Happy LaNew Year!

LaMarca Prosecco

LaMarca Prosecco

To prepare for the impending New Year, my friends and I had another blind wine tasting party, but decided to make the theme “Sparkling Wines” so we knew what we wanted to celebrate with. The only rule was to find a sparkling wine (of any type – champagne, cava, prosecco, whatever suited your fancy) under $20. I chose LaMarca prosecco, because it has become one of my go-to staples. It’s only about $9-$12, depending on where you buy it and if it’s on sale – plus, the label is so adorable. I love the combination of Tiffany blue and silver foil. One of my friends also brought Gruet, which is actually from New Mexico and a surprise favorite I discovered on a trip to Austin, Texas a few years ago. I was assuming (foolishly, as I should knew better by now) that the Gruet would be on the top of my list during the blind tasting – but in reality it ended up near the bottom. I actually chose my own LaMarca as my #1 choice, and out of five competitors, it came in #2 overall. It was edged out by one vote by Mumm’s, which incidentally only met the price point criteria because it was on sale. So LaMarca became my sparkling of choice to celebrate the coming of 2014 – looking forward to many more wine adventures in the coming year!

Published in: on January 3, 2014 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Love is blind (tasting)

Chardonnay Wine Tasting

Chardonnay Wine Tasting

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some fellow oenophiles since moving up to Washington three years ago, and we’ve since revived a club I’d started with some friends down in the Bay Area called Wine Groupies. The gist is, one person hosts a blind tasting at their home, and that person gets to pick the parameters of the wines being tasted. At the end of the tasting, everyone votes on their favorite, and the wine labels are revealed. I hosted a Claret blind tasting at my home recently, and discovered some great finds that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about – which is sort of the point. Well, a large part of the point is to get together with friends and drink some delicious wines (with some delicious foods), but discovering new things is a happy side effect. We had another installment of Wine Groupies this past weekend, and the theme chosen by the hostess was California Chardonnay for under $20.

In her words, “the butterier, the better.”

Now, if you know me, you know those words make me gag involuntarily. But this red-hating friend was a trooper throughout my Claret tasting, going so far as to brown bag a bottle of Barefoot Chard, surreptitiously sipping off the teet of her true desire and putting on a brave face. So I sucked it up, and rebelled in my own way by bringing a (free) bottle that I’d designed the label for – so as not to support the butterbomb Chard makers with my hard earned cash. Plus, as usual, I’m broke.

There were eight wines in the blind tasting, and I needed my own personal spittoon for all the awful that went into my mouth – but it wasn’t for nothing, as there were a couple (unoaked) diamonds in the rough. I particularly liked one called Naked Chardonnay ($15). The true twist of the night was that the wine I brought was voted #1 favorite by the majority of the tasters. But I took a page from the hostesses’ handbook, and brown-bagged a nice bottle of red to salvage the evening: Lyeth Meritage from Sonoma ($12) – a new favorite of mine, and the true winner, in my opinion!

Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Totes cute!

Tote+Able tote bagI just came across these wine tote bags, and they are just too cute not to share! They are “Tote+Able” (say it “tote and able”) reusable wine tote bags, made from sustainable, recyclable, and eco-friendly materials in several super cute designs. Perfect for a day hike (Am I the only one who always brings a bottle of wine on a hike? I thought not.), or maybe a rainy day at the movies. Of course, my favorite movie theater has wine service, but I could find plenty of other uses for a reusable wine tote – even as just a fashion accessory. Hey, my birthday is coming up soon – just throwing that out there.

Published in: on October 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

…Ooooh, playing cards!

Tasting a 2009 Johan Vineyards pinot noir, also out of Willamette Valley. I’m definitely getting a good schooling on Oregon Pinots, but I have to admit I’m still geeking out over the Coppola Claret playing cards I got a couple rounds ago as swag. After my first sip, I’m brought back into the moment – what a great Pinot. The label uses one of my favorite script fonts, Edwardian, so I’m sold. Maybe I can get in a couple more sips before the next wine.

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Gah! Next!

Seufert (pronounced “cipher”) out of Willamette Valley is up next, with 2009 a Vine Idyl Vineyards Pinot Noir. It’s a boutique producer of single vineyard pinots. Only 250 cases of this particular vintage were made, by a winemaker whose photo shows me he means business. It’s a pretty good example of Willamette Pinot, light, smooth, and sweet, with a slight meaty finish.

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  


Alexana 2009 Willamette Valley pinot noir is now in my glass. Whoa, first thing I notice is the fizziness on my tongue as I take the first sip. The next thing I notice is the copious amounts of sugar on my tastebuds. I give it another try, and I get the exact same impression. Into the spitoon. Next!

Published in: on August 18, 2012 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Duck yeah!

I don’t envy the wine that follows my favorite Claret, but I just got poured Paraduxx’s 2009 Z Blend, a zinfandel-heavy red blend from the people of Duckhorn. Um, YES. I have to say, it’s quite smooth and delicious! Very nice, balanced, fruity without being sweet. At $48/bottle retail, I’m chugging this one before moving onto the next!

Published in: on August 18, 2012 at 11:51 pm  Leave a Comment  


Next up is one of my absolute favorite everyday wines of all time: Coppola Claret. Awesomesauce! I feel right at home, almost like it’s time to watch The Bachelor. Great balance, delicious spice and smooth finish, it’s the wine I’ve grown to love the trust.

Published in: on August 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

No f*cking merlot!

Day two of the Wine Bloggers Convention in Portland, and we just finished listening to our second keynote speaker, Rex Pickett, author of Sideways. Brings me back to wine tasting in SLO, so I’m in the mood for some good reds. And I’m in luck, because now we’re about to start the next Live Blog session for red wines. First up is Van Duzer vineyards of Willamette Valley with a Pinot Noir. They call it the New Duzer, and it’s quite nice! Some spice and heft for a pinot, very big and lovely – and since this is my first sip of the day I can say that with complete clarity! Off to a great start.

Published in: on August 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Finish with a tart finish.

Wow, 5 minutes goes fast. Last wine of the day: a 2011 Cotes de Gascogne from France. Retails for about $9. Good lord, this is citrusy. A tart bomb. I could see this being very refreshing on a hot day. Which this happens to be, except in this over-air-conditioned conference room, where I actually need to wear a jacket to keep from freezing.

That’s it for today, folks! Check back tomorrow for the Red Wine live blog sesh! Unemployed Wino out.

Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment