Sunday, January 1, 2017

New varietal for the new year!

Happy new year!
Hopefully I will finally finish the 100 challenge in 2017! I recently obtained several new varietals on a visit to k&l wines in Hollywood. Oh what a treat that place is!

Here is one them!

Vereto Salice Salentino Riserva 2008
New varietal 100% Negromaro

The cork was barely coloured when i opened it but the wine itself was dark and almost opaque in colour. It is light and you can see that on the glass.
Light bodied with mild acidity, it is fruity with dark cherries and roasted apples. Even with full tannins sticking around, this is simple and eqasy to drink, with lingering fruits, tannins and hint of spices.

This was great with simple salad of frisee and butterhead, radish and japanese turnip. toasted black sesame, olive oil, lemon - meyer orange cross, salt, white pepper, cayenne. The olive oil (fat goodness) and bitterness of the frisee definitely brought out the wonderful fruitiness of the wine.

Unfortunately, it did not go well with cheddar cauliflower and thai chili cashew soup as was expected with fruitiness dulled and tannins emphasised.

Overall, a good cheap varietal to explore at $9.99!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Martinsancho Verdejo 2010

Martinsancho Verdejo 2010

This was a little bubbly which was surprising. It was nicely floral and dry with little residual sugar. Good acidity that would be great with food, probably something on the lighter side. Tingling light mouthfeel with a bite. It has a hint of green herbs and a touch of lime.

$16.99 on

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Hello! This beautiful Croatian wine was consumed with pleasure some time back and has inspired wanderlust to discover more in the picturesque country on the Adriatic coast. 

Plavina 2013 Ivica Pilizota, Croatia.
There does not seem to be much information on the interwebs about Plavina other than on wine-searcher, where they described the wine as follows:
"Plavina is a dark-skinned variety grown exclusively in the Croatian region of Primorska Hrvatska. It has thick-skinned grapes that produce full-bodied wines with an abundance of tannins and dark, brambly fruit flavors. It is often confused with the popular Plavac Mali, but bears no relation to it. However, it has been linked to the white Verdeca grape of Puglia."

The Oxford companion to wine by Jancis Robinson had a limited description. 

There are two websites that talk more about Croatian wine, and
At some point, I would love to try this again but for now, new grape to add to the 100 project

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tapas time!


It has been quite a hiatus of writing but the drinking has not taken a break! Plenty to catch up on but here is something interesting that came up recently. We got a few interesting tastings from a friendly manager at Buceo 95, an excellent tapas place in Upper West Side, NYC.

Wine list at Buceo 95
Giving the sommelier/manager a slightly adventurous vibe, we got to try the Listan Negro Ignios Origenes 2014, Mencia Bodega y Vinedos Akilia Chano Villar 2012 and Graciano La Sorda 2010. Very interesting varietals to add to the 100 list! 

The Listan Negro from the Canary Islands is an organic wine and was easily the riskiest one. Fairly light in colour and on the palette, it was acidic to the point where it reminds me of the time I attempted to make red wine vinegar from leftover wine. Bubbly with a rusty after taste, it was oddly enjoyable in the sense that if there was such a thing as sour wine like sour beers, this would be it. The nose reminds me of wet feet like a pinot noir. 

Also from the Canary Islands, Mencia was deep red in color and was light. It was well-balanced and acidic enough that it would go great with whatever tapas we were going to have. The wine leaves a lingering taste/nose of green (not vegetal) but wet mossy kind of thing. 

Back to Rioja, mainland Spain! Again, well balanced with plenty of acidity to go with any tapas. This was a little more tannic than the last, with some herbaceous notes. Overall pretty good. 

In the end we got a bottle of Mencia and it was great! 

More soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Otis Kenyon

After Three Rivers Winery and a good vegan lunch at a recommended cafe downtown, we headed down the street to Otis Kenyon Winery.
The black silhouette of a suited man, a new shop, with stylish front, pretty empty with minimal furniture. An plush armchair with an old school ring phone mounted on the wall. Further in the long tasting room, a makeshift tasting table with red clothe over it and plenty of wine bottles on display. A fairly new winery that has received good accolades

Shop front
We began with a Rousanne followed by a Dry Riesling, which I did not take notes on, being distracted with the conversation. 

