2012 “Frenchie”, Benjamin Franklin Red Wine – Not Just for Dog Lovers!

14798848_10208066560678160_1247250745_nI am so impressed with how my girlfriend’s appreciation for wine has progressed. I remember when she would only drink Glen Ellen White Zinfandel. (Yes, I’m sure many of us can relate; in the beginning, White Zinfandel was our wine of choice. Shoot, at one time, I recall when White Zinfandel was the number consumed wine). Over time she has come to appreciate light to medium-bodied red wines. The full-bodied tannic red wines are still not her cup of tea, but in due time :).

On her travel to California, she visited Frenchie Winery at Raymond Vineyards and brought me back a bottle of 2012 “Frenchie”, Benjamin Franklin red wine blend. The wine label TOO CUTE!

AROMAS: Bold fruity aromas with hints of cocoa and a slight spice/black pepper.
TASTE: Big juicy flavors that reminds me of a Zinfandel, full-bodied ripe cherries.  
COMPOSITION: 46% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 9% Petit Syrah.

“Frenchie” is not available to the public, only available to wine club members. It was explained that the tasting was held in beautifully lush red/cranberry private room with cranberry colored drapes that hung from the ceiling. The tasting room setting made you feel like you were in another era of time.

What is so fantastic that she had a wonderful experience and is intrigued to try other red wines. Two-thumbs up for Frenchie Winery!!

For more information on Frenchie Winery at Raymond Vineyards visit: www.frenchiewinery.com.

Frenchie Winery (at Raymond Vineyards)
849 Zinfandel Lane
Saint Helena, CA 94574

Salute! Sante!

2014 INTRINSIC – SENSORY OVERLOAD!

This is FANTASTIC!

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For the past few days, I have been under the weather. I do not know if it was due too excessive heat. Regardless, my bug has passed and I see a bottle in the refrigerator with a red label, which I recall purchasing (Intrinsic) from Total Wines.

“Hmmmm, let me see if this 2014 Intrinsic is still good before I open up this bottle of Horton Norton, which I have not had in years”. It appears that only a glass was previously consumed. I am greeted with a burst of fruity aromas and the color is rich and dark. I begin to salivate and the glass  is immediately brought to my lips, without sniffing. I know this is big no-no, but the urge to taste was too powerful-took over my senses and OH MY GOODNESS! THIS IS FANTASTIC!

I want to mentioned, to take the chill off, I waited approximately 30 minutes before tasting the wine. AGAIN, OH MY GOODNESS! (still sipping). I do not if the wine is as delicious as I am experiencing because I had a strong desire for a glass of wine..NO, this is not the case; Intrinsic is DELICIOUS! Intrinsic is AMAZING! I can not wait to taste this wine when it has not been sitting for days.

Intrinsic is fruit-forward with cherry and blackberries flavors. A perfect example of what a full-bodied red wine should possess. Intrinsic immediately reminds me of Orin Swift’s Palermo, The Prisoner, and Papillon wines. How the wines possess character, complexity and a magnitude of flavors. When your brain is flooded with senses that it can not catch-up to what you are tasting. Your hands are unable to transcribe every scent and flavor that is gracing your palate. So you sip and write, sip and write and sip and write, which I am doing write now.

Intrinsic is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and ten percent of wine is fermented in concrete tanks producing an amazing complex wine with soft mineral notes.

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Intrinsic went very well with Tobaccology, Haymarket, VA mystery cigar 

On top of this magnificent wine, the wine label, titled “The Lady in Red” is beautiful piece of art created by New York City, artist “ZIMER”. If you look closely at the wine label, the artist’s name appear in the gown.

Intrinsic made such an impression that I had to include the wine in a private tasting I was conducting (Treevinos – Up Close and Personal). Intrinsic was a HUGE success with the ladies; so much the next day, the host purchased two bottles and gave me one as a thank you gift. 🙂

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Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast – 92 points
Total Wine (Virginia) – $23 (YUP, this is not a typo!)

visit Intrinsic Wine Co for information.

Salute! Sante!

Trummer’s Coffee and Wine Bar’s Wine Flight

 

It’s sunny, hot and too late to drive to a vineyard. Desperately wanting to try something new, I remembered a coffee and wine bar that opened last year called Trummer’s Coffee and Wine Bar, Gainsville, VA; coffee and wine, my two main indulgences.

