It's here!!!

Posted by The Wine Whore |

... January's wine club shipment has arrived!   Can't reorder these puppies since they're sold out and hard to come by.  Should I drink them all tonight? Hmmm...

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This is what happens...

Posted by The Wine Whore |

... when you let your five year old son choose your bottle of wine: He picks the bottle with the large "E" on it.  Why?  Because he recognizes the letter, and I quote, it's his favorite. 

This begs the question: Are wine consumers as savvy as a five year old? 

I hate to admit how many times I've picked out a bottle of wine because of the label, catchy name, or some other ridiculous reason.  In this case, my son's pick actually turned out to be quite tasty... so maybe he has the potential to one day be the next Robert Parker using only his skills of label insight after all.  Only time will tell. 

For now I will admit that I think he's certainly better looking than Parker.... HANDS DOWN!!

Epiphany Santa Barbara Syrah Cab 2012 - Part of the Fess Parker family of wines, I thought this was a pretty solid bottle overall.  Price tag was also fairly reasonable given how much I enjoyed it.  There's a specific taste and smokiness that comes from Santa Barbara which makes their pinots so popular which I also found present in this blend. If you don't know what I am talking about, try some wine from this region and see if it meets your tastes.  If it does, you'll find yourself going back for more.... and more... and more... 

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Week of Wine (WoW) Dec 25, 2015

Posted by The Wine Whore |

When I think of Christmas, lots of memories flood into my mind like an aged Bordeaux slowly filling a sparkling decanter.  I recall childhood memories of decorating the tree and being excited about my presents.  I recall memories (both good and bad) of time spent with family.  I recall the smells of the fresh cut pine tree mixing with the Christmas dinner roast as it sears in the oven.  For the most part, I recall being happy and loving this special time of the year.

As I now have children of my own, Christmas has matured into a different place within my heart.  Instead of caring about what's hiding under the tree with my name on it, I now focus on what Santa will be bringing my boys.  I delight in seeing them tear open the wrapping paper like hyenas tackling their prey.  I love to see the looks on their faces when they yell "this is what I ALWAYS wanted". 

I have to admit that there is still one part of Christmas which I still selfish enjoy...  Christmas dinner!  This is the part of the holiday where I share my favorite wine over a nice roast and a healthy portion of fattening dessert.  Now that I am watching my diet through a magnifying glass like a little boy trying to burn an ant in the searing sunlight, this part of the festivity is even more special to me. Although this year I completely overdid it on red meat, wine, and sweets, it was TOTALLY worth it.  Hope you all enjoyed this day in your own special way and I have to say that personally, I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Grgich Hills Late Harvest Violetta 2012 - This little bottle packs some beautifully enchanting juice.  Rich yet balanced with a long graceful finish, Violetta is a great way to end a nice meal and was a perfect grand finale to my glutinous Christmas dinner festivity.

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Week of Wine (WoW) Dec 18, 2015

Posted by The Wine Whore |

This was both a great week for wine as well as for me personally... 

I got my blood test results and I'm happy to say that my cholesterol is normal @ 168 WITHOUT having to take any meds.  What an improvement from last Feb when it was approaching 300 and the Dr told me I better start taking pills or face impending doom. 

Since then, I've lost 50 pounds and I'm running 10 miles+ a day.

I feel strong... I feel empowered.  Most importantly I feel like I CAN accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.  What a great feeling!

Ok, enough of the health talk... let's talk about wine:

Lapostolle Canto de Apalta Cellar Selection 2012 - Although I bought this bottle in a local restaurant and got charged excessively more than I would have paid otherwise, I enjoyed this wine.  Lapostolle is on my list of familiar labels I can choose confidently knowing the juice will be solid.  This one was no exception.  The dinner experience however was VERY disappointing.... but more to come on that in a later post.

Chappellet Cabernet Franc 2013 - I was totally jonesing to break into this shipment when it arrived Monday, but I had to practice restraint due to my upcoming blood test.  You better believe I tore right into this bottle once I got the all clear for takeoff Wednesday night.

In lieu of boring tasting notes and quite frankly a bunch of wine BS, I'd rather simply post a pic of myself and Mrs. Whore framed by the vineyards and beauty of Lake Hennessey in the background at Chappellet.  Enough said.  Try their wine if you haven't already, visit the winery, and fall in love with what they're doing.  It is a thing of beauty.


