Wine Tasting

Last night, Wine with Dinner hosted its first wine tasting. Several friends attended to sample 12 wines from various regions. One fellow wine enthusiast, M, was kind enough to record some tasting notes with me. As it turns out, with a couple of exceptions, our opinions were pretty much in line. Here is the tasting list from the evening, accompanied by my notes and ratings along with M’s. There is a more detailed review of No. 6, Dr. Konstantin Frank’s 2005 Semi-dry Riesling, to be posted soon.

1. Jefferson Vineyards 2004 Viognier, Monticello, Virginia: I got a grapefruit aroma with an earthy/nutty flavor. There was also a bit of buttery citrus on the palate. This wine has a bit of a spicy kick at the end. M detected a rubbing alcohol smell that she did not care for, with tastes of butter and wheat.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 3 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 2 Stars

2. Paringa 2004 Chardonnay/Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc, South Australia: I love this wine because it is a great value at $10. It has a lovely fruity aroma highlighted by sour apple and a hint of pineapple and pear. The taste is dry and a bit toasty/buttery, yet fruity. It has good length, with just a bit of bitterness going down. While I might normally give it a 4, my rating factors in the quality you get for the price. M was less impressed. She got an aroma of cheese and crackers and characterized it as a “peaceful” wine with relatively little going on.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 5 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 3 Stars

3. Goose Watch 2004 Traminette, Finger Lakes, New York: The peach aroma on this might make you think that you have a sweet wine on your hands, but this is really a dry, fruity wine. Traminette is a hybrid grape developed at Cornell University. It has a gewurztraminer-like spiciness (one of its parent varietals) with an almost peppery hint on the palate, coupled with a tart grapefruit flavor. This wine would be perfect with spicier foods. M agreed, enamored with the “heavenly scent” of this dry white.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 4 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 5 Stars

4. Willowcroft Vineyards 2004 Riesling Muscat Ottonel: I made a mistake in serving this a bit too late in the order and at a bit too cold a temperature. Despite my mistakes, the wine was lovely. I came back to it later and confirmed what I remembered from the first time I tasted it at the winery. This is a surprisingly dry wine, but fruity, with peach and grapefruit aromas and flavors. The flavors are subtle, but the wine is crisp and delicious. M also loved this selection.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 5 Stars
Guest Review M’s Rating: 5 Stars

5. Gramona 2004 Gessami, Spain: This muscat and sauvignon blanc blend presents with grapefruit and hints of peach. The sweetness of the muscat is subtle but nicely compliments the dry sourness of the sauvignon blanc. This is an interesting and pleasant combination. M picked up a somewhat medicinal aroma, but enjoyed the taste.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 3 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 4 Stars

6. Dr. Konstantin Frank Cellars 2005 Semi-Dry Riesling: As noted above, I will be doing a full review of this wine soon in a separate entry. Suffice it to say for now that everyone at the tasting loved it. I found peach and citrus aromas with flavors of honey, honeysuckle, and grapefruit. M liked the fruity nose and observed the nice tingle it leaves on the tongue. She correctly noted that this is very much a German-style riesling.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 5 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 5 Stars

7. Waterford Vineyards 2002 Cabernet Franc, Waterford, Virginia: This wine has a bright red-purple color and a peppery strawberry and cherry aroma with just a hint of oak. It is dry, peppery, and fruity with hints of cherry on the palate. A couple of tasters detected other fruits, including blackberry and even cranberry. M loved this wine’s smoothness and oaky nose.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 4 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 5 Stars

8. Chateau l’Enclos 1998 Haut Mazeyres Pomerol, Bordeaux France: This Bordeaux blend got a variety of reactions. It has earthy cheese, pepper, and licorice aromas. The taste is very earthy, with almost a turpentine-like kick. This is a typical Bordeaux and if you like the earthy flavors rather than the fruit-forward style, you will probably enjoy this wine. M noted that it “smells like red.”
Wine with Dinner Rating: 3 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 4 Stars