Wine Flight

(very small sample of available wines)

Trummer’s offers three wines in their wine flight for under $20.00. After being asked a few questions on my wine preference, which was for whites, nothing sweet and I like sauvignon blancs and for reds, big, bold with firm tannins.

Folks, this is not your standard tasting. The bartender begins to pour full glasses of wine. I whispered to my husband, “I said I wanted a tasting, right?” He nodded, yes. “Well, I’m about to have an expensive tasting”. I was presented with three full glasses of wine. I don’t know if this was an error, but this happy chic wasn’t going to bring it to his attention. 😀

Yes, you “Neggy Netties” could say, “Technically, you’re receiving at least eight wines in the tasting… they’re just doubling up on the pours.” 😛 WELL, I’m not at a winery and was VERY excited that I was getting THREE FULL glasses of wine for under $20.00 😀

MY SELECTION

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Steininger Gruner Veltliner – Reminds me of a Viognier and a dry Petit Manseng, citrusy with a slight oaky creamy finish – VERY NICE! This is exactly what I wanted on this hot humid 81 degree day!

Enrique Mendoza “La Tremenda” – Mmmm… aromas of black licorice and hint of molasses. The taste is Friggin Fantastic! Fruit-forward cherry flavors and the tannins are subtle but present. Every sip is Delicious!! Magnificent! I’m officially in “wine utopia”. If you do not recall from my previous blogs, wine utopia is when your eyes close, head begins to sway and moans begin to escape your lips –YES, THIS IS WINE UTOPIA!

Luberon Grenache – spicy and earthy aromas. If I had this wine before the “La Tremenda”, I would say this is very good. Following the “La Tremenda”, Luberon is nice. 

 

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To top off the wine flight, we are served Trummer’s Truffle popcorn, “Trés Bon!

 

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You can clearly see which wine I enjoyed the most! One bottle turned into three (3) bottles :). I preached many times, always purchase in “at least” quantities of three’s. The first bottle, you are so excited you want to consume immediately. The second bottle, you share with your friends and the last bottle, you lay down in your cellar (this method is also an excellent way to establishing an cellar). When you need to replenish, you will save money because you only have to purchase two bottles :). 

I’m fascinated by the quaint little coffee and wine bar, Trummer’s.

WHO IS TRUMMER’S?

Besides this sweet elder man, who I am presuming is the manager; tidying-up, staying in the background but has his eyes on everything (the thought of him makes me smile 🙂Trummer’s is named after the owners Stefan and Victoria Trummer, who lives in Clifton, VA and also the owners of “Trummer’s On Main” in Clifton, VA; formerly the The Hermitage Inn. By the way, Stefan was not that sweet elder man in the coffee and wine bar :). They’re a young couple who has an extensive restaurant background, met in New York and moved to Victoria Trummer’s hometown, Clifton, VA.

I have to mention I like the Trummer’s logo with the coffee and wine rings. GREAT CONCEPT!

(images courtesy of http://www.trummerscoffeewinebar.com)

 

We’re looking forward to having Trummer’s coffee.

If you’re in the Gainsville, VA area, I strongly encourage you to visit Trummer’s and don’t forget to order the Truffle popcorn.

Trummer’s Coffee and Wine Bar
Address: 14013 Promenade Commons St, Gainesville, VA 20155
Phone:(703) 754-0135
Menu: trummerscoffeewinebar.com

 

Salulte! Sante!

Still in a Zin Mood – Brazin 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel

 

Goodness, I hope the scent of nail polish remover is coming from my fresh manicure that was done two hours ago and not from this Brazin 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi, CA).

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LAWD JESUS, let’s get this wine tasting started so I can decide if it’s going to be a Knob Creek evening :).

I’m still in my Zin mood from “The Federalist”. If you have not read my blog on  The Federalist and Tobaccology to the Rescue! check it out, the wine is delicious!

YIKES, this is harsh! Brazin needs some breathing time, even after aerating.

Twenty minutes later, I nervously sniff. Spicy aromas with a touch of turpentine; YUP, this is not a misprint, turpentine. Research states the scent of turpentine in wine is due to Volatile Acid, which is cause when bacteria create acetic acid, the substance that gives vinegar its flavor.