Cakebread Cellars Merlot 2011 - I am not afraid to admit that my Merlot is my favorite grape.  Despite the fact that Sideways brutally beat Merlot into shame and disgust, it will forever have a special place in my heart. 

It's awesome in French Bordeaux (St. Emilion is my favorite region), it's awesome in Napa blends, and I dare to say that I think it's awesome even by itself. 

That being said, Cakebread's strength in my opinion is not their Merlot, it's their Cab.  This bottle was good, but it left me wanting more of what I have come to expect in those other bottles.  Good thing I have several of those in my cellar just waiting to be opened... but we'll save that for another day.

Hahn Winery Nicky Hahn Pinot Noir 2014 - Like a wine themed version of Russian roulette, every time I'm at Publix, I pick a bottle I've never tried before which costs less than $20 hoping to find that one hidden gem.. hoping to find that one bottle I knew was out there but haven't found... hoping to find something I can enjoying drinking without breaking the bank.  Hoping to find something good.

Although this bottle was good, I dare say that I think there's better ones out there.  Spin the barrel one more time, the search for mind blowing greatness continues.

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This is so frustrating...

Posted by The Wine Whore |

I can't believe all of this awesome wine just showed up and I'm not able to drink ANY of it until after my blood test tomorrow.

If you're enjoying a nice glass of wine, make me jealous by leaving me a comment telling me what's in your glass while mine sits empty.

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Week of Wine (WoW) Dec 11, 2015

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Since I'll be "studying" for my blood test this week, I won't be able to enjoy wine for a few days.  Despite this small delay in my quest for wine enlightenment, rest assured I'll be opening a good bottle Wednesday night to celebrate "passing" my test. 

That being said, to prepare for my self imposed dry spell, last week featured a great mix of old favorites and new surprises making it another solid week of wine enjoyment.

Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Signature 2013 - As a wine club member of Chappellet, I have to say that it's hard to find a bottle of their wine that disappoints me.  In fact, I would say that all of their reds totally rock! 

As a word of advice, if you ever find the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of their famed and exclusive Pritchard Hill Cab, grab it!  Although it will run you a few dollars, it's worth the experience at least once. 

This particular bottle, although less expensive is still quite impressive. If you see it on a wine list, you should confidently pick this bottle knowing that you've made a sound decision.

Longoria Santa Barbara County Blues Cuvee Red 2013 - After a day of bouncing between the many tasting rooms of the small wine town in Santa Barbara, I accidentally discovered Longoria (my final stop) in Los Olivos.  

I'm always looking for a solid $20 bottle of wine to supplement my recurring evening wine ritual of relaxation.  Although, Longoria's Pinots are awesome, I am sad to say that I can't afford to drink them every day.  While their Blue Cuvee blend may be hard to find, it is relatively inexpensive and definitely worth seeking out for your stockpiles. 


Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley Viognier 2013 - With its flowery nose and light, enjoyable taste, Viognier is a go-to white in my house.  In terms of decent Viogniers, Zaca Mesa's wines have served me well as a go-between the more expensive bottles in my collection.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir South Island 2013- Readily available in my local supermarket, Kim Crawford's Pinot and Unoaked Chard often make their way home with me.  The screwcaps also come in handy if you want to enjoy one of these bottles some place where you may not have access to a wine opener.  BONUS!

SLO Down California Sexual Chocolate Red 2013- Anyone who is a fan of Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" must know and love the Reverend Randy Watson and his band Sexual Chocolate.  Heck, you may have even tried to see them on tour... After all, "that boy can sing!!" 

As a fan of the movie and someone who shares a name with this revered Reverend, I couldn't pass up the chance to try this wine.  Maybe it's just my sense of humor or maybe it's just my funny taste in wine, but I have to say that this bottle was not half bad despite its seemingly gimmicky name.  If you're looking for a dry, oak bomb this one probably isn't for you.  If you like a bit more rounder fruit in your reds, you'll probably enjoy it.

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Napa Cab Lovers: This wine's for you...

Posted by The Wine Whore |

(Mr and Mrs Wine Whore at the John C. Sullenger House in Oakville, Napa)
Nickel and Nickel may cost a pretty penny but it's worth every cent.  Sister winery to such well known labels as Far Niente, Dolce, En Route, and now also Bella Union, Nickel & Nickel consistently rules as my favorite Napa Cab in the $75-$100 price range.  