9. Joseph Phelps 2002 Insignia: This predominantly cabernet sauvignon blend is deep purple with a complex nose of cherry, strawberry, blackberry, oak, and a hint of paint-thinner. It is thick and warming, with a smooth, leathery-velvet flavor and a peppery kick. This is an excellent wine, but I wouldn’t pay $150 for it on a regular basis. Then again, I think it is very rare to find a wine that is worth that much with all of the quality wines available at or under $50. M thought this wine was absolutely perfect.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 4 Stars
Guest Reviewer M’s Rating: 5 Stars

10. Tomaiolo 1997 Chianti Classico Riserva: I got this one at The Italian Store, which was the subject of my last review. As I understand it, 1997 was a strong vintage for Chianti and this wine is no exception. It has a blackberry and cherry nose with a mellow flavor of tart cherry and a hint of pepper. Very nice. (M dropped out of the note taking at this point).
Wine with Dinner Rating: 4 Stars

11. Pelee Island Winery 2003 Vidal Ice Wine, Pelee Island, Ontario, Canada: I had heard good things about Canadian dessert wines, so I wanted to give one a try. This is a nice ice wine with apricot aroma and flavor. This is not too overpowering, but is sweet and soft. It is a good wine, but it does nothing in particular to stand out. Do not overspend on it.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 3 Stars

12. Wintergreen Vineyard & Winery Raspberry, Virginia: Lovely raspberry wine. Not too strong, just nice and sweet. Very drinkable and excellent with chocolate.
Wine with Dinner Rating: 5 Stars

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Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 10:02 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I did drop out of the note-taking, but mostly because the company was getting warmed up and I got involved in a number of fascinating conversations.

    I mostly agree with Wine With Dinner for the remaining three wines on the list, though I should make one note about the Raspberry. I tried this wine at a festival (I think that’s where you got it, yes?) … and I remember it being a lot sweeter then. Was it two summers ago? It must have been! Anyway, since it has been sitting, it has developed a much more tart finish (gets you zing! in the back of the throat).

    I took a couple of sips of it, and then agreed to have some bubbly poured into it, which made a fantastic cocktail.

  2. Sounds like a good time was had by all! Would it be possible to get a price listing of these wines?

    Sure. I linked to the vineyards’ websites in the entry so you could get up-to-date prices, but here they are as they now stand:
    1. Jefferson Vineyards Viognier: The current 2005 vintage is $24.95.
    2. Paringa: About $10.
    3. Goose Watch Traminette: The current 2005 vintage is $11.00.
    4. Willowcroft Vineyards 2004 Riesling Muscat Ottonel: $14.29.
    5. Gramona 2004 Gessami: About $12.00.
    6. Dr. Konstantin Frank Cellars 2005 Semi-Dry Riesling: A very reasonable $16.99.
    7. Waterford Vineyards 2002 Cabernet Franc: $18.00.
    8. Chateau l’Enclos 1998 Haut Mazeyres Pomerol: About $25.00.
    9. Joseph Phelps 2002 Insignia: $150.00.
    10. Tomaiolo 1997 Chianti Classico Riserva: About $20.00.
    11. Pelee Island Winery 2003 Vidal Ice Wine: The current 2004 vintage is $39.95.
    12. Wintergreen Vineyard & Winery Raspberry: $13.00.

  3. Hi Chris:

    Wow, what a great selection of wines, and I can’t believe you broke out the 2002 Insignia. Excellent reviews of the wines and it sounds like a great time. How do you get on the guest list for these events? haha

    Great post
    John
    🙂

  4. Hello Chris,

    Love the selections, I picked up several bottles of the Dr Franks Riesling when we visited the Finger Lakes, its wonderful. I also agree on the Jeferson Viognier and Willowcroft Riesling-Muscat blend; good stuff.

    I’m having a Cab Franc tasting on Saturday (including that Waterford 02) of VA, Finger Lakes, CA and French labels, drop me an email if interested.

    Nice post, sounds fun.

    Happy Sipping!

    Dezel

  5. Wish we could have tasted with you – we’ll have to get you out to CA and let you loose on some of our local favorites here!

     —Get me some time off from work and you have a deal.

  6. the Wintergreen wine is very good…I do agree


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