Matchless Red 2008
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot along With the usual Bordeaux, this juicy one had good notes of cherries with interestingly a little pepper. Overall pretty simple red with a tannic finish which was a little rough. OOO

Estate Syrah 2007
This medium bodied Syrah was juicy that reminds one of raspberry jam. Decent with hints of black pepper and well balanced acidity and tannins. OOO

Overall great experience at a simple tasting room. She didn't charge for the tasting and was very down to earth, joking with us the whole time. It was a good taste of lighter reds that seems typical of Washington wines. Yum! 

Next up, Locati around the corner!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Three rivers wine

Big tasting room!
After a wonderful experience at L'Ecole, we pulled into the parking lot of the grand stand alone building of Three Rivers Winery. The tasting room was tall and spacious with plenty of merchandise to spoil any wine lover. It was pretty intimidating especially since we were about the only group there apart from an ocasional local dropping by.

We headed straight to the rocky tasting bar.

Tasting list
We went for both the flights and were served the Sauvignon blanc first.

Sauvignon blanc 2009
Typical Sauvignon Blanc with nice grapefruit, citrus, apricot flavors although this had a touch (17%) of Semillon, which kind of makes have more of a body. This was refreshing with well balanced acidity. OOOo

Chardonnay 2011
This was a pretty light Chardonnay with a nose of fresh butter! It was creamy but still light, like whipped cream. Refreshing with enough acidity and notes of minerality. Yummy! OOOo

Malbec 2009
Although this was light and simple, there were plenty of tannins in your face! Not fruity. OO

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
This well balanced one was fruity with nice earthy notes along with hints of berries. OOOo

Petit Verdot 2009
I always thought it was weird to describe a wine until i had this. this was chewy and full of tannins. The astringency was a little overwhelming. OOo

Riesling 2011
This was the first of the reserve, which I had before the reds so the tannin bomb did not get into the way of tasting. With a nice note of lychee, this was full of tropical fruits with a light honey sweetness to it and smooth residual sugar along with enough acidity. OOOo

At this point, we were the only ones around and have gotten rather chatty with the server. He was a quaint character who was taking big steps like a stiff marching soldier and on the feminine side. He was very knowledgeable about the wines and about the area in general.

Cabernet Franc 2008
This Cab Franc was from the Weinbau vineyards, which was the very first in the Waloup slope. Very tannic as expected of a Cab Franc, this was very woody as well with a herby bite and minimum fruit. OO

Merlot Champoux 2008
It was rather hard to tell after the last one if this was actually tannic. This was more fruity than the Cab Franc with notes of cherry and raspberry. There is that moist bark again and a touch of herbs. OOOo

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Tannic and herby. Icks, platter wrecked. 

Mini break! Plenty of talking about La Jolla, where the man used to live! 

Svelte 2008
This potent young wine has potential to do some wonders with some age. Layers of tannins waiting to be discovered. Well balanced and smooth with a touch of residual sugar, this is one that will be wonderful with age. OOOo

After this encounter, we headed towards downtown Walla Walla for some grubs and more wine tasting there!

Friday, February 1, 2013


L'Ecole was recommended to us by the lady at Woodward Canyon. It is a beautiful stand alone building that used to be a school and it becomes obvious as you walk in. We walked up the lacquered creaky wooden stairs that led us to the main room a.k.a the tasting room. Decorated with wooden shelves laden with wine and some books for the library touch, large windows let in plenty of light into this spacious room.

Wine Tasting 101

Tasting list

Estate Luminesce 2011
This white Bordeaux blend of 67% Semillon and 33% Sauvignon blanc was a bright and even a little creamy. It was later that I found out they were racked in neutral french oak for a little malolactic action. This was a yummy refreshing white with wonderful notes of tropical fruits like passion fruit (both tartness and sweetness), a little touch of honey and bouquet. OOOo

Chardonnay 2011
A buttery chardonnay but unlike the super creamy counterpart in California, this had a smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. This was dry with light acidity. It was not very fruity and it was hard to point at any particular fruit. With plenty of minerality, this had more bouquet than it had fruits. OOOo

Merlot 2009
Tannins! Other than that, it was hard to tell what is going on except for the plum and spices like nutmeg. OOo

