy. Wonderful stuff!

Thanks WD and Brandini for all the treats this week!

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Lighter wrote:Rat here. This time, nothing literary, political, oblique or tangential. No doctored photos nor web casts. Just the clacks, ma'am.

  • Dang! This is good stuff.

There - no confusion about what I'm going to write.

It was a dark and shiny - oh, wait a minute. I've done that. How about; A funny thing happened to me on my way to Lab Rat the toffee. I asked directions of a fellow named Dibbler and - oops. There I go again.

It's all about the story.

This is a darned good story. What makes it "darned good" is that these "kids" have come up with a product that can stand up great without any story. Sure, genus marketing. Sure, insider help. Sure - on and on. But none of that frippery takes away from the story. And only makes a great product greater.

Here is what's good. Toss a piece in your mouth. You can taste milk, sugar, chocolate, and almonds. Each clear and perfectly balanced. You can get that from every piece. No decanting, no cellaring, no bottle shock, no corkage; none of that stuff.

  • Just open the can.
  • Reach.
  • Toss.
  • Munch.
  • And go straight to heaven.

There. That's several reports; a style of writing for every taste. I truly wish I could hate this stuff so that I wouldn't have to hide the can in the 'fridge behind the radishes and Brussels sprouts.

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Offering of 10/6 -- Substance Four Pack Sampler

2007 Chardonnay
2007 Riesling
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Merlot

This offering's pack:
aces219 (Riesling)
Kothoga (Chardonnay)
trwagner (Cabernet Sauvignon)

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aces219 wrote:Riesling labrat report:
We got home from work at about 5:45 and put the bottle in the fridge until 7:45. That got it down to 50 degrees.

Color: pale yellow, transparent

Aroma: not much. Maybe apple and a hint of peach.

Taste: at first this wine blew me away with its zinginess. Nice acidity, very crisp. I tasted a fuller body on the finish. Apple...not a lot of complex flavors, but pleasant. The excitement is in the mouthfeel.

This is a dry riesling, but it is very fruit-forward so it gives the appearance of sweet. As it warms up, this is more apparent and almost borders on flabby on the finish. But the upfront acidity holds up, and there is some nice zip at the end.

This is a pretty simple riesling in terms of flavor (at least to my palate), but the balance puts it above a lot of other <$20 WA state rieslings in my mind. We definitely enjoyed it. It's not one of those wines that I could easily drink a whole bottle of because it's a hint too fruit-forward for me, but it would make a delightful aperitif I think. A great example of what WA state riesling can be like, and I'd definitely recommend trying it if you are not familiar with it.

Thanks, WD, it's great to be a rat again since it's been about a year!

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trwagner wrote:So we also made the grade this week and became lucky rats. We received the Cab this afternoon and quickly put it in our wine fridge to cool it down from the 100 degree weather here in So Cal! We opened the bottle tonight and can honestly say it was excellent (and not just because it was free ;-)). It's a nice, light cab with very few tannins. It almost reminded us of a Cabernet Franc. It has hints of blackberry and a little tobacco. It was very drinkable now and don't know that we would cellar it for long. The labels are very cool, but the wine is also great and it's certainly a good woot buy! Glad we ordered two, but maybe we should have made it three...

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Kothoga wrote:That's correct.

Popped the cork about 30 minutes ago. Right off the bat the Chard has a pleasant toasted pear aroma. Very light to the nose.

The wife and I just had our first glass while I was prepping the piccata. So far it has a crisp, light fruit beginning followed with a pleasant dry wang of an ending. A tad bit acidity, not buttery nor creamy and not much oak thus far. This one is going to need some time to breath before it opens up completely.

The chicken should be out in 20 minutes and I'll post how it pairs with a good Italian dish. So far, I think this is going to be an excellent Chard for people who aren't big on fruity or buttery wines.

Finishing notes:
The wine really opened up after breathing. It's lost that wangy finish and smoothed out a bit. I'd classify it as a decent table wine. It's not something that I'd rush out for, I have enough favorite Chards for that, but it would be a do again. Paired perfectly with our light and fresh meal. As a couple that truly enjoys trying new wines that aren't locally available, we were pleased with this one and look forward to enjoying the complete four pack.