Once I get pass the turpentine aroma, I’m detecting blackberries flavors with hints of cocoa and the wine is young. I will chalk this up that I received a bad bottle, I hope :/ .

Curiosity got the best of me and I had to read the reviews on Brazin 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel, which were mixed. The Wine Enthusiast rated Brazin 85 points and described the wine as follows:

A sweet, syrupy aroma and candied fruit flavors, sprinkled with baking-spice notes from oak aging, make this wine attractive in a bubble-gum way. It is fruity, medium bodied, fresh and frothy.

I wish I purchased this bottle of Brazin.

My fellow Zinlovers, dare if you will; but remember “Life is too short to drink bad wine”.

 

Salute! Sante!

Pinnacoli 2012 Primitivo & LaGloria Series R

The Cure for Mars-Mercury Retrograde

You know you are in for treat when you pop the cork and you are greeted with a blast fruity aromas. There’s a haze of aromas in the air and a slight breeze just carried it away. Mmmm… thus far, Pinnacoli 2012 Primitivo Di Manduria is off to a great start.

Color – beautiful shimmering crimson red color.

Taste – OMG! Fruit-forward black cherries flavors with soft mild tannins on the finish. The third sip introduces earthy and spicy notes with a slight herbal on the back of the palate.

Pinnacoli Primitivo is the perfect cure to Mars-Mercury retrograde. Mars-Mercury retrograde??? Yes, Mars-Mercury retrograde, let me explain:

 

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courtesy of almanac.com

Excerpt from Farmer’s Almanac:

Meaning of Mercury Retrograde
… Sometimes the other planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. We call this illusion retrograde motion. 
Several times a year, it appears as if Mercury is going backwards. This time was traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration. Perhaps Mercury’s retrograde periods can cause our plans to go awry. However, this is an excellent time to reflect on the past. Intuition is high during these periods, and coincidences can be extraordinary.

What to Do When Mercury is Retrograde
The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such. So,when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.
About a week or two before Mercury retrogrades, finish any tasks or projects at hand.  You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for angrier people and miscommunication.

To make matters worse, Mars is also in retrograde. Yes, the universe is giving us a double-whamming. If you are curious, per the Farmer’s Almanac, following are the 2016 Mercury Retrograde dates and Do’s and Dont’s during Mars-Mercury Retrograde:

• January 5 to 25
• April 28 to May 22
• August 30 to September 22
• December 19 to 31

MARS is Retrograde – Be Careful of Your Actions: 5 DOs
and 5 Dont’s – Mars Retrograde Do’s and Dont’s.

… Once every 2 years the planet Mars goes retrograde, as it will from April 17 through June 29, 2016. During this time span we may want to think “twice” about initiating certain actions because the retrograde can lower our energy level and bring frustration and obstacles to our major efforts.

In less than a week, I began to experience the effects of Mars-Mercury retrograde:

  • First incident, my federal taxes were rejected due to someone used my social security number to files taxes to receive a refund;
  • Second, family crisis; and
  • The third incident, my lawnmower that I utilized for only one season started leaking gasoline. In my attempt to save money, I told my lawn service that their services were no longer required this season.

I surrendered to the universe and allowed the system to correct itself. So, I did what I do best, sip, puff and write.

 

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Enough astrology; now, it’s time to see how well Pinnacoli Primitivo pairs with a full-bodied La Gloria Cubana Series R cigar. I typically would not pair a full-bodied cigar with a Zinfandel. For those of you who do not know, Primitivo is the same as Zinfandel (Zin).

DNA testing confirmed that Italy’s Primitivo and Crljenak Kastelanski, an ancient Croatian variety, are genetically identical to California’s Zinfandel grape. However, there are some differences in vine strength and the size of the grapes cluster. In April 2002, U.S. government was considering Zinfandel and Primitivo as synonyms. However, a decision has not been made and the U.S. requires Zinfandel and Primitivo be identified separately on wine labels. (wineinstitute.org and winespector.com)

You can’t discuss Zinfandel without mentioning Ridge Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA, which in my opinion produces MAGNIFICENT Zins!

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Courtesy of lagloriacubana.com

 

LaGloria Cubana is one of “go-to” cigars that never disappoints. I have to mention, you have to respect the workmanship that goes into designing a cigar band. It by far doesn’t represent the quality and taste of a cigar. But, as consumers, we are attracted to the flashy and the Series R band is a nice piece of art.

