The Wino Club Logo

The Wino Club Logo


Wine Tasting: Rugby, Wine and Rankings

Remember the Rugby and Wine post we did a little while back for the International Wine Tasting that Ruarri at Grape Thinking is doing? (It's o.k. - click here for a refresher). Well my husband and I have been watching all of the Rugby World Cup warm-up games which have caused a little shift in the rankings.

The top 10 teams going into the Rugby World Cup 2007 will be:

#1: New Zealand
#2: Australia
#3: France
#4: South Africa

Argentina has been bumped down a notch by Ireland (ya!) but so sad for the world of wine tastings in our house... looks like we're stuck drinking from only four nations. :)

Well what about our wines from here in the States?

Listen, I dumped Argentina for being 5th. Don't even get me started on the United States and their pathetic showing in the warm ups when they lost 6-10 to Munster (yes like the cheese). They are ranking in at 15 but I'm not expecting great things this year as they show little knowledge of the basics of the game - not even looking when they pass and let's not talk about the simple kicks missed.

Therefore I pledge to not drink any American wine in the month of September despite it being California Wine Month (there Joe, feel better now about being a month early?). I will be drinking and reviewing wines from the top four until we're left with two.

Look for our reviews here and at Grape Thinking for more fantastic picks - they're going to actually be in Paris for the games. Too much.


Marketing Wine for Women

I don't normally get bothered but this has been gnawing at me for some time. Please just stick with this little rant.

Let's start with the facts. Did you know that 60% of the wine sold in the United States is to women? So if we start there, logic dictates that the wine market is already on target with its products. If women are already buying a good deal of the wine, why would marketers suddenly change their market to better accommodate them? We already like wine.

Why are the marketing companies shifting their focus? We don't want to be pandered to. We want to learn and grow into sophisticated wine drinkers. We DON'T want to buy Italian wines labeled 'Mommy's Time Out' and we don't all want lower alcohol roses. I have girlfriends who wouldn't touch a white wine or rose if their lives depended on it (unless it was going to go to waste and that's a totally different conversation). And other friends who love the heat that comes from a high alcohol Zin (yours truly included).


We're being sold special PMS chocolates (ok this one makes sense, never mind) low taste, I mean low carb, beer and femine rum (yes it exists - pink label and all). So if it's pink we'll buy it? Novelties. Do we really want our wine to be a novelty too?

I think that as women develop as wine drinkers, and we are seeing so many more women enter in to the male dominated profession of wine directors and makers, we don't want the experience cheapened. How can we be taken seriously as winos if we're interested in too sweet shallow gunk with the tasting depth of a SoCal rain storm?

So my plea is this. Leave male verses female out of wine and concentrate on making better wine.


Beer vs. Wine Tasting

Beer verses wine is a question that puzzles us here at The Wino Club most days. Honestly, Darcy and I are severely uncomplicated people. We're the type of friends who would be just as happy opening up a bottle of MGD as a bottle of the finest wine as long as we were hanging out with other cool friends.

So this event intrigues us. On September 27, El Bizchocho Restaurant at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego is hosting a six-course beer versus wine dinner.

Diners will taste a sampling of wine and beer with each course, then fill out a card noting their preference. At the end of the meal, which will include, among others things, hamachi, soft shell crab and lamb dishes prepared by chef Gavin Kaysen, the results will be tallied and announced. Championing wine will be sommelier Barry Wiss, who presides over the restaurant's cellar of over 1,600 selections. On the suds side, Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing Company, the folks that produce the artisanal Stone Pale Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, and Arrogant Bastard Ale. The two will select the pairings in their respective categories. To reserve a spot, contact the restaurant at: (858) 675-8550. The price is $125 per person.

For more information, click here.

We highly recommend that our friends check out this link as the date of the event falls right in between my birthday and Darcy's birthday (call us if you need us to remind you of the exact dates). Tickets might be a great way to recognize our birthdays, don't you think?


The Wino Club Expands to Facebook

We're bloggers here. I didn't know how much I would love blogging about wine though until we moved from obscurity to having so many hits each day. It's so much nicer blogging when you know you're not talking with yourself. Thank you to all of our faithful readers who check in with us daily.

It felt the same way when I discovered Facebook. I've been taking a blogging class online and one of our assignments a couple of months ago was to set up a profile there. I've met amazing people and received a camaraderie that we fellow bloggers experience together as well.

