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Whitehall Lane 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The other night I opened a bottle of 2005 Whitehall Lane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  I enjoyed it so much that I decided to share my thoughts on it.

This dark garnet wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a little barnyard and wet dirt on the nose, along with some ripe cherry, blackberry and vanilla.  The medium-full bodied palate has black cherry, blackberry and plum and a delightful kick of spice on the long finish.  The tannins are very smooth.

Although this wine can sit for a few more years, it’s drinking beautifully now.  The fruit is still very fresh, but not overpowering the nice earthiness that comes through.

A very interesting thing about this wine is the bottle closure used.  Instead of using a traditional cork, this bottle is closed with the glass stopper, Vino-Seal.  It was first introduced to the European market in 2003 and has been used by 300 wineries worldwide. 

More and more alternative closures to cork are out on the market, mainly due to the potential risk of “cork taint”, or a bottle of wine being “corked”.  This is caused by the presence of the chemical 2,4,6-trichloroanisole or TCA for short.  Various studies have shown that between 4 and 8 percent of all bottles of wine are tainted with TCA.  Using alternative methods for closure will obviously help put an end to this problem.  I’ll explore the many alternatives to cork in a future blog.

Some sources say that the first wine to use the revolutionary Vino-Seam was the 2003 Whitehall Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  You’ll no longer be able to find the ’05 on shelves of your favorite wine store, but if you discover one on a restaurant’s wine list don’t be afraid to order it!



My July Wine of the Month

Novelty Hill Winery
Stillwater Creek Vineyard

Novelty Hill Winery is located in the adorable town of Woodinville, just outside of Seattle, Washington.  This is a great town for wine tasting and Novelty Hill and its partner winery Januik is a definite must-stop for the quality wines they produce.
The Wine – The 2008 Novelty Hill Sangiovese from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard is a very nice wine.  The nose is full of rose petals, plum and chocolate covered strawberries.  The palate has plum, cherry and some peppery spices.  This wine is very well balanced and has a nice medium to long finish.

Visiting the Winery – Novelty Hill’s winemaker Mike Januik is also the winemaker for its partner winery Januik.  They share a tasting room, which on the outside looks a lot like a warehouse. Once you approach closer and get inside, though, you discover an ultra modern and sleek setting in which to taste their lovely wines.  One can also order brick oven pizza in the tasting room on the weekends.  What a fun setting in which to eat some pizza and have a glass of wine!

I’ve been here twice, once in July of 2008 and again in March of 2011, when I purchased this ’08 Sangiovese.  Although the tasting room personnel has been far from welcoming the two times I’ve been there, I’ll definitely go back for the lovely wines.

The Journey – Novelty Hill is located in an industrial area of Woodinville, but don’t let that scare you off.  Once inside the tasting room you’ll feel very much a part of the  “Wine Country” atmosphere, where you can look through glass walls into barrels of fermenting wine.  Check them out at:

2009 Banshee Mordecai

We’re having a great bottle of wine tonight that doesn’t break the bank!  The 2009 Banshee Mordecai is a blend of Syrah, single-vineyard Turley Zinfandel, Napa Valley Mourvedre, Paso Robles Grenache, along with a splash of some other varietals.

This is a big California Red, with some nice earthiness to balance it out.  It has big blackberry fruit with some cherry cola on the nose.  As this wine opens up, it has some barnyard qualities to boot!

The palate screams the cherry cola, complimented by a little spice, vanilla, mocha and blackberry.  It also has some good earthiness to help make you forget that it’s California, and balances out the wine beautifully.  If you enjoy big New World wines with a touch of Old World earthiness, you’ll agree with me.  The ’09 Mordecai is a complex, delightfully fun wine for only $25.



My husband and I opened a very interesting wine last night, a 2007 Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny.  We purchased this bottle at a Loire Valley wine tasting at Tim’s Wine Market in Orlando a couple of years ago.

I thought that this would be a fun wine to feature on my blog because it is made of the very rare Romorantin grape.  This white grape has grown in the Loire Valley since the 16th century.  It makes wine that is crisp and minerally, with good acidity.  DNA profiling has determined it to be the offspring of the varietals Pinot Meunier and Gouais Blanc.

The Cour-Cheverny appellation is situated within the larger Cheverny appellation, which is the most important zone in the middle Loire.  It was promoted to full Appellation Controlee status in 1993.  The wines made from Romorantin make up it’s own appellation (Cour-Cheverny) which is only about 48 hectare.

The 2007 Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny is deep golden in color.  On the nose we smelled pear, mango, citrus (including lemon and a hint of orange) and some almond.  The palate provided great acidity and minerality, along with the pear, lemon, green apple and a touch of mushroom.

The odds of you having a bottle of this in your cellar are slim, but if you do, drink it up!  It’s not going to last much longer.



The Science of Wine Event

My husband and I attended a fun event this past weekend.  The Orlando Science Center and their sponsors provided over one hundred different wines, one of the largest selections for any Orlando event, at The Science of Wine. The Orlando Science Center is an ideal setting for this unique event, where we sampled wines amongst skeletons of dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures.

A few of the many wineries represented were Justin, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Provenance, Penfold’s and De Lille.   My favorites of the night included the 2009 Stag’s Leap Winery Merlot, the 2007 Pio Cesare Barolo and the 2007 Chateau De Pez from St. Estephe.

Some wines were obviously more popular than others, as many ran out less than half way through the event.  I was glad that we arrived right on time.  As far as the people pouring the tastes go, some of them were very knowledgeable and obviously in the wine business, while others knew very little if anything about the wines that they were representing.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the brother or cousin of someone from the distributor, and they just needed bodies to pour.  All proceeds went to charity, though, so it was still a worthwhile event to attend.

Tasty food pairings were also available.  I especially enjoyed the SoNapa Grill Chalk Hill Flatbread (with baked Brie cheese, tomatoes, spinach and a balsamic glaze) and a truffle bruschetta from Timpano Italian Chophouse.  My husband loved the salmon with cous cous from Stonewood Grill & Tavern.

In addition to the food and wine, classes and seminars were offered to expand one’s wine knowledge.  There were demonstrations on how wine is made, how wine is affected by weather and the impact of oak and barrel aging on wine.

The $75 admission proceeds went to help the Orlando Science Center accomplish some of their important goals including securing new exhibits and providing scholarships to worthy candidates.

They also held a silent auction with some great items, including fun dinners at local restaurants, travel and golfing excursions and lots of fun wines.  My husband and I were happy to place the winning bid on a magnum of 2009 Caymus Special Selection.

This was only the second year this event was held.  Let’s all hope next year we are fortunate enough to attend the THIRD annual Science of Wine.   Cheers to the Orlando Science Center!

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