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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
sessha wrote:Labrat report:

I'm excited to report on my first Labrat experience for the 2006 Peregrine Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

This turned out to be quite the day with the long-awaited inauguration here at last. This proved an appropriate toast to our newly elected president.

I had two compatriots join in the tasting:

Note that I have deliberately omitted myself due to the photogenic superiority of my friends.

Anyhow, to cut to the chase: we all found the wine to be delicious. I recommend it without reservation for anyone who enjoys pinot and am looking forward to trying the other two in the trio. Overall, it compares favorably to the 06 Sea Smoke Southing (also from Sta. Rita) that I had recently. While perhaps lacking some of the complexity of the Southing, it was no less delicious.

Color was pretty typical for a pinot-- nice and light-- passed the finger test (i.e. can see fingers through the glass).

Nose was very pronounced with notes of leather, pepper, strawberry, some earthiness. I sat and just enjoyed the nose on this for quite a while.

Mouthfeel was nice. Very good flavor profile, nice mid-palate and finish. Not quite as over the top as the Southing but very nice fruit and very approachable-- it didn't take us long to finish the bottle.

Overall, would recommend the trio highly based on the Santa Rita.

And thanks to the Woot powers-that-be for labratting me!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
Routerhead wrote:LabRat Report:

Edit: This was the 2006 La Brisa.

Color: Garnet, with a very slight purplish tinge. No, tinge is too strong. Call it a "hint of darker fruits" if you will. The color really appealed to me.

Nose: Earth and darker berries, mostly blackberry. Later in the evening, the blackberry in the nose became more pronounced. The earthiness remained, but the balance tipped more toward berry. This was true even though we were into our meal (see below), which had mushrooms in it.

Palate: Cherries! Some plum and darker fruits (maybe I had darker fruits on the brain, but I detected them in each stage). Not a fruit bomb, though - I cannot emphasize that enough. The cherries were the dominant taste, but it was a sophisticated cherry, if you will. Not overbearing. Once we started in on dinner (Beef Burgundy), the earthiness came out, which was probably the heavy broth and mushrooms in the dish.

At the finish, it was dark chocolate and more cherry. My friend said it was a "cherry cordial."

The wine was well balanced, and maintained that balance even an hour later. For the price, this was an exceptional PN. Exceptional. Balance. Sophisticated nose and palate. The interplay between earth and fruit, to me, captured what PNs are about. Definitely not a rose, definitely not a syrah.

A big THANK YOU to WD for the opportunity!

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
bo0oby wrote:Are you there God? It's me a labrat. You must be because within minutes of sending my username to Wine.Woot!, You blessed me with a quick YES.

I received the wine on Tuesday and opened it around 930pm. I've never attempted to describe the wine experience before, mostly I have tried various Merlots and Cabs and my wife and her family really enjoy Rieslings. I would consider myself somewhat picky though with what I will try to drink. If the wine comes in a box, it is going stay there. Same with beer. I can't stand anything in a can or any of the bud/miller/coors concoctions.

SO, on to my golden ticket. I received the Red Label Roessler. I grabbed 3 glasses and poured for my wife, a friend and myself. The first few sips of the wine were tart to me but got no complaints from my wife and friend. After that, the Red Label was very easy to drink, not overly fruity nor was the aftertaste too strong. The color was more a dark blue/purple, very clear at the edges of the glass. I very much enjoyed the aroma of the wine but my nose inhales sharply and creates suction and there is probably no way I'll ever be able to differentiate the various nuances of it.

This is probably the best way for me to describe it:
If I ordered wine I had never had before in a restaurant, and I got a glass of this, I would ask for a full bottle of it.

I didn't try it with food, but I'm sure this wine would make any dish explode with flavor.
I would recommend against eating it with girl scout cookies, no matter how tempting. Particularly the shortbread cookies with caramel, coconut and chocolate.

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Offering of 1/22 -- Roessler Single Vineyard Pinot Duo

2006 Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
2006 La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This offering's pack:
The NYC Tasting Attendees (Savoy)
The Chicago Tasting Attendees (La Encantada)
Josh784 (La Encantada)

labROUS (both)

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labROUS wrote:It has been a while since the last time I reviewed a wine here, so it's probably a good idea to remind folks that LabROUS is another username for SonomaBouliste / Peter Wellington. As LabROUS I am attempting to make my reviews as descriptive as possible, but non-judgmental. If I have been at all successful in this regard I will have given you some idea of what to expect, but have not let my preferences color the reviews. I obviously let the cat out of the bag a bit earlier in the week when I w00ted and expressed my admiration for Roessler wines (which might be one of the reasons WineDavid was generous enough to let me have both of these wines to review). There are a few wineries / winemakers that I hold in high esteem and can recommend unequivocally (eg Corison, Titus), but I haven't reviewed any of their wines here before.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to taste these alongside any of the Roessler appellation series wines (from the previous w00t offering), so I can only compare and contrast these two with each other. My staff, including associate winemaker David Noyes (a budding Pinot Noir star in his own right), tasted along with me, and I have incorporated some of their comments in the following descriptions.

Roessler 2006 Pinot Noir, La Encantada
Significantly darker than the Savoy. Unmistakable Pinot Noir aromas. If someone asked what Pinot Noir smells like, this is it: strawberry and cherry, forest floor, old rose petal, mushroom/truffle. There are hints of cola, orange peel, herbs, smoked meat, tar and chocolate. This wine has medium body, good acid balance, and the flavors mirror the aromas. The oak is very well integrated, never obvious , much less dominant, either in the aromas or on the palate. Although this wine is young, it is already developing the rich yet airy texture that is one of the qualities that set Pinot apart. The best way I can describe it is to use the analogy of chocolate mousse – rich but seemingly almost weightless. The aromas, flavor and texture were very similar after several hours.

Roessler 2006 Pinot Noir, Savoy
Medium garnet. The aromas are very complex,strawberry and raspberry, plum, sage, vanilla, fresh loam, smoke, black pepper, truffle, cedar, Asian spice, and maybe a slight hint of stemminess (is that a word?). This wine is a little leaner than the Encantada, but has moderately concentrated raspberry-like fruit. It seems to have slightly brighter acid, a little more oak and is more tannic. I think this wine has all of its elements in balance, but they aren't fully integrated yet. It has pretty good length already, but shows promise of significant development with more bottle age. The fruit (cherry-plum) aromas were more intense after several hours and there was still a lot of the smoky, slightly gamy character along with a brushy, sage-like aspect.

The La Encantada is more forward and seemingly more evolved. My wife, who prefers Rhône whites and lighter style Zins and Pinots, had a strong preference for this over the Savoy. It could be sipped by itself or accompanied by a smoked Gouda, whereas the Savoy would be better enjoyed with a hearty meal.. Staff suggestions included shepherd's pie and baked yams.

Because Pinot Noir often surprises in terms of longevity, I can't say for sure whether the Savoy will outlast the La Encantada. I do believe that it will develop more and benefit more from extended aging, so if I were going to lay only one of these down it would definitely be the Savoy.

