A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Category: Kitchen Wine Tasting

Rumble’s Wine Wednesday View


Rumble the Guinea Pig Somm

Rumble lives in the kitchen and is privy to all the bottle openings. He loves to sing, hide under the living room lazy-boy and eat fried chicken. And now his latest hobby is keeping track of the eclectic wines we open each week. There’s no scientific or technical reporting for each bottle. Each one is on the Rumble system: 1-5 Grapes. Enjoy! 


Pannonica Red Blend 2013

This is an Austrian Cuvee made from 40% Blaufrankisch (try and say that five times!) and 35% Zweigeit (bless you! Kleenex?) and 25% Pinot Noir.  It’s blackberries and spice and soft tannins. It sings a soft Austrian song.  For $10 it’s worth a try. Rumble gave it 3 grapes because it was more like the echo of a song than a true song.


Trapiche Oak Cast Malbec 2013

Berry filled and spicy and a true Malbec. It comes from Mendoza, Argentina. Strong and lovely plum, black cherry and pepper with a chewy finish. Another affordable quaff: $11.  Rumble gave it 4.5 grapes for a wine worthy of his homeland.


Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Light, very light, pear, pineapple and a hint of melon. Almost watery.  For the price, $13.99, sadly a Napa Valley let-down. As a Sauvignon Blanc it lacked the traditional characteristic crispness. There were no classic limes, clovers, or passion fruits. Perhaps, this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he told Timothy to mix a little wine with his water.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Rumble gave it 2 grapes.


Chateau Julien Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Central Coast California. Chateau Julien brings back the nostalgic Cabernet fruit bombs of the 1990s. Heady, rich and thickly flavored with berries and soft tannins. This needs a meaty dish of beef to pair back the sweet. Overall, a nice pick for $11.  It’s da-bomb, baby! Rumble? 3 grapes.

 So get out there and try something new! And happy Wine Wednesday.

The Duck and the Decoy

So I tried my taste buds at another Kitchen WineTasting at the end of a very busy couple of weeks.  It was a welcome activity. These tastings are a bit academic since I’m trying to learn how to identify the structure of wine. Can one say that? Structure of wine? I just wanna know what I’m drinking and why it is the way it is!

The lucky bottle for this academic pursuit was Decoy Zinfandel 2012 by Duckhorn.  It’s in a higher price range than I usually buy but I figured learning requires investment.


Decoy Zinfandel 2012

Decoy Zinfandel 2012


The Zinfandel poured clear, deep red and aromatic. (Don’t worry, I remembered to decant it.) The aromas of spicy cola, dark fruit, and dried thyme drifted from the glass. I liked camping out with the smell for awhile. I couldn’t wait to taste it. But first here’s a cheesy story . . . 


Earlier in the week, I’d picked up a local cheese, Lovera’s Hand-Formed  Aged Caciocavera, at the farmer’s market. It’s shaped like a gourd because it’s hand-made. I’ve been wondering if it’s therapeutic shaping cheese. Just let your mind wonder while your hands do the work.  

Anyway, the salty, sharp flavor went really well with the Zinfandel. No amount of portion control stopped us from eating the entire cheese that night. 

Decoy Zinfandel and Lovera's Caciocavera

Decoy Zinfandel and Lovera’s Caciocavera

Loverna cheese













You can get this cheese from Lovera’s Market in Krebs or on their website

Ok, so enough about cheese . . .

Back to the Zinfandel.

I took a gulp. A big gulp. Unconventional approach, I know. I sipped, too. The salty cheese makes me thirsty. 

A smooth, soft, liquid of cherries, creamy vanilla, dark fruit and cola flavors ran around my mouth. And some butter at the end. Yes, I know it’s not chardonnay! I checked the color and my eyes. But, there was a coating sensation like butter that lasted. Not unpleasant but with a nice linger.  I actually just read about this in a wine book but can’t remember what it’s called! And I returned the book to the library. Let’s just say I’m a terrible note-taker. So, if anyone wants to chime in! 

The wine was good.  I drank the entire glass and quickly poured another while thinking  “if this was a decoy, I couldn’t wait to taste a full-fledge Duck!”

Well . . . after enjoying the Decoy in our kitchen, my Sweetie and I traveled to Napa valley for our anniversary and got to spend an afternoon at Duckhorn Vineyards. 

The place is beautiful inside and out. We sat on the porch overlooking the garden and had a flight of wine. It was really pleasant and relaxing.

Duckhorn Tasting Flight

Duckhorn Tasting Flight


If you’re ever in the area, think about stopping by. The guy at the next table was just passing through and seemed really pleased he’d stumble onto Duckhorn. We agreed!