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 
This had an interesting nose that was not something I expected from a Cabernet Sauvignon. It was not a bad smell but it was just different. Perhaps a signature of Washington Cabernet? Well balanced with good acidity and tannins, this young one was juicy with dark fruits like plums. This is unlike the big bold Cabs from California but rather a lighter, more herby and savory with a touch of spice. Hmmmmm. OOOo

Estate Perigee 2009
A bordeaux that was a little on the tannic side to taste much else. OO

Apogee 2009
This was made from grapes cooler climate than was expected. Even so, this was an earthy herby bordeaux blend that had a kick of spice and raspberry jamminess. OOO

Syrah 2009
This was an interesting one that got me confused about 2009 for Walla Walla. I was told that these Syrahs were obtained from a warmer climate so with the warmer evenings, comes more sugar development. The end result is a juicy, jammy wine with plenty of residual sugar. It was interesting to get a peppery syrah with a blend of maple syrup and raspberry.  I don't know how I feel about savory pancakes just yet. OOo

School snacks
Overall, L'Ecole had some wonderful wines and I cannot get over how pretty the place was. I am pretty sure we got the Syrah to do some back to back Syrah tastings just for funsies and a half bottle of Chardonnay which I enjoyed! Next up, the very peculiar man at Three Rivers Winery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Woodward canyon

First stop of the day!
After last night introduction to Washington wines, we proceed today onto our first stop of the day in Walla Walla- Woodward Canyon. It was a pretty stand alone cottage with a decent sized tasting room. I wish I took a photo of the surrounding! It was flat farm land with pretty mountains in the backdrop. Just beautiful! 

We were the only ones in the tasting room. They were very friendly and Christmas decorations were in the process of being taken down. The young lady in charge was helpful when we asked for recommendations for wine and food. She even prepared a handout for tasters! How thoughtful! 

We did the classic tasting:

Riesling 2011
This was a dry one with refreshing notes of lemon. Not your typical Riesling. OOo

Red blend NV
This was a meaty savory red blend with plenty of tannins. It was almost sticky, and the Cabernet franc I believe made it much lighter than it would have been. This would be great for everyday drinking! OOO

Merlot 2010
Fruity nose. This was a light merlot with plenty of tannins to boost with very earthy, woody note that reminds one of moist tree bark. Interesting Merlot! OOO

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 
A blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot and some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this was bright and tannic with an alcohol bit and notes of dark fruits and cherries. Looking back at the notes I took, I wish there were more details! OOO

Pretty presentation
So after yesterday night and now, we are starting to notice a little trend in Washington wines that we haven't quite understood. The heavy reds seem to have a similar nose and taste profile that we cannot figure out hence the very limited description. Is it the moist tree bark? Perhaps as we taste more, it will become more obvious. Onwards to L'Ecole! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barnard and Griffin

Hip, modern and jazzy
We strolled down the street from Bookwalter and came upon this new establishment. It was modern with colorful art pieces and soft lighting. There was jazz music in the fairly empty place. They are so new that they don't even have a proper site yet.

We got the Viognier, a Cabernet Sauvignon flight and a dessert flight to end the day with.

B&G bottles

This was less floral than a typical viognier. It was light, clean and crisp, with notes of tropical fruits. Not too bad.  OO

Cabernet Sauvignon Flight
Cabernet Sauvignon flight

First we had a row about how they smell which was very interesting since they clearly stood out from anything we have tasted. One of them in particular was a stark contrast with the rest and everyone on the table could tell.

This was one of the more normal smelling one with a floral note. It was tannic with fruity notes of raspberry. OOo

Clone 21
A cabernet sauvignon with a funny smell! Someone threw in iodine which I could smell why. It had a kind of chemical lab smell that really was not appetizing. Otherwise, this young wine was spicy and a little creamy with some residual sugar. Oo

This smells normal with notes of berries. It was definitely more tannic and therefore more astringent which showed in the finish. Otherwise, I enjoy the note of blueberry. OO

On to the dessert flight!