Finally, as a general note, these are traditionally styled, sophisticated wines of substance and nuance. They may not appeal all that much to the folks who prefer big, rich, concentrated “Parker style” wines.

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Chicago Labrat Report:

themostrighteous wrote:funny you should ask...

VINO: 2006 Roessler Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills)

LABRATS: Loweeel, Sparky, cheron, timbyrd, java, oppsie, oppsie's +1 & tmr


APPEARANCE (3 MAX): 3 - Excellent - 'Brilliant with outstanding characteristic color.'

AROMA / BOUQUET (6 MAX): 4 1/4 - Good + - 'Characteristic aroma. Complex bouquet. Well balanced.' - candy apple coating & strawberry jolly rancher with a hint of bacon & Rice Chex / cardboard / popcorn & a distinct funk at first.

TASTE / TEXTURE (6 MAX): 4 + - Good + - 'Characteristic grape-variety or wine-type flavor. Good balance. Smooth. May have minor imperfections." - sour cherry leather till the cows come home, fruit roll-up galore & mushroom with herbal notes.

AFTERTASTE (3 MAX): 2 - Good - 'Pleasant aftertaste.' - slightly hollow midpalate yields to an acidic (in a good way) & medicinal (in a good way) finish.


TOTAL SCORE 14 1/4 + - Good to Excellent


1 of 8 - not a PN person
2 of 8 - not my style of PN
2 of 8 - good
3 of 8 - good to excellent, acidity suggests that it would benefit quite a bit from pairing with food (which we did NOT have it with)

NOTE: the descriptions in quotes ('') for each point rating were copied from the Wine Evaluation Chart of the American Wine Society.

EDIT: on a personal note, i have 47 wine.woots to my name & have NEVER gifted myself an extra order in addition to my main order - until now.

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*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.


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NYC Tasting Labrat Report:

Krugsters wrote:Here are the NYC impressions of the 2006 Savoy:

APPEARANCE (2 MAX): 1.5 - 'Clear to brilliantly clear.'

COLOR: (2 MAX): 2 -characteristic for this type.

AROMA / BOUQUET (6 MAX): 4.5 - Good + - 'Cherry, raspberry, strawberry candy.

ACIDITY (2 MAX) 2, excellent balance.

SWEETNESS (1 MAX) 1, appropriate.

BODY (1 MAX), 1

FLAVOR/ TASTE / TEXTURE (2 MAX): 1 - Good + - 'Characteristic grape-variety or wine-type flavor. Good balance. Smooth. May have minor imperfections." - Candy, spice, black pepper, woody, metallic.

BITTERNESS (1 MAX): 1 - Is the wine bitter? (not tannin)

ASTRINGENCY (1 MAX) Is the tannin level appropriate? .5


TOTAL SCORE 15.5 + - Good to Excellent, Standard

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Labrat Report from Josh784:

Josh784 wrote:Lab Report - La Encantada Vineyard

I made it home from work and popped the cork on this one at 11pm last night. Poured a glass ten minutes later and let it sit for half an hour. Room temperature was about 65 degrees, and I was using a Riedel Burgundy glass.

This wine has a powerful nose - spicier and more assertive than your typical Pinot Noir. Immediately I picked up on notes of raspberry and strawberry. Later in the night I picked up on small hints of that 'Burgundian' funk.

On the palate, the first thing that stands out for me about this wine is that it's significantly more tannic than your average PN. It has some spicy fruit along with your typical PN strawberry component. It's fairly weighty for a Pinot, in fact the mouthfeel reminds me of Syrah.

I only enjoyed a few glasses last night, so I will update this post tonight after I finish the rest of the bottle. I suspect that this wine might even be better on the second night, if the tannins are able to subside somewhat and integrate with the wine to create a more Pinor Noir-like structure. That's not to say I didn't enjoy drinking this last night, it's a very well crafted wine that makes you think as it is an unusual style for a PN.

Round Two - The Second Night

I left the bottle on the counter overnight and poured myself another sampling about an hour ago. On the first night, this wine almost demanded your attention via its uncanny style for wine made from Pinot Noir. I was unable to settle upon a conclusive assessment of its qualities on night one as it left some lingering questions regarding its structure and prominent characteristics.

Whether it's my palate or any number of other variables, from my perspective this wine has really pulled itself together by the second night. It has lost some dark fruit and alcohol on both the nose and palate, contributing to a less spicy, more Pinot Noir-like wine. The La Encantada is still a big wine by PN standards - it has a strong backbone - however it has evolved to encompass a degree of finesse that I was unable to find when I drank a few glasses last night. There is more of that funky, smelly socks component that I enjoy in my Pinot, and the tannins have subsided to create a softer, more elegant wine. From my point of view, the La Encantada was a bit off balance on night one, possibly due to 'bottle shock' from shipping (I did open it the day it was received, after all). By the second night, however, this has evolved into a wine that I can really appreciate. It's certainly a Pinot Noir, and possesses the elegance and subtleties of that varietal, but I think the terroir of the La Encantada vineyard lends it a very unique and thought provoking style.

Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 1/26 -- Yorkville Cellars Trio

2006 Cabernet Franc
2006 Malbec
2006 Petit Verdot

This offering's pack:
Nostrom0 (Petit Verdot)
yellowroe (Malbec)
safety1 (Cabernet Franc)

INTLGerard (all three)

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Nostrom0 wrote:Labrat Report:

Opened a box this morning to great jubilation: enclosed was the Yorkville Petit Verdot.

Served at 68 deg. after an hour and a half open.

Notes are:

Fruity nose, flavors of strawberries and just a hint of alcohol.

Fruit forward, tangy, tastes of earth. Well balanced and very clean finish. Residual sugars are noticed and enjoyed. No taste of tannins.

Overall impression: Pleasant to drink, but not much complexity. Would do well with light cheese, such as a gouda or on its own. Definitely a buy.

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yellowroe wrote:Finally got my bottle of Malbec and since it had bubbles at the top I needed to let it sit and rest just as I was told. After about three hours and it warmed up a little (Houston had a cold front come in) I opened the bottle. Oh decanted it for about 1/2 hr. First impression was the nose was wonderful. Smelled like black cherries and very distinctive. Legs were very good on the sides of the glass It was definitely a full bodied wine and very dark in color. Tannins were just right. I dislike strong tannins and this was perfect and very smooth.
As I mentioned before, I only tried Argentina Malbec and this was definitely in the same class of the malbecs that I have had in the past.
I only had one glass and hubby isn't home yet but I wanted to get this out to you before the end of time to buy.
Thank you for giving me the golden ticket.

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This space reserved for the Yorkville Cabernet Franc report

ahem... see below

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INTLGerard wrote:I can give an early volrat report on these wines as I recently enjoyed four of their varietals. The Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc, Carmenere along with the six varietal blend, “Richard the Lion Hearted”. I ultimately preferred them as listed above and honestly the top three that stood out for me are the varietals being offered here.

Cab Franc
Nose: Med. Intensity, red fruit, currant, pepper, meaty, cedar aromas
Palate: Pronounced fruit with med acid, med+ to high tannin, med+ body and intensity with moderate alcohol. Long length and :45+ sec. finish.
Assessment: Nice balance, smooth texture, integrated tannins and very approachable style.

Petit Verdot
Nose: Med. Intensity with cherry, plum, pepper and earthy aromas.
Palate: med acid and ripe med tannin and body, moderate alcohol with plum, cherry, blackberry, cedar, subtle oak.
Assessment: Soft mouthfeel with nicely integrated tannin, fruit and body. Surprisingly soft and elegant Petit Verdot. Med+ length and :30+ sec. finish.

Nose: Black fruit, pepper, subtle earthy and leather notes.
Palate: Med+ intensity, acid, silky tannin, fully body with black currant, black cherry, berry, spice, chocolate, subtle vanillin oak. Long length through the palate and :50 sec finish.
Assessment: The top pick of the lot for the room with the best of everything to offer in structure, texture and fruit. If I get another opportunity it will be with a grilled rack of lamb, my favorite pairing with Malbec.

OVERALL: I found all these to be complex but very friendly and well balanced with soft silky texture, ripe soft tannin, moderate alcohol, good fruit, subtle oak and ready to drink. Typically, all these varietals have the potential to be austere, rustic and unripe but these were quite the contrary. My family recently celebrated Mom’s 70th dinner with U.S. prime roasted beef tenderloin, roasted turkey, herb de Provence stuffing, baby spinach sautéed in shallots and garlic butter, steamed buttered broccoli and I supplied the table with these Yorkville Cellars varietals. We had fun blending a couple of glasses but enjoyed them on their own even more. The dinner was a smash and the wine complimented the meal wonderfully. There is enough there to keep these around for a while but with everything integrated nicely and the fruit showing well I found this a pleasant glass of wine to enjoy now and definitely with dinner...IMHO. Thanks to WD and Yorkville Cellars for making our experience a memorable one.

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cheron98 wrote:This space reserved for the Yorkville Cabernet Franc report

Well I finally had to go to the UPS center and pick up the golden ticket, sad but true! I was going to pair it with a nice filet with a cracked pepper pan sauce but was afraid it may over power the CF, so I went with a beef stew. Opened and let it stand for about 45 min. Color was a deep plum with a nose of black cherry and raspberry, maybe a little pepper. Flavors were similar to the nose with some leather and a mild earthy taste, very pleasant. I would say medium tannin, not biting with moderate alcohol which I perfer. Had a medium nicely drying finish almost herbal. I enjoyed this first glass as I finshed getting the stew to the table. The second glass with my wife and a great bowl of stew. They went together great, the meal softened the wine nicely...a good match. I was very pleased with this CF and am glad I ordered it, wish I'd gone for more. Cheers from frozen Central New York and enjoy your purchase....Sorry for the late report....Darn UPS!


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Offering of 2/2 -- Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

This offering's pack:

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
jdabrowski1027 wrote:I am the rat, a lucky rat at that.

Disclaimer - I am a huge fan of Cathy's wines. Her unique style has been the topic of conversation (and libation) at a number of family holiday dinners. If you never have been to the winery, it is worth the trip. Absolutly beautiful Kronos vineyard, and some of the nicest people you can meet. Corison was the fan favorite of a "wine-crawl" I organized for my friends in October.

This is actually my second time enjoying Kronos Vineyard. The first was the 2003 on the said wine-crawl, while enjoying some deli sandwiches... not exactly the gourmet meal that many would think. It got the job done on our way up Howell Mountain to Neal Family.

At this stage in the wines evolution, it is best consumed with food (I had an Italian in the fall, Ribeye tonight) as the combination of structure and acidity need balance. As many have already noted, this wine has serious aging potential. Paired with the right food (and decanting) today, it's ready to rock. Or you can stash it away and let it evolve. I plan on doing both.

Some nerdy wine speak:

-Cathy's wines always have such balance between fresh fruit and structure, silk and complexity

-lots of fruit on the nose, blackberry, chocolate covered rasberries, floral, and some spices
-alcohol and oak ($1200 barrels and it's not showing...job well done) are well integrated. Balance.
-dusty tannins... and concentrated
-finish that lingers for days

Regardless of what you think about a wine of this cost, the key point is that you enjoy it - hopefully with some close friends/family. I really do not care if you are rich or poor, tall or short, white or green - This is what wine is all about.

Thanks to Woot for hooking me up today, and for all the great deals they constantly pass along.


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Offering of 2/9 -- JanKris Sampler - Five Pack

1 2006 Merlot
1 2004 Picaro
1 2004 Riatta (Two on Tuesday)
1 2003 Syrah
1 2004 Zinfandel (None on Tuesday)

This offering's pack:
esperanto (Picaro)
denise4080 (Zinfandel)
jp9219 (Merlot)
iris420 (Syrah)
SirVancelot (Riatta)

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esperanto wrote:WD, thanks for the opportunity to labrat! I hope I will make you proud.
I guess it won't make a difference to sales at this point (sold out! as of this writing, 5pm est) but I'm happy to give some opinions.


Well, WD picked the right labrat this week.
I'm a TA for a course called "Understanding Wine and Beer" at Cornell (you heard of it?), so I thought I would use this, my first labrat opportunity, to let all the TAs and the professors have a taste and get their opinions on this wine. Lots of reviews for the price of one!

Below is my review, followed by a summary of their comments.


Label: Gaudy purple and gold, with parallel faces like the girl scouts' logo. Yikes. But you can't judge a wine by its label (especially when it's free! [thanks WD!])

Color: a tinge of reddish orange peeking through the normal deep purple of a young wine; it's starting to show its age, but just slightly.

Nose: Honestly, at my first sniff i got an interesting aroma: shellfish. like shrimp shells. Further down, i got sawdust, like a freshly cut 2x4. Eventually this led into some dark fruit, blueberryish characteristic jammy zinfandel notes.

Palate: At first sip, I felt this in my cheeks. The astringency puckered them right up, an experience that I've rarely had in a non-experimental wine before. That being said, it wasn't altogether unpleasant. I like a wine that firmly announces its presence in one's mouth, like a medieval herald's trumpet (you know, with the big banner on it). Dun da da DAH! WINE!
It's a bit woody, maybe owing to time spent in barrels?
It also had a hint of sweetness, which called me back to the fruit. I wouldn't be surprised if this has a bit of residual sugar.
On the palate I was reminded of a wine I had a little while ago, Viña Borgia (garnacha). It had juuuust a tinge of bitterness to go along with the astringency, what one might call "oaky tannin".

TA and Professor Comments:

PROFESSOR 1 picked up some red fruit on the nose. As a habitual Burgundy drinker, he found the astringency a bit overwhelming. I believe the word he used was "intense".

TA 1 (the head TA, son of a Napa winemaker) found that it had "not a lot of spice" and some "oaky tannins"

TA 2 found it "rich in flavor" and "powerful"

TA 3 got a bit of reduction on the nose (which i bet could explain my shellfish?). She also was having trouble getting fruit notes.