Then it hit me - I'm going to make a group there that's all about wine tasting. There are several collective applications on Facebook that are for finding and tasting wine, but no real forum where we can discuss, well, wine stuff. I put up the group around midnight last night and as of 8AM this morning we already have 18 members so I think we're doing pretty well.

If you are already a Facebooker, check us out at The Wino Club Collective. If you have not seen Facebook, setting up a profile is free and can be set up here. Beware though, it's addictive!


Pairing Raspberry with Chocolate

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with wine but yum... M&M is going to be releasing a limited edition "RaZZberry" flavor. Pairing raspberries with chocolate. Brilliant. I haven't seen them hit the stores yet but they do have a funny commercial on their site here. Don't even get me started on the new Dark Chocolate M&M's.

Now we just need to find the perfect wine to go with them... any suggestions?


Wino Club's Wine Journey

I was reading a post last night by a fellow blogger at Rockss and Fruit where Lyle was complaining that the big wines he used to favor and subsequently built his cellar around just don't make the grade anymore. And it got me to thinking about Darcy's and my wine journey.

There was a day when wine was just another drink. Two-buck-Chuck did the job just fine. Bunko was Drunko and the number of empty bottles at the end of the evening meant the difference of walking on the sidewalk on the way home or trying to find home. It was a beautiful place to be.

Then we started our own wine tasting club a few years ago with a bunch of friends and for a while we continued our naive tasting experience. Our palettes developed a little and we outgrew Two-buck-Chuck but weren't quite knowledgeable to venture much beyond our safe California wines. When Darcy and I started making our Wino Club Kits (shameless plug: a party in a box with instructions and materials to start your own monthly wine tasting club with friends) we started taking wine classes and certification courses in wine and the business of wine.

And our wine tasting world exploded.

Suddenly we knew what Chardonnay was meant to taste like and how the complexity of a wine was so much more important than the initial pop. And the more GOOD wine we drank, the pickier we became. And it's getting worse. I was at a party last evening and just couldn't drink any of the choices available because, well yuck. My palette doesn't crave yuck. It wants yum. So I drank beer. It seemed the better alternative (I may have to cancel my upcoming beer tasting classes though because I need some naivety in my palette).

It is horrible to go from one preference to another. We have to morn that blissful ignorant day when a glass of Two-Buck-Chuck hit the spot. And don't get us wrong, it's not that the more expensive is better. Some of our favorite wines are under $10. We don't need to reopen the debate about the State Fair again - it's not about that. It's about a subtlety of flavor that at an earlier point in our palette development just didn't matter. Now we're wine snobs. How horrible!

For me personally, I guess I will just have to serve the stuff I've outgrown for my friends who are still blissfully ignorant. I can't serve it to my Wino Club but my Drunko group will drink anything. Sorry ladies, but I can't let even bad alcohol go to waste!


About That Wine Bottle

Have you ever really looked at the shape and color of your wine bottle?

Honestly, I think most bottles are beautiful. Our friend Terry at Keyways Winery used a whole assortment of them in the small bathroom window for privacy instead of a window treatment (if you don't remember how obsessed I was about her bathrooms, please look to the archives because her facilities are brilliant!).

But it's not pure aesthetics that drive the vintner to her choice of bottle. This is an article we found posted by the Wine Lady (don't you just love that?). She gave a concise lesson on wine bottles that I'm not soon to forget and although she did leave plenty of disclaimers I think that generally she hit everything head on.

The colors of the bottles are clear, blue or couple of different shades of green and brown. White wines come in all the colors while red wines only come in a couple. Wine does not like light so dark bottles are required for them. Red wines are the ones that can stay in a cellar for years, so they need dark colored bottles to keep out the light. Whites are usually meant to be consumed young, thus the reason for clear or light green bottles. Rieslings usually are sold in blue or brown bottles. Those colors represent certain areas of Germany. For example, brown bottles represent the Rhine area and green bottles the Mosel area. But this is just tradition, and is not always true.

The shapes of the bottles can usually tell you two things. One is where the wine is from. Think about that blue bottle of Riesling, tall and narrow with no shoulders. It is from Germany and it is an off-dry, or if you prefer, a sweet wine. Again, not always true. I have a green, tall and narrow bottle. It is from Portugal and is semi-off-dry with a bit of bubbles. Now picture a bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. That style of bottle is called Burgundy. Pinot Noir is less tannic and can be fruity, as well as Chardonnay. Those are the two grapes they grow in Burgundy. The bottles with the high shoulders are called Bordeaux bottles. They have high shoulder to help hold back the sediment when decanting the wine after it has aged. The wines sold in those bottles are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc. Again, these are the typical grapes grown in Bordeaux. They have more tannins. It is the tannins that fall out and form the sediment the shoulders hold back.