LaGloria Cubana Series R has a nice draw and I’m detecting cocoa flavors -smooth smoke. The LaGloria has soften the cherry flavors and reintroduced herbal notes in the wine. My wine covered palate has also produced spicy and herbal notes in the cigar. FANTASTIC smoke!

Smoking a cigar and sipping a delicious wine unwinds the mind and relaxes the soul; I am content.

 

I will say Pinnacoli 2012 Primitivo Di Manduria is holding up well to LaGloria Cubana Series R. FOLKS, WE HAVE A MATCH!

 

 

P.S. In my attempt to be healthy, I’m consuming one glass of wine a day. On day three, Pinnacoli 2012 Primitivo is still yummy and flavors continue to intensify.

Salute!

The Federalist and Tobaccology to the Rescue!

 

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Don’t you love when your friends gift you with a good bottle of wine. My first experience of “The Federalist Zinfandel, 2014” was gifted during the Washington, DC area 2016 Blizzard.

Before I describe the wine, l first have to give applause to Tobaccology for being the Number One Cigar Shop and Lounge in Northern Virginia!!! (clapping hands).

From the first time my husband (fiancé at the time) and I entered the shop, we were greeted with warmth and we knew instantly that we found our “home shop”. The owners, Brett and Bubba support and generosity are beyond AMAZING!

On the aftermath of the blizzard, the infamous Tobaccology truck pulls up in front of the house, stepping out is the owner, Brett and girlfriend, Jesse asking if we needed assistance. We are stunned with surprise! 🙂

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They are driving around checking on friends, clearing neighborhood fire hydrants and offering assistance with shoveling. TOP-CLASS ACT!

In addition, instead of us showing our appreciation, we were gifted with a bottle of The Federalist, a Zinfandel. YAY! 🙂

I enjoyed the wine so much the first time, I had to have it again.

Color and Aromas – Rich color and vibrant smoky, chocolate and prunes aromas.

Taste – The first sip has me perplexed; very complex, well-balanced flavors: hints of raisins, bold prunes with a slight herbal on the finish.

The second, third and fourth sips – I can’t stop sipping. I’m trying to identify the multiples flavors that has my palate doing cartwheels. Firm chalky tannins at the end of every sip, has a short finish. The wine is at proper temperature of 56 degrees… I will allow the wine to breathe a bit longer and see what flavors presents itself.

The fifth sipthe prunes are friggin amazing!” Prunes, cherry, woodsy flavors are emerging.

Time to locate the tasting notes and see what’s behind “The Federalist”; from federalistwines.com:

The Federalist Zinfandel has robust fruit with bright berry fruit character, and its lively acidity allows it to partner well with a wide variety of foods. 

Bottle Size: 750 ml
Appellation: Sonoma County
Sub-Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Grape Varieties: Zinfandel; Carignane
Alcohol Percentage: 14.90%
Fermentation: Different blocks were
   fermented separately to preserve ideal
   characteristics of each. Each block spends an
    average of 12 days on the skins.
Aging: The separate blocks were blended post
   malolactic fermentation and aged for 16 months
  in 20% new oak barrels.”

I’m still sipping and the tannins has soften and I’m now tasting the skins of the grape.

The Federalist, you are one of a kind Zinfandel! Zinlovers this is a must try!

Brett and Jesse thank you, again for the wine!

Folks, swing by one of Tobaccology’s locations for premium cigars, tobacco products and accessories. Also, check out Amoxes’s frescos. 🙂

TOBACCOLOGY
Address: 11001 Nokesville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110
Phone: (703) 330-1511
Hours: 12–10PM

TOBACCOLOGY
Address: 6710 Madison St, Haymarket, VA 20169
Hours: 12–10PM

Salute! Sante!

Rome Anejo and Petit Verdot

 

ROME Anejo, at first puff, produces full peppery flavors with a hint of mineral that reminds me of Cabernet Franc. (I find myself continuously sniffing the cigar wrapper). This a smooth medium-full bodied smoke with a slight cocoa aroma and taste; very nice! 

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BACKGROUND

Romeo y Julieta cigars, named after Shakespeare’s play, was created in Cuba in1875. In 1946 after visiting Cuba, Winston Churchill became a devoted fan of Romeo y Julieta cigars. Out of appreciation, Romeo y Julieta named a cigar size after Winston Churchill.

