Category Archives: Wine

Wine Review: Robert Hall Viognier 2009

Robert Hall Viognier: Wine ReviewWhile shopping for wine on my birthday at Sunfish Cellars here in Saint Paul, one of the guys in the shop recommended I try the Robert Hall Viognier.

For those not familiar, Robert Hall is a winery in Paso Robles, California. Now, I consider this to be part of southern California, technically, it’s central California. Pretty much everything south of Santa Cruz is SoCal to me. Let’s put it this way, what baseball games are on the radio when you are in Paso Robles? It’s not the Giants or the A’s.

But, I digress. Paso Robles has been gaining fame as a wine region over the past decade and a half. No, this is not the Sideways area. It’s close, but have I mentioned I don’t like that movie? It’s kind of a downer…regardless, this area is a bit north of that movie setting.

The nice thing about the Paso Robles wine region is that most of the 200 wineries are small, boutique ones. I prefer small wineries because they feel less intimidating and more personable. I’m in no way a connoisseur and I like to learn about wines. Small wineries just seem more conducive to a good time.

Interesting fact about Robert Hall, he’s from Minnesota. Maybe that’s why I found his wine here?

Robert Hall Viognier: The wine

So, what was this wine like? It’s fruity, a hint of citrus, and a little bit sweet. Tasted like it would go well with cheese. It tasted like summer. It had more heft or depth of flavor than a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. It wasn’t oaky or buttery like a chardonnay. It was somewhere in between those wines.

According to my research, a Viognier is close to a Gewürztraminer. It comes from the Rhone region and was almost extinct, but some folks in California have been helping to make it more popular.

Over the course of the few days that I drank it, I liked it more and more. I kept hearing myself say, “This is good wine!” I will definitely be getting more wine from this winery in the future.

The great red wine vs white wine debate

Red wine vs white wine debatePeople have asked me, do you like red wine or white wine?

My answer, “Yes.”

Why must we divide ourselves into two factions? Why is there a red wine vs white wine debate? I understand that there are some people who do prefer one over the other. I, myself, like both and will drink wine based on various things, mood, weather, mood, cravings, mood, meals,…did I say mood? Continue reading

What is your favorite wine? Hello, tempranillo!

What is Tempranillo?While I like both red and white, I do have some favorites. My favorite red? Tempranillo. What is tempranillo? I’m so glad you asked…even though you didn’t.

It’s flavor just speaks to me…ok that sounded pretentious. It doesn’t have a bite like some red wines. It has that interesting berry flavor which fancy people call cassis, but I call black currant. OK, I can also taste the plum. Yay plum! Continue reading

Wine Review Chateau Julien Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

WTF-Amy-Wine-Review-Cabernet-SauvignonI’m not sure how I found this wine from the Monterey/Carmel Valley region of California, but am I happy I did. Sadly, I haven’t been to this winery, but their website had a really cool map showing the different viticultural areas in the Monterey area.  I’ve been to Monterey several times.  It’s just wonderful.  Then again, most of the California coast is wonderful. It’s funny, but a good wine smells like a hutch that used to be my great-great grandmother’s.  For some reason, that piece of antique furniture smells like a good wine. So, what is Cabernet Sauvignon? Aside from red wine, obviously.  But according to Wikipedia (sorry for the reference), it’s one of the most widely recognized red wine grape varieties in the world.  Apparently, some time in the 17th century someone (a monk?) happened to cross a Cabernet Franc with a Sauvignon Blanc (both great wines) and voila! A delicious grape was born. Continue reading

Naughty wine no-no’s

Wine no-no's WTF-AmyYes, I am guilty of doing some things with wine that would make certain people gasp.  Please, learn from my mistakes. Like your parents told you, do as I say not as I do…yeah, I know. It doesn’t work.

WTF-Amy’s Top 4 wine no-no’s list

  1. Ice cubes in white wine.  My sister and I are guilty of this crime against wine.  You can see the evidence in the above photos. Yes, it waters down the wine and it’s especially heinous to do this to good wine.  It’s one thing to do it to a bottle of two buck Chuck, it’s another to do it to a $30 bottle from your wine club.
  2. Dinner parties. Some good advice I once read said that you should only bring a bottle of wine you are willing to lose. That doesn’t mean bring a crappy bottle. It means you might not get to drink what you bring, but taking it back would be so bad, so you should bring something good enough to share, but won’t break your heart if you don’t get to drink it.
  3. Milk or milk products in wine glasses.  Wine glasses can pick up odors, so no matter how much you clean them, there could always be a rotten milk smell to the glasses…slight as it might be.
  4. Filling the glass to the top.  I’m OK with this one at a restaurant…because I’m probably paying by the glass, but otherwise, no. The wine needs to breathe and I’m a little clumsy. Picking up a full glass is pretty much going to result in a nice red spot on your lovely white tablecloth. Do us all a favor and adhere to the 2/3 rule.  There’s always more wine in the bottle…or another bottle.

Are there any other wine no-no’s that should be on this or future lists?

Amador County Wine

wineries, amador county, wine, northern california, sierra nevada foothillsWhen most people think of California wines, they immediately think of Napa. Some even know about Sonoma County, which is right next door to Napa County.  What most people don’t know is that hidden in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains is Amador County and its wine.

The Amador County wine making area has some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted.  Granted, my palate isn’t that refined, but I know what I like.  The area is known for Barbera, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Vioginer.  I’ve also had some great Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Primitivo…not to mention a lovely Sauvignon Blanc or two.

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