Not many people notice the bottom of the bottles. Again, the next time you are looking at a bottle of wine, pick it up and look at the bottom. A Riesling will not have a punt. An expensive Merlot or Cabernet will have a deep punt. The punt is there to collect the sediment from the tannins falling out. It is there for the same reasons the high shoulders are. Rieslings are not meant to be aged, so no need for a punt. You will also notice the difference in the depth of the punts.

We would like to thank Sara Cujak of Fond du Lac, owner of Cujak's Wine Market, 74 S. Main St. for her full article please click here.


California Wine Month Declared by Schwartzennegger


It's the middle of the harvest and California Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger has declared September to be California Wine Month for the third year in a row. On their new website, set up in honor of this great PR moment, the Wine Institute shows their enthusiasm by posting the actual proclamation that you can download. They even have California Wine Month tasting mats that you can print up for your celebratory event.

Go visit the site and see their calendar of events for a fun way to get a taste of California.


Cork, Screwtop or ZORK?

No, we are not talking about some imaginary creature from Dr. Seuss (although I think I may need to re-read "There's a Wocket in My Pocket" again just to be sure). The Zork is a new method of sealing and re-sealing your wine.

That's right: the Australians are at it again. Australians are at the cusp of every maverick wine making tool and gadget. Screw tops have long been used there for their superior seal and airtight portability that eliminates corked, or spoiled, wine. Screw tops also don't have the environmental implications of the Cork closure. What screw tops lack however was the romance of hearing that 'pop' provided by removing the cork.

Never fear, the Zork is here (yes, I saw Underdog this weekend). It has the same airtight seal of the screw top. It's easy to remove requiring nothing but you hands and unlike swollen corks, is easy to re-insert into the bottle to save your wine. And the best part? It 'pops'. And if you're worried about the environment, it's 100% recyclable.

At this point, we'll only be seeing the Zork on the mid-priced wines in the $15-$40 range although it is sure to trickle down into the lower priced wines as the production becomes more cost effective. Will you see it anytime soon on your higher prices wines? Probably not... can you see it now? You're in a fine restaurant ordering $100 bottle of something nice, being offered the Zork to sniff? Right.

For a really cool video and information go to Zork's Website here.

Happy tasting!


Wine in American Restaurants

We read a lot about wine and wine news every day (remember the post about our bloglines?). When we came across this survey result, we had to stop and re-read. Winemetrics LLC conducted a survey of 10,000 restaurants across 20 States and came up with some pretty amazing results. We personally have not been able to read the report - we don't have a copy primarily because it costs $299 which would buy a lot of wine. However our friend Alder over at Vinography was able to give us a sneak peak:

... this survey goes a little deeper, and offers up the following additional tidbits of interest:

The top 100 brands represented on American wine lists actually include 15 French wines, 7 Italian, 2 Australian, and 1 Chilean.
I never would have guessed these numbers. If you had asked me I would have thought that one or two would be French (remember Mouton Cadet?) and there would be likewise be only one or two from Spain and Italy as well. I assume the wines from Australia is Yellow Tail, and probably Rosemount or some other Penfolds brand. I don't have a good sense of what the Chilean wine would be.

Other top selling brands include Caymus, Cakebread, Sterling Vineyards, Veuve Clicquot, and Clos du Bois
This was interesting to me, mostly because several of these tend to be more expensive wines, certainly more expensive than all the wines on the top 10 brand list. The survey goes on to report that the largest number of wines consumed in restaurants cost between $25 and $39, but the article referencing the survey doesn't say what percentage of all the wines consumed is represented by this "largest number." I assume it is less than 50% as they didn't use the phrase "the majority."

Americans drink twice as much red wine as white, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir being the two top choices, trailed by Merlot in a close third. The top white wine is Chardonnay.
I guess this is not so surprising on any front, though I wish I knew what the number two white was. Any guesses? My bet is Sauvignon/Fume Blanc, with Pinot Grigio trailing with a distant third place.

To read the full story click here.


Wino Club Tasting Winners

Last night our Wino Club met and we tasted Meritage. It was an odd pick for a 90+ degree day but we went with it. Our Hostess LV Vinton picked it so who were we to complain?