PROFESSOR 2 was by far the most loquacious. He picked up, in addition to jammy fruit, rosemary. On the palate (specifically, on expectoration) he got cedar and mint, with a little bitterness. He conjectures that the "harshness" he perceives is a combination of the high acidity and astrigency. He guessed that this wine would sell for $20 or so, so if you bought it, you've got that going for you.

Overall: I think this is a decent everyday wine, and I think the price point is more than appropriate. I've got another bottle coming, and I might stick it away for a year or two and see what happens with it. My guess is that the astringency will come down and it will be a lot more drinkable. I suggest pizza or lasagna with it.

I will try it again tonight with some dinner and post any further opinions.

esperanto wrote:that would be be awesome.

anyway, here's

LAB RAT REPORT 2: the search for more wine

same wine JANKRIS PICARO 2004

Pícaro is Spanish (and possibly Italian?) for "rogue". Admittedly this blend is slightly unconventional. 50% Zinfandel with 50% Bordeaux varietals (25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot)? Anyway, here's how it all went down later on in the day.

I used about 2/3 of the bottle on me (well, a lot on me) and the other TAs and professors in my class. It sat in the bottle until I brought it home for dinner, which was turkey and black bean soup. Smoky was what I picked up on the nose, something I had thought before but neglected to write down. High toast on the barrels? It still had a little harshness, again probably owing to the combination of high acidity and palpable astringency.

A little bit of sediment/tartrate ended up at the bottom of some glasses, so this is either unfiltered or not cold-stabilized or both. maybe some filtering or fining would have helped.

Dessert, though, turned me around. I recently received a heart-shaped box* of chocolates and decided to hit up the Whitman's messenger boy with my last glass of this wine.

... Nice. I don't know what it is about chocolate and red wine, but THIS was really enjoyable.

All in all, the wine seems a little off balance, with individual components like acid, tannins, and alcohol coming through a bit awkwardly, but hey, what do you want for eight bucks a bottle from Paso Robles?

*ps now i have nirvana's "heart-shaped box" in my head...

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denise4080 wrote:Rat report on the Zin, even if it is sold out.

First I will let you know more about me since I am not a expert on reviews. I started drinking wine about 8 years ago. I liked White Zin the best. After a few years my taste changed I love Merlot, Zin, and Cab Sav in that order. I have drank the cheap Aldi $2.99 stuff, wont buy that again. I can drink a cheaper wine but I enjoy a better wine and savor the flavor in each sip. I try to stay in the $20 bottle range if I can. I can easily finish a bottle of wine I like in one night.

This 2004 Zinfandel:
I honestly like the label, not that it matters. The color is a deep red with clarity. Nose isn't much to me, not bad or good.

Taste: I get more berry than anything, slight vanilla and spice after that. it has a smooth touch that goes down nicely with some slight heat.

I would buy this again if avail. It has now been open about 1 hour, I am going to pour glass two. I am off to my jacuzzi with that second glass, I might buy two more of the new offer even without the Zin.

Thanks for the chance to rat. If I left out anything LMK, it's my first time.

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jp9219 wrote:Labrat checking in...2006 Merlot. I tought it was going to be easier for my first time since it was sold out but now it is available again so I have to try harder. My wife leaves in the morning but she also participated in the tasting. I am going to copy some format from the above labrat since I'm not entirely sure this will be the greatest review ever.

Background: Over the last year, I have developed a much greater taste for Cab above all else. I just recently had the Pinot for Roessler and realized that I need to keep drinking Pinot! Merlot was my go-to wedding drink because it is usually available there and I do enjoy but have never had a lot of high quality merlot's.

First Tasting...
Look: I feel, like others, that the label looks very nice. I'm not huge into the label and I don't think it means anything about what is inside but figured I would comment

Color: I felt it was a garnet color. My wife said brick but I would think a dark red brick if you were thinking that way. It was cloudy but there was no sediment that was visible to either of us.

1st Sniff: Saw dust, saw dust, and more saw dust. I can't say that at first smell, we got anything else.

Deeper: There are some definite berry flavors in there. Our palates are not developed enough to tell you exactly which ones yet but we are working on it! The saw dust was still powerful but you could get more on the second sniff.

Taste: Acidic, Oaky, strong tannins (bitter) at first taste. This was pretty dry and the taste definitely lasted. We both felt that berries came into play once swallowed although the flavor continued for a long period.

Overall: We are still in the process of drinking the wine. I will be posting more as we continue to drink. I feel that this is definitely going to open up and become a much fuller wine for us. We are not the most complete wino's out there yet but our first responses were this:

Wife: She didn't like it right away. Too bitter and acidic.
Myself: Very strong tannins. I felt it needed time to open up.

Update (1 hour later): We both feel that it is smoother and the flavors are coming out. The saw dust is less over-whelming and it has become more of that Merlot taste that I know already.

WD: Seriously, thank you so much for the chance to try and rat a wine. It may not have been perfect but we feel that this helped us gain incredible knowledge. It is very possible that I will be in for some more later tonight but I am waiting to see how this opens up before buying. We don't have much merlot around and for the price, I don't think that there would be much that could beat it from around the stores!

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iris420 wrote:Labrat for 2003 Syrah. I'm also going to follow the same sort of format since I have never attempted to do anything like this before.

Background: Full disclosure, I'm much more of a vodka drinker. I started getting into wine just a little over a year ago. I feel I've developed a bit of a palate for it, but am still quite a n00b. I even managed to slice my index finger open taking the foil off the top of the bottle. My preferences run to malbecs and pinot noirs.

So, I popped the cork and gave it a sniff. Smelled strongly of fresh flowers and grass. Really refreshing and surprising. I noticed there was quite a bit of residue around the inside of the opening after I took the cork out.

Color: Once poured the color seemed rather muddled, ever so slightly viscous. It was not a dark red, more of a medium.

First Sniff: very oaky, a hint of tar. After the freshness of the cork, I was very taken aback. Really hardly even a hint of fruit.

First Taste: Holy tannins! After decanting for only about 15 minutes, the taste was fairly astringent, especially toward the back of the tongue. Felt very brisk as I swished it around in my mouth. Slightly peppery.

Upon longer decanting (about 45 minutes) the fruit taste finally came forward. It felt very velvety in my mouth. The astringency was nearly gone, and what was there really didn't linger after swallowing. There was more than a little dregs left in the glass after drinking it all.

I enjoyed this wine. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 6. It complemented my dinner, which was marinated beef, red potatoes, and asparagus. I tried some milk chocolate with it and that further mellowed the taste, making it much fruitier and creamier feeling.

My boyfriend (who is really not much of wine drinker) tried this with me, pronounced it "too boozy" and "a little bit funky". He then proceeded to dump the rest of his in my glass.

I hope this wasn't a bad review for my first try. It certainly was a great experience for me. I hope to be a labrat again soon! Thanks.

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SirVancelot wrote:I got my labrat sample of the Riatta.
It is a nice food wine with the extra spice from the zin.