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Offering of 10/9 -- Esoterica Port Medley - Six Pack

2004 California Tempranillo Dessert
2004 California Sousão
2004 California Tinta Cão
2004 California Touriga
2004 California Trousseau
2004 California Dessert

This offering's pack:
sandtrap (Trousseau)
theresa1013 (Dessert Blend)
curtwaugh (Sousão)
J3buswrx (Tinta Cão)
jrod703 (Touriga)
yomeister5 (Tempranillo)

labROUS (everything)

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labROUS wrote:LabROUS report Esoterica Port Medley

Since these are already sold out, I guess I can't be accused of shilling for my friend Kent or for wine.w00t. This has been a great opportunity to compare and contrast – I'll focus on that, since nobody will be making purchase decisions based on general style. Having said that, these wines do share a lot in style: similar extraction, alcohol and residual sugar levels. I'd guess the alcohol is un-aged, neutral spirits rather than oak aged brandy, thus allowing the nuances in grape character to fully show themselves.

Tempranillo (aka Tinta Roriz): Good aromatic intensity, with brown sugar, pepper, orange peel, clove and cinnamon. This wine has incredible viscosity with an almost syrupy texture, but is not overly sweet. Flavors include walnut “skin” and bitter chocolate. This is the most tannic of the lot and will probably age longest if anyone is so inclined. More enjoyable now with cheese than by itself.

Trousseau: Floral and tropical fruit aromas, along with hints of tobacco leaf and toffee. Medium body, not as deep as some of the others. I wouldn't be inclined to cellar this one – it's very enjoyable right now, even for sipping by itself.

Touriga: Very spicy, with plum and a bit of citrus peel. It seems little bit higher in acid, making it a little leaner in body. Very pretty aromas and flavors. It does have some structure and could be cellared, but not as long as the Tempranillo.

Souzao: The aromas are reminiscent of the KR Souzao that was part of a previous w00t offering, good intensity “grapy” fruit, with graham cracker/sweet biscuit and licorice notes. Good richness and viscosity, soft with a little more heat than some of the others. Drink soon, with or without dessert.

Tinta Cao: Somewhat subdued aromatically, but great body and viscosity. Smooth, structured middle, good acidity, mocha flavors and a long finish. I'm not a huge fan of the popular match of chocolate and wine, but this seems like a natural.

Blend: My favorite by a wide margin. Fruity and floral, with hints of licorice, tobacco, caramel, chocolate, spices... Good richness and balance, supple with a bit of tannin. This wine exemplifies the benefits of blending: complexity, balance, completeness. One can taste what the different components all contribute.

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sandtrap wrote:First thoughts

It is after 12:00 p.m. here. No better time to open the Trousseau than right now. Also I don't get my paycheck unless I give our controller a taste before she leaves in an hour.

This is a very smooth wine. It is very fruity. I taste some red raspberry. I like this very much. Maybe I should have been drinking ports long before now.

I will check back in later.

sandtrap wrote:The verdict is in from the work crowd.

"I love it can I buy some please"

"Okay, but the aftertaste is a little bitter"

"I want to take this hiking"


"very good"

So overall it was well received here. Most of us are first time port drinkers. Now I will take it home for round 2.

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curtwaugh wrote:I am honored beyond words to have become a LABRAT for Ken's port. My friend, Anthony, and I did a quick video of our tasting notes. In short, we loved the wonderful craft character of the 2004 California Sousao Dessert Wine. We were slightly surprised by the lingering bite, or bitterness at the end. But it in no way turned us off from the wine. We LOVE wine.woot!

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theresa1013 wrote:Ok, labrat reporting for duty. I had the California dessert wine.

Bottle has been in the fridge for about 40 mins. I’m drinking out of a Riedel red wine glass. Color is dark, almost purple. Very strong alcohol on the nose. Not surprising given the ABV here. Initial taste is sweet, but not overly so. The ‘texture’ is good, this is not overly thick like some dessert wines. On first sip I get some sweetness and fruitiness, followed by spices and definite hint of raisin.