If you've never tried a bottle of their single vineyard cabs, you are without a doubt missing out on an experience which I can only describe as a gift from the gods.  All of the smoke and mirrors have been spared.  Consisting of 100% cabernet (no blending), each bottle is built to show the terroir of a specific vineyard.  This simple yet beautiful concept liberates the wine to tell its story, where it grew up, and how upbringing of the grapes affect the final taste in the glass. 

(The Wine Whore and Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Darice Spinelli)

Have no fear when choosing a bottle from Nickel & Nickel's portfolio.  Although it may seem confusing to those who are not familiar with each of their vineyards, I can say with 100% confidence that you will not be disappointed.  Every bottle is amazing. Period.

As a ritual, I always open a bottle of Nickel & Nickel to celebrate life events both good and bad.  This cab was present at both my wedding as well as my best friend's wedding, it was there the day a good friend passed, and it was there once again for myself and my wife as we solemnly enjoyed it together last Monday evening.  "How was it?" you ask.  One word... Perfect!

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Week of Wine (WoW) Dec 4, 2015

Posted by The Wine Whore |

If you're like me, especially after several glasses of wine, you have the worst memory.  And if you've ever read a wine review before, you'll be bored to find that a lot of people just post nonsense tasting notes consisting of a sloppy mashup of snooty adjectives.  LAME!

To help me recall what was in my glass and whether it was worthy of sipping, I've learned to use Vivino to help me track my daily wine exploits.  And instead of publishing lame, boring, and quite frankly, worthless tasting notes, I think it's more important to remember the circumstance around the bottle. 

After all, wine isn't about just how it tastes, it's about how you feel, who you share it with, and what adventures it brings. 

Waugh Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - This was a first time I've ever had a Waugh wine.  I really enjoyed its smooth and less oaky not so typical for a Napa Cab qualities.  However, you might be underwhelmed if you're one of those people who like to be decked in the mouth with a barrel full of oak in every sip. 
Because of this reason, it was not a favorite at the table.  That's okay though... more for me!

Sanford Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2009 - I hate to admit it, but I'm on a bit of a Sideways kick. I purposely picked this wine because I remembered how this is the first winery Miles and Jack visit on their trip. You know, the scene where Miles goes over the top explaining all of the nuances of tasting wine to Jack while Jack is caught chewing gum while tasting.  Yeah, love that scene! 

Anyways, I really enjoyed this Pinot... very typical for a good Sta Rita Hills wine.  Had a solid body and nice finish.  It was a great way to start the evening!

Williamson Sonama County Entice Cuvée 2013 - A friend introduced me to Williamson after a long day of tasting on a recent trip to Napa/Sonoma.  During our visit to their tasting room, I was surprised at how all of their wines seemed to be awesome and yet still reasonably priced.  To make things even better, we got to meet the owner and his wife who were also super cool.  From that point on, I've been a proud Williamson wine club member.
I look forward to every shipment knowing it's going to be packed full of awesome.  This bottle was no exception!

Fess Parker Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2013 - You may remember the scene from Sideways where Miles drinks the entire spit bucket after finding out that he was denied his book deal... Well, that all went down in the Fess Parker tasting room.  If you visit, you can even get your picture taken next to the spit bucket.

I actually tend to prefer the older barrel style of this Pinot.  This one really made for a nice evening!

Toad Hollow Amplexus Crémant Brut - My wife and I have really gotten into opening a sparkler to start off the evening.  It's our little way of starting off our small celebration of making it to the end of the day. 

This bottle was actually a throwback for me.  I've had this one stored in my closet for several years and on a whim, decided to see if it was still any good.  Let's just say that it did the trick.  I'm glad this one didn't age into vinegar because it was actually a very nice drink!

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New Beginnings

Posted by The Wine Whore |

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way, and not starting. -Buddha

Too often does life grip you down a path, running wildly towards something you know you want and can't wait to hold.  Distracted and overwhelmed yet focused on where you are heading, you realize that you forgot to take along something you once cherished.  Until one day you stop, turn around, and see those things you forgot, vaguely lost in the distance. If it's not too late, you can run back and pick them up. If it's not too late, you can start again.  And if it's not to late, you get a chance to turn them into something new.