I am still a noob when it comes to wines, but I have to say I have enjoyed this one so far.

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Offering of 2/12 -- Chaucer's Mead - Four Pack

2 Chaucer's Mead - 750 mL
2 Chaucer's Raspberry Mead - 500 mL

This offering's pack:
bkarney (one of each)
copperpixie (one of each)

MarkDaSpark (Raspberry Mead)

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bkarney wrote:I sit down at my desk and what do I see?
A square FedEx box and it’s addressed to me!
Curious it is, as I’m not expecting anything,
so I grab the knife wondering what it could be.
I fold back the top with building anticipation.
Could it be the Salami? No that’s Monday
and the JanKris just shipped that can’t be it.
To hell with the packaging I’m going in!
And what do I find once I’ve gutted the parcel?
Why it’s a Golden Ticket shining back at me!
What’s this not one but two bottles!?
And they are both bottles of Mead!
With great excitement I snatch the first bottle
wondering, should I open it now for a tiny litle swallow?
No, must be strong. Must not violate Number 8!
A call has gone out to friends of this gent,
to accompany me for this most wonderful event.
The time shall be 9 the place will be Naples,
any and all in the area are welcome to join in.

I thank thee for this wonderful opportunity
and end with a hearty Huzzah!

bkarney wrote:Well, I’m about as far from being a “Mead Expert” as one can get…in fact, this is the third time that I’ve ever had it (first two being at Renaissance Festivals). I was worrying myself due to the fact that I don’t have much of a comparative base to work from, but then I realized that’s ok. Those of you that are familiar with its characteristics should hopefully be able to convert my ramblings into something coherent and relevant, or so I hope!

Anyway, once I got out of work I took these gems with me to Naples. After dealing with some nasty fog (and even nastier drivers – don’t get me started) I, along with the cargo, arrived at my destination a few hours later. I decided against trying to use the in-room coffee maker’s heater to warm with the Mulling Spices, for obvious reasons!

So, round one with the regular mead is at room temp. Round two will be chilled, undoubtedly sometime tomorrow as I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open already! I’ll open the Raspberry tomorrow as well and give it the attention it deserves.

Nose: Honey, but not like a honey comb, just smooth rich fragrant honey. I am also picking up on some notes of orange blossom and maybe some lavender. Perhaps some molasses??

Taste: It is sweet, but not offensively so. Tongue, mouth and lips completely coated with the sweet lingering finish of the Mead. At one point I could have sworn I tasted apricot, and maybe I did, but it hasn’t reappeared since. Is it wrong for me to want to try some in my morning tea!?!? I mean, I usually add honey in place of sugar anyway…enough justification, awesome – will do I bet you could make some pretty cool sauces with this if reduced enough, turn it into a glaze of sorts.

No noticeable heat. This is quite the easy drinker for a dessert-styled wine, especially after the first glass… Funny how that happens It does get a tad bitter on the finish and I think it would be nice if it was a little more crisp. All in all, it’s pretty straightforward, very enjoyable but not all that complex. We’ll see if some more defined secondary flavors develop tomorrow (or if my taste buds just needed some Zzzz). Gotta say, it's quite fun to drink, if that makes any sense...

Reading the label the suggestion is given to use as a marinade for fruit and fowl. I would imagine that it would be amazing used in a fruit salad.

I’ll be back for more on this, and the Raspberry, tomorrow. I’m just too damn tired right now! Cheers, bk

Part Two: Revisted the Regular Mead chilled and I find it to be even more appealing. The slight bitterness that was on the finish last night is basically gone now, of course, the bottle has been open for over 12 hours by now. I am really looking forward to trying it warm with the mulling spices but that will have to wait until I get out of this hotel room!

Part Three: Raspberry Mead...
It has the color of rose gold while the regular mead was more of "dark canary yellow", according to my girlfriend
This one was tried both at both room temp and chilled. It has the crispness that I was looking for earlier and the raspberry is evident on both the nose and palate. It is pretty strong, but expected. It does have tiny bit of paper clip minerality going on, but very faint. I personally enjoyed the raspberry over the regular when they are cool, and I prefer the regular over the raspberry when at room temp.

As far as my girlfriend's take on it, well, she didn't like them. BUT, I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in hell of her liking them. She likes Pinot....and Pinot, you get the idea right!?

I can hear the regular mead calling out to me.....it is dying to be heated with the Mulling Spices. Based on what I'm tasting, and using a bit of imagination based on the make-up and scent of the spices, I would be surprised if it's anything short of awesome!

Thanks again WD for this opportunity and for the offering itself. It really is fun to drink! I won't be pulling it out for any of my serious wine drinking buddies, but the OTHER drinking buddies....well, let's just say that I'll have to hide it from them if I want any for myself

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copperpixie wrote:I got a golden ticket as well! I'm so excited!

(Also two bottles.)

I can't wait for tonight and some tasting!

copperpixie wrote:Labrat reporting in:
It's cold outside and inside because we're cheap, so I decided to start with some spiced mead.

We opened the regular mead and gave it a sniff. It smells to me dead on like sparkling white grape juice. Which I've since figured is a bit floral, a bit like honey, and a bit like sparkling white grape juice.

I poured some and gave it a sip at room temp. It is quite sweet, but I like it. There's lots of sweet, definitely some honey, and a bit of floral. I thought there was very little alcohol taste to it.

I then dumped half of it into a pot to warm and mull. I let it get just warm enough that bubbles were starting to form, but it wasn't actually hot yet. While doing that, I prepped two wineglass shaped mugs like I would for tea -- hot water swished around to warm the mugs. Once it was nicely spiced and warm, I poured two mugs.

I gave my co-taster a mug and he said, "Tell them it tastes like spiced apple cider with hints of nectar. That's good, right?" He also says, "Full, round mouthfeel."

I think when warm, it has a nice weight on the tongue, that has decreased as it has cooled. It's still sweet and tasty. (A non-drinking friend interjects "It smells like honey in here!") It still has a sweet smell to it -- a bit floral. It's sharper when warm, but I tend to think that of alcohol. Overall, I find it to be very easy to drink. I'm glad I have more coming.

I have not found the sweetness to build or be cloying. It's held nicely as I've had my mug, but not been overpowering.

I will be back later with more to say, I'm sure.

copperpixie wrote:Part Two: Slightly chilled.

A bit chilled, it has a longer finish. Definitely honey on the palate. Delightful.

Sam (my co-taster) says, "Teh awesome!" He did actually say "teh", not "the".

We'll be back for the raspberry. Also, thanks very much for this opportunity -- I don't speak winese, but I'm really enjoying sharing my thoughts.

copperpixie wrote:We also had the chilled raspberry last night. I really like raspberry flavored things, but I'm also very sensitive to what I consider an issue with them. Sometimes when I eat fresh raspberries that aren't the best, there is a metallic tang to them. It gets repeated and emphasized a lot in raspberry flavored things when they use raspberries and not fake flavor (fake flavoring is even worse though because "raspberry" is just gross). I thought there was an off putting smell to the raspberry mead and a strong metallic tang. The smell and taste are highly related. The metallic taste did seem to diminish some as I drank my glass. I wish I'd thought to taste it at room temperature to see if it was at all temp related.

