For Christmas, my younger brother sent C. and me a half-dozen bottles of wine through mywinesdirect.com (though we haven’t looked into continuing the service since our wine stash is big enough as it is, and just getting bigger). The ones we’ve opened so far have been uneven in quality, but this one is enjoyable enough that I’d definitely consider paying a visit to X Winery.

Most of the California Cabernets I’ve tasted have been on the big, oaky, aggressive side – wines that my gut instinct would tell me to cellar for 5 – 10 years, at least, to soften the tannins. This particular Cab, young though it is, is already pretty well-balanced. The tannins are present but not huge, the nose is toasty-spicy, and there’s fruit as well as some rich cedar on the palate. I still think it would benefit from another few years, but I’m not sorry we opened it!


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Ooooh, I love this wine. Not surprising, given the great reputation of Grgich Hills.

The primary varietal of a Fumé Blanc, as I just learned from Wikipedia, is Sauvignon Blanc, which makes sense to me, given the yummy pear and grapefruit notes on the palate. A soft, toasty warmth on the nose, however, leads me to suspect that Grgich aged this wine in oak, which the winery’s tasting notes confirm – 5 months in French Oak, to be exact.

But this wine doesn’t have the smarmy, domineering butteriness of over-oaked Chardonnays – instead there is just enough to give a nice depth to the wine without sacrificing crispness. To me, overall, the impression is of a lively, complex Pinot Grigio (adjectives that are hard to come by in actual Pinot Grigios, in my limited experience. Actual wine connoisseurs/euses, please feel free to broaden my horizons.).

In sum: add Grgich to the list of Napa Valley wineries C. and I need to revisit on our next trip up there.


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We seem to be on quite the Healdsburg kick lately. Tonight’s bottle comes from Wilson Winery, which I honestly don’t remember visiting, though C. assures me I was there. He also says it was our first stop that trip, so I can’t blame my forgetfulness on being tipsy. Apparently it has a great view – I kind of do remember the view.

My overall feeling on this bottle is that we should have left it alone for a few more years. It’s tight – very dry and tannic – and I wonder whether it would have opened up some more with time. We discovered over dinner (entirely shopped for and cooked by the lovely and talented C., by the by) that this is not a great food wine; its character was hidden by the flavors of the meal. On its own, it displays cedar, smoke and caramel on the nose, with a Chardonnay-like butteriness and the barest hint of plummy fruit on the palate. The coffee/mocha thing the winery’s tasting notes mention is there too. In sum, not a spectacular wine, and probably not a winery we will go out of our way to visit again.

OK, to be completely random because I don’t want to end on a negative note tonight: We brought a bottle of the Hall 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet to Easter brunch chez PS & EJ last month, and it was a huge hit. If we ever stop obsessing over the Russian River Valley and head back up to Napa, we have to visit Hall again.


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[Disclaimer: I’m far from being a wine expert. I often find myself thinking “I know I liked/disliked that bottle, but I can’t remember why,” so journaling wines now and then seems like a good idea.]

I returned home late last night from a concert and found C. curled up in his leather armchair reading, with a wine glass beside him half-filled what looked at first glance like water. Turns out it was one of the wines we received in our latest order from Roshambo, a winery he discovered while working at a choir camp near Healdsburg, CA.

Before even taking a sip of the glass he poured me, I tried to get a handle on the color. This wine really is almost colorless; visually it reminded me of melted lemon sorbet, only transparent. My first few sips weren’t too memorable, but once the wine had gotten some air into it and wasn’t quite so cold I began to enjoy the flavors that developed. This is one of the more subtle Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted: light bodied, on the dry side, and not shouting “Citrus!” or “Tropical Fruit!” at you. Those notes are there – and they’re one of the reasons I generally gravitate to Sauv Blanc rather than the heavier whites – but they are integrated well.

C. tells me we have another bottle of this from an earlier club shipment – happy day!


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