Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 28-Stella Rosa by 1917 Il Conte D'Alba for $15.99 at Winestyles

I am sorry the blogging took a break for a couple days, but after wine tasting for 4 days straight I needed to detox for a couple of days. And to start back with a Stella Rosa from the Piemonte region of Italy, is a slow start back in the realm of wine tasting. This wine reminds me a lot of the Rosa Regale, a sweet red bubbly that has great fruit and sweetness while still being very light and delicious. The vintner describes the wine as "From the beautiful village of Santo Stefano Belbo in Peimonte comes our delicious Stella Rosa. A refreshing red wine to be served chilled an accompanied by fresh fruit and cheese. I was actually eating shrimp cocktail while drinking this wine and the shrimp sauce is too overpowering for this wine. This is a great wine for romance, very low alcohol content, 5.5%, so you could have a bottle at dinner and still be able to drive home, or if you are looking for an easy crowd pleaser. I really like this wine and have seen wine bars promote this wine a lot for the novice wine taster orto someone who says they don't like wine. The wine has no negative attributes and if a tad cheaper would be a staple in my home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 27-Debonne Vineyards Razzberry Riesling for $9.99

The Debonne Winery in Cleveland had a lot of medium sweet, sweet, and ice wines and a port to taste. We bought an ice wine and a this bottle. This wine is a grape wine with natural raspberry flavor added and described as having a delicate raspberry aroma followed by fruity, lightly sweet raspberry and riesling flavors and a refreshing aftertaste. The winery suggests the wine be served slightly chilled with fruit custard type desserts and cheesecake. The label is very cool with a guitare on the front and a map on the back. The artwork is by cleveland artist Hector Vega. This wine was also sipped from the hottub and was good. It is medium sweet with a little aftertaste, you can tell it is not pure rasberry. It is a little more berry than your typical white zinfandel, but I would place it in the same category.

Day 18-Buccia Reflections of Lake Erie for $10

We are going back to Day 18 since I obviously missed a day and want to make sure we have all the days accounted for even if they are not in order. The story behind the name of this wine, is that the wine growers of the lake erie area of ohio are trying to find a blend of ohio grapes that typify the region. This is Buccia vineyards wine that reflects the grapes of the Lake Erie regions and I guess about 5 other vineyards are also trying to make a blend that typifies the grapes of ther region. It was a medium sweet white table wine at 11% alcohol that would be a good drinking wine as well as wine with food. The best part of this winery was that the owner of the winery set up the bottles in front of us, said take your time and pour yourself and socialized with us for about an hour and half. Buccia Vinyards was by far the most enjoyable tasting experience of the trip. The winery had about 6-8 sweet wines and we came home with 3 of them. Buccia also has a bed and breakfast and if we ever have the time to go back to the area we will stay at their bed and breafast.

Day 26- Red Velvet by Virant Family Winery near Lake Erie for $8.00

My better half and I got engaged on 2/21/09 and celebrated our engagement by going to Geneva on the Lake about 45 miles outside of Cleveland where there are about 22 wineries within 40 miles. The Virant Family Winery, which is run by Charlie, was one of our stops on our wine trip. Charlie was actually bottling when we got there and we needed to stomp on the floor for him to do the wine tasting. The Red Velvet is there most award winning wine and it is a concord blend. Charlie was very secretive about his wines and wouldn't tell us which grapes made up the blend, but maybe I just don't realize how cutthroat it is in the winery business. The wine is described as a medium sweet red wine that has a vineyard fresh aroma and grape flavor with a smooth finish. We drank the bottle of this while relaxing in the hot tub at the hotel. It is very grapey like a concord typically is and smooth without that overboard sweetness. All the wines at this winery were reasonably priced with none of the sweet to med sweet wines being over $15.00. His blackberry wine was sold out he let us try it, and if ohio was able to ship to illinois I would order that wine on line and have it shipped.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 25 -August Hill's Augie's Blackberry at $16.95 for a 375ml/ half bottle