This stuff is really really good. I've almost finished my first pouring as I sit here writing this. I"ll have another small glass after dinner and try to share some more impressions.

theresa1013 wrote:Okay, finished dinner, and am now going for round 2:

The port is a bit colder now, which adds a bit more of a bite at the end. Again, this is probably the high ABV. I"m having it with chocolate, which is good, but honestly this wine is great all by itself. I can definitely taste and smell some dark berry flavors.

I have to say what really impressed me about this is its complexity. I’ve had sweet reds before that seemed thin, without much substance. This one has much more structure and depth.

This is definitely the kind of thing that will warm you on a cold winter night. Thanks again to WD and Kent for the opportunity!

theresa1013 wrote:One additional thing Ijust noted that I thought was interesting: the chocolate actually appears to reduce the sweetness of the wine. I've never experienced this before, but the chocolate with the port actually makes the port seem less sweet. Pretty cool!

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J3buswrx wrote:So just got back from running my errands... which included picking up my rat-sauce (Esoterica 2004 Tinta Cão Dessert Wine). Get home and the wife is gone. So I will be trying a glass now, and again with dinner and the wife.
Opened bottle at approximately 51 degrees (room temp).
First impressions, very subtle smell upon opening, almost non-existent, but it is there with a slightly sweet and slightly raisin scent. Poured into a small 4oz Spaten tasting glass I have from a beer festival (seemed like the best idea at the time...) and it is very dark with a very Port-like red hue on the edges. After breathing (both it and I) the raisin comes through and is just wonderful.
I am not a very experienced wine nor port drinker, but this is wonderful. Not too complex, but sweet, hint of raisin, maybe cherry, and a nice warmth from the finish. Finish leaves a sweetness and a desire for more...
Going to try with a truffle... Mmmm tasty! Subtle chocolate flavor enhanced the cherry I tasted earlier. Fades quickly with the truffle, leaving just a chocolate flavor. I would drink myself silly with this... but I have to wait till the wife gets home! Too bad I have to go to work shortly... must tell our wine steward about this! I might try this with a gouda or manchego that has been aged... might offer a nice balance, might be awful. Only one way to find out! I'll let you know how it goes later and what the wife thinks of it!

THANKS WD! Made my weekend! Too bad I have to work...

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jrod703 wrote:Alright, finally got a chance to chime in as a labrat, thanks WD!

So I received a bottle of the 2004 California Touriga Dessert Wine to preview. I will start by saying that it s very good. I have had a couple of other ports/dessert wines and i especially liked this one. When I opened the bottle I was greeted with a very pleasant aroma. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly but it was very inviting. I poured the first glass and was very surprised by how deep and dark the color is. It is so dark you cannot see anything through it and it holds this color very well even to the very edge of the glass.

I sipped the wine and was met immediately by a very pleasant sweetness combined with a very woody/oaky flavor. It almost reminded me a bit of a well aged scotch, whithout the whiskey burn and aftertaste (i'm not a big scotch drinker, but i have tasted a few). I thought that this was a very interesting flavor and definitely enjoyed it. The feel of the wine in your mouth is very unique, it was somewhat thick, but not syrupy by any means. A side effect of this inherent thickness was a definite staining of the teeth and tongue. I was sipping with a very good friend of mine and we both got a kick out that.

Once you have swallowed the wine there is not really a residual after taste, it is very clean sipping. Unfotunately I received the bottle as I was heading out the door for a weekend away so I did not have too much to pair this with and use for experimentation. Once I receive my full six pack I look forward to trying them all and doing comparisons. I plan to share with family and some friends so it will definitely be a good time and I'm sure we'll come up with some more interesting descriptions which i can post about later on.

Hopefully this report has been somewhat useful to anyone wondering what to expect from their six pack. I was very pleased to have been selected as a labrat and look forward to doing it again some time. I will try to get better with my descriptions, I am still kind of new to wine drinking so i'm learning. Almost everything I learned so far has been from this website and all the great winemakers and other contributers, so please keep up the good work and keep the great wine and reviews coming!



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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 10/13 -- Vampire - Four Pack

2005 Chateau Du Vampire
2005 Dracula Wine

This offering's pack:
JanFP (Dracula)
chiefs2win (Dracula)
cwillwood (Chateau Du Vampire)
tommythecat78 (Chateau Du Vampire)

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quality posts: 15 Private Messages cjsiege

Last of the Esoterica Labrats - Tempranillo

yomeister5 wrote:First time poster, first time labrat!