This dry Riesling had wonderful notes of longan and melon. Easy and not loaded with residual sugar. OOO

Orange  muscat
This muscat was unlike any other. With a tropical fruit nose, this was light with plenty of residual sugar and delicious notes of lemon Creme brûlée, papaya and mango! Not much acidity. OOOo

Late harvest muscat canelli
Nose of tropical fruits again although I might be mixing them up a little. This light almost syrupy wine had delectable notes of mango and honeysuckle.  OOO

If you noticed, there was not any vintages on each of their wines. Even on their wine list, no  vintages. Perhaps they feel it is not a big deal? Or they are too new to notice? Anyhow, they definitely have a while to go. 

Fun lighting!
With the wine tasting down, the highlight of the night is just coming up! Here is the crazy Christmas lightshow we saw after plenty of wine in our system and then back home for some amazing (most likely the BEST) apple pie I have ever had. Thanks Peggy! Starting off in Washington with a bang! More tasting tomorrow! 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Washington: Epic Bookwalter

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope everyone had a great holiday season! And yes, I am lagging. Oh well. New Year Resolution: Keep up with the drinking and posting! 

Snowy drive
It was a scenic and snowy drive from Seattle and we finally made it to Richland, East Washington a little after dark. Not wasting any time, we made our first stop at Bookwalter winery just down the street from where we were staying. This will be exciting since I had Bookwalter wines a year ago!

Snowy and festive!

It was a spanish style stand alone winery all covered in white and a full parking lot. The restaurant/wine bar was popping, with live music and a full house for the holidays. We got seated immediately and had full attention from our waitress. Their food selection sounded delicious and was well thought out with the wines in mind.

Epic Flight
We ordered the Epic flight:

Couplet 2011
A blend of chardonnnay and viognier, this had plenty of the floral bouquet you would expect from viognier with roses in the mix. This was fresh and light with no oak at all. Well balanced with wonderful notes of lemon, green apple and honeysuckle, this was enjoyable and a great wine to begin the Washington tasting with! OOO

Foreshadow Merlot 2010
This was an interesting one since I have had the 2009. This was high in alcohol (it hits you!) meaning plenty of sugar for the yeasties, making me think it was a warm year. But no, 2010 was a cool year! Just a young merlot I guess. Nonetheless, this had plenty of tannins to go around and pretty bright with notes of earthiness and fruits like cherry although it was not very fruity surprisingly. Definitely on the savory side. Compared with the 2009, this was on the opposite end with the fruit. OOO

Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
With a nose of toasty caramel and blackcurrant, this had layers of tannins, with juicy notes of dark red cherries, walnuts and cigar. Lingering finish of dark fruits. I would not call it smooth but this was enjoyable. Sounds pretty similar to 2009 except for the chocolate and cigar.  OOOo

Erlenmeyer flask

Protagonist 2010
A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot, syrah and cabernet franc, this was quite the party! Nose of toasty caramel and juicy fruits. This was less tannic than expected, with a smooth silky medium to heavy mouthfeel. With a touch of sugar residual, this was juicy and fruity with notes of cocoa and blackcurrant. This had a lingering finish of raisins. And I love the way they served it. YUM! OOOO

Next stop: Barnard and Griffin!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aix de Provence

Chateau de Beaupré Coteaux d'Aix en Provence 2011

We were out of town and came upon this cute little french place with french speaking waiters and all. I ordered this looking at what it was made from, mainly Rolle, which I have not heard of but it turns out to be the Provence way of saying Vermentino

This was a blend of several varietals (45% Rolle, 25% Clairette blanc, 20% Sauvignon, 5% Bourboulenc - Quest list!- and 5% Grenache Blanc) and has a nose of Bouquet like a Viognier. It was well balanced with Refreshing acidity. Simple and dry with a little minerality and touch of fruit. Great with food! Although this little place was pretty heavy handed on the butter and cream to the point that we were not feeling good after. Oh well at least I enjoyed the wine! OOOo
View from the Bar Seats
Two bowls of butter and cream. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hondarribi Zuri Grape
Txakolina Jatorrizko Izena 2009 Xarmont

I was dining at a modern mexican restaurant when I had this and it looks like an image is rare online!  Txakoli (pronouced Chak-Co-Lee) is a wine that hails from the Spanish parts of Basque country, Cantabria and northern Burgos, made mainly from Hondarribi Zuri, a unique grape variety for the Quest list! This had nose of lime with a touch of tropical pineapple. It was sparkling and low in alcohol (10.1%?). Citrusy and easy to dink with well balanced acidity that made it easy to go with food. I had braised lamb tacos, house cured yellowtail tacos and ceviche which was delicious! I can't say the wine went very well with the lamb but at least the bubbles did not overwhelm the food. OOOo