Our club members brought 11 wines and we tasted a total of 9 wines because of duplicates. This was one of our smallest club gatherings ever and yet oddly enough we drank nearly all of the wine. There were definitely empties as proof that it was a well liked wine. Either that or I forgot my pour spout so the tastings got a little larger than usual (oops!).

The winner of the evening was tough to determine and we had to (emphasis on HAD to) re-taste the top two to make the final determination.

First Place, Double Gold Medal goes to Estancia 2004 Meritage out of Paso Robles. This wine was brought by Jan Duran, picked up at BevMo for just under $30.00. Why did she pick this one in particular? She's a big fan of the wines coming out of Paso plain and simple. This blend is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot. The nose, as with all of the Meritage we tasted, was very dense and took us a long time to draw out. What we did get was dark fruit of black cherry and plum, tobacco and cedar. What we tasted was a perfectly balanced and well rounded wine that we worth the re-taste for sure.

Now the wine we brought was not a Meritage (rebels) and we did not win (although we were in the top 3). It was Chateau des Annereaux 2003 Bordeaux from Lalande-de-Pomerol (Girande). We picked it up for our Meritage tasting as an example of what the Meritage Association was basing it's blend on. However we also couldn't pass it up at Cost Plus for $22 especially when we read the blend. Uniquely different for a traditional Bordeaux, the mix was 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The mix of the Cab Franc in there made a huge impact on the flavor and color of the wine. Even with the 70% Merlot this wine had a meatiness that I wasn't expecting. It was a great wine for the price point but I need to go on record that it did not have the flavors typical to a Bordeaux.

We were all very happy with our winner - thanks goes out to LV for hosting our wine tasting party this month and we're looking forward our next Wino Winner!

Stacy & Darcy
The Original Winos!


Wine and Cheese

Just a quick little tip today about pairing wine and cheese. There are entire books dedicated to how best to pair up this wine to that cheese. I've seen cool wheels and gadgets that make putting these items together easy and have been sorely tempted to buy them for our wine tasting parties.

I don't like to make my life more difficult than it has to be though. Most cheese are salty or acidic that make matching them, well, hard. So instead of making sure you have the right cheese with the right wine, add a 'bridge' food. Fruit and nuts help bridge the gap in the palate so you can serve the wine you want with a cheese you like.

Simple right?


Fantasy Wine

I don't have high hopes of becoming a wine investor anytime soon. It's not the output of money that puts me off, although anything over $40 is spendy on something I'm consuming. No it's the not opening the bottle that gets me. It's the waiting. Being a typical American consumer / wine drinker I think that's quite normal. I have a small wine rack that holds about 12 bottles and it's my quest to always keep it full. Consequently that means frequent replenishing because I actually drink the bottles I put in there.

But with a free budget (meaning other people's money) to buy any wine as an investment online, could I just walk away for two years to come back to check on my profit? It's wine investing without the stress of looking at your unopened bottles beckoning to you "open, open, open," like a Mervyn's commercial.

Hold tight because Decanter Magazine runs a game that lets you do this. I believe it is full for the 2007 investment (winners to be posted in 2009 if you remember to check back) but those lucky players were given 10,000 pounds to buy a portfolio of wine. There were 25 different wines and to pick and choose from until the monetary allotments were spent. In 2009 their wine portfolios will be assessed and a winner will be determined.

It's like Fantasy Football for Winos and a really, really cool idea. The downside is that I have immediate gratification issues (did you read the first part of the article?) and could never wait two years to find out if I'd won or lost. If I had that sort of patience, I would actually buy the wine itself and wait to drink it, or sell it for that matter.

To read more about the rules and to find the lists of past winners go to Decanter Magazine here.


Wine in Paris Au Naturel

Wine, Naturally
Forget brasseries. Paris is enticing epicureans with a new wave of wine bars.

Not quite as seductive as it sounds but while flying to Denver, I noticed a good many articles about wine in the Hemispheres Magazine on United. I only sit still if I'm reading and the book I brought lacked the 'must read' quality I had found in my Harry Potter book so I started flipping and came across this article:

Evidently the newest rage in tasting wine in Paris is wine that reflect only the terroir and wine making without any additives. No we're not talking just organic/ We mean to the extreme of letting the bubbles occur completely natural in the bottle. Will these wines be exported to the United States - highly doubtful. So unless our next trip on United takes us to Paris (World Cup Rugby this year would be a great gift!) I won't be trying these wines any time soon.