This wine came as part of the two wines that came in the sweet wines of the month club for January 2009. This is described as a port style dessert wine. This wine is pure blackberry. It is a fruit wine and it is tart. It makes your mouth water and the half bottle is plenty for me. I prefer this wine with chocolate to cut some of the tartness. If you like blackberries, you may like this wine, however it is in a port style and is 18% alcohol so it has some kick. I am drinking the wine with a chocolate in my mouth to cut some of the tartness. I think you could add a spritzer, such as seltzer, to cut some of the tartness and overwhelming fruitiness. The wine is a dark purple and stains the glass a pink color, I don't know how that relates to wine, but I do find that most red wines do not do this, so it is just an fyi. This wine is best served in small doses with chocolate for dessert, I definitely could not drink more than a glass of this wine without having my entire mouth turning purple and be in the permanent pucker face. Each with chocolate and this wine in small doses makes a nice closing to a romantic evening.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 24-$17.00 American Viognier 2007 by Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Ill

This white wine was the wine of the month for February 2009 at Lynfred winery, and since you need to open the bottle in the month of February in order to redeem the prize if your cork is a winner, you can't age the wine at all. This wine typically does not need to age anyway, which is true of most white wines. The Viognier is one of the reasons we originally dropped out of the white wine club of Lynfred, it is a dry wine. The smell is somewhat citrus and pear and crisp, however the wine requires food and will be a slow boat to china for this couple. I tried this wine with chicken cordon bleu and potatoes to help smooth it out, but it didn't work. I think this wine might require spicier food or perhaps more of an orange flavored chicken type of dish. I have a hard time drinking this wine on its own so it will stay in our fridge for a couple of days. Lynfred Winery comes out with 24 new wines a year, which allows the wine club member first taste of the new wines at a cheaper price, so even though a lot of the wines are dry that are released there are a select few that are sweet and are a great buy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 23 Paringa Sparkling Shiraz 2004 of South Austrailia $6.99 at Binny's Beverage Depot

I tried this wine twice at wine tastings at Binny's before buying since it is a sparkling shiraz and shiraz is a dry wine. The man selling the wine described the wine as candy it was so sweet, and both times me and my better half tried the wine we thought it was sweet. I obviously need to put an asterick on the times we tried the wines, at the first tasting it was at one of the last tables and we had tried close to 40 sparkling wines before we got to it, and the second time we tried it at the same time as tasting other sweet sparklings. We thought the wine was very sweet also for a sparkling shiraz. I gave a bottle of this wine to my friend at work, Katie, and she only likes dry wines, so I thought there was a possibility that this choice for her was going to be a bust. However, she opened the wine over New Year's Eve and told me she thought the wine was delicious, but did not elaborate. I asked what others at her party thought about the wine and she didn't know she was celebrating and really did not remember much about the wine at all except that she thought it was good. We opened this wine on Sunday, and it is dry. It is not even close to the candy taste that we thought we were getting. I ate chocolate with the wine which helped, but overall this is a dry sparkling which I am not a big fan. At this price, for a dry sparkling this wine is very good pair for a chocolate dessert. The idea of a making a sparkling wine out of typical dry wine is fun, I am big fan of the bubbles and like the idea of adding another dimension to typically renowned dry wines.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 22-Selaks Premium Selection Ice Wine 2005 East Coast wine of New Zealand found at Wine Styles in Des Plaines at $14.99

I have been sick all week with a cold and then a bacterial eye infection that has kept me from smelling and therefore kept me from drinking wine for basically the last two weeks. Tyler, my 15 month old is a germ factory, and sometimes my immune system is just not up to snuff.
Ice Wine, I was incorrect in a past blog, is not higher in alcohol content then general wine and this wine is at 11%. The problem is size of the bottle it is a half bottle which means to large glasses, which means this wine lasted about an hour while my better half, who has remained cold free, watched Alien vs Predator II. The movie was nothing to write home about, but the wine is very good. This ice wine was your typical golden color and honey, raisin smell. This wine is not overly thick and syrupy sweet that you find with other ice wines. It is definitely a dessert wine, however it does not pair well with chocolate, may be with a tangy cheese. As usual, on its own we found it to be very good and made short work of the half bottle. With any luck, the Zicam has taken affect and I will be able to share a bottle of wine with my healthier half this week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 21 Soft Red Wine by Oliver Winery at $5.50 at Jewel