Thanks to WD and KR I have the opportunity to sample the Tempranillo dessert wine.
This is the first time I have written down any critical impressions of wine, so bear with me if the descriptions fall short of how wonderful this wine is.

The Tempranillo tasted best at room temperature. The flavor seems to have hints of raspberry, perhaps from the combination of bitterness and sweetness, and the lack of woody or oaky flavors was refreshing.
The aroma of the wine added a lot to the experience providing depth and spice to the sensations experienced on the palate.

A lot of the my impressions of the texture mirrors that of Labrous and jrod703 in that there is little after taste and the flavor lingers just long enough to enjoy, but quickly dissapates and leaves you wanting more.
I think this was a valuable trait as the wine is deliciously sweet and not overpowering.

Thanks again WD and KR; I look forward to trying out the whole set!


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
JanFP wrote:Hi there - first labrat checking in with a little mid-day drinking. What a delightful surprise!

I have the 2005 Dracula Wine - the Syrah. Gorgeous, refined label - doesn't give first impression as a "cutsey" wine. Rubber cork - easier to get a corkscrew in than a regular cork.

In the glass - first nose is blackberries and chocolate, a bit of the alcohol. Alcohol drops off after a few minutes of airing. Deep rich color goes to garnet red against the light - very pretty. Good glass cling - no really seeing any legs. Next post - first taste!

JanFP wrote:Ok first taste - very smooth - no tannins, but quite dry - no overwhelming fruitiness or sweetness. Alcohol nose did not translate to any harsh alcohol taste. Not getting a lot of individual flavors - just a hint of black cherry at the finish.

This is no dreck. This wine drinks, to me, like a very fine blend. I finished my taste, and there's still cling in the glass. I'm regretting I only ordered one.

I will have a glass or two tonight with the Burgundy Beef Stew I have on the stove now.

JanFP wrote:Lab rat #1 - wine with dinner

OK, I had the Dracula Syrah with dinner - Burgundy Beef Stew. This had a half bottle of Corison Cab, lots of cumin and garlic, and Szechuan peppercorns. The Syrah held up to it very well - neither the wine nor the stew overpowered. But I think the Syrah enhanced the pepperiness of the stew- there's a bit of an afterburn, but totally pleasant.

There's a good mouthfeel with the wine - it feels fuller than the wine's body indicates.

Tasting notes are straight out of the barrel, no decanting. I don't think this wine needs it. Absolutely clear - I haven't seen any sediment in the bottle.

Overall, I'm highly positive about this. I'm considering going to the winery site - I'm really love to try their Zin!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
cwillwood wrote:Lab rat checking in. I was very surprised and pleased when Fedex arrived with my golden ticket!! I recieved the Chateau Du Vampire. Everyone at the office wanted me to break into it right then and there, however corporate policy does not allow, so I had to wait till I got home. Once the bottle was opened, I was surprised by the amount of alcohol smell, but also cherry and chocolate. First sip, did not taste the alcohol, but a wonderful blend. Not too fruity, not too dry, just right. It has a finish that is clean and dry. It opened up even more as the evening progressed. I am very pleased with this wine, and glad that I ordered it. I wish my finances would allow for me to purchase 3 instead of one.... but alas.... I am happy to have had the opportunity to sample this one.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
chiefs2win wrote:I didn't think it would happen to me but it has! I hit the jackpot, won the lottery, got the monkey's paw! I got a Golden Ticket! I've never tried to review a wine before but I'll give it a shot. My wife and I took delivery of our nectar of the devil yesterday afternoon and decanted it last night. We swirled it in the glass, we sniffed the delicate bloody bouquet, and then we sipped from the neck of our wine glasses. Wow, good stuff! Very dry, "WITCH" we both like. It is nice and dark red like a Halloween wine should be. I didn't find it to be fruity at all. My wife tasted black cherry and plum elements. If I picked up on any fruit it would be a dark currant with a little bit of not quite ripe persimmon. If the tannins are what gives a wine its' dryness, this wine has an abundance. Leaves a nice blood red stain on your canine teeth also. The bottle is a keeper too! It would look great with one of those drippy candles in it on Halloween night and I loved the black cork/stopper! We both highly recommend this wine if you are a fan of dry red wines. In this case "Dracula does NOT suck!" Bloody Fine

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quality posts: 18 Private Messages tommythecat78

'05 Chateau du Vampire...

