Chris’ July Pick: Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Red

Folie a Deux The Selection: With the Wine Bloggers Conference coming up in a week, we’ve been scanning through some of the finalists for the Wine Blog Awards and came across Jon from Minnesota who blogs as the Reverse Wine Snob. He has a great regularly updated list of his top 10 favorite wines, which provided my inspiration for my picks this month.  Yes, I said picks.  It’s a special month since we’ve been focused on making some changes to the site, trying new ideas (like this post format) and dealing with hosting issues.  What can I say? It’s driven me to drink a little more.

First up this month was Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Red @ $7.99.  That’s a lot of accent marks and a’s.

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Cabernet Sauvignon, Chris' Pick, Merlot, USA, Zinfandel

July Tasting: The Representatives from Washington St.

We decided in the beginning of the month to celebrate a month of America (because of the 4th) with some wines from Washington.  At first pass, it was kinda tough to source WA wine by ourselves, so we reached out to some twitter experts/friends and got some great recommendations.  Check them out.

YTB TweetsUnfortunately some of the K&L options were in their warehouse and their Redwood city branch and Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan’s pick was only on wine.com.  We opted to improvise a little (and threw in a wildcard), ending up with 1 Syrah, 1 Bordeaux blend, and 2 Merlots.  Here they are.

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Blind Tastings, Bordeaux Blend, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah, USA

July Tasting: Ode to Washington (State) for the 4th

It’s almost independence day so let’s celebrate with wines from Washington (State, not the founding father or the District of Columbia).

We’re not experts on US history, but we think George Washington was important to our July 4th holiday, you know, being a general during the revolution and our first president and all. We’re gonna roll the dice and not fact check that.  I’m pretty sure we won’t end up like like Sarah Palin on the topic of Paul Revere.

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Blind Tastings, USA

Midnight Safeway Run & Buena Vista Pinot Noir

Buena Vista Pinot NoirEver been to Safeway at 12:30am on a Friday night, combing the aisles of red, while looking for something to take the edge off a 3 hr drive, selecting a bottle you think your brother mentioned a while back, and discovering a fantastic bottle you now consider a favorite?  That was way too specific to say anything else but “We did”.

Linda’s brother is coming into town next month.  In planning the trip, he mentioned a few wineries we could visit including Buena Vista.  We had never heard of Buena Vista before, as well as the other wineries on his list, and we’re the ones with the wine blog. Ha!  Buena Vista is actually the oldest premium winery in California, dating back to 1857.

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Pinot Noir, USA

Chris’ June Pick: Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Buehler Vineyards CabernetI recently came across this SF Chronicle article about 2008 Cabernet Sauvignons and thought it would be good inspiration for my June pick.  There were some familiar names (Chappellet, Hall, Mondavi), but the Buehler caught my eye for it’s price and review.  I haven’t tried Buehler and don’t know much about them.  The SF Chronicle review was for the 2008 vintage, but the folks at K&L Wine said the 2007 was better anyways.  One day we’ll learn about vintage comparisons.

Looking at the Buehler website, they’ve been around for about 30 years in St. Helena making Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay.  They do tastings, but only by appointment.  Since they’re tucked in way up hills of east St. Helena off the beaten path, a reservation is even more of a must.

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Cabernet Sauvignon, Chris' Pick, Red Wine, USA

Sons & Daughters Honoring Fathers

Chris' Grandpa @ Breezy Point

Since our Dads were either 150 miles away playing golf or 2,500 miles away watching baseball, we celebrated them with Father from Saarloos & Sons. We’ve mentioned Saarloos before on our favorites page.  Their wines have a strong family focus making them a perfect choice for Father’s Day.  I actually sent my Dad a bottle of Saarloos’ Son Cabernet for today.  He celebrated Father’s Day by posting a photo of his Dad on Facebook.  I never knew my grandfather but love seeing old photos of him, especially when he’s smiling.

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Syrah, USA

June Tasting Results: Syrah at 6,000 ft.

Rubicon Bay @ Lake Tahoe

Rubicon Bay @ Lake Tahoe

We timed our June tasting with a trip to Tahoe with 4 friends and 2 new friends. Rather than let our open bottles sit on our lonely counter for a week as we slowly consumed them, we wanted to share them with friends and get their opinions on our wines.  It felt a little odd showing up with 4 bottles and offering to pour a blind tasting, but our friends were excited to give it a try and play along.

We brought along 4 Syrahs varying in ABV from 12.5% to 15.5%: Domaine Vincent Paris Saint-Joseph, Mission Estate Winery Syrah Hawkes Bay, Melville “Estate-Verna’s”, and Michael & David Vineyards “6th Sense”. The goal was to see if people could tell the difference between low and high alcohol wines and if they preferred high alcohol fruit bombs.  My guess was that people could tell the difference in ABV, but I wasn’t sure if the group would like the fruiter, high alcohol wines.  So did the group pick the wines in order and go for the 15.5%?

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Blind Tastings, Syrah

25 Grapes from SF Wine Trading Co & 1 from Vin Debut

A few wine friends sent some notes about a tasting at a wine shop in West Portal called The San Francisco Wine Trading Company.  Luis, our friend from VinosUnico, and the team at Blue Danube Wines were pouring 25 different wines from Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro.  It was kind of exciting since we hadn’t heard of many of the grapes.  Any idea was Zilavka, Vranac, and Xarel-lo taste like?  We still don’t but we tried them.

Kogl Mea Culpa

We’ll start off with the winner of the night – Kogl’s 2010 Ranina out of Podravje, Slovenia ($18.95).  It was our second wine of the night and one we went back to at the end of the tasting to confirm our love.  It’s got a great floral smell that make you think of a fresh bouquet.  There was also an Irish Spring-esque soap quality that was pleasant, not soap like Alfie’s punishment in A Christmas Story.  The Ranina grape supposedly is sweet with great aromas so it sounds like we weren’t too far off with out notes.  The bottle actually impressed us enough to make the trip home.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, Portugal, Red Wine, Slovenia, Spain, White Wine

June Tasting Selection: And the Winner Is…

After a barn-burning vote, and by barn-burning I mean me bugging people to give me their opinion, we have a selection for our June tasting.  Facebook was involved, as was email, and eventually a Virginia quarter spun on a table.  In the end, tasting the difference between high alcohol fruit bombs vs low alcohol subtle wines won the vote.  We may give second place Spain vs. Portugal its chance next month.

K&L Goodie Bag

Our friends at K&L Wines helped select a combination of Syrah with alcohol levels from 12.5% to 15.5%.  The wines even range in terms of geography: California Lodi, California Santa Barbara, France, and New Zealand.

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Blind Tastings, Syrah

Linda’s May/June Picks: Russian River Reds Pinot & Five Vinters Zinfandel

Russian River Reds Five Vintners

Pinot to the Left & Zin on the Right

Oops. May got a little busy. And I may or may not have posted a Linda’s pick. (I’ll save you the trouble of searching: I didn’t.) But I’m here to make up for it! We’ve been enjoying these two wines quite a bit this past week.

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Linda's Pick, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel