Thursday, November 14, 2013

All Future Posts @ Iris By The Glass

I wanted to let everyone know that I have teamed up with Iris at Iris by the Glass. Follow our posts here:


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Justin Isosceles 2008

One of the best wines I have ever had. Once you've tasted something this good, it's hard to even want to drink anything else.

The icing on the cake... it was a gift from my Sister's friend Audrey. She is interning here in Houston and her boyfriend actually works at Justin Winery.

The wine is big and juicy with dark fruit, hints of dark spices and touch of vanilla with superb balance of the tannins and alcohol. The finish lasts for nearly ever. I think I can still taste it.

If you're looking to grab a bottle, Specs did have it for about $55.

This wine is from the Central Coast of California, specifically Paso Robles. It is a Bordeaux blend consisting of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petite Verdot.

This wine is made by winemaker Fred Holloway who has been making wine for over 28 years. His wines have consistently been rated 90+ by both Robert Parker Jr. and Wine Spectator.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wine Gifts $25 or less

I was reading the Wine Spectator's 2008 Top 100 list and was surprised to find so many bottles of wine for $25 or less and that EVEN includes one in the top 10. Nice!

Here's a list of the wines from the list that are $25 or less. You can get that someone special a quality bottle of wine and NOT brake the bank. Score!

The first number represents the wine ranking within the top 100 list and the second score is the Wine Spectator score using the 100 point scale.
  • #10, 93 - Seghesio Zindandel 2007 Sonoma County, $24
  • #30, 93 - Byron Chardonnay 2005 Santa Maria Valley, $25
  • #38, 92 - Bodega Colome Malbec 2004 Toro San Roman, $25
  • #40, 91 - Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Marlborough, $19
  • #42, 92 - Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Walla Walla, $25
  • #44, 92 - Leasingham Riesling 2007 Clare Valley Magnus, $12
  • #51, 90 - Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico 2006 Berardenga, $17
  • #52, 90 - Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva 2004, $17
  • #55, 91 - Yalumba Viognier 2007 Edna Valley, $19
  • #58, 90 - Louis Latour Marsannay 2005, $20
This is a great list. Everything is $25 or less, 90 points or higher, and there is a wonderful selection of wines to choose from, both reds and whites.

Directions for use: print this out, go to nearest favorite wine retailer, find wines on list and buy =) Don't be afraid to pick up a bottle or two for yourself!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Amazon to Free the Grapes!

The word on the street is Amazon is going back into wine sales. Their first foray was a 30 million dollar investment in back in 2005 that basically failed, in large part, due to difficult and varied interstate wine shipping laws.

Another reason was, actually would pose as a customer and have other wine sellers ship them wine illegally and then turn that seller in to the authorities. It didn't take long for many of's customers to feel betrayed and NOT buy wine from

An organization called Free the Grapes! is trying to enact legistlation that will allow consumers to purchase directly from the wineries and retailers, i.e. no middleman/wholesaler. This will remove the many convoluted shipping laws that are keeping us from getting some great wines at great prices.

So Amazon, once again, is getting into the wine business. They will be using a company called New Vine Logistics that deals in wine fulfillment and can deliver to 45 states. Wine purchases on Amazon would even qualify for its discount shipping program, Amazon Prime, in which goods are shipped free for a yearly fee of $79. Amazon Prime is SO totally worth it for wine... SCORE!

There are many things going on behind the scenes here. Naturally the Wholesalers are lobbying for all the laws to stay the same. If they don't, they will lose a lot of business. My hope is that Amazon will use its signifacant pull to further the goals of direct-to-consumer laws.

Amazon's wine sales were supposed to be up last month some time, hopefully it will be up before the Christmas season. Keep a look out for it.


Monday, October 27, 2008

CSW Exam - Certified Specialist of Wine

I am continually studying for the Certified Specialist of Wine certification. The Tasting Room has set up access to Gallo's Wine Academy for for everyone that works for them. The first person to complete the Academy gets to take their CSW exam on TTR's dime.

I finished first, but have yet to take the test. I really should have taken the test right after completing the Academy. I will need to go through the whole Academy again as a refresher and I hope to have my CSW by the end of November.

In the mean time, here's some questions you might find on an CSW exam - answers below:
  • Where is the wine region of Mendoza located?
  • Who is the man responsible for the "Balanced Vine" theory?
  • What is a synonym for Chenin Blanc in South Africa?
  • Wine is mostly comprised of what?
  • The Los Carneros AVA is best known for which varietal of wine?
  • When did prohibition end in the USA?
  • Catarratto, Grillo and Inzolia are used to produce what fortified wine?
  • What are the two primary white grapes in Bordeaux?
  • How many aromas can humans be trained to identify?
  • Humans are most sensitive to which taste?
So these are only 10 questions of about a 1000 they can give. The actual exam is 100 questions. The questions range from viticulture to viniculture to every continent that grows wine and all the major wine growing areas within those regions. This is definitely A LOT to learn, but for me well worth it.

  • Argentina
  • Richard Smart
  • Steen
  • Water
  • Pinot Noir
  • 1933
  • Marsala
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
  • ~1000
  • bitter

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fun Wines for Halloween

Evil CabernetVampire WinePoizin ZinfandelGhost Block Cabernet

It has been a busy month and I have neglected my beloved wine blog. So let's get this month going with a post about this time of year...

Halloween, definitely my favorite time of year. It celebrates the Autumn season with spooky fun and that brings up some interesting wines. Here's a short list of wines that come to mind:

Evil Cabernet - A full bodied fruit bomb from the irreverant Aussie's
Vampire - They make Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and more
Poizin - From the award winning Armida winery in Sonoma
Ghost Block - "Nestled on a gently sloping knoll, Ghost Block vineyard is named in honor of Napa's pioneer winemakers who rest in a tiny 150 year old cemetery on the north edge of Yountville - the epicenter of Napa Valley"

I've personally tried the Evil Cabernet and Vampire Pinot Noir. The Evil Cab is great and the Pinot was just OK for me. Poizon and Ghost Block have gotten great reviews and I'm looking forward to trying them. I hear that getting Ghost Block is very difficult too.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chenin Blanc - A Chameleon Grape

Chenin blanc is the white chameleon grape from the Loire, France, morphing and blending into its environment. In France it is known as Pineau de la Loire, in South Africa as Steen, and it is known as Pinot Blanco in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Argentina. Chenin's versatility stems from its high acidity. It can be used to make sweet wines, dry wines and even sparkling wines.

For an off-sweet to sweet Chenin Blanc the usual aroma and flavor profile is floral, honey suckle, honeydew or canteloupe, with a possible hint of vanilla or sweet wood.

For an off-dry to dry Chenin Blanc the usual aroma and flavor profile is apple, lime and pear with hints of vanilla and honey.

Some of the more notable places you will find Chenin Blanc are Sauternes, a desert wine usually blended with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Crémant de Loire sparkling wines, and Vouvray makes off-dry style of wines.

I personally knew very little about the versatility of Chenin Blanc and didn't realize how many wines it is used in. I love desert wines, so I am a fan of Sauternes. I've also tasted a Vouvray of which I also liked. If you drink whites and are looking for a new white to try, get Chenin Blanc. I think you'll enjoy it.