I like it! Nice ruby (blood) red color. Definitely needs some time in a decanter or a glass. Upon opening and first sniff and sip it was "Holy alcohol Batman," but it quickly dissipated. Dark chocolate, coffee, and tobacco are the most dominant on the nose. Front palate offers up cherries and red currant (cassis?). Mid palate offers up a bit of spiciness, but not much else. Its not flat on the mid, just not much there. A little bit of heat on the finish, but not bad or unexpected. Dominant flavor on the finish is chocolate covered cherries, and is lasting about 15 seconds. The tannins have quite a bit of presence, but they are mellowing out the more air time it's getting. The mouthfeel is also much more pleasant the more air it gets. Your not wrapping your tongue in a velvet blanket, but it's not far off. More like wrapping your mouth around the neck of a pretty damsel in distress. All in all I'd have to say this is a pretty solid offering and anyone that has been second guessing themselves all week shouldn't be disappointed. Is it a wine I would save for a special occasion or a fancy dinner? No. Would I be embarrassed to serve it to wine drinking friends? Absolutely not. Worth $20? If I was guessing a price point on this it would have been in that range and I wouldn't be upset paying retail for it. Honestly, if I wasn't going to DTW#2 this weekend I would up my order to 2. I can't wait to try the Syrah now!

Thank you VERY much WD for the opportunity to be a rat!!

Yours Truly,
Count TtheC


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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 10/16 -- All-Star Appetitans Trio by Woot Cellars

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
Artichoke Lemon Spread
Green Olive Tapenade with pepper

This offering's pack:
Corrado & friends

Notes from Detroit Tasting #1

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Corrado wrote:I would classify these as 'farmer's market' type products. All ingredients are REAL and the contents have the appearance of homemade goods.

I found the Olive to be a bit salty for me, but that's always my complaints about ANYTHING with olives and of most tapenades. Part of the problem was that my first sample was with a salted chip and it was overkill. On WheatThins, the stuff is hella tasty. It's a VERY chunky tapenade, which is to say there's everything from mince to chunk in the jar. Flavor is excellent and very pure. I can be pretty hot & cold on olive -based tapenades, but at my current rate of consumption, the jar won't last the day.

In my world, artichoke is only palatable when saturated with cheese and baked in dip format. Whomever made this did a masterful job of blending everything together in a product that's got a very creamy mouthfeel while retaining the character and substance of the artichoke. Love the Parmesan and *this* one goes equally well with the WheatThins and Tostitos. Best one of the trio.

Finally, the Red Pepper tapenade. This is by far the most user-intensive product. It's fairly oily, so regular mixing is required to keep a good suspension of the goods. If you like roasted red peppers, you'll like this. If you don't, you probably won't. I was disappointed that there wasn't any Hot pepper spice given the firey-looking packaging, but once I got over that, I was in chow-down mode. Flavors were very natural and (sorry to sound repetitive) reminiscent of something you'd find at a natural foods store or farmer's market.

If these had a different packaging that catered to the Williams-Sonoma buyer, I wouldn't be surprised to see these sell for $10+/ea or the trio for $28. In most cases, you have to search the local foods section of your favorite store (or natural foods store, depending on where you live) to find anything like this.

I would put this offering in the same category as the Polyphemus -- pricier than what the typical woot buyer would expect, not the ridiculous screaming bargain some of the other woot offerings have been, but not over-priced by any means, and worth the asking price.

kmeyersvt wrote:I am lucky enough to work with Corrado who was generous enough to share with the rest of the rats in our cube maze.

My favorite is the artichoke. The lemon and caper flavors come through well balanced with the artichokes and I agree with Corrado on the mouthfeel being perfectly creamy. Very enjoyable to eat. After this post, I'm going to see if there's any left!