Other than that, there was a lighter raspberry flavor to the mead that was really nice and it was much easier to pick out the honey tones, having just had the other mead.

Sam drank a bit of it and declared it sweeter than the regular, more like drinking candy, but still delicious. He didn't notice anything off about it. I did point out the smell at which point he said, "I guess, a little."

We are both definitely looking forward to getting my shipment now. Before this, Sam was very anti-mead, but I left my glass alone for a few moments last night (half full of raspberry mead) and when I came back it was empty.

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MarkDaSpark wrote:This offer last year was my first labrat (Raspberry Mead), so here is a copy of my report (remember, it came with a Golden Ticket):

With apologies to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory:

There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going
There’s no knowing where the bottle’s flowing
Is it Raining (Yes)
Is it Snowing (No)
Is a Hurricane a-blowing (Not Yet)
Not a speck of light is showing
We must have had too much Mead a-flowing!

Initial impressions: Smell and taste light honey, not overwhelming. Not sure about the raspberry.

Part 3 (no son in sight):

And again, apologies to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory:

I've got a perfect puzzle for you
If you are wise you will listen to me
What do you get when you guzzle down Meads
Drinking as much as Bhodilee needs
Raspberry Mead is terribly good
And it goes down like an ice wine should

If you’re not greedy you will go far,
you will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa Doompadee Do, Doompadee Do!

Dessert Impressions: I felt it's not as good as an Ice Wine, Muscat, or Sauternes for a dessert wine; however, it nicely complemented the chocolate marzipan I tasted it with (Chocolate, Espresso, & Orange) along with some other chocolates.

Overall, it will do nicely on a hot summer day, but I wouldn’t have it in place of a regular dessert wine. I do like my whites and blush wines to be sweeter, and while sweet, I felt the honey was overwhelming the raspberry too much. And as Pagreen mentioned, I would have preferred a little more raspberry aroma and flavor. I couldn't really get that much raspberry (either aroma or flavor) out of the Raspberry Mead.

Hope this helps ....
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Offering of 2/16 -- Pedemonte Cellars Duo

1 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
1 2007 Adagio

This offering's pack:
kblais (Cabernet Sauvignon)

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kblais wrote:

Labrat Report on the Cab. (My groveling worked.)

Thank you wine.woot staff.

There are a few things to consider as I prepare to offer my opinion of this wine:

1. My exchange with rpm regarding alcohol content. (This is a 15.1% alcohol wine.) My personal preference is for traditional lower alcohol blends in the Bordeaux style, but that does not prevent me from appreciating New World varietal cabs.

2. Chris Pedemonte: ". . . with this particular vintage, the alcohol really does not present itself as hot or out of proportion. The drinkability is quite good right now. Personally I typically like cabs between 3 and 8 years."

3. Chris Pedemonte: "In my mind a trophy wine is a really great wine that is fantastic to drink by itself. It usually is so huge with mouth imploding flavors that it would serve as the the main course in any meal instead of a complement to it. You'll find the Pedemonte wines have a delicacy, elegance and finesse that really goes with food." I was prepared to treat this as a drinking wine, but figured I should take Chris up on the food pairing.

I pulled the cork around 6 p.m. as I started to prepare dinner for the family (pasta with tomato sauce, a challenge I know, but decided upon before I knew the wine was coming).

Deep garnet, with oak and the alcohol forward on the nose, hints of tobacco and herbs on the palate, but everything still tightly wound. I put my glass down while I took time to peel fresh garlic and slice up a few Kalamata olives and tomatoes for my sauce.

After about 30 minutes, with the water on a boil, the oak had receded to reveal aromas of cherry, blueberry and pomegranate, but with the alcohol note still present. Similar flavors on the palate, with grippy tannins and the alcohol obvious, but not hot by any means.

After about 45 minutes, we were digging in to the pasta. I did not find the wine (pH 3.75) a good pairing with the pasta. I have no doubt it would have paired well with a steak.

9 p.m. Sipping as I write this. I had a bottle of the Block 13 open, and used it to provide a comparison, but I won't compare here. This wine is not a fruit bomb. It can't help but be a big wine, with the expected round mouth feel and prominent red berry, but there's also a layer of the mineral notes and earthiness that encourage me to go and slice some dry salami, Stilton and a few desiccated olives. I am not sure I'd use "delicate" to describe this wine, but it certainly has an elegance and complexity that distinguish it from a typical New World wine aiming for a high Parker rating.

In all honesty, I don't think I'd pay the $50 retail price (I never pay retail!), but the QPR at the wine.woot price is excellent. I have no regrets for my purchase of two, and am really looking forward to the Adagio!

Thanks again staff.wine.woot for the chance to labrat this wine!

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This space reserved for the Adagio rat.

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Offering of 2/19 -- Castello Di Gabbiano Alleanza - Two Pack

This offering's pack:


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Wigdog wrote:Yeah! A Golden Ticket!

How cool is this? The first Italian Wine WD offers and I get to rat it.

Hush now, I'm about to decant, and don't want to spill anything...

Initial impressions (more to come when guests arrive in about an hour or so...)

Color: Deep dark red (garnet? ruby? not sure of the appropriate stone...) No sediment in the bottle...

Nose: I get the same black cherry as INTLGerard. To me, the spice seems like Allspice, with a little clove.

Initial taste: not sure how to describe, first word that popped into my mind was "thin", but not unpleasant, just different than a big brawny red like a barolo (I know, a completely different grape, but my palate hasn't developed enough to detect more subtle differences). The spiciness reminds me of Nero d'avola. The fruit (definitely black cherry, maybe a little currant as well) fills out and lasts for a while. I do get a little tobacco about halfway through the taste.

Really happy I went in for two, I might have to call up my alter-ego for a couple more...!

More to come after some time in the decanter, and the guests arrive

EDIT: After about an hour and a half in the decanter, the spicyness really becomes the primary note, the fruit has dissapated into the background. This would be great with a big veal chop!

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POP 'n' POUR NOTES (rest of the bottle is decanting for later).

Immediately surprised at the opacity of this stuff; it has Syrah-like color. It's immediately clear that this ain't your Sangiovese-based Italian.

Surprise #2 is the nose. Hellllooooooo, vanilla! Tough to pick anything else out this early in the game, but this is not the earthy/raisiny Italian wine I was expecting.

Entry is velvety smooth and the wine immediately proceeds to coat your palate before it knows what's hit it. From the nose, it's not surprising that oakiness (tastes like primarily new oak) is a component of the flavor profile. Where the nose failed to produce fruit notes (again, pop 'n' pour right now), there are clear raspberry and boysenberry flavors with a white peppery nip at the finish.

There is virtually zero 'bite-back' here. The finish presents the first hint of tartness, but the sweet effect of the vanilla balances very nicely against it.