Definitely something I would revisit :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Albariño at Jakes

Paco and Lola Albariño 2010

Was looking at something to add to the Quest list but to no avail but hey tasting Albariño ain't a bad compromise! This had tropics all over with lovely smell of fruits from home. Well balanced with notes of minerals. this had plenty of mango and other tropical fruits like pineapple (acidity!). Yum I like this! OOOo

I paid $12 for a glass though >:( 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Proprietor's Reserve: Trinchero

The usual anticipation 
It was the D-Day of exams for me but when I saw BOGO (Buy one get one) for a 7-course meal at Proprietors, I knew that was what I wanted for dinner. Last minute procrastination before the exam, I answered: White Zinfandel to the question: In 1972, Bob Trinchero is credited as being the first winemaker to create this varietal of wine, and I won! Wooohooo! Score! I still have an exam. 

Lovely cosy setting
Recovering from a cold, I still insisted on coming. Bad idea. 

The highlight of the night was that some friends were there as well and we sat together! Yeay!  

Rest of the night = sadness, cold and no ratings. 

Bonus: 2011 Mary's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
We got this before anything as a bonus. But well I could not taste anything. 

Just tasted cough syruppy. 

Stupid cold. 

Well, I was hungry and wanted to eat all these food in front of me. 

Chicken Normandie
2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
Chicken Normandy | Brandied Cherries | Green Apple |Pecan | Basmati Rice Cup
Fig, prosciutto, goat cheese on Crostini
2009 Vista Montone Vineyard "Daybreak Block" Merlot
Fresh Fig | Aged Prosciutto | Garlic Herb Goat Cheese | Asiago Crostini | Balsamic Demi Glace
Portobello pancetta Risotto cake with Basil oregano pesto 
2008 Chicken Ranch Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet
Risotto Fritter | Pancetta | Romano | Fresh Oregano-Basil Pesto

2008 Mario's Vineyard St. Helena Cabernet
Arugula | Herbed Baby Greens | Grilled Skirt Steak | Dried Blueberry | Gorgonzola Crumble | Basil Vinaigrette

2009 Napa Valley Meritage (Cab/Mer/PV)
Linguini Duo | Artichoke & Mushroom Ragu | 50/50 Spicy Sausage & Sirloin Jumbo Meatball | Shaved Parmesan
2009 Central Park West Vineyard Petite Verdot
Lavender Pepper & Espresso Rubbed Tri-Tip | Cream Cheese & Chive Mashed Red Skins

Food was not necessarily yummy but it was satisfying! All the wines tast cough syruppy. Oh well. Lesson learned.


Double Magnums up for grabs!
FYI, I passed the exam! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Bodegas Langa Calatayud Pi 3 1415 Concejon 2008 

This hails from Spain and is 100% Concejon, which according to the EU Vitis database is Miguel de Arco (known on Wiki as Moristel). Whatever, it is another one for the Quest List! Been pretty behind on that so time to indulge during this holiday season and do some catching up!  

Anyway, this Pi was juicy with mouthwatering acidity. Good nose of fruitiness and jam. Good tannins with layers of gaminess, leather, this full bodied fruity wine would be great with steak. Ends with tannins. Never had Concejon so this was great! We got it at costco at a great value of 12.99! Worth getting again! OOOo

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Here is to Lauren

The 'Everything-up-for-grabs-cook-everything-in-my-kitchen' night.

Cook people cook!
Director Avery
Cook Direct Drink some more

Cheers to yummmy wine
Happy camper!

It was that crowded.

Hanging out with the pots and pans

He could not resist :)

Got more than watermelons!

Dear Lauren, 

     Wherever you are in this world, just know that we look at the same moon and feel the same gravitational pull on Earth plus or minus any anomalies where you are and where we are. I hope traveling is going well and that you drink wine from all over the world and get drunk like you would with us. It is ok that your plant died. I am growing more for you to pick up. So you better get your butt down here when you are back. I miss you! Take care travelling you silly surfer.