I love olive tampenade and this one doesn't disappoint. I like things salty, so I didn't find it to be too salty at all. Olives are salty. It has a very intriguing spice profile that I haven't quite put my finger on, but it also is a very well balanced jar. I'm going to have more of this after I have some artichoke.

I'm not a huge fan of roasted red peppers, so I can't fairly evaluate that one. It was tasty, but the other two were my favorites.

Since this isn't something that you eat every day, I'd put the price point on the top of a "special treat" category, but the ingredients and flavor profiles are excellent which makes them worth the cost, IMHO.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
cheron98 wrote:
So here's what we got:

3-pack of dipping oils, 3-pack of ... spreads? tapenades... I wasn't planning on getting bread, and then this arrived, so out I went for crusty yummy bread.

The spreads... Green olive tapenade, Caponata, and Red Pepper tapenade.

The green olive tapenade was too salty, although the general feeling was that it would work extremely well over pasta.

The red pepper tapenade was quite tasty. A touch of spice to it, but really good.

The favorite by far was the caponata, which we decided would work not just on bread, but as a pizza sauce or a pasta sauce - so quite versatile.

General impression was that if/when this goes up for sale either on wine.woot or as a side deal, we'd all buy it. A lot.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Gatzby wrote:Just dug into the artichoke, though I am sadly without these "dip vectors" I've heard mentioned. I did find some crackers stashed away in a cupboard, though the first bite was pure dip. It's a lovely artichokey pile of goo -- the lemon is subdued, almost more of an aftertaste, and the garlic isn't bad. I sort of wish there was more. I could see it matching well with crostini or something, or even as part of a bruschetta.

Oh, also, the labels are great. Beware the deadly spreading knife.

(Hey, I get paid whether we sell them or not, so I'm pretty much unbiased, just for the record.)

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Imagine4vr wrote:Happy Day! After a week, really a month from hell, and only minutes after my delivery of the KR Ports, I see the FedEx truck pull up right in front of my apartment. Of course, I'm on the phone with "work" and my doorbell rings. I know exactly why! Using the mute on my phone, and talking "quietly" to my work call, I sign for my FedEx package, motioning for him to be quiet as he's giving me dirty looks about my phone conversation. (For those who know what I do, this is makes it even funnier).

I am a Labrat for the trio of dips and spreads! Yummmy! I was a little hesitant about the artichoke lemon spread, I love artichoke, but I am not a fan of lemon in my food. So far it's the only jar I opened (it's not even noon here) and instantly smelled the garlic. Garlic I do like! I stirred it up a bit, and took a little taste, artichoke and garlic, a little oil and very lttle if any lemon taste at all. Oh this is going to be good on a chicken breast for dinner. I can still taste the garlic.

I'll report back later. I'll make a little pasta and use the red pepper and the artichoke on a chicken breast. And the olives I'll just sample later with some cream cheese and crackers.

Thank you Wine David!

Imagine4vr wrote:Ended up with a couple friends over last night and opened all the dips for them. Served them with cream cheese, low salt ritz crackers and some garlic bread. (Just using what I had on hand).

First the artichoke lemon: I think this was the favorite among my 2 friends, it had a creamy texture, garlic and just a hit on lemon. They liked eating this right out of the jar with a spoon and it went really well on the garlic bread. I saved some and used it on a couple plain broiled chicken breasts; just put a spoonful on top of the chicken and broiled another minute. Yum! Served with red roasted taters. An easy quick meal that tastes like you spent hours.

Next the Mistress Green Olive Tapenade. I was prepared to LOVE this, I love green olives, I love tapenades, etc ... but to me, as Laura mentioned, it had a little bitterness to the taste. One of my friends said it had a "burnt" taste to it, and I could almost taste that too. It worked great with the cream cheese, seemed to mellow the flavors a bit.

Last but not least, my favorite, the red pepper spread. I'd buy jars and jars of this stuff. We all thought it was great on the garlic bread, good with the cream cheese and just by the spoonful. I made sure to save some and might toss the rest with some pasta later. I would use this on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, with veggies, meat, anything. My friends liked it almost as much as the artichoke lemon, and more than the olive.

Overall I think the quality is higher than what I buy in a grocery store; and while the price might be a little more than I would normally spend, I think this set is a good value for the quality. I am glad I have more coming, that's for sure!