For the full story go to Hemispheres Magazine here.

Darcy & Stacy,
The Original Winos


Rubgy and Wine

Now we never really correlated the Rugby World Cup and Wine... we love beer too and figured that Rugby and beer were a natural pairing, right? Then we received this email and we can't wait to start tasting.

Dear Stacy,

Thanks for your comment on our site! In the spirit of internationalism and world events – Grape Thinking is hosting the World Cup of Wine in September 2007 in honour of the World Cup Rugby in France this September. Basically, countries came to play Rugby in the same way that they came to learn the craft of winemaking – and the tradition comes from a long line of cultural sharing, and the World Cup Rugby represents a celebration of shared culture and the in these troubled times, is a demonstration of the world in union: different cultures and countries all playing the same sport and celebrating unity in diversity.

The World Cup of Wine 2007 aims to show how wine merely represents a facet of internationalism – and it is things like wine, rugby, food, literature and music that bind this world together – and for this reason they should be celebrated. We wish to do this by encouraging people to try wine from the great rugby playing nations and to then submit reviews to us.

Grape Thinking opens its pages to wine bloggers and enthusiasts from the 1st of September 2007 to Sunday the 30th – and we will feature reviews, bottle shots and pictures of wines from Italy, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina that are e-mailed to – all in all, we aim to feature in excess of 180 reviews.

Italy, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina are not only some of the world’s great wine-producing nations: but they are also great rugby nations.

Stacy, I’d like to personally ask you if you would like to submit a few wine reviews for the event. We will have a draw at the end of the event – and all the reviewers who submit will be entered into it. At the end of the month, the winner of the draw will be in the running to wine a bottle of wine from each one the featured countries.

If the Grapethinking team can be of any help to you, please be sure to let us know.

Also, if you have any comments, requests or suggestions in regard to the event or anything else please let me know.

Stacy, thanks for taking the time to read this.



With an invitation like this, how can we not participate? We are looking forward to watching some awesome Rugby (alas only on t.v.) and drinking some great wine in the wine blogging community. Thanks go out to Grapethinking for the invite!

Passionate About Wine?


Our post today is a bit less about wine and more about, well this whole blogging thing we're doing here. There are thousands and thousands of blogs in the world right now, making it more and more possible to not only get the information you need on any topic but to make it an ongoing education that's fun.

Case in point, if you enjoy reading this blog we would like to encourage you to visit the links that we have posted along the right side of your screen. These are some of the best wine blogs we have found and we keep in touch with what's going on in the world of wine by reading them regularly.

I know that most websites don't encourage people to visit their competition, but the Blogosphere is different. We Bloggers are like a giant community of people with similar interests, in this case wine. So surf away and support our fellow Winos! We subscribe to all of their feeds and we're hoping a few of them will interest you as well.

Our 'techy' trick to making sense of all of these blogs? We have Bloglines installed. It is a free program that enables us to subscribe to many, many blogs and then flip through the new posts within minutes without necessarily having to go to each site every day. You can use it for our blog too :) Check it out by clicking here. Then when you subscribe to any blog (like ours - there's a button on the right that you hit to subscribe) it will post the feed into your Bloglines each day so you can see who has updated their content and you can read the posts on your Bloglines screen. It's a great time saver AND a great way to learn about wine.

Have a great time... we'd love to hear about which blogs were your favorites! And if you find some you think should be added to our site, post the link in the comments area and we'll take a look.

Thanks and happy blog surfing!

Stacy & Darcy,
Original Winos at

Decanting Your Wine

Your table is elegantly set and you bring out the crystal decanter filled with a gorgeous red liquid. How fancy are you?

News flash – you may just be creating more dishes to wash.

When we're talking red wines, you should let an older wine breathe a little before serving but there are only a couple of reasons you want to actually decant:

1. You are not patient (not many of us are) and you open up a wine that’s not quite mature. What the heck does that mean? It’s probably still too tannic (and not in a good way). You’ve tasted this wine before undoubtedly – the one that made your tongue pucker? Give that youngie some air. Pour it with vigor into the decanter and swish it from time to time to help mellow it out. You’ll still have a wine high in tannin, but the extra air you just provided it should help turn it into a very drinkable wine.

2. Sludge. Yes, unfiltered wines or aged wines that have settlement should be decanted VERY SLOWLY. Don’t loose the flavor or scent, just watch to filter out the particles. It is helpful to hold up a flashlight or candle (going back to being fancy) and look for the settlement before it enters into the decanter.