“After the Cuban embargo, production of Romeo y Julieta cigars moved to the Dominican Republic, where the medium-bodied cigars are more popular than ever and sought after for their flavor, construction, and consistency.” Today, the majority of Romeo y Julieta cigars are hand made at the renowned Tabacalera de García factory.” (romeoyjulietacigars.com)

ROMEO Añejo is created with the finest stalk cut, dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and double fermented 2008 vintage blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran sun grown tobaccos that are aged in special cedar cajones (yes, I had to research cajon, which is a drum/box made of cedar). The result of this aging process produced rich and robust smoke featuring coffee and dark chocolate notes. (romeoyjulietacigars.com)

 

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Amoxes firing up a Rome Anejo

 

Now, let’s see how well ROME Anejo pairs with a 2013 Paradise Springs of Clifton Petit Verdot. I suspect the peppery flavors of the cigar to enhance the spicy and peppery flavors in the Petit Verdot

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Petit Verdot is a full-bodied red wine and is one of the Bordeaux varietals (In case you were wondering, there are five Bordeaux varietals: Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). Petit Verdot is typically used as a blending wine. However, it does very well in Virginia bottled as a single varietal. Virginia produces magnificent Petit Verdot!

Paradise Springs of Clifton 2013 Petit Verdot has rich dark color, blackberries aromas and just as I predicted a very nice match with the ROME Anejo. The spicy flavors enhance each other, creating long firm tannins.

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I love Petit Verdot! I love so much; in 2010, I was barrel owner of Pearmund Cellars 2009 Petit Verdot. In addition to Paradise Springs and Pearmund Cellars, Virginia wineries, Chrysalis Vineyards produces an amazing Petit Verdot.

Petit Verdot is an exceptional wine to pair with a medium-full and full bodied cigars. Hmmm, I foresee a vertical tasting of Petit Verdot and cigar challenge :).

 

Salute! Sante’!

Wine Wednesday – Coronas 2012 Tempranillo

 

After playing with “snap chat” filters and trying to record a video, which took at least a hour. The girls had mercy on their mother and finally showed how to properly operate snap chat and record a video. This is the end product when you attempt to use the latest social media craze as your children. ROFL

 

I was so determined in becoming familiar with “snap chat” that my wine glass had already reached my lips and I was swallowing. DANG IT! I wanted to record a proper tasting. Well, based upon my initial response Coronas 2012 Tempranillo is DELICIOUS!

Slowly, I take a second sip. Mmmmm with every sip, a different expression escapes: (1) This Tempranillo is FANTASTIC! (2) OH MY GOODNESS! (3) So Juicy!

IMG_0199Okay, half of my glass is empty, it’s time to conduct a formal review. Paper and pencil are out (yes, I prefer writing with a pencil than a pen). Coronas 2012 Tempranillo is produced in Catalunya, Spain and posses bold fruity cherry aromas, fruit-forward, juicy, and berries flavors with a slight smokiness on the finish and long firm tannins. Twenty minutes later, I’m picking-up herbaceous aromas. Very nice complex wine! This spontaneous grocery shopping find has me intrigued.
HISTORY

The Torres family has been producing wine and brandy since 1907. Mr. Juan Torres trademarked Coronas on February 7, 1907. In 1928, the Torres family began wine distillation and aging brandy. In 1939, the winery was partially destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and reconstruction began a few years later. From 1996 to 1970, the family planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes. I have to note, the Torres Family’s brandy was also becoming well-renowned and in1998, “Torres 20 Hors d’Age” brandy won the “Best Brandy in the World”. From 2000 to 2001, Wine Spectator labeled Bodegas Torres “The Most Important Winery in Spain” and was the only Spanish wine identified in the “Hall of Fame”. Fast-forwarding, Mr. Miguel Torres received the “Lifetime Achievement award by the International Wine Challenge (UK).

Bodegas Torres continues to receives awards and accolades throughout the years. For more information on the Torres Family’s wine and brandy visit:  http://www.torres.es/en/we-are/our-history

I predict there will be a large purchase of Coronas 2012 Tempranillo in the future. Most definitely need to get a taste of that award-winning Brandy. It’s time for a refill.

Salute! Sante’!