I bought this wine because it was Oliver Winery and was on clearance for $5.50. This is a wine from the concord grape. According to my better half it is very similar to the Mt Pleasant Harvest Red concord wine, however this wine has more fizz than the Mt Pleasant. This wine is a little tart and does not have an overwhelming sweet quality that you associate with the concord and sweet wines. I think this wine would be best paired with cheeses as most fruits do, but on its own it has a little dryness to it. Of course, we spent the day at Lynfred Winery tasting the February tastings since we have stayed in all week due to illness. Hopefully, we are on the mend and will be able to keep pace with a bottle of sweet wine per week. This wine was a great deal, the Oliver winery makes some great wines and we were happy to get this concord as such at a great price.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 20-Grand Finale Rouge By the Village Vintner for $19.9953

I have had a cold and therefore have not drank any wine lately to blog. I may have come back to early because I still can't smell or taste very well. Therefore, I am going somewhat of my memory of when I tasted this wine at their shop in Carpentersville about a week ago. This is an red ice wine made with the Cabernet Franc grape. It is the only red ice wine I have ever tried. A couple who was also at the Village Vintner for the January tasting described this wine as a flavored sugar cube. This is an ice wine. It has a higher alcohol content of around 18% and has a thicker consistency than non-ice wines. I find this ice wine to taste wonderful, yes it is very sweet, however it does not have that overdone sweetness that makes me feel like I need to brushe my teeth afterward. The fruit flavors of rapberry and cherry come through on this wine which makes it a perfect wine for dessert or with dessert. This wine comes in the half bottle which makes it about a 2 large glasses which is all you probably need in one evening of this type of wine. I served this wine chilled, however, I think the wine would be too much at room temperature. A beautiful wine to celebrate with over Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 19-Soft Rose' Wine by Oliver Winery on clearance at Jewel for $6.00

Well, the hangover from the Superbowl has worn off and thankfully for me and the mental health of my significant other the Steelers won. However, I did not feel like drinking the day after Superbowl and so I will need to catch up for an extra day to meet the goal of 365 sweet wines in 365 days.
The Oliver Winery is renowned for the beautiful grounds of the winery and its Mead which is honey based wine. I have tried the Mead and it is very different than any other wine I have ever tried and required cheese to drink. I plan on visiting the Oliver Winery since it is so well known and has numerous sweet wines. This soft rose is made from catawba grapes which generally make a sweet wine and, in fact, I just recently bought a catawba wine that is significantly sweeter than this wine. This wine is definitely semi-sweet with some tartness and overall fruity finish with the flavors of strawberry. My better half thinks this is a blend, but the only grape described in this wine is the catawba. I believe this wine was made with the desire to bring in the white zinfandel wine drinker to try a grape native to america. The wine has a beautiful color and is best chilled and would make a very good summer wine and would pair well with cheese, fruit, and chocolate.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 17-Moscato Di Asti by 1917 Il Conte D'Alba for $15 at WineStyles formerly in Des Plaines

This wine comes the village Santo Stefano Belbo in the Piedmont region of Italy. This moscato di asti is described by the vintner as a refreshing white wine that pairs well with fruits and cheeses. I find this wine to be too sweet to be refreshing. Like all moscato di asti's it is sparkling with a pale yellow color with a sweet, fruity smell of oranges and peaches. I would serve this wine very chilled, because as this wine goes to room temperature, it becomes way too sweet and almost thicker tasting. I will be leaving the majority of this wine for my better half since he loves moscato di asti's, and I find them too sweet. This wine is 5.5% alcohol which is typical of this type of wine. I think this wine could replace desssert versus serving along with dessert, and the cheeses would need to be very strong since I find this wine overpowering in its sweetness.
Today is Superbowl Sunday and we are cheering for the Steelers with wine which I will blog as we open each bottle in order to keep up the pace of 365 wine in 365 days, because sometimes on Monday or a Tuesday, you just don't feel like a drink, thank god this doesn't happen very often because I would have to drink like 3 bottles a night on the weekends, which unless you have help or a party, is a feat that ends up wtih a serious hangover. This wine was obvioulsy opened for my better half, he has already let me know that I had my one glass for the blog and the rest is for him. My friends Amy and Keith, both who do not drink unless it has an umbrella in the glass, like Moscato di Asti for it's sweetness and it's similar juice properties.