There are many in the wine world who think that decanting is an essential part of enjoying fine red wine. Perhaps I don't drink enough collector-level wines. But for the most part, decanting is an extra step that delays my tasting time!


Temecula Winos Gone Wild

O.K. seriously. Here's a story brought to our attention by fellow blogger Marisa D'Vari at A Wine Story about our little wine country here in Temecula, CA. I thought the epidemic was prevalent only on the East Coasts (see Lenndevours for details on this story) but evidently I was wrong.

Here is a top news story on CBS posted a couple of days ago.

I cannot say that I have not noticed drunken tours going through town, but when you have paid for a designated driver the tasting automatically turns into more of a pub crawl. We have over 20 wineries here in town. Even if some are banning the tours many are not. Locals wishing to avoid the chaos pick the smaller wineries. Do the tours make tasting a miserable experience? Absolutely NOT. People watching is as much fun as tasting the wine. I would object more if the tours were self directed with drunk drivers on the road.

Any thoughts on how Temecula compares to other wine regions? Is Napa Valley really so sophisticated as to not hold limo tours? I personally know of a group of friends that visited 11 wineries in one day with 24 people. Chaos? You bet. It's to be expected!

Naked Chardonnay for Wine Blogging Wednesday

O.K. so we're a day behind... did you read the last post about being on vacation? Anyhow, we did taste a Naked Chardonnay for Wine Blogging Wednesday and even though it's Thursday, we can't be left behind, can we?

Stats: Novellum 2004 Chardonnay Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes, imported by Eric Solomon/ Europesn Cellars.

We went to France in the region of Languedoc for a country wine (Vin de Pays) and spent a whopping $5 on this $10 wine because we have a store near us closing down. SCORE! This unoaked Chardonnay was definitely higher in acid than a typical Chardonnay, even one from France. It had a distinct nose with scents of stone, banana, burnt sugar, walnut and citrus. The finish was not long but was a nice crisp white wine with a beautiful golden Chardonnay hue. Serve it up with some spicy Thai food and you've got a bargain of an afternoon wine on your hands.

By the way, did you notice the Americanized label with the varietal listed instead of the region? It took us a couple of takes to really understand how European wines are adjusting to the times eh?

Check out all the wine recaps at Lenndevours!

Wine in Colorado

Did everyone miss us? Darcy and I both went on vacation at the same time. Darcy went out to Key West, Florida to visit her brother and family and I went to Denver, Colorado to take the kids to see my mom. My mother and her husband don't really drink so I was considering myself on sabbatical. Funny thing is that I just could not take a complete wine break.

It was an odd thing to be driving away from the Georgetown Loop Railroad and run into a winery. Yep. Middle of Colorado and not a vine to be seen and on the side of the road was a charming little winery called Canyon Wind Cellars.

Turns out the vineyards are 200 miles away in Palisade, Colorado along the north bank of the Colorado River at 4,710 feet in elevation. Their mantra, from wine maker Robert Pepi is "Taste what world class winemaking does for the wonderful grapes of Western Colorado."

O.K.. Four free tasting - how can I not? They offered the usual suspects with a couple of twists I found enjoyable. Of course there was a Rose since it is so hot right now. It was more of an American Rose tending more on the sweet side of blush. Their Chardonnay was twist one. There were two Chards: one oak and one not. Twist two was the wine I bought: 2005 Petit Verdot. It was such a little seen varietal that the uniqueness of it drew me to want to pack it up in my suitcase (which may be why they searched it and then lost it for a few hours, delivering it to my home unscathed at midnight).

This wine has some weight and structure to it for sure. According to their descriptors... “…a dark, rich wine with exceptionally deep color, great weight and structure. Aromas and flavors of violets, dark berries, and black cherries abound with a hint of bacon. Enjoy with hearty game or spicy Cajun food!”

Bacon? mmmmmmmmmm. Actually I did detect a leathery smell and flavor, perhaps tanned bacon? Anyhow, I'll be letting this one sit of a couple of years to tame it down and let some of the flavors mature. It will remind me of a Colorado winter because it's not one I'm going to be drinking in the middle of summer for sure!

My mother bought the Rose, but since White Zinfandel is her favorite wine it was not shocking. Please don't get me started.

So next time you're in Colorado I would encourage to you to stop in at one of their two locations. Their web site is

Happy tasting!