Our hostess was nice and keep telling us little tidbits about the vineyard. For instance, the winemaker’s a girl. Well, actually a woman, but the point is male winemakers significantly outnumber female. 

She also recommended a few local eatries. I love eating where the locals eat. The places always seem to produce the best foodie memories. 

As we were finishing our flight, our hostess surprised us with a taste of Duckhorn’s 2011 Goldeneye Pinot Noir.  Complex and delicious. I would have been content sitting on the porch the rest of the afternoon and finishing the bottle. Instead, I bought a bottle of the sauvignon blanc and flew to the next vineyard. 

Duckhorn Goldeneye. A treat from our server.

Duckhorn Goldeneye. A treat from our server.

For this wine-enthusiast, the afternoon was golden! I never dreamed a Decoy would lead me to tasting a Duck. Both wines were a lovely experience. However, for the sake of my budget, it’s good to know there’s happiness with a Decoy.

Besides, I can always save up for the Duck. And I have my eye on a Golden one. Cheers!


Kitchen Wine Tasting with Joel Gott Cab

Gott Tasting

The first of hopefully many Kitchen Wine Tastings occurred in my kitchen (where else!) last evening. In my effort to become a more educated wine drinker I’ve decided to do personal wine tastings. It’s just me, my Sweetie, a bottle of wine and the “Wine Tasting Notebook” by Delong. The notebook has wine pages and a helpful guide on how to take a wine tasting note and wine tasting terms. The bottle of wine depends on either a recommendation or pure whim. I love to be adventurous.

For our first tasting, I brought home a Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. This wine is reasonably priced.

bottle of Gott

Being suddenly serious minded about this endeavor, I googled the winemaker. It’s website (www.gottwine.com) contains videos about each wine produced and tips on how to enjoy it. (Click here to watch the video.)  Also, simple food pairings which I love. I was even able to print an information sheet that listed the varietal, appellation, barrel, tasting notes,wine growing notes, and wine making notes. I chose to read the winemaker notes after I’d done my own tasting to see if I was anywhere near what was named.

About an hour before tasting time, I decanted some of the wine into a glass water pitcher because the Gott video said it will enhance the flavors. (I know for most this seems like a no-brainer but bare with me! I’m still a wine novice. However, I’m learning more all the time! And having a heck of a good time doing it.)

Gott Wine

And so we began . . .

We went slowly and carefully through the wine tasting note guide.


1. Background Information: When, where, name, producer, region, grape varieties, vintage, alcohol, and price. It’s from California and 13.9% alcohol.

2. Color Depth: I picked deep. (I got a white piece of paper as suggested for background)
Color Hue: Ruby (it was really pretty)
Clarity: clear

Now the harder part:

3.Aroma intensity, Development and Aromas.

I thought it was aromatic, youthful and smelled delicious! Because of finally decanting (duh),  there were these toasted, toffee, floral, cola smells going on. Now can I say how wonderful it smelled? I got hung up on swirl and sniff.

Yes, finally to the actual tasting! 

4. Identify: Dry/sweet, Body, Acidity, Tannins, Balance, and Flavor Intensity.

I have always confused Body and Tannins. I erroneously thought the tannin produced the weight on your tongue as well as that acid sensation. I know they give the raspy, drying sensation and sometimes “chewy” texture but not the actual Body of a wine. I marked this lovely Cabernet as dry, medium, fresh, with round tannins. The balance was great and intensity was flavorful. The finish I thought was long.

Then we got stumped with the hardest part: FLAVORS. What am I actually tasting???
Some type of fruit and cola and maybe a flower but not a sweet one.

My sweetie and I got so focused on this part that when our teen daughter came bopping into the kitchen banging through the pantry for a study snack and singing loudly to her I-Pod we yelled in unison, “KEEP IT DOWN! This is SERIOUS!”

I looked at my husband and burst out laughing. He said, “I feel like I’m taking a test!”

We decided it’s ok if we can’t quite identify something specific. We forgot we’re beginners. So we mellowed out, had a good laugh at ourselves and got back to just enjoying a delightful bottle.

Later, I got to thinking about the movie “HouseGuest” with Sinbad where he impersonates a Dentist and has to pretend to be an oenophile. Phil Hartman’s character asks him to comment on the wine at his welcome party and Sinbad is shown up by another stuffy wine guy. Sinbad says wine is for drinking and taunts the “real” wine expert to drink directly from the bottle. Someday, I’d like to be more of an expert about wine. But not that guy! I want to be in the middle of the two characters: one, drink to enjoy and the other, recognize why I’m enjoying it. Like a nice Balanced wine.

And this concludes the first Kitchen Wine Tasting. Thank you Mr.Gott for making a lovely wine.

I can’t wait to do another personal wine tasting again! Blessings and Cheers.

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