I bought this as an Italian wine lover who was PSyched to get Italian wine from woot. It is not at all what I expected, but I am not at all sorry that I have 4 more bottles coming my way.

More in a few hours after the non-lovely-decanter decanter has had its way with Alleanza.

CelticWabbit wrote:It's "later" and I can pretty definitively say that the color is unchanged in 2h+ it's been since the cork was pulled.

The vanilla nose has largely blown off, allowing the herbaceous (basil?) aromas beneath to make their presence known.

Entry is still very luscious with the raspberry/boysenberry adding dried cherry. Definitely a lot more spice-rack coming in now, too, everything from savory basil (yep, basil... I think) to a pie spice I just|can't|place (allspice? nutmeg?). I'm noticing more tartness on the mid-palate now, but I'm willing to attribute that to the residual sweetness of the mini-donut I had about an hour ago.

The finish is MUCH earthier than the pop 'n' pour. The vanilla really only starts coming back in as the other flavors fade.

This is a whole lot closer to what I expected (as I drink more, it's exhibiting more & more dryness, which is a good thing!) I still would never peg this as an Italian wine in my first two (or five) guesses. It has characteristics I associate more with South American wines.

I've kicked half the bottle tonight & will try to hop on (ha ha, get it?) tomorrow night for a Day Two report.

Thanks to wine.woot for the labrat and the opportunity to play!

CelticWabbit wrote:Talking to myself (again).

The vanilla that was prominent yesterday has almost entirely blown off. Nose is moving more toward dried cherry/raspberry. Still very mouthfilling and starting to get some rosewood-inspired flavors coming into the mix. It's somewhat tart on the mid-palate (temp is still a bit cool though), but the finish is really where it's at tonight. Long, luscious, lingering, delicious.

It's still not anything I would pick out of a line-up as an Italian wine, but it's still a pretty damn good drink. Good balance such that I can see this being either a 'drink with friends' wine or pairing it well with a rich, beefy dish (Beef Stoganoff, Bourguignon, or just a hearty beef stew).

I don't feel qualified to set a "drink by" date, but there's still some youth in the bottle here. I'm tempted to up my order from 4 to 6 bottles 'cause I'm pretty sure I'll wish I had a few more around if I open a bottle a year for the next 4 years.

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INTLGerard wrote:Volrat Report: 05 Alleanza.
To clarify here is the back label as printed which clarifies the blend discrepancy:

Castello di Gabbiano
Indicazione Geographica Tipica
Red Wine
“ALLEANZA in translation means alliance and refers to the dual effort between notable Castello di Gabbiano winemaker, Giancarlo Roman and Napa Valley, Beringer winemaker, Ed Sbragia. These two illustrious winemakers from different parts of the world have combined their talents and styles to produce this balanced expression of the old and new world from a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown on the Castello di Gabbiano estate in Tuscany.”
Alc. 14.0%

NOTES: Decanted for a good hour plus.
Appearance: Deep ruby color for these grapes which suggests good extraction.
Nose: Intense aromas of black cherry, spice, coffee, tobacco, tar, hints of anise
Palate: Dry, Med+ Acidity, Intensity, Body and Alcohol. Well balanced with fine grained Med+ tannin. Very good fruit flavors of red and black cherry, plum and raspberry with layers of spice, earth, tobacco, lead and cedar. Long length and a good 45 second finish. Nice layered complexity that backs up their self acclaimed new/old world style with ripe vibrant fruit through the palate and the earthy old world influence of terroir and wood. This is very much my style of wine. Not over the top and pleasant to drink alone or paired with a full flavored dish like Osso Bucco. Well worth the price for this level of quality. IMHO

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Offering of 2/23 -- Trinitas Trio

This offering's pack:
joshaw (Old Vine Zin)
caufield (Mataro)
fairnymph (Bigalow Vineyard Zin)

Side deal labrat:

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joshaw wrote:Holy Trinitas!

So, as you may or may not know, I was the "chosen" labrat for the Old Vine zin. So let me start off like this: I'm pretty sure Jesus (The Son) would've drank this wine.

The nose on the bottle was faint but fruity. It was slighty earthy but heavenly. And this is no joke, the nose definitely has the scent of Rosemary.

The color is solid with a slight brown tint.

The initial taste, after about 10 minutes of air (I couldn't wait) I tasted mainly (Fatherly) tobacco, blackberry, and cocoa. It's weird for me when the description on the bottle actually matches what I taste but this time it was spot on. It is extremely well-balanced, no choking on the heat like many big zins out there.

The finish was bright (Spirited?) and clean.

I'll post again after the wine has some more time to open up.

UPDATE: So, the bottle has opened up a little bit. The fruit of this wine has really come forward, so much so that the balance I like in a zin has become a little off. The cocoa taste is gone but the tobacco and blackberry are still strong. The finish is still bright and long.
It pairs well with pizza but probably would be best with some BBQ. Drinking this, I am reminded of Bodegas Lan Rioja Reserva but I have no idea why.

I probably should add that I also received one of the almond chocolate Olympic Granola Bars, which is the side deal. It is absolutely the best granola bar I've ever had. Seriously. Do I need to rat for this as well? I taste chocolate and almonds and ... :-) I'm leaving this post to go buy a few.
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caufield wrote:Ratting the 2005 Mataro

5:30 PM
Very excited when I opened the box to find the 2005 Mataro. I'm a Cotes-du-Rhone fan so I couldn't wait to get started. Alas, family life prevented me from plunging head first into the bottle. I would have to wait.

7 PM
Dinner over, kids out of the bath and pleasantly sedated by Monster House on the television. Time to start the party. I popped the cork, poured a bit in a glass and the rest in the decanter.

Color - Very clear, very even, ruby color extends all the way to the edge.

Sniff - Dark stone fruit, some heat to the nose.

Sip - Yep, dark cherry & plum, vanilla, and alcohol heat are there first. Tannins are silky (not soft; present, but well blended with the rest of the flavors). Some spice (pepper?) but it's not quite obvious. Nice long finish 30-40 seconds. Definitely drinkable now after some time in the decanter to open up.

Time to get the kids ready for bed.

8 PM
OK kids in bed finally. Let's see how the Mataro party's coming along. I invite my buddy Ryan over to add some insight.

Sniff - still just a bit of heat, fruit aromas more complex now. Some pepper to the nose.

Sip - There may not be enough m's in Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Still just a bit of heat, but it has mostly subsided. Complex flavors at this party: dark cherry has been joined by some berries and vanilla; the herbs have shown up (and we all know how the party really gets started when the herbs arrive) - I'm getting some basil and a little violet; pepper was hiding in the corner at first, but she's dancing on the tables now (and we can barely make out the leather thong she's wearing).

Summary 9 PM
So if Jesus (The Son) would drink the Old Vine Zin, I think Mary would prefer the Mataro. I really, really like this wine. It's a very complex profile compared to the wines I can usually afford to drink, spending very rarely over $15 a bottle. If you like Cotes-du-Rhone, you'll love this wine.

Now, to be clear, this is not a 'Big Red' wine. Ryan's first comment was "Hmmm...I expected it to be bolder." Ryan likes his wines to take advantage of his grandmother while pouring sugar into his gas tank. He likes them big, ladies and gentlemen. He can appreciate the 2005 Mataro for its complexity, but it wouldn't be the first wine he pulled out of the cellar.

Oh, and one final note. I have to agree with others that the winery's description is pretty spot on. The only taste that is mentioned that I didn't get was chocolate.

caufield wrote:Also Ratting the Olympic Granola Bar (Almond and Chocolate) received along with the '05 Mataro.

Had this for breakfast this morning. A very, very good granola bar. Soft granola bar, dense and chewy with (you guessed it) almonds and chocolate along with the standard granola accompaniments of rolled oats, etc. Also had some flaxseed which must have been toasted/roasted 'cause they were easy to chew.

This is definitely a meal, not a snack, at 390 calories. I'm the type of guy who nearly always skips breakfast unless it's something I can eat while I work. These are great for that. I just might pick myself up a pack...
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fairnymph wrote:I received the 2004 Zinfandel Bigalow Vineyard, which I allowed to rest and reach proper drinking temperature in my wine cellar for about an hour before opening it for mopsie2002, my landlord, and his wife. The lighting is terrible in my living room so apologies for the image quality.

My notes:

Deep burgundy-plum colour; nearly opaque. Some noticeable legs - thin, but they coat the glass for ages!

Nose is gorgeous - very expressive (as it turns out, I like the nose better than the actual taste in this case). Dark fruit (Bing cherry, blackberry), earth, tobacco, spice. Complex, rich, and alluring.

On the palate it's much tarter than the nose suggested; very sour indeed, especially for a CA Zinfandel. Medium-bodied, but rather light (almost 'refreshing') in mouthfeel, probably due to the high acidity; to me it feels lighter-bodied than the typical Zin, and especially considering the depth of hue. Some good but smooth tannins pucker the mouth without too much bite. I get some sour cherry predominantly fruit-wise, but this is not a particularly fruity wine, certainly NOT a fruit-bomb, and I don't get as much fruit on the palate as I did on the nose.

Finish is medium and a touch rough, showing loads of tobacco and unidentifiable spice. On the whole, this doesn't strike me as Zin-like; in a blind tasting, I would be inclined to guess Chianti (really!). It has the sort of thinner, high acid taste yet still pretty bold and decently structured feel that Chiantis have. I sliced up some goat cheddar to get an idea of how this might pair with food, and as I suspected it went nicely; I imagine this would be great with pasta, such as a red sauce.

I enjoyed drinking it and I didn't feel that it was at all hot, despite the high alcohol content; it's very smooth and goes down nicely. But I'll be honest that I prefer a more jammy, bolder style Zin. I was definitely surprised by the characteristics this wine exhibited.

mopsie2002's notes:

Nose - Soft, fruity, appealing scent. Something I can't quite place, fruity tobacco maybe? Maybe a bit flowery. Very mild and expressive.

Taste - Hits the tongue smooth but there's a bit of a bite when you swallow, kind of bitter in the back of the throat (finish). Rich and smoth, tart, acidic on tongue. Much less full-bodied than color would seem to indicate. Leaves a tingle on lips after a while. Second glass tastes more clear and pointed (refreshing).

landlord's notes:

Smells good. Nice legs. Color is nice. Goes down well and has a smooth taste.

landlord's wife's notes:

Beautiful color. I like it and would drink more.

Everyone reached for the bottle repeatedly, so its drinkability was definitely high. My landlord is not a big wine drinker and seemed impressed, while his wife, who drinks a fair bit of wine but is no expert, drank the most of all of us.

fairnymph wrote:*SIDE DEAL REVIEW*

I ate some of the other goodie I received in my box today - an Olympic Granola bar (Turtle Mocha flavour) from the side deal. It's quite substantial; hearty and filling, as reflected by the significant caloric content (nearly 400 cals). I'd bet this would be great for hikes, after a long run, or even on plane/car trips.

Texture is excellent; moist and chewy with large chunks of nuts and whole oats. The mocha flavour is complex; it tastes almost like there's finely ground coffee in this, and the subtle coconut flakes and just-right sweetness round things out.

The sunflower seeds aren't as prominent taste-wise as I'd expected, melding quite well with the other flavours. It's a high quality product that's tasty and nutritious, but I still can't see myself shelling out over $2/bar.
CT | | | | | |


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Offering of 2/26 -- Corison Helios Label Two-Pack

1 2004 Helios Merlot
1 2005 Helios Cabernet

This offering's pack:
ArcheDiver (Merlot)
ewqcsl (Cabernet)

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
ArcheDiver wrote:Sorry for the delay everyone. Life got in the way of me being abje to do my rat duties last night. But I will try to make up for it with gusto, please pardon the unrefined pallets of the missus and I. Just got home from work 20 minutes ago, opened the Merlot as soon as I had my shoes off. Poured two glasses. Wife thinks hers smells sweet, can't seem to identify specifically of what. I'm getting some tobacoo and cherries on my nose. First sip, verrrry smooth. Does not seem to be needing time to open. Still getting a hint of cherries in the flavor. Very impressed so far. Best kudos I can give to the fence sitters is that my wife, who was initially mad at me for ordering when we're supposed to be watching the budget, is really looking foward to the full order arriving.

Starting on dinner, got some steaks seasoning and potatoes roasting. Looking foward to seeing how this opens up throughout the night. Will be back after dinner with further thoughts.

ArcheDiver wrote:Just wrapped up dinner. Already smooth merlot opened up even more. My wife who is now tasting fruit, but can't put her finger on any specific fruit. My initial impression of a hint of cherry has been amplified, definetly getting lots of cherry towards the bottom of the second glass. Third glass has been poured. Going to relax and watch some TV and see how it fares as the night progresses.

ArcheDiver wrote:Last note before bed. We finished the last of the merlot in the living room watching a movie. Finished quite smooth, but suprisingly for me the hint of cherry actually seemed to fade with the last glass. Overall both the wife and I really like this. If budget wasn't so tight right now I would definetly up my order. Going to Napa with the Inlaws in April, definetly planning a stop at Corison now. Hope my reports helped some fence sitters. Enjoy. Have to call it a night, tomorrow is a dive day.

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quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98
ewqcsl wrote:[Labrat - late shipment]
I labratted the 2005 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Helios. Lots of sediment on cork and around rim. Color is deep purple. The nose is initially closed, but hints of cassis and sasafrass. Initially, the same on the palate. Lots of structure, good acidity and a long finish with noticeable tannins. This is a wine that needs time to breathe at this stage and food. With some air, and salami, crackers and creamy cheeses, more fruit evident, but tannins also so. As it develops, a long finish devlops with vanilla and oak, which "piles up" the more you drink. Overall impressions: this struck me as a traditional style cab - not catering to a new-world palate, but made for food. The wine has good structure which needs time in the bottle to develop. I will wait a year or so, and serve with hearty fare.

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