Thank you again Wine David for this opportunity.

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quality posts: 5 Private Messages lauratchi

Another Rat reporting.

Fed ex had already dropped off the toffee (how the heck is that going to last until we gift it away???) I saw the Fed ex truck pull up in front an hour later.

Tromp Tromp Tromp up the steps the driver came. DING DONG.

I was confused, especially when I saw the wine country box. Hm... I think I have all the wine I ordered and it would be way too early for the dips. Or would it.

Golden ticket and twisted comic page. Wow! Ratted. What a pleasant surprise. I mean, it's a Friday. And free stuff on a Friday is doubly good. And I was feeling peckish as well.

So I commenced to make a plate with each of the dips. On hand we had Townhouse and saltines. Not the best combo. Water crackers would have been better, but what can one do? This was a rat emergency. The dip version of a pull and pour I guess. Joel's response "The things I MUST do for your wine.woot people" complete with heavy sigh. So we tasted.

Joel's favorite is the roasted red pepper. Has good flavor, some vinegar kick. I think it would make a great (and pretty) aoli or sandwich spread. I like it, but the staining potential of that oil is large. (Spoken as a spiller). He likes the artichoke and least favorite is the tapenade. Tho it was kind of salty on the townhouse.

The Artichoke Lemon is my favorite hands down. Great garlicky kick. Imagine is right. Would be great on a chicken breast, but I am finding it hard now not to go and get the jar and eat more of this stuff. Very tasty. Very tasty indeed. Would make a good sammich spread too.

I really wanted to like the tapenade the best, as I am in this olive loving phase right now. I like the texture. I like the taste, but it needs something to brighten it up. When I figure out how to do that, (maybe with some fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice or peel...) I know I'll like it more. It has a bit of a bitter finish (but not unpleasant). Just typical olive stuff.

These are more than dips. Given a little cream cheese and some good sandwich fixings, these can go far. Good concentrated flavors. Better than the usually mid end stuff sold in semi fancy stores.

Little Vineyards Trio began the slow start to the slippery slope. it was alllllllllll downhill from there!


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
LBISurfer2 wrote:Alright, my labrattery. I live in a house provided by my company with three other employee's. We are archaeologists working on a project in NE Utah. Upon receiving the blessed ticket, had to explain to my friends the honor and duties expected of me. Slightly confused but totally on board, we poured ourselves some crown and cokes and sat down to try them with anything we had available. I asked them to rank them 1-3 and offer any other opinions:

Fred: 1-Red Pepper, he loved it. He said he would put it on anything. He put it on his chicken pot pie and loved it. 2- Artichoke, really good with chips, good with bread. Very far 3rd: Olive. But he hates olives, so I don't really count that.

Jared: 1- Red Pepper, He put it on some rice and baked chicken that he made and it turned out really well. Really went well with the rice I thought. 2- Olive, didn't really know what to do with it but liked it a lot. 3- Very close 3rd Artichoke, and really liked it with carrots and other veggies.

Laura: 1- Artichoke and Red Pepper, she put them both on some pizza and thought it was amazing. She also does not like olives, and therefor did not like the olive dip

Me: 1- Red Pepper, I really like the sweet/butnottoo sweet flavor and thought this could really go well on lots of dishes. I want to try it on some fish, maybe halibut or flounder, but it could really go on anything. 2- Artichoke, I love artichoke, thought it could have had a little less lemon, but really liked it anyway. I think it might go really well on some chicken/rice dish with the lemon flavor, but didn't get to try that. Very close 3rd is the Olive, I really liked it but don't know exactly what to do with it. Probably appetizers crackers and cheese and the like.

Overall they are all really interesting and good, and we ate almost all of the red pepper and artichoke, with about 3/4 of the jar of olive left. As we sat around the table with our refreshing drinks, we all decided that it was totally worth it for the jars alone. (We find turn of the century sites and jars and bottles are one way of dating them, so we are all into jars/bottles) Overall, I say BUY! Its fun sharing and the jars alone brought up good conversation. Thanks again WD, I hope I done well, as they say in this tiny, tiny town.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
MaskedMarvel wrote:

Just home from work. Labrattery to follow shortly. As always, my most humble thanks to WD and TPTB.