The man staring at me in the mirror is not the same person I once knew.  He's now a father of two young boys, a loving husband, and a successful leader.  Although he's lost some hair over the years, he's also lost over 50 pounds.   He's traded in his love for fatty steaks for a fondness in fish.   He rigorously trains for an upcoming marathon and exercises religiously.  He's moved into a new house with his family.  He takes every day as a new challenge, striving to love every second of it.

One thing STILL remains the same... He still loves the grape. 

For some time, the decision to begin having kids made it difficult for my wife and I to enjoy wine.  Baby bottles took the place of wine bottles and we now passed out from exhaustion instead of passing out because one of us had just one glass too many.  We deeply love our children and wouldn't change a thing but it took us a while to discover that parenting and wine actually go hand-in-hand.  It took us a while to rediscover our love for wine and carry it with us once again on our journey.

Today, I'm hoping to start fresh from where I left off.  Things won't be the same, they'll be better.  I have a new perspective on life, love, and of course, wine.... and I can't wait to get back to what I mistakenly left behind.  I can't wait to turn this once awesome idea I had into something new.  I can't wait to see what the future holds.

As always, your support on my wine journey is greatly appreciated!  I look forward to hearing again from everyone that used to stop by.  I look forward to hearing how your lives and love for the grape have changed over the years.  I look forward to reconnecting.

I can't wait to see what's out there right now and pick up from where I once left off.  If you are reading this and work at a winery or PR firm and would like to be a part of this crazy adventure, please contact me at thewinewhore@winewhorin.com.  I look forward to hearing from you too!

Until then....

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Wine Whore Review:
Taste Score = 9.5/10 Points
Enjoyability Score = 9.5/10 Points
(Additional stats below)

All living things are a product of two factors: nature and nurture. Wine is no different. The nature of the soil and landscape create the foundation while the winemaking process nurtures the gapes into the final living product. Both factors combine to form one. The result is an experience that reminds us of the journey.

One vineyard features a canvas requiring modest nurturing or manipulation to be magnificent. The brilliant nature of this span of 383 contiguous acres creates wines natively intelligent. On 270 acres of this span which are planted grapes are sold to more than 20 premiere Napa Valley wineries. With 10 different grape varieties calling it their home, this is one of the most diverse estate vineyards in California.

What gives this terrain such an advantage?

A series of hills and valleys containing a variety of soils: clay, shale, sandstone, volcanic rock and ash. The various combinations of terrain, geology, and marine-moderated temperatures provide unique winegrowing conditions. Because of the excellence and demand of this vineyard, only 20% of the grapes from this landscape are reserved for their wine. It is in this way that Truchard Vineyards creates �wines with a sense of place�.

Vintage Info:
�After record winter rains, a dry spring allowed for good berry set and an
average crop. Normal summer conditions slowly brought the fruit to
maturity. The 2006 vintage produced fruity wines with bright aromas,
intense flavors, and great structure.� -Truchard

Recommended Food Pairing:
To fully enjoy all of the character it contained, I tasted this wine entirely by itself. This Merlot is packed with fruit and just the right amount of gripping tannin for structure making it friendly to a range of pork, and beef dishes. Almost �Cabernet-like� in personality, it is prepared to handle even the richest of meaty dishes.

Producer: Truchard
Vintage: 2006
Varietal: 77% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Carneros Napa Valley
Residual Sugar: 6.2 g/l TA
pH: 3.55
Production: 992 cases
Alcohol %: 14.2
Aging: 20 months in French oak barrels (35% new)

Wine Whore Score:

Excited to taste the newly released (February 1, 2009) Merlot from Truchard, I found this wine to be quite profound in nature. Fruity with balance and a long full finish makes it rather pleasurable to drink. Overall I was delighted to find the complex yet beautiful blend of body and tannin that I come to look for in a Cabernet confined within this Merlot.

This deep black cherry Merlot by Truchard is complex, sweet, plush, and well balanced giving it a score of 9.5 for taste and enjoyability. With a total of 34 out of 40 points and an average score of 8.5 out of 10 points you are sure to enjoy the fruity flavors wrapped in oak behind the label of this acclaimed vineyard. Spend some time with this wine and you will understand the quality of its nature and why it consistently garners much critical appreciation.

Want to see more pictures, check out the WWW Photo winner featuring this winery!

(Read more wine reviews and info at The Wine Whore)

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