MaskedMarvel wrote:Dear Roxy,
My boyfriend and i have been dating for about six years and he just won't pop the question. I've dropped hints, made comments under my breath, and even gotten his mother to call him. Nothing seems to work. Should I hit the road or wait it out?
- Impatient in Iowa

Dear Impatient,
Nothing's worse than a man who won't take charge. Sometimes we women need to put them in their place. Go grab yourself a jar of Woot's Mistress Olive Greene. The intensity of the flavours would make a FANTASTIC little tossed pasta dish. When he takes one bite, walk out the front door with it and don't look back. He won't be able to tell if the salty taste in his mouth is the red pepper hinted tapenade or his tears of loneliness. Expect a ring by Thursday.
- Roxy

Dear Roxy,
I read your column every week. You have to help me! The fire is GONE from my bed. My husband hardly looks at me before rolling over and snoring away. What can I do to make him want me again? I'm going crazy!
- Eager in Erie

Dear Eager,
If it's fire you need, and boy do you need those home fire to burn, it's Woot's Lieutenant Pepper you should have at the ready. The mildly spicy roasted red peppers, olives, capers, with a detectable hint of Chardonnay will not only set his senses alight but wanting more and more as the days go on. And it's all natural, so you can use it over and over without fear of overdosing or uncomfortable side effects. May be habit forming - and I hope it is!
- Roxy

Dear Roxy,
Here's one I bet you don't hear everyday. I need LESS women in my life. I'm too distracted, they're always calling and wanting to go out. It's IMPOSSIBLE to focus down on one girl when there are dozens on the calendar each week. I've tried quitting cold turkey, and my friends are starting to get annoyed at how I can't ever make a tee time because of some girl. What should I do? I'm thinking of moving...
- Adroit in Detroit

Dear Adroit,
I'm very familiar with this sort of issue, and it's more common than you think, so don't despair. There's a simple fix, though it may break your heart to do it, so know going in the sacrifice you are going to make. Have a huge party at your place with all of your friends, and serve Woot's Artichoker artichoke lemon spread. Easily the most popular spread for crackers or crostini, your friends will welcome the diversion your females pay to this amazing concoction. Then, when their faces are full of the lemony artichoky black-peppery deliciousness, you can single out that special girl and sneak out the back door with a jar for just the two of you. Good luck!
- Roxy

Have a relationship that needs some work and would like Roxy to help? Drop her a PM anytime....

MaskedMarvel wrote:Reading over my report, i decided I needed to add a few thoughts.

First of all - I know I was just ratted. I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth or anywhere else. WD and WF, thank you. I can't wait for the next one. Seriously awesome.

Second - my sister's father-in-law and I have this running joke that's been happening for years now. We love dip. we practically survive on dip. So we slip the work DIP into our conversations as much as possible. "I thought McCain should have been more DIP-lomatic in that last debate..."

Finally - I sampled these with a girl who is a fantastic cook and makes homemade tapenades all the time. We both agreed that they were cheaper, by weight, than lesser tapenades locally, and similarly priced to those she makes herself fresh. When we factor in the time, effort, cleanup, and X-Factor that comes from making your own, it was a no brainer for keeping a few jars of these in the fridge for whatever occasion came up. They're really, really good.

The olive tapenade is much better served with pasta. The flavours of this one are almost too intense for crackers.

The roasted red pepper goes great on crostini or a hint on a sandwich. It's the most oily, so I'd put it on fresh bread with a little cheese and a vine ripe slice, myself.

The artichoke is the one that's already gone. Dip, you see, lives a short but fulfilling life in my home. Creamy without being overly blended, it's simply perfect for me sitting in front of the computer to munch on while not getting Phish tickets. My only regret is I didn't save a bit to heat up and compare to a hot artichoke dip I love that she makes.

And once again - let me know if you have anyone you know with extra Phish tickets. Thanks

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 10/20 -- Stuart Cellars Temecula Trio

2004 Tatria
2004 Cabernet Franc
2006 Zinfandel

This offering's pack:
javadrinker (Cab Franc)
subinsignia (Tatria)
spdrcr05 (Zinfandel)

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